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Some of this week's Letters to the Editor!

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A Revolution in Car Reviews?

I've avidly read new car tests in magazines and newspapers all my life and have NEVER seen the words "The [car] was hired by [us] for this test". Congratulations. Thank goodness someone cares enough to spend a dollar and dares to report on what us punters actually receive for our money. Keep this up and you may start a revolution in car reviews.

Shane Quinn

Not the Easiest and Cheapest

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I have just been reading your Autronic ECU article ["Plug-in Performance"] for the WRX and I think that the statement at the end will be viewed as a bit contentious:

"The Autronic plug-in replacement board is by far the easiest - and cheapest - way to get a full-function programmable management system into your 99 - 00 WRX"

Link Microsystems have been providing plug-in ECUs for WRX models for a few years now.... I don't have any connection with Link (or any supplier etc) - I just have one in my car.

Gavin Peake
United Kingdom

We think that the key phrase is 'full function'.

Subaru Cooling System

I have just found AutoSpeed and would like to start by commending you on a very interesting and informative site. I have a '91 Liberty RS turbo, which I have owned for about 4 years. In this time the car has been very reliable in all areas except the cooling system. It has blown 2 top radiator hoses, a water pump, a radiator side tank, numerous small coolant/heater type hoses and the coolant header tank. The cooling system works perfectly from a cooling capacity point of view but seems to dump its contents on the road all too often. As yet I have been lucky and the engine has not actually overheated. I have replaced the radiator cap several times as it should be the pressure-limiting device in the system, as all of these failures seem to be related to over-pressurisation. No one has ever been able to give me any solution or reasonable explanation why this car should suffer such regular coolant leaks.

However I have just read your article "Liberties Taken" about David Khoury's RS in which you mention "The unusual bursting radiator overflow reservoir phenomenon (which is reputedly brought about by high boost) was fixed with a custom aluminium tank....". I find this most interesting, as it is the first time I have read any reference to this problem. I am running 10-13 psi boost (depending on air temp) with Gp A intake and cat-back 2.5-inch exhaust.

If you have any more information or explanation of this unusual phenomenon I would be most appreciative.

Adrian Douglas

As far as we know that problem is confined only to cars running very high boost, which yours is not.

One Dollar Over-Boost Cut

Just wondering on where to find the article (as mentioned in the previous issue's editorial) on defeating the over-boost cut for $1!? I tried looking for it, but I'm obviously a bit blind at the moment! Would this method work with a Supra twin-turbo?

Trevor Ng

Hmmm, you're right, while the electronic technique is mentioned in Julian Edgar's book "21st Century Performance", we haven't actually covered it in AutoSpeed. It's a bit hard to discuss briefly here, so the other easy way is to simply bleed off some boost (through a T-piece and one-way valve) that's going to the boost pressure sensor. This assumes that the car uses a separate boost pressure sensor to trigger the overboost cut - some cars do and some don't.

How Not to Drive a Tug Boat

Damian Van Loon

Home Dyno

Generally I'm very happy with my AutoSpeed subscription. Although I'm more into old-fashioned classics, I still learn a lot. Currently I'm preparing a Rover V8 3.5-litre engine with quad SU's for in my Rover P6B.

Now my question is: Can you do a test with the home dyno once mentioned in an article about intake manifold insulators? It's very cheap and can be downloaded so no physical handling of any kind.

I also would like some more info or a review of one of your shop articles namely the "Jaycar Programmable Electronic Ignition Kit". I wonder if this kit can program both static and dynamic advance. Thanks and please get on with DIY kits and such.

Lex van Opstal

We have covered a product very similar to the Home Dyno in a column - "From the Editor". The Jaycar ignition kit is a very simple design, but yes it can alter timing at different loads and revs.

New Boost Control?

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I was thinking about the article ["Modifying Speed-Sensitive Power Steering"] you published recently on making adjustments to the sensitivity of the Lexus power steering by adjusting the control solenoid using a variable resistor. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on whether this would also be applicable to trim a boost solenoid (in a Subaru WRX/Liberty RS for example), hence, creating an electronic in-car boost controller using the factory boost solenoid. I believe it would work provided the solenoid doesn't operate in closed loop (such as MY01-02).

