Cold Weather Starting, Lister Type CS Owners.

Here’s an email I received this AM that might be of interest to other Lister Type CS owners

Hi George

Listeroid mfg by Fieldmarshal mod: PMV 6hp w/bore 4.498″ with a (cheap caliper). There is no hour meter, best guess ~800 trouble free hours. In most cold weather (lo 30’s) it takes 2-4 extra compression strokes to start it. Last week temp was in the mid to upper teens and no amount of cranking would get a start. In the past

I’ve used a burning propane torch over the intake and the engine will start immediately. Last week the torch was placed over the intake and engine fired. A plastic ring between the air filter halves softened due to flame and was sucked into to intake. The intake valve closed on it effectively gluing it to the seat. I was able to get most of it scraped off with 12Ga wire thru the intake port but not enough to gain adequate compression. So — off with it’s head!

A head gasket will get it going. Additional spares will hopefully cover the next break down or overhaul. I need to come up with a better way of heating the intake air. My Dodge w/Cummins uses a 12v electric element to heat the intake air. That should work well on any Diesel including the listeroid.


My comments Below


The CS types start a little harder in cold weather when we compare them to DI variants, but there are ways to get first compression stroke starts.  Some years back, Utterpower fitted the stock Indian style CS plug with a glow plug, we were careful to recess the plug and experiment with the amount of plug reveal, and the length of the plug. We quickly adopted the VW glow plug found in the 1.6 VW diesel and others. Not long after that, someone in UK, and a seller on the East Coast started supplying similar modified plugs.  Some thought it an improvement to use a very long plug, so they could mount the glow plug flush to the end where we choose to recess our shorter VW plug protecting it, and we enjoyed removing slightly less material as seen by the combustion chamber.

I have a supply of the stock plugs and the copper washers, if you have a lathe, it’s fairly easy to make your own. Some people will consider the CS change over valve but I think you need to know that India got rid of the change over valve because most of them developed leaks sooner or later.  Some will tell you the CS plug was a very welcome change. There’s another surprise for folks fitting the CS change over valve to replace the plug.  Some have found that they achieve the proper run compression with the valve screwed all the way in, and when screwed out (typically the run position) they have too little compression.  It may pay dividends to talk to others who have installed change over valves in your specific engine if you are considering this change.  At present, I’d suggest that the person who encourages you to fit a COV is the man who has less hands on running experience, they do leak sooner or later. The glow plug modification does an excellent job of starting cold engines.

As for the intake heaters, these engines do respond to them, but… we have a significant chunk of cast iron here, and it is rather amazing how the inlet and head can soak up the majority of this heat, especially with below freezing coolant nearby.  The glow plug on the other hand is bright red, and when that fuel mist under compression hits it, there’s normally ignition the first time unless you have an especially whimpy arm. We need mention that thermostat. Yes, there are people who post on forums that thermostats are not proper in a CS.  Here’s an example where you’ll see the merit. With the thermostat closed you are heating the head and cylinder, and bringing up the coolant temp, without it, you can’t raise the temperature and you are creating yourself a lot of trouble long term. It’s also wise to note the advantage of putting a little load on the engine, we know that we do not produce heat unless we are burning some fuel, and an idling engine may never get ahead of the cold weather. Among a laundry list of other problems, this cool condition burns a lot of fuel, and creates excessive wear.

Mac McQuaid in Montana (read cold)  first built a ‘gasoline pony motor’ to start his 6/1, but when he got around to installing the glow plug, that motor had no reason to run.

As for intakes, anyone that runs a lot of hours should consider a different intake setup, the intake inlet should be pointing downward, gravity should be helping you in the prevention of ingesting  small parts, and of course this also helps keep condensation from building up near the valve and seat. I like the idea of using a generous sized hose like that on a shop vac. My preferred intake filter is the area between the studs in a generator house filled with fiber glass insulation. The hose near the inside bottom of the wall, the inlet nearest the top, and outside of course. Don’t like the idea of fiber glass? Add a filter media of your choice at or near the wall to act as a final filter.  This set up makes for a quiet intake.. Remember, oil bath filters are outdated and provide poor filtration in an entire spectrum of particle size, toss them, or sell your to a man who only runs his engine at a show.

All the best,


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5 Responses to Cold Weather Starting, Lister Type CS Owners.

  1. I cannot imagine using a glow plug to start a CS Listeroid engine – even Ben Styles in Melbourne Australia where temperature plummet in winter and they may even get a frost starts his JKSon CS 8/1 easily with no intake or fuel heating – even less here in Coffs Harbour AUSTRALIA where we get a frost in winter at least 1 every three or four years 🙂 what a great engine and an easy starter for indirect injection.

  2. George B. says:

    We see temperatures well below -50F. in some places here in North America. A day of light frost (like you mention) might be a good day to so swimming.

  3. Bill knighton says:

    Putting a thermostat in the head several years ago led to less carbon build
    Up. I usually run unheated vegetable oil. If I let the water level fall below the upper hose in my tank(still well above the head) so that the coolant can’t circulate but instead must reach boiling, then even an engine I’ve let get so dirty that it is knocking will clean itself out after a while and I can put off decarbonizing. I burn kerosene when doing this.
    I use the pink propylene glycol antifreeze for rv plumbing because it is potable and I don’t have to worry about what to do with it or a dog getting sick and it costs half what toxic ethylene glycol costs.

  4. George B. says:

    Hi Bill, good to see you here, Running veggie is a learning experience. Your good comments remind me……. There are two people I know who are likely experts on the topic of veggie running in the CS. Dr. Matt, and Dr. Seb. I think I have been given permission to share their papers from hands on running in Mali and at Columbia University Lab. I think many of us will be impressed with the data they collected, and you may be interested in Matt’s innovative use of a modified COV plug to preheat the veggie. This is done on the high pressure side. I’ll see if I can locate their work and post it here.

  5. Bill knighton says:

    That sounds neat, the preheater. I’ve thought I might find some kind of electric pipe wrap and put it around the chrome pipe right before it reaches the injector but it has not happened.

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