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June 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm #1360
Is there a lead substitute that should be added to the gas in older Mercury’s?July 2, 2011 at 2:20 am #2689
John & Shirley HarveyParticipant
I have to tell you that I have been using unleaded gasoline with alcohol in it since 1979 in a 1951 model flathead of another brand, with absolutely no problems. I have never used a lead additive, either. I don’t drive it hard, and I drive it less and less than I did because my wife is not well and demands air conditioning, but there was a time when I cheated on the antique plates and pretty much used it when we needed a usable sedan. It has been coast to coast, and border to border, and had some running in Canada. I can recall ads I beleive it was Amoco that claimed that it was lead free back in the 1950s. I suspect that lead in the gas is less necessary than back in the days when they needed the octane boost lead gave.July 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm #2691
Virgil & Sue KleinKeymaster
Tetraethyl lead was an inexpensive way to add octane to gasoline and also provided a cushion (lubricant) between the valve and the valve seat. I have had several older cars and have never used a lead additive. These would include a flathead in my ’53 Merc. When I overhauled the 292 in my ’55, hardened valve seats were used by the machine shop so that lead in gasoline was not a major issue. Lead was removed from gasoline when catalytic converters were introduced. Lead destroyed the chemicals in the converters and rendered them useless. I agree with John in that we don’t use our old cars in extreme conditions and usually “baby” them. Under those conditions I think you are throwing your money away buying lead additives.July 3, 2011 at 12:22 am #2692
John & Virgil, thanks for the info. I will forget about the additives. I don’t drive my ’54 Mercury much anyhow. Had it nine month’s and only driven it about 200 miles. I had a ’54 the same color as a teenager (Bittersweet w/ Arctic White top) dated my wife in it so enjoy it without driving it in the hot weather. The ’54 Mercury was our daily driver for three years after we married and don’t know how we tolerated it without air conditioning. Gas was 22.9 cents a gallon back then and even though we could fill the tank for less than $5.00 we usually had to buy $1.00 or $2.00 at a time as our funds were very limited.
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