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Author Topic: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels  (Read 1365 times)

High On Octane

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Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« on: August 27, 2013, 12:35:35 PM »
Does using lead substitute for fuel have any positive effects on the old iron barrel motors? I was just thinking how on old cars if you do an original rebuild of the motor, you need to use lead substitute in the fuel to prevent burning up the valve train.  Just curious if the same applies to the iron barrels.

Scottie
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 01:40:32 PM »
Very interesting question!  And one Id love to know the answer to!  And alcohol laden fuels on old bikes like these....

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 02:48:28 PM »
I used it in an old girlfriends car all it did was make it run lousy. I've always added Mystery Oil to the fuel. That seems to work.  ERC
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 04:48:04 PM »
The right way is to use hardened parts that are designed for the no-lead, for instance hardened Stellite valves and valve seats during a rebuild.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 10:47:48 PM »
All the lead substitute did for the car I tried it in was to foul the sparkplugs with some sort of red colored crap.

Never again! :(
Jim
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 01:28:09 AM »
The India-made Iron Barrel engines have valve seats which can handle the unleaded fuel.

We have found that some octane boosters also include lead for racing applications that are not "on road" use. This increases the octane levels a few points higher than ones without the lead.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 02:00:02 AM »
You must be referring to the Lucas octane booster.  I'm a huge fan of that stuff.  I couldn't use it in the dirt bikes because it works so well that it burns too hot in a2 stroke and will burn a hole in the piston.  Excellent for 4 strokes and cars tho.  I was already thinking of using it anyways.

Scottie
Scottie J
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 04:04:26 AM »
The India-made Iron Barrel engines have valve seats which can handle the unleaded fuel.

Thanks.  Nice to know that another mythical problem with the later Indian Enfields is just speculation.  I wouldn't expect any head made after the '70s to have a problem with unleaded.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 04:19:00 AM »
 Besides the harder valve seats our Iron Barrels are a lower compression motor with "soft" ramp cams and moderate valve spring seat pressures.

 Lead substitutes are of not needed.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 11:41:58 AM »
Now that this thread has been brought back up.....

When I was at Performance Cycle a couple weeks ago getting my new gloves, I asked about octane booster verses mixing straight race fuel.  Apparently all the racers, street and dirt, prefer to use the VP Racing Fuel.  $60-$100 per 5gal can, but octane ratings are between 95-110.  He also showed me an octane booster by PJ1 that said right on the front of the label "Contains Lead Substitute".   He said this is what most guys were buying that weren't using race fuel and liked it.

Scottie
Scottie J
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 11:54:36 AM »
Now that this thread has been brought back up.....

When I was at Performance Cycle a couple weeks ago getting my new gloves, I asked about octane booster verses mixing straight race fuel.  Apparently all the racers, street and dirt, prefer to use the VP Racing Fuel.  $60-$100 per 5gal can, but octane ratings are between 95-110.  He also showed me an octane booster by PJ1 that said right on the front of the label "Contains Lead Substitute".   He said this is what most guys were buying that weren't using race fuel and liked it.

Scottie

The octane booster with lead that we have had excellent results from is Octane Supreme. It's very concentrated, so you only need a very small amount for the tank, and it's easy to carry the little bottle with you on a trip.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 12:58:48 PM »
Personally, I don't believe in all the unleaded / valve seat hype. Years ago, a certain someone in the U.K. probably made lots of money by cashing in on the 'fear factor', when leaded petrol ceased to be available over here. Some of the adverts for unleaded valve seats were terrifying and made you think 'perhaps I'd better pull over in the layby and get the head off right now'. It was roundabout the time I had my Trident upgraded to 850 cc by Norman Hyde, who also had my cylinder head in for an upgrade. Upon enquiring if I should have unleaded valve seats fitted, his reply went along the lines of 'you could if you want, but we don't see the need for 'normal use' and are just monitoring the situation at present, if you don't get any valve seat reccession in the first couple of thousand miles, it should be ok'. I did over 8,000 miles with no change in the valve clearences and I wasn't gentle with it, either. [I had to put it away because I had a family starting and fuel was [and still is] very expensive and Tridents are thirsty beasts, one day, though].
 Many old British bikes [and others], as well as other machinery, had to run on all sorts of muck during and after WW2 and they survived ok, with many still around today.
 I think I still have a can of octane booster around somewhere, a left over from when our racers used petrol / avgas mix and unused since.
 If you want to have unleaded valve seats and / or additives etc, go for it, but I don't buy them myself.
 B.W.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 01:02:05 PM by Bullet Whisperer »

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 01:12:11 PM »
BW,
We only use the leaded octane booster because the lead reacts with the other chemicals to give more octane boost than it would without lead.

