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Old 09-06-2014, 02:20 PM   #1
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Damaged Lehman 120?

I have a pair of Ford lehaman 120's from 1969 running my boat. They were beginning to smoke more than usual. A mechanic suggested having the injectors rebuilt. I did that and he did the removal and reinstallation on the engines. It still didn't run well. And now was hard to start. But he said all it needed was running hard for 30 minutes to "clean" them out. That did nothing and the engines were still difficult to start. Turns out the mechanic failed to set the timeing properly and it was a cog out... So now I'm worried that I damaged the engines by running them hard with the timeing so far off. Anyone know if that could have caused permanent damage? Incidently, it still smokes more than it should. So the injectors was a waste of money... Except that it eliminated that as a possible cause.
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:19 PM   #2
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Post your concern over at boatdiesel and one of the pros there should know the answer. It would help to know if the injection was retarded or advanced. I suspect retarded is no problem, just poor combustion which should clean up by guess what, running hard for a while after setting correctly.

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Old 09-06-2014, 07:29 PM   #3
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Why would the mechanic mess with the injector pump? Sounds like a moron to me... Don't pay him. I hope you got your injectors at a farm shop, not a marine store. Saves boat dollars...

All you need to do to a Lehman is change the oil and filter regularly, change the Simms oil as per the manual, set the valves each decade, likewise change the fuel filter every leap year and replace the gasket on the lift pump whenever it appears you have a head gasket leak. Then there's the other stuff like replacing the transmission and oil coolers with each new owner and making sure to carefully watch the zincs.

The injector change on the Lehman is dead easy, don't forget the new (or anneal your old ones) copper washers. Sounds like your "mechanic" isn't. Find a real mechanic and reset the injector pump, then go boating.

Lehmans smoke when cold, no worries.

If anything happens, you will likely blow cylinder number 6 and then you get to have a rebuild. The rebuilt Lehman will smoke too.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info... I've had the boat 12 years and I will admit I'm no mechanic. But all that you mentioned has been done and more. Still the last couple of years the smoke has no died away after warm up as it used to. And it is more smokey at start up as well. In fact, I'm embarassed to start in a whatever marine we've stopped in... Especially if there's no breeze. We leave a light blue haze over the whole place. Not to mention a sheen of oil behind us as well. It seems like ther must be something amiss. But you are right about the mechanic.. He blew a bunch of smoke up me!
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:26 PM   #5
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Certainly as xsbank already mentioned, the injector pump should not be removed to pull and have the injectors tested. Maybe he pulled to have it checked as well? That would not usually be the case though. Anyway, I would consider locating someone better qualified, and repeat what was suppose to already be done. What you are looking for is the reason you have un burned fuel coming out of your exhaust. Two possibilities are the injectors are popping off at a lower than specified pressure (not atomizing the fuel) and low compression (if it is low it won't "fire" the cylinder very well). Since the injectors have possibly been checked already, I would hire the new guy to check cylinder compression first when he arrives. I'm sure it should be checked with the engine hot, so make sure he runs them first. The injectors will have to come out to insert the compression tester, so this should all go hand in hand. As suggested earlier, check on boatdiesel to see what the minimum compression should be, then you can tell your mechanic what he is looking for.
You might also want to check your local Ford tractor dealership for a possible mechanic, if there are not a lot of choices. Good luck!


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Old 09-06-2014, 09:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info... I've had the boat 12 years and I will admit I'm no mechanic. But all that you mentioned has been done and more. Still the last couple of years the smoke has no died away after warm up as it used to. And it is more smokey at start up as well. In fact, I'm embarassed to start in a whatever marine we've stopped in... Especially if there's no breeze. We leave a light blue haze over the whole place. Not to mention a sheen of oil behind us as well. It seems like ther must be something amiss. But you are right about the mechanic.. He blew a bunch of smoke up me!
Are you sure somebody didn't sneak in and replace your Lehman with a old Volvo..
It sounds just like mine at start up..look on the positive side..your helping to reduce the mosquito population!

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Old 09-06-2014, 10:18 PM   #7
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Get a new mechanic. Does the smoke mostly clear up once the engines warm up? If so the get block heaters if the smoke really bothers you.
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Old 09-07-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
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I have a pair of Ford lehaman 120's from 1969 running my boat. They were beginning to smoke more than usual. A mechanic suggested having the injectors rebuilt. I did that and he did the removal and reinstallation on the engines. It still didn't run well. And now was hard to start. But he said all it needed was running hard for 30 minutes to "clean" them out. That did nothing and the engines were still difficult to start. Turns out the mechanic failed to set the timeing properly and it was a cog out... So now I'm worried that I damaged the engines by running them hard with the timeing so far off. Anyone know if that could have caused permanent damage? Incidently, it still smokes more than it should. So the injectors was a waste of money... Except that it eliminated that as a possible cause.

