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Response

Some of this week's Letters to the Editor, discussion group posts and other feedback!

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Magna Noises

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In the AutoSpeed test of the TJ Magna VRX ["New Car Test - Mitsubishi Magna VR-X"] there is a mention of some 'resonance' at 2400rpm, I have a TJ Sports and have the same problem. I've taken the car back to the dealer on numerous occasions about it and sure enough the resonance comes and goes. They did tell me that they adjusted the timing belts and the noise seemed to go away but then returned the next day. I believe that the noise sounds like either some of the exhaust heat shielding or the bottom of the fuel tank vibrating (noise isn't affected by the fuel level). Did Mitsubishi ever get back to you guys after your test and let you know about the source or the problem or a solution?

Also another problem I am having is just after starting the car, putting it in gear and moving off (fwd or rev), there is a short scraping noise coming from the left front wheel. Again I have mentioned this to the dealer and they think I'm losing the plot. The car has been lowered with King Springs but I'm fairly certain the noise was there with the std springs as well.

I did think that it may have been some sort of 'built in test' of the ABS, like the test/clean cycle on the exhaust valve that occours to the old Yamaha RZ350 when turning on the ignition.

I have alternated between the std and the aftermarket wheels and tyres combos - this doesn't affect anything, the brake caliper is tight at its attachments and the pads don't seem to be overly loose. The steering doesn't seem to be affected (although the noise has been there from the start so the steering could've had the problem right from the word go - I wouldn't know?). I've tried to get onto Robert Chadwick but obviously he does have job to do and I haven't heard from him yet. Any help would be of great assistance.

Darren Roles
Australia

AFAIK the resonance is due to the exhaust design. We've got no idea on the other noises.

Turbo Power Upgrades

Great website! I'm moving to the UK in Feb '02 and will probably be interested in purchasing a car which has the potential for a relatively cheap power upgrade. Ideally, I'd be looking for a S15 Silvia but I hear from friends (in London) that they rarely see any Japanese cars in London. At this point I thought of searching for a website similar to AutoSpeed, however, focussing on the UK market. Do you know of a website or websites on which I may find cars in the UK of the type I'm looking for? I'm considering to purchase an Audi S3 or TT but I'm not sure if the engines in these cars will return similar to simple upgrades (exhaust, bleed valve etc ...) results like the SR20DET?

Prakash Sabapathy
Australia

We don't know of any sites like AutoSpeed anywhere! All turbo cars respond to boost and an exhaust, but the Euro cars usually have smaller turbos giving both a better un-modified match but also less potential power gain without a turbo swap. They also usually run high compression ratios, also limiting a boost increase. Of course, every turbo model is a little different but it does appear that there is less room for easy power gains than in some of the high profile Japanese turbo cars.

Boost Controller

I'm considering putting a pneumatic boost controller on my Liberty RS and have looked at the different DIY boost controls covered in AutoSpeed - the setups on the EXA, GT-R and Audi. I'm after slightly higher boost and less wastegate creep so the GT-R setup looks like it would be OK and certainly the easiest, but as previous RS owners, could you suggest which one might be the most appropriate?

Nick Robinson
Australia

As we have not tried each of the controls on a Liberty RS, this is only a guess - we'd suggest that the 'Audi-type' control would be best. When fitted with the 'EXA-type' boost control, the RS ate gearboxes like there was no tomorrow - perhaps because the boost came on so hard. With the 'Audi-type', at least you can vary that rate of boost increase very easily.

Lambda Conversion?

I enjoyed your conversion table article ["Automotive Conversion Tables"], however I was wondering if there was a method to convert A/F ratio to Lambda. The reason is my mechanic is a little old school and says he tunes turbos at .89 Lambda but I was curious as to what that was in A/F?

Frank Fantini
Australia

Lambda multiplied by 14.7 will give you the air/fuel ratio. So, 0.89 lambda * 14.7 = 13.1 AFR. If you're starting with the AFR, dividing it by 14.7 will give you Lambda. (For fuels with a stoichiometric ratio of 14.7:1 anyway!)

Thanks for the Good Read

A big thank you to all at AutoSpeed for the great effort you put into each edition. I didn't realise how much I relied on my weekly read, until I realised that while overseas I was calculating the Australian time to download the latest articles.

On article criticism: I figure that if you can piss off Holden fans 1 week, Ford fans the next, bag your own Godzilla, draw unfavourable comparisons between handling traits on an S4 and a 10 year old Lexus, and do so in an informative, and interesting way - well bugger the one-eyed detractors. Most of us readers want no-nonsense automotive journalism, not fawning advertorials (there are enough avenues for that already).

In scientific literature, the measure of a researcher's prestige is the number of times their work is cited by others. If you searched web forum posts, you might find a similar measure of how widely respected and quoted your magazine is.

