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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

9 November 2003

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Boosted Off-Roader

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Is there anyway I can contact Terry Wilson from the 'turbo talk' article ("Turbo Talk with Terry")? I have a few questions regarding an A.I.T. turbo system that is fitted to my Nissan Patrol. I read that he was involved in A.I.T. and would like to ask him how I can get more performance from the kit.

Andrew Bycroft

Terry Wilson of AVO can be contacted on 03 9584 4499. He knows his Patrols back to front and would certainly be able to help you out.

Flying Beetle!

I need advice on how to install a VW VR6 engine in my Super Beetle. If this conversion is impossible, can I try any in-line 4 VAG engine?


We're not sure if either conversion is possible. Maybe some readers can share some info?

Cooler VL-T

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I have a quick question for you. I have a similar intercooler to the one you shown being installed on the Nissan Maxima at "DIY Budget Intercooler Fitment". I was planning to install this to replace the standard 'crossover pipe' of a Holden Commodore VL Turbo. The turbo gauge currently shows close to 10 psi at full throttle so I am not sure if anyone high-flowed the turbo or made any mods to it...

I was thinking of installing the small intercooler in the same location as the Maxima - on top of the rocker cover with some air fed by a bonnet scoop. I don't want to run long pipes to the front of the engine causing more turbo lag and/or a loss of power. Do you think this arrangement will work well? I am especially concerned over the size of the intercooler.

Marius Hainal

If you're reading about 10 psi your car certainly runs more boost than standard (which is about 7 psi). There isn't much space to fit a decent size intercooler above the rocker cover on the VL-T - not enough, we'd suggest, to fit an intercooler as suggested. You also need to be aware that if the small intercooler you have is not the exactly same model as the one fitted to the Maxima (which comes from a Mazda BG Familia GT-X) it's likely to be quite restrictive.

The easiest approach is to fit a larger air-to-air intercooler at the front of the car. The increase in lag should be very small if installed thoughtfully (minimal number of plumbing bends, etc).

How Many $?

I signed up today and have been reading though a few articles - I find them absolutely fantastic.

One thing that seems to be missing is $ figures. I realise that people don't want exact figures of how much they spend on the car, but it would be very helpful to give us novices a ball-park figure (say, the closest $1000). It is all well and good to see these awesome cars but it'd be nice to know if they're worth about $50k to do... Just my 2c!

Julian Scott

Unfortunately, many owners either don't want their car's value known, they haven't kept any financial records or they might state an over-the-top value (good to impress mates, etc).We will, however, start including more $ figures in our feature stories where possible - thanks for the suggestion.

Cam'd Gem

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I have a simple question. I have bought a medium type cam for my 1988 Rodeo 2.6 powered Holden Gemini (the motor is totally stock). I have since been told that I MUST get an aftermarket ECU. I admit that I do not know much about ECUs but I am under the impression that surely the stock unit (a Hitachi) could handle the cam. Is the larger cam going to make the current fuel and ignition maps useless? Do I need to reprogram the ECU if in fact they can be programmed at all? The thought of an aftermarket ECU and all that dyno tuning costs is rather scary.

Finally, can a new cam increase the 'rev-ability' of an engine? I ask because the Rodeo engine does not rev that much and has little torque left at revs past 4000 rpm.

Michael Ho

It is generally accepted that a retune is required after installing a bigger cam. If it's only mild, however, we suggest you install it and see how well it performs. You might as well try it. If the engine runs smoothly enough, is drivable and makes good torque through the revs without leaning out or detonating there's no major reason to change anything else. A remap will, however, optimise the engine's drivability, torque, power etc. And, yes, the engine should rev out cleaner in the top-end with a 'performance' cam.

Well Done!

Just writing to congratulate you on a great web site. I have learned a few new things reading your articles. Thankyou and keep up the great work.

Pedro Gross


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Your article about OBDII equipped cars ("Reading Your Car's Brain - Part 1") was just what I have been looking for - for months! I am so excited that I have crawled under my cars' dashboards and recorded the pin numbers in the middle of the night! Unfortunately, I cannot seem to decide what I have and was hoping you might be able to offer me some advice...

Vehicle: Perodua Kembara (local variant of the Daihatsu Terios 1298cc)
Vehicle No 1 has pins on 1, 4, 6, 7, 9 & 16 - Engine Type HCEJ
Vehicle No 2 has pins on 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13 & 16 - Engine Type K3VE

Are these ISO/KWP 2000 versions of OBDII? Can you recommend me what communication package I can get?

Adrian Hup Chye Oon

It appears the Daihatsu HCEJ engine is not OBDII compliant. The HCEJ engine, however, meets the ISO/KWP 2000 version. Stay tuned for more articles on suitable communication packages.

Light or Lighter?

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Good article on ancillary lighting ("Fitting Xtra Lights"). How about a direct comparo between the available spot/driving lights? I've tried to get advice from retailers and distributors on this subject, but have been met with a dull stare or (obvious) rubbish trying to flog off whatever they stock... As a result, I keep coming back to "old reliable" SuperOscars (which may still be the best around, I don't know). I would be particularly interested in the newer compact lights (not the little toy ones) offered by Hella, but am not prepared to pay out the bucks if I don't know that they come reasonably close to Oscar/SuperOscar performance. Hope you can fit this in sometime in the future.

Brendan Carroll

We'll look into a comparo - meanwhile, check out "Light Action - Upgrading Forward Vision" for another article on headlighting.

Muted Bark

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In regard to the Variflow butterfly valve exhaust system ("Pure Pipe Perfection 2 - Introducing the Secret Weapon...")... Unless I read the story wrong, did you say that all of the readings are louder with the valve attached? Wait, that's in comparison to the stock VL system... so why didn't you measure the 3" system with the valve not attached? And on an unrelated issue, how hard would it be to hook the valve up to a switch, where you have fully open 3" in one position and say 40 degrees shut (to essentially make a 1.75" system) in the other position? This would mean a small circuit board could be used instead of the large control box, yes?

Adrian Ashdown

There were three noise readings given - with the standard VL-T exhaust, the new 3-inch system with the valve fully open and the valve fully closed. The fully open readings should be virtually identical to an open pipe as there is barely any flow obstruction - apart from the butterfly shaft.

In regard to the different control system... the owner of Variflow (Kevin Davis) now has an electronic control system. We hope to do a feature on this as soon as we get an opportunity!

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