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Old 04-01-2015, 11:35 PM   #1
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Ford Lehman 120 oil coolers

The oil and tranny coolers on my FL120s don't have a date on them for when they were installed. Now seemed like a good time to replace them because they are an unknown I can fix. The maintenance manual says to replace them every two years but a mechanic in the boatyard says that's crazy. So my question is: How often do you replace the oil coolers on your FL120s?
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:41 PM   #2
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When in doubt throw them out. I replace every 6 years.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:48 PM   #3
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We replace ours when they start looking iffy. We always use the cupro-nickel coolers. They cost somewhat more but they last a LOT longer.

We have changed our oil and transmission coolers once in the last 17 years.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:57 PM   #4
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Thanks. I'm going to pressure test the ones I replace and keep them as spares. I don't think they have any leaks since I haven't found any water in the oil or ATF. It looks like a couple of them have been replaced in the last few years but the others look a little old.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:02 AM   #5
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I have a recollection (possibly faulty), of reading either in the IG Manual or the Lehman Handbook, that replacement is indicated at 2000 hours. I just checked both, and despite not finding the reference still think it is there, somewhere.
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:02 AM   #6
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I've haven't replaced any in all my 35 years cruising and never had a problem.
Don't fix it if it ain't broke !
If you really feel uncomfortable strip them off, and take them to a local radiator repair shop and they will clean/pressure test/renew 'O' rings for you.
If you insist on having new ones and have trouble finding them locally Google www.ejbowman.co.uk they design, manufacture and supply engine makers/marinisers worldwide with all types of oil coolers, heat exchangers, header tanks, intercoolers etc and they'll send you a replacement.
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:43 AM   #7
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I am on the 5 to 6 year plan.
One engine so it's relatively cheap.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
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We replace ours when they start looking iffy. We always use the cupro-nickel coolers. They cost somewhat more but they last a LOT longer.

We have changed our oil and transmission coolers once in the last 17 years.
Yes, on the cupro-nickel! Hour many hours?

[QUOT,E=BruceK;321628]...at 2000 hours...[/QUOTE]

We change ours every 1700-2000 hours and change the transmission cooler at the same time. The oil cooler was less than $200 for the last one I bought and the transmission cooler was less than $135.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:21 PM   #9
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At $100-$120 each (for a Lehman oil cooler), changing them every 5-8-10(whatever) years is cheap insurance. Unlike a leak in the engine heat exchanger, a leak in an oil cooler will quickly cause damage and you'd be unlikely to catch it in time. If the engine oil or transmission oil cooler started leaking you would either - lose oil and/or mix sea water into the oil. Either would trash the engine or transmission pretty quickly. I just changed out mine since I KNOW the PO did not and he owned the boat for 9 years.

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Old 04-02-2015, 02:26 PM   #10
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The timing that American Diesel says if age is unknown, replace them and keep as spares, which I have done.

Recommended time per AD is 1000 hours to main heat exchanger and 750 for oil and transmission (which are the same).

I replaced mine just before the Atlantic crossing and other then some weeds at the front, it looked great. At that point is had >1500 hours on it.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:42 PM   #11
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...Recommended time per AD is 1000 hours to main heat exchanger and 750 for oil and transmission (which are the same)...
Richard: Those numbers seem low. My notes from AD say 2000-3000 hours on the heat exchanger and 1200-1500 on the oil/transmission coolers.

Greg at Bomac Marine recommends every 4 years on the heat exchanger and every 2 years on the oil/transmission coolers. Greg says hours aren't the issue but time is. He suggested that corrosion through electrolysis is what dictates life span.

As Ken mentioned previously coolers are cheap as compared to the damage they do if they fail.
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:28 PM   #12
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As long as they run - don't tinker.

(I'm nocking on wood, never changed them on my boats, up to 40 years of service)


best regards / med venlig hilsen
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:12 PM   #13
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Many of the oil and transmission heat exchangers sold today for engines like the FL120 do not have the ability to install a zinc anode, nor do they have connection points to tie the exchanger into the boat's bonding system. The cupro-nickel exchangers we use are like this.

