Volvo Truck Engines


In 1993, the unveiling of the all-new Volvo D12 series of inline six heavy-duty diesel engines would mark a distinct evolution in over-the-road trucking as the industry knew it. With a number of advancements in technology, reliability, and fuel economy, the D12 set the standard for the modern diesel. The 12-liter D12 and later D13 13-liter highlighted a number of features previously only seen in sports cars, such as an overhead camshaft and a 24-valve cylinder head. Such innovations gave the D-Series an edge up on its competitors in both performance-to-weight ratio and fuel economy, with power ratings ranging from 250 to 500 horsepower. Later, the Volvo D16 diesel 16-liter engine introduced a maximum power output of over 600 horsepower.

However, as any truck owner can attest, perhaps the most important factor is staying power. A common way to classify engine longevity is a B50 rating, or the number of miles at which 50% of trucks with a certain motor require an overhaul. A Volvo D13 has a B50 rating of 1.2 million miles, a class leader. In contrast, Cummins, Detroit, and PACCAR heavy duty diesel typically have B50 ratings of only 600,000 to 1 million miles. The average over-the-road truck driver puts 2000-3000 miles on a truck per week, meaning that a Volvo D13 can often go years longer between engine overhauls than the competition.

A history of technological advancement and superior longevity make Volvo D12, D13, and D16 engines a great value, especially as used engines. Older D13 and D16 engines retain the same architecture as new factory-fresh engines, at a significant discount. Additionally, used Volvo D13 engines for sale are compatible with similar-year emissions equipment, avoiding costly emissions control retrofits associated with installation of a newer version.  With a 1.2 million mile B50 rating, low mileage engine units have a very long life ahead of them, and higher mileage units are generally going to see more trouble-free miles between overhauls than a comparable unit from a competitor. Even units in immediate need of a rebuild present a superior value opportunity in terms of miles per dollar spent on the overhaul.

Depending on the situation, a used Volvo diesel engine can make more sense than an overhaul of an existing, installed engine, especially if the engine being replaced has seen catastrophic failure, neglect, or has been rebuilt multiple times already. A warranty on an overhauled used motor purchased from a reputable seller can provide months of financial peace of mind to an owner. Purchasing even a non-rebuilt used Volvo diesel also presents a time and money-saving opportunity. By purchasing a used engine to rebuild, the new engine can be rebuilt before the existing engine in the truck requires an overhaul, minimizing downtime. Instead of waiting for an in-frame overhaul, keeping a truck off the road for weeks, the newly rebuilt used motor can be installed in the chassis in a significantly shorter time.

All in all, a used Volvo D13 or D16 engine provides a great option for engine replacement in high mileage Volvo VN or late model Volvo-compatible Mack Trucks. And in the case of a repower from a D12 or D13 to a Volvo D16, the used route is the only option as the new production of the Volvo D16 diesel was discontinued in 2017. Purchasing a used Volvo diesel heavy-duty engine for sale is a great prospect from a value and convenience standpoint and is worth considering for your next overhaul or engine replacement.