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Old 21-05-2014, 04:28   #1
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Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

I'm looking at buying a heavy displacement 32' yacht.
I'm OK with the sailing systems; the engine is a complete mystery to me. I have an enormous amount to learn.
Current owner says ...
" Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl: water cooled, keel cooling: low hours (rebuilt) good reliable low revs easy access as all covers can be removed, 2 x cav filters header tank etc 80 gallons fuel -
current owner also stated
" has manual gearbox, I use normal Morse control for throttle and have lever in cockpit for gear change, I have no problem with it .."

SO - About all I know to do is to ask how to start it , and ask if any manuals come with it?

(Apart from the obvious " is she Clean?" " is there a maintenance log?" ...

I'm looking for suggestions as to 'good questions to ask' , 'tests to make', basically how to determine I'm not getting the wool pulled over my eyes, hoping not to buy obvious trouble.
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Old 21-05-2014, 04:38   #2
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Re: Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

Depending on the age of the Lister, parts may be very hard to come by. If you know the year of manufacture of the motor, you can contact Lister, in England, relative to parts availability and unavailability, and even what to look at in an engine of that age. They have a reputation of being helpful.

Ann
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Old 21-05-2014, 12:49   #3
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Re: Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

Ann has very good advice. Older Listers have the reputation for being nearly indestructable but that doesn't mean they couldn't be ill maintained.

If you want to spend the cash for an engine oil analysis it might be a good way to determine if the engine has no major issues.

kind regards,
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Old 21-05-2014, 13:04   #4
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Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

If you have no plans on becoming what you would consider a Diesel expert I would avoid rare and unusual like the plague. I would only consider the engines that are most prevalent in your area.
Think Rolls Royce as a daily driver solidly built reliable, but who's going to maintain and repair it? How long does it take to get parts?
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Old 21-05-2014, 21:52   #5
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Re: Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

Listers are probably one of the most reliable diesels ever made. The aircooled models were used in the blazing deserts of Africa, and the USA to run oil wells. California highway dept. used them for years to power road side lights. If, and this is always a BIG IF, it has been well taken care of, it will most likely out last you, your kids, and your grandkids. Since it has keel cooling, that means it has been freshwater cooled, which is a big plus, and has been run at temperatures that are better for the long life of a diesel. Does it have handcrank capabilities?. Most Listers did. Have a compression test and oil analysis done and dont worry too much. Many on this forum will say to scrap anything that is not a Yanmar, or Beta, but there are lots of good older engines out there. Most problems with diesels are not the basic engine, but are bad fuel, bad wiring, or faulty exhaust systems. Good luck with it. _____Grant.
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Old 21-05-2014, 22:01   #6
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Re: Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
Listers are probably one of the most reliable diesels ever made. The aircooled models were used in the blazing deserts of Africa, and the USA to run oil wells. California highway dept. used them for years to power road side lights. If, and this is always a BIG IF, it has been well taken care of, it will most likely out last you, your kids, and your grandkids. Since it has keel cooling, that means it has been freshwater cooled, which is a big plus, and has been run at temperatures that are better for the long life of a diesel. Does it have handcrank capabilities?. Most Listers did. Have a compression test and oil analysis done and dont worry too much. Many on this forum will say to scrap anything that is not a Yanmar, or Beta, but there are lots of good older engines out there. Most problems with diesels are not the basic engine, but are bad fuel, bad wiring, or faulty exhaust systems. Good luck with it. _____Grant.
Grant, in general I agree with you, but not being able to source parts can be an issue even with well maintained engines. Cruising buddies of ours who had a similar Lister had a high pressure injector line crack badly whilst in Northern Vanuatu. Not a maintenance issue, just old age of engine. But huzza, there is a Lister agent in Santo. They didn't have the part. No worries, we'll get it from England and have it air mailed... oops, no parts in England either. So, eventually a old fart cruiser hove up and silver soldered the crack and off they went again. But there was a definite feeling that despite the rep of non-destructability (and I agree that they often survive extreme abuse for a long time), things could happen that would be better served with some new parts.

Something to think about if long term cruising is a goal.

Jim
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Old 22-05-2014, 03:40   #7
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e-monitor oil analysis? (do_it_yourselfs)

Thanks for your thoughtful replies

What do we think of a service such as this?

e-Monitor oil analysis - A blood test for your vehicle - Australian Laboratory Services - Australia
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:46   #8
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Re: Ignorant of Engines? -- Lister 30 HP 3 Cyl

I've been around oil analysis for the last thirty years in Aviation, They are good for trend analysis, determining that bearing material is beginning to rise etc., but as far as a one time analysis to determine engine health, they are useless.
Once you get a boat, spend the regular oil analysis money on more frequent oil changes and I promise you your money will be better spent.
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