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Lister Alpha Series LPW LPWS LPWG LPW4T Canal Star
Possibly the last Lister developed in house and sold in large numbers, the Alpha series launched in 1988 in air cooled (LPA) form and water cooled (LPW). Unlike previous Lister series, the water cooled version considerably outsold the air cooled, which ceased production. Water cooled versions have been available in both direct (LPW) and indirect (LPWS) injection forms and if ordering parts it is good to know which version you have. If you are unable to find the engine number plate, indirect injection versions may be identified by the presence of automotive type glow plugs in the cylinder head; one per cylinder. These should not be confused with heater plugs fitted in the inlet manifold, as these may be found on any Diesel version. There have been a large number of different build variants of the Alpha series and numerous changes to many of the components fitted to the core engine, so it really is helpful to have the original engine number; even then there may be areas of confusion, so sometimes best to just mail or call. A much more 'modern' and lighter unit than most of the Listers that came before, the Alpha series gives good service, but correct maintenance is important. In our experience they will not tolerate the same level of abuse as many earlier Lister engines. Suitably installed, they are probably the quietest of all Lister's own engines which makes them attractive in generation plant and marine applications. Built in more than one country, there can be regional differences, so if enquiring from outside the UK, or if you know your unit was built outside the UK, please say so.
Below are listed some useful tips on what to look for when ordering some of the more common pieces for your Alpha. If you think we have missed something useful, or got something wrong, please email and let us know. We welcome any suggestions for improving the usefulness of this page.

Lister Lister Alpha Series LPW LPWS LPWG LPW4T Canal Star Parts Availability:

Routine Service Items -- 100% availability. If ordering, please note the following first:

Oil Filter. There are several different sizes of oil filter used on the Alpha range. If you are able to see a part number on the existing filter (doesn't have to be a Lister number), that will do fine. If not, please advise diameter and depth of filter.

Fuel Filter. There are three patterns of fuel filter used on the Alpha range.
1. Small paper element type contained within a metal bowl; the bowl is secured by a single bolt from the bottom.
2. Metal body filter element, sandwiched between a filter head and lower bowl section, secured by a single central bolt from the top.

3, Spin on, throw away canister type.

Air Filter There are several different air filter sizes used on the Alpha series, primarily divided between the 'pancake' type filter element and cylindrical elements. If you can see a part number on the existing element, that will do fine. If not, for pancake types pleas advise outside diameter, inside diameter and height (of the elment, not the housing). For cylindrical types, diameter and length, plus inside diameter at each end of the element. Some heavy duty applications may have an inner and outer cylindrical element.

External Components --- Near 100% availability.

Alternator. Different suppliers, patterns and outputs over time. If you can't see any identifying name or numbers on it, a photo will help. The vast majority of UK engines use a flat, ribbed belt. Elsewhere one or two V belts may be used.

Water Pump. (Belt driven, fitted all engines) The bulk of UK market water pumps use an integral pulley with a LH threaded central boss to mount the fan. Later engines use a flat face pulley to which the fan bolts. Early engines, around 1990, if still fitted with the original water pump may need a different thermostat and thermostat cover when fitting a new pump. The drive belt situation is as described under alternators.

Thermostat.(OK - not strictly external, but it seems to make sense to have it by the water pump)   It is important to use the correct thermostat for your application. A number of thermostats look similar to those used by Lister, but none of these others we have seen are correct in the key areas.
Water Pump (Heat exchanger / Raw Water, marine) Only need to know if the engine is 2, 3 or 4 cylinders.

Drive Belts The majority of UK engines us flat ribbed drived belts. If you can't see an original number on the belt, please measure it as there are different lengths for different installations. For V belt applications, measure the internal length of the belt.

Cooling Fan (where fitted) There are numerous patterns of fan used on LPW. Most UK versions will have a single, LH thread mounting boss; later ones are a bolt fit. If ordering we will need to know the fan diameter, how many blades and whether it is a 'pull' or 'push' type. To assist in identifyimg pull and push types find the direction arrow moulded on a fan blade. If the letter 'R' appears under the arrow it is a push type. No letter and it's a pull type.

