Unusual Lister D by Andrew Gisby

In the July 2019 issue of stationary engine magazine  you may remember an article from Alan Cullen regarding an unusual Lister D type that had an auxiliary water hopper/tank above the standard  hopper.

While I was one day at Alan’s house with my father  admiring his  very original Lister D shaft drive type on Barrow trolley Alan mentioned he was going to collect a very rough Lister D type with an unusual auxiliary  hopper  and asked weather I would like to take it on for restoration knowing how I like a challenge .On going inside Alan’s house for our cup of coffee very kindly made by Lynne. Alan found the photographs of the for-mentioned Lister D and I was very excited as it looked in very rough but very original and complete condition. An arrangement was made  and the engine was collected in the following weeks and taken back to my home in Herne Bay. This was August 2019.

Fast forward to spring 2020 and the terrible Covid 19 meaning nobody was going to be showing engines that year. Also being furloughed from work , I found this the ideal time to start on the unusual Lister  D.


Upon first inspection of engine it was found to be seized solid and huge copper patch on side of cylinder head  which had been done very roughly, also the lower water jacket was  split at this point most I think would walk away but I was determined to make this engine run again.

I started striping  the engine firstly I drilled out the rivets from the copper plate on hopper and removed the patch and found a terribly huge crack in hopper (as suspected) also signs of a previous brazing repair that had been performed many decades ago . I did by chance have a correct replacement cylinder head in my  shed but I decided not to use this as I wanted to use as much of the original engine as possible.

So I set about making a repair to hopper , firstly I cut out the badly cracked section of hopper leaving a huge devastating hole in side of hopper, I did this so I could reset the broken piece flat and  electric weld it back into place , which I did with success using cramps.   I then plugged all the holes that had been previously drilled in hopper with 10mm bolts and ground flat , I was very pleased with how this repair went , it was finished of with a light  skim of filler. I then carried out the same style of repair on the bottom crankcase.

The next problem was the letter L in the Lister casting had been ground away during the previous repair. My father kindly made a new letter L very skilfully and this was put back on the hopper using very strong chemical metal and looks very good indeed.

I then proceeded to rebuild the bottom end as this was quite worn so new bearings were bought and the crank dismantled and the new bearings pressed in with my hydraulic press.

Also the big end bush and sleeve were replaced  finished off with new piston rings.


The carburetor   was also stripped and the throttle butterfly spindle was worn so some bushes were made on my lathe . The original ML magneto was completely dead with a suspected coil failure so this was put to once side until I can get it re-wound , luckily I had a spare ML mag on the shelf  which would do the job for now.

Then came the job of cleaning up the parts and priming and painting, I cleaned them up with a wire brush on the angle grinder, then I primed with grey primer then applied 3 coats of mid Brunswick green. I then stated assembling engine which went according to plan .

The original fuel tank was inspected but was found to be beyond repair sadly so I contacted frank Gelder and he kindly made a new tank of excellent quality reasonable price.

The last part to paint was the auxiliary water hopper although not an original Lister fitted part it seems to be very well constructed and I think it was probably made by a local blacksmith and added to the engine early on in its life , it also makes the engine unique and interesting .

Then my father made a nice 4 wheel trolley for the engine with some oak timber which Alan kindly gave me. So with trolley completed we bolted the newly assembled engine on trolley put some petrol in turned the handle  and it started quite easy and run very well, now we look forward to some shows hopefully in the future to take the engine to. For the records the engine number 96268 was sold on 3rd of August   1930 to G Baker and sons of Sussex.

Andrew Gisby