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 10:21:50 PM »
I see why you like "Octane Supreme" Ace.
It actually does have tetraethyl lead in it !!

http://www.hi-flow.com/HP016OS.html

I have no doubt that some of the old engines that were made when tetraethyl lead was common do have valve seats that need the lead for its lubricating abilities.

It's good to know the new Royal Enfields valve seats are made for running on unleaded fuel.  Now, if they could only come up with a fuel level guage sending unit that can live in a gasoline/alcohol fuel mix we'd be in business. :)
Jim
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2013, 01:08:54 AM »
OK.  Here's the deal on no-lead in heads designed for lead.  The lead is not an Octane booster, it was a detonation inhibitor.  The lead did act to cushion the seating of the valves.  When no-lead was used in older, pre '74 engines, there was a tendency for the valves seats to get damaged.   In the late '70s as teenagers, all of my friends and I drove 1960's cars.  All of us ate valves using no-lead.  When pulling the heads, we found that engines like the old small block Chevy and my own Pontiac did not have valve seat inserts. The valve seat was cut into the cast iron heads.  Having the heads cut for hardened valve seat inserts during valve jobs fixed the problem.
Any engine built since 1974 to run on unleaded gas and having valve seat inserts does not need lead added to the gas.  It's BS from companies selling a product you don't need to idiots that believe everything they are told by Billybob's cousin's, grandpa who doesn't believe technology has improved since 1956.
Now ask me my opinion.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2013, 04:54:57 AM »
His name ain't Billybob.

It's Jimbob and he loves his 1956 Nash.  ;D ::)

They don't build 'um like that no more!  ;)
Jim
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2013, 07:28:05 AM »
Was there any lead in the petrol / paraffin / TVO used in all sorts of tractors, before, during and after WW2 ? Many of these machines worked their nuts off, pulling hard and getting hot without their valve seats falling apart - I am in the process of helping a friend to get his pre war Fordson running, so I know a bit about these type of machines as well - the Fordson has compression, even though the head may never have been off - how come?
 There is no lead in diesel, either and the heat in these engines is much greater than in petrol ones, yet you never hear anything about their valve seats. Our Enfield racers have run many seasons of racing on methanol [no lead] and their valve seats have never been changed and are fine [unlike the big ends, which do need replacing sometimes!].
 B.W.

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2013, 11:53:13 AM »
Was there any lead in the petrol / paraffin / TVO used in all sorts of tractors, before, during and after WW2 ? Many of these machines worked their nuts off, pulling hard and getting hot without their valve seats falling apart - I am in the process of helping a friend to get his pre war Fordson running, so I know a bit about these type of machines as well - the Fordson has compression, even though the head may never have been off - how come?
 There is no lead in diesel, either and the heat in these engines is much greater than in petrol ones, yet you never hear anything about their valve seats. Our Enfield racers have run many seasons of racing on methanol [no lead] and their valve seats have never been changed and are fine [unlike the big ends, which do need replacing sometimes!].
 B.W.

I think the appropriate answer here would be that no farmer cares if his tractor smokes, just that it starts up and runs wells enough to get the work done.  I don't know a whole lot about diesels, but I do know that for how bad diesels smoke, how would you ever know if the valve seats were bad or not.

I'm with D the D on this one.  My grandpa has been hot rodding and demo derby racing since the 50's.  When he was first teaching me the performance side of Detroit muscle he had told me similar stories to what D the D was saying.  Basically, the older cars didn't even have valve guides as they were just machined into the heads.  When the change of fuel 1st occurred, the older (now vintage) cars would just destroy the valves and seats.  (I'm still unclear as to WHY exactly this happens, I just know it did happen)  It wasn't until the late 60's early 70's that the American auto manufacturers started putting actual valve guides and hardened seats in the heads.  You never hear of this problem anymore because any old car that has had the motor rebuilt since the 70's the guides and hardened seats were considered mandatory and were done as part of the motor build to make it more reliable and durable.

Scottie
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2013, 01:15:26 PM »
They  started putting lead in the gasoline very early on. I think it was sometime in the 1920s.

I remember all the talk about valve seats when the transition to unleaded gasoline happened. I don't really know what the difference was in the valve seat materials, but it seemed to cause quite a stir.

