The Fuel-Oil Mixture Controversy

The controversy is an interesting one, particularly when faced with environmental issues.  Unfortunately, these issues were not considered as pressing ones at the time of the development and manufacture of the British Seagull.  Rather, longevity and reliability of the engine were far more important attributes.  At least, that is my impression, and definitively the reason why I am the proud owner of one since 1968.

The manufacturer was very specific as to certain minimum conditions required for the Seagull, the theory being that little was required for it to work reliably, as long as those few rules were not broken.

In particular, the oil to gas ratio of “one-part of oil to ten parts of petrol” as the “MINIMUM”, the “DON’T REMOVE” the cylinder head, and the importance of the spark plug as the first suspect in any difficulty when starting or running the engine.  And, of course, the oft-forgotten-until-the-engine-is-lost-at-sea, “to always secure your engine with a lanyard”.

Deciding to use “1 IN 10” as opposed to “1 TO 10” would only slightly enrich the proportion of oil to gas in the mixture, and theoretically protect even further the internals of the engine, while producing more smoke from the unburned oil (and we all know they produce a lot of smoke and noise, anyhow).  This is consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations, as stated in the engine owner’s manuals, in quotation marks above.

The case in point with further reducing the amount of oil in the fuel mixture, e.g., 1:25, is that while better protecting the environment, one would have to do serious laboratory research to test the hypothesis that the new synthetic oils adequately protect metal parts conceived, designed, and machined for the 1:10 fuel mixture.

I do not know of any empirical research done in this area.  What I do know is that new Seagulls are no longer being built, and that many of the internal parts of these engines are no longer manufactured or not replaceable.  So, I wonder, why put these engines at risk?

Of course, the British Seagull will eventually become, for its quality and reliability, a distinguished museum piece, as it belongs to an industrialist era disrespectful of the environment.  Meanwhile, I will try to use mine sparingly, but the way it was conceived by its engineer designers to be run: “one-part of oil to ten parts of petrol” as the “MINIMUM”.



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