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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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OBDII Compliant VL Commodore?

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I was reading the article titled Reading Your Car's Brain - Part 1 and it was very interesting. One question though - will one of the readers plug into a Holden VL Commodore?

Alan Lowing

The VL Commodore is not OBDII compliant. Cars in the US (or intended for the US market) since 1996 have OBDII ports while other cars with the same sort of socket (as illustrated here) are likely to be compliant.

Falling Boost

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I have recently installed a boost control system pretty much identical to the Audi Do-It-Yourself Boost Control system The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 1. It is fantastic. It killed the nasty spike that occurred after any spool and the relief valve has transformed the car - it now produces gear tooth stripping torque.

However, one characteristic of my old bleeder set-up has remained. In proportion to engine rpm, the boost drops off irrespective of throttle position. It will fall from the set pressure of 12 psi all the way down to 7 or 8 psi by about 6000 rpm. The airflow meter has only a 40mm or so internal diameter orifice. Is it realistic to think that the airflow meter could be the cause of the boost fall off? Could it possibly pose such a restriction that the turbo only produces 7 or 8 psi at high rpm? The car has the usual 'negative boosts' removed, exhaust modifications and a larger turbocharger and intercooler than stock. In stock form the car - a 1988 Bluebird ATTESA CA18DET - produces 130kW at 6500 rpm and boost is 7 psi.

Another possibility could be a broken actuator - a crack or something? I would expect it to overboost at lower rpm in this case.

Andrew Mckenzie
New Zealand

Short of using a closed-loop boost control system, the drop-off at higher rpm is almost impossible to avoid in some turbo systems. A lot depends on the size of the wastegate, the flow capacity of the turbo, etc. If you use the techniques covered in our Negative Boost series you should be able to measure precisely how restrictive the airflow meter is.

It's a Sportscar!

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I just read your road test on the Nissan 350Z New Car Test - Nissan 350Z Track and I must say that I was disappointed. Over here the car is pretty much universally loved and is a screaming bargain to boot. Not enough storage room? What's next? Not enough cup holders? Ride is too rough? It's a SPORTS CAR!

Thomas Currie

Personal Import 4 Me?

I am really confused. Some people say it is not possible to import a car from NZ to Australia for personal use - is that true? For example, would it be possible to import a 1995 Honda Saber?


A vehicle can be imported privately from NZ but there are conditions. Access to these details can be gained through

Hooked a Snapper?

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A question about handling in a Subaru Liberty (Legacy) RS... I've been in a discussion about snap oversteer in RS and Liberties that I and others seem to get on braking, lift off and hard turn-in. As you have history with these little beasties, I was wondering if you could tell me what you did with your Liberty RS to get it to handle right. Ref this thread:

Paul Meeson

Having covered more than 150,000 km in a Liberty RS we only ever encountered a snap oversteer once - while showing off... As per usual, the occurrence of this depends largely on the driver's technique and the conditions - we expect you would encounter oversteer more at a racetrack, where there is more space to push the limits. On the street - where you've got to drive to accommodate what might be around the next corner, etc - the Liberty is generally an understeerer. The RS we once owned wound up fitted with an anti-lift kit, STi struts and 16-inch rims with 215/55 tyres.

Bigger = Better?

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I recently replaced the brake pads on my Mazda 323 turbo and remembered reading *somewhere* that in some cases larger pads would fit, providing an increase in performance. I managed to stumble across your Padding Up article today and it finally clicked... When choosing a pad I tried to find out if there was an equivalent upgrade for my car - with little luck... In the end I emailed a few brake pad suppliers in Australia and received one reply that dismissed the idea. They suggested that increased surface area = decreased pressure = decreased performance. Their analogy was "why put on slippers when stilettos apply more pressure". What is your take on this two years on? Not attacking your article, just interested in your perspective.

Dan Boman

We have heard the same theory as well. At the end of the day, we were told by an engineer in the brake industry (and as quoted in the article) "the larger friction area gives you improved braking efficiency (power), plus more stable temperatures and improved durability." Our demo VL T also showed an improvement in braking efficiency with the larger pads.

Have any readers done any testing in similar conversions?

2JZ Hilux 'Box

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I have a 2JZ-GE 3.0-litre Supra engine and I would like to know what gearboxes will bolt straight up to this engine. It is to go into my two-wheel-drive off-roader Toyota Hilux.

Darrin Thomason
New Zealand

A 2JZ Hilux?! Try Dellow Automotive and Castlemaine Rod Shop

HSV Hype?

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The HSV Story The Spin Circuit was a great insight into the goings on of a press day. I have been a fan of the HSV marque since they first began producing cars. They build great cars and, as the advertisement said, "you just want one"... But after living in Europe for a couple of years it has become obvious to me that the HSV product is not all that the marketing teams talk them up to be - its just good marketing.

As was pointed out in the article, a car worth under $35,000 is better equipped than what is sold by HSV for a lot more money; it does make you want to ask why. It's also sad to see that some people who are highly respected have become puppets unable to give an honest opinion or answer to a question instead of what you can read in a pamphlet. And I'm not referring to the colour options... But, saying that, there were some people that gave you (and us) a real insight into HSV and what the real story is. I won't start on the LS1 oil problems - and not because there aren't any.

Congratulations on great story and, from what history tells us, this will probably be the last story you do on a brand new HSV... If that does happen, it proves the ignorance and guilt of a manufacturer - if they don't like what you say about them, they don't let you back in to their club. That seems to be little childish to me. Never mind what it says about how they feel about the people putting down their hard-earned cash for the privilege of owning one of these cars. Maybe other journos look at press days as a couple of days away from the wife/out of the office...

Daniel Cagney

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