Lister Engine Forum

Lister Engines => Lister Based Generators => Topic started by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 12:17:07 AM

Title: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 12:17:07 AM
Hello Lister fans!

This is my first post and thank you for taking a look.

I recently purchased a cabin in the Sierras of California that has the generator listed in the subject. Apparently it had sat without operation for some 20 years. It started up instantly when I jumped it with my truck since it did not have a battery and has run the last couple years, albeit infrequently, without problem! I've only had to replace the fuel control solenoid and fuel filter.

I am not very mechanical or electrical when it comes to engines. I do, however, appreciate well built machines and this seems to be one that I would love to keep. I would like to make sure I know as much as possible about it and maintain it properly. I do have the original manual from the owner, but it has very little information and , of course, not very up to date.

My questions are:

1. What battery is recommended? I occassionally have problems starting it in the morning if it gets below freezing and I end up draining the battery. I will
be installing a solar trickle charger that will stay on the battery permanently so that when it is not in use, which can be a month or more, it will stay charged.
That said, maybe there is a better battery for this generator.

2. What type of oil is recommended? I did top it up with Delo 400 SD SAE 15W-30, but I need to drain it and put new. The manual does not give instructions on
how to replace oil, can someone give me some pointers?

3. How to crank start? When the battery has died, I have tried crank starting, but it is extremely difficult to rotate the handle....does something need to be disengaged to bypass the electrical starter?

4. How to operate the decompressor levers? According to the manual, when starting the levers should point towards the flywheel, is this correct? Do the levers
need to be backed off after it starts? I generally start the generator remotely from the cabin so I am not at the generator to fuss with the levers and have
always just had them at 12' o'clock. Appreciate any advise here....

5. Does anyone recommend an additive to the diesel fuel considering I often leave the generator for a few weeks to a month without operation and thought a dry gas might help...

Thanks for any advise you can contribute!!

Chris
20200327_115809_resized.jpg
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: dkmc on April 04, 2020, 12:49:22 AM

2. Without knowing what oil was in it, it's not a good idea to add in detergent oil. If it had non-D oil in it, all the dirt will settle to the bottom of the sump. When you add in detergent, it loosens up the dirt and sends it thru the engine......NOT good. Change it, clean out the sump WELL.

5. No alcohol based dry gas in diesel fuel.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 02:23:57 AM
Thank you for that.

Do you have a recommendation for oil type.
Where might I look for clean out procedure?
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: dkmc on April 04, 2020, 02:38:12 AM
I'm not familiar with that series engine at all.
However I did just find this via google.....

http://www.winget.co.uk/document/LISTER%20ST%20WORKSHOP%20MANUAL.pdf
If this does indeed cover your unit, be sure and download it, as it is complete and a nice find.

If there's a side cover on the engine crankcase, you would remove that, and scoop out the goo. Wash with diesel fuel, rinse, repeat. It looks like a 15-40 diesel oil like Shell Rotella would be a fair choice.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: AdeV on April 04, 2020, 12:16:08 PM

1. What battery is recommended? I occassionally have problems starting it in the morning if it gets below freezing and I end up draining the battery. I will
be installing a solar trickle charger that will stay on the battery permanently so that when it is not in use, which can be a month or more, it will stay charged.
That said, maybe there is a better battery for this generator.


Any decent sized car or truck battery should be fine. If it's a 24v starter, then two in series. The bigger the better, if you're draining it occasionally. Batteries do have a finite life, and if it's been left flat for any length of time, it's probably wrecked it's charge capacity (don't ask me how I know this...) A solar trickle charger is an excellent idea to keep it topped off; a 100W panel and a charge controller should only cost around $100 these days, I'd have thought, and will give plenty of capacity.


3. How to crank start? When the battery has died, I have tried crank starting, but it is extremely difficult to rotate the handle....does something need to be disengaged to bypass the electrical starter?

4. How to operate the decompressor levers? According to the manual, when starting the levers should point towards the flywheel, is this correct? Do the levers
need to be backed off after it starts? I generally start the generator remotely from the cabin so I am not at the generator to fuss with the levers and have
always just had them at 12' o'clock. Appreciate any advise here....


Not being familiar with your set up.... does it have an automotive style starter, with cogs cut into the flywheel? If so - the starter will be automatically disengaged when not in use, just like a car one. If it's an original Start-o-Matic unit, then the generator is also the starter. Although it's permanently connected (via the belts), it shouldn't add too much resistance at hand cranking speeds. Getting it turning initially will be harder because of the extra drag (and quite possibly a flywheel mounted on the generator too).

