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Old 07-02-2013, 14:57   #1
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Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

I was just curious about this. I remember the love/hate relationship I had as a young man with the old single cylinder Lister and Petter light plants. We used them for pumping seawater and charging the batteries on trawlers. Yeah I know, they are noisy, you can hear them a couple miles away, and some of them vibrate horribly, but they are workhorses that just don't seem to ever wear out. I am thinking a pull from an old shrimp boat might be had cheaply.
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Old 07-02-2013, 16:36   #2
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

Throw in Grays, Ailsa Craigs and Thorneycrofts and other simple, but extinct (or nearly so) old diesels.

I can't see a compelling reason, outside of a hobbyist interest, to actually stick this old a diesel in a boat. Perhaps a workboat where some one else is paying for the extra fuel you will burn in an old engine. Good luck finding spares, too.

About the only vintage engine that is still worth actually transplanting into a boat in my opinion is a Perkins 4-107 or 4-108, and they aren't particularly clean or economical, merely enduring. I think of them as the Atomic 4s of the diesel marine engine world: simple enough for the owner to service adequately, and popular enough that spares are still easily found around the world.

Modern diesels, however, are lighter, smaller, more fuel efficient, less polluting, generally better machined, especially if you stick to natural aspiration, and spares are widely available and not at "marine" prices, either. I'm thinking of Kubota/Beta and Westerbekes based on Mazda blocks. If I wanted to experiment, I would pull a VW or a Mercedes diesel out of a junked car, and make a dry stack for the boat. They live forever, and parts are easily found.
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Old 07-02-2013, 17:43   #3
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

If ya really want one of these types of diesel aux, theres a bunch of them layin around here !! All I know for sure is way back when I had to use them, they were noisey, dirty, and burned a lot of fuel in compared to the more modern auxs ! If I never have to hear one up close again it would be to soon!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 18:53   #4
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

I bought a boat (never finished or in water) that is 40 years old and it has a Petter 7-1A motor in it, Never started it yet, maybe next week as close to putting the boat in the water. Contacted Lister Petter in England and it is still being built there and is still a workhorse. Bought all my spares from them for less than 500 dollars and ready to get it going. The motor was originally a buy out from Petter and sold with a transmission under Westerbeke. From what I can tell the motor is bulletproof. I am having a stainless mixer exhaust made to replace the cast iron so I won't have problems with that. I think they are about 3500 from England and there is no VAT to USA. If you want more info, just let me know thr PM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 20:52   #5
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

I was on board one boat with an aircooled Lister diesel. It was , as stated before, very noisy, but the thing I liked the least about it was the room taken up by the ducting that it took to get the air down to the engine room. A boat installation is much more complicated than an on deck air cooled application. In reference to Mercedes diesels, I had a properly converted Mercedes auto diesel in my steel boat, and it was the most reliable diesel I have owned, and the easiest to bleed if air got into the system. I have owned diesels in boats, trucks, cars, and tractors and consider the Mercedes one of the best. I dont think I have ever seen a Petter diesel. Another 2 cents worth._____Grant.
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Old 07-02-2013, 21:51   #6
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

Simple,to keep running, probably hand crankable, nearly impossible to kill, are the pluses. Lots of vibration, heavy for the hp, and the air cooled are way,way noisy.

Nearly came to a Hatfield vs McCoys confrontation when our neighbors put their aircooled Petter generator next to our house. Fortunately they moved it before I bought an M-16.

Having had a Volvo MD2 that I hand cranked for nearly 10 years, have a soft spot for these slow turning put puts. Our Volvo was extremely miserly on fuel. Don't see why one of the single cylinder engine wouldn't be, also. FWIU mechanically injected diesels pretty much get fixed hp for a fixed fuel consumption. The newer Multi cylinder diesels are lighter for hp produced. To get really low fuel consumption, you have to go with electronic injection. To me, electronics and marine are a recipe for disaster.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:22   #7
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

Yes, the single cyl Listers and Petters are indeed hand crankable. They have a manual compression lever and a big flywheel. No glow plugs. No electric fuel pump. I cranked many of them in my youth, on shrimp boats. The whole idea was if some idiot left the reefer running or it was hot and everybody slept with their fan on all day, in the afternoon whoever got up first and noticed the batts were low could go down and crank up the putter and in an hour or so there would be plenty of juice for starting the main engine. So, they were generally not electric start but crank started.

I never noticed that they were all that fuel hungry. There was a tiny fuel tank on top of the engine, and it was gravity flow to the injector pump. That tank would run for an awfully long time. I know cause I often had to be the guy who filled it before I moved up the food chain.

I never heard of one breaking down, either. Like the iconic D353 Caterpillar, they always outlasted the boats they were installed in. Never heard of one being rebuilt, either. But the NOISE! More decibels per horsepower than any other diesel made, I am guessing. And many of them had severe vibration problems. Didn't hurt the engine, it seems, but I was concerned about that much vibration in a small sailboat. Don't know what one weighs but I would guess well over 300 lbs. Anyway I was just wondering. Like BobConnie says, they are all over the place in South Louisiana and in fact along the whole Gulf Coast. I can't imagine not being able to find one in the weeds somewhere for free or for scrap value but I never seen one in a sailboat.
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:07   #8
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Re: Has anyone here ever repowered with a Lister or Petter?

Having spent many years servicing and repairing small marine diesel engines I have many memories of repairing the small Petter diesels when I was living in England. They were nothing like the larger Lister diesels. Basically the Petter AC1W and the 2 cylinder version were the result of the cost cutters in corporate management and were very poorly made. Numerous cylinder heads were replaced after only a few years service because the aluminium cylinder heads would rot out. Remember that this is a raw water cooled engine. They were not in the same class as engines by other manufacturers such as Bukh or Farymann or Volvo or Yanmar which is why they were so cheap. Now there is a much wider choice of small diesel engines available which are cleaner burning, quieter and smoother running.
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