Answers to IPS Question: Readers Respond About IPS Experience - 03/20/2018
Page Title
The Volvo Penta IPS System is over a decade old and revolutionized boating. Now, owners describe their experience.

Recently, we asked our members to describe their experience with the Volvo Penta IPS drives in their boats. Our members are responding and their answers should answer a lot of questions for people considering buying a new boat this year with IPS drives.

The following answers have come from members of BoatTEST. We believe them to be authentic and have printed them here in their entirety, editing only for clarity, and length in one case.

IPS Saved My Marriage

I have had the perfect comparison. We owned a 2004 Regal 4260 with v-drive Merc’s. We got .6 mpg, cruised at 25 mph and needed our thruster all the time. Now I have the same boat, a 2007 Regal 4460 with ips 600’s. We cruise at 31 mph and get 1.2 mpg at that speed. Handling is much easier but you lose the tunnel drives that did give a bit more stability in a rolly sea. I would never have anything other than ips in the future. Docking is safe easy and the ips has saved our marriage. As my wife says “ no more dockings from hell”.

--John P.

Extra Space and Quiet

Obviously, I am wholeheartedly in favor of Joysticks. The demand for them keeps resale up. We have owned a 2010 Tiara for 2 years and other than normal maintenance the IPS600's have been flawless. They take a bit more oil in the drives than a shaft would but the benefit of the mid cabin with the extra space they open up and the increased fuel economy more than makes up for it. With the added bonus of low decibels of sound at the helm and aft deck make the whole experience a joy. The question for any IPS owner is would you do it again? Our is a definite Yes!

--Tom H.

Repeat IPS Buyer

I am now on my second IPS powered vessel. My first was a 09' Regal 4460. I put 800 hrs. on the IPS 500's without a single problem. My second is a 12' Regal 52SC with IPS 600's, which I purchased this past summer and have clocked another 150 hrs. since purchase. I am sold on the system with performance, ease of handling, economy. My only drawback is in order to change the drive oil the boat has to be pulled and the cost is high. In my opinion well worth the investment. Only one time did I hit something but it would have done damage on shaft driven boats as well. Love the system!

--Van L.

Early Adopter with Problems

They are efficient, my .9 Nautical Mile per gallon is much better than I expected on my Tiara 4300. On the down side about everyone I know with Volvo IPS drives have had major problems. The engines seem very reliable but the peripherals are just not good quality. The sea strainers are plastic and positioned after the water pump. The steering failed on me several times usually as I was in a bad position. Multiple failures on the turbos and superchargers.

The pods themselves have poor seals, one of mine had to be replaced early on and others that I cruise with had multiple failures requiring replacement. If you do not have a prop coating like PropSpeed on the underwater gear the boat just does not perform. In my cruising area the coating wears off in less than a year.

I realize nothing is perfect but Volvo put this system in place prematurely.

--Richard A.

No Issues with Draft

Have the IPS 600 on my 2015 Four Winns H440. Love the system. Coming from a 33’ boat, this was a big step up in size. Docking is a complete non-issue. They are fast and efficient. I use Propspeed [A running gear coating.—Ed.] and they stay clean all season. I boat on the South Shore of Long Island, and there is inherently skinny water around here. So far no issues with the draft at all. They have been flawless and I have only needed to perform basic maintenance.

--Evan L.

Poster Boy for IPS

Having owned a Whaler with the Joystick Piloting and running it for two years and having a bidding war when we sold it. Obviously I am wholeheartedly in favor of Joysticks. The demand for them keeps resale up. We have owned a 2010 Tiara for 2 years and other than normal maintenance the IPS600's have been flawless. They take a bit more oil in the drives than a shaft would but the benefit of the mid cabin with the extra space they open up and the increased fuel economy more than makes up for it. With the added bonus of low decibels of sound at the helm and aft deck make the whole experience a joy. The question for any IPS owner is would you do it again? Our is a definite Yes!

--Tom H.

The following BoatTEST Member responses appeared in the 3-20-18 BoatTEST Newsletter--

Pros and Cons

We own a Galeon 445HTS and have put about 125 hours on the boat. The boat has two IPS 600s which have been flawless. It handles well and is as efficient as our previously owned Sea Ray 410 Dancer which had straight drive 485 Cummins. That boat weighed about 6,000 lbs. less and burned the same fuel at 23 kts. My only gripe is having to haul the boat to change the gear oil and some rust on the bolts on the flange. Not sure the right material is employed here.

--Frank S.

Very Satisified

My Volvo IPS (2016 Formula 45Y) has out-performed EVERY one of my expectations (performance, maneuverability, efficiency, sound, reliability). Extremely satisfied. My previous boat was a Sea Ray SD38 with dual Merc 8.1HO direct shaft.

--Ted R.

