TR3 and Unleaded Gas

Not open for further replies.
Jan 21, 2003
Elizabeth City NC
I am back to driving my TR3 after a few years of storage. I have some consern about using unleaded gas. The first engine lasted 100,000 and was rebuild in 1981. I have since put about 30,000 on this engine. I do not know if the harden valve seats where used or not. I need opinions on weather you would use an additive to replace the lead or just not worry about it. I know we have many experts on this board. Your opinions are appreciated.
This motor is so easy and simple to work on that if it was me I would drive it until it needs a valve job and then worry about hardened valves seats etc.
TR3-2001SE, I have a 1970 Land Rover that doesn't have hardened valve seals. Until I get around to replacing them, I'm just putting some Schaeffer Neutra in each tank, seems to be doing fine, although this is by no means a long haul, high speed cruiser. Bogatyr
Quotes from Tech Tidbits, Road & Track magazine, July 1997: "Lead's lubricity, however, was beneficial for exhaust valve hardware of older engines, roughly pre-1971...By the Seventies, valve metallurgy was robust enough to do without lead. But, for earlier cars, it depends on how they're used. Tootling around town gently, there's likely no problem. Run at high revs, or under heavy load, or perhaps just a bit aggressively, it doesn't hurt to add a bottle of lead substitute now and then."
If you don't beat the cr*p out of the motor, which I really don't think you can do, you should be ok. Try a can of the lead substitute. You could always look for leaded aviation fuel or leaded racing fuel. Though I've haven't flown in 30 years so I can't swear as the availabilty of the leaded aviation fuel. And in NJ the stations I knew that sold leaded racing gas don't anymore [I dont know] . But maybe you'll have more luck where you are. If this is an ocassional use car and you are "gentle" with it you should be fine. Whimsey
I suspect you have solid lifters. If the exhaust valves don't "tighten up" quickly or excessively you're fine. If the exhaust valve seat quickly recedes into the head, you'll see it as clearance loss when checking valves. A little clearance loss is OK over 10,000 or 20,000 miles (a thousandth or two). Clearance gain would indicate the valve train components are wearing faster than the valve is receding (quite a normal condition). The intake valve is not usually affected by unleaded fuel in older engine. I'm not experienced in the engine specified, but this generally applies to solid lifter engines.
Not open for further replies.