The Top 10 General Motors Cars of All-Time you state: Its 265 cubic
inch V-8 engine delivered 162 horsepower and an option package with dual
exhausts increased that to 280 horsepower. Must be a great exhaust - adding 118
hp to a 162 hp engine. Thinking it should be 180hp?
Altering Closed Loop Mixtures
great article on your attempt to modify the output the prius' O2 sensor – Altering Closed Loop Mixtures. It seems that this technique might be more successful on a car with less sophisticated closed-loop control, say the majority of mid-90's grey imports floating around. I found a company selling a wideband O2 sensor, controller and dash display that has an interesting feature, a narrowband O2 simulation mode that claims to be able to do exactly what your article was investigating. Here's the link: http://www.zeitronix.com/questions/NBpoint.htm Any thoughts of how successful this would be? With rising petrol prices, even performance car owners might have an interest in leaning out cruising mixtures. I smell a follow up article!
It looks good but don’t forget that most cars now run multiple oxy sensors (eg before and after the cat) and these must be in agreement (but not necessarily showing the same magnitude of voltage swings).
i'm enjoying your articles on – Metal Casting, Part 1. But was alarmed in the second photo down it shows a man casting aluminium with shorts on and no procetive clothing on. This is highly dangerous as metal spills can cause 'seroius burns' requiring hosptilisation [ I Know from personal expericence] and photo is not in keeping with current osha regulations. You may want to giving some thought to changing it or providing some sort of warnings... Other than that. i'm looking forward too next article..
Front Wheel Drive Not Better
Dr.Pudny's claim that front wheel drive cars perform "better" in slippery conditions is wrong, they lose their steering when they lose traction.
Michael William Lockhart
Supercharging a Turbo
Hi why don't you try taking a large turbo converted car and develope a lower rpm supercharger setup that takes away the lag when the boot is in some thing like the nissan march this is some thing i think would get you alot of attention.
We don’t have any particular interest in taking that approach – better to fit the right sized turbo(s).
Total Energy Use of Hybrids
Hi, I was just reading through your article Explaining Sex to a Virgin... and I was wondering if you've ever considered doing an article on what some people call the "real" environmental impact of hybrid cars.
Firstly, the issues involved with manufacturing the batteries, and secondly, the problems associated with disposing of the batteries and their harmful chemicals after the car has passed it's useful life.
Are hybrids really better for the environment?
The in-depth studies that we have seen support the idea that hybrids are an overall plus for the environment. Re disposing of batteries, so far, no such activity has been occurring – used hybrid batteries are in great demand for recycling. However, it also needs to be kept in mind that total-energy-use studies need to be done on a case by case basis. For example, some hybrid cars have very small battery packs and one electric motor; others have larger battery packs and two electric motors; others have relatively large internal combustion engines while others have small internal combustion engines, and so on.
Keep Building Cars in Australia
The article Heading in the Wrong Direction by Dr Peter Pudney was an interesting read, but, unfortunately, there is more to the issue than he seems to think. I'll comment on his opinions as they appear in his article. However, before I proceed further, I'll state that I realise that his views are not necessarily the views of Autospeed.
Australia makes cars that are 1.4 to 2.4 times the industry fleet's target for 2010:
We are currently in 2008, not 2010. Certainly,
there's a large gap between the target and what is currently made in Australia
and this target. However, something that he doesn't say is that the fleet’s
target is a MIXTURE of all cars, not only the larger cars which are made in
Australia. There is a use for cars of many sizes. A small car is often
inadequate for towing larger loads, or transporting the luggage of more than two
Neither are those that are built in many other
places in the world. For instance, China has extremely heavy tarrifs that are
charged on cars that are imported into that country. Such tarrifs are there to
protect their own automotive companies, and to increase employment in their
Such a move would lead to Australian companies
having to break into markets which have well developed competition. This would
bode poorly for the Australian companies, as we don't have the low salaries of
the developing nations, while, in the new (to Australia) markets, the countries
that have higher wages have already developed their products to a point where
the extra cost over the products of the developing countries also comes with
higher quality. For Australia to try to break into such markets would lead to
products that are high in price, while lower in quality than the premium brands.
Because of this, the idea is bound to fail in many instances.
Good idea. Instead, subsedise the development
of fuel efficient cars (ie: just as the Government is planning to do with the
$6.2 billion assistance package). Even still, there is a place for the large
car. Again, you can't tow anything with a Toyota Prius, but you can with a
Falcon or a Commodore.
Why not ADD this industry to the list that Australia
works in, instead of SWAPPING automotive for it...
The Government's $6.2 billion assistance package
is effectively this.
In the 1980's, 1990's amd early 2000's the market
wanted large cars (for instance, Ford outsold Holden in the early '80's because
Commodore wasn't as large as Falcon). Usually, large cars use more fuel than
small cars. Although it's easy (and wrong) to blame the market for all of the
fuel consumption gap, it's most certainly a very large factor. Companies don't
do well to make products that don't sell, so the automotive companies make cars
that they think will sell.
