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Old 10-23-2013, 02:54 AM   #1
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Oil weight for older diesels?

I recently (perhaps foolishly) purchased a boat with twin Lehman 275 turbos...
They smoke a little.
I am in the Chesapeake bay so temperature is a factor with no block heaters.
So ok. A bit of wear... Thicker oil maybe right?
My initial thoughts were to just replace the cheap rotella 15/40 with straight 40 weight for a little less viscosity and possibly less smoke
Is there any sage advice out there before I attempt such madness?
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:34 AM   #2
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'Smoking a bit' might not mean burning oil excessively, it might be the injectors are dirty etc. My advice is watch oil consumption, but don't overfill. If you fill above the middle of the normal level some will often blow by until it settles down. However, putting some Diesel Power or equivalent in the fuel at the right ratio has always cured smoking for me so far.
Just don't rush to conclusions, as a thicker oil is unlikely to cure true oil consumption.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:00 AM   #3
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Maybe talk to Brian Smith of American Diesel, the "successors" to Lehman. Bob Smith was VP of Lehman.
How many hours on the engines? Have they been run underloaded and the bores are glazed? I`d say a single weight oil probably gives less wear protection. Can`t comment on US brands, are there better multigrades than Rotella, or are they all much the same, with different hype?
Checking available additives as Pete says is a good idea. An additive sold by a respected oil supplier fixed glazed bores in my Onan genset.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input.
2000 hrs only. And those hours on the icw, so low rpms pretty much all the time.
I had a fellow pull the injectors and send them away for service. Put them back in. And it's better but not great.
Do you mind if I ask what was the additive you used?
Somebody suggested intercoolers, so next time I'm home ill be addressing those as well.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:20 AM   #5
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Smoke comes in many colors .

If you are showing white from initial start up , even till after the coolant is over 140F it is probable that the compression is low.

If it smokes white with 180F coolant temp oil viscosity will not help .

Either the rings are stuck or the cylinder is burnished smooth.

Oil is cheap, so you might want to stay as is .

The outboard guys have a treatment for stuck rings , I have never tried it on a diesel, but rings are rings and a carbon deposit is a carbon deposit.

Did you do a compression check when the injectors were out?
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:11 AM   #6
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Straight weight is recommended for these engines but plenty of people run the 15W40 with no ill effects.

I would stick with 15W40 in the colder climes and if ever in really hot areas for an oil change period...switch up to the 40 weight.

As others have posted...smoke must be read carefully to use it as a diagnostic tool. Unless running these Lehmans hard (which most people don't)...seein smoke doesn't seem uncommon. Mine smokes at startup and even sometimes when I've let it cool down but not off.
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Old 10-23-2013, 08:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submarine deckhand View Post
Thanks for the input.
2000 hrs only. And those hours on the icw, so low rpms pretty much all the time.
I had a fellow pull the injectors and send them away for service. Put them back in. And it's better but not great.
Do you mind if I ask what was the additive you used?
Somebody suggested intercoolers, so next time I'm home ill be addressing those as well.
In my post, I was referring to a diesel additive. A good one of these does seem to clean injectors and improve completeness of combustion, and usually discourages the growth of, well, lets say 'crap', in the diesel, which in turn, can also add to smoke. I know nus-sing about oil additives to deglaze bores, but BruceK seems to, so what do you recommend Bruce, or were you also referring to a fuel additive..?
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:14 AM   #8
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I would stick with 15W40 in the colder climes and if ever in really hot areas for an oil change period...switch up to the 40 weight.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:25 AM   #9
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Our boat has been run all it's 32 years with a straight weight 30 diesel oil along with a litre of Rislone Diesel oil treatment at each oil change (every fall). The engine does not smoke at all at cruise speeds and uses no oil. Not sure if that is due to the oil and additive or not, just sayin'. We also use SeaFoam in the fuel to help keep injectors clean.

Engine Treatment Concentrate (p/n 34102) | Products | Rislone - Premium Automotive Chemicals
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:27 AM   #10
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"Cheap Rotella"....I am of the opinion that is some of the best stuff out there!?
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submarine deckhand View Post
Thanks for the input.
2000 hrs only. And those hours on the icw, so low rpms pretty much all the time.
I had a fellow pull the injectors and send them away for service. Put them back in. And it's better but not great.
Do you mind if I ask what was the additive you used?
Somebody suggested intercoolers, so next time I'm home ill be addressing those as well.
You may want to communicate with Daddyo, he has some smokey Lehmans he's been dealing with.

You cannot go wrong by a 100 per cent book servicing of all systems. This includes the above mentioned inter coolers but don't stop there. You've got the air intake system, CCV, belts, hoses, turbo etc.

These are not new engines, likely 25 plus years and if all they do is smoke a little (what color per FF) you're in pretty good shape. Marine engines sitting a lot - as do most - age without turning over with cylinders rusting and rings setting. All this can lead to less than perfect exhaust.

