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Thread: Volvo Penta 5.7 GXI Problems

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    Default Volvo Penta 5.7 GXI Problems

    My Dad has boat with a 2005 Volvo Penta 5.7 GXI motor with around 170 hours on it, that has, for lack of any other way to put it, been nothing but trouble since he's owned it. He bought the boat in 2008 with 8 hours on the motor.

    The main problem is that is has a tendency to run very well on the outward leg of a trip. However, usually after sitting over night or at least several hours it won't start. Typically when it won't start, it cranks over, has spark (visual confirmation, however haven't checked all cylinders at once), and is getting fuel into the cylinders (plugs are wet and pump is pumping fuel). The ECM isn't throwing any codes either, we have the diagnostic program and all the parameters appear normal.

    It has done this three or four times now, and trolling back from Hinchinbrook and Montague is getting old. Every time it has done this he has replaced a sensor or wire, etc and it has eventually run, each time convincing us that was the problem. After trolling in yet again last week, I am wondering if there is something else going on and it just runs again after sitting for a while, coincidental to replacing the sensors. When it runs it always runs flawlessly, and upon shut down gives no indication of a problem.

    The motor was professionally installed by a shop in Juneau. We have run the diagnostics software, followed the appropriate flow chart in the manual, changed the plugs, changed numerous sensors, replaced the batteries, checked and re-crimped the battery leads and connections, added a fuel primer bulb (which is always pumped prior to a cold start), charged the batteries, and checked the fuses. I'm starting to think maybe there is a problem with the ECM itself? We are running out of things to check, change, and look at. Any ideas?
    "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
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    I don't much about those motors but i have a good friend who had a pair of them in a bowpicker, one never ran right no matter what they did to fix it, turned out it was a bad throttle body, don't know if that helps any but it might be worth a shot. Good luck.

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    I have a 2003 volvo penta 5.7 GI (only difference is that the main chip in the GXI lets it rev to 5500 rpm instead of 4500 rpm, thus 320 hp vs 280 hp) ....

    When I bought the boat I changed the props from aluminum to stainless steel (duoprop F5), the anchorage dealer did not account for the extra thrust at high RPM that the SS props would generate, the engine could only turn about 3800 rpm.

    The short story was that I burned the valves (engine was lugging and I was over proped). I would do a compression check and see if you have done the same. Went to F3's and have not had a problem with the engine sence. Twice I had the same problem and coming back to Seward from Montague at 5 mph on the Honda 9.9 is no fun, about 11 hrs.

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    However, usually after sitting over night or at least several hours it won't start.
    So does it start readily when it is cold, or is the engine still hot/warm when it will not start. Overnight would imply a cold engine, several hours and the engine will still of significant temp. difference. Can you be more specific on engine temp?

    Typically when it won't start, it cranks over, has spark (visual confirmation, however haven't checked all cylinders at once), and is getting fuel into the cylinders (plugs are wet and pump is pumping fuel).
    Wet plugs indicate an over-rich condition, weak spark, weak compression or poor fuel quality or a combination of things. Externaly checking for spark is not exactly reliable. Secondary ignition has to overcome a compressed atmosphere in the combustion chamber, ie; 9:1 compression ratio= 9 atmospheres compressed, requires a great deal more energy for the spark to make the jump across the gap of the spark plug relative to what is required in the atmosphere that you are breathing, but a visual can still be of worth. Was the spark orange or blue in color? Did anyone insert a screwdriver into the spark plug or ignition coil boot and hold off a couple inches from the engine block to check how far the spark could "jump to ground"? Has anyone pulled the distributor cap and inspected it and the rotor for corossion or cracks, the ignition coil? This is where engine temp, particularly if the failure is consistant with temp., comes in. The ignition control module or pickup coil on the distributor may be making and breaking a circuit under temp changes, VERY common on the older HEI systems, not as common on the HEI system in that engine must certainly worth consideration, however corossion. particularly in a salt environment, is a definite concern.

    Does the diagnostic readout allow you to actualy see sensor values onboard, yourself, or do you have to use a scan tool (take it to a mechanic)to enter the data stream, or does it just say" no codes present" or something of that nature?

