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Old 01-03-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
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Smoking Diesels

Hi everyone! I am looking at buying a 1986 PT38. The boat has twin Ford Lehman SP 225's with less than 600 hours on each. I plan on having both a mechanic and surveyor inspect it. Any tips or pointers is appreciated.
The broker said it smokes when cold - don't all of them? Thanks
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #2
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Hi everyone! I am looking at buying a 1986 PT38. The boat has twin Ford Lehman SP 225's with less than 600 hours on each. I plan on having both a mechanic and surveyor inspect it. Any tips or pointers is appreciated.
The broker said it smokes when cold - don't all of them? Thanks
I would call Bob or Brian Smith at American Diesel. Bob is probably the go to guy for any FL questions. 804-435-3107 He is the former head of Ford Lehman engines.

http://americandieselcorp.com/
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:51 PM   #3
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I would ask if it smokes when under a load. No bigger pita than cleaning soot off of everything. Mine smokes for less then a minute after startup and its got 4500 hours
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:00 PM   #4
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Thanks Swampu. This is my first diesel so it's good to know they really can run a long time. I've read that most diesels should only smoke during warm up. I will definitely check this out.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:13 PM   #5
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Smoking on startup is common, especially in old diesels. Injection pressure in those old FLs is low, likely under 1000 psi. If you want to avoid smoking on startup you will need to get engines with a much higher injection pressure. Modern engines go much, much higher and consequently do not smoke. It all relates to the then current emissions legislation.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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Some diesel engines were notorious smokers. ALCO (business now defunct) locomotives were of that lot. It's the locomotive between the two GE locomotives:

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:04 PM   #7
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I've had three FL 120's over the years and they all smoked on start up, but settled down under way.I agree with Swampu,only be concerned if they smoke under load.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
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Follow this link and open the PDF, Diesel TLC

http://www.captainhugenot.com/whitepapers.html
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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The Lehman SP225 is not the same animal as the old FL120. The SP225 is a turbocharged engine based on a different (and later) Ford of England diesel. So whether it should or should not smoke on startup should not be judged by what the ancient FL120 does.

I would imagine the SP225 does smoke some on startup--- very few if any older generation diesels don't when they're cold--- but it will have its own characteristics that are unrelated to the characteristics of the FL120.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:21 PM   #10
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Smoking on startup is common, especially in old diesels. Injection pressure in those old FLs is low, likely under 1000 psi.
Pop pressure on those injectors is around 3000 psig.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:21 PM   #11
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Follow this link and open the PDF, Diesel TLC

Marine surveys, Captain Alan Hugenot San Francisco, CA White Papers
This is unbelievable! What a resource. Thank you very much!
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:25 PM   #12
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How old are the engines?? I assume they are not originals from 1986 with only 600 hours. If so, you may have issues/questions related to how they have been used/stored that could relate to smoking and other potential problems. That being said, I am not at all familiar with Lehmans, just thought it might be worth thinking about.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:56 PM   #13
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Follow this link and open the PDF, Diesel TLC

Marine surveys, Captain Alan Hugenot San Francisco, CA White Papers
What a great resource!
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #14
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I believe they are the original engines but will soon find out. The broker says the owner wasn't comfortable with the size of the boat and just used it as a harbor queen over the last 4 years. I don't know who owned it before, at least not yet. I'm concerned that the engines don't have enough hours! A good diesel mechanic should shed some light, at least I hope so.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:17 PM   #15
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Follow this link and open the PDF, Diesel TLC

Marine surveys, Captain Alan Hugenot San Francisco, CA White Papers
At first glance this seems to me to be a far more useful, practical, and real-world resource than Chapmans. Thanks much for posting the link.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:25 PM   #16
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Be careful...just read through the engine stuff and the guy is somewhat off from most conventional thinking...like letting diesels warm up for 30 minutes at the dock...or letting them cool down at idle for 20 minutes or running them 30 minutes a month instead of pickling/winterizing. That was only after a quick scan of his stuff...no telling what else he recommends that has been hashed out here and the consensus agreed that may disagree with his ideas.

Then again the ideas aren't necessarily wrong depending on EXACTLY how they are carried out that his articles amy not have been fully clear on.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:43 PM   #17
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Be careful...just read through the engine stuff and the guy is somewhat off from most conventional thinking...
That seems to be a consistent pattern among the surveyors who publish online.

