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    The Bodger Factor

    When British Seagull started to mass-produce the outboard for the general public they had a ten-year warranty on the engine. The average age of a Seagull would be thirty to forty years with some exceptional engines making it to fifty or even sixty years.

    Several owners will possess this outboard over the engines lifetime, with the original owner probably owning the engine the longest. The little 2 hp seems to have the fewest at one to three. One of the reasons is that the engine is just so cute and likeable, especially if it has a Mark II ignition. The other horsepower engines will probably have five to eight owners.

    The bodger factor is the accumulation of all the different owner's repairs, which will come in many different forms and degrees. With each new owner there comes a different style of maintenance, methods of repair, mechanical ability, availability of parts, intent and actual use of the engine, and more importantly the owners personal ideals of what that engine should look like and how it performs. There are different grades of tools and as always you pay for what you get, whether it is a simple screwdriver, a one size fits all wrench, to a more precision tool like a drill press. Many a screwdriver has been used as a chisel or as an awl, so the blade is ruined and shouldn't be used as a screwdriver anymore. Most people don't know how to use a crescent wrench and in reality this wrench is probably already worn out. A lot of scraped knuckles and rounded shoulders on nuts and bolts have occurred because the proper wrench was not used. Vice-grips are the worst offenders, there has been more mutilated parts and marred surfaces by this tool then any other. Vice-grips can be a very useful tool but should be used sparingly and only to help remove an already damaged part. Then there is always the use of that wonderful stuff called duct tape, which can be used for all kinds of jury-rigging.


    Contact the Author:
    Don Meyer

    Time can also be a factor; what is suppose to be a jury rig or temporary job turns out to be a permanent fix until maybe years later when that jury rig eventually breaks down. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away, as now you are allowing the problem to be harder to solve in the future because of your neglect and low standards.

    Using the proper replacement part will definitely help. A nut or bolt with a rounded shoulder should be replaced, but with the threads being British Whitworth and no immediate spare it is doubtful. If you did take the time to replace that bolt or nut, chances are that it will be to a North American standard. This repair will be harder to deal with later as you now have to use two different sizes of wrenches.

    You may try making your own gasket, which isn't a bad thing if it is out of proper gasket material, but if you used something else then it can cause problems later on as you may now have to disassemble or rebuild that section again. Not using the proper size washer for the fuel system will cause unnecessary messy problems and possibly cause a dangerous situation. Unless it is cosmetic, “close enough” is not what you should be looking for.

    There are some people out there that are really great bodgers and it is very hard to spot their handy work. These bodgers are very innovative and devious. Some even manufacture their own parts, though these may be very inferior. The key to noticing these repairs is to look for small details. Be very suspicious of new paint jobs, as a coat of paint will hide a lot of mistakes and problems.

    These bodgered engines are an owners or a mechanics worst nightmare and cost him more in time, labour and frustration. The original job should have only taken ten minutes but because of all the bodgered jobs that you have had to work through, it has now turned into a major overhaul. Doing regular maintenance, taking that little extra time to put that water-proof grease on that bolt, screw or gasket, cleaning that part and doing the best job that you can could make all the difference in the world the next time you, or the licensed mechanic, or the next owner has to do any future repairs or maintenance to the engine.

    With enough of both amateur or skilled bodgers these bad repairs and lack of maintenance the engine could be very hard to start. If the bodger factor of the engine is serious enough then the engine is doomed to be passed or sold to a new owner in a very short period of time, because the reliability and dependability is in question. There will be a point in time where the bodgered engine will just cease to work.