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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to clean out the gearbox what will I find when I take the back casing off?

The next few pictures show the inside of the 40+ Gearbox  immediatly after the casing is removed and then when the crown gear is removed

Got a spark ? fuel getting through but won’t start ?


Check the depth of the engine in the water – the exhaust must not be more than an inch under water.


Got fuel but no spark ?


Check that the points gap is at 0.020 inch and that the spark plug is of good quality NGK AB6 have never let us down! –Use a spark plug tester. If you’re on your own it saves needing a third hand! – Remove the plug from the engine and hold against the engine block and turn the engine over – is a spark visible now ? If yes – clean any debris from the thread in the cylinder head and refit the plug. If no – spin the flywheel using a drill for around 5 – 10 mins making sure to lubricate the carb first, this should remagnetise the flywheel and charge the magneto ! If still nothing check the output of the magneto, it should be between 3K and 5K Ohms ! If a zero output then its worth replacing the LT lead - the small wire between the points and magneto before thinking of replacing magneto - if you do need a magneto we have used ones in the shop 


So head to our shop and purchase one – sit back and have a beer !!


Loss of coolant flow.


First thought – impellor at fault ! probably wrong ! These are made from hard plastic (except for 102 models which is a metal one) and don’t come into contact with anything other that water !

More than likely there is a blockage within the coolant system.

Firstly force water from a garden hose into the hole on the base of the block where the coolant flows out and then into the two slits above the gearbox below the impellor housing. Keep alternating between the two and hopefully soon you will get a continuous flow of water through your seagull. If not, it’s possible there is a blockage in the engine block which will require the cylinder head to be removed. (Caution – when removing the bolts soak in plenty of GT85 overnight and proceed carefully, these bolts have a tendency to snap.)


Clear out all water ways around the cylinder, taking care not to get any debris into the cylinder!


Refit the cylinder head using a new gasket and some gasket sealant. Replace the head bolts and retest! If there is still a fault please give us a call and we will go through what has been done so far, and what is the best plan of action!


We don’t charge for our advice or help !


Should I buy from ebay ?


It is down to each individual, whether or not to purchase from ebay, however if you do choose to look at what ebay has to offer, please carry out a thorough price comparison, and research what come back you might have if he goods are not to your satisfaction.

We are now on Ebay so all customers can shop where they want and at the right price!! 

If the engine you have paid in excess of £100.00 and has, or develops a fault, will the seller want to know in six months time ?

Probably not !

But the final decision to buy in entirely yours! Just be aware of the risks!


Can I buy a new fuel tap ? Mine is leaking fuel.


Yes – but we will turn down a sale if there is a less expensive way of fixing the problem! – just replacing the cork inside the tap will take 5 minutes maximum and will cost less than £5.00, rather than buying a whole new tap !

Before buying a new cork, try putting the plunger in a jar of boiling water to rehydrate it, it will cost you nothing and more often than not, resolves the issue.

Good advice and customer service always comes before a profit.


I need a new spark plug which type is best ?


We send out around 5 engines a week and test around 10 so we have tried all types of spark plug suitable for the British Seagull. We stock all NGK AB6 and Champion D16 spark plugs as they have never let us down, or our customers! (Please see technical details page for spark plug gaps, all of our plugs are preset for Seagull engines.


How long can I go for on a tank of fuel ?


How long’s a piece of string? – This depends on so many factors! Weather, current, tide and how far you open the throttle – so this is a question I am unable to answer. But as a responsible boatsman spare fuel should be carried at all times on inland and coastal trips! (Please see our page on important information for sailors to get an up to date list of items recommended to be carried when out on the water). Having said all this a conservative estimate would be 1.5 – 2 hrs using a standard tank could be taken as a rough guide.


Can I run on modern unleaded fuel ?


Yes! is the answer. But only use normal unleaded not Super unleaded etc, also make sure a good quality 2 stroke marine oil is used as this will pay dividends in the long run! Please do not use garden machinery grade 2 stroke from your local DIY store!. You can purchase as much as you like from us, and at a very reasonable price, this also takes away the need to run the gauntlet with the self service tills now populating most DIY stores! .Please be aware that many of the premium brands of 2 stroke oils contain a lot of additives that your Seagull will struggle to run on – we have tried a good many of them, so instead of spending £15.00 - £ 19.00 per litre go for the cheaper options.


What 2 stroke oil should I use ?


(see above)


My engine runs on 10:1 at the moment, can I use 25:1 ?


