Am I glad or am I sorry? Experience with a Volvo 2002 not starting by David Beattie

This is the story of a cantankerous engine, in fact a Volvo 2002, fitted in our Westerly Konsort, Sassy. No one knows how many hours she has done nor how many miles of sea she has pushed Sassy through when wind, tide or time were against her. Nevertheless, she has been mainly trouble free in the four years that we have had her, a seized thermostat being the main problem.

I’m conscious that this will be published in the winter though It covers, perhaps, a spring problem; so take note for Spring ’22!

The season of ’20 was short and some boats did not even get to sea but Sassy was a lucky one and despite only a few hours use the Volvo had a full service and passed the winter quietly. Come the spring of ‘21 she was launched and the engine tested, she started well enough and was run for 10 or 15 minutes. The following day we were going to take her to her summer mooring but not a spark from the engine. Filters and injector heads were bled again and eventually the batteries flattened. Returned on another day and recharged both batteries, still failure. Realised that the batteries, of no certain age, were probably past their best, so on yet another day, installed new batteries and also, following a tip from a friend, checked that the shut off cable and mechanism were operating correctly. Yes, you are right, still no good!

Thoughts of having to buy a new engine and delaying the start of our sailing were hard to keep at bay so we resorted to a professional and he came along, checked the bleeding, to satisfy himself, and tried to start the engine; no good at all, things looked grim. He then reached for his magic and squirted some Holts “Easy Start” into the air filter whilst cranking the engine; of course, instant gratification!

After a few difficult days early in the season a friend suggested really ham- mering the engine at max revs for at least a good half an hour, which we did; Lymington to Yarmouth now seem closer together than I had remembered. The proof of this treatment would be the following day when starting the engine from cold. Spectacular, a great cloud of black smoke and lots of soot and then normal running, marvellous. Thereafer, this summer we never had a problem though towards the end of the season we are beginning to see white smoke and thoughts of a new engine crept back into mind but that is another story.

So the lesson is, it’s a diesel, work it hard! And the answer to the question is, I’m glad the engine is “fixed” at minimal cost but I’m sorry that there was a call out charge of £38.40 as, had I nipped down to Halfords first, I could have bought a can of magic for only £4.49. I now have two cans on board, just in case.