To crank start, you need to engage the decompressors. I don't know which way they move; so just push them all the way over one way or another, and try to slowly turn the engine. If it comes to a dead halt, then back it up a bit, and turn the levers the other way. One way or another it should rotate freely (you might also hear a hiss from the exhaust valve on what should be the compression stroke).

Once you've established which way the levers go - now you really need to put your back into it! Start cranking it as fast as you possibly can. At the last moment, using your third hand, flip one of the decompression levers over. WIth a fair wind, and a bit of luck, the engine should fire on one. As soon as it's picked up a few revs, flip the second compression lever. Which one you do first is up to you - you might find the engine starts a bit easier on one cylinder compared to the other... so you'd favour that one.

Good luck!
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: oldgoat on April 04, 2020, 02:15:02 PM
I think the ST series has the cold starting cups try putting some oil in them.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: sirpedrosa on April 04, 2020, 02:30:15 PM
Hi Gentles

Hoping everyone is safe, ST has a decompress lever. Just turn it and crank smartly.

Cheers
VP
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: dax021 on April 04, 2020, 03:50:44 PM
My SR2 has a linkage between the two decompression levers, so they both move in parallel
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: dieselspanner on April 04, 2020, 04:48:02 PM
Hi Chris.

Ref the fuel contamination.

This is a constant problem in the marine world.

As the ambient temperature changes, the air in the fuel tank expands and contracts (obvious, i know, but wait for it.....) the cool moist air sucked in the the evening will have a tiny amount of moisture in it that will condense on the exposed interior of the tank and then trickle to the bottom, beneath the fuel, where it can't evaporate.

Over time it will happily rust the bottom of the tank out and if you're very lucky a biological 'diesel bug' will take up residence on the interface between the fuel and the water.

Once the bug and / or the water gets into the fuel pick up pipe the fuel filter starts to block and nothing but a really good clean out and a hot pressure wash will kill the bug.

The bug getting into the injector pump is a right pain, trust me, I know!

Fuel additives are available, I've never found a really good one which will clean the system out without pulling it all to bits.

The easy answer is next time you visit drain the fuel, clean the tank as best you can, then refill with clean fuel.

Keep filling fuel tank on a regular basis and when you leave the genny, top the tank right up, no air gap, no problem.

If the old fuel is clean you can re use it, I'd put it in my truck, you'll burn it up in a week or so, before it does anything nasty.

Cheers
Stef

Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: mikenash on April 04, 2020, 08:20:05 PM


1. What battery is recommended? I occassionally have problems starting it in the morning if it gets below freezing and I end up draining the battery. I will be installing a solar trickle charger that will stay on the battery permanently so that when it is not in use, which can be a month or more, it will stay charged.
That said, maybe there is a better battery for this generator.


Just a couple of thought further to what Ade has said

In my work we have remote sites with 6-cylinder John Deere engine which may sit unattended for long periods

Three things we have done:

First is fit a cheap-as-chips Jaycar 5W panel trickle charger to each battery.  They have no controller or anything because the don't make enough power to hurt themselves.  They're about $30.  If you have sunshine and a suitable mounting point you could try one of these, it might be a cheap solution?

Second thing is to look closely at the battery & charging system's wiring - are the battery terminal clamps clean and tight.  Are the cables that take the 24V load to the starting gear thick and strong and with good, clean solid fasteners at each end, and with the insulation in good shape, and not rubbing anywhere? Are the batteries mounted solidly - with maybe a rubber section underneath to isolate then from the cold floor and possibly from engine vibration? Are they clamped down firmly.  Is the whole battery and wiring area dry and free from insulation damage?

If the answer to any of that is "no" - then probably you will be getting a small "leak" of current through any one or a combination of the above.  Batteries love to be clean, dry, solid, and wired-in heavy & strong a solid

Third thing is to fit an isolating switch - or possibly two, depending on how things are wired - in the main cable between the battery positive and anywhere else.  So that it's "first" in the big cable going out of the battery.  Have a google - you'll see heaps on EBay or whatever.  When you leave the site, turn the isolating switch or switches "off" and then there's no way for current to leak out of the battery - or not easily anyway.  See pic attached?