Keep up the good work

Tony Plunkett
Australia

Going Downhill

I joined AutoSpeed because of the change in policy with regards to posting on the AutoSpeed forums. Since then, the forums have gone entirely, but I continued visiting the site as one of the reasons cited for closing the forums was to be able to dedicate more time to the articles. Unfortunately, not only have I not seen this eventuate, but I feel the quality of content has degenerated somewhat. There seem to be fewer interesting stories, and the articles that I have read appear to be researched less than in the past.

I still see the value in the concept of AutoSpeed, and am happy to resubscribe. But I don't like being lied to! So, can you tell me if there are plans to improve the article content of AutoSpeed? Are there measures being taken where I will get the impression that the obvious time spent not moderating the forums will result in better researched articles? If I am totally wrong with my impressions, then tell me so, because $33 per year is not much to pay really.

Ted Looi
Australia

From our perspective, vague criticisms aren't very constructive. Which articles have been poorly researched? In what way were they lacking? Were there errors of fact, or insufficient depth? Which articles are indicative of degeneration in the quality of the content? Which articles in the past would you cite as particularly interesting?

In addition to the ceasing of the forums, we have also let sister site AutoWeb take over the role of providing the weekly news, and have fixed the number of weekly AutoSpeed articles to seven plus this Response section.

With this altered structure we have been much more easily been able to get ahead in content, in turn allowing the editorial staff to travel more. (Go away for a week and before you can leave, you need to be three weeks ahead.)

So, specific articles that would not otherwise have appeared include: "Rex on Speed", "Baby Faced Devil", "Supra NA", "SS Sleeper", "Converting the Drive", "Hangin' it Out in a '95 Z28 Camaro", "Weekend Racer", "Toyota Soarer Twin Turbo", "Stage-by-Stage S15", "The Supra RZ", "Type R to 10,500 rpm", "ST202 Celica Convertible", "The Forgotten Warrior", "New Car Test - Holden Statesman 3.8", "New Car Test - Nissan S15 Silvia 200SX" ... and many others. Each of these stories was completed on a recent editorial staff trip to Sydney or Melbourne, trips that otherwise would not have occurred until mid-2002.

Stories that we have coming that similarly have been made possible by the changed AutoSpeed structure include the two-part series on new turbo technology (which took a simply enormous amount of research time - it starts this issue), a two-part series of interviews with Geoff Watson (engineering head of Garret turbos in Australia), a three-part interview with Jim Gurief (suspension chief at Whiteline), stories on the Formula SAE race cars of the 2001 event, and coming articles on advanced tyre technologies, and many more interesting feature cars. The brilliant power-upgrade package for six cylinder Falcons that we will be covering shortly occurred only through a Melbourne trip.

In addition, our new Smart Technology section would have been completely impossible with the previous AutoSpeed structure - these articles are often extremely time intensive to research, write and photograph.

Self-Learning

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Love the articles, and congratulations on 3 years.

I am somewhat perplexed by the interview with Leon Vincenzi ["The Aust-spec Chev LS1 V8 with Leon Vincenzi"] on the self learn programming that returns performance to stock. I have a 2000 WH Statesman International and like all LS1 junkies, went for all the bolt on hype (you can't help yourself - you just have to know).

After about two months I had done H&M headers, high flow rear resonator, larger throttle body, 10% MAF, cold air intake and MAF tube. To find out how much was bull, I took the car to Genie Performance and had it dynoed on their Dynojet 248C. The result was 198.1kw at the wheels, and 391.4 Nm torque. This is fairly consistent with other reports, but the point is that all the gear had been on for at least two months when I had it dynoed.

After reading the article, I disconnected the battery, reconnected and went for a spin. I did not notice the difference.

My other question with the relearning program, is though it supposedly returns to standard output, does it reduce torque gained? My car is far more responsive now than a standard LS1 Statesman.

PS- Anyone with a WH statesman should run it on 235/45/17 rubber, and drop it 30mm. It improves handling out of sight, and in no way affects comfort. Also looks good in an all-black International series.

David McArthur
Australia

The comments of experts that AutoSpeed interviews are their own - not those of AutoSpeed. Otherwise it wouldn't be an interview, would it? That said, the number of LS1 Commodore owners who complain about power subsequently lost after modifications just about matches the number who claim that there isn't a problem. We don't know the answer.

Speed Kills? #1

Regarding the "Speed Kills" story ["Speed Kills - the Big Lie?"], I have heard of a study in Germany that showed that 100 to 110 km/h is the most dangerous speed as far as driver fatigue is concerned. Of course, I don't know particulars of the study (could have been driving on an autobahn for all I know), but it is very interesting anyway, that our government sets the highway speed limit right where this study found was the worst speed for driver fatigue.

