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Messages - aqmxv

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Listeroid Engines / Re: Porting a Lister cylinder head and intake
« on: November 04, 2013, 05:00:59 PM »
I cleaned up the ports on my Metro 6/1 IDI head.  It wasn't because I was expecting lots more power, but because they were obviously not close to what the design shape obviously was.  It was basically an exercise in 'gasket matching' with the idea being that sharp corners, crud from a cracking and porous core, some included core sand, etc. were bad things.

The only thing I remember seeing that looked really bad to me was the area where the seat throat machining intersected the short side radius, which was a sharp 70 or so degree angle.  I blended that in hopes of preventing flow separation, but I doubt magic will occur at 650 RPM.

Now cam lift, duration and timing obviously need to be close to Dursley specs.  Given the large time windows and that nobody is trying a tuned intake yet, a few degrees and tens of thou either way won't matter much.  I would be really surprised to hear that Lister didn't try different cam timings on the 5/1-6/1 before settling on what they built for decades.  

If you're not getting the curtain area/time number you need then VE, power and efficiency will all suffer, and that's all a function of our known-crappy Indian camshafts.  It's also pretty easy to fix with a little care and a drill press...

Listeroid Engines / Re: Porting a Lister cylinder head and intake
« on: November 01, 2013, 03:43:10 PM »
Anybody ever try one of the "ceramic" coatings on the piston top and cylinder walls ?  Or would that still be too much mass and continue to suck the heat away ?
 DIY kit:
CBC2 POWERKOTE  (scroll down to it)

Anything you can do to slow heat transfer to the mass of the engine from the combustion process will increase engine efficiency.  Remember, our Carnot-cycle engines all work by making hot AIR, not hot metal.  I also intend to ceramic coat the piston top, combustion chamber face, valve heads and (particularly) the precombustor chamber on my 6/1 if I ever get the thing built.

The master plan is to build the set, run it in, measure a baseline BSFC at a couple of different loads, then take the bits of interest off, ceramic coat them, and retest.

And yes, running the coolant jacket hotter than boiling point is also guaranteed to increase combustion efficiency, because the delta-T (and thus rate of heat transfer) between engine mass and combustion is decreased.  The good news is that you can theoretically run an all-iron engine very hot.  The bad news is that it's really hard to regulate/limit engine temperature much above about 15 PSIG, which only gets you to an operating temp of 240F or so in non-boiling mode.  Something tells me that it's going to be very hard to get the cylinder block and head to stay watertight at anything above that kind of pressure.  It's fun to look at a steam table and consider running the thing at something like 30+ PSIG though.

Listeroid Engines / Re: WOOD GAS CONVERSION???
« on: February 14, 2012, 10:14:18 PM »
I don't know about it for Listeroids particularly, but it's a very common tweak for diesels used in stationary applications where natural gas is available, like natural gas pumping stations and so on.  The governor systems I've heard about (on engines in the 200-2000 HP range) injected a constant baseline of diesel fuel and governed to match load load with natural gas injection.

combustion-wise any hydrocarbon gas is roughly equivalent to any other - the only difference is energy content/unit volume (which is dependent both on chemistry and temperature).  The big gotcha with stuff like producer gas is the semi-combustible crud that plates out when it hits a piece of cool (even 190F) metal.  Intake valves sticking closed on shutdown is not unheard-of.  Ash uptake might also be a concern with wood gas as well, and filtering hot wood gas is probably not the easiest thing in the world.  Corrosive components can be a concern as well.

I know it's an old thread, but I thought I'd put in my $.02 anyway.

I had to deal with this exact problem.  I bought a Metro 6/1 and tore it down, then moved to another state and went back to school, so had no time to finish the build and get a generator running.  Then I went and bought a house up on top of a hill with terrible power utility reliability.

I needed a generator, I needed it to be reliable, electric start (so the wife could start it), and I needed it quickly.  I also needed to spend as little as practical on it.  The doctors on either side of us put in turnkey auto-start 10+ KW LPG units.  None of my cars cost that much, so I certainly couldn't afford that solution.  I also didn't want more than about 7 KW capacity because I wanted good efficiency and no wet stacking.

My friend with an addiction to large green trucks formerly owned by the US Military hooked me up with an ex-US Army MEP-002A for a very reasonable price.  It's a 2 cylinder four-stroke air cooled Onan design rated at a nominal 5KW, which sounded a little marginal, until I found out that the 5KW rating was at 10,000 ft MSL, 100% duty cycle, and 80% power factor.  The civilian generator with the same power head was rated at 8KW.  It's not auto-start, but it is electric start and comes with handy operating instructions on a metal plate atop the control cubicle.  Also has a neat output switch capability that gives you the choice of 120V/1ph, 240V/1ph or 208V/3ph.  Lots of people use these (and their larger 10KW sibling) to run 3 phase equipment in shops instead of paying the power utility to run a 3 phase feed.

