Lister Engines > Original Lister Cs Engines

Electric starter

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Hi All

At long last and thanks to the lockdown I've finally assembled the parts for the electric starter.

It's quite a simple affair, I got a friend in the UK to get me a 12mm steel blank knocked up - water jet, to fit the centre of a Land Rover 2 1/4 flywheel (left over from when I changed the engine in my Series III for a 200 tdi from a Discovery) onto a weldable taper lock bush sized to fit the shaft on the Stamford alternator, alongside the serpentine belt pulley (there's just enough free length), that took a couple of years or so.

So, in the middle of last week I dragged the Lister from under the covers in the corner of the shed and set too.

First problem was rotation, it's not possible to fit the starter between the engine and the alternator, the body of the starter motor fouls the body of the 220v alternator, so it had to hang off the rear, on the other side. A shame really, it would have been a neater installation. This meant turning the alternator round and running off the other flywheel. The other option was start again with a larger diameter flywheel, but that could take another couple of years....

Obviously the alternator, apart from the direction of the air cooling) is indifferent to direction of rotation.  As the alternator mountings are not symmetrical it was out with the disc grinder and start again.

Once it was re aligned I shaped a short length of 3" of angle iron to take the starter and aligned it to the flywheel with a square and tacked it to the chassis. I set it up to be adjustable in the manner of a vehicle alternator, to allow for the Stamford alternator moving slightly as the drive belt is tensioned.

First results, with a set of jump leads were a bit disappointing, it wouldn't get over compression, even winding the engine as far back as possible to give it a run up, but with 8 /10 rotations there was enough momentum fire up a cold engine when the decompressor was released - at 15 degrees ambient, I doubted if it would at zero!

Anyway I carried on and made a decent job of bracing the fitting up, well, as decent as my welding allows! and once I'd connected the battery with a couple of short leads and decent terminals the results were much improved.

There was so much more torque that the serpentine pulley was spinning inside the belt until the engine speed picked up and then it was far faster, I turned the rev counter on (it's supplied by a PP3 battery) and it was clocking 190 rpm after a few seconds. the best I could manage with the handle was 165!

With the slipping belt problem out of the way it might well get over the compression stroke from a standing start, on 'low' anyway.

I've sent off via eBay for some belt dressing as I feel the belt is tight enough already - it doesn't slip under a 3 kva load - should that not provide a cure I'll get a longer belt and knock up an adjustable idler pulley to get more 'wrap' around the driven pulley.

I suppose the next task is to set up a control panel for 'stop and start' with solenoids to get just a little bit closer to a Startomatic.

There's probably enough time left in the lockdown........


Excellent work spanner !
That should work great.
Maybe the weight of the Landy flywheel will help reduce flicker also.
That's where Lister used to put a flywheel on the start-o-matic models.


Hey Steph just yesterday I was butchering/adapting a Nissan flex plate to do the same job

It’s a common flex plate/tooth pattern - for example it fits Nissan cars but also the same ring-gear on some Chinese diesel singles. I just made a round flat 10mm plate bolted to that & once the machinist is back at work can put a boss in to suit the CS shaft & keyway

A bit like yours - it has been sitting on the “random bits” shelf in the workshop for a couple years. Covid has allowed me to blow the dust off it

But I wondered - what was the advantage of mounting yours to the gen head not the motor?  I guess I’m missing something here

I have the starter here for what was a Chinese diesel single nominally 12HP. I wonder if it’ll spin it?  I guess maybe your setup gives you a “gearing” advantage too?


Hi Mike

I'm not sure what the advantage of driving the motor via the gen head is either.

When I started collecting bits my plan was to mount the starter between the alternator and the Lister, but as I said above, it won't work without a larger diameter flywheel.

Quick, adopt plan B.........

That was the entire rethink process!

I looked up the compression ratio for a 2 1/4 Landy engine and it seems to be 23 /1, much the same as a Lister on high compression, so I'd guess (happy to be corrected here) that the force to pass TDC is the same, more or less, regardless of the volume. (unless the bore / stroke ratio comes into it, somehow) however there must be a far greater amount of inertia to overcome, given the weight of the Lister crank, flywheels, conrod and piston, not to mention the Stamford alternator, pulley and Landy flywheel.

It does take a few seconds to get up to full chat, 190 rpm, but at that speed it will keep cranking over compression with the fuel rack closed.

The gearing is approx 2 1/3 to one, I can only guess that driving the Lister direct would result in a lower cranking speed, but more torque to pass tdc on the compression stroke.

I suppose a neat arrangement could be had by having the vehicle flywheel on a jack shaft, with the driven pulley in between the Lister flywheel and the crankshaft, keeping the cranking speed inline with the starters original application. The starter motor could then be tucked away on the centre line of the bed plate. 

I've only got a narrow serpentine belt, it's about 2/3 the width of the Landy 200 tdi belt, maybe that's the next plan?


Hi Steph

I will watch with interest

I don’t know much about belt-drives except to know there’s more to them than meets the eye. I was a sawmill engineer for many years & have seen all sorts of odd losses of power due simply to loose/worn/wrong belts

I bet those old SOM Listers had two or three B or C series belts PLUS big driving pulleys on the generator/starter

Good project


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