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Old 07-01-2019, 09:12 PM   #1
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Ford Lehman fuel pump

My buddy in an Albin 27 lost power in a bad place when his fuel pump failed. My question is: given the lack of forewarning and the potential for serious situations, does it make sense to routinely replace the lift pump as part of regular maintenance? And if so, what is the frequency of replacement or the expected service life of the pump?
They are relatively inexpensive ($80) and I do carry a spare, but Iíd rather replace it at the dock and not in a sloppy seaway.
Any thoughts?
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:21 PM   #2
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One of the problems with lift pumps is that they are rarely removed and the filters cleaned. Its very rare for them to fail but I too carry a spare. The most common problem with the Ford lift pump is that the rubber diaphragm leaks and that leads to rising oil levels. These are normal service items but most folk simply ignore them. I would recommend changing the lift pump diaphragm every 5 years.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:35 PM   #3
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Use a 12v electric pump. Cheaper, makes bleeding & filter changing easier, can be installed anywhere before the injector pump. You can buy 2-3 12v pumps for each overpriced lift pump.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dennisspain View Post
My buddy in an Albin 27 lost power in a bad place when his fuel pump failed. My question is: given the lack of forewarning and the potential for serious situations, does it make sense to routinely replace the lift pump as part of regular maintenance? And if so, what is the frequency of replacement or the expected service life of the pump?
They are relatively inexpensive ($80) and I do carry a spare, but Iíd rather replace it at the dock and not in a sloppy seaway.
Any thoughts?
If I had a 10,000+ hour engine I might consider it. It's not a part that commonly fails so a spare is probably good enough.

It's a simple repair. 2 bolts as I recall and a little fiddling to get the arm positioned on the cam. Have a couple of spare gaskets and some permetex. Biggest problem was access. Not a lot of room for a wrench

I carry an elec fuel pump and 3/8 hose for fuel polishing. In a pinch I could use it to bypass the mech pump. With hose it's 2 clamps. If cu you just need two correct fittings. One for the tank or filter, and the other end to the secondaries. That would be my first plan if I lost fuel pump in rough conditions.
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Old 07-02-2019, 03:58 PM   #5
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Use a 12v electric pump. Cheaper, makes bleeding & filter changing easier, can be installed anywhere before the injector pump. You can buy 2-3 12v pumps for each overpriced lift pump.
Plus one! I even removed the lift pump and installed a block off plate on my Lehmans. The plate is a big block chevy block off plate, easily found.
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Old 07-02-2019, 09:41 PM   #6
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I have a 12v pump added before the lift pump on all my diesels - 2 Detroits, 2 generators. If a lift pump should fail, I just flip a switch mounted near the engine. It makes filling filters or bleeding on the generators fast and easy.


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Old 07-03-2019, 05:47 AM   #7
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If you care about ABYC for insurance reasons...might want to check regs about adding fuel pumps. USCG says manufacturers have to place them within 12 inches of the engine (Boatbuilders Handbook 33 CFR 183.566)


I don't remember exactly but I believe the ABYC says they have to be powered by an engine electrical system that shuts them down if the engine shuts down (key, pressure switch, etc).


Seems like overkill on a diesel, and I might have it wrong....though worth looking at if trying to comply.



Having them in the system as "priming pumps" and only used in emergencies (can be valved to be out of system) might be acceptable.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:15 AM   #8
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Having them in the system as "priming pumps" and only used in emergencies (can be valved to be out of system) might be acceptable.

This is how mine are set up - with bypass valves. They're worth their weight in gold when bleeding the fuel system.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:03 PM   #9
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OK, I have a question regarding Lehman lift fuel pumps. About 15% of the time I go to start the starboard engine I have to do a quick bleed. I open the fourth (final) bleed nut and pump a few times to get the air out. Usually only takes 4-5 pumps to get solid fuel.

Reading this thread makes me wonder, could the pump be the issue? As was mentioned, I have pretty much ignored them. If the rubber diaphragm is failing, could that cause my "problem"?

I'm thinking it would be wise to replace it nonetheless...
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:19 PM   #10
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May not be the lift pump.


I have weeps around 2 injector pipes on the injection pump....so fuel drains back towards the tanks sometimes when shutdown due to these leaks.



