Should I buy a 3HP British Seagull Mark 1 Ignition

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    Honorcode


    Replies: 9
    Topics: 3
    #218366

    Hi, My local paper has a barely used 1978 British Seagull 3 HP motor and the pictures look amazing, looks like new. The bad news is that it has the Mark 1 ignition. I have read good and bad reviews about this ignition, and I do not want to buy someone’s problems. The person selling it says that he got the motor from his grandpa, and it has not been run in 10+ years. He does not want to try to start it, and selling it as-is for $800. He feels that this is “fair.”

    My fear is that the mark 1 ignition coil is said to degrade over time, and this motor is almost 30 years old. British Seagull has a Mark 2 and a Mark 3 (solid state) ignition and I hear the solid state is very reliable. I did an internet search and could not find any replacement parts for mark 1 coil / points.

    Here are my questions: Can this motor be upgraded to use the Mark 3 ignition? Am I being too cautious about the Mark 1 ignition? I am asking because it seems like a rare find for a motor that is this old, and in such great cosmetic shape. Should I buy it, or walk away?

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    eltoquad

    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 217
    Topics: 49
    #218373

    To start with, $800 is way over the top for that motor, in my opinion.

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    cajuncook1

    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 739
    Topics: 66
    #218380

    To start with, $800 is way over the top for that motor, in my opinion.

    I second your opinion regarding price. Way over priced. It would have to be in excellent condition and in good dependable running condition for that price.

    Just my opinion.

    PS…I do have link for mark ignition 1 , 2 , and 3 replacement parts somewhere. I’ll look for it when o get home today.

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    Honorcode


    Replies: 9
    Topics: 3
    #218385

    Thank you for the reply. Let me ask this question a different way – should I not buy this motor because it uses a Mark 1 ignition? Is this type of ignition a problem? Is it possible to upgrade the mark 1 ignition to a mark3 ignition without any modifications to the motor? The looks great, but the seller says he will not test it for running condition. I want a british Seagull for a canoe to be used in the salt water bay areas. I understand that these are perfect for that application. Thank you.

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    fleetwin

    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 3481
    Topics: 52
    #218392

    Not familiar with the British Seagulls…Are they still in business? I would be concerned about parts availability…..
    And yes, $800 seems high, but I have no basis to judge…

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    need2fish

    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 143
    Topics: 12
    #218404

    I agree $800 is kind of steep;I’ve seen a number of running Seagulls on kijiji for $4-5 hundred — mind you, my limit for any outboard is $ 125; over 135 purchases I’ve only blown it twice (A cherry Mark 30 and the cute little Sea King midget, yes there’ve been some dogs, but on the whole the remainder are transom-worthy).

    If you wish to make an emotional decision, forget the price, just make sure you know the compression and do the water pump and ignition work. Compression problems are usually hard to fix — water pump and ignition less so, so counter-offer accordingly.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Avatarneed2fish.
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    cajuncook1

    US Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 739
    Topics: 66
    #218412

    Thank you for the reply. Let me ask this question a different way – should I not buy this motor because it uses a Mark 1 ignition? Is this type of ignition a problem? Is it possible to upgrade the mark 1 ignition to a mark3 ignition without any modifications to the motor? The looks great, but the seller says he will not test it for running condition. I want a british Seagull for a canoe to be used in the salt water bay areas. I understand that these are perfect for that application. Thank you.

    If the seller is not willing to demonstrate running condition, then there is trouble with the motor despite good cosmetic appearances. Villiers ignition is still available. A few years back that was not the case.

    If I am not mistaken, you canupgrade the ignition to Mark II or III, but you will have to get a new ignition plate set up. It will include coils, points/condenser or power pack and sensor. Oh, a different flywheel. You are looking at potentially $200 to $225 worth of parts. The motor is already $800 in presumed non running condition.

    New (not new old stock, but new) Mark I (Villiers) ignition parts can be obtained from this website.

    http://www.villiersparts.co.uk/ignition.html

    A website dedicated to British Seagulls is the site listed below.

    http://www.saving-old-seagulls.co.uk/

    Production of the British Seagulls outboards ceased in the mid 1990s

    Cheers,
    Cajuncook1

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Avatarcajuncook1.
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    amuller

    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 975
    Topics: 156
    #218417

    If the price was $50 or so the discussion would be worthwhile.

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    Honorcode


    Replies: 9
    Topics: 3
    #218525

    Thank you for the reply. I guess there is a bit of emotion involved. I am eager to get a high-quality, small motor that can withstand the salt. I live near an ocean inlet that is perfect for a square stern canoe with a 3HP motor. The Britsh Seagulls are suppose to be one of the best for tolerating that type of an environment. Its clear that this motor has not been used, but the seller is not claiming a running condition, and is saying that this was his grandfathers and he has no idea if it runs. I’ve been burned on a motor before, so now I am gun shy.

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    crosbyman

    Canada Member - 1 Year
    Replies: 1668
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    billw

    US Member - 2 Years
    Replies: 1312
    Topics: 42
    #218660

    Thank you for the reply. I guess there is a bit of emotion involved. I am eager to get a high-quality, small motor that can withstand the salt. I live near an ocean inlet that is perfect for a square stern canoe with a 3HP motor. The Britsh Seagulls are suppose to be one of the best for tolerating that type of an environment. Its clear that this motor has not been used, but the seller is not claiming a running condition, and is saying that this was his grandfathers and he has no idea if it runs. I’ve been burned on a motor before, so now I am gun shy.

    I love Great Britain and everything but the Sea Gulls are garbage. They have only one strong point. Most of the time, you can work on them with a pair of pliers, meaning they are crude as hell. In my experience, they are also far, FAR, LESS tolerant of salt water than any OMC product. They are also noisy as all get-out! I have been offered them for free, from time to time and I have not accepted. I would rather have an ESKA, than a Sea Gull. Sail boaters often call outboards “stink pots.” This is probably because a lot of sail boaters have Sea Gulls, I think!

    Long live American manufacturing!

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    Honorcode


    Replies: 9
    Topics: 3
    #218661

    Thank you BillW. You saved me from wasting $800 on a Seagull. The canoe can support up to 5HP, and salt is a concern. Given your feedback, I bought a 1939 Johnson LT39. There is a lot of history with this motor. It sold new for $105 in 1939, and this is almost $2,000 in 2020 dolars, so it was a high-end engine for the elite class. It is entirely made of aluminum, its the first year that Johnson did an aluminum crankcase. And this cut the weight, and improved its corrosion resistance. Its a twin cylinder 5 HP, and does use a rope start. The seller has a receipt from a mechanic that shows that it was tuned -up and inspected for smooth operation. It is extremely well preserved, no dents. I plan to polish the aluminum, and run the motor. I love that it is a useable antique.

    I would like to buy an ELTO PAL and a Neptune to serve as lighter options for the canoe. Do you have any advice about those? Are there other motors that I shoud consider? I would like to get a pre WWII motor. Thank you.

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