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Bob L

SSX 277. Merc 380 or Volvo 380

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Ordering a new SSX 277 and have choice of Mercruiser 8.2 380 and Volvo 6.2 380  both digital. Never been a merc fan but do seem to have some new improvements 

HELP

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Quieter also than a peaked out smaller C I engine.  

Do you like to hear a louder high revving engine ?    Buy the Volvo.

Want to talk from rear seat to the bow while doing 3000  rpm?   Go Mercruiser

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Do you have good dealer support local for both?

Merc parts are way easier and cheaper to get if you are a do it yourself guy.

8.2 Merc is old school displacement power. The Volvo is new technology derived power.

Both are fine, personally I would go Merc because there is no Volvo support local to me even though the Chap dealer can sell both.

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Bob

You really need to drive BOTH engines in the boat to make a good decision.  Long drive is called for. Or a airline ticket.......... There is NO other way to decide.

Almost forgot .  Borrow or buy a small hand held GPS unit if speed is important............ Remember each dealer puts on the prop HE  LIKES.

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We have excellent dealer support for both. Looking forward to some comments to assure me Mercruiser is reliable, not plagued by things like over heating and rough shifting as in past. I have always had volvo with no problems but for some reason our dealer is ordering stock boats with mercs this year. I’m ordering so have the option of either

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31 minutes ago, cyclops2 said:

Bob

You really need to drive BOTH engines in the boat to make a good decision.  Long drive is called for. Or a airline ticket.......... There is NO other way to decide.

Almost forgot .  Borrow or buy a small hand held GPS unit if speed is important............ Remember each dealer puts on the prop HE  LIKES.

You make a good point but don’t have that option in that need to order for this summer short season here in Coeur d’Alene ID.   Have you tried both?  Observations??

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My observations:

Volvo accomplishes 380hp through the use of technology. While the engine is smaller in displacement vs a big block, it uses advancements such as variable cam timing to produce not only the same peak power, but a broader power band vs the larger engine. It is also 250lbs lighter than the Merc. Online videos show superior acceleration using the Volvo motors vs Merc big blocks in heads up racing. 

And there is more service room in the engine bay due to its physically smaller size.

The technology Volvo uses to achieve this power has been used now for years by them in the marine industry and these engines have proven to be reliable. 

That being said, the latest generation (Gen V) of the Volvos now use Direct Injection. Direct Injection has proven to be problematic long term in street cars. So the verdict is out on long term reliability of these new generation motors in a marine environment.

Outboard: do you boat in salt water? To me, that’s the only reason to do an outboard on a recreational day boat. Swim platform square footage is a premium when hanging out on the hook.

 

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Back in 2016 I drove a 277 w/Volvo 380.  It was very quick out of the hole and had decent mid-range.  Top end was disappointing at only around 48 mph GPS.  I haven't driven the Merc 8.2 so I can't compare.  I have a Merc 496 (8.1) in my boat and have been very happy with it for 12 years.  I think either platform is reliable.

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I too have the Vortec 8.1 which is all cast iron and heavier than both of your options and mine is the 425 HP variant and has been trouble free for 400 hours. GM stopped making them and Volvo decided to take a LS small block platform and twist it pretty hard to obtain power, and Merc decided to build their own big block using available aftermarket parts. The Merc 8.2 offering is a tick lighter than their trusted 8.1, and developed 5 more HP (380 and 430 respectively) in two available versions. My issue was the fact that it came with a Superior World Products cast iron block (really nice piece) with Edelbrock aluminum heads so head gaskets need to work overtime. Fresh water cooling helps keep operating temperatures more consistent and nothing has the grunt of a true big block. Pretty simple design with multi-port injection and over-sized oil pan (9.5 quarts).

