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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

16 March 2003

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Mechanical Music

Here is an interesting link that a lot of people might like to check out - it is the sound of an AsiaTech V10 F1 engine playing "When the Saints Go Marching In". The techs determined what rpm gave what musical note and programmed the engine management to control the revs. It is a small file of only 274 KB. Enjoy!

Brett Parker

Brett, thanks. We can admit that the staff here had a good laugh listening to that one!

IS Good

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From what I've read and experienced your review of the Lexus IS300 is completely wrong!

Lexus Lover

We call them as we see them - you wouldn't be biased would you, Lexus Lover?!

6 On the Money

In regards to your run-down of the Mazda 6, I must advise that the Mazda 6 I purchased in December is of the best quality and has more power than I would ever use. It is the best car I have ever had. It is the Luxury model and, at $43,000 on-road, I think it's great value. Obviously the writer was a petrol-head given a car that wasn't the same quality as mine. Try another one.

Phil Kimber

What if Not 6?

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I just read your review of Mazda 6 luxury. I was very interested and test drove the car some time ago but was not totally satisfied and after reading your review understood it was the lack of power and the brakes (how many times should one test drive a car before buying?). You mention other better sports cars in the price range. Could you please advise a couple that I should be looking at? I am 50 so I like some luxury, drive a lot so it needs a good comfort level and a sunroof or open top is a must. Thankyou in advance.

Jose de Sousa

At just over $46 grand, the Mitsubishi Verada AWD would be a great car (we haven't yet tested one, but we have tested the Magna AWD Sport). And, yes, it's very comfortable and comes with a power sunroof as part of an options pack. There's also the AWD Verada GTV with 163kW for $46,990.

Other cars to consider are the Vectra V6, Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, Liberty 2.5 models, Camry Sportivo 4 or 6-cylinder, Avalon VXi, VW Bora V5 and - at more of a stretch - the Alfa 156. Interested in the Mercedes A190 for about $40 grand? Oh, and even the new Ford BA XR6 and supercharged VY Commodore S come in cheaper than the Mazda 6.

Loves The Old School Turbo Stuff!

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Fantastic article on the Group B Rally Cars (and the turbo history series)!

Any chance of more in-depth articles about the main Group B cars (the Audi, Renault, Peugeot, etc)? The good stuff... technical details and the like.

I hope there will be more articles regarding the history of automobiles - especially the performance related history.


We're glad you're enjoying the series. We are considering doing in-depth specials on a couple of the Group B rally cars. As you can imagine, though, it's difficult to get really good tech details from that far back. We'll do some digging...

Qs on Intercooling and Fuel Cells

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I have read the articles on this site and in the book '21st Century Performance' on intercooling, but I am still unsure as to the difference between a bar and plate and a tube and fin intercooler. I understand that one has better flow whilst the other is a more efficient cooler, but which is which? Also, fact or fiction: do fuel cells reduce the need for a surge tank? Regards.


Bar and plate 'coolers are traditionally more restrictive but have better thermal properties than tube and fin. Be careful though, as there are many different variations of each - the density of the internal 'turbulators' has a big effect on cooling and flow. See Terry Wilson's (from AVO) comment on bar and plate and tube and fin IC at "Turbo Talk with Terry".

A fuel cell is not intended to function like a surge tank - they're essentially a normal fuel tank that can be mounted in the boot or wherever. A surge tank acts as a secondary tank, which stores a reserve of fuel that the engine relies on when there's inadequate fuel supply at the mouth of the in-tank pump. It's purpose is to prevent lean-out.

Boost Controller Revision

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In reference to Julian Edgar's article "The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 2"...

Get rid of the Check Valve relief bypass as this is a mechanical system and suffers from some lag during gear changes. Fit a 3-port 12-volt DC solenoid valve just before the wastegate, fit a switch (normally closed circuit) to the clutch pedal and wire it to the 3-port solenoid valve. This system works by instantaneously cutting off boost pressure to the wastegate and instantly relieving downstream pressure to atmosphere. This system will close the wastegate even faster and allow you to ride the throttle between gear changes to keep the turbo impeller spinning, as soon as you release the clutch pedal the pneumatic boost control system takes over again.

P.S. Don't rev the engine excessively with the clutch pedal depressed, as the wastegate is isolated and will always remain closed.

Philip Branwhite

Bees in your Bonnet (Scoop)

This was passed onto me... some bees started to make a hive out of a WRX bonnet scoop/intercooler. Very amusing!

Damian Van Loon

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