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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

30 March 2003

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Pinging XR

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I have a 2001 Ford XR8 220KW with severe pinging problems. Could you please tell me what pinging is and what damage it could do if I keep driving it with this problem? Many thanks.

Chris Turner

Pinging (aka detonation) is an unstable and rapidly spiking combustion process that - depending on severity - can result in damage to rings, pistons, spark plugs, valves, cylinder heads and head gaskets. Needless to say, it should be avoided...

We'd advise having the car checked out by a Ford workshop to see if there are any faults. Further, you can take steps to avoid detonation - use the highest possible fuel octane available (98RON preferably) and, at minimum, you should revise your driving style so the engine doesn't detonate.

Racer Suspension

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I am an engineering student at Deakin University in Geelong and, as part of my studies, I am designing the suspension set-up for our Formula SAE team. This is a small open wheel racer with a maximum capacity of 600cc that will be designed to race around a fairly tight circuit.

I have done a quick search around your site and I have found a couple of articles regarding suspension set-up. What I was wondering was, are there any articles published at AutoSpeed over the years regarding suspension either basics or specific for racing set-ups? I was also wondering if you could recommend any books that may be of use to me?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Philip Millar

For technical aspects of suspension design for a racecar, the most up-to-date resource is the SusProg3D V4.14 suspension program. Use our search facility and check out our review of the program.

An excellent source of suspension tuning books can be purchased through Beven D. Young Automotive Books and Software (

Go the GDI?

I've been an AutoSpeed member now for about two years and must say that your magazine is first rate! Keep up the good work.

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The main reason I'm writing is to ask if there's any follow up to the GDI Turbo engine article. I'm planning on buying a 7-seater MPV and the choices I have locally (in Hong Kong) are the Toyota Picnic, Nissan Prairie, Honda Stepwagon and, lastly, Mitsubishi Dion with the above mentioned engine option.

The 'word' on the street here in Hong Kong is that the GDI engines are inherently unreliable and I would like to know if such a perception exists in Australia - if the GDI or GDI Turbo engine is available there.

Finally, if there are any owners of GDI Mitsu vehicles out there willing to share their knowledge and experiences, I would appreciate it very much. Thank you.

John Yew
Hong Kong

We don't get any Mitsubishi GDI engines here in Australia so we can't really comment on their reliability. Maybe some of our readers can offer comments on the matter?

The three stories we've done covering Mitsubishi GDI engine are "Mitsubishi's Direct Injection Turbo 1.8", "Not so Nuts" and "The Mitsubishi SUW (Smart Utility Wagon) Advance concept vehicle"

Loves JE's Book!

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I just finished reading Julian Edgar's book "21st Century Performance" and wanted to make a comment - what a great book! Perfectly pitched for folks like myself who have strong technical knowledge in other fields (in my case electronics engineering) along with a serious interest in understanding performance aspects of modern cars. Well written, easy to read, great pictures and comments, and enough detail to provide a solid basis for those with an urge toward in-depth learning. I'd recommend this book to any would-be petrol head! Thanks and best regards.

John Fuller

Tax Man Won't Wear It!

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In regard to your article on depreciation - it would have been interesting, and humorous, if you had included the depreciation expected for a newer model Alfa Romeo.

As an owner of a recent make 156, I love the car - the way it handles shows that it's built for fun and more fun. However, in recent research into upgrading to another vehicle it was amazing to see how the Alfa dealers are willing to get behind and support their vehicles by offering me a trade-in of 50% of the original purchase price (for a two year old low km's vehicle). That's 25% per year by my calculations - damn, even the tax man won't wear that one for me! Good to see that Alfa Romeo is doing it's best to ensure high resale value. Oh well, I guess I just have to put up with the Play Station gear change for a while longer... Anyway must run there are some bike riders who need to be shown how to conquer a certain very twisty mountain road with some real pace. You've gotta love those tight bends.

Robert Williams

Another Zet Enquiry!

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I have come across the Twin Turbo Zet device on the internet and am curious to know if it can be fitted to a Nissan Pulsar 2.0-litre N14. If so, will I need to make any major modifications to my engine?

Further, I have spoken to a few other people regarding this device and they are also interested to know if it can be fitted to their vehicles. Their vehicles are a Ford Maverick diesel (he needs to improve the power to tow a very large boat) and a Nissan Gazelle CA20 (which is simply gutless).

Also, I would like to confirm the price of this device as it appears on the internet. Thankyou and I await your reply in anticipation. Kind regards.

Bill Matakakis

As far as we know, the Twin Turbo Zet can be fitted to any vehicle so long as its 60mm inlet and outlet can be hooked into the induction plumbing and there's enough space to fit its body. We do, however, suggest reading our review of the product at "The Twin Turbo Zet".

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