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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

2 November 2003

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Spoiled Scoop?

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I have been following Julian Edgar's efforts with his import Nissan Maxima and can't help but wonder at the efficiency of the intercooler bonnet scoop (bloody ugly too, but that's another issue). I wonder - did you check the airflow over the bonnet before placing the scoop there or did it just seem like a good spot? It could actually be in a low-pressure zone. I ask the question because many years ago we had cooling problems with a clubman sports car that had an exhaust type radiator vent across the width of the bonnet. We had all sorts of problems with overheating before a mate suggested we place a small spoiler in front of the aperture (to prevent external airflow over the bonnet spilling back down the hot air exhaust vent). In initial testing we just taped a piece of plastic hose across to spoil the airflow over the bonnet skin; worked a treat. In the light of your self-declared policy of measuring and testing to obtain definitive results it would be interesting to glue some wool tufts on to see the real airflow pattern.

David Seldon

You raise an interesting point. No airflow measurements were taken on the bonnet, but every car we've ever aero tested has had attached flow over the bonnet.

Sensational Swap!

Is it possible to put a 3.6-litre Ferrari V6 engine into an Acura (Honda) Integra from 1995 - 2001? If it is possible how much do you think it would cost?

Bill Brown

With enough money spent on fabrication and bodywork almost anything is possible. We have no idea what the cost would be - an 'open chequebook' job we'd suggest...

ET For Me?

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I'm 16 years old and was wondering whether it's a good idea to buy a Nissan ET Pulsar for my first car? With it being turbocharged I'm not quite sure. If you could give me your opinion it would be great!


A good, quick car if you're prepared to spend on on-going maintenance - after all, they are nearly 20 years old... The first thing we'd check is whether any companies are willing to insure you. You really do need 3rd Party Property coverage at minimum. Check out "Nissan Pulsar ET and EXA" for our ET/EXA buying guide.

Shine a Light

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Interesting article on add-on lights ("Fitting Xtra Lights"). More than 60 percent of the driving I do is on unsealed country roads and I have to agree with you about the benefit of additional lighting. We run combination Hella spotlights on our vehicles and they do a terrific job. But the downside of spotlights is that in the city I spend 95 percent of my time on low beam - and the spotties don't do squat when they are turned off. It was for this reason that I went for a headlight upgrade on my personal car, which had very ordinary factory headlights. ARB fitted an upgrade kit (wiring, bulbs and, in some cases I believe, reflectors) that was exceptional and cost much less than fitting a set of half decent spotties. Without the aid of a light meter, I would hazard that my low beam is now putting out nearly as much light as my high beam used to. The big benefit is that my lights are now heaps better ALL the time, especially on low beam around town and I still have the option of fitting extra lights latter on if I plan on doing heaps of country driving.

Jason Martin

VCT 265 Hemi?!

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For some time now I have thought about the possibility of installing variable cam timing to my old Chrysler 265 Hemi. I have looked at the single cam set-up on a late-model VCT Falcon and it looks like it could be adapted to a Hemi or even a Holden six. I understand there would need to be some custom fabrication but that's half the fun... I just wondered if you know of anyone that has done anything like this before... or maybe you could write an article about the possibilities to stir up some interest.

Stuart Bunning

We've never come across anyone doing this but it certainly sounds like a good project. If you decide to go ahead, please let us know!

How Hard to Boost?

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What is the max safe boost you can pull from a Nissan S13 CA18DET engine?

Daniel Jones

With the standard turbo and fuel system we wouldn't suggest any more than about 14 psi.

With a big turbo, big 'cooler and plenty of fuel flow you can go higher but we're told the stock conrods might fail. Don't go any more than, say, 18 psi for decent day-to-day reliability.

LS1 Woes Answer #1

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Re Peter asking if the LS1 V8 problems have been fixed ("Response"). I suggest he goes to This forum has a wealth of information for the LS1 owner with other users happy to give advice on their experiences.

In regard to his question, the VY models (especially from about mid 2003 onward) seem to have very few oil consumption problems. It was certain models - especially the VX Series 1 - that seemed to have the most problems. You would be very, very unlucky to buy a new LS1 and have any problems. I'm the proud owner of a SS wagon and love it - no problems whatsoever.

Andrew McKellar

LS1 Woes Answer #2

Re the Gen 3 V8. They certainly used a lot of oil early on, but a change of oil type seems to have 'fixed' it. Holden also told me that a new dipstick goes a long way to fixing the problem; I didn't like that idea for my Gen 3... Worse still is the engine rattling for two to three minutes on start up. After a lot of arguing, I've had a new set of pistons fitted to overcome clearance and expansion problems. I am not a happy owner.

R. Butler

A Visit From the Doctor...

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The turbo doctor has recently visited me and the prognosis does not look good... Having an imported Mazda Familia GTR, there are no bolt-on turbos available and I was wondering if you could do an up-to-date story on aftermarket turbos - something covering the new models that have come out recently.

Allan Gilbert

We believe the Familia GTR turbocharger is IHI based, so you might find some interchangeable parts from import EJ20T Subaru Legacy engines for example. Aside from that, your local turbo performance shop should be able to take a look at your current turbocharger and suggest what replacements are suitable. We'll certainly look into assembling a story that covers the current range of turbochargers.

Sensational Spin #1

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Just dropping a quick line about "The Spin Circuit" - a fantastic read, well done.

Martin Plsek

Sensational Spin #2

EXTREMELY interesting article on the HSV testing adventure. I've never read anything quite like that - excellent stuff!

John Masson

Sensational Spin #3

I have just finished reading the article "The Spin Circuit" and felt stirred enough to tell you how excellent I thought it was. This kind of insight into motoring journalism is something I have never read of before and found thoroughly interesting. Terrific work.

Cary Wintle

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