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On Heavier Gear Knobs 1


OK. I'll step up and put my two cents in: I reckon the gear-knob story was great. Right up there with the article on changing the steering weight in the LS400. I think they both go right to the heart of what separates a nice driving car from a really nice driving car, and as such I would like to see more of them.

Patrick McAuliffe
Australia

On Heavier Gear Knobs 2

Browsing through old articles this evening, I came across two items which caught my eye - one on modifying gear knobs, and a 'Response' column indicating that the 'knobs' article got canned on some web forum. The reason I found this so interesting is the car I drive - a 91 Mazda MX5. Now everyone who drives a 5 knows that the designers have done as much as possible to capture the 'feel' of a sports car - right down to the gear knob - we all love the legendary MX5 'snick-snick' gear changes.

What makes it more interesting is that a company called Voodoo Knobs sell an upgraded gear knob, designed completely to improve the MX5's fabulous gear shift. It's a solid billet aluminium knob – it feels great in the hand, and is slightly heavier, providing a more even and direct feel on changes. I've got one, and everyone I know who also does swears by them.

So don't be too fussed by someone on a web forum who thinks that an article about changing your knob is a wank..... because a whole bunch of drivers of the world's most popular roadster (according to Guinness Book of World records) know that what you wrote about gear knobs is perfectly true, and a legitimate and simple modification to improve the driving experience. After all - that's what it’s about isn't it???

Michael O'Brien
Australia

On Heavier Gear Knobs 3

Imaginative approaches and eclectic topics are what keep both your fordmods friend and me reading your articles. Apart from the door handle, steering wheel and pedals, few parts are more in contact with the driver, so why would it be considered strange? Enzo Ferrari loved the feel so intimately he adopted the 'H' gate design pattern.

Who does not close a Lexis or BMW door and not listen for that solid note, so why would solid feel from lever weights be strange? Direct connection gear levers in rear drive cars spoiled me. Here the lever ball fulcrum in the top of the casting extension was often directly below the gear lever. This gave a great feel and I expect the focus selling point of the forgotten and spartan HB Torana. Its memorable selection feel was tainted by its too light throw weight. Who would have thought this could be fixed by a trip to the wreckers? Not me unfortunately.

Would your fordmods commenter consider this?

Someone who has a spark of thought or an innate consciousness that a product can be improved and follows this by a realisation of what can be done and further caps this with their effort to complete a successful change, truly has three of the 'essential oils' of design and creativity. That is why reports on the way things are are covered in other sites, and those regarding the way designs ’could be' are the nucleus of AutoSpeed.

Shane Quinn
Australia

Negative on Diesels

Your article 'Diesels!' (9th April) was rather negative overall, with only one advantage - fuel economy - to counteract a long list of disadvantages including noise, weight and emissions.  I would suggest that modern turbo diesel engines produce torque outputs, and hence give in-gear acceleration, equivalent to much larger-capacity petrol engines but with the fuel economy of a smaller petrol engine.  They are also high-geared giving very relaxed high-speed cruising.  Demand for diesel engines is Europe in particular is driving rapid development giving ever-increasing specific power and torque outputs and improving low-rev pickup and refinement.  All-aluminium engines such as the excellent 2.2 litre unit in the Honda Accord also reduce the weight penalty associated with diesel engines.  Particulate emissions are being tackled by exhaust traps on vehicles meeting the latest Euro IV emissions standard.  I would also suggest the reasons given by US car buyers for not choosing diesels are also rather different from those of the average UK or Australian buyer, and are based on the older-generation diesel engines available in 1997.  I also suspect the choice of diesel passenger cars, as opposed to SUVs, in America was rather limited at the time of the survey, and may still be so due to the prevalence of cheap petrol in the US.

Ben Garside
United Kingdom

Electric

With the recent unveiling of the Chevy Volt concept car I was prompted to research the internet a bit on the history of electric vehicles (EVs). I uncovered the California market EVs that were brought on by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Zero Emission Vehicle laws from 1990, cars like the GM EV1 and RAV4-EV. These cars were probably ground breaking and met an unfortunate end due to the CARB backflip. Have you thought about writing a bit on this chapter and maybe expand into the GM Volt? With your passion for the Prius and the Insight I thought you might provide a good read on the subject? If GM/Holden bring the Volt to market and sell it in Australia I will surely buy one!

Brett Cashmore
Australia

Wastegate Creep

In the article "killing Wastegate Creep" does the car featured have an ECU controlled solenoid before the wastegate? I was thinking of fitting a bottle to my car that has an ECU controlled wastegate.

Edward Kelly
United Kingdom

We have tried the technique only on cars with non-electronic boost control

Erasing Memories

Re: Logging Your Every Driving Moment. "...all the data stored in the memory is permanently written to EEPROM. It then cannot be erased, cleared or altered..." FYI - An EEPROM is Electronically Erasable by definition.

Ashley Rogers
Australia

We assume that the data is code-protected.

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