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Some of this week's Letters to the Editor!

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RX Upgrade

This is a great website and there are lots of good articles and pics. Keep up the good work. One question. I own an Impreza RX (not WRX) and was wondering If you know of any good performance mods besides cold air induction (which I have already done) and turbo (insurance becomes a problem then)? I love the way my car goes and handles. I'm sure there have been a lot of people who have done mods to the non turbo Imprezas. Please Help.

Andrew Le Guen

As we have discussed in the past, the cost/benefit ratio becomes quite poor when you carry out more than basic mods on a non-turbo car. Other than a new exhaust (and you may be able to pick up the back half of a discarded WRX factory exhaust very cheaply!), there are no other obvious and cost-effective further modifications. If you want to spend lost of money, then new cams and a custom chip retune could be carried out.


I deadset agree with your frustration regarding Adelaide's traffic situation and the governments ridiculous approach to speeding, speed cameras and speed limits. ("From the Editor")

I however am from Newcastle, NSW and am seeing a similar situation here. There are too many streets that are the widest safest roads with the clearest visibility and minimum chance of something unexpected jumping out in front of you because you can see everything so well, and they are frustratingly 50 km/h.

What the hell are they trying to achieve? I have been radar'd probably about 5-6 times in total. The latest one was 69 in a 50 zone. This street was as wide and straight as a highway, but in a very quiet back part of town, I was driving to play squash and talking to my passenger and next thing a guy ahead gets out of his black Commodore (parked to face my oncoming direction) waves me over and that was that.

The only lesson I learnt was that "gee this keeps hurting my wallet" - not something valuable like "I shouldn't speed here because it was really dangerous" because it was that safe and in control that I felt like exploding at the stupidity of these laws and this massive effort into radaring.

This is what frustrates me the most - my mother is 44 years old. She drives the wheels into the gutter, can't do a reverse park, does dodgy driving manoeuvres and has zero feel for the car and when and how to use the acceleration of the car as a safe good thing etc. Once when she got a new car, she was out somewhere, by the time she got back to the car, the sun had gone down. Being a new car, she didn't know where the headlight and interior light switches were and was afraid of leaving the door wide open to leave the interior light on, as it was in some laneway. So her super-stupid decision was to drive home holding the high-beam lever on and to let go of it (ie then have no lights) when oncoming cars appeared so she didn't blind them with the bright high-beams!!!!! She drove home holding this on and letting off to suit the approaching cars.

(a) She told me and my dad this when she got home - that's how I know - I would've been too embarrassed to admit this!
(b) She's lucky she didn't have a crash while working the high-beam lever so much - especially when she can't drive as it is normally.
(c) Her little trip home involved half not having any lights at all, and the other half holding her high-beams on.

Anyway, my point is that these are the types of drivers and stupid acts that the law should be targeting. What about advanced driver courses for EVERYONE being compulsory? What about logic tests in difficult situations so that people learn to not make such stupid decisions like the one my mum made?

I have completed an advanced driving course, drive extremely sensibly, never had an accident and have a good confident feeling of my S14 200sx (I never even approach its limits around corners) and speed only where its 100% safe to (but nowadays I don't speed at all because I am too used to police cars appearing out of nowhere and booking me) - YET I have been booked 5-6 times, it has cost me well over a grand and drivers like my mother are out there and able to say things like "I've never been booked, so how can I be a bad driver". OK you don't speed, but you still drive like a retard that shouldn't be allowed on the road until you go through proper training.

Re Newcastle, it's getting to the same stage. It's permanently covered in both marked and unmarked police cars radaring everywhere, even on the stupidest roads - just to get a high police presence across and book the wrong people. OK fair enough the cowboys doing 90 in a 50 zone in their Toranas, but not the good safe drivers who can judge their speed effectively.

I also noticed up the entire NSW coast to the QLD border, the Pacific Highway is littered with permanent speed cameras and I have never seen so many mobile police radar cars. I counted 9 on the trip up and 14!!! on the trip back. Just doing patrols.

I wonder if the government will ever wake up and realise how stressed they are making the good drivers, how much efficiency the roads are losing and actually implement a better driver training/education system so we can trust that there are better drivers out there and have less a need to use brute-force methods of booking drivers such as radars which really don't measure the true severity of a person's driving.

Phillip Spencer

Perfect Power

I have been an AutoSpeed reader since issue #1, and now after reading the "Swapping the Smarts" article I have a question. Do you have any idea about "Perfectpower piggyback systems"? You have tried many cars with Unichip but none with Perfectpower SMT5 for example. Is it a good product, or do you have no idea.

Nabil Badran

We have never seen a PerfectPower device, so cannot comment on it.


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In regards to the article about the best performance determinant
["The Best Performance Determinant"]. How do you work out your 0-100 km/h and quarter mile times based on your vehicles weight and power at the wheels(or flywheel)??? By the way your articles have been an interesting read. Keep up the good work.

Jason Parker

Use the graphs included in the articles - click on them twice to enlarge.

Boost Control Experience

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I am writing in tell you about my experience installing in my 87 Laser TX3 4WD Turbo the "Audi DIY" boost control system ["The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 2"] you designed. I was impressed by your article, and purchased the parts from various places around Sydney and installed them in my car. The only difference was in the check valve. I used a Norgren part that we had sitting around at work instead.

I had great success playing around with the system, and the results were excellent. My first bad, or rather unusual, experience occurred about 2 weeks ago. I was leaving Sydney on a Friday evening, and was stuck in traffic in the M5 tunnel. My car started running warm due to the stop/go traffic (this is a common issue in 4WD BF 323's and KE lasers). When we finally emerged from the tunnel and I had the opportunity to speed up, I found that my boost pressure was no longer regulated at 10 psi, the setting I had selected. The boost increased until the overboost sensor cut the fuel at 12psi (glad I didn't unplug the overboost sensor!). I wasn't too worried about it since I have a modified chip with fuel maps for up to 16 psi boost, but it is some reason for concern.

After about 30 minutes of driving at highway speeds (80-115 km/h) the boost control seemed to return to normal. BTW, ambient temperature was approximately 21-22 degrees Celsius.

My theory is this: The diaphragm in the relief valve heated up and became too supple to deflect the spring when it was pressurised, preventing pressure acting on the wastegate actuator.

I have the regulator assembly mounted on the extreme right of the engine bay (ie cold side), but I have not made a heat shield, nor insulated the assembly. I have not yet had the opportunity to replicate the situation with a temperature sensor mounted to the regulator assembly. I am assuming that the under bonnet temperature is reaching the 50 degrees operational threshold of the Metal Works regulator, and maybe even breaking the 60 degrees slated for the Norgren relief valve.

I know that in your article you insulated the hoses and shielded the regulator assembly. Did you experience similar problems?

It is my intent to similarly insulate and heat shield the assembly. This weekend I hope to perform an experiment and replicate the situation in traffic, but with a temperature sensor in place.

Do you have any other ideas or suggestions?

Adam Seedsman

We did not have any problem with over-temperature of the system, even (despite the insulating heat shield that we ran) when the valves were too hot to touch. In the Audi the system was installed directly above the turbo exhaust and adjacent to the external wastegate. Perhaps in your case the pressure relief valve jammed shut? Other than insulating the valves (and their hoses, as per the article), we can't make any further suggestions.

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