It's rather loud, but it's also completely indestructable - The design has exactly two faults: 1: there is no overcurrent protection on the field circuit, so you can cook the voltage regulator if you idle it instead of just let it spin up to near 60 Hz as it is supposed to, and 2: the injection pump is a little fragile if the engine is allowed to sit and grow gunk in it.  That's it.  Fuel economy is pretty good: about 0.5 USG/hr at rated power.

That's what sits beside the shed waiting for the next ice storm.  When i get the listeroid put together it'll be a cogen system, and will be expected to provide supplemental heat and power from waste oil.  There's no easy way to do this with the military generator as it is air cooled and is (a little) pickier about its fuel.

The listeroid is a toy with practical applications that forms part of my long-term energy management strategy.  The military generator is reliable standby power here now.  I don't plan on getting rid of either one.

Original Lister Cs Engines / Re: Removing Cobbled up Flywheels
« on: August 22, 2011, 10:49:30 PM »
Yes, get the rust down to bare steel on the high spots of the crank or you'll never get that flywheel off.

Once you've got the engine apart, I recommend you look into electrolytic derusting for rust removal - easier and works better than anything else (other than Evapo-Rust) that I've tried.

and the reference:

You'll need a big container for the large parts, but it's definitely worth the trouble, and it will probably keep you from having to machine anything down.

Original Lister Cs Engines / Re: Just got a phone call...
« on: August 09, 2011, 07:47:18 PM »
Lucky dog...

Lister Based Generators / Re: Test runs
« on: July 28, 2011, 08:07:05 PM »
I am careful to run monthly full-load test runs.  It's about to get a lot easier to justify the cost in the summer months - We're probably going to go to time of use metering on the house and the top tier of pricing this year is 44 cents/KWh.  Rough calculation shows that as close to a breakeven for pump diesel in the home genny.  If I mix some waste oil with it, the number gets better.

I wouldn't bother with the metering except that the off-peak lowest tier rate is 0.4 cents/KWh.  I'm looking into an off peak ice bank like we use at work for peak-load air conditioning...

Original Lister Cs Engines / Re: Lister VA Project
« on: June 09, 2011, 08:53:22 PM »
It's not precisely on topic, but worth mentioning - if you consider the conversion losses from mechanical energy to electrical and then back to mechanical when you have no more than six horsepower sitting around (postulating a CS one cyl here), then going direct mechanical for work makes more sense.

I'm thinking about putting a line shaft in my shop.  I'd prefer to use more modern belt technology than flat belts (which are a pain and inefficient), but the idea is the same - the losses of spinning a shaft on ball bearings have to be a lot less than double conversion of mechanical energy.

Yes, one can run the air conditioner with a Lister and a generator, but why not just run a refrigeration compressor with a belt from the Lister and cut out the middleman?

Interesting to note that Lister's JP series (as they later became known) which slightly preceded the CS range, did use separate cast cylinder liners with I believe the same patented "Listard" chrome plating for longevity. I'd heard about the current reversal at the end of the process to create a minutely pitted surface, but this is the first confirmation I've read of that.

You didn't mention improved heat transfer when plating the bores directly, although this may be more relevant to air cooled engines. I was involved with Italian built Moto Guzzi V twin motorcycles for many years. They went one step further in the 70's providing chrome bores by plating directly to the alluminium cylinder barrels, claiming better heat transfer over the plain cast iron liners they were also using around that time. This was only partially successful as many suffered the chrome peeling from the surface, however they later developed far more successful "Nikasil" bores, plating with nickel instead.

Regards - Richard
I read about the Listard method here - don't have anything positive from an original source on this, although I suspect someone in UK would know.  It's intuitively obvious, though, electrochemical etching isn't exactly an unknown process.

Heat transfer is more of a concern for some engine designs than others.  The high power diesel crowd have to run very exotic antifreezes to cope with dry sleeved engines with high power density.

Chrome plated aluminum bores were always more problematic.  The Germans managed it consistently, as did the Japanese.  I had a 440 cc 2-stroke Kawasaki with chrome over aluminum cylinders.  I'm not shocked that the Italians had troubles with this in the '70s - they had trouble making stainless steel not rust in that decade.