You may want to consider Wolverine heaters affixed to the bottom of the oil pan, 250 watt size. These can relieve smoke too as you've already guessed. Easier to install than block heaters.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:53 AM   #12
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I agree here totally and completely with Walt, LaBomba and Baker on this one.

Multi-vis oils are a little less desirable that straight weight oils in inboard boats ... especially in southern climates. If a boat engine will crank plenty fast enough for starting w straight weight oil multi-vis oils are not needed and putting something that is not oil in oil makes it (all other things being the same) a lower performing oil. Put in 40W now and as we get into the winter see if your engine cranks normally. If so (I'm sure there will be nobody or almost nobody experiencing cranking problems) multi-vis oil is a waste of money and dosn't lubricate as well. A small waste of money and a small loss in performance but why do it for no gain?

It would probably be better to find out what Ford recommended for their 380 cu in engine than Mr Smith. If you were to seek that information for your car you probably wouldn't get the best information from the trailer hitch manufacturer on your car. That is a bit extreme but the point is probably clear. Bob Smith may have been an engineer but it's just as likely he was a diesel mechanic gone entrepreneur. Ford probably had many engineers w various specialties working on that engine.

There is Boat Diesel .com but that is also basically a bunch of opinions (very very good opinions) but for our purposes the best available information short of the best and the best is the engine manufacturer or a lubricating engineer.

I just looked at the "Sabre Lehman" manual and it recommends for both turbo and NA engines;
For temps -32 to 32 deg f ........... straight 10W oil.
For temps 10 to 60 deg f ............ straight 20W oil.
For temps 32 to 90 deg f ............ straight 30W oil
Above 90 deg f .......................... 40W oil
No mention was made for multi-vis oils.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:56 AM   #13
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SubDeck:

You have not given us the age of the engines, but by telling us you have Lehman 275s, you have already told us that your engines smoke a bit at startup, and that you can still see a little smoke on the water at idle after they warm up.

This has little to do with the oil you are using. The injection pressure, the style of the injector nozzles, wear on the cylinders and rings, etc all contribute to the smoke. The biggest contributor is injection pressure. In the 90s, injection pressure rose from a few hundred psi to over a thousand, then to over 10000 psi and now some are over 30000 psi. Each increase in injection pressure is accompanied by better spray patterns, with more modern nozzle design. All of those advances reduce smoke by improving total combustion, to the point that new diesels simply don't smoke.

Don't worry about your Lehmans, as they are performing as designed.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:12 PM   #15
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Thank you all for your advice.

Ill change all filters, clean intercoolers, oil change to exact amount, change out old fuel, have a martini and try not to be so uptight...
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Old 10-23-2013, 02:47 PM   #16
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looks like mine on start....it then it drops to maybe 1/4-1/5 that when I slow down enough from cruise to se it before air currents dissipate it.

not saying mine's right...just what I'm living with on a 4 year/800 hr rebuild...

ps...I run a lot at 1600 so I am running on the cool side....
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submarine deckhand View Post

That looks like mine at start up (Lehman 80 1500 hrs). In fact, it looks like every old Lehman I have seen at start up. I am not saying you don't have a problem, just be careful that you're not 'chasing problem$'.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:54 PM   #18
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I've been using Shell Rotella 30 weight in my Lehman 225HP (same 363 cubic inch block as the 275HP) since the early 90's. She has about 1500 hours use. The engine does smoke when not warmed up which I've been told is a common problem with Lehmans. I've tried different additives to no avail. I've used Soltron, Startron, Biobor and Racor additives and she still smokes.Once underway and up to operating temperature, I do not see much smoke.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:41 PM   #19
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The oil additive I used is " "Heavy-Duty Diesel engine Treatment". Sold in Australia by Nulon Products( www.nulon.com.au), a supplier of lube oil products (maybe a BP re-packager, or affiliate). No idea what`s in it, I bought it after an internet search about glazed bores (not me, the Onan genset). Instructions say use it double strength to cure glazing, it worked, the blue smoke stopped. I still use it, normal strength, in the genset which sometimes inevitably runs underloaded, I don`t use it in the main engines (Lehmans 120s) where I use Nulon 15-40 High Protection Diesel Formula.
The brands may not help outside OZ, but I supply them anyway.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:42 PM   #20
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Looks like my boat on start up, too. Once they're warmed up, they look fine. If you're not getting soot stains on your transom, maybe you're just chasing rainbows here.

For a period, I was seeing high oil consumption and worried about it. Then I dropped my cruise power to 2000 RPM from 2300 (2800RPM WOT) and have enjoyed quieter ride, practically no oil burn and 0.5 knot reduction in cruise speed. Life is good and I'm relaxing and enjoying the boat. Hope you're doing the same soon!

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