Lister Engine Forum

Slow Speed Diesel Engines => Other Slow Speed Diesels => Topic started by: pfg on December 06, 2021, 05:26:16 PM

Title: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: pfg on December 06, 2021, 05:26:16 PM
Hi and thank you for letting me join the forum!

I have a Lister Blackstone ERSM6 currently under repair and would appreciate some advice. I do have the original instruction/parts manual, but it does leave rather many details out. If anyone have knowledge of these engines and could help me out here I would be very grateful.

As a background, I purchased the engine together with all auxillary equipment (heat exchangers, air tanks, oil tank etc) 'at the side' and have started to install it in a boat. I've got it preliminary lined up against the propeller shaft and am now disassembling and renovating to put things back again by spring-summer next year. All cylinder heads are off, next is pistons and liners. The engine has not been running for approx 30yrs, so I recon I have to replace the double o-rings at the bottom of the liners. Probably need to special order those to be manufactured. Then I plan to indicate crankshaft and level the bedplate accordingly, to finally tighten the 18 M24 bolts (12 for eng and 6 for gear). If everything goes well, I will start it up sometime late summer next year. 

First issue is suitable cylinder head gasket material to manufacture my own gaskets. The old ones are, after many yers of duty, roughly 3mm thick and really compact. Now, question is what new gasket material to what thickness to use to get acceptable compression rates to fill the gap for the up to 0.4mm protruding liner? Usually you want the gasket as thin as possible, but able to get acceptable compression rates over the whole surface. Yes, the max cylinder pressure is listed as 66 kg/cm2, which seems pretty moderate?

Then, if anyone knows any weak spots of this particular engine and have tips on how to correct them, it would be really helpful. Not nice to find internal oil pipes burst while at sea!

Best regards,
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: cobbadog on December 07, 2021, 05:19:52 AM
Hi Peter and Welcome to the Forum.
What part of the world are you in so that members can direct you in the right way. Here Australia there are many places to supply gasket material even make them for you quite cheaply as many of the old engines already have been copied depending on the exact model. Sometimes a sample one may need to be supplied but I understand you would like to make your own. Someone will be along hopefully with the right thickness paper to buy. Some head gasket paper comes with metal in the middle for the heat. Are the originals just a paper gasket or not?
 If you say the old ones come in at around 3mm then you will need at least 4mm thick new. As for the "O" rings, a local bearing shop will be able to put as many on the counter top as needed. This is something that is readily available. By taking a liner with you they can measure the size of the groove to get the thickness right and then measure the diameter of the liner and again get that right. Discourage them from supplying metric size "O" rings as they should be Imperial.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: 38ac on December 07, 2021, 11:01:18 AM
While there are certainly much more talented people around than I but personaly I would not undertake shop made head gaskets for that engine when there are means to have them correctly made. As Cobbadog said there are several places here in the states to have it done but I use John at Gaskets To Go. He is an American who lives in Tiawain. The work is forst rate, prices are very reasonable amd delivery is quick. Hint: have and extra set, made.  it costs little. 
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: mobile_bob on December 07, 2021, 03:43:38 PM
+1 with John at gaskets to go!

his gaskets are absolutely state of the art

i had him provide me with head gaskets for my s-195 and he sent me a half dozen for about 7 bucks each, that was maybe 12 years ago?

they are of vastly superior construction, carbon/metallic with print o' seal around all the water ports, excellent gaskets

i say this based on the extreme use i put them through, running the engine at max load with a pressurized cooling system running between 205 and 214 degF, absolutely no leaks or weeping at all.

far superior to the oem gaskets, and i suspect a quantum leap over indian head gaskets.
at 7 bucks each i can't imagine even thinking of trying to make one unless it was a zombie apocalypse and i had nothing to replace one with.... even then it would be a tall order to get something that would work for any length of time.

bob g
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: pfg on December 08, 2021, 01:22:59 PM
Hi again and thank you all for the replies!

Yes cobbadog, I realize that I should have told more on the background and my plans, my bad!

I reside in Gothenburg, at the west coast of Sweden. As it is a coastal city, we have some old ships and henche ship engines near by. Most of them are Swedish or at least Scandinavian, like NOHAB Polar, Skandia, Seffle or B&W Alpha. The Lister Blackstone is quite rare. I am a member of a non-profit association for historical commercial ships, i.e. over 12m. Mine is 25m and considered medium sized. It is privately owned and renovated by me, which is on the edge but only works since I refurbish old equipment and try to learn along the way. I've attached a photo of the boat in the floating dock this summer when I did a overhaul with sandblasting and repainting.

