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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

31 August 2003

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Fusion Power to the Rex

I read your "Fusion Intercooler" article ("The Fusion Intercooler") with much interest as I have a Version 2 MY94 WRX with a small standard intercooler.

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Would replacing the standard intercooler with a Liberty/Legacy RS water-to-air that's filled with paraffin [wax] be an 'upgrade' or would it be more trouble than it's worth? Mass of the RS unit is 3.9kg compared to 2.8kg for the WRX and flow of the RS is 211 cfm, while the WRX is 143 cfm with standard piping. BTW - ambient temperatures in these parts never get above 25 degrees Celsius.

Scott Akins-Sellar
New Zealand

If ambient temps are fairly low in your area, we reckon there's potential for a fusion intercooler based on the water/air heat exchanger to work very well. (But don't forget that it's the outlet temp of the turbo off-boost - rather than ambient temp - which is the critical factor with this design.)

Happy Camper #1

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I've been a subscriber for a couple of years now and have read pretty much every article that Julian Edgar has written (to my knowledge, anyway!) in car magazines over the years. I've always found his writing style interesting - sure, I don't like everything he's ever written and I sure don't agree with everything, but I do enjoy the approach. A while back, when the change was made from weekly to daily articles, I thought it was a bit of a silly idea... But then I realised that it gave me a couple of minutes reading EVERY day between classes (I'm a student). Anyway, on the issue of how to continue keeping us interested, I'm a big fan of the slightly strange ideas - eg the wax intercooler ("The Fusion Intercooler"). No, I'm not going to fit one to MY car but I do enjoy the concept. Keep visiting 'junk' sales, buying old typewriters and pulling them apart - the one thing that SO many people seem to lack today is a desire to learn...

Michael Sheehan

Happy Camper #2

First off, let me just say I have never written into any magazine, be it online or print. This is a "deflowering" experience for me...

I have a suggestion for DIY articles. I, too, was first pulled into AutoSpeed by the DIY articles back in '98. Some of the stuff I learned helped me turbocharge my '93 Impreza, which now has almost 200,000 miles and is still boosting strong. I have since learned quite a bit and using some of the basics learned through AutoSpeed, cut almost 2 seconds off the 0-60 mph time of my Daewoo Lanos, all while spending less than US$70. Please check it out at and let me know what you think. I even wrote my own "Intelligent Performance" article which I used on the 'Woo.

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Onto the suggestion... It's okay to keep doing the same DIY articles over and over if you do them on new cars each time. For example, the new Mazdaspeed Protege that we have in the 'States would be a great project car. Just like the many WRX articles that you've built up, if you do that with individual cars we would still read it since each car responds to individual mods differently. By studying the differences we are better prepared in our future mods to spot possible areas for power increases.

Sorry for the long-winded email - keep up the good work and please don't stop the DIY stuff.

Chad Stamper

On a Fact-Finding Mission

Perhaps it's just me, but when I'm looking for a product for my car I like to know more about it. But lately, in my search for a new set of coil springs, I'm coming up against a market that seems very vague when it comes to details about their springs and even about where they come from.

One of the strangest things I have come across is that you get the idea from some places that many springs are made by just one company, yet are being sold under many different brand names (which does not help when your trying to compare specs/prices for the car you want them for).

I have also found that no one seems to want to tell you what rate the springs are (or any other details) other than the usual "20-30% stiffer" line, which does not help when you have no idea what is in the car to begin with or which model/version of the car they are talking about as the baseline. No one seems to be very forthright with what testing has been done either, or how they decided what spring rates would be best for their set spring package - did they guess or were road tests made?

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Perhaps it's time the spring makers were more open about their springs and specs, because while it may be okay for some to spend thousands on trial and error, I like to lay down my money and get it right for me the first time. At the very least, it would help to know more details about what you put in your car so you can make more informed changes later.

Okay so it's a gripe, but perhaps waiting weeks for email responses from spring companies will do that to a guy.

Kerry Novak

Unfortunately, buying springs is a bit like performance tyres - you can't really tell what they'll be like until you try them. We share your frustration! The best thing is to arrange a money-back satisfaction arrangement with the retailer - if possible...

Big Bang

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Your article on the cheap sound system upgrade ("A Budget Sound Upgrade") was great. One problem I foresee, though, is getting a head unit home and then discovering it needs a security code to work - which you don't have. What happens then - do you just throw it away and put it down to experience?

Sam Ward

Make sure you get a security code wherever necessary!


I am a newbie and need to know more on how to diagnose a car engine using the notebook plug into the ECU. What do I use to change settings in an ECU and are there products in the market catering for this?

Chee Keon

Stay tuned - we have an OBDII reader series coming up!

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