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Old 04-11-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
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antifreeze in the bilge?

i thought my problem was simple. I have a ford lehman 4D 254 and after 8hres of running i always find 1 quart of prestone in my bilge.I check all hoses collars,hoses,cap,...heat exchanger ends cannot find the problem. Is there something that i forget...6 months ago i changed all my coolers(tranny,oil),thermostat,cap and my heat exchanger.Plus the temperature never go over 185-190.
If i run my motor just 1 hour nothing happened.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:58 PM   #2
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RE: antifreeze in the bilge?

Claude,

I don't pretend to have any specific insight into this problem, but what came to mind first was the new cap you installed. *

If there isn't a leak anywhere in the lines or the coolers, I would suspect the coolant is running past the pressure cap. *That should only happen if the cap was set for too low a pressure and the fluid was raising to a high enough pressure that it would be released by the pressure cap into the bilge. I suppose you could always install a coolant recovery tank as found on auto engines. *The cost is small and you'd see after a short time running whether fluid is going past the cap. *If fluid IS running past the cap then I would think when the engine cools down the coolant would be sucked back into the coolant*reservoir.


I would have suspected the new thermostat, as I've seen those bad out of the box. But since you said the temperature never rose above 185-190' I would think the thermostat wasn't the problem.


Anyone else have some input; maybe having had to deal with this problem before?


Mike
Brookings, Oregon
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:40 PM   #3
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RE: antifreeze in the bilge?

I think Mike is right on. Do you have a coolant recovery tank? If not, go get one at an auto parts store and hook it up where the overflow tube is at the expansion tank cap. Wouldn't hurt to check that cap and go ahead and replace it anyway. Do you have to top off the tank after you find coolant in the bilge? There could also be a leak at the FW pump on the front of the engine.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:48 PM   #4
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antifreeze in the bilge?

If the header tank, neck, and cap on the Lehman 4D engine are similar to the same components on a Ford Lehman 120, just sticking an expansion tank on the existing overflow hose won't work. As it was explained to me by Bob Smith at American Diesel, this is because the configuration of the stock neck and cap are such that, while they will let fluid out as it heats up they won't pull it back in as the system cools.

This is why, at least with the FL120, you have to replace the filler neck and the cap if you want to switch to a recovery system. There is a kit available for this, which includes a new neck insert that you install in place of the stock neck insert, a different configuration of cap, and the recovery bottle, holder, hoses, etc.* If your engine doesn't have a recovery system on it now you might want to call American Diesel and talk to Bob or his son Brian to see what you'd need to do to put one on.

We bought two of these kits about ten years ago but have yet to install them as I've been too lazy to do it. As a stopgap we ran the hose from the stock header tank on each engine into a cleaned out oil bottle that sits it the drip pan under the engine. When I do my engine room check before a day's run I simply pour the contents of the bottle back into the header tank. A poor man's recovery system, if you will. This system works so well with zero effort that it's been easy to keep moving the installation of the recovery kits to the bottom of the to-do list all these years.

So as another step to tracking down your coolant loss put a hose extension on the engine's coolant overflow pipe and run it into a bottle to see if that's where the coolant in your bilge is coming from.

However.... a quart of coolant lost seems like way more than what's normally pushed out due to simple expansion. If we top off the header tanks on our engines, once the engines get up to temperature they push a little less than half a pint into the quart oil bottle. After that, no more coolant goes into the bottle no matter how many hours we run, or how many days we run the boat without topping off the header tank.

When you do track down the problem and the solution, let us know what you found.



-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 11th of April 2010 11:51:44 PM
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:44 AM   #5
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RE: antifreeze in the bilge?

I would get an oil sample tested.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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RE: antifreeze in the bilge?

THANK YOU FOR THE HELP, today i found the problem.
i single hand my boat and i was not able to check underway when the motor was hot.
Today after 6 hours of running, i was in a good position and able to remove floors and check underway.I am a little embarrass to tell but the problem was really simple.....the hose that heat my hot water tank was the problem....a little tiny pin hole that even at idle did not leak.

sorry for the trouble i gave you.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:36 PM   #7
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RE: antifreeze in the bilge?

Claude,

Glad you found the problem, and it was a simple fix. *Your situation gets us all thinking, which is a positive result of this website.


Thanks for sharing what you found with us.


Mike
Brookings, Oregon
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:14 PM   #8
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RE: antifreeze in the bilge?

Which reminds me... If the heat exchanger inside your water heater gets a pinhole, that same antifreeze will be in your hot water. Good idea to put a valve somewhere to shut that flow off immediately if that happens.

Or of course change the sacrifical anode in your water heater as a maintenance item. I'm about to do mine... it needs it about every three years.
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