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Old 09-07-2010, 23:34   #1
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Question Ford Lehman Hard to Start

My starboard lehman 80 hp is haunted...starts after being cold at dock for weeks but on daily use it is stubborn to start. I have tried xtra throttle, fuel pump booster (an auxillary installed by a previous owner to help with air locks), praying... It turns over but no ignition. sometimes if I leave it for a while after trying to start for a while, it will reluctantly start and then I dont want to turn it off all day.The port engine is a twin and starts every time...they are 30 yrs old with 5400 hrs. I am new to diesel engines...What should I be looking at for this problem?
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Old 10-07-2010, 00:09   #2
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Battery, Connections...

Could your battery be getting old? Has enough for a good push when cold but when hot can't push out the amps.

All starter connections tight and secure? Have a look through everything from the battery to the starter and up to the switch. Wiring is heavy and up to the job?

Starter switch in poor condition? We get a few reports of poor switches.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:27   #3
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Fuel pump booster ? Air locks? Sounds like you have inherited an air sucking fuel system. Does bleeding the fuel system give you a temporary fix? If so you need to go over every fuel fitting from the racor to the injector pump. Flared fittings are subject to hair line cracks.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:04   #4
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Sounds like cranking speed problem (connections/wire size) or air locks.

The fuel booster is a dead giveaway....PO didn't fix the problem....just addressed a symptom.
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:09   #5
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Tangle, This is a common problem with the Ford Lehman that some owners have experienced. It appears that you might have a small leak with will not show up with a diesel drip, but will allow air to be drawn back into the system when shut down that lets the fuel flow either back into the tank or into a low spot in the fuel lines. Once this air pocket gets into the lines, filters, injector pump, it causes difficulty starting or the engine won't start at all unless you bleed the system. I would look at ALL connections hoses and fittings in the fuel system, especially if you use hose clamps. Contact Brian or Bob Smith at American Diesel if you need help with this. The other thing to check is to remove the shut off solenoid lever and try and start the engine. They sometimes don't retract all the way. Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2010, 19:37   #6
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thanks for all the great advise guys! I will be back at the boat on monday and will start looking for possibles...even tho there is this booster gismo it did not seem to make a diff when i used it...in the recent past we tried bleeding the system many times with and without the booster with no result...then it started the next day like nothing had happened...the solnoid wire was replaced as it seemed a bit green and I tried the old 'hammer the starter' trick when I got no turnover at all but then it worked fine on the next try,...etc,etc. the batteries ( 4 agms) seem up to the extra load I put on them trying to start the reluctant engine and it has a special 'smart regulator' panel that works with a high output regulator that apparently was installed only on this engine 8 years ago. the other reliable engine is stock...engines seem to have been well looked after as per former owner and general engine room condition and records...any further advise is very welcome
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Old 10-07-2010, 19:59   #7
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The Starter may have a "dead spot".

Invest in a remote control switch. I'll try to post a picture, you can get them at almost any autoparts store.
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Old 10-07-2010, 21:37   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangle View Post
thanks for all the great advise guys! I will be back at the boat on monday and will start looking for possibles...even tho there is this booster gismo it did not seem to make a diff when i used it...in the recent past we tried bleeding the system many times with and without the booster with no result...then it started the next day like nothing had happened...the solnoid wire was replaced as it seemed a bit green and I tried the old 'hammer the starter' trick when I got no turnover at all but then it worked fine on the next try,...etc,etc. the batteries ( 4 agms) seem up to the extra load I put on them trying to start the reluctant engine and it has a special 'smart regulator' panel that works with a high output regulator that apparently was installed only on this engine 8 years ago. the other reliable engine is stock...engines seem to have been well looked after as per former owner and general engine room condition and records...any further advise is very welcome
do you have a starter and alternator shop near by? i'd have them go through the starter.
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Old 11-07-2010, 20:02   #9
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It is important to categorize the symptoms here as we have gone to chasing electrical ghosts that may not exist.

Cold after weeks - Good cranking / easy start
Hot start - good cranking / no start
Cool start after a day or a few hours - Good cranking / reluctant start

If these symptoms are correct I doubt you have a starter or wiring issue.

To me this is a sign of too much fuel. I bet donuts on leaking injectors.

After the fuel is allowed to dissipate after a few weeks or a few hours the engine starts.

During a warm start, I bet you get black smoke when and if you get it started.

Another technique you could try short term is to start cranking with the fuel cutoff lever closed. After 5 seconds stick the lever in. The 5 seconds of cranking may help purge the cylinder of extra fuel.

People transitioning from car experience have been taught to floor the throttle to clear flooding. This is because on most gasoline engines you control a venturi and a wide open venturi allows maximum air in.

On a diesel you are controlling the fuel input with the throttle. More throttle equals more fuel. How to crank the engine with no fuel input? Close the fuel valve.

Your reported no rotation on start could be a byproduct of what has been happening with this engine. i.e. You are cranking a lot to get the engine started and you could be frying your starter. I don't know the duty cycle of your starter but I would get a second hand watch and limit myself to 30-40 seconds of cranking with a 2-3 minute cool down minimum between attempts.
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Old 12-07-2010, 21:55   #10
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I like your logic x ...will try to find a fuel cut off lever...I have the original manual and it showed a lever/or an extra bleed screw 'on some models'etc...I could not find a lever and I am unsure if we are talking the same lever...I believe it was found on the pump if it was there at all..? I have not yet had a chance to return to the boat but hope to over the next couple days...thanks again
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Old 12-07-2010, 23:21   #11
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Sorry not to be clear - I am not talking about a tank shut off or anything.

My set up has a t-handle that shuts off the fuel at the HP pump. That's the shutoff I am referring to.
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