Danny Barrett
Australia

Speed Kills? #2

Just read your article - "Speed Kills - The Big Lie?" Definitely one of the best articles I have read on AutoSpeed. It was a good summary of a topic I take personal interest in. I didn't agree totally with it, however your final line "Rigid speed enforcement is great for revenue raising, but it does essentially nothing for the road fatality rate" is undeniably an accurate statement when taken in its intended context.

I do also believe that excessive speed is totally inappropriate and should be enforced, however it is clear my definition of "excessive" is totally different to those who collect revenue from it (perhaps if we were to donate our fines to a registered charity instead of general revenue, the lawmakers may actually loose the hidden agenda and actually start to address the real issues).

Another point to make - I heard from a news article last night that Victoria was headed for a very bad road toll [last] year - does that mean that they also reduced speed enforcement - I don't think so. I look forward to reading Part 2.

Tim Cutajar
Australia

Speed Kills? #3

"Our major feature is a specially commissioned story on the relationship between speed limits and road crashes. It's a carefully written, well-referenced and non-emotive analysis that explores both historical and current data before drawing some strongly held conclusions..." (from our Issue #161 Newsletter)

An interesting article, though not entirely "non-emotive".

I did write a piece on a similar topic a few years ago in university, so did some research on the matter and came across some of the same references. In the process, I started with a similar opinion to the author, but ended up changing my mind as I read more. For example, the first graph presented (Variation from Average Speed vs Involvement Rate - NB NOT FATALITY RATE) I recall being debunked by another, later report.

One conclusion: "It would be far better for the effort currently expended on speed limit enforcement to be placed on improved driver training and the targeting of negligent and/or dangerous driving"... has no supporting evidence in the essay, nor as far as I know in any other report. In fact I have heard stories to the effect that advanced driver training has led to an increased accident rate in those drivers, as their confidence levels are increased more than their actual skill levels.

I will try to dig up my old essay for you, if I still have it. I look forward to reading your next article on the subject.

Matt King
Australia

Speed Kills? #4

I read your 'Speed Kills- the Big Lie?' article and I found a paragraph which I disagree with which is given below.

If you think about it, if you drive more quickly, the amount of time you will spend on the road will be reduced. This will lead to a reduced exposure to risk; for example, if there are a certain number of random occurrences that occur per hour that could potentially lead to a crash, then reducing the number of hours that you spend on the road reduces the number of those random events that you are confronted with. Many of those random events are associated with traffic density - the higher the traffic density, the higher the rate of the potential crash events. For this reason, if everyone increased their speed, they would be exposed to less risk, and there would also be a lower traffic density.

Surely if everybody drove more quickly the rate of 'random occurrences' would also increase. You would be exposed to just as many 'random occurrences' on any given journey and therefore exposed to just as much risk.

Alex Dunstone
Australia

Wastegate Creep

I was just rereading your article on killing wastegate creep on the VL ["Killing Wastegate Creep"] and it raised a question relating to the Audi's boost controller ["The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 1"]. In that article Julian used a ball valve to prevent wastegate creep - why was this approach not taken?

I am thinking of applying an anti-wastegate creep device to a Skyline GTS-t - and pondering the alternatives.

Tony Plunkett
Australia

In the Audi system a ball valve was not used to control wastegate creep. A pressure release valve was used - a much more expensive (but more controllable) approach than taken on the VL.

Measuring Temperatures

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I'm in the process of building the temp sensor ["Jaycar Thermometer Module with Alarm"] and have tested it against my K-type DMM probe in various states of hot and cold. I find it has a hopeless response time compared to the K-type. They eventually get to the same result but about 10 secs apart.

I think it's due to the thermal mass of that anal probe compared to the small soldered join of the K-type. Do you know what goes on inside that probe, I'd like to replace it with something smaller, but its not a simple matter of joining the wires as it would be in a K-type.

Anthony Fidwick
Australia

We don't see any way around the problem but to build the AutoSpeed fast response K-type display - "TempScreen: Part 1 - Installing the Intake Air Temp Probe".

Heat Exchanger Colour

Regarding "colour of heat exchangers" in the Response page, what is said there is entirely true with one exception. The surface interface between the radiator core and the paint will act as an insulating layer, as will the paint itself. Thus, for the best results, radiators must not be painted at all, regardless of the colour.

Danny Barrett
Australia

Genuine AutoSpeed Shop Request!

I armour vehicles against fire shooting in Israel. Lately there is a high demand to armour the Citroen Berlingo 1.9 D, since it is very popular in Israel, but I'm facing an over weight problem and I want to know if you can help me. I need to increase the permitted load weight on the front axle, that stands on 910kg maximum, so I will able to load on the front axle 100-150kg more then the manufacturer confirms. Do you have a technical solution for my requirement? (I think it includes suspension changes etc.) The solution must solve the safeness problem driving with overload on the front axle, and it must be approved and confirmed by Citroen.

