Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Rob PetterPJ2

Pages: [1] 2 3
Hi guys,

I'm sorry I didn't reply to your questions for an update, but just recently I picked up the project again, and I think I have some good news. Jee, 120 days have past...

When Jim Perkins, from the UK, had sent me a copy of the Petter PJ2 manual, he had somehow overlooked that many pages were missing. Something I first noticed when I couldn't find certain info in it.
Anyway, he has then sent me a complete copy.
But I just kept measuring and measuring the cylinders and the pistons and tried to find out, to what degree the cylinders needed to be bored or honed again, in a friends garage, but I kept being insecure about it. The manual didn't and doesn't mention the ideal piston clearance, or margin it should stay within, anywhere! It just kept me puzzled too much.
First when the cold of the winter left us, it became tempting again to occupy myself with this boat engine. SO, I had to decide what to do.

Now, the good news is, that, with a friend, Jack, who had worked in a garage, and knew more about repairing engines than I, I took the stuff back to the engine revision workplace and simply asked them: "Can you just look at it, measure the cylinders and pistons again, and see what could have gone wrong and what can be done to get it fixed?"
And the guy of the shop, Mike, did measurements right away. He saw there were slight differences in the cylinders they had honed 4 months ago. He did accept the possibility that the pistons they had bought for me were maybe not such good quality as I acknowledged that I had screwed up by not knowing I had to adapt the piston ring gap myself according to a manual that I then didn't yet have.
They were very busy but they would see what they could do. This Mike called me a week later and said they fixed the stuff as good as possible. The cylinders were honed 0,02 mm more (about 0,008" is that?) and the damage on the pistons was polished away a bit. Not ideal, but buying all new stuff again was not the option I'd go for.
There was no bill attached.

So, I went back to the boat with the engine sitting in it, and was then thinking about that slightly bent connecting rod... I was advized to not keep that one there. I apparently thought it would have been quite a job to get the rod out, but I could reach the two bolts from the already open side of the engine and it took me just about 20 minutes to get it out.
My friend Jack said it could be bent back by a professional. I took it to the same engine revision shop, but Mike said it can't be bent back. On internet I also saw it's 'not done'. It would be stupid. OK, new problem...
I called a spare part supplier in The Netherlands. They didn't have it.
Then I tried Jim Perkins, this evening. Sent him an email, and, YES, he has the connecting rod and a new bearing and he has already shipped it to me!

So, I hope soon to have put the engine back together. I don't know how long the not so good pistons will do the job. I think of selling the boat, or move it out of Amsterdam, because, again, the city wants to raise the tax and thinks of doubling it! The past years the city said they raised the taxes (x5!!!) because 'fossil' fuel engines are bad for the climate. Now they want to raise the taxes because they need the money to maintain the canals and the bridges!

I understand I may find the exact measures of the barrel and that of a piston, and then deduct and find the clearance.

I've sent the engine workshop who bought the pistons and did the honing the info from the manual, about the exact measurements for the cylinder for a +020 piston and asked if they'd want to take a look into it all being right, and do another measuring, when I'd bring the stuff over. I also asked where they'd bought the new pistons because I wasn't all that happy with them being different from the originals at various points and that I considered doing some shopping again. I didn't mention any blame. Just the things as they are: I have these questions.

10 days later, still no response.

I got very busy with other stuff, though.
The plan, now, is to contact the two resellers of Lister Petter parts and see if they have pistons that look more, like the originals, preferably, identical!

I have ONE question, that I do not find the answer to in the manual: what the clearance should be between the piston skirt and the barrel!


I wait for the manual t be delivered, look at the advised clearance, then check it with the one OK piston, and then see.

It's a HUGE amount to do with a hone. And..... you would NEVER be able to keep the barrels straight and true with an engine hone no matter if you set it up in a drill press or whatever. They would be wide in the middle and narrow at the ends guaranteed.  Definitely needs to be done on the proper machine by an expert.