If you want to get some laughs, read the stuff by David Pascoe where he compares 2 and 4 stroke diesels.

The stuff is free but the old saw about stuff being worth what it costs certainly applies. I would suggest that new entrants in the hobby start out with manufacturer's literature and the large number of older texts and manuals produced by the Navy and commercial training schools before relying on a surveyor's blog.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:20 PM   #18
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Be careful...just read through the engine stuff and the guy is somewhat off from most conventional thinking...like letting diesels warm up for 30 minutes at the dock...or letting them cool down at idle for 20 minutes or running them 30 minutes a month instead of pickling/winterizing.
The danger, I think, in trying to make generalizations about engine operation is that engines for the most part of different from each other. Warm ups, cool downs, periods of full throttle running, etc. can vary considerably by the nature of the engine, how it is intended to be used, how it is actually used, and so forth.

As Rick pointed out, the operator's manual is always the place to start. If there was any general, applies-to-every-engine rule, that would be it.

After that, there can be variables.

When we bought our boat we were total novices at the care and feeding of marine diesels, specifically the two FL120s in our boat. All we had to do with the Cummins engine in the GB36 we chartered was not exceed x-rpm, cruise it at y-rpm, and let it warm up "for awhile" after we started it cold.

So we talked to the experts we coud find about our engines. This included the very reputable and experienced diesel shop that works on pretty much every commercial and recreational boat in Bellingham and some friends in the marine diesel manufacturing industry.

We asked them about warm ups and cool downs and cruise rpm and what kind of oil and so forth. And their answers were all consistent.

A warm up period was recommended as was a cool-down period. However with our engines the cool down was not critical and we were told that the time we spent idling from the marina entrance to our slip would do it anyway.

The advice we got for our engines with regards to periods of inactivity was to run them every four to six weeks if we could. Which we do if we don't actually take the boat out in that period of time. But...... not just to run them but to run them with a load to get them up to temperature and then keep them there for awhile.

Winterizing the engines is not a necessity here. Even people we know who don't use their boats at all from October to June don't winterize anything other than their boat's fresh water system if they so choose and we don't even do that anymore. Most everyone we know who doesn't use their boat all winter changes the oil after the last use in the fall but there are a few who don't do that, either.

So as with most things to do with boats, I think it's hard to impossible to come up with generalities that apply across the board. If Carey had asked the same questions of the diesel shop we did but about the 420hp turbocharged Cat in his boat, I daresay he would have gotten somewhat different advice.

I didn't look at the technical articles on the website. I looked at some of the maneuvering stuff and dinghy stuff and whatnot. And I thought it was good advice he was giving, albeit certainly not the ONLY way things could be done. More practical, I thought, that the so-broad-as-to-be-almost-useless generalities I read in Chapmans, a book I have found to be almost worthless except to a total newbie to boating who's at the very bottom of the learning curve. For them, it provides a good foundation I guess.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:43 AM   #19
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I'd just comment that I agree with all that has been said regarding generalities, in this as in life. I would also say that Alan is the real deal. Marine surveys, Captain Alan Hugenot San Francisco, CA About Capt. Hugenot

The articles would have cost you the price of a Sea Magazine when they were published, so that is what they'd be worth I suppose. We spent 6 very invaluable days and sailed 900 miles with Alan on our boat (at 6kts). He's a very competent captain, an author, and quite a character.

We were lucky that the Ford Lehman (FL120) manuals came with our boat and that is certainly our 1st resource in running and maintaining our engine. I also joined boatdiesel.com.

We also glean information from on-line forums such as this, free as well. Information I also think is invaluable once the information is "vetted". It's sometimes difficult to separate fact from opinion and that is the issue isn't it?

Maybe not every one of Alan's white papers is relevant today, but they are certainly another source to consider, to add to our knowledge of our boats and help us build our seamanship.

As a smoking diesel data point, our FL120 has some very slight smoke when cold, after 5-10min the exhaust is clear.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:13 AM   #20
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Some of the material is fine , but be sure to note that running the engine for a warm up is done under load , in reverse on an anchor.

Not really practical in a slip where the prop wash will wash out the pilings in the area ans scour a big grove in the bottom.

Slip Scour enough in reverse and you may be aground!!

I agree totally that a lightly loaded diesel should be run hard for 3 or 4 hours ,every so often
10 min on the pin only makes a few waves , does nothing for the engine.
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