If you're going to spend good money on new batteries it will be wasted if the wiring isn't up to spec as they'll have a very short, expensive life

Excuse my long-windedness.  Cheers
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 09:11:37 PM
I'm not familiar with that series engine at all.
However I did just find this via google.....

http://www.winget.co.uk/document/LISTER%20ST%20WORKSHOP%20MANUAL.pdf
If this does indeed cover your unit, be sure and download it, as it is complete and a nice find.

If there's a side cover on the engine crankcase, you would remove that, and scoop out the goo. Wash with diesel fuel, rinse, repeat. It looks like a 15-40 diesel oil like Shell Rotella would be a fair choice.

Thank you  DKMC! That is my unit and there's a lot of great info in there....fantastic!

Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 09:37:40 PM

Not being familiar with your set up.... does it have an automotive style starter, with cogs cut into the flywheel? If so - the starter will be automatically disengaged when not in use, just like a car one. If it's an original Start-o-Matic unit, then the generator is also the starter. Although it's permanently connected (via the belts), it shouldn't add too much resistance at hand cranking speeds. Getting it turning initially will be harder because of the extra drag (and quite possibly a flywheel mounted on the generator too).

Looking at the parts manual, there are a few different designs: a direct drive clutch, a 2:1 or 3:1 reduction gear and a geared up starting. I believe mine is the reduction gear design. I'm wondering if the Dynamo driving belt that is on the electric starting unit is what is giving me the problem....I mean I can barely rotate the crank by hand, need to use my foot, and then it just makes one rotation so something is giving resistance.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 09:43:26 PM


Third thing is to fit an isolating switch - or possibly two, depending on how things are wired - in the main cable between the battery positive and anywhere else.  So that it's "first" in the big cable going out of the battery.  Have a google - you'll see heaps on EBay or whatever.  When you leave the site, turn the isolating switch or switches "off" and then there's no way for current to leak out of the battery - or not easily anyway.  See pic attached?

If you're going to spend good money on new batteries it will be wasted if the wiring isn't up to spec as they'll have a very short, expensive life

Excuse my long-windedness.  Cheers
[/quote]

Great tips, thank you mikenash. I think the answer is mostly Yes, to all those points, but I will definitely look into the isolating switch, seems like a good idea no matter what.
I just purchased a solar charger which should solve the battery problem:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Y5TKMZ4/ref=crt_ewc_title_dp_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A9FP6X594WAFM

Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 04, 2020, 09:47:35 PM
Hi Chris.

Ref the fuel contamination.

This is a constant problem in the marine world.

As the ambient temperature changes, the air in the fuel tank expands and contracts (obvious, i know, but wait for it.....) the cool moist air sucked in the the evening will have a tiny amount of moisture in it that will condense on the exposed interior of the tank and then trickle to the bottom, beneath the fuel, where it can't evaporate.

Over time it will happily rust the bottom of the tank out and if you're very lucky a biological 'diesel bug' will take up residence on the interface between the fuel and the water.

Once the bug and / or the water gets into the fuel pick up pipe the fuel filter starts to block and nothing but a really good clean out and a hot pressure wash will kill the bug.

The bug getting into the injector pump is a right pain, trust me, I know!

Fuel additives are available, I've never found a really good one which will clean the system out without pulling it all to bits.

The easy answer is next time you visit drain the fuel, clean the tank as best you can, then refill with clean fuel.

Keep filling fuel tank on a regular basis and when you leave the genny, top the tank right up, no air gap, no problem.

If the old fuel is clean you can re use it, I'd put it in my truck, you'll burn it up in a week or so, before it does anything nasty.

Cheers
Stef

Thanks Stef. Great info. I actually have been topping up the tank when I leave, just so I know when I return that it is full and ready, so I am guessing that
water in the fuel may not be an issue, but I will drain the fuel tank and give it an inspection....
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: mike90045 on April 04, 2020, 11:30:29 PM
How cold is it when you are trying to start ?  Does it have/use heaters ? Diesel should start on the 1st or 2nd compression, if not, too cold or wrong timing or something  ???   Just my wild guesses
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: AdeV on April 05, 2020, 12:12:13 AM

Are the batteries mounted solidly - with maybe a rubber section underneath to isolate then from the cold floor ...


