1930 Ford Model A and lead additives

What is the general feeling about lead gasoline additives in 1930 engines? Can excessive amounts of lead additive create combustion problems?

No gasoline engine needs lead or lead substitutes to operate properly. They just need enough octane to avoid detonation. “They need lead to keep the valve seats from eroding”…That’s urban legend BS. Your Model “A” or Model “T” will run just fine on regular unleaded…You will never drive it enough miles to wear it out…

The reason why some older cars needed lead or lead additives was because the valve seats weren’t hardened and depended on the lead in the gasoline to replace the iron that was worn away. I’m not sure if this would apply to your model A or not-- I think the engine might have been designed before they even regularly had leaded gas. My guess is that the valve seat wear is probably the least of your problems-- they’ll probably last longer than your typical rebuild intervals on one of these oldies. I’d consult a blacksmith, or better yet an early-autos specific web board.

Were they using lead additives in 1930?

Edited: To answer my own question, lead was first available in gas in 1923.

lead was first available in gas in 1923.

Yes, but it wasn’t a regular additive in most gasoline until the 1950s, and even then there was Amoco “Super Premium” which all the motorheads in the 1960s assured me was the best thing in the world for an engine because it didn’t have any lead. Seriously, nobody thought lead was a necessary until the government banned it.

I guess I did not indicate it in my prior message, but yes, I agree that it is very unlikely that there will be any problem for the OP using unleaded, and he should use regular not premium. (In the case of gasoline "Premium" does NOT mean better, it just means higher octane and higher octane is not always better.

Lead substitute is snake oil. Save your money.

you need the lead to keep the valves sealed,they’re not hardened seats,un leaded will clean the sealing surface,hence will start running horrible

Lead makes no difference in the life of older engines. Lead will not protect valves, valve seats or anything else from wear. These old engines generally require valve jobs every 40-50K miles regardless of the type of fuel used.

Manufacturers went to hardened valve seats because consumers demanded longer-lasting engines. Lead or the lack of it had NOTHING to do with it…

lead seals the valves.never said protect the valves.if you started with leaded fuel,end with leaded fuel.i know why the seats were hardended.

I’d be inclined to go looking for sites and books specific to those cars. There is, I believe, an entire industry just built of vehicles of that vintage. I’m sure professional restorers and rebuilders specializing in early 20th-century cars have a wealth of knowledge and information that most folks do not.

absolutly,too cool of an old car too create issues from misinformation.

I would not know where to get a lead additive. You can, however, find a lead substitute. WM stores sold one for about 5 or 6 bucks for a quart bottle with a measuring chamber last I checked a few months ago. Why not get in touch with a Model A Ford club? There should be plenty of them. Also, Google “Valve Seat Recession”; read all about it and then decide for yourself. Easy driving should not make a problem with unhardened valve seats but hard driving can. Your Model A is not likely to be spending much highway time, right?

A good question was asked: If leaded gasoline is not needed to preserve cast iron valve seats, then why did engine mfrs. spend money hardening CI valve seats when leaded gasoline went away in 1974? Before then, almost all OHV cylinder heads were cast iron and valve seats were not hardened.