    If it fires up COLD and runs good until you shut down then attempt to restart when it is HOT or WARM and it will not start then that indicates to me either
    The ignition control module or pickup coil on the distributor may be making and breaking a circuit under temp changes,
    or a fuel management issue such as a leaking fuel pressure regulator (if it is on the engine and vacuum controlled-a leaking diaphragm allows fuel to be drawn in by the vac. hose and into the intake causing a RICH condition), but if this were a car/truck the fuel pressure regulator would be in the gas tank and there would not be a fuel return line present eliminating this., a failing or out-of-range Engine Coolant Temp. sensor, Throttle Position Sensor or Oxygen sensor. Failing sensors do not always create a code, typicaly however, a failure or issue that does not trigger a code indicates a mechanical issue that the ECM is unable to detect such as the ignition issues I mentioned above, fuel quality or poor compression(weak compression is much more evident with a COLD engine unless there is ring wash from a RICH condition). Which brings us to engine temp and time between restarts.

    Scenario: Engines fires up at the launch and off you go to Montague. You arrive and fish for a couple of hours then decide to move, engine cranks fine but will not restart. Does anyone notice black smoke in the exhaust while cranking? You do whatever you do over the next 2-3 hours and give it another go and it fires up but runs crappy. You make your way to an anchorage and sit on the hook overnight, 12-18 hours pass, you give it another try and it fires up. Any black smoke? It runs OK for a bit then begins to run crappy. You go fish a few hours and then a no start. Black smoke? Are the plugs wet and black, or are they wet and clean?

    If there is a RICH condition causing the problem and flooding the cylinders or the spark plugs, then sitting overnight allows the fuel in the cylinders to evaporate enough to create a favorable condition for a COLD start and subsequent run to the next destination. You arrive, shut down...rinse and repeat.

    Does this sound like what you have been experiencing?

    Do you have more info?

    Does it have EGR (I doubt it)?

    This is Multi-Port EFI, yes?

    Has the fuel pressure been checked by gauge?

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    Give this man a reputation point, he just gave you $1000 worth of information.

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    In June 2000 I repowered from a Volvo 350 carb engine to the 5.7GSI I had a similar problem.
    It turned out to be the old fuel line. It would not hold the proper fuel pressure for this engine.
    We changed to a larger new fuel hose.
    Not related to this problem but check your manifolds and risers out on the water under a load for proper temps.
    I use a infered thermoter gun. They tend to get blocked with rust.
    I replace my impellar each season. So far I have over 2900 hours on mine it has been a very dependable engine.

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    First, thanks for all the replies, they are all appreciated. I apologize, I was mistaken, the motor is a 5.7 GI-E. .338WM, I will try to clarify and answer some of your questions: Engine temperature does not appear to play a factor. Once it decides not to start again, it has never restarted until several days (or even weeks) later. It has had the problem when the engine has been cold soaked after sitting over night, as well as after only sitting a few hours.

    The spark I observed was blue. We have not tested how far it will jump to ground, nor have we pulled the distributor cap.

    Our diagnostic program does allow us to read the sensor values. Engine coolant temp and throttle position sensors are reading the correct values, from what I can tell, using the methods in the manual. Also, when cranking the RPM readout on the diagnostic program indicated 150-200 rpm. I am not sure how to test the oxygen sensor.

    "Scenario: Engines fires up at the launch and off you go to Montague. You arrive and fish for a couple of hours then decide to move, engine cranks fine but will not restart. Does anyone notice black smoke in the exhaust while cranking? You do whatever you do over the next 2-3 hours and give it another go and it fires up but runs crappy. You make your way to an anchorage and sit on the hook overnight, 12-18 hours pass, you give it another try and it fires up. Any black smoke? It runs OK for a bit then begins to run crappy. You go fish a few hours and then a no start. Black smoke? Are the plugs wet and black, or are they wet and clean?"

    This is not quite what we are experiencing. When the motor does run, it runs absolutely flawlessly, never misses a beat. The only exception being that occasionally when it will not start after cranking it will turn over backwards 3-4 revolutions. The plugs are wet and black, but not completely sooted up. I can only remember one time that the motor ever had any black smoke on start up: This year after starting up after fueling (warm motor), motor ran flawlessly for 1.5 hours after that, then would not start the next day.

    It is a multi-port fuel injection, fuel pressure has not been checked by a gauge (however the fuel pump has been replaced during the course of ownership). I am not sure if it has an EGR, however I don't believe so.

