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Run on unleaded in tank fuel catalyst - do they work?

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I've seen for sale on the internet a "thing" that you put in your fuel tank that works as a fuel catalyst that reacts with the petrol and allows you to safely use unleaded fuel on your engine that was designed for leaded fuel

it looks like several metal pebbles In a cage and is described as fuel catalyst made from tin amalgam

 

I currently use redex lead replacement but this is costly

 

any one know the truth about these catalysts -

do they work ?

are they safe for the engine?

 

thanks

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I had one in an old Austin Montego, supposedly 'Unconvertable' to unleaded. That ran happily for about 5 or 6 years before rotting apart. I then transfered it to an old Subaru. The intresting thing about that was every time I took it for MOT the emissions were so low the engine shouldn't have run. The MOT inspector was scrathiching his head till I mentioned the Cataylst, he then shrugged and said 'Yes, they do that'. It is still rattling around in the a Land Rover tank. Intrestingly the history of the Brock Catalyst mentions the development was originally for Russian Hurricanes and the cats were placed in the bulk fuel supply.

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here's a question for you knowledgeable types. did wartime fuel have lead added to it or was it unleaded. I was told by someone with a meteor engined tank that the Cromwell didn't need any lead replacement as wartime pool petrol didn't have lead. is this true ?

I take some comfort in the fact that the compression ratio of the meteor is 6:1 so it's not exactly pushing the envelope of what the engine can deliver but it would still be nice to know one way or the other.

 

rick

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Although I cannot find definitive proof of it I am sure that pool petrol did contain lead even though the octane rating was very low (72).

 

Lead was used from the mid 1920s to improve the octane rating (not to improve the longevity of engines) although other fuel manufacturers added different things at least to begin with.

 

 

Pool petrol remained the only game in town until the mid 1950s

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here's a question for you knowledgeable types. did wartime fuel have lead added to it or was it unleaded. I was told by someone with a meteor engined tank that the Cromwell didn't need any lead replacement as wartime pool petrol didn't have lead. is this true ?

I take some comfort in the fact that the compression ratio of the meteor is 6:1 so it's not exactly pushing the envelope of what the engine can deliver but it would still be nice to know one way or the other.

 

rick

 

My manual on my Ford WOA2 mentions Leaded Fuels. The main jet on the carburettor was changed in 1943 to 145 from 140 to run on leaded fuel. The Ford V8 has hardened valve seats so leaded fuel is OK in it.

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As it has hardened valve seats don't you mean it is ok for unleaded?

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I run all my old engines on standard unleaded. They only do a low mileages at relatively low engine speeds and I fully expect them to be chugging along happily while I am having an interview without coffee with my maker. I am sure that some engines are better than others but the ones we are concerned with I think will run happily on standard unleaded.

 

Out of interest has anyone, anywhere, experienced significant valve seat recession as a result of running on modern fuels? If so what were the engines and the circumstances?

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I have a Hotchkiss Jeep, That seems to run fine with exactly the same Catalyst your asking about. Had no trouble with it. Just my opinion

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I have a Hotchkiss Jeep, That seems to run fine with exactly the same Catalyst your asking about. Had no trouble with it. Just my opinion

 

My brother has a Willys MB which he has had on the road since 1984, at that time I decoked it and lapped the valves in. He has run it every year since without any additives nor sign of problems.

 

When the fears of valve recession arose through the historic vehicle community, I thought that my work might increase with head overhauls but in fact there has been no sign of increased problems. There are reasons for that, when considering the actual vehicles we own, but will not elaborate on that now.

 

cheers Richard

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I think that the best that can be truly said is ,'We that have used them, they don't seem to have caused any problems'. Wether they do any good, I've not stripped and minutley examined any of the engines to find out.

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thanks for all the answers fella's, I think I will carry on running it without any additives to replace the lead but that is not my only concern with modern fuels !

I have been told that the ethanol will eat the rubber on the fuel pumps, I keep my eye on the engine oil to check for fuel and everything has been good so far but has anyone ever had a problem with the pump diaphragm giving up or melting due to ethanol ?

