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Halsey

Oil pressure issues

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Hi

My recently acquired HR2 which fundamentally runs well not using oil etc typically performs as follows - starts easily first time 100%, oil pressure on new capillary gauge rises to 35+, a little blue smoky when first pulling away but this calms down but it never entirely goes away after say 3 hrs use oil pressure stays around 20/25 on cruising speed BUT if idling can drop to 5 or less and when sitting whilst mooring up its almost 0 just very slightly picking up the revs restores 5-10 - thoughts??

Don’t want to spend but don’t want to damage anything either can I add any additives bearing in mind blackstone box?

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I once had a long conversation with the previous owner about Lister H series engines in general, and specifically about the Zulu.
 

He was well aware of the low-ish oil pressure, and had certainly invested some effort in understanding it.  Your re-telling of it is I don't think far out of line with what he told me.

 

I believe, (but may be misremembering) that it was his belief that a worn oil pump might be a large part of what was causing it.  If that was the case, I can't remember his reasons for not changing it though - maybe he had become convinced it was a non issue - it was running fine, powering Zulu and the butty.

 

Apparently it was not at all uncommon for Lister reps or engineers to say of these engines "if there's any reading on the gauge, then it's fine!", and many seem to run them on this basis.

 

It's easy for me to say "I wouldn't be overly" concerned", because it's not my engine, but I probably wouldn't be.

One thing that may affect it is the grade of oil in use.  I think by the original manual, it should be a monograde, (SAE 20 from memory), but these days many people who work on the engines seem to recommend instead using a 20W/50.  That's what I now use in both my HA2s, but some die-hards still insist you shouldn't.  What do you have in yours?
 

 

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Hi

Im inclined to feel the same for reasons you give and those we spoke of at Alvecote but just thought I canvass a wider informed audience - oil is Morris golden film sae 30 just changed

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Oil in aircooled engines tends to get hotter than oil in watercooled engines. For this reason straight monograde sae oils, 20, 30 or 40, are prefered than multigrade oils which can foam if too hot which means loss of oil pressure. I always used straight oils in aircooled VW's because of the possible foaming problem with multigrade oils. Although 20/50 should be ok, its the  10/30, 10/40, 15/40's ect that need avoiding. A little blue haze from the exhaust when the engine is hot is normal usually because its not under enough load.

Edited by bizzard
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What you have described is pretty typical of a Lister showing some wear in the bottom end or a tired oil pump. The old adage of "if it shows some oil pressure leave it alone" certainly applies to older Lister types but I would not include the HR2s in that category.  There is a general , non scientific, way of seeing if your crank is showing signs of wear. Check the end float by trying to move the crank along its axis a little. If it moves backwards and forwards more than 10 thou or so the thrust face is likely to be worn. If that is indicated it is a pretty safe bet that the main bearings are showing their age too. As a rule of thumb it is a pretty good indicator of the likelihood of main bearing wear as Lister bottom ends tend to wear the mains out before the thrust faces. Served me well for fifty years.

How long does your oil pressure take to come up when first started.?If it is taking less than 10 to 15 seconds it is unlikely to be the pump, much more than that and I would be considering a change.

That said I don't think that you have anything much to worry about at the moment. Keep an eye on it for any deterioration  and get some load on it to lessen the blue smoke. Keep using the SAE 30 if I were you. Enjoy!?

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Old engine designs have larger diameter and wider bearing surfaces than modern high speed diesels. Hence more area for the oil to run out of the journals.

A little wear and the oil pressure drops especially on tickover when the oil pump is not running at optimum pressure.

I got used to not worrying too much about oil lights coming on at tickover provided they went out promptly after starting and as soon as the revs came up when hot.

Using ever thicker oil or multigrades is a bad idea, you need oil flow quickly from cold and as long as there is still any flow at all when hot the bearings will not wear unduly or seize.

The usual things should be checked of course, oil filter, oil pressure release valve, sump level, good clean oil depending on the engine.

Though not the same thing, I remember running an old Ford side valve engine with white metal bearings for months with the oil light on unless it was revving hard. When it finally grenaded and put the 2 rear con rods through the side, smashing the rear half of the camshaft off and losing all oil and water, it ran 14 miles back home on 2 cylinders, and still did not seize up.

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27 minutes ago, steamraiser2 said:

What you have described is pretty typical of a Lister showing some wear in the bottom end or a tired oil pump. The old adage of "if it shows some oil pressure leave it alone" certainly applies to older Lister types but I would not include the HR2s in that category.  There is a general , non scientific, way of seeing if your crank is showing signs of wear. Check the end float by trying to move the crank along its axis a little. If it moves backwards and forwards more than 10 thou or so the thrust face is likely to be worn. If that is indicated it is a pretty safe bet that the main bearings are showing their age too. As a rule of thumb it is a pretty good indicator of the likelihood of main bearing wear as Lister bottom ends tend to wear the mains out before the thrust faces. Served me well for fifty years.

