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Old 06-26-2021, 08:59 PM   #1
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2715e Lehman head

Hi, new to forum , have read heaps on here with interest. Have a 1981 ocean Alexander 44 with twin Ford Lehmanís. Had heaps of dirty fuel issues on last trip, now making diesel in sump on port motor. Replaced fuel lift pump and have now removed injectors for refurb.
Also installed big scintex filters, similar to racers.
Whilst removing the nuts on the return fuel line under rocker cover, the last copper washer dropped down past push rod tube!!
I tried to fish out with piece of wire but it disappeared!!!!
It is the last push rod, closest to coolant tank.
Iím guessing I have to remove head to try find washer, is it likely Iíll find it??
Iím capable enough but certainly no diesel mechanic.
Donít understand workings of bottom end enough to know if washer will most likely work itís way to bottom of sump or if it is likely to cause some major damage if I donít sort??
I would rather err on the side of caution.

Any suggestions??

Motors have around 3000 hours and are pretty sweet, I think first trip in rough seas stirred up fuel tanks which started all the dramas!!
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Old 06-26-2021, 09:05 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. I also am not a diesel mechanic but when I have technical questions I call Brian at American Diesel. He is the guru on Lehmans. Although I just sold the boat that had Lehmans in it and we have an offer on a boat with Cummins in it.
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Old 06-26-2021, 09:08 PM   #3
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Cheers, I have dealt with Fred Warner for most my parts and am aware of American diesel. Will email him also.
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Old 06-26-2021, 10:24 PM   #4
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Old 06-27-2021, 12:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Adam Oldmeadow View Post
Cheers, I have dealt with Fred Warner for most my parts and am aware of American diesel. Will email him also.
Welcome Aboard!
My dealings with FredWarner were good, but ADC knows a lot about Lehmans.
BTW, check your State on your Profile. Hope your Covid restrictions are short.
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:11 AM   #6
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Don't feel bad. I did the same thing on my Lehmans about a 1000 hours ago. I assumed it went into the sump. I've had no problems since and no rise in the copper levels of my oil analysis. I hope you changed out the copper washers when reattaching your return rack. If you continue to have fuel in your oil, that might be the problem.

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Old 06-27-2021, 01:42 PM   #7
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A common fault on those engines is the lift pump diaphragm, but you changed the pump so that should eliminate that.
As you've discovered, with the rocker cover removed the injector fuel return pipe runs between the injectors, sometimes the brazing on those joins in the pipe leak.
I stress my own personal opinion is to forget the copper washer you dropped, having said that make darn sure you never do it again.
Get an old lint free cloth and place it around the injectors when working on the returns pipe to stop it happening again.
It goes without saying that you will replace all the copper washers on all the injectors.
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Old 06-27-2021, 05:31 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=Irish Rambler;1015898]
I stress my own personal opinion is to forget the copper washer you dropped, having said that make darn sure you never do it again.

Sorry to hear about the SNAFU. It happens.

As insane as the above sounds, it might not be bad advice. If you do choose to just “fire her up” copper washer and all, just keep us posted. I may not have the balls to do it myself, but i betcha it would fine

In any case good luck and ill be watching this post (i have a lehman and Ive done a ton of work on it, always fearing that i would drop something down there.)
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Old 06-27-2021, 05:35 PM   #9
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I like the sound of not having to remove head!!
Have read that fuel return line sometimes cracks, mine looks ok I think! I guess if still making oil after I put back together maybe injector pump the problem??
Had a horror run with bad fuel and engine was not loving life so hoping between new scintex 1000 turbine filters, drained worst of fuel out of tanks, new lift pump and refurbished injectors I will solve the problem!

Thanks for replying 👍👍
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Old 06-27-2021, 05:38 PM   #10
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And I also assume these copper washers are the crush washers that I need to replace when I put return line back on injectors.

I will wind motor over by hand before property firing her up.

