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How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:59 pm
by tony brown
I have a 1979 EFPC 495CCO. After lots of TLC I have reassembled the complete recoil starter on top of the starter pulley unit on top of the flywheel.

The recoil is fine (no spring broken or anything : it did not need to be dismantled) . I did give it's mechanism a squirt of WD 40.

However, when I now pull on the recoil it fails to turn the engine over ... just whizzes in and out. I cannot see any obvious mechanism
that enables the recoil to grab the starter pulley unit or the crankshaft nut. When the recoil is pulled some flat bits of metal do extend, but what do they engage with on the crankshaft nut / starter pulley unit / flywheel ?

Can anyone enlighten me as to how these recoils work ?

Your help much appreciated!

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:24 pm
by blokewithaboat
Can you show us a picture of your recoil assembly? We might be able to spot the problem a bit easier.

There are 2 distinct types of recoil starters for seagulls.
One that is fully enclosed and normally seen on cdi ignitions, and the other has a tubular frame which attaches to the outside of the crankcase and normally with a points type ignition.
Both of them work in a similar way by those bits of metal "flaps" you mention which engage inside a cup which in turn is held by the flywheel nut. As the flaps engage to the inside of the cup it will turn the flywheel.

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:06 pm
by tony brown
Hi Blokewithaboat!

Thanks very much for your help : I have one with cdi ignition that is totally enclosed.

Before dismantling the recoil worked fine and turned the flywheel as expected.

When dismantling the main body of the recoil so that I could clean up the ignition system (not entirely necessary as points
are totally enclosed as I later discovered!) I do not recollect coming across "a cup" secured by the flywheel nut. Equally the exploded
diagram of the Mark III ignition system for the Forty Plus EFPC that I have does not show such a cup.

It is possible that I have mislaid it, but unlikely! I will take some pictures tomorrow and attach them to my next post so you can see
where and why I am stumped. I could always just use the starter pulley and a rope if all else fails.

You don't have a picture of this "cup" by any chance ?

Many thanks for your kind help


Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:53 pm
by Hugz
WD40 will stop the friction engage. Need to clean it off.

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:21 am
by Horsley-Anarak
Does it look like this ?

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:40 am
by blokewithaboat
As per H-A's picture, bottom left is the "cup" that those flaps engage.
Basically it's a metal on metal contact that allows you to spin the flywheel.
You can use wd40 inside the "wizzy" bit where the clock spring will be, but as Hugo mentions try to keep any lubricant away from the cup.

Can't remember, but i think the tubular frame type has a similar looking cup.

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:57 pm
by tony brown

Thank you very much for your help! All is revealed - the picture of what I thought of as the starter pulley cracked it.

When turned upside down the "pulley" becomes a cup and the inside edge showed a lot of vertical score marks - from the flappy bits that emerge from
the recoil mechanism when pulled. When assembled in the right order and the right way up the puzzle was solved. Motor now back together.

Thank you for the tip about the WD40 ... gave the inside of the cup a going over with sandpaper to improve grip. Recoil works like a dream.

Again many thanks. If any of you fancy seeing the engine in action it will be powering my Nacra 6 catamaran off the island of Zirje in Croatia so that I can keep away from the rocks when leaving and returning to base. You are welcome to drop in!


Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:31 am
by african imp
I have most of the recoil start assembly here, it came with a mixed crate of Seagull parts, can the recoil assembly be fitted to any British Seagull engine?

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:08 am
by Nudge
Depends on the recoil starter you have!
Try it and see!
I do not have one so I don't really know.... when you find out show us.

Re: How does a recoil starter work ?

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:13 pm
by blokewithaboat
Found this on fleabay which shows the wire frame type. Pretty much the same principle as the fully enclosed version. You'll notice that "cup" we mentioned earlier on. Looks the same doesn't it? ... :rk:1:pf:0

I think the basic guts to these wire frame types are the same. The only difference (correct me if i'm wrong) is in the actual frame itself where this would attach onto the crankcase of the engine. 4 holes for the 40 series and i think 3 or 5 bolt holes for the century/102 types. It's been a long while since i've had one on any of my older seagulls.