Types of Lister Engines

Written by ron brow
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Lister Engines have been in production since the early 1900s. Named after the owner of the company, Robert Ashton Lister, the engines have evolved over the years, but there are still those today who work on the antique engines, which are renowned for their durability and consistent, lasting performance. The Lister company still runs today under new owners out of Dursley, England, from the same location that the original engines were made. Unauthorised versions of some Lister engines, often called Listeroids, are made in India.

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JP, JS and JK Engines

The JS and JK engines are variants of the JP engine, so called because it was built as part of a Joint Product agreement between the Lister company and another engine maker. Lister made smaller engines with less than 100 horsepower, while the other company, Ruston and Hornsby, made larger engines. First introduced with the JP engines, its design allows the diesel engine to be started while the engine is cold. This design was later incorporated into all Lister diesel engines. Because most diesel engines have a low running compression, starting them is difficult without a warm engine, so many engines at the time had to be preheated with a torch of some kind. Lister engines incorporated a compression valve that allowed the compression to be raised when starting the engine, and lowered once the engine was going. This made the Lister engines very popular.

CS Engines

After the success of the JP engines, Lister began making the CS engine, standing for Cold Start, which focused attention on the fact that the engine could be started in the cold. The CS engines were simple and easy to fix, which made them especially popular, and have made them a collector's item today.

FR Series

The FR series was a more complex engine with more adaptability for markets that Lister engines had not yet been selling to, such as boaters and other transportation vehicles. Though a more complex engine, the FR series of Lister engines hid many of its gears and levers behind covers so that the engines looked solid and simple to use. The coverings also prevented accidents from happening. Lister engines are rotating engines, meaning if something gets caught, such as a shirt or other loose article of clothing, it could be disastrous.

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