Volvo MD2030 Heat Exchanger Cleaning

The Volvo MD2030 Heat Exchanger tube bundle requires periodic cleaning.  This is a relatively simple task, and if done on a regular basis your cooling and exhaust systems will be rejoice! Don’t wait until you are twenty miles offshore in a dark and stormy trying to claw-back to safety to admit you should put better effort into the mechanical care of your diesel engine. While you’re at it, why not replace those aging black rubber boots on the tube ends. These boots are replaceable parts. If the pair have been doing good duty for seven years or more replace them. They cost about $48 for each boot. If one boot fails you will be dead in the water after your MD2030 over-heats. Don’t stop there Mate. Why not make a day of it? Open the inspection plugs on the exhaust riser mounted next to the expansion tank. I use a heat gun and a 15mm spanner to loosen the plugs.


To remove the Heat Exchanger close the engine sea water pickup valve, and siphon as much fluid out of the expansion tank as possible. Loosen the two hose clamps on each black rubber boot. Buy a small portable (rechargeable) screwdriver. This tool will save you hours of time over the years. After both ends are free of the hose clamps pry the front black boot off at the front of the Expansion Tank. Use a large flathead screwdriver to get it going, but it should pop-off with minor effort. With the rear black boot still in place, remove the tubular exchanger with a slight twisting motion. Some fluids will spill out onto the alternator etc. so cover this area with a piece of plastic beforehand. If you have been carrying out this simple maintenance chore over the years your exchanger will look almost as clean as the one in the photo. If you have neglected this important task your exchanger will look disgusting with many of the tubes partially clogged or completely clogged. Use a repurposed metal clothing hanger or a long thin stainless steel rod to clean the individual tubes. This can be accomplished off the boat with a bucket of hot water and your favorite chemical like Salt-Away or even diluted acid. Have a powerful water hose handy to shoot water through the tubes as you clean them. You will be surprised how this simple cleaning will improve the amount of water shooting out of your exhaust at the stern when you re-start your engine. Images © ocean trader


If you have gone the extra mile and opened the inspection ports on the Exhaust Riser Elbow, use a small screwdriver to dig away carbon buildup at each opening. Use the water hose generously, but keep water away from the alternator and electrical relays. Do an appraisal of the primary exhaust hose and pot, and do not forget the lowly Filler Cap on top of the Expansion Tank. This cap is spring loaded and it accumulates signifiant corrosion. A bad Filler Cap could recreate problems. It is an expensive Volvo part ($72) and generic caps might be a better deal. On reassembley use the correct water to coolant ratio, and remember to open the sea water intake valve. Images © ocean trader

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