They talked about honing  and I think, indeed, the barrels aren perfectly straight, because that one piston that does seem a fraction larger (or deformed), when I push it through the barrels, the resistance is not equal everywhere.

And sure, that's exactly what I thought about honing. They way it's described, "never have the stones go out of the barrel" means everything away fro the ends of the barrel will be touched by the stones more than the ends.

So, Glort, I should go there and...

I thought you fitted over-size pistons and rings? 5 or 10 thou is a lot of metal to hone off if the pistons are oversize.

What about 20 thou... as +020 are the new pistons. But it was that engine specalists plan to do it like that, and they carried it out, so they said. If you look back in the posts, there are all the details about this.

Hi you all

Amsterdam just doesn't want any engine that smokes. No hybrids either! Not even two engines (electric for city use, fuel for out going trips) That's what they'd announced, earlier. Actually they want to get rid of all the private boats, so you should always hire one for a canal trip. Everything commercial. They do gooders seem to envision a Disney Park. Indeed, Amsterdam would not be Amsterdam anymore! If there's anything I like, it is taking pictures of all the crazy boats. Nowhere as colorful a collection as here!

Electric cars can load the batteries at the border of town, where diesel generators standing next to the loading units, produce the electricity...
Biodiesel is already standard. And then we have to put a drop of extreme poison in it to kill the bio, to not let it stuff the pipes...

I've tried to separate from my boat earlier, but it's also my darling, that I love and sometimes hate. It's also my floating garden house, in front of my place, and a guest room for two. Hard to decide. But getting the engine to start by hand, which is now too difficult, is where I'd love to get.

The valves are really OK. To turn flywheel with valves closed is a hard job. I need two feet at the flywheel to get it over the compression.
I'll investigate the costs of a proper renovation. And be happy to use all you guys knowledge.

why you think the barrels need a new bore? To keep the barrel walls perfectly straight, maybe?

It sounds like the thing will be worth nothing and you'll have to fire sale it anyway. Whoever does buy it will probably have to replace the engine.
Get it running and sell as is.  Might also be worthwhile looking at what you could get for it now as against what you will have to spend on it to get it going.
Might be better just to take a lesser price and save yourself the headaches.

I saw that there are two Lister Petter part resellers in The Netherlands, that sell also the old stuff.
Now I think,

Plan A could be: go with the slightly bent rod and guess it won't break, since it hasn't done so yet in 4 years, get me a new piston again, and hone the barrels according what the manual will say.
Or get me a new rod as well, if it's not too expensive and when I can put it in while the engine stays where it is. The block has doors on either side, I think I can reach the nuts of the rod on either side.

Plan B: maybe I should take the hole bloody monster apart, as the job for the winter, check all details, clean it all, and see if I discover the cause of it being too hard to start by cranking it by hand (without start pilot, as the dealer who sold me the boat did!), and, if its worth it, rebuild it all and make it look gorgious and function well.

I wish Perkin's shipment would be delivered (the manual especially!)
I'll keep you guys posted!

here's a theory concerning a bent rod and a replaced piston:

Starting Fluid (ether)

At some point, someone may have dosed the engine with ether while attempting to start it.   The ether fired, the engine broke a piston and bent a rod.

Yep, the guy who sold me the boat started the engine a few times for me, with start spray. I never used it, because I then read one shouldn't.

The more I learn about this engine, the more I feel like selling it as scrap and getting me an other one built in!

 The new piston that was scuffed and chipped, was that attached to this rod by any chance?

If you take the engine out, replacing it with a newer, smaller, lighter water cooled unit would have many benefits.
Water cooling would be quieter for a start and if you live on the boat you could use the cooling water for heating the Boat and even showering if it has one.

As a matter of interest, How is the engine compartment air Circulated on your boat?  Does it just have big Vents on the deck that push air through with the movement of the craft of is there some sort of fan forcing air through?

Hi Glort,

the old, broken piston as well as the new, rubbed off piston were on the other rod, not the bent one.

