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Thread: KAD 44 Questions

  1. #1
    Member Soundfisher's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default KAD 44 Questions

    I am looking at a couple 27' Sea Sport Pilothouses. Both have the KAD 44. I have always owned gas boats, so the diesel thing is new to me. How many hours could one expect to get out of a well maintained engine? Do you guys have any comments for or against the 44? These are higher HP diesels, so I would expect them to have a shorter life than the slower turning, lower HP diesels, but what should I expect? I have always maintained, repaired or rebuilt gas engines myself, so I am a little reluctant going to diesel. The price difference buying a diesel/gas used in this market, doesn't seem to be as big of a factor as when they are new. The thing that IS appealing is the GPM difference. I realize that there is more maintainence and that diesel fuel is more expensive, but the diesel still seems more cost effective to run. Also, who would you suggest for a Volvo Diesel shop? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Check out for lots of info on the volvo's & the only place i would half way trust with any major work on my 41P volvo would be Coastal Marine in Seattle. I gillnet in PWS/Copper River and the fleet has lots of volvo's(mostly 41's and now the D4 & 6's) and i hear of lots of nightmare stories about the local shops working on them. I'm very lucky to have a personal friend who works on my outdrives(he'll work on anybodies volvo drives) and one of my drives has aprox 10,000 hours on it and it still going strong.
    I don't know much about the 44's but i'll tell you to run it as easy as possible, install a pyrometer & run the exhaust out the stern instead of throught the drive because the fuel here has been burning/rotting a hole throught the intermediate housings on the drives. I would check for that on any volvo drive you buy. Also if you pull off the top gear box you can see a coupling inside the drive that connects the top box to the lower unit, pull the coupling out and sight down the splines inside it, if they have a twist to them you'll know that the prop has had a major strike on something and that will probaly cause the drive to fail down the road, a 6-8000 dollar fix.
    Oh Yeah don't believe the little sign on the dash or the owner manual that says to run the engine 200rpm under max rpm for cruise speed, that will only get you to a rebuild a LOT SOONER. I think volvo doesn't make the 44 series anymore so look out when you go to buy parts(they use the costco size jar of vaseline ).

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  3. #3


    I used to deckhand for a guy that had 2 boats with twin AD-41's (I think?) with the duoprop drives; he was good about maintenance and got minimum 5,000 hrs on all 4 motors. Like Potbuilder said, find a good mechanic although if the boats you're looking at have been well maintained. Bob (who I used to work for) was always checking the lower unit oil, keeping filters, oil changes, water pump impellers changed when needed. He never had a breakdown or problems due to mechanical failure in either the motors or drives, just gotta be real religious about maintenance, plus you can't undo a previous owner's negligence.
    BTW, they were great on fuel (burned about 3.5- 4 gph total at trolling speed of 6-8 knots on a 34' charter boat with 200 gals. fuel & 8 people, gear). His were the 200 hp models.
    PS----there are lots of duoprop drives around; wouldn't be a bad idea to have a spare drive.

  4. #4
    Member captaindd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Salcha, AK


    In Demand Marine in Homer has always been good to me on parts and repairing Volvo's. If I remember right Volvo pushed the horse power up too 300hp on the 44 series. The increased hp and torque was causing outdrives to burn out along with shorting the engine life. Volvo replaced the 44's with the D-4 and the D-6 along with the DPH-A out drive. The older 41 series would last between 5000 to 7500 hours before rebuild. Boats using at transmission and running at lower rpm's will last longer. A friend of mine was running a 30ft Harbor Craft with the 44's and with a out drive. His drive failed at 925 hours but was still under warrenty. I know at 1000 hours you have change the ujoints and every 100 hours you change the outdrive & engine oils.

  5. #5
    Member bhollis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I've got a 2004 SeaSport Voyager with twin KAD44's. Bought it used two years ago, with only 75 hrs on the engines. They've now got about 300 hrs each.

    I've had no major problems with the engines and have been generally pleased with them. They are definitely more expensive to maintain and repair than gas engines, though.

    Volvo built a number of engines using the same basic block as the KAD44. They involved various configurations of superchargers (compressors), turbo chargers, and electronic chips to control tuning. The KAD44's develop around 260 hp at the flywheel, I believe. The KAD300's were the most powerful engines in the series and develop around 280-290 hp. It's correct that Volvo is no longer building these engines, which have been replaced by the newer, common rail D series engines.

    I joined shortly after I bought my boat and spend a fair amount of time there. Based on what I've learned, the KAD44's seem to have a pretty good reputation, but they are not trouble free, and you should expect to have to maintain them and perform the occasional repair. Hopefully nothing to too serious. I don't think it's unrealistic for you to expect a KAD44 to last 3000 hours or more. The outdrives are a little more fragile, though, I wouldn't plan on much more than 1,200 to 1,500 hours to rebuild.

    Hope this info is helpful.

  6. #6
    Member NewMoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Holladay, UT


    I have a KAD 44 in a Bounty 257, 10 years old and 3525 hours so far, cruising and fishing mostly BC and SE Alaska. Boat is even a little heavier and deeper V than the Sea Sport Pilot. It cruises at 3300-3400 and 17-18 knots, getting 1.7-1.8 nmpg, or on a long trip mostly at 1400 and 6.5 knots, getting 3.5-4 nmpg.

    Make sure the tach is calibrated accurately, then make sure you're propped to reach 3900-3950 at WOT with a full load. Don't spend a lot of time at idle - it cools off too much. If it's an early 44 with the older belt tensioners tightened with hex wrenches, replace them with the newer setup tightened with a torque wrench. Maintain religiously, especially the 290 DP drive, and you should be OK.
    Richard Cook
    New Moon (Bounty 257)
    "Cruising in a Big Way"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Not sure

    I ran a 34' boat with twin Kad 43s. We burnt up outdrives constantly. Twins made it a nightmare to work on in tight quarters. I believe the engines were good but too much power to turn outdrives. Give me a single shaft or outboard anyday.
    The SeaSport owners I new when I was in Kodiak were constantly in their engine rooms working on something. At least two have converted to outboards with an extended bracket.
    Newmoon makes a good point with the fact that travelling 18 knts is much different than trying to push 28-32 knts with the boat we ran. Just some thoughts.


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