I promise this is my last fuel related question :)

 

cheers

 

rick

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I had a couple of empty night shifts a few years ago and had a dig on the Internet about TEL in fuel in the 40's and essentially it was added from the 20's on in increasing quantities until a few refineries had 'incidents' with workers succumbing to lead poisoning and doing some not very nice acts and the congress ordered the levels to be reduced. The levels didn't seem to increase again until the early 50's until unleaded was introduced in the late 70's onwards.

At the airfield I volunteer at we used to run the ferguson tractor and a model T on 100LL due to it being the fuel to hand and it destroyed the valve seats with low use within a couple of years, now on unleaded and at least 5 years on no signs of trouble yet.

I did read I a CMV that an owner of a M2 halftrack had replaced his self sealing tanks as the fuel was softening the interior lining and forming a solution which blocked his fuel lines, so when E10 unleaded becomes more common I expect we will start to see problems as will owners of modern cars with magnesium alloy fuel injection systems as apparently mag is eroded by the ethanol.

 

Steve

 

Steve

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I seem to recall a test ages and ages ago of classic cars and the only engine that appeared to fare badly from just unleaded was the O series BLMC engine. Mind you that engine was made of monkey metal to begin with.

 

That said the car fraternity are wedded to either valve seat inserts or fuel additives; strange really when my sons US spec (ie unleaded) MGB cylinder head is exactly the same as the UK equivalent.

 

So whilst popping magic pebbles in the tank may not do any harm I remain utterly unconvinced that they do any good either - especially as a replacement for lead and that the average user would be much better served by regular maintenance, sympathetic driving style and decent engine oil and coolant.

 

On the subject of ethanol there appear to be two worries. the first relates to plastic and rubber components, and there seems to be some substance to these concerns with a number of outlets offering "ethanol proof" pump valves diaphragms and so on. Certainly one to watch as time goes on. The second and in my view more important issue is the hygroscopic qualities of the ethanol, allowing water to become part of the mix with obvious effects in terms of internal corrosion.

 

The advice seems to be either to keep tanks of irregularly used machinery either as full as possible (thus eliminating damp air in the tank above the fuel) or as empty as possible, minimising the amount of fuel there to absorb moisture in the first place.

 

My guess though is that in half a dozen years time this will all seem a bit of a non-issue and we will still all be driving our old motors around perfectly happily.

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I can't remember where I read it, but I'm sure I've seen somewhere that leaded fuel was brought in later in the war specifically for tank engines, and most vehicles would run unleaded.

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Not what I was looking for, but there is a mention in "Maintenance guide, B vehicles, 1945" of valve trouble caused by leaded fuel that has recently been introduced into the UK. It caused a buildup on the valve stem, causing it to stick, and required a compression test at the end of each days running. It notes that there is both MT72 and MT80. MT72 has less lead in it.

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This product is complete snake oil, well pellets. I put them into a head which I had just done. A chap at the Ford Classic fair sold them to me for £49.50. I have had to rebuild the head due to the item not doing what it is alleged to do. Reported to Trading Standards. DO NOT WASTE YOUR HARD EARNED on this product complete shite! 

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I have used classic valvemaster lead replacement in my jeep  for 17 years .I pick it up at a local lawnmower shop and add it to all my fuel .......engines in great condition 

 

Jenkinov

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I was going to get the exhaust valve seats in my 1950 series one Land Rover replaced with hardened seats, until my father asked why, when I told him, he told me not to bother as during the war there was no lead in petrol and that the Land Rover engines were designed to run lead free, so I didn't bother, that was in 1995. Time has proved him to be correct, when I replaced the head gasket last year, I examined the valve seats, bores etc and there is no evidence of any problem.

 

Jon

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I have used  the valvoline lead replacement as a preventative measure .. but as you correctly indicate  Fuel formulas have varied over time , decoking engines was in most ww2 maintenance procedures but due to modern fuels it does not appear necessary . Similarly it may be that re leading is now not necessary ....?

The Question i have asked myself  Is that if re leading is not necessary then surely one of the fuel companies would have targeted the not insubstantial classic car market and advertised their fuel as suitable for classic cars and bikes ....The fact I can see no evidence of this suggests that they are not sure ... So I edge on personal caution and re lead ? The cost is pence per litre 

I have both classic cars and bikes and as a personal rule tend to try to maintain them with equivalent oil and fuels to those they would have had when they were new , 

Jenkinov

 

 

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