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Old 07-11-2003, 02:39 PM
mvonhobe's Avatar
mvonhobe mvonhobe is offline
Join Date: Jul 11 2003
Posts: 68
Default Gasoline

This oughta be a really basic question! What grade gasoline is sufficdient and/or which is best? Stay away from the gasahol blends? Additives needed and/or recommended?
I've wanted a squarebird for 30 years - the right opportunity was finally presented end of last month. It's a '59 Bird with the standard 352CID. Feedback I've received thus far suggests that 87 octane works just fine.
Man, if you could just see the silly grin on my face! (Middle-aged guys with such a smile look so goofy, don't they???)
Matthew 1959 Indian Turquise Hardtop
Tbirdregistry RegistryNumber=13517
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Old 07-11-2003, 07:53 PM
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Alexander Alexander is offline
Join Date: Oct 30 2002
Posts: 3,337
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Default RE: Gasoline

Congratulations on acquiring your Thunderbird.

These were the engines offered for 1959 in the Thunderbird:

[ul][li]Code H / Thunderbird 352 Cubic Inch Special V-8
Bore & stroke: 4.00" x 3.50"
Comp. ratio: 9.6:1
Horsepower: 300 at 4600 RPM

[li]Code J / Thunderbird 430 Cubic Inch Special V-8
Bore & stroke: 4.30" x 3.70"
Comp. ratio: 10.0:1
Horsepower: 350 at 4400 RPM

[li]Code G / Thunderbird 332 Cubic Inch Special V-8 (LOW OCTANE FOR EXPORT ONLY)
Bore & stroke: 4.00" x 3.30"
Comp. ratio: 8.9:1
Horsepower: 265 at 4400 RPM

These same engines were available in 1960. In 1958 the 430 engine was not available. The low compression 332 was a rare option and only available for export.

All the engines except the export only 332 engines required premium fuel because they are high compression engines. I am surprised you do not get pinging under load and acceleration with your 352 running on 87 octane. I only use 91 octane and up gas in my Thunderbirds.

The owner's manual states, "Your Thunderbird V-8 power plant should be operated only on the highest quality premium-grade gasoline available in your locality. The use of low octane fuels in this engine will cause spark knock and poor performance, and may eventually cause serious damage to the the precision internal parts of the engine."

If your engine does not ping under load, it may be that someone has retarded the timing of your engine. If so, you are not getting the performance that the engine can deliver.

I do not use any additives in my gasoline. The need for lead in the gasoline is questionable if you are not running the engine hard.

1959 Hardtop
1960 Golde Top
1959 Hard Top
1960 Golde Top
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