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Old 08-17-2017, 01:00 PM   #1
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No oil pressure

Our two Lehman 135s have been sitting up for two years. American Diesel recommends that before starting them I build oil pressure by holding the stop solenoid closed while someone at the helm turns the engine over. In 8 to 10 cranks of less than 5 seconds each, the starboard engine showed no pressure on the dash gauge. In subsequent attempts pressing the start button seemed to bump the starter and then disengage. (There is no hydro lock; I checked.) We tried the port engine but gave up after 6 or 7 times with no oil pressure showing. There were no bump/disengage episodes on port.

AD suggests putting a remote oil gauge on the block oil pressure port to rule out problems with the dash gauges. If there's still no pressure, they recommend removing the oil and "force lubricating" by injecting it back into the crankcase through the block port under external pressure.

My questions for the mechanically inclined on this forum:

- what are the most likely causes of no oil pressure? They ran fine previously and I changed oil just before the boat was put up. It looks pristine on the dipstick.

- are there any other ways to determine if the engines are building adequate pressure besides a remote gauge? (Nobody around here seems to have one.)

- any other tricks to building pressure in the block other than removing and injecting it back under pressure? If that's the only course, how much pressure should I use?

This has already consumed the better part of two days and probably most of my good will with the excellent folks at AD, so I am looking for additional input.

Many thanks.
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Old 08-17-2017, 01:28 PM   #2
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I would start them and be ready to shut down if pressure doesn't build in a few seconds.

Another option would be to remove the injectors, or glow plugs if equipped, so the engine can be cranked over without compression.
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Old 08-17-2017, 01:29 PM   #3
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Engine probably does not spin fast enough on starter to prime the oil pump. I don't recommend rolling with starter to build pressure for that reason. Either just start it or prime the oil gallery.

To prime the gallery, take an oil pressure switch or sender out and get a npt/hose barb fitting and a clean (!!) outboard squeeze bulb fuel line. Get a jug of warm oil (leave it in the sun) and pump a quart in. Put sender back in and fire it up.

Or just start it.
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Old 08-17-2017, 01:36 PM   #4
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In my opinion, you either have 2 working oil pumps or you don't. I would let them start, blow the raw water out the exhaust and see if you get pressure. You have probably already primed them.

The starter issue is either a bad battery or bad connection. Check those first, always go for the simplest solution first.

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Old 08-17-2017, 01:51 PM   #5
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Oil Pressure -- where did it go ?

Oil Pressure - where did it go ?

The force lube oil inputted in to the oil galleries of the block is a really good idea.

How you do this is to go buy an inexpensive brake pressure bleeder tool.

You could borrow one from a mechanic friend, However, I recommend preferably using a brake pressure bleeder that has not had brake fluid in it,
So a new one is preferred, but be sure it is the type that has the rubber diaphragm bladder to separate the oil from the air pressure that pushes it, that is how I have done this in the past. Typically it has an air input valve with a Schrader valve in bottom & fluid fill on top & hose comes out top. Flexible Bladder rubber diaphragm in middle, I have used 10 to 15 PSI as a good start pressure. Fill top fluid chamber 50% full with the oil, Carefully Bleed air out of the top & seal that all up tight, then charge the bottom air chamber with air pressure after closing off the top. There is then a valve on top you can open & close to allow the flow of the fluid into the hose & into the engine. Make sure no air in the top fluid section for it spits & such. Need solid fluid oil flow. Not air as you already have air in there.

Very effective in getting oil flowing in the oil galleys as the oil pump in the engine may have lost it's prime.

Then after doing that, I would next go to Cranking the engine with no compression ( Remove Glow Plugs ) as next step because it is one of the best ways to get oil pressure with minimal damage as there is very little load on the bearings when you do this.

If no pressure after 30 seconds of cranking on a mechanical gauge which you can buy at any Napa Auto Parts store & after you have done these above steps if you have zero oil PSI then deeper look is needed.

Good Luck.

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Old 08-17-2017, 02:36 PM   #6
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I would start them and be ready to shut down if pressure doesn't build in a few seconds.

Another option would be to remove the injectors, or glow plugs if equipped, so the engine can be cranked over without compression.
I would do this.