Now the LS platform comes in many flavors, and the high performance automotive offerings are all aluminum, whereas the truck and marine applications were using cast iron blocks. The lower end of these engines are stout with 6 bolt main bearings, and they better be as Volvo red-lines the things at over 6,000 rpm. Now Volvo has gone to direct injection and an aluminum lower end so this 380 (and 430) is lighter still. For me, all the discussion around longevity always centers around engine hours. Total revolutions for me is just as important. I would much rather have a boat with 500 hours on the clock that spent it's life averaging 3,100 rpm, than I would have one with 350 hours which spent most of it's life at 4,500. First thing I look at when asked to do a pre-purchase inspection on a used boat is the ECM histogram so that I can see how the boat was operated. Remember too that the drive ratio will differ between these two engines as the big block will be held at 4,950 max spinning coupler, u-joints, shafts and bearings at a lower average RPM.

Lastly, the Volvo is far more complex as direct injection calls for fuel delivery systems which operate at up to 3,000 psi, and variable valve timing is electronic over mechanical actuation affixed to the camshaft drive sprocket, and as mentioned before Volvo twists them hard and now with the aluminum block, I want to see how long this variant lives. All the high output race car guys are willing to accept the cast iron block and pay the weight penalty as they will handle massive power. My 256 SSX cruises at 3,000 RPM which for that hull is 35 MPH. 3 mpg at that speed and my boat wise guests always comment on how smooth and quiet she is. The Volvo will plane out faster, but we are talking a couple seconds here and best case WOT on mine in PERFECT conditions is 63 MPH. All I can say id if I were shopping tomorrow I would be buying the 8.2/430 HP Merc, but that has as much to do with my familiarity with the product as it does with real world experience. Just not enough all aluminum Volvo 380's out there long enough to make an informed decision.

As far as outboards go, I just spent 5 weeks on the ICW in Palm Coast Fla. Boat hoist right behind a condo on the top floor was really nice with flush hose and mooring cover, it put my mind at ease. I really thought I would be the small fish in the big pond there, but what I found was I had the second biggest boat in the Marina, with a 30' Regulator with twin 300 Yamaha's sitting beside me. Most were 24' +/- with single or 26 footers with true off-shore hulls and twins. Cobia, and Key West with a few others tossed in. Outboards are so much easier to maintain in salt water but the MPG numbers shared were not impressive, and they all cruised in the mid to upper 20's to maximize range and economy. Four cycle outboards have come a long way but they just can't provide the torque of an I/O. One fuel stop right in Palm Coast with 25 miles to Saint Augustine, and 36 to Daytona. After my visit I would have to think twice about selling my 256 if I move there as a covered slip, boat lift, and a dedicated flush regiment would likely see my Chap outlive me as it has been really cared for since 2008.   W

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What`s the weight difference?

Never mind, I see that has been answered. 250 lbs is substantial, all other things being considered.

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Todd is right on with all Direct Injection engines.  THey are being run leaner / leanest ? so the intakes do build up carbon deposits. There is no RAW GASOLINE constantly cleaning the intake valves in a direct injection engine.   The best gasoline cleaners can not work well in direct injection engines.   Wing nut can tell you the cost of cleaning the valves  on a D I engine

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2 hours ago, Wingnut said:

I too have the Vortec 8.1 which is all cast iron and heavier than both of your options and mine is the 425 HP variant and has been trouble free for 400 hours. GM stopped making them and Volvo decided to take a LS small block platform and twist it pretty hard to obtain power, and Merc decided to build their own big block using available aftermarket parts. The Merc 8.2 offering is a tick lighter than their trusted 8.1, and developed 5 more HP (380 and 430 respectively) in two available versions. My issue was the fact that it came with a Superior World Products cast iron block (really nice piece) with Edelbrock aluminum heads so head gaskets need to work overtime. Fresh water cooling helps keep operating temperatures more consistent and nothing has the grunt of a true big block. Pretty simple design with multi-port injection and over-sized oil pan (9.5 quarts).

Now the LS platform comes in many flavors, and the high performance automotive offerings are all aluminum, whereas the truck and marine applications were using cast iron blocks. The lower end of these engines are stout with 6 bolt main bearings, and they better be as Volvo red-lines the things at over 6,000 rpm. Now Volvo has gone to direct injection and an aluminum lower end so this 380 (and 430) is lighter still. For me, all the discussion around longevity always centers around engine hours. Total revolutions for me is just as important. I would much rather have a boat with 500 hours on the clock that spent it's life averaging 3,100 rpm, than I would have one with 350 hours which spent most of it's life at 4,500. First thing I look at when asked to do a pre-purchase inspection on a used boat is the ECM histogram so that I can see how the boat was operated. Remember too that the drive ratio will differ between these two engines as the big block will be held at 4,950 max spinning coupler, u-joints, shafts and bearings at a lower average RPM.

