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#201216 Thu Feb 16 2006 02:24 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,007
Some one told me today that I shouldn't run unleaded fuel in my 53 truck because it will burn the valves. I was sure it was the other way around, that you shouldn't put leaded fuel in an unleaded engine.

Who's right???

1953 3/4-Ton Chevy

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If it can be built ... It can be fixed.

#201217 Thu Feb 16 2006 02:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 74
I believe you are but I could be wrong

#201218 Thu Feb 16 2006 02:37 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 740
Shop Shark
I have heard the same thing about my 61. My friend was telling me that since my truck was built in the days of leaded gas it had "soft" valve seats. He claimed that newer vehicles designed for unleaded fuels have "hard" valve seats. I am not sure if he is right or not but he was sure that he was. I run unleaded gas in my truck and have for years, no problems yet. I put fuel conditioner through it once in a while, but nothing serious, just cheap NAPA stuff. I do that about every oil change or so. I am not sure if it does anything but I feel better about it.

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - George S. Patton

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#201219 Thu Feb 16 2006 02:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 3,121
Leaded fuel, if you could find it, will plug the catalydic converter. Running unleaded fuel in an old engine could theoretically could burn a valve or seat because they used the lead as a lubricant. You would have to run along time with an overlean condition to do it though. I'm still running original engines in most of my trucks with no problems,

Scott Ward

2 1948 1.5-ton Loadmasters
The red one [] and The snow pusher []
1 1950 3100
1 1955.1 Chevy 6500 []
1 1954 Chevy 6500 2-Ton []
1 1955 1st Series COE 5700 []
1 1963 K20 [] (454)
1 1964 C10 (350)
1 1951 1.5-ton Dump Truck []
1953 and a 1956 Ford F800 []

Raising a teenager is like trying to nail Jello to a tree!
#201220 Thu Feb 16 2006 02:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,925
Shop Shark
Heard the same things, was told the valve seats would burn out and should be replaced with newer type seats (not the valves)

#201221 Thu Feb 16 2006 03:20 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 454
Shop Shark
Resto book I read said that the old seats are soft, but if it ran on leaded for any length of time, the lead is absorbed into the seat and provides lubrication for a long time. If you rebuild the head or use an NOS head with no milage, get the seats replaced with hardened ones.

Current fleet (subject to change w/o notice)
\'49 GMC 3/4-Ton [] , 60 Austin Healey Frog-eye Sprite (some assembly required), 2011 Dodge Avenger, 2015 Jeep Cherokee. No, they don't all run.
My other ride is a (B737)no, (B767)no, A320.... Update... was Embraer E190, now Boeing B787.

Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but ignorance means you don't know you can't do something.
#201222 Thu Feb 16 2006 03:24 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,007
Thanks Guys... I was not planning on doing any internal work on the engine.

Since this truck will likely be a weekend cruiser and not a daily driver I think I will take my chances. It has 83000 on the odo so it probably had a few gallons of leaded fuel in its day. not too worried then.

1953 3/4-Ton Chevy

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If it can be built ... It can be fixed.

#201223 Thu Feb 16 2006 03:32 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 328
Shop Shark
I've been running my 1966 250 for over 11 years on unleaded, and it still runs fine.

#201224 Thu Feb 16 2006 04:44 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
New Guy
If you have concerns about this, there's a product I use in my big block Vette called max lead 2000. It adds actual tetrethyl lead and boosts octane. For the occasional driver, you can add some every 3rd or 4th tankful.

You never have enough, til you have too many!
#201225 Thu Feb 16 2006 05:20 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,572
Workshop Owner
I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I burn regular unleaded in my '59, not a problem yet.

Although, I would not burn Ethanol.

J Lucas
1941 Chevy 1/2-Ton
1942 Chevy 1.5-Ton SWB
1959 Chevy Apache 31 Fleetside
1959 Chevy Apache 32 Fleetside
1969 Chevy C-50 Grain Truck
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