I used to be happy with the air cooling, for it being simpler. A pump less that could malfunction, and less pipes to worry about, like leaking, getting stuffed, freeze, forgetting valves to open or close.
A later project would have been, to give the hot air two options out: one straight out, and one through a system through the boat, for heating.

Since it was just an open life boat, the engine was covered with a fiber glass case, and the fan of the flywheel pressing the air along the cylinders and out at the side. Not a place where you wanted to be sitting.
Since I built a cabin over the boat, it couldn't stay like that, and have the hot air fill the cabin, so I made a noise absorbing case around the engine, and built a system that reversed the stream of air, so that it sucked out the hot air through a wide chimney.

There's one problem with new investments in an other fuel driven engine or spending much on this one. Amsterdam wants to forbid having any boats with fuel driven engines and allow electric engines only. First they aimed at 2020 for this rule. But it is being delayed. Till when, we don't know. But the thousands and thousands of boats in the many canals have no loading unit nearby. The boats become worthless. At the same time, the city raised the tax for fuel driven boats to 5 times and makes a lot money from the boats it has criminalized (Like with the cars in London). Maybe that's the reason for the delay: the council counts on the tax revenues it gets from the fuel driven engines and already knows on what great projects (of friends..) to spend it on..
If this law passes, most people will try to sell their boat around the same time and no one will want to buy one...

This is why I thought I have this engine fixed and sell the boat and get me small one (because of the size of it I pay way more tax than I could have envisioned when I bought it, before Amsterdam started to raise the tax 5x) when it may still be possible. I thought it would be harder to sell a boat with a rotten engine.

It may be nice to have an electric engine for short trips through the Amsterdam canals, but not long trips. It makes a lot of boat owners, 99% of whom have their boat in 'their canal' near their home, pissed at the Amsterdam council. It's the destruction of capital. Where would they load the batteries? I now need a cable of 50 meters (over the street) to get from my apt to the battery of my boat, or power the tools. I'm lucky to have it that nearby For the bigger boats the electric engine and batteries cost a lot.
It's the uncertainty of the near future law what's disturbing. Also, as soon as 'everyone has an electric engine, they'll raise the tax for it as high as now for the fuel driven boats!

Was there any rust or water in the cylinder or sump? conrods arent easy to bend in service usually hydro-locking is the cause in my experience. You'll have to start at the beginning with 2 equal conrods and machined bores.

Hi Johndoh
Water in the cylinder? Not that I know. Not in my time, at least. By me, the engine was always used in a dry place.
When I see the pictures of the bent piston rods at this webpage, mine is just very slightly bent. Not as bad as any of the examples there. As I wrote before, it results in a difference of only 1 mm in length. It even looks like it's made like that. But a bent rod, just to connect two points in this engine, doesn't make sense. So it's bent by some accident. Jeee. When, and by what, I have no idea. The piston that sat on it, was not the broken one. I guess it was bent somewhere in the 40 years before I had it.

The more I learn about this engine, the more I feel like selling it as scrap and getting me an other one built in!

Thanks for the tip!

I sure understand your frustration, Glort, when you observe this guy, me, treating an old Petter as a learning object. I indeed thought that taking the thing apart and putting it back together in the reverse order would do the job. But what kept me busy was also: what was the cause, or were the causes, of the old piston to break? Why that one piston and not the other one? And that I had to check whatever could be checked, like
- equal fuel delivery
- fuel injection timing
- oil supply, oil leaks
- type of oil
- compression
- valves
- exhaust pipe
It was noticeable, due to the blue smoke, that there was a problem there, before this shit happened. A friend, very experienced in renovating classic cars and engines, helped me adjust the valves. I talked about the blue smoke to the owner of the oldest oil shop in town, having all the various oils for the old classic engines, and he suggested I should try thicker oil, for the engine having worn out. There was logic in it, so I did. Using the thicker oil may have been wrong, for being a possible cause for even quicker overheating.
While on a long boating trip, the engine had severely overheated, and seized, when the air cooling had been accidentally blocked and I had not seen it, steering at the front of the boat.
Since then, the engine kept heating up quicker, and the exhaust smoking more (and blue). I needed 9 hours of boating to get the boat home, which I did in steps, altered with cooling periods. And then one cylinder showed to be overheating extremely fast, making it clear there was a mayor problem in there. And then I found that one piston being broken.
And that's when I got my confrontation with the unexpected fine details of the Zen of Diesel Engine Assembly...