A Drawback

We loved the IPS system on our 2009 Carver 43’ Supersport. The fuel efficiency was apparent and docking was a breeze even for this being our first large boat. The downside is there is no protection for striking anything. We had 2 occasions where at low speed we hit deadheads and wonder if the logs were drawn in to the forward facing props. On conventional shaft mounted props there might be some chance of the struts deflecting a log, whereas with IPS debris gets pulled in and with counter rotating forward facing props repairs are not minor. Fuel savings are real until you hit something.

--John L.

Love Affaires

Love it, owned now for 3 1/2 years with no issues.

--Annette T.

Love my IPS 600s on my Grand Banks Eastbay 44.

--Matt S.

I love the IPS system. I own a Fairline Targa GT 44 and the dockside handling is excellent. The fuel economy is very good too.

--Howard P.

More fuel efficient, quieter, faster. Much easier to dock. A great advancement in Marine Propulsion! Love my Volvo Penta IPS system!

--William S.

Lag Time When Changing Gears

Wondering if others have found a lag time when changing from moving between forward and reverse? I experienced such a lag in which the system could not react to the change fast enough and actually remained in previous direction at an accelerated rate. (I have one of the first IPS systems and this issue may have been corrected in later systems). Other than that, I have been satisfied with system.

--Larry U.

A Matter of Experience

I have utilized the IPS Drive System. Interesting. But having experience operating single screw Trawlers. Twin screw vessels of various types with and without thrusters. Fast vessels and slow vessels. My thoughts are it's a matter of personal preference if your experienced. For a person new to boating it may be helpful.

--Thomas P.

Full Report

I have had my 2006 Cruisers Yachts 420 Express for almost 8 years. It has IPS 500's with the joystick control. I knew when I bought the boat during the recession in 2010 that it would retain its value better than most boats of that era since Cruisers was an early adopter of the IPS system.

I couldn't be happier with the reliability, efficiency and maneuverability. In my canal I typically have lateral winds pushing the boat as I dock. I keep it on a lift, so I have to approach carefully and don't have much margin for error. I have never missed the slip on the first try regardless of conditions because of the IPS system.

With Prop-Speed applied to the running gear and fresh bottom pain, I reached 33.9 kts WOT recently!

The boat still performs as it always has. You do have to pay attention to maintenance of the heat exchangers and drives in particular. They can be expensive to repair. Because of the deal I got when I bought the boat, (truly way back of market price), and the condition it is still in now with so many upgrades, it should still be worth a similar amount to what I paid almost 8 years ago! That just normally doesn't happen when owning a boat this long and wouldn't be the case without the success and appreciation from the market for the Volvo-Penta IPS system. This system is what people want to have when they purchase a pre-owned express cruiser, so they can operate an older boat just like they would if they paid much more for a new boat.

--Steve H.

Sold on IPS

I have had two boats with the Volvo Penta IPS systems and it’s incredible. My next boat, which will be a 70 foot Ocean Alexander will also be equipped with the Volvo IPS drives. Great performance, better than average fuel efficiency, better low speed handling, excellent maneuverability especially around docks and marinas.

--Lou M.

Great Loop Success

I have a Cruisers 48 Cantius with IPS 600's. Love the way they perform. Did America's Great loop with them 2015-2016 and had no problems at all. They made all concerns about wind and current a non issue.

--Pete A.

Great South Bay Operation

I love my IPS joystick system on my 2010 36' Crusiers Yachts. Docking with the joystick is awesome. I love to drive the boat and the feel of it is truly unique. The only downside is scrolling through the round dials for each engine. Also, I accidentally hit the recalibrate/yes button for the fuel and had to have a tech come and recalibrate my fuel tank from its "0"/no fuel reading. I boat on the South Shore of Long island in the Great South Bay and I've been warned by Boat/US tow captains to avoid Moriches Bay due the 44" draft for the pods. No problems so far anywhere west of Moriches Bay to Smith Point Bridge.

--Charles S.

Expensive Oil Changes

Enjoy the ease of use of my IPS drive. Love the fuel economy and speed. 2008 Formula 40 PC. Oil changes can be expensive and the original bronze steering had to be replaced with the stainless steel. Who said boating is not expensive?

--Michael R.

Love it, But Damage Risk

I love it. Only criticism is that the forward facing props are easily subject to damage.

--Steve I.

Paint on the Pods

I love the IPS system and stand behind it strongly. My only criticism is each year when I pull the boat up, the drives which are brass, I believe, are bubbling and the paint doesn’t seem to want to stick, even though I’m spending quite a bit of money on primers. This causes the IPS system to be rather expensive to continue protecting the system. Is there a better way, a more proper way, to have the primers and bottom paint last longer than one year?

--George L.

If you would like to add your experience with your Volvo Penta IPS system, please describe the boat model you own and its year. Click here…

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