Plantoil/diesel conversion basics
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For over 50 years Lister was an English company that made very low rpm, very durable low HP diesel engines. These were used throughout the British Empire for powering pumps, mills, and generators in remote places. Lister eventually stopped producing these engines but the design continued to be manufactured in India by numerous small companies.  The quality of these Listeroids varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Until recently these engines were imported by several small remote power companies but new EPA import restrictions have made importing them much more  difficult.


Currently about the only way to obtain one is to look for them as used engines or assemble one from scratch. This may seem much harder than it actually is since they are very simple engines with very few parts. Also..since the quality could vary so greatly it was standard practice to tear new engines down to check for flaws prior to starting them the first time anyway. So in practice it is easier to start from scratch than it used to be to buy a Listeroid..tear it down..and reassemble it.  There are also several individuals that will provide this service for a fee.


There seems to be two positive results of the adversity that the new import restrictions caused. Those importing the individual parts appears to be much more picky about the quality. And at least one company has chosen to certify its version of the Lister low speed diesel engine. This is a DI version with an aluminum alloy piston and may not be as simple to convert to VO as the IDI versions which have not yet passed EPA Tier I certification.


Listeroids are not only available in many quality levels they are also available in  several configurations. Single and twin cylinder engines are available as well as Direct and Indirect Injection options. In addition options such as water pumps, oil pumps, and electric start are available. The listeroids main attributes are it is a very slow speed engine and very simple to maintain. IMO no other currently available motive power can match its reliability, longevity, and simplicity. These attributes are what should be capitalized upon whenever it is employed as your power source.


There are other low cost diesel engines that can be used as motive power but none come close to the Listeroid in terms of longevity. While tales of Listers running 24/7 for up to 30 years with no overhaul are probably not accurate it is certainly possible to expect a well made one to run for up to 10 years between overhauls.  In contrast it is unrealistic to expect to not have to overhaul any other low cost diesel once a year and require much more monthly maintenance.  The initial cost of a higher speed diesel power plant may be 1/2 the cost of a listeroid (before shipping) but those savings disappear within 3 years if used 24/7.


Here are some links to Listeroid info sources.

The best Listeroid info source   Hands Down.

(To be continued)

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