Parts discussion Page

Here's where I'll try and share information about different parts on STANDARD engines. If you ask why the subject can be so verbose, know that the Listeroid design is a perfect 'test bed' for ideas, and know a good number of owners and readers experiment with parts modifications on these engines. It is my hope that information on this site will be groomed into a more logical format, so you can find things more easily, for the time being, expect less.


Rocker Arms

For those of us who have been around modern machinery, the idea of having an open valve train just doesn't seem right. We look into the English Lister and note that the rockers were lubed with grease cups. We see that the standard Indian set up uses a rocker system with a counter sunk hole on top of the rocker to receive oil... why did the Indians move away from grease cups? Was it only a cost reduction, or did they find there to be little if any wear in these parts?

To add more to the conversation, some Indian rocker arms are bronze bushed and others are solid steel. If one considers that these run on steel shafts, your first thought is that someone is cutting corners on the steel unit without the bushing.

If you look into typical valve train wear in a bushed rocker/steel shaft assembly, you will note that it is common for the bushing to retain solid particulate delivered by the oil. These particles become embedded in the bushed material and actually abrade the steel shaft, this is common in higher rpm engines with enclosed valve gear! could the steel on steel rocker system outlast the bushed system... probably by a long shot...

The Lister design has a number of advantages, and one obvious disadvantage when it comes to longevity of the valve train.

Most engines will never idle as slow as a Lister runs flat out.
Valve spring pressures are quite low due to this low RPM.

 These are big advantages and greatly increase the life expectancy of the assembly as measured in hours of running. The disadvantage of the Lister design is having a rocker assembly out in the open where dust and dirt could contaminate the assembly.

At this point, we need to take a breath and note that Rocker arms, shafts and whole assemblies are readily available, the wear on these parts may be so slow that we won't need to worry about it during our life time.

For those of us wishing to experiment:

How would a Teflon bushing perform with the low spring pressures and low cycle times in this design?
Could we fit needle bearings between the rocker arm and the steel shaft, could we seal this up like a universal joint?


Tappet Guides

Removing the guides from a virgin engine is a little bit of a problem. What we really need is a split collar that bolts to the top of the guide with two or more jacking bolts to force it off the deck. Before you remove tappet guides, paint a dot on the front of the guide body to indicate the original orientation and remember to place the guide back into it's original hole, more on this later.

Make sure you remove the paint from the top of the lifters before you try and remove the tappet guide, keep in mind you have a cam lobe under that tappet and don't hammer on things, it's best to keep blocking up the tappet guide to hold it off the cam should you need to drive the tappet from the guide, (any interference will be caused by the paint). Very long jacking bolts could be real handy for pulling virgin (gobbered up with Indian paint) tappet guides, and tappets.

The top of the tappet guide is approx 1.335 inches in diameter


Above:  A=  a coarse threaded bolt that seals off a bore hole that goes through the top of the cam bearing, this is the splash fed hole for oiling this bearing. B= decompressor C= this part threads into the top of the tappet, it is removable to allow the tappet to be withdrawn from the guide. this is used to keep the valve slightly open for starting. D= this is the tappet guide retainer.

Above is the deck with parts removed. This particular crankcase is from Prakash; if you follow the contours at the very front of the deck, it becomes obvious that this crankcase comes from a different Foundry/different casting than the Metro engine above. Look at the size of those cylinder studs!



Pulling a cam is quick and easy provided you have pulled the tappet guides and tappets once, and got rid of the surplus paint.

What you need to keep in mind is that cams have to be timed to the crank, I recommend you bring the engine to TDC, and grind some marks on the cam gear and the idler so you can be positive that it goes back together right. A good number of these engines do not have obvious marks for re-alignment. Expect more detailed info for timing the cam.

Following are steps for removal.

Remove Lifters
Remove tappet guide retainer
remove tappet guide and tappets
Pull injection pump, and linkage.
Pull left and right cam covers, note that studs may have to be removed with vice grips to remove right hand cover.
note orientation of cam gear and Idler gear.
Remove pin from collar on left end of cam, use die grinder to remove peened over small end if necessary, drive the pin with a punch. It will take a good whack or two to get it to move.
Remove collar
Extract cam from right side, note that the manipulation of the flywheel and tilting the cam downwards will allow it's removal without taking the flywheel off.


Pulling the Crank Shaft/ Flywheel

This may be the toughest job on the Lister, and some will say there's lots of tricks to make the job easier. Go to Yahoo, or Google search engines, and type 'Gib Key removal', you will most likely hit a few credible articles written by people with 'hands on' knowledge, the kind of knowledge that counts.

The Golden Rule; never heat a cast iron flywheel, if you don't kill yourself, you'll possibly kill someone else.

The first goal is discovering whether you really need to take the flywheel off... are you sure you need to do this ??

I am talking to a tool maker about building a 'Gib key puller' specifically for the Lister & Listeroid.  This puller will place the key in tension, once this is achieved, a separate adjustment applies even pressure to the flywheel hub. The puller will allow these pressures to be maintained.

Steps to removal

Remove paint around the pin
Use Kroil, Kerosene, or other penetrate to saturate the Gib Key and areas in contact with it. Take your time, let this work for several days.
Use an pin extractor similar to the drawing above to place the key  in tension.
Protect the flywheel hub with brass or alloy metal to keep from damaging the flywheel hub.
Hit the flywheel hub, and then check the tension on the Gib Key to see if there has been any movement.
Keep trying till you remove the pin

If you have to do this more than once in a lifetime on the same engine, old timers might call you unlucky.

A friend of mine uses Liquid Nitrogen at work to install bearings. He says his shop always has liquid nitrogen on hand to help fit close tolerance parts.

Before you damage your key way or flywheel, should one consider trying this.

Bring the engine into a heated space, allow the whole engine to stabilize at that temperature.

Place some insulation between the flywheel hub, and shaft, (?cardboard?) fit your puller, and adjust so the key is in tension with the end of the shaft. With the other adjustment; load the flywheel (push from end of shaft to outer flywheel face. Once these parts are in tension. Pour liquid nitrogen on the shaft. Once you have cooled the shaft as much as possible, use more Kroil, and wait for the miracle to happen.

Time is on your side, take all of it you need to research methods to remove stubborn keys, grind some scribe points to dig around the key, get the paint and surface rust off. Let Kroil soak into the area. The picture above is the results of an effort to remove a stubborn Key from a Listeroid. I would imagine that a person could have the shaft area Tig weld filled, and then reshape the key way area. It will be my goal to invest the time into removal, versus restoration, but things don't always go well.

Just in case you think Gib keys are to be avoided, many are removed from heavily rusted engines with little trouble. They're not all tough.

Consider ordering my "Lister longevity" article on CD with lots of info you should know if you plan to work a Lister Clone