Lastly, the Volvo is far more complex as direct injection calls for fuel delivery systems which operate at up to 3,000 psi, and variable valve timing is electronic over mechanical actuation affixed to the camshaft drive sprocket, and as mentioned before Volvo twists them hard and now with the aluminum block, I want to see how long this variant lives. All the high output race car guys are willing to accept the cast iron block and pay the weight penalty as they will handle massive power. My 256 SSX cruises at 3,000 RPM which for that hull is 35 MPH. 3 mpg at that speed and my boat wise guests always comment on how smooth and quiet she is. The Volvo will plane out faster, but we are talking a couple seconds here and best case WOT on mine in PERFECT conditions is 63 MPH. All I can say id if I were shopping tomorrow I would be buying the 8.2/430 HP Merc, but that has as much to do with my familiarity with the product as it does with real world experience. Just not enough all aluminum Volvo 380's out there long enough to make an informed decision.

As far as outboards go, I just spent 5 weeks on the ICW in Palm Coast Fla. Boat hoist right behind a condo on the top floor was really nice with flush hose and mooring cover, it put my mind at ease. I really thought I would be the small fish in the big pond there, but what I found was I had the second biggest boat in the Marina, with a 30' Regulator with twin 300 Yamaha's sitting beside me. Most were 24' +/- with single or 26 footers with true off-shore hulls and twins. Cobia, and Key West with a few others tossed in. Outboards are so much easier to maintain in salt water but the MPG numbers shared were not impressive, and they all cruised in the mid to upper 20's to maximize range and economy. Four cycle outboards have come a long way but they just can't provide the torque of an I/O. One fuel stop right in Palm Coast with 25 miles to Saint Augustine, and 36 to Daytona. After my visit I would have to think twice about selling my 256 if I move there as a covered slip, boat lift, and a dedicated flush regiment would likely see my Chap outlive me as it has been really cared for since 2008.   W

My buddy moved to Palm Coast about 5 or so years ago.  He kept his Monterey 25 w/Merc 350 Mag.  Keeps in on a lift behind his house.  He decided to keep the I/O rather than go the center console route.  He runs up to St. Augustine a lot and spends many hours on the intercoastal.  With the closed cooling, he hasn't had any issues.

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3 hours ago, MonkeySeaII said:

Back in 2016 I drove a 277 w/Volvo 380.  It was very quick out of the hole and had decent mid-range.  Top end was disappointing at only around 48 mph GPS. 

LOL!  Not laughing at you at all, just that what you said there is funny because you're a speed-loving demon :D  (also meant in a good way) and are used to your 496 and getting what, 60+ mph?  But I would venture to guess that most people boat in the previous ranges you mentioned and top speed is rarer usage. 

When you think about it, how many times are you really maxing out speed on your boat, and also, 48mph is not too shabby, either.  For a 27 foot long boat with 3 or more people in it,  you approach 50 mph you're doing pretty good.  But IMHO, most of the time the average boater is around that sweet spot, which in most cases is  what, 27-32 mph and 3200/3500 rpm.

13 hours ago, Bob L said:

We have excellent dealer support for both. Looking forward to some comments to assure me Mercruiser is reliable, not plagued by things like over heating and rough shifting as in past. I have always had volvo with no problems but for some reason our dealer is ordering stock boats with mercs this year. I’m ordering so have the option of either

The VP option the 6.0L, right? 

If you've always had VPs, maybe it's better to stick with it unless you think you have a good reason to change.  The reviews on the 6.0 380 are excellent.  Plus you have other simple and maybe even small points, but very important benefits as well such as the flushport connection and the single point drain system (I believe it has those someone can correct me if I'm wrong) and much easier access to the impeller (which as we know has been one of Merc's downsides unless this new Merc 8.2 engine has changed the location of the impeller and is also starting to outfit their engines with a flushport connection.  To me, those are very important factors because of maintenance and access at the slip.  Not sure if Merc has these on the new 8.2.  But the VP 6.0L is incredible, I just don't know if that is the engine in your option or just the 6.0?  If there even is one.

