Lister Engines > Original Lister Cs Engines

3 or 4?

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I bought the only decent *looking* 12.5JC Onan  (four cyl. air cooled, 12.5Kw) for $51 and then bought a combo gas and propane carb. from a burnt up genset that sold for a dollar....but I paid $10 for the carb.  One of those 'both went away smiling deals'.  I got the engine running in half a day but the voltage controls are bad and it puts out 90VAC no matter what I do.  Replacement part is $600 and an aftermarket is $ it sits in the shop and gets cranked once a week or so because it sounds so cool.    ;D  (sounds like an old 750 Honda in first gear at 10 mph.)

  All the Listers were 1800 rpm three cylinder engines and all could be well inspected before sale  because most of the major parts were gone and buyers could look right into the crankcase and SEE the seized rods and stripped gears and such.  They went for the price of the trailer they were sitting on.  The Wittes were the same....missing major parts, like cylinders and chunks of crankcases.  All total there were more than a dozen old gensets that had been in or started range fires or been shot or otherwise wrecked.  I think there were only two sets that could have run, and I got one.  The other was identical to mine but was mounted in an old horse trailer with a big fuel tank and sold for a couple hundred bucks.

I *did* buy an old spur-geared ton and a half chain hoist for $10 and a one-legged blacksmith's vice for $40.   ;D

The Yanmar gensets are now the preferred generator/engines in these parts.  There are a dozen or so on remote cattle watering wells within 20 miles of here.    Onan killed their market with $500 service calls that usually resulted in uncertain results. 

I've been a 'gun guy' all my life.  I found out very early in the trade that the REAL problems arise when a mechanizm is 'pushed' beyond it's limit.  More pressure, more velocity, more violence means less accuracy and less dependability and a shorter life......and a REAL pain in the butt, most of the time.
  Engines and guns share a LOT of the same attributes and problems....more speed equals less life. It's just that simple.   And, of course, the addition of plastic, pot metal, and chintzy parts only shortens it more.

Sorry to hear you drove all that way for not much.  From your earlier post, it sounded like you were going to return with an instant collection, but when old engines like the Wittes are missing major parts, that quickly becomes a long-term project, doesn't it?

Well, at least the propane carb should keep you busy, and the Onan sounds like it wasn't a bad acquisition, either.  Yes, the 750 did have a nice sound.  I always wanted one of them, but was a little afraid of that much power, so stuck with what I knew, and that was the 350s. 

Rode to Colorado the day after graduation from high school.  As it turned out, it was the beginning of a heat wave.  Heat followed us (a friend on an identical CB350) all the way to Grand Junction.  I was sick from the heat.  Unable to get and/or keep any food down after we passed Lost Wages the first afternoon.  Figured it would be prudent to head for home, so turned around and headed right back through it (Duh!).  Salt Lake desert in a summer heat wave on a small displacement motorcycle is to be missed!  Didn't feel better until we got to Reno  and started climbing toward Lake Tahoe in thunderstorms.  That was the last cross-country bike trip I took! 



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