The head gaskets are roughly 44x35cm, as the attached picture. The one installed are simply hand made, which can be seen on the uneven shapes, and made from a single piece of dense gasket material. The protruding liner is also clearly visible. I asked my local gasket provider,, and they kind of recommended Flexitallic RGS3, which is a steel reinforced carbon gasket. However, since they did not have any experience in combustion engines, they could not tell for sure that it would work. After talking to the manufacturer, Flexitallic, I found they did not know either. Guess they are more into chemical/process industry. Thing is I would not want to blow out this gasket, and if I could learn something about proper head gaskets and their compression rates at the same time it would be even better.

My original plan was to provide my gasket provider with a drawing, like dwg, and have them machine out the shape from a suitable material. They have a large sized gasket CNC knife cutting machine. This will be rater expensive including all the several m2 of gasket material as I would want 12 pcs, double my inital demand for the 6 cyl engine. 38ac and mobile_bob, you both recommended Gaskets To Go, that is in Thailand, right? They look really professional and I will definately ask for a quotation, but I think the total, inc trp and import charges, will be hefty. Even so, you have a point in getting the professional stuff, and there is only half zombie apocalypse here for the moment!

As for the gasket thickness, the manual list a liner projection of 0.23-0.35mm, so let's say 0.3mm. As an example, let's go for the RGS3, which has a max compression rate of 50%, which will then occur around the liner. Using a 2mm gasket, we then get the head to block distance 0.5*2+0.3=1.3mm, which corresponds to 35% compression. A 3mm gasket gives 40%. etc. Is this a useful way to deal with gaskets to make sure they do not leak or am I way off? 

Regarding the o-rings, since the cylinder dia is 8"3/4, or 222mm, the rings are around 240mm, which is too large for my present provider. Bringing the liner is possible, but not feasable since it is not easy to carry along. I use cranes and fork lifts not to kill myself while handling things. I'll see if I can find another company for the o-rings.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: 38ac on December 08, 2021, 09:50:20 PM
Yes Gaskets to Go is in Thailand, not Taiwan, sorrry
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: cobbadog on December 09, 2021, 04:59:24 AM
Beautiful job on your ship. With your "O" rings use a vernier caliper to measure the diameter of the inside of the groove on your liner, the width of the groove and then the inside diameter of the engine block. These are the 3 critical measurements to get the correct size "O" rings. Write them all down in metric and imperial sizes but being UK made is most likely imperial sizes only.
I live in rural NSW Australia and our local small town has a bearing shop that also sells "O" rings and he has always been able to supply me with the right size "O" rings so yes shop about. Even if need be do some online shopping in a larger city near you.
Without a doubt having the head gaskets made professionally will be far more reliable than knocking some out of possibly the wrong material yourself. It may cost a little bit but for the peace of mind it will be worth it. On some restorations I have done I think of all the work that had been done to get to this point and to take a short cut or skimp on using the proper part and then have to redo the job again in 12 months never appeals to me and is false economy. So I can only suggest have them made.
The paper gasket in your picture was not badly constructed and I cannot see any imperfections in it so why was it removed? Was it just to inspect the general condition of the engine?

 Now when you do reassemble the heads onto the engine I always use a head gasket sealant. This can cause some hot debate as we all have our own ways of doing things. 50 years ago they use to use Silver Frost paint but this was the original style that had aluminium specs floating around in the can and it did seem to take up any small imperfections. Now days I use a copper spray made by may companies and it is sticky as well and any excess wipes off with a petrol rag. When I have been in a pinch and doing a lawn mower engine and no new gasket available and I was off to a Rally I reused the gasket with the spray. This was around 9 - 10 years ago and it is still working. At the same time when I sis my David Brown Cropmaster style 30C tractor engine up totally, even though all surfaces were machined I still used the head gasket spray.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: mikenash on December 09, 2021, 07:38:55 AM
Hey PFG - re O-rings

Here in the pumping industry in which I work, we simply make our own O-rings.  The round-cross-section rubber is available "off the shelf" in all sorts of diameters and various materials.  We simply cut them to length with care taken to get the length just right, and to get the cut ends square - then super-glue them together

I use such O-rings routinely in 150mm and 200mm diameter pipe flanges where water is being pumped at pressures up to eight or ten bar. 

