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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

12 October 2003

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Looking For Something Different

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I like the service you provide so I've subscribed to all the back issues. Having had 60 cars in my 57 years I find myself - along with a number of my 'kids-free' friends - with a little spare cash. I am now able to indulge in a wider variety of motoring experiences than was the case when kids education dominated the household budget. I currently have a LX470 for general duties and a new MX-5 for top-down zapping up and down the Clyde. In the recent move to Canberra from Park Orchards, though, I had to sell my 200kW competition MX-5 and the "sob, sob" concourse '74 2000 GTV 105-series Alfa. And that brings me to the point of the email. Given there's probably one or two of us on your subscription list with similar eclectic tastes in cars and at similar stages in life, how about a few articles on affordable classics and the growing restoration fad amongst us semi-oldies? I've started my hunt for a restorable Mercedes Pagoda 280SL! Keep up the good work.

Paul Johnson

A Pagoda?! Sounds enticing. Stay tuned, because we've got a two-part series on buying a classic car that kicks off in the next couple of days!

Tickled TX5 Turbo

I wrote to AutoSpeed recently about modifying my Ford TX5 AS Turbo (2.0-litre). I took your advice and cut a 3-inch hole in the airbox for a cold air feed at the bottom of the engine bay. This has given the car a great 'sshhhwwweee' sound and slight performance gain.

Unfortunately, my uncle found out how much the STi intercooler that he gave to me is worth - and took it back! As a cheaper option, I have a GFB Hybrid BOV that I bought from you guys and was wondering if I could just fit this and up the boost maybe 2-3 psi? As I'm not planning on many more performance mods - do you think this set-up is okay or a bit risky? I always use Optimax as a safeguard.

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I was thinking of a front-mount RX7 S4-5 intercooler but have been told that AS TX5s are a bit hard to run the pipe work to the front. Would a top-mount be such a bad move? I now it's not ideal, but for my application would it be that bad? I guess a top-mount is better than none.

I have recently installed the 2.5-metre hose as mentioned in the Killing Wastegate Creep article ("Killing Wastegate Creep") and this has changed the spool up time noticeably. One thing I have noticed since the intake mod, though, is that in 5th gear at 60 km/h the boost light starts flashing and there's a big loss of power when you put your foot down. With the 2.5-metre hose installed this will now happen even in 2nd gear. Is this because the engine is over boosting at low rpm? At higher revs there is no worries. The TX5's small turbo already spooled up pretty quick anyway, so is the extra hose length a bit of overkill? Thanks again for your time - you guys run a great site!

Luke Stolfo

Given high octane fuel wasn't in available when the 2.0-litre TX5 was released, you could probably get away with running 2 - 3 psi extra IF you run on 98RON Optimax all the time. You'll also have to be mindful of heat soak and ambient temperatures when driving. Obviously, fitting an intercooler would be a much greater safeguard that would also increase performance - running more boost without a 'cooler is a risk. Stay tuned for a massive Japanese import intercooler flow bench comparison we've got coming up. We're not sure on that loss of power at low rpm. Start checking things out by fitting a boost gauge, an air-fuel ratio meter and keeping an ear out for detonation.

A Sad Situation

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Well done on a good read - I am glad I signed on now. I don't own a hot 4 or a rotary, I'm a fossil with an original condition Ford XC Fairmont GXL. I think it is interesting that so many companies don't like you doing reviews on their products (cars or otherwise). It certainly makes you stop and think. It is sad that companies like Mazda, Subaru and Nissan seem to take offence while Mitsubishi accept that people may have differing opinions about their cars and offer you alternatives to drive - like they did with the VRX auto (see "New Car Test - TL Series Mitsubishi Magna VR-X".). Keep up the good work.

Jason Martin

There Is a Meaner Manifold

I just read the "Meaner Manifold" email in the August 10th, 2003 "Response"). Check the following link for a Holden VL manifold with 19% more flow for $295 - it's a dyno-tested 25hp ATW gain with extractors, exhaust, etc.


Travis Quarrell

Can't Keep it Up (Boost Pressure, that is)

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I have a Nissan Pulsar ET turbo with the do-it-yourself boost controller from your site ("Project EXA - Part 3 - DIY Boost Control."). I am having trouble with it holding boost. Is boost suppose to drop back down as revs build? I have mine set about 14 - 15 psi and as revs go up it dies back to about 10 psi. Is that the way this set-up is designed? Any tips or tricks would be helpful.


We're told this is fairly common on turbochargers that are relatively small and/or deteriorating.

However, on some cars with that particular boost control system you can tune out a lot of the drop-off by playing around with valve openings, wastegate hose diameter, and the T-piece diameter and orientation. This is mentioned at "Doing the Impossible" In any case, it is fairly common for a bleed system to drop off a bit of boost at the top-end - not as much as you've suggested, though. We'd suggest changing the orientation of the T-piece as a starting point.

Sick EJ20 Stroker

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I would like to know whether over the past couple of years you have seen or heard any major problems with big end bearings and cranks in the EJ20. I have a '97 model with a 2.2-litre stroker kit. I have just pulled down my engine due to a knocking noise and have found worn bearings and damaged rods (28,000km since rebuild). It looks like the face of the conrods was scuffing on the crank and they are now full of little 'pits'. My theory is that the crank may be moving slightly under hard acceleration. My mechanic has another two motors with bearing problems, one totally standard and the other a STi motor. He believes that the Subaru motors have lubrication problems. I am loathe to buy new rods and a crank without finding a suitable answer or maybe a fix to avoid this. I only ever use Redline oil and change it every 5000km. Any ideas? Great magazine by the way.

Paul Pavli

We haven't heard any such failures with the EJ20. Maybe some of our readers have had similar experiences? We'd try calling Tony Rigoli Performance (+61 2 9726 6662) and discussing your problem.

Manifold Switching

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I am trying to adapt a Mitsubishi 3.0-litre variable intake manifold to my Ford Ranger's 3.0-litre V6 engine. I need a controller for the electric motor that actuates the valve for the short/long runner intake. I like the controller for your intelligent water spray - could this product be adapted for my use?

Lionel Nanton

Interesting project. The water spray controller isn't really suited for your application. Intake runner switching is typically rpm based, so it would be much easier to use a rev switch to trigger the electric motor. See "Simple DIY Rev Switch" for building an rpm switch that's based on an aftermarket shift light.

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