Radiator (where fitted) Several patterns of radiator are used on the LPW series; photos and dimensions are helpful in establishing exactly which you have.

Starter Motor Just need to know how many cylinders. The only exceptions are if you require an insulated return unit, or have a 24 volt starter fitted.

Control Solenoids We would really like a photo as several types have been used over time. Don't forget to mention if your electrics are 24 volt.

Relays (solenoid, glow plug and protection device control) Here, the picture is more difficult. Over time there have been numerous alternative control systems used, with engine mounted relays and / or control box mounted relays. Before condemning a relay, first check that all connections are good; particularly at multiblock connectors in damp environments. If you do need a relay, please advise any numbers you can see on the defective piece and if it has more than the usual four terminals, a photo of the piece. Some early pieces are scarce and a degree of rewiring may be needed.

Glow Plugs, Heater Plug  No problem at all. Just need to know whether the glow plugs are fitted along the side of the cylinder head or along the top. The heater plug (if fitted) is screwed into the inlet manifold.

Fuel Injectors   No supply issues, but full engine number required, plus any numbers you can see on the existing piece. If you are looking at removing / refitting marine injectors with the all in one leak off pipe across the top, proceed with care; the pipe attachment to the large unions are easily broken. Always remove the pipe squarely. Watch out for and retain the seal ring(s) on the underside of the unions -- there are three different patterns and if you need to replace them, you will need to know which you have.

Fuel Injection Pumps    No supply issues. Various changes of suppliers over time. Engine number is a must, plus a number off the existing part if you can see it.If you're not sure what you are doing with these pumps, the job is best left to a person with suitable experience. If the current available item is from a different manufacturer, we recommend fitting as a set. Note that removing, refitting and / or altering the orientation of the pump will affect both the injection timing and fuel supply balance between cylinders.

Fuel Lift Pump Two patterns; one with parallel ports (industrial, but used on some marine installations); one with ports offset by approx 90. Pump suppliers changed over time and for early engines fitted with an original pump, some pipework modification may be required, as early pattern pumps are not to be had. If buying lift pumps online, be aware that some aftermarket units - although listed for the Alpha series - do not actually work. This is because they use the same two bolt mounting base common to many earlier Listers; problem is it is subtly modified on the LPW and the actuating stroke is also different.

Heat Exchangers, Water Cooled Manifolds Patchy availability; early pieces scarce; all pieces expensive! Engine number and photo are definitely helpful if enquiring about these items. This page is the property of No reproduction without prior approval and visible credit

Pipework and Hoses Good availability in general; photo always handy. For coolant hoses on units with radiators, if you can't see any numbers on the hose, then hose dimensions will be helpful.

Gaskets and Joints 100% availabilty; sets or individually.

Internal Components

There is generally excellent availability on all internal components typically required for rebuild, although some cylinder heads can be an issue, depending on exact specification Best advice by a mile if you are considering serious work is to ring for a chat to confirm the exact state of play at the time.
Overheating issues are commonly reported with the LPW, particularly in some marine applications. Often, these are down to installation issues rather than the engine itself. It is important that the engine is run with the correct type of thermostat installed. Removing the thermostat to try and combat overheating may actually make the problem worse as the thermostat plays a central part in maintaining the correct coolant flow path within the engine. If overheating has been a factor in undertaking a full or partial strip down, we strongly recommend you have the cylinder head pressure and straightness tested before reassembly.
This page is the property of No reproduction without prior approval and visible credit
Top Tip !!   All LPW/S engines have hydraulic tappets. When you remove the cylinder head, these fully expand. Depending on their condition and the state of the engine oil they may be in no hurry to contract again, so it is crucial when reassembling that all pistons are partway down their bore. This will allow any valves that are pushed open out of sequence by a sluggish tappet to open without impacting the piston. Allow around an hour, then check and see if they have settled down. Safest to turn the engine over a couple of times by hand to ensure no valve / piston contact.

Complete Engines / Rebuilds
Some availability of new engines, but only in a limited number of builds. In some cases we are able to modify to meet your requirement. We also keep a range of core units for rebuild, so whatever version you require, please mail for a quote.

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