Sunday, Email of the day


Uganda Multi Function Platform with Lister Prime Mover, Engineers Without Borders Effort. 

Email of the day..

—–Original Message—–
 Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2012 5:58 AM
Subject: Contact Form: 5 years later, Lister still running.

 Name: Mark M

 Subject: 5 years later, Lister still running.

 Message: Hi George,

I live in Ontario, Canada, a little town called Sunderland, and I bought your Lister cd back when I got my 6/1. With no experience in these machines, but with a little hands on and some mistakes, I have been able to keep this old lunker running. Its not a workhorse here, but a backup when grid power is not available. You helped me a great deal to with your CD, and I have been a fan ever since. I recall your website back then was a “roll your own” design, I am a big fan of WordPress. After reading the life changing gift that early retirement has given you, I am now more focused to do something similar, although freedom 55 still seems a bit of a stretch.

Turned 49 this month, all kinds of tools and space, but no time to enjoy the hands on experience gained by trial and error. Just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration…


Mark M

 (george replies)

Mark, don’t be in any hurry to grow older, and do make your 5 year plan..

I appreciate hearing from you and others with hands on experience, I learn more everyday. Long ago, I wrote of the story of an Ozzie who bought an old homestead in the out back. Inside an old shed he found a Lister 6/1 half buried in nut shells and other bits brought in by small animals. The Lister had sat idle for a estimated 10 years or so, but after uncovering it and an hour of tinkering it ran and ran well! As our friend David Edgington continues to research all things Lister, I thumb through his latest book and think of all before us who lived well in some cases, and made a living only because they had a Lister.

Some think these old designs are best at running, but after years of study, I suggest they are also good at waiting and standing by as compared to more modern engines. Of course we know.. properly stored diesel could stay fit far longer than the owner might.

But Mark.. the world has changed so much even since you took on your Lister Project. My pages as you know have dared to mix in politics and other topics. I discuss the difficulty and or expense of buying these engines today, and it frustrates some.  We do need note that our Well fed Lisa Jackson grows wider at the beam every day.  It seems her girth and the power of her Organization grow at similar rates. 

I feel I betray David Edgington by sharing a thing from his latest book, but I’ll risk it here and share one of the many poems he shares on page three, likely written by the hard working self made men of Australia. 

Old shearer Bill, he’s over the hill
And rouseabout’s retired to gunning
I’ve heard it said the tar boy’s dead
but the Lister keeps on Running.

God Bless my DIYer friends in UK and down under. And now my humble attempt to write a Lister poem of our present day…

As we drag you towards the gates of hell what a comfort is that old Lister.
Although we know it seldom runs and works so well, the waters rise in Phister.
I heard you were in the Navy but listen here Mister ya don’t need no Lister!…. now pass me that bowl of gravy.

All the best Mark M. and DIYer Friends far and wide. 



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11 Responses to Sunday, Email of the day

  1. Nate says:

    Wow, i’m from Ontario, Canada as well! Working on a 1115 genset. Going to add plc control for automatic start. Just have to figure out how to preheat the beast

    • George B. says:

      Oh Canada…. you have your full share of DIYers..

      • Nate says:

        Definately! Could you recommend a way to preheat a Laidong 1115?

        • George B. says:

          There’s a number of ways, but I’ll assume you want this to work with your auto start Scheme right?

          Some years back, I modified the Indian CS plug to carry a glow plug out of a VW Diesel. After testing the idea and establishing what I thought was a proper clearance and reveal of the glow plug tip, Randy Allmand who now lives in Silver City New Mexico made a batch of them for Utterpower. I sold them here and we learned they worked very will to start a stone cold Lister CS clone.

          Soon there were others selling this modified plug, I even saw it for sale in UK, and just the other day, a guy in Southern Oregon said what a difference it made, and instant starts to this day..

          Some of the Chinese horizontals had a plug on the head where a smoldering piece of paper could be dropped into the combustion chamber to aid in cold starting. This plug has been modified by other DIYers to carry a modern glow plug, and your engine may have that plug.

