Why was lead once added to goasoline?

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Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 24 May 2019 20:39

Yes, we al know it was to raise the octane level but, why lead?
The answer might surprise some of the younger generations .

it was long known that certain types of alcohol would also raise the octane and had none of the engine fouling properties of lead... not to mention that lead was also poisoning the environment.

"Amoco" once marketed a lead free gas.. commonly called "white gas" back then... at a premium price that used ethanol alcohol instead of lead.
It was the gas of choice for small engines, lanterns etc.

So, why didn't all oil companies use alcohol as they now all do?
The problem was there was not enough of ethanol alcohol available.

So farmers started to plant more and more corn to make ethanol alcohol and in the late'70s, the switch was made to alcohol .

Now some are against adding ethanol to gasoline as it can reduce gas mileage by a small amount but, one must understand just why it was added in the first place. :)

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by cafe latte » 24 May 2019 22:43

JDJX wrote:
24 May 2019 20:39
Yes, we al know it was to raise the octane level but, why lead?
The answer might surprise some of the younger generations .

it was long known that certain types of alcohol would also raise the octane and had none of the engine fouling properties of lead... not to mention that lead was also poisoning the environment.

"Amoco" once marketed a lead free gas.. commonly called "white gas" back then... at a premium price that used ethanol alcohol instead of lead.
It was the gas of choice for small engines, lanterns etc.

So, why didn't all oil companies use alcohol as they now all do?
The problem was there was not enough of ethanol alcohol available.

So farmers started to plant more and more corn to make ethanol alcohol and in the late'70s, the switch was made to alcohol .

Now some are against adding ethanol to gasoline as it can reduce gas mileage by a small amount but, one must understand just why it was added in the first place. :)
Lead was used as it acted as a lube and coated the valve seats preventing valve seat recession. Modern lead free petrol has benzine and other nasties in which cause cancer. Lead petrol is actually not the pollutant many think, the lead oxide that comes out the exhaust was a tiny amount and not soluble either, very little was damaging the environment or us. Neither are perfect, but given a choice between lead or benzine I would choose lead.
Chris

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 24 May 2019 23:06

Fact.... lead just clogged up the valves and did not act as any sort of lubricant
It hindered the flow of gas into the cylinders.
BTW valve seat issues were cause by the valves not being heat treated as they are in modern times.
We also now often have hardened valve seats inserts in modern engines

Fact....lead is is a toxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bone and it's been proven beyond any doubt that lead levels were noticeably higher along roads due to the lead in car's exhaust.

BTW, I never advocated benzene.. :)

"Benzene itself has been limited to less than 1% in gasoline because it is a known human carcinogen. Most non-industrial applications have been limited as well for the same reason."

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by dysmike » 24 May 2019 23:56

I've had cars made for leaded gas. I needed to update to harder valve seats to account for the lack of lead. Without the lead in the gas, they wear. Significantly. You said it yourself, there was no need for hardened seats with leaded gas (btw, Benzin in German.. )This is the lubrication action referred to. However, it also increased octane level, reducing knock, as far as I know this was the primary purpose.

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 25 May 2019 00:55

Actually, the switch to alcohol more or less coincided with higher gas mileage standards.
Eventually, engines were designed to run leaner and hotter for more complete combustion.. and hence, better mileage.
Before, engines were made to run rich and cooler just to cool the valves.

So, with hotter, leaner running engines, heat treated valves and hardened valve seats were necessary . :)

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by cafe latte » 25 May 2019 03:00

JDJX wrote:
24 May 2019 23:06
Fact.... lead just clogged up the valves and did not act as any sort of lubricant
It hindered the flow of gas into the cylinders.
BTW valve seat issues were cause by the valves not being heat treated as they are in modern times.
We also now often have hardened valve seats inserts in modern engines

Fact....lead is is a toxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bone and it's been proven beyond any doubt that lead levels were noticeably higher along roads due to the lead in car's exhaust.