Nikasil was adopted everywhere because it was a lot cheaper than chrome plate, I'd think, although there are horror stories involving silicon lined bores in the USA from when GM got it wrong in the Vega engine.

Listeroid Engines / Re: Fuel Consumpsion - How To Calculate
« on: June 08, 2011, 10:51:01 PM »
I'll pitch in one idea that Amarbir might have missed:

Technical fuel consumption is always measured in the laboratory by mass of fuel.  This is true of wood, coal, diesel, gasoline, methane, etc.  You burn so many grams or KG of fuel and get so much heat (or power) out.  The reason for this is that the fuel's energy density is measured by unit weight - a gram of a particular diesel fuel makes so many calories of heat energy when burned.

But it's difficult to measure the weight of a container with a hose coming out of it, so the first thing the scientist does is take a sample of the fuel and find its density at standard temperature, and then calculate the energy density of a litre of fuel from that.  It is very easy to measure the amount of ml of fuel consumed from a marked container, so this is the way it is usually done.

Fuels vary both in their density (grams/litre, usually about 850 for diesel fuel) and in their energy density (cal/litre, Mj/litre, diesel usually about 34 Mj/litre).  Back when I worked in a lab, we had to measure a sample of fuel from each batch to determine just what it was so that we knew what its characteristics were.  We would also run the fuel in an engine of known properties and verify that it behaved as the laboratory results and manufacturer numbers predicted.

It's important to compare fuel consumption results with known loads and known fuels, or you don't really know just what has changed to cause a different result.

You know I could never understand why the Brits did not use antifreeze... my Listeroid sits in -30C awaiting its call to duty, with no freezing issues.
Well, ethylene glycol antifreeze only appeared in 1926.  I believe it was a DuPont offering, which would have made it an expensive foreign offering in the UK market.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were a process patent on the production of ethylene glycol at the time.

I know that methanol antifreeze (which is awful - corrosive and boils off at running temperatures) was still common in WWII - it was used in the Allison and Merlin-powered US fighter planes, among other things.

Then if you consider that most Lister CS engines used thermosyphon tank cooling, that's a big volume of water to treat with antifreeze.  John Farmer doesn't have that kind of cash laying around in depression-era Britain.  But he can (and does) drain the water out of the engine when it's below freezing at a cost of zero.  Until he delegates the task to his 15 year old son who forgets about it one frosty evening while thinking about the milk maid down the lane...

Listeroid Engines / Re: Fine Tuning a Listeroid - To Pefection
« on: May 24, 2011, 10:13:09 PM »
Hi Mates ,
 I am it again lol .Would Like To Know How To Fine Tune a Listeroid to Perfection .Some Things i Need To Learn .

1 : Balancing
2 : Tuning Piston For Clearance
3 : Perfectly Setting Up The Values Etc .

          Other Parameters You Can Help And Guide Me Better To  .
There are high tech ways to balance an engine, but this works about as well as anything for something like a 6/1  If you want to see more about the theory and practice of balancing, read the whole message thread.

Piston clearance is pretty easy - you measure it with a piece of soft lead or clay.  Be sure to measure on both sides of the bore as the crankshaft may not be square to the bore - this is fixed by moving the crank bearing mounts or by shimming the cylinder unevenly.  Here are some threads about piston clearance:,,

Values or valves?  The first thread on piston clearance covers most of the values to  use.  Valves are pretty simple to set for clearance.  The problem is that many of the Indian rocker arms are very poorly finished and do not work the valves in the correct manner.  You can search here for several discussions of this.  Hotater's build of his FuKing is the worst one I've seen.


Yes a removable liner would be better. However, the original chrome plated cylinders were extremely long lasting. When they finally wore out they were re-bored +10 and oversize piston and rings fitted. If Lister carried out the work they would also re-chrome the bore.
I want to explain this a little more for Amarbir's benefit.

First, it is worth mentioning that the original Lister CS engine was designed for extremely long life in a primitive (agricultural) setting in UK and for export.  The reasoning was that it was better to make the engine very durable and inexpensive to run at the expense of a higher purchase cost. 