No problems with the lift pump.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:23 PM   #11
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As I said in an earlier post its very rare for the lift pump to fail.
Have you by any chance overtightened the bleed nut and stretched the threads ? its not unknown, I've come across it in the past with an over enthusiastic DIY'er.
Usually it happens after someone has worked on the engine so I would check the simple places first, one piece at a time so you can identify it for your own future knowledge.
I wouldn't replace the lift pump, if you just removed it, clean the interior, check the diaphragm is in good condition and the non return valve is working. When reassembling check the faces of the brass 'O' rings on the fuel lines for a good seal.
Be calm, methodical and you'll succeed.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:55 PM   #12
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Diaphragm would be simple to replace of you could find one, but I suspect your micro leak is somewhere in the fuel line. If you still have copper connections it might be time to redo all of them.
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
OK, I have a question regarding Lehman lift fuel pumps. About 15% of the time I go to start the starboard engine I have to do a quick bleed. I open the fourth (final) bleed nut and pump a few times to get the air out. Usually only takes 4-5 pumps to get solid fuel.

Reading this thread makes me wonder, could the pump be the issue? As was mentioned, I have pretty much ignored them. If the rubber diaphragm is failing, could that cause my "problem"?

I'm thinking it would be wise to replace it nonetheless...
I think its much more likely that you have an air leak in the filter or one of the lines.

Ken
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:03 PM   #14
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You can rebuild most diaphragm pumps, but the valves should be changed, too. Good luck finding the material. Before fuel injection on current gas engines, autos had diaphragm pumps, too. There were many rebuilders of pumps and some sold kits. But I haven't seen a diaphragm pump rebuild kit in a long time. I'd bet most new pumps are made in the same factory. The diaphragm usually fails on the air vent side and would show fuel out of the weep hole. In my experience, failing on the oil side is rare. But if you check your oil every day, you'll catch it early.

Most mechanics today don't want to rebuild anything but the main components of an engine. If that.

I've noticed that several small diesel generators now come with a 12v fuel pump. When my current generator diaphragm pumps fail, I'll go with electric only and keep a spare.



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Old 07-09-2019, 04:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
OK, I have a question regarding Lehman lift fuel pumps. About 15% of the time I go to start the starboard engine I have to do a quick bleed. I open the fourth (final) bleed nut and pump a few times to get the air out. Usually only takes 4-5 pumps to get solid fuel.

Reading this thread makes me wonder, could the pump be the issue? As was mentioned, I have pretty much ignored them. If the rubber diaphragm is failing, could that cause my "problem"?

I'm thinking it would be wise to replace it nonetheless...
Its more likely you have a small air leak in the sims filter or someplace in that general location. Just enough to let the fuel back away from that last bleed screw.. This will usually only happen if your fuel tank level is below your injector pump. If you can next time turn the tank valve off after you shutdown. Then make sure next time to turn it back on before starting. If no bleeding is necessary, then you most likely have the air leak issue.
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Old 07-09-2019, 05:51 PM   #16
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Its more likely you have a small air leak in the sims filter or someplace in that general location. Just enough to let the fuel back away from that last bleed screw.. This will usually only happen if your fuel tank level is below your injector pump. If you can next time turn the tank valve off after you shutdown. Then make sure next time to turn it back on before starting. If no bleeding is necessary, then you most likely have the air leak issue.
Thanks! I'll try that!
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:36 PM   #17
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The lift pumps are $105. CDN and no kits foe them around here. Just changed both of mine. They come brand new from Italy where apparently they are in current use. Some tips on re & re. Have a 1/2”wrench bent 30 deg or more...wish I’d had one 40 years ago. Remove the oil filter mount...one bolt...this allows the oil filter to move a few inches for much better access to the lift pump. CHECK the fittings on the inlet side of the pump to make sure they are the correct fitting. I called American Diesel and spoke to Brian Smith on a related matter and mentioned I had an air leak problem in the forward fuel filter on the block. He immediately jumped to the lift pump inlet fitting and said it was a common issue. I checked and sure enough the fitting was a flare fitting that a previous owner had used and apparently they don’t quite make a seal. Brian said this is the only place air can get into the fuel filter because there is no suction for air past this point...the fuel filter could have a fuel leak but not take in air. I hope I haven’t confused you too much...I have been trying to solve this ar issue foe a long time. I am just waiting for some parts and am hopeful this will solve it.Here is a pic of the WRONG fitting.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:39 PM   #18
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You can se this WRONG fitting does not seat as the hex part foe the wrench hits the pump casing and canít be tightened
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:33 PM   #19
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Lehman Fuel Lift Pump Service Interval

300 Hours is my service interval for the ford lift pump (2-3 years of usage for myself), while the Sabre Lehman manual has it getting a clean out every 200 hours.


https://www.kp44.org/ftp/FordLehmanOperatorsManual.pdf



https://www.asap-supplies.com/diesel...ycroft-251-381
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:50 PM   #20
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300 Hours is my service interval for the ford lift pump (2-3 years of usage for myself), while the Sabre Lehman manual has it getting a clean out every 200 hours.


https://www.kp44.org/ftp/FordLehmanOperatorsManual.pdf



https://www.asap-supplies.com/diesel...ycroft-251-381
Wow. I think mine are original.
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