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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

20 April 2003

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Amazing Ad!


Great magazine guys, I love reading it each week. Just wondering if you guys had seen that awesome 'Cog' ad from Honda yet?

The Cog



Thanks Mark. We enjoyed that ad immensely! According to Honda in Australia, it is unlikely to get screening over here but other world markets will definitely enjoy it.

Align Me

I've just finished reading your Rex on Rails series - which was excellent - and I'm now in the process of performing some of these mods to my RS Liberty. However, there seem to be some discrepancies between Parts 1 and 5 of the series...

In Part 1 you say that Subaru's factory rear camber setting is -1.0 deg, which is also what Whiteline suggest for the Touring set-up you opted for. Part 1 made no mention though of what rear camber setting you actually achieved with the wheel alignment.

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Now - in Part 5 - you say that Whiteline's Touring setting is -0.75 deg rather than -1.0 deg as stated in Part 1. Either way, though, it seems to me the setting is 'as factory' and a Touring set-up should be achievable without a rear camber kit.

You then go on to say that -0.75 deg rear camber wasn't realised on your car - which I assume was during the alignment exercise in Part 1. This is not altogether clear, though, because the next sentence says that you curiously had a 'standard' setting of -1.2 deg on the RR and that there was no excessive wear from the existing alignment.

Is this -1.2 deg before or after the camber kit was fitted? If it's before, surely you didn't need a camber kit. If it's after I don't understand why it's that curious. Wasn't that the purpose of the kit - to help you achieve greater than -1.0 (or -0.75) degrees of negative camber?

Anyway, I got a wheel alignment the other day and, based on Part 1, they managed to get -1.00 and -1.14 negative rear camber out of the factory set-up - so it would appear that, in my particular case, I don't need a camber kit to go with my rear swaybar and links.

Rex on Rails was a great, practical, no-BS series other than that. It gave me the confidence to go and buy stuff and try it myself and to know what to ask for in a wheel alignment - rather than just accept whatever they dish up.

By the way, I enlisted the services of the guy who bought your old Liberty RS - Mark - to put a new clutch in my RS a few weeks ago. I got a ride in the car and - man - she's a noisy ol' bugger now with that dogbox!

Nick Robinson

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Whiteline states -0.75 degrees rear camber for their Touring alignment, but - since their Sport alignment is between -1.00 and -1.25 degrees - you can nudge up to around -1.00 degrees neg and it still falls under the banner of the Touring alignment. You're right in saying the Whiteline Touring spec involves virtually the standard rear camber angle - in some cases, though, one wheel might have a reasonably different camber angle to that opposite.

In Part One of the series we were still using the factory suspension hardware - even from this stage, though, our car was running a considerable -1.2 degrees camber on the right rear wheel, but the left rear was running only -0.5 degrees. In this case, therefore - rather than increasing camber on both rear wheels - fitting the camber kit allowed us to even the alignment from left-to-right.

In your case - with fairly even rear camber angles set just over -1 degree - there's no real need for a rear camber kit. Not with the car's current configuration, at least.

And - yes - that gearbox is noisy!

Dyno Picks

You have run several articles on dyno - which one is the best and why?

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I have used a Dyno Dynamics and the results varied a lot. I was interested in the Dynapac because it is very accurate, but it is very time consuming to hook up a car. I have heard good reports from the Dynamic Test Systems and now you have done an article on the DynoLogic - which seems good - but I don't know enough about it.

I want easy to use, accurate, repeatable results that are believable.

Having used more dynos than you could poke a stick at, I want you to give me an honest opinion as well as the 'fors' and 'againsts' of each dyno. Which dyno is the best? What software is the easiest to use and gives the best information? How much are each of the dynos to buy? Please advise.

Greg Stevenson

To go into the complexities of each different dyno is a massive article - or series of articles - in itself.

We were very impressed by the DynoLogic dyno when we visited Andrew Elder and the guys at Nizpro. As for what is best, though, depends on your exact use and criteria. We'd suggest talking to each dyno manufacturer - as well as private operators of each - to find the system that best suits you.


After reading your Rex on Rails articles I've been doing some of my own research on suspension mods. In particular I wanted to see if the anti-lift kit was worthwhile on new shape Rexes. I stumbled across the following on Whiteline's website:

It quotes the following figures for the anti-lift coefficient:

Anti-Lift without ALK: 19.78%
Anti-Lift with ALK: 0.33%

So it seems that adding the anti-lift kit actually reduces anti-lift to almost zero! To further quote from the document:

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"By lowering the % the front suspension becomes "softer" under acceleration or braking. This gives rise to the higher diving and lifting that has been experimentally shown. The drawback of these is the amount of pitch and roll increase that will be seen."

They justify this in the conclusion by saying:

"A softer front suspension during acceleration and braking will even out the load on the front tires, giving a higher total cornering load available for more front grip."

Now I can see that the added castor would be a big benefit, but I really don't want to add any more body roll to my Rex and I can't see how increasing pitch and roll is going to increase grip.

Do you have any thoughts on this in the context of your articles? Did you notice more pitch and roll in the car when the kit was first added?

Peter Yandell

Certainly, that document (which we referred to in our Rex on Rails series) is very interesting - and it's good that Whiteline is 'big' enough to make these facts public, given their product's "anti-lift" name.

Having fitted an anti-lift kit to our Liberty RS and '94 WRX, we can vouch that the product is very effective in aiding mid corner grip and improving drive away from the apex. Given the GD-series WRX has better suspension geometry, however, we can't say if the ALK's effect is as pronounced as it is on earlier models.

From seat-of-the-pants we noticed no increase of pitch or roll - not surprising given the ALK has been on the market for several years and nobody has made even a passing comment on its effect on pitch or roll...

Rain Away

I read "Rain-X - The Review" by Julian Edgar published over two years ago and I'd like to comment. I know there are some heated discussions about this stuff, but I'd like to offer my advice...

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First of all, please follow the directions accurately. I lived in Los Angeles when I first started using Rain X - it was one of the wettest years in history. My initial concern was that the sun would burn the Rain X off and I dreaded applying more coats every six months.

I started by applying it on my 1996 Ford Ranger; this truck has a pretty steep window so I was not optimistic. At one stage I sprayed some Rain X from the bottle and watched it fly right off the glass - I don't think it actually touched the surface. After that I continued with the second coat - being very meticulous and generous with the stuff - and cleaned off the residue. The next day it rained and the Rain X worked just like it said it would.

I then decided to use it on my 1996 Chevy Impala SS; this car has a serious angle on the windshield. I applied it the same way as on the Ranger and I have rarely used my wiper blades since. I add more Rain X each season to replace what gets washed off or burned off by the sun. It was almost two years before I used my wiper blades - aside from clearing the beaded trails at a stoplight or in very heavy rain.

Brian Heins

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