The answer is yes, with some minor adjustments! A conversion kit is required, there is one for Villiers carbs and one for Amal carbs, these are under £ 8.00 so save yourself some money and go for a conversion.


Please note that all Bing carbs and Amal 400 series carbs can run on 25:1 without requiring a conversion!


50:1 yes or no ?


No !!!!!! Your Seagull requires looking after, using 50:1 doesn’t give it the lubrication that it requires, oil is a cost, but don’t skimp on it, use the correct mix for your engine. If you’re not sure which mix is right for your engine – give me a call, rather than trawling through the internet trying to find the correct information!


Just tested my engine in a bin and I have no coolant flow – why ?


You have made the water pump unhappy! Make it happy by using the clutch (if fitted), or remove the prop. It’s getting happier – go for it ! don’t over rev the engine and there you go one happy engine !


My steel tank is full of rust can I buy another one ?


You can but personally, I would go for the oval tank which is made of brass. In the later years , to save production costs , steel was used to produce a small rectangular tank, finished with the most hideous blue plastic coating ! though a good idea in principal, we are now seeing many of these coming in seriously corroded. Opt for a brass tank and you eliminate the issue of rust deposits getting into the fuel system.


How much will you pay for my Seagull ?


Not as much as you might get on ebay! but we will pay for collection from your property and delivery to us. Saving you the hassle of non payers or waiting for your auction to finish.


We would require a full set of photographs to be sent by email before we would consider making any offers. Each engine is priced on overall appearance, no parts missing or faulty parts. So if you want your Seagull to get a new lease of life, give us a call and we hope to make you an offer.


I used my engine a few weeks ago but now it won’t start !


FUEL! Fuel has a limited shelf life, which is made even shorter by adding 2 stroke oil. Therefore if fuel has been left in the tank for a few weeks, it will go off, and will require draining and replacing with fresh fuel before the engine will restart.


Can you tell me what gearbox oil I need for my Seagull ?

Of course I can! head to the Technical Data page and it gives you all the details you require.


How do I over winter my Seagull ?

1)    Flush the coolant system with fresh water from a hose to the cylinder outlet. Stand the engine up for a while to allow all the water to drain from the system, repeat if necessary.


2)    Drain the fuel line by removing the pipe from the tank tap, and empty the tank by opening the tap and collecting the stale fuel. Please dispose of the fuel in a responsible manner !


3)    Remove the spark plug, and with the throttle open, inject a small amount of Marine Inhibitor into the plug hole and carb. Induction – spin engine and replace plug.


4)    Oil the carb control at each end and operate a couple of times.


5)    Dry and clean the HT terminals or order a new one for next season.


6)    Drain oil from gearbox filler plug, refill using SAE140 oil or EP90 ordered from us. Please dispose of the oil in a responsible manner !


7)    Remove all salt deposits from outer surfaces using fresh water and cover the engine in a silicone based lubricant to protect it.


8)    When out of use store upright and warm.


9)    When bringing the engine into service – the marine inhibitor oil does not need to be removed before starting.


If required replace the spark plug (see shop) or check the gap (0.020) and lubricate the thread before refitting, top up the gearbox oil.


My engine has seized !


We have this problem a lot! First thing we need to find out is, is this a problem with the engine or the gearbox ? Simply remove the 2 nuts on the driveshaft tube, securing screw or clamp on the exhaust tube, drop the exhaust tube down, undo the coolant tube and remove the bottom end. Does the flywheel turn ? if yes the gearbox is at fault. If both don’t turn big trouble ! both are seized and it’s time to give me a call for further information. Please don’t attempt to repair this yourself unless you know what you are doing, as we are getting a lot more stripped parts that have been boxed and sent into us for reassembly due to this very problem!


The engine cuts out after a few seconds of starting


Air leak within the engine – Head gasket, base gasket, or crankcase. Has it recently been stripped down? If so, it may not have been sealed properly, and may therefore just be a case of redoing with some gasket sealant! Crankcases shouldn’t be split unless really necessary, as this breaks the seal and they are a nightmare to reseal (there isn’t a gasket for this part) If you aren’t sure please call us for ways of detecting which area is at fault and the appropriate rectification methods.


Just replaced the fuel pipe and now getting no fuel to the carb


This is due to an air lock – Leave the tank open and loosen the fuel pipe connectors, in turn this will push the air out. Then retighten before checking the primer.


My exhaust tube is pitted and looks a mess, can I have it rechromed ?


