U-Joint Bellows Fail On Volvo XDP. The U-joint bellows have been continuously failing on certain Volvo XDP composite outdrives – and Volvo has yet to offer affected customers an adequate remedy. This is based on a 2010 report in Boat U.S. magazine, as well as more-recent postings about this problem on Internet bulletin boards popular among boaters.
Volvo’s failure to suitably address this defect has left many owners dockside and angry, while others are taking their own initiative –spending anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 to haul their boats so mechanics can make necessary repairs.
The majority of complaints outline concerns related to 2006 and 2007 models, including about 2,400 boats with 5.7-liter and 8.1-liter engines equipped with XDP outdrives.
Volvo Penta Service Bulletins Document Failure of U-joint Belows
Volvo Penta issued several service bulletins from 2008 to 2009 in which the U-joint bellows failures were well-documented. These bulletins indicated that warranty claims involving the affected boats were accepted until Nov. 1, 2008. They also describe how the U-joint bellows installed on some Volvo composite XDP outdrives can buckle and make contact with the U-joint during high speed-turning or loading maneuvers. The flexible waterproof bellows are intended to protect the U-joint linking the outdrive unit to the inboard engine.
According to Volvo, the bulletins reflect the “continuous improvement” that could be seen in the evolution of the bellows redesign in response to the failures.
Volvo has determined that bellows failures are most likely to occur in heavy boats equipped with twin 5.70SXi or 8.10Si XDP sterndrives with XXP TSKtransom shield Spec Numbers 3869293,3869297, 3869347, 3869348, 3886856,3886857 may experience bellows failures.
Despite Volvo Penta’s Efforts, XDP Sterndrive-related Complaints Ongoing
In 2010, Volvo Penta issued a letter to boat owners in which it offered prioritized customer service to address the claims of Volvo Penta XDP owners regarding the composite sterndrive product. However, postings on message boards reveal that many consumers are still complaining about this issue, and are documenting repeated failures of the XDP sterndrive.
One potential problem: warranty claims are time barred (assuming that the XDP sterndrive was delivered in 2006 or 2007 to boat owners and that a four-year statute of limitations governs breach of warranty claims). However, there may be enough information to prove that Volvo knew of the defect (based on its own service bulletins, as well as consumer complaints and letters issued by Volvo, among other things), yet concealed it, tolling the statute of limitations.
In addition, Volvo only covers the cost of replacing the U-joint bellows – and not costs associated with hauling boats out of the water, which are necessary for the completion of this revision work. Volvo also will not pay for any corrosion that could have damaged U-joints and gimbal bearings as a result of failed bellows.
Some owners have also been reporting that cracks have been found on the flange of the transom plate, where the hose clamps attach. The plate is made of a composite material that Volvo does not cover.