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Response

Some of this week's Letters to the Editor!

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Dynos

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I have noticed several references to Dyno Dynamics dynos being "lossy". I was wondering what this was based on? Perhaps you are trying to compare it to the over-rated Dyno Jet whose power numbers are consistently high compared to every other dyno on the market? The superb Mustang Dyno with its 50-inch drum usually shows a power "loss" of 10-12% over the DynoJet, as do the Land and Sea models, as do the AutoDyn from Superflow. As far as Dyno Dynamics, I have been told they read about 12% lower then the DynoJet as well (By Paul Fisher of the Dyno Shop who owns both a Dyno Dynamics dyno and a Dyno Jet), but I have also only read that this is consistent with the DynaPak, which cannot have any tyre losses.

If your observation is based on something other then a comparison to the DynoJet, please fill me in as I am very interested in purchasing a Dyno Dynamics unit....

Toma Kicovic
USA

The loss is compared with the flywheel power, as measured on an engine dyno.

Premium?

Is there a need for premium unleaded in VR SS Commodore with 185kW engine? Purchased this from local Holden dealer a little over a year ago and basically very happy with this vehicle which was optioned with the (then) HSV hi-output 5-litre V8. Manual says 91 RON is OK but over last 4 months have noticed random flickering of engine management system light. Apparently (with the HSV engine option) this light also functions as a knock sensor. Recently switched to premium unleaded and haven't seen the light since. Do I need to run premium unleaded or was I getting crappy fuel - always buy fuel from the same BP service station. Appreciate the feedback as couldn't get any sense from local dealership.

Thanks guys - a great website.

Kym Williams
Australia

The best bet in all cases like these is to go to the company that made the car. Bypass your Holden dealer and ring HSV direct.

Detonation

In your opinion and experience, how much more prone to detonation are cars when placed on a chassis dyno vs the open road? I'm asking because I've had little dyno experience and last Sunday I got a power run done my stock S15 200SX to see what improvement the mods I've got planned have over standard. Thing was, it had a little ping around 6000 rpm under full load on the dyno. A friend's 2.5 litre R33 Skyline was worse (we had to lower the boost from 10 psi back to 7 to stop the death rattle).

It was a hot day (35 degrees). I've not heard either car knock on the open road. Both cars had Shell Optimax in the tank.

Also, is detonation easier to hear with the bonnet up on a dyno than it is on the road, suggesting that I may have missed the subtle and faint onset of piston death without even realising it? I have seen a turbo engine destroyed through detonation and the sound was clarion and unmistakeable. The pinging I heard on Sunday with the bonnet up was much fainter. I've seen photos in AutoSpeed of someone with some kind of headphone device on listening for detonation. Any way of making the same thing for on road use?

Thank you for your wisdom.

(PS Please excuse my ignorance from my previous email. I've found your article 'DIY Detonation Detection' and will make one of these ingenious devices myself. You guys seem to have all the bases covered!)

Phil Barnett
Australia

Turbo cars, especially those with small intercoolers, are much more prone to detonation when being dyno'd on a hot day than they are on the road. This is especially the case when multiple full-load runs are being made. Having said that, you will also be able to hear detonation more easily standing next to the car with its bonnet up as it does the run - more easily than using your naked ears inside the car on the road.

The best bet is to make an audio-based detonation detection system. The DIY construction one that we have run before is no longer available (the main part isn't on sale any more) but we have a better alternative that we will be covering in about four weeks.

Auto Trans Mods

I am interested in the story about the auto mods, is there any info on these mods for electronically controlled autos such as Subaru have?

Jeff Plozza
Australia

Given the interest that readers have expressed, we'll do some stories on playing with the electronics of auto trans control.

Prado Buying

I thought I might share some of my experiences buying a Prado.