Our diesel shop taught me a smart way to tie the heat exchangers into the boat's bonding system by removing the paint from the barrel of the exhanger where the metal mounting bracket clamps around it. Then I remove the paint, or clean to bright the insides of the two part clamp itself. This electrically connects the heat exchanger to the engine block, which is in turn connected to the boat's bonding system.

Since doing this the outside and inside of the oil and transmission heat exchangers (they are all identical units) remain as pristine as the day we bought them.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchace View Post
At $100-$120 each (for a Lehman oil cooler), changing them every 5-8-10(whatever) years is cheap insurance. Unlike a leak in the engine heat exchanger, a leak in an oil cooler will quickly cause damage and you'd be unlikely to catch it in time. If the engine oil or transmission oil cooler started leaking you would either - lose oil and/or mix sea water into the oil. Either would trash the engine or transmission pretty quickly. I just changed out mine since I KNOW the PO did not and he owned the boat for 9 years.

Ken
While I agree coolers should be changed before they go bad, I've lost track of how many coolers on Lehman's I've seen go bad and I don't recall ever seeing one trash an engine or tranny.

So it's not automatically the end of the world if one goes bad.
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Many of the oil and transmission heat exchangers sold today for engines like the FL120 do not have the ability to install a zinc anode, nor do they have connection points to tie the exchanger into the boat's bonding system. The cupro-nickel exchangers we use are like this.

Our diesel shop taught me a smart way to tie the heat exchangers into the boat's bonding system by removing the paint from the barrel of the exhanger where the metal mounting bracket clamps around it. Then I remove the paint, or clean to bright the insides of the two part clamp itself. This electrically connects the heat exchanger to the engine block, which is in turn connected to the boat's bonding system.

Since doing this the outside and inside of the oil and transmission heat exchangers (they are all identical units) remain as pristine as the day we bought them.

I never thought of that! I've replaced one so far but now I'll remove it and clean the barrel and clamp. Then I'll do the others.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:53 PM   #16
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Not to hijack the thread, but what would you guys consider high hours on a Lehman 125hp engine? I'm about to look at a boat with 5200 hrs - initial online look seems to be well maintained - clean ER
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:11 PM   #17
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There is the FL120 and the FL135 but I've not heard of an FL125.

The FL120 is said to be a 12,000 to 14,000 hour engine in recreational boat service assuming proper operation, service, and maintenance. But that's kind of a number out of a hat. I know of FL120s that crapped out with less than 3,000 hours and examples that have gone more than 25,000 hours before needing a major overhaul.

So the number of hours on an FL120 is sort of irrelevant. What IS relevant is how the engines were treated by the people who've been running them.

Depending on that, an FL120 could be about ready to die with 5,200 hours on it, or it could have 10,000 or more hours left to go. You need to try to learn how the engines were treated and have a QUALIFIED engine surveyor give them a thorough checkout.

That's what we did with our PNW boat. We believe in getting two surveyors to check out a prospectve boat, a hull/systems surveyor and an engine surveyor intimately familiar with the type of engine we're considering. We did our research and that plus a good friend whose entire career has been in the marine diesel and generator manufacturing industry located supposedly the best FL120 surveyor in the SFO bay area and we hired him to check out the engines and generator of the boat we subsequently bought.

In our case the engines had very low hours for the age of the boat, and that concerned us. The explanation was totally plausible but we wanted to confirm the engines' condition for sure.

If the engines you're looking at are FL135s I have no experience with that model of Ford engine (Dover) so can't offer any speculation or advice about them.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:15 PM   #18
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Many thanks Marin - yep, I will definitely get engine surveys if I choose to proceed. Owner has oil analysis records, so we'll have a starting point for new analysis comparison. Thanks again.
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:53 PM   #19
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Not to hijack the thread, but what would you guys consider high hours on a Lehman 125hp engine? I'm about to look at a boat with 5200 hrs - initial online look seems to be well maintained - clean ER
Our 135 has 8500hrs and going strong. Might want to start a new thread and maybe survey to find out other peoples experience. Worst case scenario is you replace. Factor that into what you're comfortable paying for the boat.
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:59 PM   #20
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Thanks - just got more info - the engines are Lehman 2715E - 120hp. Boat is 1983. Is this an older model. From what I can tell they were made in Holland. Now, i think the hijack is complete :-)
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