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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

27 April 2003

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Killer Conversion!

I am seriously considering doing an engine swap for a '71 Mercedes 300SEL. The engine I was looking at was a 1U-ZFE from an import Soarer. I was also looking at the 7M-GTE, but the V8 is cheaper insurance wise. Can you recommend anyone in either Sydney or Brisbane that does this sort of conversion? I understand the significant amount of cost and time involved but 'she who must be obeyed' is keen for the old Mercedes and I am keen for a bit of go when I press the load pedal.

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I thoroughly enjoy your articles and the down to earth approach you take - AutoSpeed keeps me sane. I am currently deployed on Operations in East Timor (everyone has forgotten about us with Iraq going on, but that's another story) and reading AutoSpeed everyday ensures that I keep in touch with my need for speed. The speed limit here is 40 km/h and most of the roads don't allow you to go that fast. The one advantage of being on Operations is that I will have a big bucket of cash to come back to. I think of all sorts of things to do with it too - most of them involving cars (it's amazing how being apart from the significant other allows you to think freely about spending your cash on toys instead of important things like leather couches)...

Brett Clarke
Australia (Well, East Timor at the moment)

What a great idea for a conversion! As you're probably aware, your proposed conversion is not exactly run-of-the-mill but there are a couple of Sydney workshops that spring to mind - Tony Rigoli Performance are always willing to give things a go and MRT are currently dropping a Silvia engine into an old Merc coupe. Perhaps our readers can recommend some other workshops?

We're only too happy to keep you sane!

For my 2.5-litre V6 Powered Eunos 30X...

In an old article of yours "Buyers Guide - DIY Automotive Electronic Kits" there is a kit listed called the "Gear Change Indicator". It seems that Altronics no longer list this kit and I have been unable to find anything similar. I refuse to pay the exorbitant prices for shift indicators and my tacho works perfectly ok... I just want something that I can program for each gear and that has a small, unobtrusive light that I can stick inconspicuously on my dash. Any recommendations?

Also, like many of your readers I am sure, I have jumped the gun as far as car modifications are concerned. My 2.5-litre V6 Eunos 30X has a 2 ¼-inch cat-back exhaust and "ram-air" induction. After reading your articles and, admittedly, growing up a fair bit as far as cars are concerned, I am slowly learning how detrimental my mods so far have potentially been. I am now taking a step back and having a long hard think about what I have done wrong - I want to turn my wrongs into rights...

Okay, so here it is. I have completely replaced the stock air intake unit (aside from AFM), removing all resonance tubes along the way, mutilating the stock air box and attempting to create a cold air intake system - which seems to have worked better as a dust collector. I am thinking about tossing the lot and starting from scratch. I have read and re-read your series on "Eliminating Negative Boost" - should I just apply the principles discussed there to my current system and modify as required?

Similarly, with my exhaust, I am currently running a 2 1/4-inch cat-back system that I am sure is not ideal for my set-up. That was a purchase made when I had more dollars than sense and was more interested in rice, rather than race.

PS - AutoSpeed is always a great read. I hold you personally responsible for making me wish there were more hours in the day... too many fun projects!

Adam Bruce

At present, Jaycar sells a rev limiter/shift light (Cat No. KC-5265) for $34.95 plus freight. Your other option is the neat SmartShift from Dali Racing in the US - it costs US$50 plus shipping. Visit our review of the product for more details.

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There shouldn't be any problems removing the resonating chamber from the standard air intake (aside from a bit more induction noise). Modifying the standard airbox to incorporate a large diameter cold air feed should also cause no problems - so long as the pick-up point won't suck water and is protected from on-coming road debris. We did a story on fitting a cold air intake to our (sold) Holden Commodore VL Turbo - note how we positioned the pick-up behind the bumper. We never had any filter clogging problems with this set-up - we very rarely drove on an unsealed road, however. You probably don't need to replace the airbox - depending how "mutilated" it is!

As far as the cat-back exhaust is concerned, we'd recommend fitting a positive pressure gauge to a front section of exhaust, going for a full throttle drive and seeing what backpressure there is. Given the stock exhaust manifolds and front pipe section is in service, we'd be aiming for the lowest possible backpressure - certainly less than about 30 kPa with your current 2 1/4-inch system. If it is more than that we'd be looking closely at the muffler(s).

Circuit Problems?

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Have a close look at the circuit diagrams of your Closed Loop Monitor. The LED is wired in both cases from +5V to Earth. Not only would the LED blow in below one second, but where is this +5V coming from?

Anthony Doyle

Regarding the Closed Loop Monitor article, what is the correct resistor value - 470R (shown in the part list) or 220R (shown in the diagrams)? Thanks.

Avner Bronfeld

The diagrams for the closed loop monitor had two mistakes in them - they have now been fixed. Our apologies for the confusion.

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