How long does your oil pressure take to come up when first started.?If it is taking less than 10 to 15 seconds it is unlikely to be the pump, much more than that and I would be considering a change.

That said I don't think that you have anything much to worry about at the moment. Keep an eye on it for any deterioration  and get some load on it to lessen the blue smoke. Keep using the SAE 30 if I were you. Enjoy!?

Thanks for the above

Can I do that with fan belt in place?

Less than 10 seconds from cold and that’s with coiled 12m feed from my new Durite gauge fitted to check the old one which wasn’t reading correctly 

Edited by Halsey

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14 minutes ago, Halsey said:

Thanks for the above

Can I do that with fan belt in place?

Less than 10 seconds from cold and that’s with coiled 12m feed from my new Durite gauge fitted to check the old one which wasn’t reading correctly 

Yes you can, I usually use a prybar behind the flywheel. hopefully you will barely detect any movement. Your oil pump is fine which is good to hear.

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1 hour ago, bizzard said:

The engines idle speed could be too slow.

Yep i was going to suggest turn up the idle. Just to protect crank when you put in gear.

ive used 15/40 or 50 in ha/b for years. Seems to improve cold starting.

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1 hour ago, bizzard said:

The engines idle speed could be too slow.

I have speeded it up very slightly but perhaps a bit more still will benefit

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3 hours ago, steamraiser2 said:

 

Yes you can, I usually use a prybar behind the flywheel. hopefully you will barely detect any movement. Your oil pump is fine which is good to hear.

No movement at all that I can detect with a mooring stake!

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4 hours ago, steamraiser2 said:

What you have described is pretty typical of a Lister showing some wear in the bottom end or a tired oil pump. The old adage of "if it shows some oil pressure leave it alone" certainly applies to older Lister types but I would not include the HR2s in that category.  There is a general , non scientific, way of seeing if your crank is showing signs of wear. Check the end float by trying to move the crank along its axis a little. If it moves backwards and forwards more than 10 thou or so the thrust face is likely to be worn. If that is indicated it is a pretty safe bet that the main bearings are showing their age too. As a rule of thumb it is a pretty good indicator of the likelihood of main bearing wear as Lister bottom ends tend to wear the mains out before the thrust faces. Served me well for fifty years.

How long does your oil pressure take to come up when first started.?If it is taking less than 10 to 15 seconds it is unlikely to be the pump, much more than that and I would be considering a change.

That said I don't think that you have anything much to worry about at the moment. Keep an eye on it for any deterioration  and get some load on it to lessen the blue smoke. Keep using the SAE 30 if I were you. Enjoy!?

That all sounds the kind of good sensible advice I would expect from an expert.

The one thing that deviates from what others have told me is your preference for an SAE 30 over (say) a 20W-50.  I said in my post that there isn't full consensus on this point.

Can you explain in simple layman's terms why this is your preference.

Does this only apply to a slightly tired engine with a low oil pressure, please?  Would your advice remain the same if the engine were newly rebuilt with reground crank, new shells, etc, and a very health oil pressure.  (My rebuilder was adamant about the 20W-50).

Am I right in remembering that the original Lister manual suggested SAE 20 rather than SAE 30 for normal UK ambient temperatures, (the manual is on the boat, so I can't look it up).

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27 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

That all sounds the kind of good sensible advice I would expect from an expert.

The one thing that deviates from what others have told me is your preference for an SAE 30 over (say) a 20W-50.  I said in my post that there isn't full consensus on this point.

Can you explain in simple layman's terms why this is your preference.

Does this only apply to a slightly tired engine with a low oil pressure, please?  Would your advice remain the same if the engine were newly rebuilt with reground crank, new shells, etc, and a very health oil pressure.  (My rebuilder was adamant about the 20W-50).

Am I right in remembering that the original Lister manual suggested SAE 20 rather than SAE 30 for normal UK ambient temperatures, (the manual is on the boat, so I can't look it up).

It’s not a coincidence I use sae 30 - a well respected Lister man in Braunston advised me to do so 

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3 minutes ago, Halsey said:

It’s not a coincidence I use sae 30 - a well respected Lister man in Braunston advised me to do so 

Not Jonno then, because he definitely told me 20W-50 was preferable.

Sorry if I'm being dense, but I can't immediately think who else it could be.

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Completely different engine but the ford 3.0 v6 displayed identical symptoms and a change of oil pump cured it. 

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18 minutes ago, BWM said:

Completely different engine but the ford 3.0 v6 displayed identical symptoms and a change of oil pump cured it. 

Wow an historic boat with a 3L V6 bet that goes well bit heavy on petrol though?

 

Seriously though - the fact that the pressure comes up pretty quickly seems to rule that out even though it was the feeling of the previous owner?

Edited by Halsey

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1 hour ago, alan_fincher said:

Not Jonno then, because he definitely told me 20W-50 was preferable.

