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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Programmable Management on its Way Out - Number 1

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I just read with interest Julian's article about the death of aftermarket ECUs. I have disagreed with Julian's views in the past (I own an '02 Subaru STi that goes really hard after I spent $3000 on mods, and I still consider it good value for money even if he doesn't!) however this time he hit the nail on the head. Aftermarket ECUs just don't cut it any more, cars are too complex now and people don't want to lose all the nice things like traction control, trip computers, climate control and basics like a decent idle. As a result, I'm getting the ECUTek product from MRT Performance for my car. It remaps the factory ECU and I'm expecting good results from it. Further down the track my car will be heading towards being heavily modified (front mount IC, fuel system mods etcetera) and I expect that I will still be using the factory computer then, with the right tuning of course.

Paul MacLeod

Glad you liked the story - we wouldn't mind hearing the results of fitting the ECUTek!

Programmable Management on its Way Out - Number 2

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It is interesting to see your comments on programmable aftermarket injection and recalibrated factory systems. I would be interested to see further work done on MAF mapped injection tuning and its advantages and disadvantages. That so many of our very top performance cars are MAF managed is surely significant.

The drawbacks of factory management are always spoken of with the necessity literal tuning related to modifications and alterations to engine efficiency at given MAP. These drawbacks are not evident to the same extent in a MAF managed system and the challenges are more in calibrating the system to altered injection sensor and delivery hardware. The restriction with factory airflow meters often spoken of; is it a physical restriction or a logical restriction? The Japanese tuners of Nissans and Mitsubishis, for example, have been recalibrating factory ECUs for their high-end needs since the VL turbo was current. Why does everyone seem to ignore this mainstream management methodology? Is it because they do not understand it? Every MAF managed car in and out of Japan contains an ECU capable of recalibration. Yes recalibration. Not the ignorant kludging that allows so many to lose their reputations and others engines. It seems many in this industry continue working with the assumptions of others rather than seeking their own truth.

Thanks for an interesting article. I look forward to seeing the topic in greater depth.

Marcus Little
New Zealand

Certainly an airflow meter has some major tuning advantages over a MAP sensor - few people seem to realise. The restriction of a factory airflow meter is often discussed in terms of airflow restriction - but many people assume their engine's AFM is restrictive without having taken any pressure drop measurements. As always, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for any ECU reprogramming and AFM conversion articles.

LS1 Woes?

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Have you heard of the problems HSV is having with their 5.7 Chev V8. I have now had contact with eleven HSV owners who have all had engine replacements due to high oil consumption. A Holden dealer told me they had a one in thirty-five failure rate with the 5.7.

Don Burstow

No question, there are a lot of LS1 engines that have required a rebuild. There have many rumoured theories on LS1 oil consumption and engine failures - everything from cooling system problems, to oil grade and oil pick-ups, rings and the manufacturing process. Oh, for the 'official' reply have a look at "Talking with HSV's Chief Engineer - Part 2"...

GTSt or 4?

As a long time reader of your awesome mag (and just recently a subscriber) I am interested in purchasing my first import - a Nissan R32 GTS-4. I would like to know if the GTS-4 has the same 4-pot front and 2-pot rear calipers as the R32 GTS-t M-Spec or just the 2-pot fronts as found on a normal GTS-t? I think, either way, I will still buy the GTS-4 as I can always upgrade the brakes to GTR spec in the long run. And the four-wheel drive advantage is worth the extra weight penalty, right? Thanks in advance.

Philip Karski

We guess you've seen our test of the R32 GTS4 and GTS-t (at "Unknown Warrior - Skyline GTS4" and "Pre-Owned Performance - Nissan Skyline R32 GTS-t") We're not sure on the braking system specs - you'd be best talking to a specialist R32 importer (someone like Delrich Lane Importers +61 3 9720 1800 who provided our GTS4 test car). Both the RWD GTS-t and AWD GTS4 are great buys, but for outright potential the GTS4 is certainly the best all-rounder. Feed a couple more psi into the intake manifold and you'll soon forget about any weight penalty!

Monster Torque?

I was reading your "MR to You" article and couldn't help but notice on the second page the dyno graph looked quite odd. The Lancer had a peak power of 135kW (which sounds believable considering the work done), but a peak torque of 731.9Nm at 4585 rpm is ridiculous. According to my calculations (which may be wrong) if a car is producing that torque at those revs it converts to 351.8kW. Is this a mistake or am I missing something?


Be careful Dustin, the graph shows tractive effort at the wheels - which is quite different to any figures derived from the flywheel. As quoted on our story "Captain Dyno" ... "Chassis dyno graphs display both power and tractive effort at the wheels - not power and torque like an engine dyno. Tractive effort is the force being applied at the tread of the tyres and is proportional to engine torque. It differs from torque because it takes into account the gearing of the drivetrain (gearbox, final drive and tyre diameter). Power runs are usually conducted in second or third gear, and the tractive effort graph can be plotted against either engine rpm or road speed at the wheels."

Mixing UZs and FZs

Your Engine Epic article on Toyota motors had an error in the V8 part. The 1FZ-FE is a 4.5-litre in-line six-cylinder - not a V8. The bigger version of the 1UZ is the 2UZ-FE, which has a cast iron block and 4.7-litre capacity. It makes less power but it gets there earlier and has a lot more torque. The 1UZ doesn't have a lot of torque and makes power very high up in the range making it useless for 4WD applications.


Well spotted Dave - the correction has been made. According to the Toyota Japan website, the current 4.7-litre 2UZ-FE makes 173kW and 422Nm, while the 4.3-litre 3UZ-FE (with VVT-i) generates 206kW and 430Nm. Pretty good donks, eh?

Rotor On Horizon

I know that you guys don't do a review unless you are approached and only if the vehicle is available, but I would love for either Michael or Julian to do a review on the Mazda RX-7 (FC3S 86-91) either Series 4 or 5 - if you can find one locally that is. Or even a comparo against something like a S13 Silvia/180SX as the CA18DET makes the same power as the Series 4 and the SR20DET make the same as the Series 5. Cheers.

New Zealand

You're in luck - we've got a test of a Japanese import Mazda FC3S turbo coming up very soon!

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