Anthony Metti

We thought of using the variable resistor in this approach, however it will only work when a lesser pulse width results in a greater boost level. In all the cars that we examined, the opposite occurs.

Advertising and Accidents #1

Michael's Speed Zone this week states the blatantly obvious. Idiots abound in this country, and usually occupy places, or positions on boards, of some influence. The probably ten or less people who actually believe these car ads cause danger to the general public are no doubt now concentrating on having TV banned altogether. If not they should be, as clearly everything we ever see will encourage us to go out and try it straight away. I hope they manage this before the next episode of Temptation Island, or else society as we know it will crumble as the divorce courts are overrun.

Roger Canty

Advertising and Accidents #2

Regarding Michael's Speed Zone, I agree with your sentiments re the plans by the federal government to regulate car advertising to improve road safety.

Where are the independent studies that link any kind of advertising to accidents? I may be cynical, but it looks like the government is trying to appear that it is doing something to improve road safety by attacking this irrelevant issue, but is ignoring the real road safety issues which of course are much harder to tackle.

I don't know if you have read the minister's press release on this at but the breadth and depth of their intention to interfere with car advertising is quite frightening.

What is the next step? Banning movies and TV shows with car chases in them?

As food for thought, the only advertisements I have seen on TV which show bad driving practises in a realistic way are those "speed kills" ones which typically involve a driver slamming on the brakes and locking all 4 wheels, whilst simultaneously failing to try and avoid an object on the road (usually a small child).

Robert Howlett

Cold Air Intake

I own a VS V6 Commodore and was just wondering which aftermarket cold air induction is the best one to buy and gives the most power.

Mark McMullen

The one with the biggest cross-sectional area that picks up air in the coldest position.

Boost Controls

In regard to "Brilliant Boost" and the related topics I have found the following. I own a 1996 180SX with the SR20DET. Bought totally standard I have since fitted a HKS pod (with adaptor pipe), full 3-inch exhaust and trialled both a Turbosmart bleed valve and "Brilliant Boost". The bleed valve was set on the dyno and improved boost response. After a week I was not happy with the bleed valve as it overboosted and wasn't smooth or consistent.

I then installed "Brilliant Boost". This system tended to be smoother with good boost response. Peak boost was again inconsistent and overshot. I have since opened the valve which hasn't lowered boost in the lower gears but decreased has reduced the overboost and peak in the higher gears. One problem the whole way through has been that boost tends to gradually reduce after peaking. I am not too concerned as with the standard intercooler the turbo would be working pretty hard to sustain this boost (13 psi). Anyway, thanks for your help. The car is being dyno'd this weekend and having a Unichip fitted. The aim is just over 200hp at the wheels.

Chris Lilley

AFAIK none of the mechanical boost control approaches can overcome a falling off of boost at higher rpm and load, if that's the characteristic of the turbo. To do that will require a boost control with feedback, ie an electronic design.


A small problem with the Soarer article ["The Highest Soarer"] in this week's AutoSpeed - All VVti 1JZs are single turbo using a CT26, I have the same motor in my JZX100 Mark 2.

Jeff Ash

That's not a small mistake on our part - that's a big one. It's now fixed.

OBD Readers

I have noticed some products for sale in the US that connect to the diagnostic port under the steering column. They then either connect to a Palm device or laptop. From what I can work out they are compatible with the OBD2 that is standard in the US, but may also be in cars here in Australia. Some of these devices, not including the cost of the palm/laptop are only US$175 plus freight etc. Are you interested in some research on these as I think at this price range they are affordable and excellent value and an alternative to a dash full of gauges.

Check out:

Greg Elston

Thanks very much for those leads - we're extremely interested. Does anyone else know of some more of these software/hardware packages, preferably cheaper again?


I am interested in information on the mechanics of modern direct injection turbo diesel engines and modifications, maintenance and tuning of them. After quite a bit of research I am unable to find any literature suitable on this topic. There are huge amounts on petrol engines EFI and modifications but I can't find any on diesel engines. Can you recommend any or point me in the right direction?

Great magazine look forward to it every week. Very informative with great reference articles that are very easy to search for. Keep it up.

Nick Pannell

We have run a story on common rail diesel technology at "Big Bang Theory: Direct Injection Diesel Tech". We also have a story coming up on using a Unichip interceptor on an electronically injected diesel.

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