BTW, I never advocated benzene.. :)

"Benzene itself has been limited to less than 1% in gasoline because it is a known human carcinogen. Most non-industrial applications have been limited as well for the same reason."
No fact lead oxide is both a cushioning agent which prevented valve wear and also a lubricant which helped to prevent valve guide wear. The amount of insoluble lead oxide produced was very small, we have replaced this with something known to be very carcinogenic. Not saying lead petrol did not have its faults, but what we replaced it with is far from being better for health.
Chris

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 25 May 2019 05:01

Yeah.... I guess without lead, valve stems are now running " dry" with no lubricant........

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by cafe latte » 25 May 2019 09:56

JDJX wrote:
25 May 2019 05:01
Yeah.... I guess without lead, valve stems are now running " dry" with no lubricant........
No they have oil, but with lead they had that too, valve stems lasted longer with lead petrol, the benefits of lead 're have and valve stem wear is known.
Chris

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 25 May 2019 15:50

cafe latte wrote:
25 May 2019 09:56
JDJX wrote:
25 May 2019 05:01
Yeah.... I guess without lead, valve stems are now running " dry" with no lubricant........
No they have oil, but with lead they had that too, valve stems lasted longer with lead petrol, the benefits of lead 're have and valve stem wear is known.
Chris
What you you are saying is that lead coast the entire valve so much that it coats the valve stems.

An argument can be made that the lead prevents the proper oil flow from reaching the stems and "valve jobs" were common during the days of leaded gas.
BTW, lead also coated and fouled spark plugs :)

https://driving.ca/auto-news/news/rearv ... leaded-gas

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by rewfew » 25 May 2019 17:05

The only additive that I would recommend for gasoline would be "Pflash". Why, one might ask? Well, it put the "fun" back in driving. Fina gasoline stations in the late 60's promoted this wonder agent for this one simple reason. Pflash put the fun back in driving. Fina with Pflash was... Pfantastic! They also promoted "pink air" for tire fill up. Their promotions were as carcinogenic as their ingredients. Which were fictitious. But if there were any serious intent to move away from fossil fuels we'd all be enhanced health and climate wise.
The band Road Hog & The Nuisances promotional song.


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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by cafe latte » 25 May 2019 23:09

JDJX wrote:
25 May 2019 15:50
cafe latte wrote:
25 May 2019 09:56
JDJX wrote:
25 May 2019 05:01
Yeah.... I guess without lead, valve stems are now running " dry" with no lubricant........
No they have oil, but with lead they had that too, valve stems lasted longer with lead petrol, the benefits of lead 're have and valve stem wear is known.
Chris
What you you are saying is that lead coast the entire valve so much that it coats the valve stems.

An argument can be made that the lead prevents the proper oil flow from reaching the stems and "valve jobs" were common during the days of leaded gas.
BTW, lead also coated and fouled spark plugs :)

https://driving.ca/auto-news/news/rearv ... leaded-gas
Lead oxide deposited on valve seats acting as a cushion preventing wear and layer was very thin. and also on valve guides which without it suffered friction wear. Lead did not settle everywhere it was all dependant on gas flow and gas temperature so it tended to be around exhaust valves. I drove many years cars with leaded petrol and I never had issues with fouled spark plugs with lead, spark plugs were only replaced when they were old and worn out. I have also had more engines apart than I can remember, old Rover p6's Triumphs even back then when leaded petrol was around, lead did not clog things up at all but it did protect the valves, carbon then and now was the culprit of these issues not lead, actually I do wonder if carbon sticks more and fouls more due the the absence of the slippery lead..Not saying lead is good, but it was only a good thing for the car engine and performance, it is why it was used, it improved octane, improved burn, prevented knocking and protected the valve seats and guides and it did not clog anything. Yes lead is not good health wise but the health related issues with leaded petrol were exaggerated, not saying they did not exist but it was not as bad as many made out. It must be remembered that modern petrol is not really any better as it is carcinogenic. We do need o move on from petrol and diesel and to be honest electric cars are not the answer either, how is the electricity being produced to charge the batteries? Also how long do electric cars last, how long do batteries last, what do you do with dead batteries? When we now keep changing our cars it must be remembered that the steel must be smelted with energy to make that car it is not just the pollution from exhaust. This is a far more complicated issue than people understand. Re electric cars too a car fire could be very interesting with a lithium battery IMO.
Chris

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 26 May 2019 00:17

Let's put all this into its proper perspective .
Lead in gas might have prevented some valve stem /guide wear simply because when lead was used, the valves and seats were not harden to prevent wear.