Is it not likely that washer will be sitting somewhere easy to retrieve if I do take off head??
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Old 06-27-2021, 07:32 PM   #11
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Order a copper magnet from AliBaba.
(and do a search on fuel polishing)
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:23 PM   #12
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G'day Adam, if you're in Perth you've a good bit of open water cruising which will shake up the crud in the bottom of your fuel tanks. I had a similar experience so I understand the problem.
I'm a pernickety kind of do it once do it right, kind of PIA and if I have a problem I want to know the cause, as I'm already experiencing the effect.
Rather than spending good money of turbines, super duper all singing all dancing expensive filter systems, get to the cause, which is dirty fuel tanks.
I would bite the bullet and pump out ALL your fuel, then if possible remove your tanks and clean them thoroughly with a final rinse out with paraffin.
If you have a lot of fuel store it in 45 gall drums and let it settle for 3/4 days then use it in your ute being very careful to filter it through an extra fine filter.
If you can't remove the the tanks then then make an inspection hatch on the top so you can access all the tank interior with a wet & dry vacuum hose.
A dirty job thankless job but once its done you'll have peace of mind.
As your coming into your winter you can make it your winter project.
As to the copper washers, fit new ones. removing the head is an option of course, it's not so difficult and if you're not confident DON'T turn over the motor, get an agricultural fitter (they're much cheaper than marine guys) explain what happened and get him to do it for you.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoWhat View Post
Order a copper magnet from AliBaba.
(and do a search on fuel polishing)

Copper magnet, surely you are joking. Would that be in the same section as sky-hooks?

Really,

Itís likely the washer is sitting at the bottom of the pushrod and you might be able to fish it out with a small wire bent into a hook on the end. I had to do that with a couple and it helped to shine a light down the pushrod cavity to see it. Much easier with the head off of course, and pushrods removed. At minimum - Youíll probably have to remove the rocker assembly and push rod to see down in there with the head on.

I donít know if the washer could have slipped past that point into the oil sump. Brian at ADC might know if that is possible.

The copper washers can be either re-annealed or replaced before re-installing. See YouTube on re-annealing with a torch. ADC can send you new washers.

Leaking washers on the injectors will cause low compression, blow-by, and hard starting. Leaking washers on the fuel return pipe to injector fittings will leak diesel into the oil sump.

In the future, stuff a clean oiled shop towel around each pushrod or in the cavity so you canít drop anything down in there before removing/installing injectors. Make sure to remove all rags before completing reassembly.

