Dear Deirdre

Can a Loving Relationship With My Volvo TAMD22P Still Work?


“I’m gonna let you into a secret. It’s been bothering me for a while now, so much that I desperately need to tell someone everything. I have to get this off my chest before things deteriorate so far there’s no going back, before I get to the emotional point of no return. I’m at the end of my tether right when I feel things can’t go much further. You see, I think my engine hates me.

These days we have an uneasy relationship and we’re not in love anymore, not like the old days when we’d lie next to each other and I’d lovingly take care of everything. I’ve tried, sometimes I’ve really tried to sort things between us but nothing seems to make any difference. Most days, when we’re alone, just the two of us, I can feel my engine watching me… there’s no real trust between us now and the physical side of our relationship is non existent. How can we re-build and sustain a relationship when things are so bad? And I must tell you, not so long ago, only a few months in fact, I spent good money trying to fix things but the fucking thing still smokes more than Chernobyl. And do you know something more? I know that, as soon as my back’s turned, my lecherous lump of green Swedish junk will hit on my wife. Dearest Deirdre, I desperately need you to tell me what to do?” Dave – British Columbia.

Dear Dave

I receive many letters like this. My heart goes out to you and to everyone else who has the misfortune to be in a relationship with a Volvo Penta. But physical love isn’t everything you know? Things can get better if you’re prepared to work hard…

Phew! I’ve said it! In many relationships it takes a tremendous amount of patience and determination just to get by from day to day. But that hard work often brings rewards. You’ve not said if either of you have been unfaithful and please, you must not jump to conclusions just yet, I doubt there’s been any funny business between your TAMD22P and your wife. It’s conceivable that could all be in your mind? A figment of your imagination?

Right now, please dismiss any thoughts of, or even dreaming of a new Yanmar in place of your Volvo Penta. A shiny new engine will promise you many things but you could be getting yourself into deeper trouble. I get many letters from men who love Yanmars too you know? My advice to you would be to try a new approach, have you tried talking things over? Why don’t you set some quality time aside, just the two of you? Take your TAMD22P somewhere nice and give it some full throttle, maybe it’s smoking excessively for some reason you don’t even understand. Have you ever asked? Given time I’m sure you can re-build your relationship and then, when the time is right, one of you can try to break the ice and… well, you know what I mean don’t you.

Yours with deepest hope


Dave & Marie Ungless are currently sailing their boat Sänna around-the-world from the Mediterranean west to east. Their nine year voyage so far has taken them into the North Pacific – to Alaska and British Columbia where they are now located. Dave is a freelance writer and journalist writing about their travels and the social aspects of their journey.

You can view their Sailing Vessel Sänna Facebook page which you can Like here and their sailing blog at Dave’s freelance page is at


2 thoughts on “Dear Deirdre

  1. G’mornin, Dave… Great stuff as usual… I forwarded your blog, specifically, Marcy, the little girl that used sailor language, to several friends. What a hoot! Anyway, sorry to hear you are still having a bit of trouble with the volvo-penta. Is that the same as a pathfinder, 5 cylinder, I think? VW commercial engine also found in many trucks and boats shipped to Canada in the late70’s and 80’s? My KP-46 had one, switched it out for a Yanmar about 10 years ago, but before I did I was told of a trick that didn’t seem to harm the engine. Ask around but I was told to take about a table spoon of Bar keepers friend and blow it into the air intake while the engine is running about 2000 rpm or so. The theory is that this will help clean and re-seat the rings and clean the valves also. I tried it on my engine and there was no harm done although it also did not slow down my oil usage. I was losing about 1 quart every 48 hours of run time or so. Hope all the rest is good with you and Marie. If you are going to make another attempt at the Northwest passage, please be sure the motor is up to it! All our best… E&C

    CC Sergio


    1. As far as I’m aware Eric it’s not the same engine. The Pathfinder five cylinder was a decent engine adapted for boats as you say, mine is a four cylinder Volvo Penta specifically designed for European build sail-boats. Those sex-crazed Swedish nutters who designed and built my lump of green iron think they build the best marine engines in the world… and to be fair our engine has never let us down. But we had it rebuilt, re-bored with the cylinder head milled, new rings etc. back in Darwin, Australia in 2011 – cost an arm and a leg with Aussie $ to UK £ exchange rate at the time. Then, with the thing smoking like Billy fuck, I spent another $7k US up in Juneau in Alaska last winter… turbo, fuel pump and injectors sent down to Seattle to be rebuilt. Did compression and timing checks which were all fine and things were better… or so it seemed. Now I’m back to the same problem! And I’m getting rather tired of Volvo Penta engineers scratching their heads… of course, after they’ve charged their hourly rate.


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