Is it possible that someone had replaced a barrel at some stage in the past? If you switch barrels do the pistons level correctly? Measure the conrods and barrels and see if theres a difference.

Hi Johndoh
it has become a long thread with lots of text. It says somewhere I measured everything (barrels, pistons) and, together with there not being any freeplay in the piston rods' bearings, I was left with only one conclusion: the piston rods aren't equal, and that's why the pistons don't reach the same height in the barrels. They don't even LOOk equal. There's a slight difference in shape (a light curve in one), though they show the same code, "P57" and a "J" on them.
Now I'd be surprised if someone would say the light curve in that one rod (think of a saber) would have been caused by a mishap. Though, were it straight, it may just reach the same height as the other one... That's one for you, Glort, to add to the list ;-)!

So this engine has definitely been doctored on by a creative mechanic of the ship line it came from (in a life boat). As I wrote earlier one of the two bolts connecting oil banjos to the cylinder heads was wrong as well. A fraction too big and 6 mm shorter than the other one. Thereby damaging it's thread and by the latest re-assembly, causing oil to leak. Therefor I'm waiting for Jim Perkins delivery of an original bolt.
The old pistons weren't equal either. One was original Lister Petter, had this name engraved on it), while other one, the broken one, had only a number engraved.
I see no reason to believe that one of the cylinder barrels were ever replaced. They're identical.


I'm of the opinion that your reply is rude, indeed, as you suspected, but then, you didn't care.
Your remark about the level of embarrassment is way out of line. You fill in for others too quickly. I'm very embarrassed. Still, I want to be honest.

To answer to your concern about the injectors.
This is how I got the engine. Understanding that three holes may deliver fuel different than four holes, I measured the delivered fuel of each, by letting turn on the start engine, and let the fuel be spit into two of those thin laboratory glasses, that make measuring liquids easier. I did that over and over again, and adjusted the delivery of the two fuel pumps according to it.

Pistons not reaching the same height.
This is how I got the engine. One of the pistons rods is a fraction shorter than the other, as I had guessed it was. It has nothing to do with the bearings. The rods aren't exactly equal. Noticing the difference, I took the shims, that were there when I got the engine, away, there, and put them under the other cylinder, to equal the bump clearances, and with the cylinder head gaskest, that I cut from material especially made for cylinder head gaskets, that I only do not remember the name of, because I bought it years ago, from a shop for Classics and old timers, after which they were exactly right, according dieselgmans notes.
I've been endlessly measuring the bump clearance in all kind of ways, to get to the 1 mm, and I was happy to see the engine fire at the first attempt, the two cylinders responding the same way, with equal force, and the cylinders warming up equally, as never happened before.

Suspecting the pistons to be slightly different
I had been measuring the pistons sitting in the cylinders and came to the conclusion they've not exactly the same diameter. I had measured them at different spots. My main conclusion was: they're different.
Well, THEY ARE. But why?
Now that I took the cylinders and pistons all off, again, and slide the pistons through the cylinders (WITHOUT THE RINGS), one immediately feels a difference. Piston 1 has to be pushed, doesn't like to go through, but will with a continuous push. Piston 2 slides through easily.
For Piston one, I can not imagine it expanding a bit through heat and then still going through. It seems to have its maximum width already.
Now I am aware there could be a reason for piston 1: it's damaged by the seizing. May be it got deformed, but....

