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Some of this week's letters to AutoSpeed!

14 September 2003

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'Off' Rubber?

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Re the "Stick Like Gum" article, is there a shelf life for this type of tyre?

I have two full sets of Yokohama A008 RSIIs that have been kept in a cool, dark place in black plastic bags and don't show any discolouration. Can I still use them as track tyres, street-only tyres or are they likely to be completely stuffed? I have been told of a product used by kart racers called "Tyre Reviver" that might bring some life back into them. Your thoughts please!

Dennis Goodworth

On contacting a reputable performance tyre outlet we were told that most street tyres have a "warrantable" life of about six years. As such, it was suggested your RSIIs should be fine - even for track use. Note that keeping tyres stored out of direct sunlight dramatically reduces the amount of rubber perishing.

Go Fast G200!

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I own a '97 G200 Daihatsu Charade and its engine is nearly gone. I was wondering if a K3-VET turbo engine would fit and, if so, whether I would have to change the engine mounts? Where could I find one of these engines with the computer? My Dad is a mechanic and he said he would put it in with me. Please help!


We haven't seen any of the K3-VET engines you mentioned at any Australian importers, but we do know that the grunty twin-cam CB 1.0 turbo can be made to fit into a G200.

Brett Middleton from MRT Performance ( has done such a conversion in the past and should be able to help you out.

S4 Speed Injection

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Faced with the prospect of getting old (33 with the second child recently born) I was not prepared to give up the dream of a 2-door sportscar as a replacement for my imported R30 Skyline coupe. After driving many modified R33 GTS-Ts, though, I decided that I couldn't live with the lousy ride, exhaust noise, rear seat access issues and the woeful boot.

In desperation, I went from A-Z in the classifieds and my salvation came in a 1993 Audi S4. Sure, it is not going to beat the modified R33 on a racetrack, but as a 'do everything' car it has the Japanese sports coupes beat. However, as I always find, I now want to go faster. Would a reasonable modification path be a boost control device, intake, exhaust and then chip?

Stephen Hodges

You might want to look at "The Audi S4 and S2", "Julian's New Car - Part 3 - The Audi S4", "Shocked Into Action", "Audi Times", "The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 1" and "Eliminating Negative Boost - Part 2"

Intake and boost mods have proven very effective in powering up the S4 and we can only imagine a high-flow exhaust will give good gains as well. Aftermarket chips can be bought from Germany and the US but be wary of fuel grade differences to Australia.

Puzzled re 350Z

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I read with interest Julian's articles on the Nissan 350Z ("Driving Emotion"). Yes, I am a passionate owner but, no, I am not blind in my faith. You say the car is largely crap, yet I can't stop smiling and having fun.

At its essence, your criticism seems to be the following:

  1. Rides too hard with not enough travel or rebound to cope with rough roads
  2. Understeer then snap grip

How rough is rough, I wonder? I can go through a local uneven surface road quite quickly. Or did it just feel quick? I don't know, but I left a Mazda RX-8 for dead. Am I a dud driver? I don't know. I've got eight regional titles, two seconds at a state level, one 6th and one 5th at a national level in karting, one regional title in midgets (speedway) and one local meet win in sprint cars. I have never raced cars on bitumen.

It is at this point that I should explain a few things. I love karting with a passion - it's pure, it's direct and there's no suspension so it's very firm. The Zed is definitely like that. Handling of a kart is initial understeer, then oversteer as the inside rear wheel picks up.I am definitely not picking up the inside rear wheel of the Zed and, to be honest, I am not sensing initial understeer either but I do acknowledge that it does provide that snap, grip, shoot feeling.

Certainly, there is a stretch of road on a local freeway that has barely perceptible corrugation, but the Zed hates it.

Could I have gone quicker through those aforementioned uneven surface corners in something else? I don't know. Did I ever feel the chassis was too stiff? Nope. Did it hop and skip over bumps? Nope. Maybe next time I will get out and drive the RX-8 (owned by a friend) through the same piece of road. The RX-8 definitely has a more comfortable ride and lighter steering, if that's your preference - but I like my go-kart. Steering is firm, ride is hard but this is definitely the best car I have ever owned.

Having said that, I'd be interested to know if you have a cure for the rebound issue.

81 Alfa Romeo Sprint - Ray Gulson built and prepared
85 Alfa Romeo GTV6 -Ray Gulson built and prepared
94 Nissan NXR - Whiteline Suspension, Genie Headers and Exhaust
87 Mazda 323 Turbo
87 Nissan Gazelle - Koni Suspension, SR20DET
Mazda RX-7 Series 2
Mazda RX-7 Series 1 12A turbo
93 Nissan NXR - Whiteline Suspension, Genie Headers and Exhaust
03 Nissan 350Z

So long as you're happy with the car, that's all that matters, really! It seems you're fairly used to firm-riding vehicles, so ride issues might not be all that important to you. It would be interesting for you to drive your Zed and the RX-8 through the same corners back to back while taking note of speed differences. We don't have a known cure for "the rebound issue".

Hushed Roar

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First up, a big - no, make that a HUGE - thanks for your series of articles on our beloved Mazda MX-5/Miatas (starts at "MX-5/Miata Magnificence - Part One"). I'm the proud owner of a '91 1.6-litre and have taken the naturally aspirated route with all the Loch Stewart engine and suspension upgrades (which would have been useful to feature in your articles too). Needless to say, I love the car for what it is - a genuine sportscar.

Anyway, a recent Response section mentioned the issue of sound deadening. Many years ago I owned a Suzuki Swift GTi and, with the usual exhaust upgrade, it became VERY noisy in the cabin. After stripping the interior out of the rear (seats, trims and carpets) and then installing sound deadener, the difference was huge. The bigger difference, though, was the change in noise when the doors were shut - instead of going 'tink' they had a nice solid 'thunk', more like a car of better build quality. It was a whole-day job but well worth it in the end.

Michael O'Brien

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