I just started mine after 2 years on the hard. No problems.
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:42 PM   #7
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It takes a good 10 seconds before my oil pressure will register. I have 2 120's and they both do the same.

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Old 08-17-2017, 02:59 PM   #8
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Thanks, all.

I borrowed a remote oil pressure gauge and still get nothing spinning the starter. I'll try priming the gallery and then starting them with an eye on the prz gauge. Shouldn't be a problem getting warm oil today.

Stay tuned.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:07 PM   #9
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Followup

Interestingly, when I took the oil prz gauge off the block fitting after cranking it half a dozen times, oil came out in a small but steady stream. When I first took the sending unit off, that didn't happen. Does this mean the gallery is primed . . . Just not enough power from the starter to prime the oil pump?
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:17 PM   #10
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Remember that cranking with no start can fill your exhaust with raw water which can flow back into the cylinders. Either get rid of the water or start the engines. Continuous cranking can do much damage. See the thread on unintended consequences!
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:24 PM   #11
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Just a curiosity, are you sure there's power to the gauges when you crank. On my JD there's nothing until you release the start button. Don't know if that's by design or low voltage during cranking.

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Old 08-17-2017, 03:40 PM   #12
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Remember that cranking with no start can fill your exhaust with raw water which can flow back into the cylinders. Either get rid of the water or start the engines. Continuous cranking can do much damage. See the thread on unintended consequences!
Good thought. Seacocks are off and discharge water hoses are in a bucket.

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Just a curiosity, are you sure there's power to the gauges when you crank. On my JD there's nothing until you release the start button. Don't know if that's by design or low voltage during cranking.

Ted
Not sure, Ted, but I would guess if there is oil pressure it would show on the gauge when I release the start button. Pressure is supposed to build and hold for awhile, I'm told. Additionally, the remote gauge isn't powered and is also not reading any pressure.

Thank you both.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:52 PM   #13
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It takes a good 10 seconds before my oil pressure will register. I have 2 120's and they both do the same.

Joe
Wow, that's a long time. Does it always do that? I'd guess it's something with the gauging system. I've never seen an engine where the oil pressure doesn't come up in 2-3 seconds, even after an oil change.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:54 PM   #14
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Id suggest just starting the engines.

It's much more likely you'll burn out a starter motor with all the cranking than an engine oil pump mysteriously failing while the engine was shut down.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:12 PM   #15
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Wow, that's a long time. Does it always do that? I'd guess it's something with the gauging system. I've never seen an engine where the oil pressure doesn't come up in 2-3 seconds, even after an oil change.
I'd put mine at about 5 seconds before the buzzer shuts off.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:21 PM   #16
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Maybe I count really fast.

Seems Like my Yanmar was about the same
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:26 PM   #17
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I'm not familiar with the Lehman, but the valve/cam components on some engines can be viewed through the oil filler hole (if no baffle). If there's fresh oil dribbling around the top end I believe it's safe to start. Alternatively remove the valve cover. But I wouldn't start an engine with an oil pump that's not known to be primed and immediately pumping oil to the bearings.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:22 PM   #18
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Curious how an oil pump, submerged in oil, can lose 'prime?'
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:32 PM   #19
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Don't know about the Lehman, but the pump on the recently rebuilt engine in my Jaguar E-type is well above the oil level. Packed the gears in the pump with petroleum jelly for initial prestart pressurization of the oil gallery.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:45 PM   #20
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I went through this firing up Lehman 120's that had not been started for 3 years. I have mechanical gauges at the lower helm with 15 ft of tubing to the oil galley. They weren't registering anything while I was trying to start with fuel turned off. When turned the fuel on and fired the ,they showed pressure in 5 seconds. I did have a 5 second panic attack. I changed the oil before trying to start them.

I've seen this in cars too- starter won't turn the engine over fast enough to register on a gauge in the short bursts we usually give it. My455 Buick had me tearing my hair out until a mechanic friend said just start it. 5 seconds of no oil pressure before it read 70lbs on a mechanical gauge.

I'd fire it up and be prepared to shut it down if a mechanical gauge connected to the engine doesn't register. You say remote gauge- I assume that it is a mechanical gauge?
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