Because the O-ring is sized correctly for its groove, and is completely contained in the three sides of the groove of one flange and the flat face of the other - they never leak or blow out

You will have suppliers of O-ring material who will be familiar with this process - so it may be an option if the O-ring is adequately contained

Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: dax021 on December 09, 2021, 02:50:54 PM
Just make sure you use the correct material for the application.  Also made my own for many years to use on petrol (gas) pumps at filling stations. We used "viton" mainly
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: pfg on January 05, 2022, 03:35:05 PM
Small update - Mostly indoor work preparations due to wet and cold weather during winter.

Yes, have thought about O-ring by the meter, but have bad experience with the brittle joint created by the cyanoacrylate.
After some searching I found another supplier that seems to have the required size, will check as soon as I get the liners out.

I have read a bit on the head gasket issue and seems a graphite composite gasket reinforced with thin sheet metal around the combustion surface is the way to do it. Anyhow I will ask GasketToGo as soon as I get a cylinder head to my workshop for measure.

Also fixed up some tools for future use, mostly for the turbo charger, a Napier MS100. These tools was supplied with the engine, but were in very bad shape.
Only lack one, the so called "Screw-jack ANR.81645" second top left on page 47.

In addition I made two more tools, one for lifting cylinder heads and one for piston. The latter lock in two grooves on top of the piston.
Will also make an extraction tool for liners so that I can use two hydraulic jacks on top instead of porta powers against the crankshaft.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: cobbadog on January 06, 2022, 10:44:39 AM
Nice work with the tooling. It does make it easier when you can put your hands on the right tool when needed. Everything will come together in good time and you now have companies to contact that can supply your needs once you have all the correct sizes at hand.
Look forward to hearing and seeing any progress as it happens.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: pfg on June 16, 2022, 10:26:27 PM
Well, finally some small update on the renovation!

I have managed to draw all liners, but it was not a straight forward task. To make room for the power jacks I first removed as many BSF 1" pins as possible using a 2m bar. I guess I manged with some 35 out of the total 48. Then I used two 10t power jacks on top in addition to two 5t porta power against the crankshaft. Even so it was on the edge the liners popped with a bang. Amazing that nothing broke, considering the force must have been in excess of 50t in total. The tool I used was a 20mm steel plate under the liners and a M30 rod to the top where it connected to a 100x100x10 tube above the power jacks. Have attached a photo, but rather dark I'm afraid. With the liners removed, it was a piece of cake to warm up the pin holder from the inside, and so I tremoved the rest of them! Next I cleaned out the water cavity (very messy, must have been some 10kg of rust there) and painted with a special urethane heavy zinc paint. After some more cleaning up of the heavy soot oil in the sump, I will put in three new liners I managed to find together with three of the best used ones. For the purpose I made an indicator clock to measure the wear.

Yes, I also managed to find O-rings of the exact size near by. They had both metric and imperial, so it was a simple task. I also made a drawing of the head gaskets. It took some iterations with printing and cutting cardboard for testing before I was satisfied. Then I found a local supplier which was actually cheaper then Gasketstogo (inc freight, toll and VAT that is).

All in all, most things are now disassembled but I need to clean out the engine base, which is a messy thing. The old lube is like tar and full of soot. After that I will level the engine and start assemble it. However, now summer is here and outdoor work on the boat is prioritized so I will probably wait until fall to continue on the engine.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: cobbadog on June 17, 2022, 07:07:29 AM
So good to hear that you are making progress. 50 tons is a lot of force to get the liners to pop, that would have me shaking at the knees for fear of breaking something. Glad you found a supplier of "O" rings, as I may have mentioned our local bearing shop carries both metric and imperial in all sizes and he too is cheap. You have a winner with the head gasket, well done and hope you can get the sump cleaned up and ready for assembly soon. Kero works well in cleaning up soot and carbon from diesel engines.
Title: Re: Lister Blackstone advice
Post by: mike90045 on June 19, 2022, 11:02:41 PM
throw some cheap ATF into the sump to start loosening the gunk up.