Just curious how many hours the engine has. My father's 1977 Lehman smokes quite a bit even after warmed up. It's been doing that for years, he's got 5,000 hours on it. My 1983 Lehman smokes, then virtually stops after reaching temp, I have 1500 hours. I am concerned with the sheen.... have you had your oil tested? That's where I would start..... it's inexpensive and can help rule some things out. Good luck, let us know what you find out.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:04 AM   #9
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I`ll throw out a few thoughts
I read it`s blue smoke. Are they using oil? They are 45 years old.
Both exhibiting the same change at the same time seems a big coincidence.
Did you do anything that might have glazed the bores on both? Like long unloaded idling.
Any change of fuel supply about the time it started?
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:20 AM   #10
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I did have the oil checked when I purchased the boat in 2002... It was fine. As to the engine hours I have no reliable information. When I purchased it both Hobbs meters were broken. One read 1200 hours and the other 1600 hours. Since then I've put 2000 hours on the engines. And it is a good point that both engines are showing the same problems. It was the end of the summer before last that the engines began to continue smoking after warm up along with more smoke at start up. Also, the oil sheen that is now evident all the time became much more obvious... although it's only visible when we're anchoring or docking. There has never been a period of running unloaded during my ownership. Although that makes me think they are possibly running too cool in general.. One runs at about 170 f. The other at about 180. Could that cause the problems?

Thanks to all those who have replied.. I have a number of useful ideas to follow up on. And the first will be to find a decent mechanic.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:44 AM   #11
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A new mechanic will give a fresh assessment.
Another thought. Did you change the brand or weight of oil when symptoms appeared?
You can raise a query with Brian Smith of American Diesel, the "successors" to Lehman (Bob Smith was Lehman VP, he wrote the forward to the FL Manual).
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Old 09-07-2014, 06:48 AM   #12
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A bit of an oil sheen is no big deal, could be unburned diesel, could be lube oil getting past worn rings.

Either way forgetaboutit.

The amount of fuel will not add up to a gallon a season , and if the oil consumption gets up to a quart in 10 hours (500 miles car equivelant ,) its still cheaper to just by oil.

Have someone that is familiar with your engine to time it , and enjoy.
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:08 AM   #13
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A bit of an oil sheen is no big deal, could be unburned diesel, could be lube oil getting past worn rings.

Either way forgetaboutit.

The amount of fuel will not add up to a gallon a season , and if the oil consumption gets up to a quart in 10 hours (500 miles car equivelant ,) its still cheaper to just by oil.

Have someone that is familiar with your engine to time it , and enjoy.
Sounds like mine

I'm up to aobut a qourt of oil every 50 hours.

I thought the oil sheen was telling me all was normal and as for the smoke, I thought it's purpose is to remind me to close the salon door

I will (may) adjust the valves this winter. and I just changed the oil, so I'm good til spring.

A beautiful engine. i think I'm in love
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:19 AM   #14
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I tend to agree with Fred. But here are a couple of suggestions:

Blue smoke is an indication of oil, not fuel. Does it use oil? Maybe the oil level is too high and the crankshaft is whipping it up and out. Try running for a while with a quart less.

Sometimes a grade change can have a dramatic affect on oil consumption. Try a single grade, either 30 weight or 40 in warm climates and see if that has an effect.

Finally, rather than a compression test, try a simple blowby test. Open the oil filler cap while under way at moderate rpms. Feel for exhaust pulses. Heavy flow that blows your hand back is an indication of worn rings. If so it will take a full rebuild to fix, so forgetaboutit!!

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Old 09-07-2014, 07:32 AM   #15
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A bit of an oil sheen is no big deal, could be unburned diesel, could be lube oil getting past worn rings.

Either way forgetaboutit.

The amount of fuel will not add up to a gallon a season , and if the oil consumption gets up to a quart in 10 hours (500 miles car equivelant ,) its still cheaper to just by oil.

