Lister Diesel engine build

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Thanks Gus, they always intrigued me too.
I finished off the injector parts last night. Now to see if it works.
I know it is out of sequence for the build log.

Fuel Injector parts.jpg
I guess I made the piston and gudgeon pin next. The 1st piston was destroyed in a machining accident!! the 2nd one is in use. I made it the "old fashioned" way, just took a piece of 6061 bar stock machined it to dia. + a bit, machined the skirt recess, then took the piece to the mill and milled out a slot for the conrod. making sure that it was centered and of enough depth to clear the little end, but not too deep as to weaken the crown.
I then returned it to the lathe, finished off the O.D. and cut the ring grooves. Before parting the piston off the stock, I set it up in the drill and drilled and reamed the pin holes to .188.
The gudgeon pin was made from .188 dia. drill rod, which I drilled 3/32 thru, parted to length and dressed the ends. The buttons were machined from brass rod.
I used some more of my 1.25dia Dura-Bar to make the piston rings. I machined the ID first, then the OD to exact size of bore. I parted them off at 1mm each x 6, (2 spares). I made up a mandrel to set them on, and dressed each side on some 400 W&D paper to take the burrs off from parting. The split was accomplished by scoring across the ring with a small (3") 1/2 round file.



making rings.jpg
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So now I was at this stage. The crankcase, crank, rod, piston, cylinder liner and waterjacket were mostly done.
This project, which if you have read all my dribbles, had now taken over my whole home life. The "EMMA" was just sitting scowling at me because of the loss of attention.
Back in my younger motorcycling racing/riding days in Aus., we used modify the stock cams by welding and hand grinding the profiles to a "better" timing event, more lift,duration etc. I thought that for the Lister I would test my skills again. I machined up a blank with 2 cam discs, and the shaft all as 1 piece. I then drew out the cam profile/s and cut them from 1/8" plate. I used these as templates to grind the profiles.

All parts so far.jpg

The interesting part came next.
The gear drive had to be made and installed. I programmed the gears on the waterjet to be cut from aluminum to test out the idler location. I fitted the crank gear with some loktite, then fitted the cam gear with a tight push fit and made up the idler pin. All going well, so far.
I machined up the idler gear to suit the pin, and fiddled around with getting it to fit the crankcase with enough clearance that the crank webs wouldn't smack the end of the shaft. I did this without the crank or the camshaft fitted so that I could get my aged fingers in there and manipulate things.
So I put the crank in, put the cam in, and guess what, the idler center was in Russia when the other 2 gears were in Antarctica. A lot of head scratching later, I decided the only way was to plug the hole in the crank case and redo it. Finally I had a cam drive that worked. it was a tad (!!) noisy, but was OK. see the first pic below.

Cam gears.jpg
OK, that works, now onto brass gears for the final assembly. These were made same way. but with way more care, some finesse with a very small oval file, and I had 3 gears that meshed well.
So I thought that I would just see how well the cam timing could be made with my gears, and maybe make some marks to facilitate the final assembly.
To my utter consternation, I, the master engine builder, mechanical designer etc. etc. had completely botched the cam gears. I had the 17T on the crank, check, the 28T on the cam,......WHAT!!!!! and the idler was the 34T. Great cam timing that gave me.:wall:
No wonder the idler didn't fit on first install.
fill in new hole redrill and tap through 2 plugs now....grrrrrrrrr.
Got it all done and running, a little slack in the crank to idler, but not too bad.
Love your work Patrick, glad to see I'm not the only one who measures twice, gets it wrong both times and ends up with multiple redoes. If at first you don't succeed keep messing it up till you fluke it:mad:
Cheers Terry
Pic of the piston and pump that I "overmachined/handled"

trash bits.jpg
The cam followers and guides were the next logical pieces to attack. The ME drawings seemed OK for the length of the units, but I made the diameters to suit the holes in the crankcase. These were straight turning and drilling/reaming jobs so no dramas were experienced.
I opted out of the Lister retaining plate double fork arrangement, and subbed a button head 3mm screw as the retainer.

