4 Star Petrol Ban - Page 1

[FAQ - PAGE 2]

In the new millennium, petrol stations around the country will change over night. No longer will you find the Red petrol pump, why, because the Government had banned the use of 4 Star petrol (anything leaded). Surprised? Don't worry, this article should clear a few things up and help you solve the problem.

For starters, 4 Star will still be on sale, but only about 0.5 to 1 % sold around the country. This equates to about the time and distance you've traveled to the nearest petrol station that sells 4 Star, you've got to fill up the tank again. A wasted journey and money. So what's available to the public then? Well you've got Unleaded, Super Unleaded and LRP (Lead Replacment Petrol).....and that's about it.

So first, the technical bit, what's the difference between Leaded and Unleaded. Engines need to be run at their optimum, they require performance fuel. This quality is measured by its OCTANE rating, the higher the number the better the fuel. As a guide, 4 Star (Leaded fuel) is rated at 97 octance, Unleaded is 95 while Super-Unleaded is rated at 98 octane. Its clear that Super-Unleaded is an ideal fuel for your car. If you decide to use fuel with a low octane rating your engine will run very poorly, and in a worst case scenario, damage your engine (even though this is unlikely if used once in a blue moon).

But why is there lead in 4 Star petrol anyway? The answer to this is that on older engines, with softer vavles and other parts of the engine, it acted as a lubricant. Protecting certain areas of the engine as the pistons detonats the fuel, cylinder head and vavles holding large pressures, exterimly high tempertures being generated by the explosions etc. Take this natural lubrication away, without engine mods, equals trouble.

But what you need to know is, will my Vauxhall need modifiying? Mostly the answer will be no. Any cars made AFTER 1986 will run fine on Unleaded fuel. But for better power, use Super-Unleaded because of the higher octane rating. All cars made BEFORE 1986 will need to be tweaked. Mostly it's just a case of adjusting the timing back by 3 degrees, and maybe having the valve seats and valves replaced with hardened versions. Any car fitted with a CAT (Catalitic Converter) will defently need Unleaded fuel, as Leaded fuel will damage the CAT (which are expensive to replace).

Guide for 8v Nova and Astra engines (1.0L upto 1.8L):

  1. 1982 to 1984 (Y to B reg). These engines are very old by now, and will definitely need modifing which could be expensive. You might be better off buying a newer re-con engine (post 1986) instead for paying for modifing the old engine. You can pick up a cheap 1.3 SR engine and fitted for about 150-200.
  2. 1985 to 1986 (C to D reg). All Vauxhall models built after 1985 will happily run on unleaded, as they all have hardened valve seats and retarded ignition timimg. It is worth having the ignition timing checked on carburettor models.
  3. 1987 and beyond (E to x reg.) All engines have the necessary timing and mods done. Your home and dry.

Guide for 2.0L engines (ie Calibra engines):

  1. C20NE 8v engines. This will run on Unleaded anyway, but be warry about the timing adjustment coding plug. Factory set-up is for 95 octane (Unleaded), but if differnet fuel is used (ie higher octane ratings), the coding plug must be changed accordingliy. If not, then it could course pinking.
  2. C20XE 16v engines. These too will run on Unleaded, but the octane coding plug is adjusted automatically, so theres nothing to worry about, stick what ever you want in there (but not Leaded fuel of course).

[FAQ - PAGE 2]

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