The whole truth must be understood to fully understand any issue.

BTW I never sad that lead did not do the basic job that it was intended to do.... just that its bad effects were well known long before adding it to gas.

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by cafe latte » 26 May 2019 03:06

JDJX wrote:
26 May 2019 00:17
Let's put all this into its proper perspective .
Lead in gas might have prevented some valve stem /guide wear simply because when lead was used, the valves and seats were not harden to prevent wear.

The whole truth must be understood to fully understand any issue.

BTW I never sad that lead did not do the basic job that it was intended to do.... just that its bad effects were well known long before adding it to gas.
Valve stems cant be hardened, well not too much or they will crack. Not saying lead is good far from it, but there was a mass run away from leaded fuel (not that dangerous heath wise, but admittedly not good) and we replaced it with a petrol additive which resulted in a poorer burn and a carcinogen to boot. Unleaded fuel does not contain lead which is good but it is bad for health in its own way which is the point, we have fixed nothing, just changed the problem.
Chris

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by JDJX » 26 May 2019 14:51

Why do you keep referring to benzene?
It's a given that benzene is bad and that is why benzene (The BTEX complex) is no longer used.


You seem to be grasping at straws to sing the praises of lead.

Anyway, the point of this thread is why it took so long to use alcohol if was long known to do the job safely . :)

BTW ...

" The Rise of BTEX Use

A consequence of lead’s phase-out was the increase of BTEX in gasoline. When faced with the removal of lead as the primary octane provider in gasoline, refiners had two available alternatives, BTEX and ethanol. The refining industry invested in additional refining capacity to replace lead with BTEX, a high-octane petroleum refining product. As a result of its substitution for lead, BTEX volume rose from 22 percent to roughly a third of the gasoline pool by 1990. In premium gasoline grades, the BTEX volume content was as high as 50 percent. In mandating cleaner fuels, through reformulated gasoline and other programs, EPA has reduced the volume of aromatics to between 25 to 28 percent of the conventional gasoline pool, though some health professionals question the safety of even these levels.."



Ethanol was not used at first for the reason I previously stated... its lack of availability in sufficient quantities.. :)

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Re: Why was lead once added to goasoline?

Post by cafe latte » 26 May 2019 21:42

JDJX wrote:
26 May 2019 14:51
Why do you keep referring to benzene?
It's a given that benzene is bad and that is why benzene (The BTEX complex) is no longer used.


You seem to be grasping at straws to sing the praises of lead.

Anyway, the point of this thread is why it took so long to use alcohol if was long known to do the job safely . :)

BTW ...

" The Rise of BTEX Use

A consequence of lead’s phase-out was the increase of BTEX in gasoline. When faced with the removal of lead as the primary octane provider in gasoline, refiners had two available alternatives, BTEX and ethanol. The refining industry invested in additional refining capacity to replace lead with BTEX, a high-octane petroleum refining product. As a result of its substitution for lead, BTEX volume rose from 22 percent to roughly a third of the gasoline pool by 1990. In premium gasoline grades, the BTEX volume content was as high as 50 percent. In mandating cleaner fuels, through reformulated gasoline and other programs, EPA has reduced the volume of aromatics to between 25 to 28 percent of the conventional gasoline pool, though some health professionals question the safety of even these levels.."



Ethanol was not used at first for the reason I previously stated... its lack of availability in sufficient quantities.. :)
Ethanol is still not available is these needed quantities. If BTEX complex is no longer used then what is?
I am not singing praises of lead, just saying that in fuel it was not as toxic as people think. Actually the main reason it was banned was not lead poisoning of humans or lead in the environment, but the inability to use leaded fuel with cars with catalytic converters. We need to get away from petrol altogether eventually, not sure what alternative we have, but know it is not electricity, especially in counties like America and Australia where distances are vast.
Chris

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