          Through the years I have seen glow plugs fitted right at the intake port, and was rather amazed they worked at all. Somewhere around 1999, I remember swapping an email with a guy in cold country who was starting a Chinese horizontal with a glow plug stuffed in the intake port with zero troubles, it was either a 195, or an 1115, I don’t remember. It’s all so easy to ‘fab up’ and give it try. Relays are easy to set up, and since you’ll be using a micro, it’s so easy to bring on the glow, and let it time a bit before you attempt a start.

          Of course my Favorite place for a stationary generator is in a well insulated shed, this can help quite a bit, and in real brutally cold areas, I think a person might consider installing a trash burner..


          • Nate says:

            Interesting, i’ll have to investigate the head and see if there is any ports that can be machined… or use the intake. I know my tractor uses an intake heater instead of glow plugs (john deere, yanmar diesel). I’ve debated leaving it in my shop or something but then i have to run another 100 feet of wire to the transfer switch. I installed a Eaton ATS service entrance meterbase since i was upgrading to 200amp so it will handle the switching. Lots to learn! I saw a direct drive plate on here connected to a lovejoy coupler for direct drive so i ‘copied’ that idea and applied it to my setup 🙂

  2. bob g says:

    my s195 changfa’s are idi engines and have the plug which i removed
    and found a glow plug to fit, it works exceptionally well.

    i also tried a 7.3 glowplug in the intake manifold, it works somewhat, but not as well as the one in the head which goes into the prechamber.

    the last fitted was a 1500 watt 1″ npt block heater, it is screwed into the water blockoff plate, the plate you use when you remove the water tank. it takes about 3 minutes to heat the water in the block from 50degree’s to over 100 degree’s, which makes for an easy startup too.

    of the 3 i would probably lean toward the block water heater, it takes much more power and a longer preheat, but the engine is warmed up better so that i can throw the coals to the engine much sooner after startup.

    if i were limited in power, i would go with the prechamber glowplug, it allows a startup with maybe a 15second preheat at ambient temps down to 30 degree’s F (the coldest i tested when the engine was in tacoma) probably would take a bit longer the colder it gets, but likely not over 30 seconds in any event. the heater would be pulsed by the micro if it needed anything over 15 seconds when very cold.

    even in warm temps the startup is faster and cleaner with the preheat, so i think i would use heat anytime of the year.

    the least effective was the 7.3 pencil style glowplug fitted in the intake, it may well be a different style heater would work better.

    i have some flying fish DI engine’s,they do not have the plug in the head, so direct glowplug heating is not an option, for those i would recommend water heaters.

    an alternative, i am considering with my application is to do a control start of the taco pump, to circulate warm water from the heating system into the cold engine to preheat it before startup. if you plan on harvesting the engine coolant heat and have enough capacity in storage this would be an easy thing to do too.

    bob g

  3. George B. says:


    There’s a whole bunch of advantages to have the engine well protected, one is the thermal cycle of the day when it’s outside.. this can pump a lot of moisture into your engine and cause problems, inside a building where the temp swings are not so quick, the engine is far happier, and out of the sun. I’d run the extra wire 🙂

  4. Elden says:

    One cold night last winter, we arrived at the cabin to find the batteries drained and no power….it was 5 degrees F, and the lister 6/1 wouldn’t start! The cabin is at 9000 ft elevation, so it doesn’t take long to get winded. Then I remembered the idea of the heating cup used to warm the vaporizing tube on my Petromax lantern, got the isopropyl alcohol, removed the air cleaner top and dumped some in the air cleaner bottom, struck a match and started cranking. That light blue flame got sucked into the intake manifold and the Lister started right up.
    Still, I’d rather have a glowplug….

    • George B. says:


      What a great trick, and you avoided that other trick people know 🙂 That starting fluid breaks stuff.. and it seems reasonable to think as the flywheel mass is increased, the risks od breakign things do too..

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