Lancia Beta Forum

Technical stuff => Engine => Topic started by: droptop on May 01, 2010, 05:16:31 AM

Title: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: droptop on May 01, 2010, 05:16:31 AM
 ??? Greetings from the "Early One". Just wondering, I have bought my first Beta. Its a 1977 (ish) spider 2000 and I am in the process of servicing it and overhauling cooling, braking and electrical systems, but I don't know if I need to use a lead additive and/or an octane booster. The car has 33,000 miles on the clock which appears to be genuine and hasn't been ran for more than a couple of hours since unleaded was introduced in Ireland so little chance of damage been done if it can't take it. Can anyone advise me? I don't want to get the head modified until it needs an overhaul as I am looking forward to driving it soon.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: MattNoVAT on May 01, 2010, 07:08:33 PM
When I took my car to an old school tuner who has his own rolling road I asked this very question as I wanted my carb set up for more modern fuels.  He advised me that it is fine to run these cars/engines on 98 RON fuel, he recommended either Shell V Power or BP Optimax, because of the octane rating and the low sulphur content.  There are supermarket fuels that have 99 RON but he advised that the sulphur content was higher.

Then he said that if you add Lead additive like Millers VSP he said "your car will think all its birthdays have come at once". (

So, I run my Coupe on Shell V-Power and Millers VSP and I think that it is probably the best its ever run.

I have also heard that if you can get hold of Tetraboost, this is pretty similar to Millers VSP but works out cheaper in the long run, but you have to buy it in bulk and its about 100.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: thecolonel on May 01, 2010, 09:04:29 PM
when four start was first invented there was a choice of lead or Castrol formula, lead was cheaper.
Tetraboost is basically the equivalent of lead but it's very dangerous if you buy it you're
advised to get someone else to mix it for you.


Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: thecolonel on May 02, 2010, 12:22:21 PM
When they first said about removing 4 star I went to my local engineering company
and asked about valves/seats, his comments were " so you want us to remove steel
seats and replace them with steel seats, not a lot of point really, most problems
with unleaded are down to timing " his suggestion was to run the car on unleaded
for 3 k miles and then check the clearances, if there was a problem then he would
change the seats, 5 cars and umpteen thouusands of miles later I'm still running
on normal unleaded with the odd tank of super, no problems as yet, although I did
have to retard the timing a bit.

Geoff (sensible head on)

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: 75coupe on May 28, 2011, 10:49:52 PM
I too run standard valves/seats, never used additives, just 98 Ron unleaded either Shell V power or BP Ultimate. My car has nearly 11:1 compression, revs to 7000+ and more power than stock had no problems (so far!!!!!)

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: andybeta on June 29, 2011, 07:04:00 AM
Just to clarify Optimax is Shell. When I was running mine I used this and it markedly increased the power and responsiveness of the engine. Unleaded is 95RON and frankly not enough octane so engine felt flat and down on power. I used Optimax with Millers Octane Booster (maybe VSP before it was withdrawn I suspect because some of the ingredients weren't too nice) a few times and it dramatically improved engine power and responsiveness. The combination must have easily been 100 octane - rocket fuel. No problems with excessive valve seat wear. I think the main issue is reduced octane of unleaded.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: lukasdeopalenica on January 31, 2013, 12:49:29 PM
I know this is an old thread, but because I have not found a satisfying answer for my doubts I am renewing the question here. Are the betas, especially late models, unleaded fuel compatible or should we use lead additives? Many of you have run your betas for such a long period, so you have your own opinions.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: Hawk on January 31, 2013, 01:10:20 PM
I run mine on 'super' unleaded (98 ron) with a bottle of Millers VSP every 5 fills or so - I bought a job lot and still have about 15 bottles left. 

I did try running on 95 ron + a bottle of Millers every fill but that worked our expensive (Millers is 10 a bottle) and it seemed to respond better to 98 ron. 

Never had any problems using unleaded

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: Ammy on January 31, 2013, 03:18:31 PM
I also took my 2000 Spyder to my local engineering specialist in 2009 and got exactly the same response as  Geoff in 2010. This suggests there  must be , at least,  two "honest" engineering companies in U.K. not wanting to take customers "for a ride". I only do about 1500 miles a year but have had no problem with unleaded.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: Neil-yaj396 on February 01, 2013, 03:58:37 PM
23000 miles mostly on normal unleaded plus the odd tank of super. No problems whatsoever.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: hf_dave on February 04, 2013, 10:01:04 PM
I believe there is no problem running on un-leaded , There was an article in a car magazine a couple of years ago about a beta that had been run on un-leaded only for a couple of years and there was no sign of valve seat recession.  In recent articles  I read about aluminium headed cars fitted with steel valve seats and they reckoned that the seats were hard enough . I will wait and see how my beta gets on with  un-leaded.  :) Thanks. David.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: explorerr on February 07, 2013, 05:06:55 PM
i use unleaded 3 years in my beta problem.

Title: Re: Leaded or unleaded?
Post by: betaveloce on February 12, 2013, 02:40:13 PM
unleaded here as well