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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

8 June 2003

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Worthwhile Subie Conversion?

I have a 1985 Subaru DL wagon with selectable 4WD and it currently has a carburetted engine (EA82) that is getting a little low on compression. I would like to purchase a used fuel injected engine and do whatever rebuilding it needs, rather than do any work to the engine I have. Do you know if I will gain much in the way of HP with this change - and is it a feasible idea?

Michael Lilley

If you're suggesting using the EFI engine in its entirety, you'll have quite a lot of work to do in terms of installing an ECU, new loom, airflow meter, high-pressure fuel system etc. Is it worth it? Well - going from the output of Australian Subarus - probably not; there's not a large enough power increase to warrant all the effort.

If you can get a cheap EFI engine in good condition, we'd suggest swapping your existing carby fuel system and running it in that configuration. If you want a bit more power we'd be looking at the exhaust, air intake and the carby itself.

Petrol Guzzling Insight?

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I was intrigued by the article about the Honda Insight. The one point I would disagree with is that the Insight is the most fuel-efficient car in the world. One competitor that comes to mind is the VW Lupo 3L TDi - the 3L standing for fuel economy in the 3l/100km range.


We looked on the VW German site and, yes, the VW Lupo 3L TDi is a genuine 3-litre per 100km performer. As mentioned in our Insight test, we achieved 3.5 and 3.6-litres per 100; it'd be interesting to test both cars back-to-back in the same environment. Only thing is the Lupo 3L TDi isn't sold in Australia...

Do We Have Ignition?

Hello I have been reading your magazine for two years now. Some of your articles i read probably 10 times! I think AUTOSPEED is the best magazine out there! I have got a lot of knowledge reading it. But there is an area which you haven't covered it is ignition amplifiers and all that stuff like MSD ,CRANE IGNITION and etc. Do they work, is it worth fitting them? I am really confused with those as I have read a lot of reports about them one say they work the others say is just a waste of money? I was thinking of fitting crane ignition hi-6 box but does it worth the money? And keep doing what you are doing you are doing it great. Thank you.

John Gilbert

We're glad you enjoy AutoSpeed! We've covered ignition amplifiers broadly in "Getting the Spark!" but we have not yet done a before and after type story on the fitment of such device. The question whether they make a difference depends very much on the specifics of a given engine - if your ignition is 'lighting the fire' there's nothing or very little to be gained with the fitment of an amplified ignition. They're only really necessary when a stock ignition system is not coping with an engine's increased output.

Mazda Hype

I have now owned my Mazda 6 Classic auto sedan for six months and enjoy it - but I have to agree with a lot of your road test comments. You state...

"On the debit side was tyre noise, seats which gave numb bums if not adjusted perfectly, vision through the rear screen which distorts around each demister wire, a radio whose aerial is very directional (excellent reception one minute, then go around a slight bend in the road and the sound degenerates into static a cruise control that can surge badly when resuming, dismal overtaking performance, and fuel economy (8.8 litres/100km) which was quite poor considering the gentle drive, flat road and lack of performance. (And premium fuel, at that)."

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Well, my 6's wheels (Classic 16-inch wheels with higher profile tyres) are not so noisy, but they can be a little noisy over certain roads. The fabric seats must not be as hard as the leather ones. I have never had a problem with radio reception. I have been happy with my fuel consumption - at 10-litres per 100km it's the same as my 1.8-litre Mazda 323 was - but, yes, the premium unleaded requirement is a negative and I would like more pulling power. I also expected better than the distorted rear view, and have also noticed that - when partly down - the windows rattle when I close the door. Another slight quality problem I have noticed on other 6s is a slight colour difference in the plastic bumpers

Overall, I like my car and would buy another one as it suits me fine - it's all I want in a car. Like you say, though, it is not up to the hype created by Mazda and some media. I would not (even if I had the money) spend extra on the Luxury model as I cannot not justify it. Yours was good objective road test - keep up the good work.

Glen Dening

Pressure Switching

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I ordered the components from you to build the pressure switch relay module. However in trying to assemble it using the instructions in the article, "Powering up the pressure switch" it refers to colours on the 3 resistors (2 in the original kit and the other one supplied by you). The problem is the colours are not described in the instructions or pictures. The three resistors I received are as follows.

One is green with yellow, brown, black, black and brown strips (the brown might be red).

The next is grey with orange, orange, black, black, brown and red strips.

The next one is significantly smaller; it is light blue and has brown, black, black, orange and red strips.

Can you tell me which corresponds to which in the instruction? Also, can it be made to be normally open and made to switched closed when the vacuum DROPS to a certain point? I'm using your newer combination vacuum/pressure switch.

Greg Pearson
United States

The best way to identify resistor values is with a multimeter; failing that, you can work out their values using the resistor colour code chart that's included with the Jaycar kit instructions. And the easiest way to see where the resistors are placed on the PCB is to click on our photos of the kit (which enlarges them to full size).

Beyond its built-in adjustment facility and replacing the internal spring (as discussed in "Our New Pressure Switch!"), one way to adjust the vacuum switchover point is to insert a variable bleed in a hose leading into the switch's sensing port.

STi Stuff Ups?

In your article "New Car Test - Subaru Impreza STi" you are actually providing wrong info on Subaru's mechanism - Impreza never carry multi-link suspension. And speaking as an owner of a STi your slow traffic start shows your lack of driving skill. I do not know about Australian ECU specs, but not all STis on the Earth are the same. You should at least mention your test is of the 'Australian version' on your issue.

Yoshi Aoki

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Sorry, Yoshi but according to the official Subaru STi brochure the rear suspension IS listed as multi-link. Further, the road test made it very clear that we were only testing the Australian spec STi (with only 195kW). Quite possibly the Japanese spec car is better away from a set of lights, but - without question - the Australian-spec car (running on Australian 98RON fuel) is terrible. The ONLY way to get the Australian car off the line quick is with a big clutch dump or massive high-rpm clutch slip. Simply flooring the accelerator from a standing start will see a host of cars pull away before the STi reaches boost (again, in the Australian spec car).

Old School Waste of Time?

I just have a few simple enquiries on water injection systems. After reading 21st Century Performance I decided to visit some performance shops around my area and they all tell me water injection is old school stuff and that its bloody expensive to do on EFI cars. Is it worth it? Are they full of sh&^? Are their any kits available from AutoSpeed? If so, how much?

Anthony L

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Yes, water injection is old school but it CAN work very well. Where intake temps are excessive or detonation is a problem, a sophisticated system with a fine atomising nozzle AND a finely tuned control system can make a considerable difference on a forced induction engine. The effectiveness of such a system depends on the quality of the system - and, of course, whether there's a need for water injection.

For more info on water injection check out "Water Injection".

We have also covered a DIY motor speed controller, that's ideal for controlling a water injection pump - see "Motor Speed Control Module - Part 1".

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