Ooh - good point. Definitely make sure the batteries are not sitting on a cold concrete floor in sub-zero temperatures, they REALLY don't like that (for some reason). Putting them on a pallet will insulate them well enough... makes them easy to move around too, if you've got a pallet truck!
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: glort on April 05, 2020, 12:39:30 AM

For future Refrence information....

For  battery maintence I have been using these Buck Converters on an old household Solar panel.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/200W-8A-DC-DC-Step-Down-Buck-Converters-Power-Supply-Module-Boards-XH-M400/372889164422?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/200W-8A-DC-DC-Step-Down-Buck-Converters-Power-Supply-Module-Boards-XH-M400/372889164422?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649)

They will take up to 40V and once connected to the battery and it is up to charge, simply ajust the little trimpot to the voltage you want to float the battery(s) at,  13.5, 13.8. 27V  etc.  The converter will charge them up to that level and just hold them there.

Been using this Setup on the tractor and some Garden equipment and worked fine. Recently set up some batteries with an inverter and solar Charging this way Just in case things go down hill with the power.

For battery maintence, a House panel and one of these chargers provides loads of power  and is far cheaper and more effective than the normal small solar type Chargers . This has plenty of power to drive things like monitoring and remote start equipment without the battery ever loosing any significant charge.

With a Voltage relay added, Could also drive a small sump heater to impart some warmth to the engine to stop it getting dead cold and keep moisture out.  They also come in 20 and 30 A versions which would be good for that application.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 05, 2020, 02:15:53 AM
How cold is it when you are trying to start ?  Does it have/use heaters ? Diesel should start on the 1st or 2nd compression, if not, too cold or wrong timing or something  ???   Just my wild guesses

It can get in the low 30's but usually not much lower, it had snowed the night before I had the problem....I did think about having a propane heater on hand to warm up the generator room for such occassions....before I start checking the timing, I want to just get battery, fuel and oil all fresh and primed.

When you say 1st or 2nd compression, is that equivalent to a rotation? Since I start the machine remotely from the cabin, I am not at the machine to see how quick it is turning over, but it can take 4-6 seconds of holding the toggle switch before I can hear the generator actually start...
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: dkmc on April 05, 2020, 03:28:45 AM

You could do like the Indians do in the starting videos, where they hold a flaming rag soaked in diesel up to the intake manifold to preheat things. Or use a propane torch to heat the manifold a bit....safety precautions in place of course.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: mike90045 on April 05, 2020, 07:46:04 AM
If you have not messed around with the timing, and are running ordinary diesel, the timing should be ok.

It takes 2 revolutions for 1 compression event.

Someone mentioned cold start pre-fuel cups or injectors - maybe they will clarify how that works.

And at some point ( 40F, 32F), the engine specs will state you need cold start assist = glow plugs, air preheat but NOT ether spray or starting spray fluid
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: oldgoat on April 05, 2020, 12:20:10 PM
Cold Starters----They are a screwed in to the intake manifold and you half fill them with oil and push down on the piston that fits neatly in them. this dumps about 30 mil of oil into the piston cavity and raises the compression temporarily for a cold start.
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 06, 2020, 01:31:22 AM

Are the batteries mounted solidly - with maybe a rubber section underneath to isolate then from the cold floor ...


Ooh - good point. Definitely make sure the batteries are not sitting on a cold concrete floor in sub-zero temperatures, they REALLY don't like that (for some reason). Putting them on a pallet will insulate them well enough... makes them easy to move around too, if you've got a pallet truck!

Actually, the generator has a stand for the battery that is off the ground and secure....so no problem there!
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 06, 2020, 01:33:30 AM

For future Refrence information....

For  battery maintence I have been using these Buck Converters on an old household Solar panel.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/200W-8A-DC-DC-Step-Down-Buck-Converters-Power-Supply-Module-Boards-XH-M400/372889164422?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 (https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/200W-8A-DC-DC-Step-Down-Buck-Converters-Power-Supply-Module-Boards-XH-M400/372889164422?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649)

They will take up to 40V and once connected to the battery and it is up to charge, simply ajust the little trimpot to the voltage you want to float the battery(s) at,  13.5, 13.8. 27V  etc.  The converter will charge them up to that level and just hold them there.

Been using this Setup on the tractor and some Garden equipment and worked fine. Recently set up some batteries with an inverter and solar Charging this way Just in case things go down hill with the power.