Sure you can! But this can be expensive so why not go for a stainless steel replacement, handmade by us. Send us your old one or call with exact details of size and model, and we will make you a new one to those measurements (there are no returns on these parts – sorry !) All this for £ 30.00, much better than £ 50.00 - £ 55.00 for a chrome job on a pitted tube! No need to think about it really !


I want a non dented fuel tank


Doesn’t every seagull owner out there ? Almost an impossible request as it’s like looking for a Ford Anglia without a scratch! These are not new engines, and to get an “as new” looking tank is very time consuming, not to mention expensive! So unless you have time to cut the tank open, and remove all the dents before soldering it back together, dents will just have to be lived with!


My engine has been in storage for 20 years how do I start it ?


Does the flywheel still turn? Yes, well not seized then if not got to section above! Next job is to clean and set the points and spark plug, add fresh fuel and check for the flow the carb, if no flow – clean fuel pipe! – try starting it, if all ok great, just coolant flow to check, if there is a flow – you’ve cracked it! If not, see section above. If at any point you are not sure or it’s simply not working, please call us, it’s free and we are open 7 days a week from 6am – 9.30pm or email 24hrs 7 days a week! We have talked so many people through these repairs, from total non starts to running like a dream regardless of how many calls it requires. We are happy to offer this services as long as our Seagull Owners require it, even if the engines have not been purchased from us. We will also do our best to offer help and advice to owners of other engines, should they require it.


Just bought a British Seagull - How do I start it?



Cold Motor


Release the air bleed screw on the filler cap a half turn.


Pull open the fuel tap


Close the choke (restricting the air supply)


Press the ‘tickler’ on the carb until fuel just starts to spill out.


Open the throttle to full (frequent usage will allow you to determine that you can use less throttle to start)


Ensure the motor is in neutral, if fitted with a clutch or gears.


Wrap pull cord 3 times around rope pull, clockwise.


Check surrounding area is free from obstacles 


Steady the tank with your hand, and give a steady but sharp pull on the rope. (turning the flywheel clockwise)


The motor should start on the second pull.


If it has not started after 4 pulls check to see that you have not forgotten anything.


If nothing seems to be amiss, check the spark plug have a spark, is the spark plug wet ?


Make sure that the fuel is less than 3 months old and that it is mixed correctly – either 10:1 or 25:1 dependant on the age of your British Seagull. Never less than 25:1 


If the motor has not been started in many months try flooding the engine, by simply placing a cloth in your hand, over the carb intake, this injects large amounts of fuel, lubricating/sealing dry bearing surfaces.


Take the rag away when it fires.


As soon as the motor fires up, shut the throttle down to avoid racing and open choke as soon as you can, normally within seconds.


Check for coolant flow, (should be the thickness of a pencil, dropping back to the water from engine block LHS)


If the motor is hot do not flood to start.



I need to remove the flywheel


This is not as easy as it sounds! Please do not be tempted to use a puller see picture below – this was sent into us after a puller was used and to much hammer action!


First thing is to apply some penetrating oil to the middle of the flywheel to help release the key from the flywheel – leave 24hrs with plenty of top ups of oil!


Refit the top nut as far as it will go to protect the crankshaft from damage

suspend engine using the holes in the flywheel and strike the top nut with a straight firm hit – this should release the flywheel – if not repeat by soaking for longer in oil

DO NOT keep hitting the top nut – cranks bend very easily!

Using my engine in salt water how often do I need to flush it out?



or this will happen!

The amount of engines we have where we pull out more salt then rust is amazing!

It takes no time at all to lay the engine horizontal and just force water from a hose into the 2 slots at the back of the gearbox and wait for it to come out the tell tale (water outlet under block) do this for 30 secs or so and stand the engine vertical to drain the water out – this will stop premature corrosion of the engines insides.

Approx 60% of all repairs we do are due to salt corrosion.

What size plug spanner do I need for my engine?


This depends which make of plug you are using here are the most common ones:

Champion D16 – 7/8” / 22.2mm

NGK AB6 – 13/16” / 20.8mm

NGK A6 – 1” /25.4mm

NGK B7ES – 13/16” /20.8mm


There are just a handful of spanners required to work on a seagull

1/8w , 3/16w, 1/4w, 7/16w, 1/2w

These can be purchased very easily or we sell a combination spanner which will do the job.


I have holes in the driveshaft casing why?

These holes are needed – the simple reason is to prevent a vacuum to allow water to drain out of the driveshaft tube after flushing – it can also be used to spray a little oil into to prevent corrosion. So check there not blocked up


Can I adjust the timing on my British Seagull


The answer is no – the timing is preset with the use of a recess in the top of the crankcase which the flywheel plate screw locates into to give the correct timing.