One of the major reasons for this is because
Australia has had a higher demand for larger cars than Eruope. Generally, larger
cars use more fuel than smaller cars. Another factor is the fact that Australia
enjoys relatively cheap fuel prices, compared to Europe. Even still, when fuel
prices go up, the demand for larger cars goes down, and the demand for smaller
cars goes up. If Australia had the similar fuel prices to Europe, then the
demand for smaller cars would be more in line with Europe's.
The Australian manufacturers have more work to do.
There's no escaping this, but that doesn't mean that the Australian
manufacturers should shut up shop, and leave it to everyone else.
Cars are made wherever they're made.
Traditionally, in Australia, large cars have been designed and built. That
doesn't mean that this will continue to be the case in years to come. To write
off the Australian automotive industry based on what is currently made is
short-sighted. It may be asked "why cant they start making small cars here right
now?" However, those who would ask such a question obviously know nothing about
manufacturing of any kind, let alone manufacturing of the kind that is as
complex as automotive kind.
Yes, and every car that's sold that is below
the target makes it easier. That doesn't absolve the auto companies from making
their cars more efficient. It's just the way it is.
This is even true of China, where there is
extremely cheap labour. However, China has far higher tarrifs than Australia (in
the order of 100% of the imported price - ie: doubling the price of vehicles
imported into China)... Enough said about that!
Over 75% of cars sold in Australia are sold to businesses (etc):
These cars then get sold to dealerships, who
sell them to the public, after a large proportion of the depreciation has
occurred. Most people who buy a car will buy a second hand car at some point in
time - there is nothing wrong with this. And the point of this part of the
article is what?
The $6.2 billion from the Government is all
about developing greener cars... What's the problem with that?
The Australian Government should withdraw support...:
And let 60,000 people lose their jobs, with
nothing else for them to go to? And force a condition where people who need to
tow medium to heavy trailers have to buy large 4WD's (which use a LOT more fuel
than a Falcon or a Commodore) instead? And force people who genuinely have a use
for a large car to buy old model Commodores, Falcons, and whatever large
prestige cars they can (or can't) afford? Certainly, a reshuffle is needed in
the automotive industry, but it takes years, and many millions of dollars to
change the direction of mass produced complicated items, like cars.
The $6.2 billion package is exactly
This is unlikely. The best place for the small is
in the niche markets.
Why not do this as well as automotive? Both
are needed. Renewable energy should also get very large sums of money from the
Government, to help it to progress.
Germany is also using Australian inventions to do so,
but the Government hasn't supported renewable energy, so the inventors have had
to sell their abilities and ideas to German companies.
Public transport systems need to be improved, and
people need to be educated to use these systems. This would decrease the vehicle
What about increasing subsidies for more efficient
cars? This would steer the market toward more efficient cars, and give the
Australian automotive companies a chance to turn things to a different
direction. For all anyone knows, the Australian companies may already be putting
plans in place to do just that. Instead of pulling the rug out from under them,
how about guiding them in the direction that they need to go? After all, if
these companies disappear, they're going to cause a lot more problems than the
author of the article seems to think.
Finally a glimmer of
A trend that we've seen over the last few
Hence, Toyota Prius, the announced hybrid Camry,
Honda Civic hybrid, the announced Chevrolet
Rear wheel drive has a place. If you need to tow
2100kg, a Camry (front wheel drive) won't be sufficient, but a Commodore or a
Falcon will be suitable for the job.
This is a point of contention amongst those who
support the "opposing camps". Each have pro's and con's, but with stability
control becoming standard on many cars, the capabilities of the car is usually
far in excess of the capabilities of the driver - irrespective of the drive
In which case, the Government needs tight
requirements, so it's used for the best possible outcome.
If need be, change the ADRs, but not at the
expense of safety.
If all of the crops in Australia that could be
diverted into making fuel grade ethanol were diverted into making this, only 1%
of Australia's fuel would be ethanol. Australia doesn't have the cheap labour
and water required to do as has been done in Brazil.
Where possible, change our requirements!
Many small European cars a have higher safety ratings than large Australian cars:
The Ford Falcon has a 5 star rating... Holden has
also increased the safety rating of Commodore by introducing curtain airbags
into the entire range... Airbags, as a secondary restraint are very important,
which is why they're found in abundance in the small European
This is just as much behavioural, as it is to do
with the car itself. Hoons most often like Commodores and Falcons - the majority
of the impounded "hoon's cars" are Commodores, followed by Falcons. Educate the
people to change their behaviour.
(It should be noted that Peter Pudney’s piece was written prior to the recent announcement of increased government funding for local car manufacturers – Ed)
I'm a Brazilian reader of the online version of
AutoSpeed, and also I'm an engineering student. I must tell that you do a great
job! You write one of the best technical articles I've ever read. They have a
deep technical approach, but only deep enough to understand the basics involved
in the article. By doing this, a lot of people is able to get a better
comprehension of how a car works. Way to go!
I've got a question: why did you stop featuring
modified cars? Please, feature modified cars again! And maintain the "archives"
articles and features: It's very nice to read a technical article again or to
remember a modified car. Keep up the good work!
Greetings from Brazil!
We still run feature car stories, but not as often.
Thanks for explaining the process in
Powder Room on powder coating. You
did cause me to do a double take in the first paragraph; you refer to applying a
"corrosive barrier" when I'm sure you intended "corrosion barrier". Keep up the