Close this search box.

9 Fixes to Volvo Penta Outdrive Problems – You Can Fix Easily

Volvo Penta

Like all engines, the Volvo Penta outdrive has a set of problems. But it’s not like they are unsolvable.

So what about Volvo Penta outdrive problems?

The most frequent problem with this engine is the leaking of oil. There is also a very common first-gear shift problem. A lot of users find that the outdrive has a lean issue or a shaking issue.

Sometimes you might have a hard time moving the throttle because of the shaft cables.

Does this seem like any of the problems that you’re having? This piece contains all the reasons behind these problems and the ways to fix them.

So without hovering around, let’s find out how to fix them.

9 Fixes to Volvo Penta Outdrive Problems

Volvo Penta outdrives are a high-performance marine diesel engine option. As with all engines, they can experience problems with engine operation and reliability. This can necessitate the need for repairs or replacements.

These repair concerns represent three major areas. There the Volvo Penta outdrives may operate poorly- the outdrive, turbocharger, and charge air cooler assembly.

Problem 1: Leaking Oil

volvo penta outdrive problems

Volvo Penta Leaking Oil Problem is a common problem that occurs in many of these engine models. The leaking can happen anytime and be due to internal engine damage or an external problem. Or sometimes, even a combination of both.

The oil can leak into the engine compartment. This can damage the lubrication system and the surroundings. In some cases, this could lead to a fire.


In order to solve this, firstly, you should check the oil level of the machine. If it is very low, then refill with the recommended amount of oil. If there is no leak and the Volvo Penta is still leaking, then check for damage. This includes looking for cracks in the engine, crankcase, or cylinder block.

It’s important to check for loose or damaged gaskets and seals on all pipe fittings. Follow this by tightening any loose nuts or bolts that are connected to them.

Sometimes users turn up the engine RPMs to compensate for a loss of power. This is something you should avoid doing.

Problem 2: First Gear Issue

The Volvo Penta engine has a first-gear clutch pressure control (FGCPC) system. It monitors the input shaft speed and controls clutch release accordingly. The problem is that when the engine is at a high RPM. Then the first gear mode of the transmission will kick in. This will create a clunking sound.


The fix for this issue is to replace the transmission valve body with an updated one. This post will provide information. Mainly on how to determine whether you have this issue and what you can do to fix it.

Problem 3: Outdrive Lean Issue

Outdrive Lean Issue

The Volvo Penta outdrive has a recognized lean problem. It accelerates well until 2000 RPM, after which it loses almost all of its power. The tilt of the propeller blades is off by four degrees. It is controlled by the governor housing and its eccentric shaft.


The fix is to remove the propeller and tilt it back to its original position with a 1/2″ drive socket wrench. Tighten it securely with an 18mm open-ended wrench, then reinstall the propeller.

The engine should return to normal operation once it has cooled down. If that doesn’t solve your problem, you may have bad bearings in your transmission. Or, you might have worn-out gear on your shaft speed sensor (SSS).

Problem 4: Outdrive Shaking Issue

When slightly tilted up, even in neutral, the outdrive shakes back and forth in a terrifying manner. This causes the steering wheel to sway violently back and forth, rocking the entire boat. This will come to a halt if the engine is turned off or trimmed back down.

The problem does not recur if the drive is cut down. The cause is clearly a failure of the supporting strut.


To fix this problem, remove the strut. It is held to the outdrive with three screws, two on top and one underneath. Use a socket or nut driver to remove these screws.

Also, remove the guide pin from the mounting plate. As the new strut with not have one attached.

The new strut comes with three holes, one of which goes right through. This will allow for an alignment. And it would be a more natural position between the support strut and driveshaft. before it enters the water.

Remember that there is no alignment adaptor included with the replacement strut.

Problem 5: Throttle Not Moving

Throttle Not Moving

This is a problem that is caused because of failed clutch or a problem with the throttle cable. There are some clips that may come loose.

