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TR2/3/3A What Lead Substitute + Octane Boosters is everyone using in there gas tanks?

Geo Hahn

Country flag
None. I drove as I pleased until a valve receded to a point where I could no longer adjust it - then I got hardened seats and a general rebuild of the head.

Pump gas seems adequate octane wise - but of course that depends on what rating you have available, compression ratio of the engine, amount of advance, altitude, etc. I just get the usual at the Shell station and tune to make it work.


Jedi Warrior
I did the same as Geo, had the hardened seats put in and a total rebuild. I just use the 91 octane gas and it runs fine.

Lou Metelko

Jedi Trainee
Also did nothing more than a set of valve springs with hardened seats in 2003. The TR2 has had a steady diet of 87 octane since. Proud to say it has been 38,000 miles and counting!

Lou Metelko
Auburn, Indiana


Senior Member
Really? How come everything I read recommends it. My engine only has 6000 miles on it so I thought it would be a good idea to help it run for a long time. Interesting.

Geo Hahn

Country flag
Really? How come everything I read recommends it...

Wellsir, it is certainly recommended by the companies that make & sell it.

I do carry a bottle of octane booster in the boot in case I get into remote areas where only low octane fuel is available (have encountered this a couple of time on the reservation).

Even at that, I suspect the increase obtained from its use is slight as they use some misleading terms when stating the number of 'points' it increases octane.


Jedi Hopeful
I don't drive my antique cars hard and have never had any problems.

The one thing I do different then most is use ethanol free 91 octane gas. This is mainly because my 1933 Chevrolet gets vapor lock if I use gas with ethanol and the fuel lines run around the front of the engine similar to my TR4 and tend to heat up the fuel line. The ethanol in gas vaporizes at a lower temperature then the gas and from what I have read on the AACA forum can cause vapor lock.


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Much better IMO to buy oil with the ZDDP already in it. Motor oil additive packages are carefully crafted, just dumping in another additive may make things worse instead if better. Plus, too much ZDDP is definitely worse than not enough.

I use Valvoline VR1, but there are others

On the lead substitute front, I did run Redline for awhile, as my "barn find" motor was definitely having a problem with recession. But I've owned lots of others that never had a problem, and the original head (no hardened seats) that I dropped on as a temporary replacement seems to be doing fine (after 10k miles or so). So my advice is to save your money unless a problem becomes apparent.


Country flag
What Randall said, the concerns about valve recession when they took out of gas does not seem to have turned out to be as bad as some projected. I have run a number of cars for a number of years without hardened valve seats and haven't seen any problems. If it were a daily driver I might be more concerned, but I put couple thousand miles a year or so on my Triumph, will probably have some other major malady befall my car (or me) before I have terminal valve recession.

I run Valvoline VR1 as well, I noticed the straight 50w was on clearance at Advance Auto, hope they are not phasing the line out. Brad Penn is a popular choice too, though a little harder to find, there are others as well as Randall mentioned.

Geo Hahn

Country flag
FWIW - My valves held up fine w/o hardened seats until the day I drove from Riverside CA to Tucson AZ doing 80-85 all day long. They didn't seem to like that much - no real harm done though, just prompted me to get the seats.


Jedi Trainee
I bought some lead substitute at a local auto parts store and put it in a previous TR3 I had. Ended up with a carb full of lead substitute. Rebuilt them again and didn't use the crap after that. I'll drive till it needs something then fix it. Lots of possibilities likely to be there before valve seats. I use Shell 91 gas. I will say it seems to run better with 91 vs 87 octane, but that could just be the way I have it tuned in.


Country flag
The seats that take the most pounding are those that are operated at high speed for long periods. Of all of us on the forum, I think Tex is the only one that really applies to! If you just beat around town, I think the carbon build up tends to protect the seats from excessive erosion.
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