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Old 06-12-2020, 11:25   #1
jas
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Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Looks like we're about ready to wind up an extended refit and have called to schedule a diesel mechanic to come get the Ford Lehman 80 hp up and running. Been sitting about four years with occasional starter engagements to make sure we weren't seized. However, when talking with mechanic, I got that cold chill down my back when he said it would be an ordeal. My background is in aviation and hold an A&P mechanic license which has stopped several shops from pulling the wool over my eyes and prescribing much about nothing. I have very little experience with diesel engines - other than checking the oil, exhaust for water flow, fuel filters and belts. She was running nicely during the delivery in 2016. So, would like some feedback about what I might be looking at here. Perhaps rebuilding the injection system? What else would commonly be prescribed for the ole girl? Many thanks in advance.

John Shearer
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Old 06-12-2020, 11:44   #2
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Likely, there is a maintenance plan for that engine. Depending on hours used and time since last mainenance. The mechanic would be well advised to follow that plan - if he has it. If not, he might work from general recs. Filters, oil, belts, impellers, zincs, some more checks, possibly cleaning the tanks come to mind. Checking valve adjustment, injector pump adjustment, injector spray, compression can be done. A check of the exhaust manifold may be in order. Checking the engine foundations and anti vibration feet. Water and fuel hoses. Additional work if something is not perfect. Are parts still easily available?


It might make sense if you could get hold of the maintenance plan.
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Old 06-12-2020, 12:17   #3
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

If the engine was running fine four years ago when it was put up I would check the oil (dip-stick) and start it up.
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Old 06-12-2020, 13:05   #4
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

If youíve been turning it over occasionally over the last few years, check the oil and coolant, dump the boat in the water and fire it up.

Itíll need an oil change at some point, but no biggie.
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Old 06-12-2020, 13:14   #5
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

It seems to me a worst case scenario could be rust in cylinders, rings, etc., even a little bit of which could mean a rebuild or new engine. Probably a high likelihood there will be major fuel contamination issues to deal with for some time.


You might turn the key and have it run... Maybe it will keep running... Your guy might want to pull the injectors, fill the cylinders with oil, let it sit a few days, turn it over slowly by hand a few times. I watched a great mechanic save a rusted diesel that way once. Later tried it on a Yanmar that turned over fine but had rings rusted into pistons so would not run. We couldn't revive it and ended up buying a new engine.


If bacteria have been growing in the diesel tanks (likely), you're looking at potentially a lot of work to get all the crud out- over weeks of running. In the meantime, you'll face the possibility of the engine cutting off at any time from clogged filters, fuel pickups, cutoff valves, etc.



Best of luck. But steel yourself for possible trouble.
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Old 06-12-2020, 13:39   #6
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

To all responders, thank you! These are all very helpful in getting my mind in a place to support the expertise of the mechanic but also have a sense if he might be heading above and beyond the realities we will find soon enough. I do have the engine operating manual and will research the existence of a maintenance plan first off. Also think an off fueling, polishing, and refill might be a good idea. Again, many thanks to everyone.
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Old 06-12-2020, 15:23   #7
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Personally I would check the oil ,connect a battery and start it. Maybe replace the water pump impeller . Fuel, get an outboard fuel line bulb,add flexible tubing both ends and feed one end into the fuel tank,to the lowest point, suck a bit out into a container an see if itís clean,if itís clean your are good to go,if not you have another project!
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Old 06-12-2020, 15:44   #8
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

John, these are tractor engines, all nice big bolts and very low tech. The RN had a turbo version upped to 140hp and Mermaid Marine in the UK took mine to 200hp on a dyno with new pistons and turbo, inter cooler etc, so pretty bomb proof engines.

Not the most economical, but very reliable if given nice clean fuel and the oil changed occasionally. One odd quirk is if the injectors leak, they dribble on to the top of the valves and cylinder head top under the rocker cover, so the oil level starts to rise as the oil is thinned down with diesel. Mine had a phosphor bronze raw water pump which was nice and never needed an impellor plus could be run dry for while. No idea how much that cost, came with the engine.

Change the oil and fuel filters then fire her up.

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Old 06-12-2020, 15:57   #9
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Check the batteries, fluids, belts, hoses. Press the starter button and see what comes.
When I was (long time ago) logistics officer in the dutch air force the sale of old material was in my activities. You should have been there when these scrap buyers came to take delivery of old material on wheels or tracks. New battery for starting, a jerrycan of petrol sprayed over the intake manifold and start her up. No babysitting, just start her up.
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Old 06-12-2020, 16:50   #10
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Yep I'd check the impeller & give it a go.
If you are a plane mechanic I wouldnt be too frightened of diesels at all.
Just get hold of a service manual if you can.
They are pretty low compression engines so not instant starters I'm told. I'd try some WD40 or engine start in the air intake for 1st start.
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:45   #11
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

You folks are amazing! Have a multitude of good thoughtful responses and feel the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train. Many thanks to all!
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Old 07-12-2020, 13:59   #12
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

I bought a GB about 5 years ago that had an 80. It had been on the hard in cold (mi.) dry storage for 3 years. We splashed it, charged the battery and it fired right up. After running a bit we changed oil, fuel and oil filters, and impellers and gave all the rubber stuff a once over. Fantastic little engine...I put 6500 miles on her while doing the Loop with zero issues. I always changed oil at 100 hours and did an oil analysis at every change to develop a history.
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Old 07-12-2020, 15:20   #13
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Does it look like the water has coolant in it? (flush & change) Prone to eating a hole thru the liners if not. Pretty small 'job' to replace them though and rather cheap.
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Old 07-12-2020, 20:52   #14
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

These will run forever if maintained. Do all above. Might run fresh water through it on the hard. Simple engines.
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:13   #15
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Re: Rebirthing Ford Lehman 80 after a few years on the hard

Diesel is a fantastic inhibitor of rust etc. As suggested by others check the engine over and fire it up,
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