Lister Engine Forum

How to / DIY => Engines => Topic started by: Chasingcars on September 09, 2018, 07:58:34 AM

Title: Losing the will .....
Post by: Chasingcars on September 09, 2018, 07:58:34 AM
After years of watching other lucky peopleís engines, the (uk) Dorset steam fair this year is where I finally took the plunge...sheís all mine! 1959 petrol lister with pump set up.
Now it Should have been a fully working engine with just work needed on pump...a nice easy starter engine project for me..
Sadly not the case..
I can get her going ..just! But sheíll die after about a minute..I thought old fuel etc so drained , checked pipes and refuelled. Nope..not that!
Iíve cleaned everything I can see...changed spark plus , fuel, checked pipes, connections etc..
If you can sing it I can play the scenario here  :D
Talk me through what I need to check and Iíll try that next!
Your help would be greatly appreciated as I really want to get this little lady up and running!
Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: ajaffa1 on September 09, 2018, 10:00:06 AM
Hi Chasingcars, and welcome to the forum where old guy like me hang out once we have stopped chasing girls, reading pornography and getting drunk.

So you have petrol Lister that will only run for about a minute. You have checked the fuel side of things and all is OK. A couple of things spring to mind the first is that a minute of running produces a lot of heat, especially in things like the valves. If the valve tappet clearance is too tight you will start to loose compression as the valves heat and grow in length. Second is faulty high tension lead that can also get warm and fail. Try starting it in the dark, if there is lightening running all over the HT lead replace it.

You don`t tell us which model of Lister petrol engine you have so it`s very difficult to provide any further advice at this time. Just a thought, if the fuel is gravity fed to a carburetor try unscrewing the fuel filler cap, some of these have a breather hole in them that can get blocked, any slight vacuum will prevent fuel flowing to the float chamber.

Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: glort on September 09, 2018, 10:31:15 AM

I would suggest the fuel system as well, especially if there is a fuel filter.  You never know when the filter was fitted or how much crap might have got in the tank over the years.
If it's blocked, it may allow a little fuel to fill the bowl / line over time but not keep up with the demands of the engine once running.  I would disconnect the lint going to the carb and let it run out to make sure there is a good steady and constant flow.

Some of the listers have rope type filters which can look a bit different to other types so make sure you find one if it has it.
You could either delete he rope filter and just use a disposable or replace the rope filter and add a disposable in front of it as they are going to be a lot easier and cheaper to source.

Also make sure the Carb float level is right. Just spend some hours fixing my fathers forklift that was carrying on with this and the airbleeds are clean and not blocked

What does the thing do when it stops? If it backfires or kicks backwards it's probably lean. If it dies with black smoke and a smell of fuel, it's rich.

One other tip, if you have ethanol based fuel there ( E-10, whatever)  NEVER use it in a stationary ( or any other ) engine.
That rubbish will pull moisture from the air which will then condense and gie you water in the bottom of your tank which ends up in the carb giving problems.  It also has a 20 oC lower boiling point than straight petrol so can cause vapor lock and related problems in warm weather especially due to the lower boiling point of the Ethanol.
IF you think there is not enough to cause a problem in a 5-10% mix, remember 1 Ml of Alcohol will boil off to 1L of vapor in your fuel system. That's a lot of gas in your fuel system.... especially if you are blending the E-10 with veg oil in a diesel... Which you are not but just mentioning for the benifit of those who may.

Any other symptoms you can let us know about would be helpful.
Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: sirpedrosa on September 09, 2018, 12:21:26 PM
Greatings to all

Hope is the last one to die!

Take a few turns of rope on the engine polie and pull, it's work for our little kids.

But it is at this stage that everything begins. Of course it will not be easy at age 40 to turn valves in there seat, and cut them to the correct clerance, when we did not see how it was when we were 10 years old,  with those guys with the cigarette at the corner of his mouth, and the engine head in his lap - and iron patience - turning and turning the valves with the suction cup.

The engine does not work just because we want it, it has to work because we know perfectly well how it has to work.

Good work to all, and a nice week.
Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: cobbadog on September 10, 2018, 06:52:08 AM
It does sound mainly like a fuel issue. All advise offered so far is good advise so take your time and systematically go through the fuel system.Starting with a spotlessly clean fuel tank, lines and carby. Try using a pressurize can of carby cleaner and spray it through all the galleries to ensure they are clear. check and set the float as suggested. Make some basic settings to your air bleed screw, I usually use 1 1/2 turns out from the bottom of the thread. Try to start and run and hopefully all will be good for you.
Next check your valve clearance, again already suggested and gap them to specifications.
If after all this you still have an issue you have to consider the magneto and a suspect coil. Coils can work when cold and break down and stop working as they warm up. I have a flywheel/magneto ignition tester. It allows me to test the points, must be spotlessly clean and gapped right, condensor, the most common fail part in ignitions and then the coil. It allows me to test the condition of the coil and shows me a spark in a window. Then I put the meter into warm mode which heats the coil and then do the test again. A bad coil will not spark again once warm as it is 'tracking' inside somewhere. This means that there is a break in the insulation or moisture is inside and the spark will track down the carbon, moisture and short out.
Try replacing the condensor first if you feel there is a problem after setting your points. Remember always remove your points and thoroughly clean them and where they sit to remove any dust, oil or grease. Keep us informed as to your progress.
Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: dieselspanner on September 10, 2018, 07:26:23 AM
Swift and dirty.........

Pull the air cleaner off, start engine, as it dies squirt a little petrol from a washing up liquid bottle (or similar) into the intake.

If you can keep it running (think of those YouTube clips of guys starting big block motors with no chokes) then fuel is the issue.

Check the filter is not blocked by running without it, ditto the exhaust.

If you don't have a compression tester stick your thumb over the spark plug hole (with the plug out!) and get some one to rotate the crank, is there a difference between cold and hot, after the engine gives up?

After that it's electrics, first check the timing of the points. If that's spot on then out of the 'come in handy box' rig a circuit through the points with a 12v coil, 12 volt battery and a condenser, thus bypassing everything but the points, if that works it's likely to be the magneto or the condenser.

Do it it that order, least amount of work first......


Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: Chasingcars on September 10, 2018, 09:05:49 AM
Thank you for all the excellent advice ...Iíll start again today methodically working through..
Title: Re: Losing the will .....
Post by: glort on September 23, 2018, 09:58:46 AM

Any luck with this?