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Old 01-08-2019, 07:26   #1
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Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

I see they use timing belts and you can't see the injectors/pumps. I bought one with unknown hours but the smoke is clear so I think it's ok.


Are there any common problems with these?


thanks in advance!
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Old 01-08-2019, 18:29   #2
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I see they use timing belts and you can't see the injectors/pumps. I bought one with unknown hours but the smoke is clear so I think it's ok.


Are there any common problems with these?


thanks in advance!


Well 777Funk, you have a very unique engine starting with the unit injectors.... the injector and the pump are a single unit operated by dedicated lobes on the overhead cam the same as a Detroit diesel, really difficult to adjust and troubleshoot. The belt driven cam adds a new level of difficulty to routine maintenance as it has a "remove and replace belt" requirement athours and has the threat of an engine damaging incident if that belt ever breaks.
These engines were fitted to AC gen sets as well as being propulsion units and were remarkably susceptible to problems caused by dirty fuel so only use 2 micron filters and change them often.
Get a copy of the service manual and some of the special tools needed to change/adjust injectors and learn how to swap out the timing belt because even the Lombardini dealers find these engines a bit of a challenge.
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Old 01-08-2019, 19:24   #3
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

I haven't seen under the valve cover yet, but I was under the impression that this was like a Deutz where there was an injection pump per cylinder powered by the cam and an injector with a steel line between the two.

So this is like a Detroit 2 cycle injection system. I like those engines. I'm not sure if I would prefer that injection system however.

I read a couple of reports of sawmill owners who had 10k hours without trouble. Hopefully these aren't rarities. It does seem information on these engines is rare. I guess Kohler supports them in the US. We'll see how hard it is to get a timing belt kit. I have a TDI Jetta so this is not foreign to me as far as routine maintenance. Must be some reason engineers forego gears for a belt in certain cases.
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Old 01-08-2019, 19:43   #4
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I haven't seen under the valve cover yet, but I was under the impression that this was like a Deutz where there was an injection pump per cylinder powered by the cam and an injector with a steel line between the two.



So this is like a Detroit 2 cycle injection system. I like those engines. I'm not sure if I would prefer that injection system however.



I read a couple of reports of sawmill owners who had 10k hours without trouble. Hopefully these aren't rarities. It does seem information on these engines is rare. I guess Kohler supports them in the US. We'll see how hard it is to get a timing belt kit. I have a TDI Jetta so this is not foreign to me as far as routine maintenance. Must be some reason engineers forego gears for a belt in certain cases.


A lot of these engines were fitted as the prime mover in 3,000 rpm gensets and I'd be very surprised if any ever made it to 10,000 hrs. Are Kohler using these engines or just supplying Lombardini parts?
The belt is a short life item and the traditional timing chain or gearset lasts usually about the life of the engine.... Lombardini sell a lot of belts... and a lot of pistons and valves if the belt gets neglected.
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Old 01-08-2019, 19:48   #5
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

With the VW TDI they recommend 80k miles I believe. Some say 100k. Awful lot, at stake for skipping that piece of routine maintenance. I can't remember how hours equate to miles. May as well change it now.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:48   #6
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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Originally Posted by skipperpete View Post
Well 777Funk, you have a very unique engine ...
... Get a copy of the service manual* and some of the special tools needed to change/adjust injectors and learn how to swap out the timing belt because even the Lombardini dealers find these engines a bit of a challenge.
* ➥ http://www.lombardini.no/Work%20Shop...1-5302-351.pdf

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, 777funk.
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:27   #7
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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* ➥ http://www.lombardini.no/Work%20Shop...1-5302-351.pdf

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, 777funk.
Thank you!

Excellent resource. Especially amazing that this is a free download.

And to answer the question of how often the timing belt is changed, the manual says 2500 hour intervals. It even explains the process. It's standard as far as I can see and simpler than most diesel engines since no IP to keep in time, only the cam.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:46   #8
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

I've always used 30:1 to equate hours run to miles travelled with car engines. For boats I'd use 1/2 hull speed. Hours run is a very imprecise indicator of engine condition however, so I'm not sure it tells you very much.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:27   #9
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

Many engines are “free spin” as in even if the belt breaks it wont tag the valves.
Engines that aren’t are called interference engines, on these a broken timing belt is most frequently the end of the engine, because valve heads often break off, they don’t fit of course in the combustion chamber and the head, rods and block are often broken when things come apart.
Often called “swallowing” a valve.
I’d find out if it’s an interference engine or not.
All Diesels may be, I’m not sure on that.
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Old 02-08-2019, 16:01   #10
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
Thank you!

Excellent resource. Especially amazing that this is a free download.

And to answer the question of how often the timing belt is changed, the manual says 2500 hour intervals. It even explains the process. It's standard as far as I can see and simpler than most diesel engines since no IP to keep in time, only the cam.
They are selling those engines quite cheap here in NZ. I was put off by the belt but 2500 hrs belt life is pretty good.
They are very lightweight which tends to be not conducive to long life or duty cycle but if they got 10,000 hrs in a sawmill that sounds pretty good
Good idea to change the belt NOW if hrs unknown.
If you have a flat top piston my GUESS would be that it must be an interference engine.
Please post back your belt changing experience.
Interesting comments in post#2 about need for fine fuel filtration, what does it have currently?
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Old 05-08-2019, 15:41   #11
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

Many diesels are interference engines unfortunately. I believe I found a Lombardini piston on ebay and it looks to have milled recesses for two valves in the top. Maybe it isn't an interference engine.
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Old 05-08-2019, 15:53   #12
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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Many diesels are interference engines unfortunately. I believe I found a Lombardini piston on ebay and it looks to have milled recesses for two valves in the top. Maybe it isn't an interference engine.
Best check with manufacturer because sometimes the recesses in the piston are just there to promote a swirl or vortex to mix the fuel. They can be shaped to match injector jets.
Or maybe it will tell you in the workshop manual.
Don't leave it to a guess, it's not worth it as the consequences are too bad to leave to chance
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Old 05-08-2019, 16:22   #13
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

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Best check with manufacturer because sometimes the recesses in the piston are just there to promote a swirl or vortex to mix the fuel. They can be shaped to match injector jets.
Or maybe it will tell you in the workshop manual.
Don't leave it to a guess, it's not worth it as the consequences are too bad to leave to chance

Probably hard to get reliable information on these engines since info seems to be rare. I did email CS. We'll see if they reply.
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Old 05-08-2019, 16:33   #14
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

Well if they tell you nothing & you cant find out it's safer to assume it is an interference engine. As A64 pointed out in post #9, the failure of the belt can be catastrophic.
I like to save money on engine bits but I wouldn't risk that.

Good luck with getting an answer
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Old 05-08-2019, 17:01   #15
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Re: Lombardini FOCS engines decent product? Just bought a 3 cyl LDW903

Absolutely Compass. Not worth risking it. I've heard many stories of timing belts (and chains) breaking and saving $100 turns into spending several hundred or even a replacement engine in a lot of cases. Right now it's time and money (many projects - all important - all costly) so it'd be nice to not worry about it until later (.... unless).
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