I estimate that if there will be a solution for this problem, I would sell about 200 armoured Citroen Berlingo in the next year. If you can help me, I am willing to buy from you this solution for all the cars I will armour. (In the future I will need the same thing for Peghout Partner, that is similar) Waiting to hear from you as soon as possible.

Avraham Tidhar
Israel

You'd Better Fire These Journos!

Just read your comments on Alfa 166 ["New Car Test - Alfa 166 Sportronic"]. Think you better fire these journos. Worthless. Happen to drive a 166, never had such a wonderful car and I drove everything, including the Teutons and their Asian counterparts

R Corbeel
Belgium

Shame, Shame, Shame

I write this response in disbelief of the utter crap that manifested itself, or at least attempted to, in the form of a written article - 'Michael's Speed Zone' 26 Sept 2000 ["Michael's Speed Zone"].

Michael Knowling went in search of a replacement for his Liberty RS, he looked at such cars as Subaru 's WRX, Honda's Prelude VTI-R and even the mighty Japanese 200SX, yet out of all of these cars that he looked at, none seemed to satiate his yearning for a sports car. Michael wanted to be inspired, yet the solid performance and handling of the above cars didn't seem to impress him, yet two cars did; and guess what those two cars were? Skyline GTR? No. Toyota MR-2? No. Out of all the cars he tested, it seemed the only ones that impressed him overall were a Charade and a VL Commodore!

Gee, I wonder if your tastes weren't just slightly biased by the fact that you probably couldn't, nor ever could, afford any of the other cars you looked at. I was greatly disappointed by the way you didn't give the 200SX, WRX or Hondas the true credit they really deserved, simply writing them off, most likely, in light of the fact that they were purely out of your reach.

Shame, shame, shame Mr Knowling. I'm offended by the abortion that you wrote and tried to pass off as a piece of journalism. If your budget was set at under $10K you shouldn't have even gone near such beautiful pieces of machinery and criticised them because of your financial inadequacies; go and get a real car and then maybe I'll let you get away with such an abysmal review.

Yoshi
Australia

Lightened Flywheels

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Let me start off by saying your magazine kicks ass....by far the best magazine available to us here in the US. I tell everyone I know about it in the hopes of your continued success....Now on to my question:

Have you done any research on the effects of lightweight flywheels on turbocharged vehicles? My gut instinct tells me that a lightweight flywheel would put less inertial load on a turbo motor, resulting in decreased exhaust gas volume, which would ultimately lead to a negative impact on the boost curve as well as total boost and wheel torque. Do you have any insight??? Thanks in advance for your help.

Michael Pancheri
USA

The experience that we have had with a lightened flywheel on a turbo engine shows that after it was fitted, the car accelerated measurably faster in-gear - see "Clutch Matters". However, if the engine has very little bottom-end torque, a lightened flywheel may make it much easier to bog-down on launch.

The Delights of an Auto...

Well it looks like the marketing guys finally got me. I've just bought my first new car with an automatic transmission - not that I had much choice about it. You see, the marketing geniuses have decided that because demand for manual boxes is so low, they won't make them available in many models. So unless you're poor and can only afford an econobox, or want something overtly "sporty", a manual is off the list. And they'll use the fact that I and many others buy autos to justify their position. A bit like the chicken and egg isn't it?

These gurus have also decided that if you want a little comfort in your vehicle, maybe even luxury, that you will be much too lazy to want to shift your own gears. Go to just about any manufacturer now and see how many of their models are available with a 5-speed manual. In my case I wanted a 6 cylinder model with a reasonable degree of creature comforts in a wagon body. Anything available from the Australian manufacturers? Nope - only in the base model sedan on special order, we do have tiptronic however - just like a manual. Really? So I try the Japanese, who steer me into the 4WD range, you can get a manual with the base model 4 cylinder, but if you want the 6, sorry auto only. And anyway, if I wanted a truck-like automotive clich? with the spare wheel on the back door, I would have said so (doesn't that offend the salesman).

OK, so surely the Europeans will have something to fit the bill. Struck out again. As soon as you hit the 6 cylinder variants, the price rockets by $15,000 and it's auto only. "Sorry, that's the only way we import them - luxury cars and all that!"

I don't understand the motoring press sometimes - its critical analysis has stirred the manufacturers into giving us responsive and communicative steering systems, suspensions that tell us what is going on, brakes with good modulation and predictable behaviour, and yet at the same time it lets the automotive industry get away with foisting on us marshmallows with minds of their own floating between the powerplant and the driving wheels. Not consistent at all and a bit like trying to play a guitar while wearing mittens!

Maybe if any of the manufacturers are reading this, they could give us some insight into the reasons this particular aspect of driving enjoyment is being withheld from so many new car buyers.

And what did I end up buying? A Verada Ei wagon which seems to have involved the least amount of compromise. Let's hope it turns out to be so.

Eric Moore
Australia

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