Have someone that is familiar with your engine to time it , and enjoy.
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:53 AM   #16
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Have you done the dreaded dipstick re-mark? How much oil do you put in at oil change time? $5 says your dipstick has never been re-calibrated and you put too much in. Think level engine in combine, then look how your engine tilts back for your boat install. They never gave you a "marine" dipstick as there was no such thing. Too much oil gives you more blow-by and more sheen and higher risk for leaks until it can get rid of the excess to the level it likes. Measure the oil. Use antique Delo oil, it likes that best. The new injectors will lower the amount of sheen on the water but it's always there.
Try and warm them up in gear. They like that too and the wash hides the sheen 8^)

Please don't start an oil argument!
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:15 AM   #17
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Have you done the dreaded dipstick re-mark? How much oil do you put in at oil change time? $5 says your dipstick has never been re-calibrated and you put too much in. Think level engine in combine, then look how your engine tilts back for your boat install. They never gave you a "marine" dipstick as there was no such thing.
The service manual for our Yanmar states it takes between 2.5 and 7 litres, and the low/high marks on the dipstick are over an inch apart. Seems happy at around 4 litres where the PO made a mark on the dipstick.

Sure would help if manufacturers printed a graph showing the amount of oil needed at what degree of incline.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:15 PM   #18
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Not to mention a sheen of oil behind us as well.
The sheen on the water behind a Lehman after startup is not oil as many people tend to believe, it's unburned fuel. This is the nature of the beast with old generation engines like the Fords, and does not indicate there is a problem. The reason is that until the cylinders come up to temperature, some of the fuel injected into the cylinder is not burned, so it goes out with the exhaust and forms a sheen on the water behind the boat. This is more noticeable in the winter than in the summer because the engine(s) will be even colder and it will take longer for the cylinders to come up to temperature.

The sheen should go away once the cylinders get up into the proper temperature range and all the fuel being injected is being burned.

Oil in the cylinders, as from leakdown past the valve stem seals after the engines are shut off, goes out the exhaust as blue smoke, which is why the Fords smoke at startup. They should clean up pretty well within a few minutes after startup. If they continue to smoke (blue), then there is a problem that is allowing lube oil to get into one or more cylinders This is most commonly a worn valve stem or guide, or shot valve stem seals, or all of the above.

A good friend who was the head of the engineering department at Northern Lights/Lugger (formerly Alaska Diesel Electric) for decades until his retirement the other year, told us when we bought our boat back in 1998 that eliminating the unburned-fuel-when-cold problem (because of the pollution) was one of the hardest things the engine designers had to figure out how to do. A I said, it's the nature of the beast.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:04 PM   #19
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Thanks to everyone who took thier time to offer an opinion or advice. I was mostly concerned about running the engines hard with the timing out by almost a cog. It seems that the conesus is that damage from that is unlikely. So I can relax about that. But I cannot, as has been suggested just forget about the excessive smoke and oil sheen. Both of those are significant, new this last year and remain after the engine is warmed up.

If it is a still day at an anchorge or marina I am embarassed to start my engines becasue there is now enough smoke that it will just settle in and hang over the area. Enen when arriving after running for hours the engiones are smoking and putting out an oil slick. The intensity is new, just starting the past summer... So something is wrong and I need to get to the bottom of it.

I havce calibrated my dip sticks at the 3 gallon mark. And I always use Delo 400 SAE30. I change the engine and injector oil regularly.

The smoke is grey. It looks almost like steam. And the unburned fuel sheen is what it is.. I don't think it's oil.

Unfortunatly, the mechanic who took care of my engines for many years retired a couple of years ago and I have not been able to find someone to replace him. My latest attemps has just cost me a bundle (for rebuilding the injectors & pump) and did nothing for the problem. And not only is the smoke and unburned fuel sheen still present... and actually worse. Now the engines clack and knock more than they did (I was concerned that was caused by running them hard with the timing off). And one of them tends to be seeking (RPM) all the time. Since the mecahanic who removed and replaced the injectors failed to set the timing I suspect he never checked the valves when the cover was off either. And who knows what else he failed to do... or did incorrectly. I have a big problem with that outfit. But at least the engines have not been damaged by my following their service managers insistance that I run them hard... That was a big concern for me.

Again, thanks to everyone for the ideas and suggestions. I will try the oil cap removal test. And continue to look for a decent mechanic in Seattle... Anyone have one he'd like to suggest?
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:48 AM   #20
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Lots of good ones in Seattle. Call Ken Bowles at that big Grand Banks charter place (senior moment), he is very friendly and will recommend some good ones - he had one of his rebuilt very successfully by a local guy.

You should be at Rendezvous in Roche Harbour Sunday morning when 120 GBs or approximately 200 Lehmans all start up at once!
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