But let me tell you:
When I put the new pistons in the very first time, when I reassembled the pistons and cylinders I noticed getting piston 1 into the cylinder was more difficult than piston 2. And I told the engine revision garage right away. When turning the flywheel, piston 1 would lift the heavy cylinder up. Remember, they said it was "not unusual". They had said this happens sometimes when they assemble engines and they didn't think much of it. They had actually said sometimes force is needed to get a piston in, while another pitons easily slides in into the cylinder next to it. For me THEY were the specialists that I thought I had to trust, for them doing this work day in day out.
I think my suspicion was more right than their denial.

I have already written about this, but when I called them about the problem of the broken piston, it was THEM, the specialists, telling me what they could do for me: bring the pistons, and the cylinders and we have a look.
I went there. They said: We'll measure the things, check things out, and you pay 40 euro for that and our advise.
When I came back after a few days they presented me with their idea: because of the scratches in the cylinder wall, we'll have to hone them. We'll search for new, slightly bigger pistons.
And when they found the piston supply shop, they let me know the price for the pistons, the shipping and the honing, and I said OK and then they went to do their specialists thing.
They didn't ask for measures. They gave me the impression they knew what to do and how to do it. Their workplace is a hall full of engines they are fixing (I hope). I earlier had good experience with them.
I don't know how they decided about the measures for the honing, how deep to go, how much the clearance should be. They seemed to know what they were doing!

Did they supply the rings? Yes, they came with the pistons they had ordered.
No, the ring gaps I did not put in the wrong positions. I could figure out all by myself, what was the logical thing to do, there.

If new honing clearly has to be done, then I'll be ready to pay for it again, when they think they have done it right the first time, even when it doesn't seem to have the right clearance.

Glort, thanks for your advises, so far.
You added a whole list of things to check. I have that list already. It's all in the Lister LD manual that I have mentioned a few times.
You forgot one thing: the fuel. That I should put diesel in.

BTW, the tank was loaded with red diesel, when I got the boat. I brought it away. I had to clean the tank anyway. And the fuel pipe. And the filters.

Hey Rob, pistons should be round and the sides should be parallel. The cylinder bores should also be round and the the same size all the way up the bore. The manual should tell you what the correct clearance between the piston and the cylinder should be. Some pistons have a mark on them indicating which way they are to be fitted, this is usually because the gudgeon pin (wrist pin) is slightly offset in the piston.

The wear on the piston in the photograph suggests that the piston is not round and that the clearance with the cylinder wall is too small. Alternatively the cylinder walls are not parallel. Take them back to the shop that did the work and shout at them until they put it right.


Hi Bob
you might encounter a dispute with the other guys here about the possible oval and parallel shape of pistons in general. I've read there are even barrel shaped pistons, and the oval shape would be normal when the piston is cold. It would get round when heating up. It's all about fractions of mm. When I measure the old pistons, the difference in length and with of the oval would be no more than 0.05 mm (roughly 0.002"), as written earlier.
The Lister LD manual, of a 1 cylinder engine, does mention the  direction of the pistons and says it would show the right positioning by the word "Camshaftside" on it.
My old-, nor the new pistons mention any such thing and do not show a mark, or sign. It only shows a number.
When I look into the bottom side of one of the old pistons, I see a tiny desaxation. It could be as little as the thickness of a penny, or even half of that. It goes to the side of where also the number is written at the piston's top.
I understand the function the desaxation (now that I've read about it).
I may have put the new pistons in wrong, both of them with the number at the other side. But could that have resulted in seizing after two minutes running stationairy without load?

I'm waiting for the better manual to be dropped in my mailbox, that's being sent by Jim Perkins from the UK.
It's a pity he had to tell me its a manual of a slighty different model, still... hm. I'll know how 'slightly' when I have it in my hands and see the illustrations.

I wait for that, study the book, before I dare go back to the engine renovation garage to show them what happened. I bought the honing tool and oil, but if honing needs to be done, I may still have them do it.

And yes, I will consult an expert, Matt!

There's one more unusual thing, with this engine: one injector has 4 spraying holes, the other one only three. This was discovered when I had them tested. For the rest, they're identical.

Pages: [1] 2 3