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Old 15-12-08, 12:59 AM   #1
Old Lister D
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Question What Oil

I know this subject has probably been brought up a number of times but the reason I am asking for help is because of something a spectator at Dorset steam fair said as he watched my 1928 Lister D pump set throb effortlessly away.
He asked what Oil I used, I told him it was the Halfords oil made for 1960 70 and 80 engines, a multi-grade 20/50, He replied "that Engine will not like that you should be using a straight 30 grade oil, it will coke up on that oil".
Me being me with my knowledge of running many Ds on this oil for the past few years dismissed his comments as being nonsense.
but by the end of the forth day of running my engine I noticed she was struggling a little and finally stopped, I thought this was its normal request for more petrol, (as it has no float chamber when petrol gets low then you must give the mixture screw a little turn or fill it up again) so as this was the last couple of hours running I tweaked the mixture screw and gave it a swing, to my horror there was no compression however after a few good swings it did start again and finish the rally but struggled.
When I got it home I found it needed a decoke, this is the second time i have had this problem, preveously it was after a couple of two day shows,
Could the spectator be right, is this because of the Oil ???
Before any one starts saying it is because I am running rich I must say when I start her up after the first couple of minuets I weaken the mixture till it miss fires the come back one notch at a time till she is sweet.
If any one can help I would appreciate it. :embarassed:
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Old 15-12-08, 06:20 PM   #2
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i got a few D type and they all run on cheap 20/50 petrol car oil..a few have even run on diesel oil in the past.....i have never had any problems with coking up.....does your burn a bit of oil as this will make a diffrence.as the oil will burn but leave a deposit on top of the piston and valves.
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Old 15-12-08, 07:30 PM   #3
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maybe your piston rings are a bit worn like mine, does yours make white smoke when running?

i have really expensive oil in my engines, you'll never believe this but i found a 10 gallon drum of it on the beach NO NO you might say, but i have filtered it etc, never any water in it, it would go cloudy if there was, it was still sealed and everything!
it works well
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1947 D & F pumpset, 1943 close couple Lister Pumpset, 1931 & 1929 D types, 1929 Bruston D, 1930 Crossley 1030, 1942 Fowler PA, 1943 Fairbanks ZD, 1945 WD2, 1946 Bamford EG1, 1930 Superbloc 3hp, 1934 Conord F2, 1942 Ruston PT + driven equipment
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Old 15-12-08, 08:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay View Post
i got a few D type and they all run on cheap 20/50 petrol car oil..a few have even run on diesel oil in the past.....i have never had any problems with coking up.....does your burn a bit of oil as this will make a difference.as the oil will burn but leave a deposit on top of the piston and valves.
Quite the opposite, the oil grows a little after a few months and I have to drain some, But I believe this is a common problem with the early Lister, so all tho I run it as lean as I can some petrol must end up in the sump.
And the exhaust gass is as clean as a new whistle, with no smoke at all.
The strange thing is just after I have done a quick job on the valves the compression is fantastic again.
Just weird.
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Old 16-12-08, 01:40 PM   #5
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The book states use S.A.E. 30 oil in a Lister D. This oil lets all the crud developed when running the engine settle in the bottom out of harms way.

On engines with pumped oil systems as in anything that runs an oil filter you need a multigrade oil. This is different to S.A.E. spec oil as it carries the crud around with it, not letting it settle. The idea of this is it relies on the filter to remove the crud.

As for the type of use most stationary engines at shows see these days it makes no odds. As for making the engine coke up,,, well thats a load of old tosh.

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Old 16-12-08, 04:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burtle View Post
The book states use S.A.E. 30 oil in a Lister D. This oil lets all the crud developed when running the engine settle in the bottom out of harms way.

On engines with pumped oil systems as in anything that runs an oil filter you need a multigrade oil. This is different to S.A.E. spec oil as it carries the crud around with it, not letting it settle. The idea of this is it relies on the filter to remove the crud.

As for the type of use most stationary engines at shows see these days it makes no odds. As for making the engine coke up,,, well thats a load of old tosh.

Nath
Thanks Nath for your constructive comments about the S.A.E. oil, so is it posible the "crud" in my case could be moving around the Engine and gumming up the valves and therefore loosing compresion ??
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Old 16-12-08, 06:04 PM   #7
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that sound possible.......i also run mine on unleaded as well....i had 1 d type that used to loose compresion after being run under load and it turned out to be the valve clearance being a bit tight...i have had a sump fill up slightly on a petrol/parrafin d type but this was mainly being run a little to slow and off load all day.
hopefully yours is all sorted now.it wouldnt hurt to lightly push a rag onto the flywheel every now and then when the engine is running to make it work a little.just be careful.
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Old 16-12-08, 09:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay View Post
that sound possible.......i also run mine on unleaded as well....i had 1 d type that used to loose compresion after being run under load and it turned out to be the valve clearance being a bit tight...i have had a sump fill up slightly on a petrol/parrafin d type but this was mainly being run a little to slow and off load all day.
hopefully yours is all sorted now.it wouldnt hurt to lightly push a rag onto the flywheel every now and then when the engine is running to make it work a little.just be careful.
Thanks Jay. as I said this is a 1928 Lister D pump set and it is working all the time with a direct drive H2 pump, If you put a load on the flywheel it would probably Die and I always run on unleaded because when these Engines were about Leaded petrol had not been available.
Thanks for the ideas and I will double check the valve clearances when the weather warms up.
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Old 17-12-08, 08:53 PM   #9
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The fact that you said it lost compression momentarily is the reason for the engine struggling.
Engines that lose compression in the way that yours did will struggle to run.

Forget about the oil its a distraction.

You have either one or more tight valve stems, or valve clearences that are/is too tight. I suspect that you will have the correct valve clearances so this leaves sticking valve/s.

Unleaded petrol might explain this so could be worth trying a lead additive.
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Old 18-12-08, 08:29 AM   #10
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SteveRK,
Just about all old stationary engines that run on petrol were built and designed to run on what we now call unleaded. They were built before lead was ever added to petrol. Some engines including the Lister D were also set-up and run on TVO or paraffin, this definitely doesn't have any lead additives in it.

Syd,
I can't see how the oil would get up to the top of a Lister D to gum things up, the rocker assembly uses grease for lubrication because of this. There will be admittedly oil vapours floating around though. I would think that Jay,s valve clearance sounds a good shout. The final answer is to clean it all out again and use S.A.E. 30 then see if it happens again. Sticking valves on a Lister D have always been a problem, usually the exhaust valve sticks open.

Nath

Last edited by Burtle; 18-12-08 at 08:32 AM.
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