Sorry if I'm being dense, but I can't immediately think who else it could be.

Sorry I wrote the reply but it didn’t post - yes it was Jonno - his advice, which was not given in relation to this topic, was given in relation to a general enquiry the day I bought Zulu regarding 20l of oil that I had over from my previous 2LW and that it was perfectly OK to use and carry on using it - the handbook says sae20 or 30 depending on ambient temperature

Edited by Halsey

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20 minutes ago, Halsey said:

Sorry I wrote the reply but it didn’t post - yes it was Jonno - his advice, which was not given in relation to this topic, was given in relation to a general enquiry the day I bought Zulu regarding 20l of oil that I had over from my previous 2LW and that it was perfectly OK to use and carry on using it - the handbook says sae20 or 30 depending on ambient temperature

Probably a difference between "perfectly OK to use", and "this would b my first choice", then.

Jonno said that UCCCo exlusively use 20W/50 in a wide variety of engines, ad that it would be his first choice in a Lister H series.

Clearly though, as Steamraiser's post indicates, this is not universal advice from those rebuilding Listers.

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54 minutes ago, BWM said:

Completely different engine but the ford 3.0 v6 displayed identical symptoms and a change of oil pump cured it. 

If it didn't sheer the pumps quill shaft splines first which drove both oil pump and distributor off the camshaft, although the V4 was more prone to it.

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3 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

That all sounds the kind of good sensible advice I would expect from an expert.

The one thing that deviates from what others have told me is your preference for an SAE 30 over (say) a 20W-50.  I said in my post that there isn't full consensus on this point.

Can you explain in simple layman's terms why this is your preference.

Does this only apply to a slightly tired engine with a low oil pressure, please?  Would your advice remain the same if the engine were newly rebuilt with reground crank, new shells, etc, and a very health oil pressure.  (My rebuilder was adamant about the 20W-50).

Am I right in remembering that the original Lister manual suggested SAE 20 rather than SAE 30 for normal UK ambient temperatures, (the manual is on the boat, so I can't look it up).

 

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1 hour ago, bizzard said:

If it didn't sheer the pumps quill shaft splines first which drove both oil pump and distributor off the camshaft, although the V4 was more prone to it.

The end of many a Corsair or transit.

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4 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

That all sounds the kind of good sensible advice I would expect from an expert.

The one thing that deviates from what others have told me is your preference for an SAE 30 over (say) a 20W-50.  I said in my post that there isn't full consensus on this point.

Can you explain in simple layman's terms why this is your preference.

Does this only apply to a slightly tired engine with a low oil pressure, please?  Would your advice remain the same if the engine were newly rebuilt with reground crank, new shells, etc, and a very health oil pressure.  (My rebuilder was adamant about the 20W-50).

Am I right in remembering that the original Lister manual suggested SAE 20 rather than SAE 30 for normal UK ambient temperatures, (the manual is on the boat, so I can't look it up).

 

Narrow boats tend to idle for far too long and are often lightly loaded. Running on SAE 30 helps with oil pressure at very low rpm and isn't an issue with electric start engines. It's a common "upgrade" if you could call it that. 

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20 hours ago, steamraiser2 said:

What you have described is pretty typical of a Lister showing some wear in the bottom end or a tired oil pump. The old adage of "if it shows some oil pressure leave it alone" certainly applies to older Lister types but I would not include the HR2s in that category.  There is a general , non scientific, way of seeing if your crank is showing signs of wear. Check the end float by trying to move the crank along its axis a little. If it moves backwards and forwards more than 10 thou or so the thrust face is likely to be worn. If that is indicated it is a pretty safe bet that the main bearings are showing their age too. As a rule of thumb it is a pretty good indicator of the likelihood of main bearing wear as Lister bottom ends tend to wear the mains out before the thrust faces. Served me well for fifty years.

How long does your oil pressure take to come up when first started.?If it is taking less than 10 to 15 seconds it is unlikely to be the pump, much more than that and I would be considering a change.

That said I don't think that you have anything much to worry about at the moment. Keep an eye on it for any deterioration  and get some load on it to lessen the blue smoke. Keep using the SAE 30 if I were you. Enjoy!?

As you were ........ I think it may be the oil pump which makes sense in relation to the previous owners reported comments BUT at the moment to check the old gauge I am using a modern durite mechanical gauge with literally 12 m of coiled very fine piping so will this be affecting the time taken which is actually about 20+ secs to get to 35 psi from cold ( just done it)  - what is involved if it is the oil pump, cost, logistics, exchange? Etc etc

FYI I am in the process of getting the fittings together to use the new durite with  the old v short length of original piping 

BFN

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Not Lister specific but has anyone checked that the oil pressure relief valve is seating properly. The symptoms seem tpical of a leaking or stuck PRV. An easy check if external but much harder if internal.

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