So there are these other benefits to consider and only you can decide if they are important to you.  I slip in salt water so I find the flushport connection to be a huge factor for my 2010 8.1 VP which doesn't have nearly the technology this 6.0 does, and certainly not the full fresh water cooling aspect which would be huge.  And the impeller is right in front of my nose and super easy to change and even being a big block, I have decent space to work around it.  But if I was to repower, I wouldn't mind having more space with the 6.0L and what, a 245lbs lighter engine?  To me, these are very important factors to consider besides and on top of the other things like hole shot, midrange torque and top speed.  Reliability, I don't think will be an issue whatsoever.  If you break it in right from the beginning and maintain it correctly, it should last just like the best of them out there.

This is a Boat Test from 2012 for the 6.0L VP 380.  The first half is a twin application so if you don't care about that, go to minute 1:49 and he's testing a single on a 27ft Formula I believe and gets it up to 53 mph.  But he talks a lot about the midrange torque and especially its hole shot are very impressive as well as best cruise around 3500 rpm and almost 28 mph and burning only 10 gph!  Those are excellent numbers.  The variable valve timing which gives it all that torque in the midrange spectrum is also something that I'm not sure you would get with the big block Merc.

Here's the 6.0L which pretty much explains the makeup and performance aspects.  Love the part about the complete freshwater cooling option that includes the exhaust manifolds, so no more of that worrying about having to replace those super expensive dam things and they'll last the lifetime of the engine loool.  Does Mercury offer that?  I don't know TBH.  I have the 2010 8.1 in my 276ssx and like I said if I was to repower and money wasn't an object, I would strongly consider this engine with the Ocean X outdrive.

 

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GenV VP engine (380 and 430hp) is now 6.2l, for what it's worth.

And the rear of the manifolds are still raw water cooled with the closed cooling design, on GenIV and V.

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i would opt for Volvo, the shifting is very smooth on their outdrives and for the simple reason of ease of impeller changes.  i guess the downside is the lack of reservoir for the drive oil.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, delaney said:

i would opt for Volvo, the shifting is very smooth on their outdrives and for the simple reason of ease of impeller changes.  i guess the downside is the lack of reservoir for the drive oil.

 

 

My Bravo shifts butter smooth. The Alphas (dog clutch) and older Bravo's were harsh, but not the newer ones. I cannot even feel mine shift. You are so right about the PITA Bravo raw water pumps, but I'm getting 4 years out of impellers before I begin to see any reduction in raw water pressure, and when removed, they still appear as new. I never liked the small Volvo pumps turning at crankshaft speed.   W

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LOL Hatem!  True, and in reality, I rarely run wide open and spend most of my time at 3200 RPM.  However, it's nice to know that I CAN run in the mid to high 50s when someone challenges me!!:haha-7383:

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18 hours ago, MonkeySeaII said:

LOL Hatem!  True, and in reality, I rarely run wide open and spend most of my time at 3200 RPM. 

Hahaha, glad you took that the way it was intended.  I can see you in one of these, though! :D 

cd41e0b4d9c4b44fb97f0732708d407b.jpg

18 hours ago, MonkeySeaII said:

However, it's nice to know that I CAN run in the mid to high 50s when someone challenges me!!:haha-7383:

I get that every once in a while when at a set of lights with the TA.  In my younger days I would take them up for it but not anymore, lol.  The older reflexes and such aren't what they used to be and definitely too much to lose should something go wrong and some of these guys out there today are nuts.  Do you get challenges on the water?  That would be cool, actually.  BTW, I've never seen Lake WallenPaupack, but are there areas large enough to open her up for a good stretch?

 

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20 hours ago, Toddavid said:

GenV VP engine (380 and 430hp) is now 6.2l, for what it's worth.

And the rear of the manifolds are still raw water cooled with the closed cooling design, on GenIV and V.

But the OP said the VP option was the 6.0.  Are you saying that it's actually the 6.2I now that Chaparral is offering and not the 6.0L? 