Cam followers.jpg

Lister follower screw.jpg
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I attacked the head next. I cut 1 from a piece of steel that we had, took it home and proceeded to machine it as per the ME drawings. I cut it as per the ME drawings. Guess what,:confused:, the machining drawings were based on a 50mm square head, the cut drawings showed a 55mm x 50 mm head. I scrapped that 1 and cut 1 from 6061 Alum. In the parts pic attached you can see the steel head in the background.
I decided that since I was not using C.I. for the head, I should make up some brass inserts that would serve as the valve seats and guides. I made them a tight press/loktite fit into the head.
Seeing as I work on a RoushYates powered 360 c.i. Sprinter, I have access to some used titanium bolts now and then. I decided to try and make the valves from a couple of 1/4" dia Ti. bolts. I tried one and it works well.

Cam followers.jpg

Aluminum head.jpg

Guide and seat.jpg

machining head.jpg

Ti valve.jpg
At this point in construction I basically had all the "big" pieces semi-finished to how I was going to be making them, now it was getting down to the fiddly bits, the pumps and injector.:p
I had decided to start painting some bits too. The colour is not what I wanted, and all will be painted again later anyway.

latest assy.jpg

All Parts.jpg
Very nice work Patrick. I know very little about diesel engines, but you seem to be making constant progress. I have read that diesel engines don't scale well, but then I have read a lot of stuff that was proven wrong. Good luck with the build, hope you end up with a good runner.--Brian
Thanks Brian, you will all know how it goes, or doesn't!!!
The pump and injector have me concerned. The pump should be OK, but the injector is an unknown quantity at this time.
The oil pump looked like the lesser confusing item, so I tackled that next. My original attempt didn't work out well at all, caught on the tool and dislodged itself out of the 3 jaw. a bit of re planning later, a piece of 3/8" dia. brass was machined for the barrel and drilled to 5/32 bore. I them took a pieceof 1/4" dia brass, cut 2 pcs to 3/4" long, drilled them thru on the lathe to 3.2mm. Two recesses were milled 1/4" dia into the side of the barrel to align with the mounting holes in the crankcase. I then used my discarded side plate from my first crankcase and some shims as the jig to solder the 3 pieces into 1 oil pump main body. A P&M research 3/16" Tee was then modified slightly and drilled etc to be used as the oil outlet valve. It was then soldered onto the side of the housing to complete the pump body.
The ME details on the inlet and outlet valves make no sense whatsoever. By looking at the cross section You could tell what was intended so I went that way.
I used some 1/8" dia balls that i found in the shed as the valves, and 5/16 brass hex was used to make all the fittings. The body was reamed to 3/16, and a piece of 5/16 dia. SS was used as the plunger.
The inlet of the pump was inserted into some oil, the plunger actuated, and voila, oil emerged out of the outlet. Squirted actually;D

Oil Pump pieces.jpg
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Diesel injection engines don't scale well due to the injector parts and resulting spray patterns for cylinders of less than 50-80cc. There are a few examples of small model injected engines online. This planset is one of the most recent.

Diesel injection engines don't scale well due to the injector parts and resulting spray patterns for cylinders of less than 50-80cc. There are a few examples of small model injected engines online. This planset is one of the most recent.

What chance do you give it of working Greg?
Is it the injector spray pattern that is problematic or quantity,? both?
The injector actually injects into a sphere shaped cavity, which has a 2 x 3 miniscule slot into the head to piston space. I guess the combustion takes place there and transfers thru...It is all a little weird to me.
I am all eyes and ears to any suggestions.

exploded cyl head.jpg
The video of this engine shows it running. I think you posted it elsewhere. The ether in the fuel is what I don't like that engine knocks like crazy, but poor atomization can cause the same thing. I think it will run but the pump can't be leaky so that it give a sharp high pressure pulse. I have no idea what the injector looks like in this model. I do have the drawings for "The Dux" 10 cc diesel from SIC, but I don't think I've seen mention of more than a couple being built. That injector isn't much more than an orifice.


This is the engine the plans are based on?
That combustion chamber is the typical indirect injection design of year prior. Only recently have small diesel engines turned to direct injection.
Yes that is the one that is being published in ME and that I am building.
Just read this from the start, I don't get on here enough lately. I really like the fabricated crankcase, some paint and filler and you will never be able to tell. I am looking forward to seeing this one run.

I have been busy with work and family the last week or so and have not done too much, but, I have the next week off so maybe we will see some more progress.