The location is different between the 40 models and the Century models the following pictures show the correct location on both types.

We have come across more than one recess on some engines this has been done by others and the standard should be stuck to.

If the flywheel plate is loose when the screw is tight it will require a little work!

Drill out the recess with a 11/32” drill bit and install a 3BA washer this will securely lock the plate into place and can be removed in the future.

40 model timing mark and Century model timing mark

I don’t need a pull cord ive got a bit of wood and a rope




If an engine comes into us with a bit of frayed nylon rope and a bit of 3x1 on the end – we will replace it for a safer one!

If the engine was to kick back you may never play the guitar again!

Please make sure you use a safe handle and the correct size cord – length and thickness! – if in doubt – look in the shop!


Are workshop/operating manuals available?

Yes they are for all models or if its just the one job your stuck on just hit the Live Chat button at the bottom of the screen to get help NOW! At no charge! For all manuals there in the shop under the relevant models


Why does my Villiers carb leak fuel when in the horizontal position?


The fuel leaks from the hole in the side of the float bowl which is required when priming the carb – If you do not close the fuel tap before turning the engine off then the fuel in the float chamber and fuel pipe will go everywhere!

If the fuel leaks out when in the upright position – check the engine/carb are vertical – if not the float can jam and not shut the fuel off – if all is vertical and good it is possible the fuel needle is not sealing

Remove the float bowl carefully and first of all clean all with some carb cleaner – if this doesn’t do the job remove the needle and clean before reassembly


Do I set the plug gaps to 20 thou on my QB like other Seagulls?


No – like the plug its different – 25thou on these models 35thou where  MK3 ignition is fitted


All ones we supply are preset for you


How do I refit the thumbscrew cup ?

Best way is to drill and tap the end of the thumbscrew and attach with a small bolt

Or simply

Heat up the end of the thumbscrew till just going red and dip in cold water

Attach the cup and hammer over end to secure

The best gas we have found to use on Seagulls is the MAP gas system for more details please just ask.


 Which way up do I fit the water pump rotor

This goes with the disc upwards – it does state which way up using the word top

This is the right way round to fit with disc uppermost

Ive hit something under the water and need a gearbox as I have no drive

We had an engine in a while ago that came in after hitting an underwater object, after getting the engine in it needed no more than a prop spring and new pin – glad we didn’t send out a reconditioned gearbox as the cost was £4 not £40


These springs are designed to break if an object is hit to save the engine from internal damage. Sometimes the end of the spring can rotate into the prop and make a groove – just remove the spring and the groove in the prop is nothing to worry about

Its always best top have at least 1 spare spring at all times so you don’t waste your day on the water


Can you build me an engine to fit my boat?


Sure we can as each engine we restore is unique to its owner we can manufacture the engine to fit your boat exactly.


All we need are accurate dimensions of the boats transom.


Engine fully submerged what do I do next?


Its vital to act quick!


Get rid of all fuel from tank,carb and fuel pipe and flush tank with clean fuel


Remove the spark plug and spin the engine to clear any water


Strip the carb – clean and reassemble


Remove flywheel rinse any salt deposits and dry


Carry out spark test before refitting spark plug


For the next few runs use a rich fuel mix to restore the lubrication required


Just got a new cork for the fuel tap how do I replace?


This refers to brass type taps only


Undo screw on side of the tap


Remove plunger from tap body

Hold plunger in a vice or socket

Using a punch knock out the centre pin to release pin with cork on


Slide old cork off and fit new one

Replace pin in top and hammer the end over being careful not to damage pin

Refit into main body of the tap and retighten screw


Please note there is no need to remove tap from tank but make sure the tank is empty of fuel!


How do I drain my fuel tank?


On earlier models this requires removing fuel pipe from tap and then collecting excess fuel in a safe container

On later models the tank was fitted with a drain plug on the other side of the tank from the tap which can be removed to drain any fuel reqd.

How do I get into the fuel bowl of the Villiers carb?

If a plastic bowl it simply unscrews in the conventional way - if metal bowl remove bottom nut and washer and slide the bowl down the brass tube

Pictures of the internals of the float bowl as below 




How can I remove the old fuel connectors from the old pipe?

This is easy when you know how !

Simply soak the fuel pipe or coolant pipe on 102 models in a bowl of boiling water the pipe will soften and the connectors can then be removed

If you need to remould the fuel pipe do the same but refit before it cools down - usually better to replace the pipe for a flexible version 

How do I stop my Seagull! 





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