You have the 6.0L in your boat, right?  Is that 6.0L VVT L96 in the video I posted a different model than yours?  I'm just curious because the designer/engineer narrating at minute 2:46 - 2:58 says the exhaust manifold is incorporated within the complete fresh water cooling system and so there are no corrosion issues and will last the lifetime of the engine.  Is that a different model he's talking about?  I'm just guessing, here, but I think that the only raw water cooling that comes into the engine is for the heat exchanger on that model, but maybe I posted the wrong one?

On ‎12‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 11:02 PM, Bob L said:

Anyone considered the new ssx 257 outboard??

Not me, even in salt water. Just not a big fan of outboards and prefer to have full use of the swim platform, but to each his own.  You'll have to keep us posted as to which one you settled for. 

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1 hour ago, Hatem said:

Hahaha, glad you took that the way it was intended.  I can see you in one of these, though! :D 

cd41e0b4d9c4b44fb97f0732708d407b.jpg

I get that every once in a while when at a set of lights with the TA.  In my younger days I would take them up for it but not anymore, lol.  The older reflexes and such aren't what they used to be and definitely too much to lose should something go wrong and some of these guys out there today are nuts.  Do you get challenges on the water?  That would be cool, actually.  BTW, I've never seen Lake WallenPaupack, but are there areas large enough to open her up for a good stretch?

 

I would absolutely have one if the admiral were on the same page!!!  And I had deeper pockets to maintain it!  My lake is 13 miles long so on a quiet day, plenty of room to open her up.  The lake is mostly runabouts and now pontoons.  I often get another bowrider try to pass me so I have to teach him a lesson!  The wife always rolls her eyes when she sees a guy try to pass me cause she knows the kid in me won't let it happen!!:haha-7383:

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5 hours ago, Hatem said:

But the OP said the VP option was the 6.0.  Are you saying that it's actually the 6.2I now that Chaparral is offering and not the 6.0L? 

You have the 6.0L in your boat, right?  Is that 6.0L VVT L96 in the video I posted a different model than yours?  I'm just curious because the designer/engineer narrating at minute 2:46 - 2:58 says the exhaust manifold is incorporated within the complete fresh water cooling system and so there are no corrosion issues and will last the lifetime of the engine.  Is that a different model he's talking about?  I'm just guessing, here, but I think that the only raw water cooling that comes into the engine is for the heat exchanger on that model, but maybe I posted the wrong one?

Mine is a GenIV, same as in that video.

GenV spec (OP must not know that they are now 6.2L):

https://www.volvopenta.com/marineleisure/en-en/news/2017/feb/volvo-penta-unveils-new-380-and-430-hp-v8-marine-gasoline-engine.html
 

Raw water circuit on these closed cooling engines:

http://www.volvopentastore.com/Seawater-System-Heat-Exchanger-To-Exhaust-Elbows/dm/cart_id.068103274--session_id.310207457--store_id.366--view_id.1227295

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10 hours ago, Hatem said:

But the OP said the VP option was the 6.0. 

Go read it again......6.2

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16 hours ago, Toddavid said:

GenV spec (OP must not know that they are now 6.2L):

He does now as it seems he's edited his posts from 6.0 to 6.2, which is a good thing.  Either he was told by one of the salesmen that it was a 6.0 and then read our exchange and your comments and realized it was a 6.2L and edited his posts, or had just made the assumption from the beginning on his own.  Either way, it's ok.  As long as he has the correct info on which engine it is.

16 hours ago, Toddavid said:

So looking at that briefly, it says "heat exchanger to elbows" which would be hard to believe that nothing trickles back down into the manifolds, but it is noteworthy that the VP engineer himself says it right in that video of the 6.0L that the manifolds are part of the fresh water cooling circulation.  Maybe there's a check valve between the elbows and manifolds that's supposed to keep those two types of fluids separated?  Or the hose for the raw water comes in at a point where it wouldn't backtrack into the manifolds?  If raw water still gets into the manifolds, that means it's mixing with the fresh water (which I'm assuming is the antifreeze in the closed cooling circuit, right?) and that's not a good thing, I would think. 

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