If this happens, you might not be able to operate the engine without rotating the propeller. In that case, you should disconnect the power from both engines and remove the driveshaft.


First, check if the shaft cable is properly connected to the control. If you can find loose clips, fixing those should solve the problem.

If the problem still persists, the cable might be broken internally. So changing them should be the right option.

Problem 6: Turbocharge Shutdown Problem

Heat soak back is the actual concern with turbocharger shutdowns. The turbine leaks back into the central housing. It’s when the heat from the exhaust manifold is still rotating. The temperature inside the house rises.

Heat soak back can cause material deterioration in seals over time. As a result, ball-bearing clearances decrease, resulting in an imbalance.

Blue exhaust smoke on startup is a frequent symptom of early damage in older engines. If the turbo blows, this proceeds to a big cloud of blue smoke emerge from the exhaust. Early signs of turbo deterioration include decreased engine boost and higher oil usage.


It’s very easy to prevent turbo damage. Before turning off the ignition, wait two minutes, or 120 seconds. Regardless of the engine, this is a solid rule of thumb.

However, it is especially crucial with Tier 4 Final engines. It’s because they operate at greater temperatures than previous engines.

There is a simple method to ensure that this happens every time. Just leave the equipment running while the operator completes their daily walkaround.

Problem 7: Turbocharger Boost Pressure Too Low

Turbocharger Boost Pressure Too Low

Broken hoses and leaking seals are two of the possible causes of low boost pressure. This problem can also be caused by contamination in the turbine or compressor sections. This is a very problem for most engines including the Mercruiser and Volvo Penta.

One of the numerous explanations may be damaged shaft bearings or a leak in the intercooler. Check for a clogged air filter or a broken diesel particulate filter as well.


The mechanical turbocharger is best repaired at specialist workshops, a blacksmith, or a tractor dealership.  If this is not possible, use a vacuum pump to remove all air from the system. You should use approximately 10 pcs of vacuum. Then restart it.

Problem 8: Hydrolock

If you are experiencing problems with your Volvo Penta outdrive, it might be due to a hydrolock. A hydrolock is when the engine’s lubrication system can’t get enough water to work properly, and as a result, the engine will start to overheat and may even stop working altogether.


In order to resolve this problem, Volvo recommends cleaning the hydrolock valve and regapping the engine.

Problem 9: Bad Piston on Cylinders

Bad Piston on Cylinders

If you are experiencing a Volvo Penta outdrive problem with a bad piston on cylinders, there is a good chance that the issue is due to a piston ring problem. A piston ring is a very small, but important part of the engine that helps to control the flow of oil and gas around the engine.

If it becomes worn or damaged, this can cause serious problems with your outdrive. In most cases, a defective piston ring will manifest itself as an inability to properly turn the propeller, which in turn will lead to decreased efficiency and increased wear on other parts of the engine.


To diagnose the issue, the mechanic will need to take a look at the engine’s mechanics. They may be able to see that one or more of the pistons has gone bad. If this is the case, they’ll need to replace the piston as soon as possible in order for the engine to work properly.


1. What type of oil should be used in a Volvo Penta outdrive?

The Volvo Penta 75W 90 Synthetic GL-5 Gear Oil Lubricant is particularly designed for Volvo Penta sterndrives. This 100 percent synthetic oil lowers friction resulting in longer gear life and more torque.

2. How often do I need to change the oil of my Volvo Penta outdrive engine?

The life expectancy of an outdrive mandates that 50% of the lubricant will be lost. It will be lost after 12 months. After 100 hours, it is recommended that a liner cleaning and oil change take place

3. How long does a Volvo Penta engine last?

The Volvo Penta engine can last around 380 hours each year. In comparison with a lorry or van engine, it will run for 8356 hours in 4 to 5 years.

Also read: Best Marine Switch Panel

Summing Up

We hope that now you can help yourselves with Volvo Penta outdrive problems. If the problems seem too complicated to handle, it’s better to seek for a professional. It’s always better to seek for help than to cause damage, right?

All the best!

Related Articles