By this reasoning, Lister elected to cast an integrated cylinder and water jacket and then apply their proprietary chromium plating to it.  In combination with plain iron piston rings this provides an extremely long life for the cylinder, as the piston rings (cheap and easy to replace) wear much more quickly than the very hard chrome plate of the cylinder bore.  A Lister CS with weak compression will generally need just some valve work and a replacement of piston rings before it can be returned to service.
I can think of three reasons why the Indian manufacturers of listeroids chose to change to a separate wet sleeve cylinder and water jacket:

  • It was cheaper to make the water jacket separately and dig out all the casting sand, then press the cylinder into the water jacket than it was to make the cylinder and water jacket together, which was the most complicated casting on a Lister CS
  • It was easier to make a round cylinder out of a round centrifugal casting than it was to bore a stationary sand casting with inclusions and voids to be round and smooth
  • Industrial chromium plating is both difficult and somewhat expensive.  A properly plated cylinder bore is one of the more difficult forms of industrial plating, and it is possible that nobody in India knew how to do the Listard process (which was apparently nothing more than reversing anode and cathode currents for a few minutes at the end of the plating cycle to erode the bore plating for oil retention).  Now we have other, cheaper methods of hardening a cylinder bore surface, such as nitride treatment or electric induction hardening.  The original chrome plating procedure would be OK too, if properly done.

The one weak point of the Lister CS in colder climates is that it does not tolerate freezing well, and the water jacket often cracks when water is frozen in the engine.  This is what our British correspondent is noting, and why there is a demand for new cylinders in the UK.  To be honest, I don't think there's a disadvantage to a properly machined wet-sleeve cylinder compared to the integral cylinder casting of the originals.  But there are qualifiers there - the holes in the water jacket casting must be square to its top and bottom faces, and the cylinder bore must be a close fit in those holes with a well-defined O-ring relief in place. I would arrange for a tight slip fit and use RTV and a flange seal rather than O rings, but hey-I'm a 21st century guy.

Generators / Re: How to clean a generator covered w/diesel soot?
« on: October 29, 2009, 09:53:59 PM »
Re badness of solvents: they're all bad in different ways.

Organo-halides like perchloroethylene, triclhloroethylene, and the infamous carbon tetrachloride are all pretty bad news for your liver.  I hurt myself with TCE and no gloves back when I was young and foolish.  My liver enzymes eventually went back up to normal levels (I was in a job that included a full tox panel every six months), but it took about five years after a summer of exposure to the stuff.  Now I'm quite careful not to get any of that class of solvent on my skin - it goes through it quite well.  Neoprene gloves are quite helpful for this sort of thing.  There's also an inhalation risk, of course, but if you have any sense, you use it outdoors, so contact is the more dangerous problem.  In the longer run, several of these compounds are known carcinogens, so limit total exposure, and give your body a rest of a week or more between exposures if you get a hole in a glove or something like that.

On the other side of the ring we have aromatic hydrocarbons.  Benzene, toluene, xylene, and naptha (which is a distillate soup) are typical.  Many of these are carcinogens as well (particularly benzene and naphthalene), but don't have the liver hazards associated with them.  That doesn't make them safe, exactly, and they're vastly more flammable than the chlorocarbons, which is why they aren't used much as industrial solvents anymore - things that kill workers in five minutes in a plant fire get banned a lot faster than things that take decades to do the deed.

Modern low-VOC pump gasoline acutally has relatively little aromatic hydrocarbon content - EPA hates the things, so they're on the way out - replaced with branched aliphatics like iso-octane.  There's no lead either, of course, unless it's avgas.  It's distinctly possible that sticking your arm in pump gasoline is now better for you than sticking it in xylene or a chlorocarbon.

If I had one to choose, it'd probably be something like n-hexane.  It's highly flammable and has a high vapor pressure, but it's a great solvent and is pretty cheap and not particularly toxic.  Winter-blend gasoline should be close to that as well.

When I'm cleaining my own stuff, I usually use something like Stoddard solvent/varsol/kerosene initially in the parts washer, then, if it's sensitive, I rinse it with brake cleaner to strip the residual oil off.  Sometimes parts go into the dishwasher - the detergent plus washing soda does a great job on kerosene residue.

For electrical stuff?  I'd take it apart, find somebody running a motor shop, and see if they have an evap tank, dip tank, or something similar.  An evap tank with the right chlorocarbon in it will solve your problem, and because you're not doing the cleaning, you're not getting the exposure.  Don't know where such a motor shop is?  Call the local safety-kleen distributor...

Listeroid Engines / Re: Checking for sand
« on: October 08, 2009, 09:22:51 PM »
I'll third/fourth this.  My Metro was pretty clean inside, but some determined tapping with a pick and hammer found several small pockets of casting sand here and there.  You won't know what's there until you take the thing apart. 

Besides, if it's an Indian 6/1, you need to take the flywheels off to properly fit the gib keys anyway - they put them in with a sledge hammer in Rajkot.

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