Personally, I like the lead in the gas. But I do understand the toxicity of it, and why we can't be spewing tons of it into the atmosphere from every car on the road. I think a few cars and bikes using it for performance purposes wouldn't do much harm on that small of a scale.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2013, 08:07:26 PM »
Without wanting to go all political here, and this is just my perspective, not a rant or a 'pop' at anyone - they ban the lead in petrol for us on the roads in order to help 'save the planet', but they let all the aircraft discharge all their high octane fumes right up close to the ozone layer [compared to where us mere mortals on wheels are, relatively to it] - how many thousands of road vehicles would have to do how many hundreds of thousands of miles to equal one long distance flight in a Jumbo , for instance?
 Then there is all the crap one good volcano can put into the atmosphere, but as long as we only have unleaded in our tanks, everything is going to be fine, apart from some folks' valve seats, it would appear  ???
 B.W.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 08:09:46 PM by Bullet Whisperer »

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2013, 10:31:48 PM »
For what it's worth, only the piston engined aircraft burn high octane fuel with lead in it.
It's getting to where they are few and far between any more so IMO they aren't adding enough lead to the air to cause a problem.

Modern jet engines burn jet fuel which has no lead in it at all.

As for the toxicity of lead, it is very small.  Because lead is heavy it rapidly settles to the ground and seldom gets into the air we breath.
The only way to get enough lead into a human body (without being shot) to cause any problem of any kind is to eat it.

The idea of people eating it was popularized back when a study of intelligence was conducted in the Chicago area.  The kids in the ghetto areas did rather poorly on the intelligence tests.

Because lead can hamper the development of the brain in children, the theory that the kids were eating the peeling paint from the buildings walls came about.
A massive program to ban all lead based paints was started resulting in almost no  lead in any paint today.  (This greatly raised the price of titanium which in the form of titanium-oxide now provides the white base for most of the paint sold.)

The anti hunters/firearms people have jumped onto the bandwagon and are now blaming the deaths of dozens of Condors on lead fragments the birds supposedly ate when they were eating the gut piles from hunted animals.  (Anyone who hunts knows there is almost no lead in these gut piles because jacketed hunting bullets retain almost 100 percent of the lead core and in over 90 percent of the shots the bullet ends up buried in the dirt or a tree on the far side of the animal).

With this theory in hand, the anti-hunters have managed to make the use of any bullet containing lead even in the smallest amount illegal in parts of California.  There is a lot of talk about making this ban nation wide in the US.

OK.  OK!  I'll get off the soapbox so we can get back to talking about Royal Enfields. :)
Jim
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2013, 02:00:02 AM »
This Octane Supreme stuff is really good if you want lead in the fuel.
Chumma is getting good results with just a small amount, and he's running a cold cranking pressure of 175 psi on the street in his Fireball, without pinging.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2013, 12:55:18 AM »
Was there any lead in the petrol / paraffin / TVO used in all sorts of tractors, before, during and after WW2 ? Many of these machines worked their nuts off, pulling hard and getting hot without their valve seats falling apart - I am in the process of helping a friend to get his pre war Fordson running, so I know a bit about these type of machines as well - the Fordson has compression, even though the head may never have been off - how come?
 There is no lead in diesel, either and the heat in these engines is much greater than in petrol ones, yet you never hear anything about their valve seats. Our Enfield racers have run many seasons of racing on methanol [no lead] and their valve seats have never been changed and are fine [unlike the big ends, which do need replacing sometimes!].
 B.W.
Yes, there was lead in gas then.  Unleaded was called "White Gas" and was used in camp stoves and maybe some oddball machine.  Lead free didn't become common and wasn't normally used in cars until catalytic converters in the 1970's.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2013, 08:42:03 PM »
As long as were on the subject...  I took The Blackhawk down to Gary Lee's Motor Pub & Grub Thursday night and as I was sitting on the patio, look at what I saw to my left.





Scottie
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2013, 02:43:16 AM »
Retro pump!  Did you fill up on 79 octane gas?
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2013, 03:06:03 AM »
LOL  I'm pretty sure that thing hasn't run since the early 60's!   :D

Scottie
Scottie J
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2013, 03:14:06 AM »
 ;D Oh it looks like it hasn't run in decades.  I like the sign that says "contains lead".  That was there so you didn't use it in camp stoves, gasoline lanterns, and gasoline heaters.  They knew about lead poisoning back then, but we didn't have an EPA and Big Gov to protect us from our own stupidity.
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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2013, 08:23:46 AM »
My Father used to put his toy lead soldiers in his mouth and suck and chew on them when he was a kid. Perhaps any damage caused was passed on and is the reason why we are mad about Enfields and old bikes in general in our family?   :o ::) ;) ;D
 B.W.

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Re: Lead Substitue In Iron Barrels
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2013, 06:49:36 PM »
The lead in gasoline actually served as a buffer and lubricant in gasoline. It softened the hit of a valve against the seat and lubricated the stem. When lead left, so the did buffer/lube. The valves and seats had to be hardened up, and the valve guides introduced that with stood the load.
Any engine manufactured, or replacement parts for old engines will be made in the later materials. The only way you can run across the old stuff is to get an engine original made before the mid '70s that is still OEM stock.
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