    I have attached a the last recording we have from the diagnostic program.Diacom Data 08 11 2013 11 04 56.pdf
    Attached Files Attached Files
    "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
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    The only exception being that occasionally when it will not start after cranking it will turn over backwards 3-4 revolutions.

    I would go straight after the ignition system based on that, including the crank postion sensor-they often fail without triggering a code and cause a no start situation. I would also pull the distributor and inspect the distributor drive gear for wear. Crank sensor, ignition module (though typicaly with a failure there will be no spark, or no injector pulse, or both), pickup coil/stator/crank sensor, also look closely at the stator on the dist. shaft for any cracks-I have replaced several dist's over the years due to this, check the dist. shaft for lateral movement/worn shaft bushing.

    Note: the the distributor and crankshaft have timing indicators that must be aligned before the dist. is removed and reinstalled; line up the mark on the crank/balancer with the notch on the timing cover and the dist. rotor with the ^8 on the dist. housing under the dist. cap. There is also a tendency for the plug wires to crossfire if not routed correctly, particularly #7, the coil wire may be arcing to ground etc., in short the plug wires on these engines are weak as are the dist. cap and rotor as I mentioned before.

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    .338WM - I bet most of us are sitting here in awe of the depth of your knowledge. I know I am. Wow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by healerf18 View Post
    .338WM - I bet most of us are sitting here in awe of the depth of your knowledge. I know I am. Wow!
    Thank you very much! Always happy to help when I can.

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    It sounds to me like a fuel issue of some sort. I know this has already been discussed in depth in the thread but one thing to remember, No matter what kind of gasoline engine you have, carb, TBI, whatever, if you have spark and compression the only thing that could be inhibiting it from running would be a fuel issue. If it runs fine part of the time that would eliminate spark(or timing) and compression.

    Always remember this.....Spark, Fuel, Compression. With those three things it will run.

    Edit: I should have read the rest of the posts first, after reading into it it does sound like it may be spark related. I will leave my original post as it has been an invaluable piece of information for me and everyone should know it.
    Last edited by Alaskanrocket; 08-12-2013 at 16:38. Reason: because im an idiot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskanrocket View Post
    It sounds to me like a fuel issue of some sort. I know this has already been discussed in depth in the thread but one thing to remember, No matter what kind of gasoline engine you have, carb, TBI, whatever, if you have spark and compression the only thing that could be inhibiting it from running would be a fuel issue. If it runs fine part of the time that would eliminate spark(or timing) and compression.

    Always remember this.....Spark, Fuel, Compression. With those three things it will run.

    Edit: I should have read the rest of the posts first, after reading into it it does sound like it may be spark related. I will leave my original post as it has been an invaluable piece of information for me and everyone should know it.
    You forgot one thing...air.

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    That data is near impossible to read the way it is crammed together, though there is one thing that triggered a memory and GM likely used it on that engine; it is common on road vehicles (and I see no reason for them not to use in marine applications) for the oil pressure sensor/switch to utilize the "switch" side of the "sensor" as a failsafe to prevent engine start if the oil pressure fails to meet spec within 5 seconds of cranking. In other words you may see ample oil pressure on a gauge while crankinig but the engine will not start because the switch side of the sensor(these are independent circuits in the same part) stays open preventing the fuel pump from running by interupting voltage supply to the pump. Any fuel that enters the cylinders when the injectors pulse is fuel that is under static residual pressure-inadequate for the engine to run.

    I suggest you also check voltage at the fuel pump while cranking under a no start, minimum 10.5 volts is needed. Though normaly when they fail, they stay that way. That brings us back to checking the fuel pressure with a gauge.

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    .338WM, again thanks. The latest development with the motor is after trailering it up to Fairbanks, it started right up again. I think we are going to start with the ignition system and go from there. I believe he has already replaced the oil pressure sensor. Thanks for all the help so far.
    "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
    Henry Ford

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    Anything to update?

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    Anything to update?
    Would love to hear if there has been any progress!

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    Nothing new to report, I think the project has been shelved for the winter. Your help is sincerely appreciated though, and as soon as I have an update I will let you know.
    "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
    Henry Ford

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    Thanks for the reply, looking forward to your forthcoming report after the thaw!

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    Check for a plugged fuel tank vent.

    Sounds silly I know.

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