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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

11 May 2003

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Houdini Act?

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You've got a great online magazine - but there are a few things I'd like to see improve...

There seems to be a lack of new articles that have a real hit-the-sweet-spot value to them. There needs to be more new car tests than currently; I mean if you guys are going to keep up to date with the new generation of cars where are the tests for the new 2003 Ford XR8 and GT, Subaru WRX, BMW M3 and Nissan 350Z? Come on guys - it seems you're slacking off in this area and don't have the resources to test the new cars like Motor or Speed magazine and are pulling a Houdini act to get one.

Next - is there any kind of testing of a press car to see if it is REALLY 100 percent stock? Your Magna VR-X article claims a seriously fast car with a Correvit times of 7.04 and 15.07 (0 - 100 and quarter mile), whereas in the highly creditable Motor magazine's Correvit times are 7.44 and 15.35-second. The 180kW Ralliart Magna is 7.16 and 15.01-seconds. What does all this mean?

Finally, the new layout of your magazine is EXCELLENT.

Ben Park

AutoSpeed prides itself on keeping you up to date on new car technology but, as you might imagine, some manufacturers are very reluctant to hand their vehicles out for tests - especially in instances where we've already done a non favourable review on one of their models... We're certainly on the case - we have a fair few tests in the pipeline - your nominated XR8 and 350Z to name just two.

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Your question about how 'off the showroom floor' these press cars are is an interesting one. We can only assume that the vehicles supplied for testing are standard; if some aspect of a car's performance is curiously outstanding, though, we may investigate things (boost pressure, for example, on a turbo car).

The front-wheel-drive Magna Sports/VR-X is a car we know very well and, without question, it is seriously fast. The acceleration times quoted by Mitsubishi in regard to the VR-X (7.04-second 0 - 100 km/h and 15.07-second quarter mile) were the absolute best they'd managed to achieve; the launch involved first doing a burnout to warm the front tyres and we can only imagine the gear changes were pretty brutal. In more real-world conditions the FWD Magna Sports/VR-X is really a low 7-second 0 - 100/low 15-second quarter mile performer. As you stated, the Ralliart Magna (5-speed manual) is a few tenths quicker again.

Scaring Me

I was cruisin' the web looking for info on Mercedes Benz 6.9s and came across Forg's article on cars in movies. I read the bit on Stephen Kings' Christine and was shocked; how could car guys get it so wrong?! From Forg's Dark Corner (Feb 2000): "Christine can hold your interest for a while (purely because its title role is a possessed man-eating red 60's Cadillac convertible)" A red 60's Cadillac Convertible?! C'mon guys, it was a '58 Plymouth Fury 2dr Hardtop!

Now you are really scaring me...

Chuck Ramsburg

FC3S Fun Limiter

I want to raise the boost on my Mazda Series 4 RX-7 turbo and sort out the fuelling properly with the stock ECU. Currently it appears the limiting factors to this are a factory ECU that cuts fuel once a specified voltage is reached in the pressure sensor, and then a lack of fuel once the ECU is tricked into not cutting fuel above certain boost.

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I'm informed that it's a reasonably simple process to clamp the voltage of the pressure sensor at a specific level, so the fuel cut is out of the way. My present thoughts with regard to getting more fuel in once the voltage is clamped, is to modify either the water temp or AFM output in proportion to the amount pressure sensor voltage rises past the cut-off - hopefully via some sort of twisty knob for ease of tuning. I'm interested in your opinions and thoughts on the matter. Ten psi or so has been known to work 'for a while' on the standard ECU with no modifications, so I'm assuming the modifications wouldn't need to be too drastic to get it to run 'permanently' - if you know what I mean.

I don't want to fork out for aftermarket management at this point, I'm informed no remapping/piggybacking options exist for the FC3S ECU, a S-AFC sounds okay (but is ridiculously priced IMHO) and I'd rather not mess with the current state of things when it's not necessary. Any help most appreciated.

Charles Driver

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Our story - "DIY Modification of Car Electronic Systems - Part 3" - talks about methods to fool fuel cuts. The issue of fuelling (and timing for that matter) when clipping the MAP sensor input is an interesting one. As far as we can determine, the FC3S RX-7 relies on an airflow meter as a load input and - during boost - the MAP sensor's only function is to trigger the over-boost cut. If this is the case, there shouldn't be any problem clipping the MAP sensor voltage (or bleeding positive pressure from its signal hose). You might want to talk about this in more detail with a rotary tuning guru - someone like Anthony Rodrigues from Maztech (+61 3 9416 8411). In any case, though, you'd want to keep an eye on mixtures and timing during this sort of modification.

For reference, Fueltronics produce a fuel cut lifter that - according to their website ( - is suitable for early and late RX-7s.

Goodbye to a Rally Legend - Possum Bourne

When the beat of a Subaru engine comes alive
When the countdown begins and the revs start to rise
When the explosion of exhaust echoes throughout the countryside
When the whistle is blown and the dust cloud arrives
When the Scandinavian flick is like ballet on ice
When the gravel sprays up and we are forced to cover our eyes
We will always remember the great rally driver as he arrived
Possum Bourne with a grin from side to side.

In memory of an inspirational man

Damian van Loon

Big Block Little Beemer

I have read AutoSpeed and been a member for many years - I love the site, particularly the technical articles...

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I am about to embark on a project later this year, which involves taking an E30 BMW 3-series (1985 - 1990) and then transplanting the 3.5-litre M30 six out of a 1990 7-series. Apparently, you can get plans and prefabricated engine mounts; do a search on 'E30 335i' and see what you come up with! This car will be made into my daily driver and I plan to use the 3.5's immense torque (330Nm) in the 1200kg chassis without modifying the engine... should be a fun and classy conversion once complete. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your words over the years - this is the best online car site for sure!

Robbi Wright
New Zealand

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