LEAD BAL­LOON

Classic Bike (UK) - - LETTERS -

Rick’s ‘Bul­let in the tank’ item about Ar­turo Peraia’s dis­cov­ery of lumps of lead in his old Tri­umph’s fuel tank (Rick’s Fixes, Au­gust 2018) cau­tiously avoided any com­ment about who­ever put them there. I un­der­stand that his job as a writer be­hoves him to treat read­ers with re­spect – even those dumb enough to put lumps of lead in their tanks. But as a cor­re­spon­dent, I am not so con­strained by the need for diplo­macy. The kind­est thing that can be said of such peo­ple is that they’re gullible.

Me­tal­lic lead and tetraethyl lead are com­pletely dif­fer­ent sub­stances. Tetraethyl lead is a vis­cous, colour­less liq­uid that is mixed into fuel. The mere fact that lumps of me­tal­lic lead last for years in the tank with­out be­ing con­sumed should tell any­one with a scrap of in­tel­li­gence that it’s not go­ing into the engine. But even if it was leach­ing into the fuel, pure me­tal­lic lead in an engine is likely to do more harm than good.

Let’s put aside the both­er­some re­al­ity of sci­ence for a mo­ment and take a wee di­ver­sion into the fan­tasy land in­hab­ited by those happy folk who be­lieve that me­tal­lic lead is an ef­fec­tive re­place­ment for tetraethyl lead. Let’s also as­sume they’re aware that leaded fuel was banned for en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons. That must trig­ger some dim level of sus­pi­cion that their own lead ‘ad­di­tive’ is prob­a­bly not a good thing for the en­vi­ron­ment, ei­ther. While in re­al­ity they are not mak­ing their ex­haust emis­sions any worse, by their twisted logic they must be­lieve they are, which in­di­cates a lack of re­gard for their fel­low crea­tures. It’s a weird ex­am­ple of some­one mak­ing a rep­re­hen­si­ble choice with­out do­ing any ac­tual harm.

As for any­one who pro­duces and sells such de­vices to those hill­bil­lies who be­lieve the ab­surd claims, suf­fice to say that they are thiev­ing scum. Any fur­ther com­ment about them would not be print­able in a gen­teel mag­a­zine such as Clas­sic Bike.

CAM DOU­GLAS, TAS­MA­NIA

Well, you’re cer­tainly right in what you say about how I an­swered it! Thing is, I have met quite a few read­ers who have tried this prod­uct and have faith in it and I don’t feel it’s down to me to call them fools. Some say that the things get smaller over time – but hav­ing done some read­ing up on it, the claim, as I un­der­stand it, is that it isn’t just a lump of lead but some sol­u­ble com­pound de­vel­oped by the mil­i­tary to im­prove bad fuel in out­ly­ing the­atres of op­er­a­tion. How you tell if it is in­deed this mir­a­cle sub­stance rather than just some old fish­ing weights, I am not en­tirely sure! RICK PARK­ING­TON

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