I wanted to buy something to get away in and do a bit of camping and trips to the snow in etc. The Prado took my fancy as I have very limited garage space and because of a few other reasons. To get my wife out of our aging Audi I had to look for something a little upmarket, the Prado Grande seemed to fit the bill. Looking at 2nd hand ones I soon discovered that 2000 models with low kilometres were going to be in the mid $50s and the older ones lacked a few features, sunroof, leather etc.

When talking to a work friend he told me about the fantastic deal he got buying his new Landcruiser in Queensland, he said he saved $7,000 off the best price he was quoted in Sydney. My wife and I then went out in January and tried to get the best deal we could get on a new V6 Prado Grande in parchment. Most dealers couldn't guarantee the colour we wanted, but a dealer in the Sutherland Shire wanted $65,000 including on road costs, another wanted $62,000 including taking our old Audi as a trade in. Calls to a few dealers in Qld got us a price of $61,000 over the phone and then we called a dealer near the Qld / NSW border were quoted $58,000 including on road costs with Qld rego and for an extra $700 we were able to get it registered in NSW. So I hopped on Virgin flight to Qld at 9.15am Sydney time and left Qld at 1.15pm Sydney time and was home in Sydney at 11.30pm that night after a nice steady drive home with a few stops along the way.

I'm not sure why there is such a difference in price between the two states, maybe because they have much lower overheads in Queensland, but I'm not complaining.

I heard a similar story from a friend who bought an XR8 interstate and saved $9,000.

I suppose I should name the Queensland dealer, it was Grand Motors in Southport, the salesman's name was Hayden Hatfield and he is a very nice guy.

Steve Carter
Australia

AutoSpeed Shop Praise

To whom it may concern,

I would like to thank you folks at AutoSpeed for your professional and prompt service. I will be a customer for life after the quality service I received on my first experience in dealing with your company.

Sincerely,

Mark Hanken
Corporate Accounts Manager
www.veris.com

Un-objective, Narrow Minded and Childish

Just read your New Car Test - "Alfa 166 Sportronic" ["New Car Test - Alfa 166 Sportronic"]. It was pathetic. How old is Julian Edgar? Because he obviously doesn't know how to write properly, let alone drive. He so clearly has a chip on his shoulder about Alfa for some reason, the article was un-objective, narrow minded and childish. Why bother?

Mark Whiteley
UK

Julian Edgar is 38. He has owned an Alfa, and he has written a number of other (positive) AutoSpeed Alfa tests.

Multi-Input LCD Temp Display

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With your experience with the Jaycar LCD Temp Display ["LCD Temp Display!"], would it be possible to buy a few extra probes, connect them to a 5-position rotary switch (or similar) and then connect it the LCD Temp Display so that you can monitor a few different temp inputs?

Or would the interference or resistance of the switch destroy the signal from the probe to the unit?

Aaron Numme
Australia

We investigated the sourcing of extra probes but had no luck. We then went into some detail testing the standard probes to try to find a replacement that had the same characterises - but again had no luck. We don't see any problem in buying multiple units and wiring them in the way that you suggest - but when you have to buy the whole LCD assembly, it makes it a bit expensive.

Sophisticated Side

In response to the recent Sophisticated Side article "Alternatives to the car..." ["Sophisticated Side"] I would like to say that it seems to be a very typical pro-car outlook.

Suggesting that centralisation of the work force is the chief reason for urban transport problems is simplistic and doesn't take into account the side effects of a "de-centralised" workforce (urban sprawl for instance). Cities these days are spreading fast enough as it is without further encouragement. Additionally I don't think that making a loss on mass transit is a problem, it is a service, not a moneymaking venture - much like public health and education.

A good website that highlights the disadvantages and alternatives to cars as a form of transport is www.carfree.com. It highlighted to me that cars are a great source of pleasure but are a dismal form of transport in large urban areas (however they are useful in the regional and outback areas). I do agree that cities need to be redesigned, but not to satisfy the automobile, if we do that we'll be left with Los Angeles - the concrete jungle.

Robert Witherspoon
Australia

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