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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Happy With Rex

Well done to the team for telling it how it really is. Everything that is moving forward today is interactive - the internet and numerous television programs (like Big Brother) have become popular because anyone can have input into direction. Your publication is no different - you are in touch with your readers and they too can be involved. It will obviously take other forms of media a while to realise what the majority of people want. Meanwhile run with it!

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As a matter of interest, I - like many other people - read the article concerning the MY02 STi. Subaru didn't lose here; they just got a little bit less of my money. I have just bought an MY02 WRX after moving from a VS V8 Commodore and I love it. My mates in Commodores love it too! Why? Because they can't catch it - even when I'm not trying hard.

Keep up the good work. Thankyou all!

Jarrod Osborn
Alice Springs

Jarrod, rest assured we'll continue telling it like it is in every story. Have fun with the Rex - it sounds like you already are...

Supra Spice

I have a 1995 naturally aspirated Toyota Supra (166kW). AVO suggested that if I do the exhaust, Rampod, engine management system and NGK plugs I will end up with 25 to 30 percent extra power (205 to -215kW). Does this sound about right? This is about 25kW short of the Supra TT!

Scott Davenport

Yes - we reckon a quality exhaust, intake and revised management should give a power increase in the vicinity of 25 - 30 percent. As a guess, the exhaust might give 10 percent, the intake around 5-10 percent and the management system - depending on the programmed mixtures and timing - should be good for about 10 percent.

The Supra TT will still be a fair bit quicker on the road than an atmo Supra with these mods - it's immense torque spread will give it a distinct advantage.


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Hi, I was very interested reading your article on converting a standard bypass valve into a great sounding blow-off valve. My question to you is this; I own a Nissan Bluebird ATESSA 4WD turbo running a SR20DET. It has an EMS computer system installed and, as such, does not run an airflow meter. Can your technique of modifying the factory blow-off valve still work in this case? Also, do you know of anyone who has done it to a SR20DET like mine?


Claude Masciulli

We don't know of anyone with an SR20DET who's taken the approach mentioned in the story (at "Psssshhht!"), but there's no reason why it won't work.

Since your car already has its AFM removed, there is only one benefit of using the adjustable taps (compared to simply removing the hose between the BOV and the intake, and remembering to plug the hole created in the intake). The tap approach will ensure your engine breathes only the air filtered by the air filter - there won't be any drawn unfiltered through the open BOV.

Thankyou Thankyou!

I enjoy this website even though I am not yet a member. I read Julian's tech features and I have his book - I've even fuel injected my V8 Torana after reading its contents. But a 'petrol head' is not my real job - I'm an electrician by trade. I've learnt so much. Thanks Julian and AutoSpeed!

New Zealand

Northstar Details

Great article on the Northstar engine. As usual when I see a newish engine like this my brain starts ticking in terms of an engine conversion for my LJ Torana. Measurements of this engine are obviously critical - would it be possible to get them? Also, is this engine a Gen 3 with twin-cam heads?

Thanks Guys


No, the new Northstar is not simply a Gen 3 V8 with twin-cam heads - it's different from the ground up. For a wealth of information on this engine - including its dimensions - you should get yourself onto relevant web forums (such as on


Excellent article on the mega RB30/RB26 engine. It's a refreshing change to see local talent achieving so much without relying on Japanese off the shelf hardware. Whilst I understand that it is generally much easier spending a wad of cash on equipment rather than going through development, I personally get much greater satisfaction of having done the development myself. I guess it's my engineering background. Its not much of an achievement to slap together a bunch of parts guaranteed to work, it just comes down to cash and nothing much else. My question is thus: The article made reference to a 'W-ring" head gasket arrangement. I have also heard the term being thrown around elsewhere, however no details have ever been given as to what this actually is. I conducted an extensive web search on the subject but couldn't find anything. Can you shed some light on what this arrangement actually is?

Peter Tsakiris

A W-ring (also known as a Coopers ring) is intended to improve head gasket sealing. The process involves cutting out the fire rings in the standard head gasket and machining recesses into the top of the block around each bore (directly beneath where the fire ring would otherwise be). The W-ring - which is a thick W-shaped seal typically made from stainless steel - is then inserted into each recess so that they protrude slightly beyond the top of the block. Note that the amount of machining needs to be carefully thought out and performed, otherwise there might be plenty of pressure acting on the W-rings when the head is torque'd down, but the rest of the gasket might not have enough pressure to seal water and oil passages.

More Pulsar GTi-R Details

Hi - just a few comments in regards to your GTi-R article. There were three types of GTi-R manufactured:

GTiR-A is your standard type of GTi-R with ABS, AC, umbrella etcetera. 5000 were made.

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GTiR-B is your general-purpose rally spec, which came without ABS, AC, rear wiper, umbrella and a few other things. But it did come with a front LSD, close ratio gearbox and vinyl interior and a few more kWs. There were 500 of these made and are sometimes referred to as the Dakar model.

And the third type of GTi-R was the one released to professional rally teams, which had the electronic ATTESA. These were not available to the public and were taken back by NME when the cars were finished rallying, though there is one left in Germany run by Becker Motorsports.

There was also a later revision around '93 that saw some minor changes, and the standard boost setting of the GTi-R is around 9-10 psi. Obviously, the car you were testing had its boost setting modified in some way.

Filip Kemp

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