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Old 04-04-2009, 08:28 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4

Hi All,

I've read the previous posts and my problem differs slightly from the others in that my 2003 Volvo D2-55 blows wafts of white smoke when she is loaded up.

The smoke has only just started occuring and only appears although suddenly at around 3/4 revs - the smell is like slipping belts (burning rubber like smell) although it can not be as the belts are tight and it is coming out of the exhaust.

Oil consumption is relatively low 100hrs at variable cruising revs drops about 1/16 on the dipstick.

The oil was overfilled by the previous mechanic to about 1/4 over full when I took ownership a year ago and the problem has manifest since I drained the excess oil (taken down to around 7/8 of full).

Can anyone steer me in the right problem solving direction, I'm pretty handy although do not have any diesel mech tools such as comp testers etc.

Thanks in advance all,


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Old 04-05-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

Generally white smoke indicates water vapor.

Need to know a few things :-

Where is the boat located ?

How many hours does this engine have ? or how many years use ?

What is the general ambient temperature in the boat at the times that you are starting the engine?

What do you mean 'when she is loaded up' ?

What is 3/4 revs in terms of RPM ? What is max RPM ?

What is '1/16 on the dipstick' is this 1/16th inch or a fraction of full range?

How is the engine cooled ? Heat exchanger pumping water from outside the boat through the engine's heat exchanger (thereby cooling the engine's internal water) and out via a mixer to the exhaust ???


The white smoke observed, could indicate problems in the cooling system - whereby water is vaporized as steam.

A couple of other points :- Best to fill the engine with oil to full on the dipstick or fill the amount specified by volvo ; rather than '7/8ths'

MMNETSEA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2009, 05:00 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 11

We had similar problem. Coincidently we also have Volvo (D1-30) engine. Had been concerned water flow did not quite seem good enough after a couple of incidents with plastic bags caught on saildrive. Noticed white "smoke" early in a trip then later had engine temperature alarm even though motor sailing at about 2000 rpm. Had to keep below 1500 rpm to keep out of alarm until we reached the next port. Dived on boat to check saildrive and cleaned off some barnacles near intake. Still couldn't go above 1500 rpm continuously. Water intake strainer clean but showing low level when running indicated suction problem. Even ran for a short period without strainer with same effect. Had to haul out and had system back flushed to reveal a small piece of plastic about 15mm diam. Too big to get right through to the strainer but big enough to restrict water flow. No problems after that and a good water flow from the exhaust.
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Old 11-26-2009, 06:08 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4

Thanks for the feedback and sorry it has taken so long to get back here.

As it turns out the previous owner thought he was doing the engine a favour by running it on a fully synthetic turbo oil - not a specific diesel oil that is formulted with detergents etc, adding to the problem was the constant 2000 rpm whenever we had any distance to motor.

The result was glazed cylinders that due to the shiny perfect bores were allowing synthetic oil into the combustion chamber which was then burnt creating the whitish smoke with an evil smell.

The solution was simple.

Fully drain the lubrication system & change filters.

Add the right oil as specified in the manual (CH4 Diesel Oil)

And then the unnerving part:

To deglaze the bores the engine needs to work....and work hard

Once she was well and truely warmed through it was time to take the engine to W.O.T (wide open throttle)

Initially the smoke reappeared as the engine found max RPM but slowly over the next few minutes the smoke lessened then died right down to what you would consider normal.

There is a more brutal way to deglaze if the above does not work - PM me if you think you need it.


zedex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2009, 06:28 AM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

Spot On - Thanks for coming back.

Glazing on boat diesel engines is not reserved to Volvos, merely the habit of running the engine at a constant RPM (a condition not found on a truck engine) . Good practice to vary the RPM, and every hour or so, on motor sailing give 10 mins at a high RPM.
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