A Little TLC For Our Ford Lehman Diesel

With the daytime heat in the 90s every day we are ready to spend time working inside the boat and enjoy the air conditioning. A couple of projects that have been in the back of my mind are perfect for a break from teak and painting. Well, as much of a break as working in the engine room can be. An issue with the Ford Lehman has been the overflow for the fresh water coolant. It is simply an overflow and does not draw the coolant back into the tank when the engine cools down as most diesels do. This requires that it be manually poured back into the fresh water tank as it accumulates and is kind of a pain. The folks at American Diesel, http://www.americandieselcorp.com/ , are the experts on the Ford Lehman engine. If Bob Smith or Brian does not have an answer to any question about these engines, then there is no answer. They do have a replacement neck for the fresh water tank that will allow the coolant to overflow and then return back to the tank. I had ordered one of these and have had it on hand for a while now, so it was time to install it. The installation is pretty straight forward and the old retainer that hold the cap needs to be notched with a hack saw blade so it can be bent inward and removed. The new neck is coated with epoxy where it will go down into the tank and with a little coaxing with a hammer and a block of wood it slides into place. Once the epoxy sets it is ready to be reinstalled and attached to the overflow tank.

While the tank was off it was a good time to replace the thermostat even though we have not had any problems. With everything apart and the thermostat exposed it made sense to replace it since we had no idea how old it was. At the same time we ordered a complete water hose replacement kit from American Diesel and any of the hose that were removed in the process were also replaced and eventually they will all be done. With the tank off we also removed the water tubes that run to the heat exchanger. The hoses there were replaced and all of the parts received a fresh coat of pain since they were off the boat. All of the hose clamps for these sections were also replaced. The whole process took about 2 1/2 days, mostly to allow the paint to dry.

One other peculiarity with the engine was the raw water strainer. Someone had attached a 3 inch brass pipe on the inlet side of the raw water pump, then screwed the raw water strainer into that pipe so the strainer was hanging on the side of the pump. What made this worse was the plastic bowl of the strainer was sitting on top of one of the main stringers. With engine vibration it would only be a matter of time before the bowl for the strainer broke, not a pleasant thought. And if this were not enough the top of the strainer was above the waterline so air could get trapped in the strainer and this made cleaning the strainer more difficult than it needed to be since we had to manually refill it and make sure it was completely full. So the strainer was moved and mounted on a board on the side of the engine compartment near the intake seacock. The mixture of bronze and brass fittings and elbows were removed and bronze hose barbs attached and the water hoses and hose clamps were all replaced.

That has been our latest project. The engine room and the engine will need a lot of my attention. We will take our time and do it right so that we will have fewer problems once we set out for cruising. Our kids are coming down from up north next week so we wanted to get everything done before they arrive. While they are here we will spend some time just enjoying the boat instead of working on it. That sure will be different and we are looking forward to it.


  1. Good posting and nice site. Can you include dates with the postings? It will just make following a little easier. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion Tyler. Blogspot is a free service so I am limited to their settings. I will take a look and see if I can set it up that way. The postings are in order of when they were posted. The most recent first and the oldest last. Chuck


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