For battery maintence, a House panel and one of these chargers provides loads of power  and is far cheaper and more effective than the normal small solar type Chargers . This has plenty of power to drive things like monitoring and remote start equipment without the battery ever loosing any significant charge.

With a Voltage relay added, Could also drive a small sump heater to impart some warmth to the engine to stop it getting dead cold and keep moisture out.  They also come in 20 and 30 A versions which would be good for that application.

Excellent tips, thank you for that!
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 06, 2020, 01:47:09 AM
Cold Starters----They are a screwed in to the intake manifold and you half fill them with oil and push down on the piston that fits neatly in them. this dumps about 30 mil of oil into the piston cavity and raises the compression temporarily for a cold start.

I've looked through all the manuals and I am not seeing any mention of cold starter. It does mention that for easy starting the "load must be disconnected from engine" What does that mean exactly? Could that be the reason the hand crank is so difficult to rotate?
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 06, 2020, 01:54:32 AM
I'm not familiar with that series engine at all.
However I did just find this via google.....

http://www.winget.co.uk/document/LISTER%20ST%20WORKSHOP%20MANUAL.pdf
If this does indeed cover your unit, be sure and download it, as it is complete and a nice find.

If there's a side cover on the engine crankcase, you would remove that, and scoop out the goo. Wash with diesel fuel, rinse, repeat. It looks like a 15-40 diesel oil like Shell Rotella would be a fair choice.

Shell Rotella T6 I'm guessing?
By rinsing with diesel fuel, would I just put back the oil plug after draining the oil, fill with diesel and drain again?
There is a crankcase door on the side, which the oil filter and oil filler are located...you recommend removing that whole assembly to inspect/cleanout around the camshaft?
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 06, 2020, 01:59:59 AM
Here's a pic of the gen:
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: dkmc on April 06, 2020, 02:11:28 AM

 T6 is synthetic. Its not required. RotellaT should be fine.
Any sludge or goo will be in the bottom of the sump mostly. Drain oil. Install plug. Toss in a pint or 2 and mix it all up with a paint brush. Drain. Repeat. If the upper areas look dingy, spray them down with a bit of aerosol Brake clean, then wash again with diesel, Kero, Mineral Spirits, Naphtha, or Paint Thinner........any of those will work. Carb Cleaner might soften the paint, so avoid that.

I'm not familiar with that series engine at all.
However I did just find this via google.....

http://www.winget.co.uk/document/LISTER%20ST%20WORKSHOP%20MANUAL.pdf
If this does indeed cover your unit, be sure and download it, as it is complete and a nice find.

If there's a side cover on the engine crankcase, you would remove that, and scoop out the goo. Wash with diesel fuel, rinse, repeat. It looks like a 15-40 diesel oil like Shell Rotella would be a fair choice.

Shell Rotella T6 I'm guessing?
By rinsing with diesel fuel, would I just put back the oil plug after draining the oil, fill with diesel and drain again?
There is a crankcase door on the side, which the oil filter and oil filler are located...you recommend removing that whole assembly to inspect/cleanout around the camshaft?
Title: Re: HELP WITH LISTER ST2A 14 H.P.
Post by: ChrisW on April 06, 2020, 02:18:06 AM
Excellent, thank you!


 T6 is synthetic. Its not required. RotellaT should be fine.
Any sludge or goo will be in the bottom of the sump mostly. Drain oil. Install plug. Toss in a pint or 2 and mix it all up with a paint brush. Drain. Repeat. If the upper areas look dingy, spray them down with a bit of aerosol Brake clean, then wash again with diesel, Kero, Mineral Spirits, Naphtha, or Paint Thinner........any of those will work. Carb Cleaner might soften the paint, so avoid that.

I'm not familiar with that series engine at all.
However I did just find this via google.....

http://www.winget.co.uk/document/LISTER%20ST%20WORKSHOP%20MANUAL.pdf
If this does indeed cover your unit, be sure and download it, as it is complete and a nice find.

If there's a side cover on the engine crankcase, you would remove that, and scoop out the goo. Wash with diesel fuel, rinse, repeat. It looks like a 15-40 diesel oil like Shell Rotella would be a fair choice.

Shell Rotella T6 I'm guessing?
By rinsing with diesel fuel, would I just put back the oil plug after draining the oil, fill with diesel and drain again?
There is a crankcase door on the side, which the oil filter and oil filler are located...you recommend removing that whole assembly to inspect/cleanout around the camshaft?