Good luck with it - given the option I would still try to retrieve it.
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Old 06-28-2021, 01:20 AM   #14
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Have taken pushrod out and washer has disappeared!!
Brian didn’t seem too concerned about it, so will think on it for a bit.
As for fuel tanks, no access or inspection holes. Have fitted a drain point at bottom of tanks. Both are 1000 litres and about half full each atm. I am happy to ditch the fuel into drums but can’t get access to inside of tanks unless a cut a big hole in them??
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Old 06-28-2021, 12:57 PM   #15
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Drain a cupful of from the bottom of your tanks until it runs clear diesel will get rid of any water but the crud is still in there.
If you access the top of the tanks then cut an oblong hole to get in there with a vacuum to clean the crap off the bottom of the tank (assuming you've emptied them). Then have a larger plate cut to cover the oblong, drill and tap holes around the edge, make a gasket from something like 1/8th insertion rubber and once your tank are spotlessly clean bolt down your oblong cover.
I never said it was going to be easy but if you're going to do it, bite the bullet and do it right.
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Old 06-28-2021, 05:28 PM   #16
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Yes, I think I will have to cut hole in tank !
Only access I have is on the side, will maybe try get an inspection hatch fabricated.
Would be good peace of mind to have them done properly!!
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Old 06-28-2021, 06:17 PM   #17
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When my port engine began making fuel in the sump, I put air pressure to the fitting on the aft end of the block where the return fuel exits. I got bubbling out of the top of one of the injectors, and a rebuild of all the injectors fixed the problem. Since you are already in the process of injector rebuild, my suggestion is that after you get the injectors and the return fuel fittings all restored, start the engine before the valve cover goes on. Shut down and perform this air pressure test I described to see if you get any fuel bubbles,
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Old 06-29-2021, 01:22 AM   #18
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If you decide to cut a hole in the side of the tank take some old garden type rubber hose and split it longitudinally and fit it around the hole, it'll save you from any cuts and scratches and protect your vacuum hose.
You must reinforce the tank internally around on the inside of the hole. If it's mild or stainless, get a piece of flat steel about 1'1/4" 3cm cut to the shape of the hole to fit on the inside of the tank with captive nuts tack welded in place, mark and drill corresponding holes in the outer cover and drill them to suit your bolts..
Then make the outer cover to overlap the hole by 1'1/4" 3cm, when you've made the gasket and bolt the cover on, the inner strengthening piece will clamp the tank wall between it and the outer cover.
Its not a nice job to do but the benefits are forever as long as the boat is in use.
Diesel is like Jacobs Creek wines, when its made there are very fine particles in suspension and over time these will settle to the bottom and form sludge. In wine production they use sulphites to remove these particles, fuel companies are supposed to filter the fuel and they do to a certain extent but for the volume they produce it would take forever.
You will very rarely, if ever, see a truck with sludge in the bottom of their tanks (our 50 yr old family business is trucking and we've never seen it, they draw the fuel from the bottom of their tank and trucks use the fuel relatively quickly).
Which brings me to another point.
If you draw the fuel from the bottom of your tank, any sediment will be drawn into the fuel line and filtered out by the engines own fuel filter which is changed at every service interval, the same as a truck, therefore it never builds up in the bottom of the tank.
I've never seen a truck with a busted fuel line drain the tank on the ground, have you ? So that's the pollution argument knocked on the head.
Boats systems are better protected than a trucks so I can see absolutely no reasoning to their thinking as to why boat builders insist on drawing the fuel from a suspended pick up as it just creates problems for the future.
Sorry for the rant.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:40 AM   #19
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So have had injectors and injector pumps down, pretended that I didn’t even drop a washer into engine, put everything back together and motor is running sweet as!! Hopefully washer is at bottom of sump doing no harm.
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Old 09-26-2021, 07:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Rambler View Post
If you decide to cut a hole in the side of the tank take some old garden type rubber hose and split it longitudinally and fit it around the hole, it'll save you from any cuts and scratches and protect your vacuum hose.
You must reinforce the tank internally around on the inside of the hole. If it's mild or stainless, get a piece of flat steel about 1'1/4" 3cm cut to the shape of the hole to fit on the inside of the tank with captive nuts tack welded in place, mark and drill corresponding holes in the outer cover and drill them to suit your bolts..
Then make the outer cover to overlap the hole by 1'1/4" 3cm, when you've made the gasket and bolt the cover on, the inner strengthening piece will clamp the tank wall between it and the outer cover.
Its not a nice job to do but the benefits are forever as long as the boat is in use.
Diesel is like Jacobs Creek wines, when its made there are very fine particles in suspension and over time these will settle to the bottom and form sludge. In wine production they use sulphites to remove these particles, fuel companies are supposed to filter the fuel and they do to a certain extent but for the volume they produce it would take forever.
You will very rarely, if ever, see a truck with sludge in the bottom of their tanks (our 50 yr old family business is trucking and we've never seen it, they draw the fuel from the bottom of their tank and trucks use the fuel relatively quickly).
Which brings me to another point.
If you draw the fuel from the bottom of your tank, any sediment will be drawn into the fuel line and filtered out by the engines own fuel filter which is changed at every service interval, the same as a truck, therefore it never builds up in the bottom of the tank.
I've never seen a truck with a busted fuel line drain the tank on the ground, have you ? So that's the pollution argument knocked on the head.
Boats systems are better protected than a trucks so I can see absolutely no reasoning to their thinking as to why boat builders insist on drawing the fuel from a suspended pick up as it just creates problems for the future.
Sorry for the rant.
Don't be sorry. It's the truth. Our boat is a bottom feeder. Below the feed line valve is a sump drain valve. Several times I have opened the sump valve to see what comes out. Answer? Nothing. No water, no crud. And, no need for fuel polishing.
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