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Old 06-16-2014, 08:16 PM   #1
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My engine is making oil

Anchored in beautiful Barnegat Bay today after a 10 hour run from Cape May. Checked the engine oil after a cool down period and the oil in my port engine is up over a quart and I suspect I have a diesel contamination (the oil does not have the milky appearance I would expect with water contamination).

The engine is a Lees Marine Ford 2715E (Lehman with different marinization parts). I had the same problem 90 hours ago (about 4 weeks). At that time I replaced the lift pump and had no further problems until today.

I removed the valve cover and saw no signs of fuel leaks. There is no loss of engine coolant. The heat exchanger pressure checked good 4 weeks ago.

I'm back to the lift pump that was replaced 4 weeks ago. That pump had been in my spares locker for 5 years. Is it possible that the diaphragm failed from being storage? Any other suggestions on what to look for to troubleshoot? I'm out of ideas, is there anything else I should be looking at?
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:59 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. T. I would suggest a call to American Diesel. They have always been very helpful to me in the past and they know Lehmans. http://americandieselcorp.com/
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:14 PM   #3
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Anchored in beautiful Barnegat Bay today after a 10 hour run from Cape May. Checked the engine oil after a cool down period and the oil in my port engine is up over a quart and I suspect I have a diesel contamination (the oil does not have the milky appearance I would expect with water contamination).

The engine is a Lees Marine Ford 2715E (Lehman with different marinization parts). I had the same problem 90 hours ago (about 4 weeks). At that time I replaced the lift pump and had no further problems until today.

I removed the valve cover and saw no signs of fuel leaks. There is no loss of engine coolant. The heat exchanger pressure checked good 4 weeks ago.

I'm back to the lift pump that was replaced 4 weeks ago. That pump had been in my spares locker for 5 years. Is it possible that the diaphragm failed from being storage? Any other suggestions on what to look for to troubleshoot? I'm out of ideas, is there anything else I should be looking at?
yes....I would consider it a possibility...yet I'll bet a new one of the shelf might be 5 years old too in some cases. Sooooo..place that call RTF suggested.

Also...that much diesel in the oil would REALLY smell like diesel. If it were me...I'd blind sample oil from both engines to my girlfriend...her nose can smell a diesel pump at 5 miles downwind. I have a hard time when I splash it on my clothes and she makes me change...

You can also do a quickie test...maybe someone here bookmarked it..but RickB posted how to do a paper chromatography test for diesel in oil. Hope someone can link it for you or you may be able to search for it here or even just general on the internet.

But if it's not the fuel pump...I'd have to go through step by step.

I would see if I could bypass the fuel pump if I needed to keep moving by using an electric pump with or without gravity feed to the injection pump and see if it still made oil and keep going till I could get an emergency oil analysis.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:48 PM   #4
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I agree!!
My money is on the lift pump too. The diaphragm probably dried out after years of storage or maybe it wasn't a new pump?

If you can't get a replacement or kit, then the electric pump is an excellent option. But be sure and bypass, take the old pump out of the fuel loop, so you're not pumping diesel through the old pump.

I'm not too familiar with the Ford injector pump, so other than some sort of seal failure on the injector pump drive there's not much that would explain it. As long as the engine is running normally, no miss, loss of power, or excessive smoking, there is little else that would cause that condition.
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Old 06-17-2014, 02:43 AM   #5
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Check the injector fittings for tightness, take the valve cover off and check the return line for integrity.
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for your suggestions. I'll be calling Bryan this morning. Fortunately the spare pump was replaced, so have a new one on board and plenty of oil and filters.

Did compare the viscosity of the oil, used new oil and compared to a sample from each engine. The affected engine oil was definitely thinner than the other 2 samples. This morning the sample from the suspect engine was completely dry, no lub properties, while the other 2 retained viscosity.

So, talk to Bryan later this morning and hopefully just need to change the pump and oil, and lay around the rest of the day. Thanks again.
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:56 AM   #7
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consider taking the old pump apart and looking fore the problem.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:38 AM   #8
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Talked to Bryan this morning. He said it was highly unlikely the source of fuel in the oil was from the lift pump, thought a quart in 10 hours was too little fuel for a lift pump failure. He recommended pressure checking the return rail for leaks and tightening the injector intake tubes.

Pressure checked the return rail and found 2 pipe to banjo fitting leaks. Pulled the rail and have a JB Weld field repair in process. Hopefully this will last until are in a location long enough to get a replacement part.
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:14 AM   #9
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Any copper washers in the assembly will have to be annealed or replaced.
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:18 AM   #10
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How did fuel get into the crankcase from a bad fitting??
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:31 AM   #11
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How did fuel get into the crankcase from a bad fitting??

The diesel return line is under the valve cover. There is a banjo fitting on the top of each injector. The banjo fittings are connected with metal tubing. The leaks were where the pipe was soldered to the banjo fitting on 2 of the 6 injectors. The fuel leaked into the rocker box and drained to the crankcase.
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Old 06-17-2014, 11:33 AM   #12
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Any copper washers in the assembly will have to be annealed or replaced.
Fortunately did not have to remove any injectors, leaks were in the return line.
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:05 PM   #13
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hi, This is a relatively common problem on Ford engines as the injector bleed off(return pipes) is under the rocker cover. The connections on the pipe between the injectors is a brazed joint and with the engine vibration it work hardens over time and becomes brittle and prone to crack. The diaphragm in the lift pump is the other main suspect as you have discovered.
I would recommend keeping anti-freeze/coolant mixture all year round especially in Fords as it keeps the liner seals supple and lubricates the water pump.
These engines are still available and are now built Turkey.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:47 PM   #14
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"My engine is making oil" What ever you do don't let the government know. Its a good thing Chainy and Bush are no longer in power they would send the CIA and troops to secure the oil source.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:18 PM   #15
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consider taking the old pump apart and looking fore the problem.
I had the same problem with the lift pump on my 120 hp ford lehman also. To fix this problem I put an inline 12 volt electric fuel beside the lift pump and disconnected the lift pump completely . been running fine for about 3 years. I wired it off the engine ignition and also if for any reason you needo bleed the system it is very easy to crack the injector pump bleed screw and this is far better than the hit and miss priming with the original lift pump
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:34 AM   #16
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There are 3 suspects on the Ford engines in order off probability.
1, the diaphragm on the lift pump is perforated and an easy fix, get a new pump/diaphragm from a local agricultural dealer as they're cheaper.
2, the fuel leak off/return pipes for the injectors are under the rocker cover and run between each injector head, the joins on this pipe are brazed and work harden with vibration and sometimes crack and leak fuel into the oil so check for leaks with the rocker cover off and the engine on tickover.
3, a leaking oil cooler, go to a local radiator repair shop and they will overhaul/pressure test it for you.
Once the repair is complete change the engine oil and filters.
I hope you find this helpful to solve your problem.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:01 PM   #17
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I lost the engine in my sailboat with the same problem. I tried everything I could think of but couldn't find the problem. Finally, an old English instruments guy who rebuilt engines said I had to rebuild it in any case. It turned out that the seals in the high pressure diesel pump had dried out while sitting for a couple of years. That allowed fuel to move through the bearing to the pan. This was a perkins 4-108 and is different than a ford but keep an eye out for an obscure reason. Good luck and get it fixed sooner rather than later.
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