Ford Lehman Engine
I'm looking at a boat built in '72, with the original Lehman 120 engine. The broker just let me know the engine has 10,000 hours on it, but he's not sure when/if it's had a major overhaul or rebuild.
I'm thinking re-power, but I'd be interested in hearing alternative opinions.
I don't think you'll know without having it hauled, throughly inspected and the oil analyzed. I would suspect that a 35 year old marine diesel with 10,000 hours on it was due for a complete overhaul, and depending on corrosion, cost of replacement parts and availability, might be past it. I saw a boat with an otherwise fine Thorneycroft diesel I rejected because the cost to repower was 50% of the asking price.
On the other hand, there are 40 year old Perkins 4-107s and 108s happily chugging away, not to mention Atomic 4s going back to the '50s. Parts and more importantly, a competent "user base", is available in order to make the best decisions.
A repower can give you a warranty, likely greatly improved emissions and fuel efficiency, and access to current parts. Depending on your usage, this might be the way to go. If you want a slow-turning workhorse, however, you could just as easily drop in a reconditioned Perkins for a fraction of a new repower...if it doesn't mean rebuilding engine stringers and mounts!
I will say that the old engines were designed to be rebuilt. Whether that is cost-effective is another story.
This is the link to American Diesel. The owner, Bob Smith, was president of the Lehman division of Ford. American Diesel Corporation
They can put you in touch with companies that can give you a price for a rebuild of the Lehman. Unless you do it yourself, I'm guessing that it won't be that much less than a new Yanmar. The real question is, do you want to put a new engine in a '72 boat or spend less with the rebuild.
Lehman is a great engine, but even one that has been babied, will need major work @ 100,000 hours.
My Lehman Super Turbo 90 is just a baby at 1,780 hrs. It's got to be one of the most reliable diesels ever marinized. Of course, much credit is due to the Ford tractor engine, but leave it to those Brits to make a great marine conversion.
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