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I'm just a young teenager trying to get started with my first car. My dad said I need to find out about leaded gas. I want to find the best '60s Mustang but he's concerned that it will only take leaded gas. Is it still available?

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I have '63 Chevrolet Chevy II Novas and run unleaded gas in them. The problem lies in how much useage the car gets.It'll take a bunch of time until you find any problem. It'll be proformance due to worn out valve seats. I rebuilt two 6cyl engine to go in two of the cars using harded exhaust seats in the head. That is were you'll get the biggest problem with using unleaded gas. Any machine shop that does engine work should be able to do a valve job with new valves and replace the exhuast seat with hardened ones. Or you could find a racing shop that might be able to do it. If the car isn't going to be driven daily or driven hard you shouldn't have problems. There are lead subtitue additives you can buy if you want added security of mind. <P>I guess I didn't directly answer your question on availibilty. Leaded gas isn't available.<p>[ 10-21-2001: Message edited by: novaman ]

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As noted in the first reply, a lot depends on usage, but everything I've read indicates that unleaded fuel is not a problem if the car is used in a reasonable (read non-racing) manner. If the engine needs rebuilding, by all means have hardened seats put in. If not, use a lead substitute (about $2.00 per tank), and enjoy the car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

t-bird ~ How do you get it to last 2 years? rolleyes.gif" border="0 <P>I do not believe that it is the absence of lead that has resulted in crappy gas. It is all of those government mandated additives, rules and restrictions that has made today's gas unstable.<P>Just my opinion. I could be wrong. ~ hvs smile.gif" border="0

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The british, who take this subject more seriously perhaps than we do have claimed that the only problem regarding unleaded gas is valve seat recession, generally in high compression motors, I,E, those produced in the '30's and later. It may help to remember that lead is/was an additive to gasoline introduced in the '20's to eliminate "knocking and pinging" in high compression engines and hardened valve seats are generally recommended for such motors, particularly the exhaust valve, yet many who drive their cars moderately report no wear at all, thus it is a matter of individual choice and concern. I drove a '27 Buick over 70,000 miles every day to work and the only discernible wear was in the rings and bearings which some judicious shimming helped and my '63 merc, meteor gave reliable service for 6 years with unleaded gas with nary a complaint. As far as I'm concerned it's still an open book, remember there are many outfits that claim an "unleaded conversion" is the philosophers stone of classic car restoration, my final advice is to just be careful and get as much "working knowledge" on the subject as you can,

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Hardened exhuast valve seats will take care the valve seat recession problem. In drag racing you can see engine wear quickly. Even in the small block streetable engines (slighlty hopped up but abused by racing). When you need a valve job done have them replace the exhaust seats, then you don't have to ever worry about them. I wouldn't pull an engine down just to replace them alone.<p>[ 11-03-2001: Message edited by: novaman ]

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a 1964 Imperial and have had no problems using unleaded fuel. When leaded gas began to be hard to find, I contacted Chrysler Corp. and they sent me a litle chart showing which fuel they recommended for which engine. It mostly depends on compression ratio and type of use.<P>Also, I have the owner's and service manuals for my car, they recommend a "dependable brand of premium fuel", no mention of lead. Remember, in 1964 Amoco was (and still is) lead free and it is a very well-known brand of gas. No, I don't work for BP / Amoco. wink.gif" border="0

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Michael ~ My '41 Cadillac has been in my family since new and in my posession for 50 years. During its 1st 10 years of life it was ALWAYS run on Amoco Lead Free gas. For the next 12 years it was run on mostly Amoco. When the engine was torn down in 1963 there was NO sign of valve seat precession and only rings and a bad cam were replaced. I have driven the car maybe 40,000 miles since '63 and it still performs perfectly and of course it has had ONLY unleaded gas for the past 17 years.<P>Remember folks, this is a '41 and NOT one of those hi-compression, overpowered muscle cars of later years. I offer no comment on what is good or bad for them. ~ hvs

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  • 2 weeks later...

During the late 70's and 80's I drove a 1937 or a 1939 Plymouth every day to work, 15 miles one way, on the interstate, every day. They were my everyday transportation. I used unleaded gas, and not the first bit of valve recession. Chrysler used hardened exhaust seats in those flatheads. I later upgraded to a 1963 Chevy wagon as my everyday driver. The Chevy had a 230ci 6 cyl and no hardened valve seats (I didn't know it) . After several months ( the actual time was less than a year, it had been so long ago I can't recall exactaly) the performance started to decline. The engine had no power. I pulled the head and found extreme exhaust valve recession. When the valve opened, it barely extended past the face of the head. I had new exhaust seats installed in a spare head and it ran forever. Lead does make a difference, I've never tried those additives you can buy. <BR>I might still have that head in the garage if anyone would like to see a picture of valve recession.

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If the valve doesn't move out beyond the head surface sound more like bent valve train. A valve can not shorten it's travel unless something gives way in the line of cam, lifter, pushrod, or rocker arm. Now if the seat receeds the valve never closes fully and allows compression to bypass it on the compression stroke and on the intake stroke sucks exhaust gases back into the cyl and also due to the leaky exhaust valve/seat creates a vacuum leak therefore not sucking the proper amount of air/fuel mixture into the cyl., reducing performance.

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It was valve seat recession. It didn't have a bent valve tran. I don't recall taking a compression reading at that time so I can't really say it the valves were held open. The chrysler technology of the 30's used solid lifters and the Chevy had hydraulic lifters. I would guess that most of the distance from the valve seat recession was taken up by the hydraulic lifter. If the push rod bottomed out in the lifter, then the valve would be held open.

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