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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Found Data

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In the article on the VT/VX Hidden Data you have noted about the P on/off mode being some sort of a police mode. I have found, however, it seems to be nothing more than a reading telling you whether your park lamps are on or off. My car is a Series 2 VX Holden Commodore. Just thought you might like to know!

David Eadie

How Cool is This?!

First, I'd like to congratulate the crew of AutoSpeed - you are doing a great job. The site is often commented on here in Brazil (all feedbacks being positive...) I've got a tech question that I have been thinking about for nearly two weeks. I designed a system that freezes the air near to -10 degrees Celsius. As we know, cooler air equals better performance. Do you think this thing will bring me good improvements in performance? I have a 2.0-litre Opel engine (Opel Calibra).

Erico Filho

The principle of extra power is certainly there but the specific amount power gain you will achieve depends a lot on the engine management system. If you can maintain such a cold airflow into the engine at high load/rpm (which would be very difficult to do) you are guaranteed a power gain of some magnitude. Your system sounds very interesting.

Silent Mini

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I want to put a sound system in an old Mini that I am restoring.  When Minis were first sold they didn't have radios and this was said to save money - I suspect that it was really because you couldn't hear one so there was just no point... So, before I put in a sound system, I want to substantially reduce the amount of noise inside my car. At present the car is a bare shell in the paint shop so this is probably the best time to think about what to do for sound insulation.

My questions are:

  • Are there any products that you would recommend for soundproofing?
  • Is soundproofing something that I can do as a Do-It-Yourself project?
  • Can you recommend any reference material that would help me understand the physics involved in reducing sound inside my car?
  • Are there any reasonably priced meters to measure sound levels so that I can do some before and after measurements to get an idea of how effective my efforts are? (I have access to another Mini that can give me a good idea of the ambient noise at different speeds in an uninsulated car.)

My aim is to get the car quiet enough that when I am stopped I will need a tacho to tell if the engine is still running - or better still, that I can have a conversation with a passenger when driving on the highway... (In the standard Mini I almost have to shout!)
Rob Wignell

Your questions are timely - we have a story coming up on Do-It-Yourself sound deadening very shortly. All will be explained!

Bent Motors are the Only Way to Go

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I've got a Ford Falcon EB and am lookin' for some help on where an' what I will need to change it from a straight six with auto to a V6 or V8 with a 5 speed manual? If ya could help me out that would be great.


A V6? You do know you'll cop some flack if you're thinkin' Holden V6, don't you?? For V8, the 5.0-litre injected Windsor is a straightforward swap. These can make pretty good power depending largely on the type of intake manifold used. The associated 5-speed (a T5) would be suited to the torque output - we suggest you find a wrecked EB XR8 (or similar) to grab all the bits you'll need. Either that or sell your six and buy a factory V8...

Spectacular Spin

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I enjoyed reading your article "The Spin Circuit". It was quite damning but the article on the whole was unbiased and you justified your criticism. It was a great read.

Ronald Marks

Car With Issues

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I would like to know more about the power issues raised in your story covering a modified Subaru Liberty B4 Twin Turbo (A Better B4) Is there any coverage of what can be done to cure the problem? I look forward to hearing from you.

David Worth
United Kingdom

The standard B4's driveability issue is summed up in our paragraph: "The biggest problems were the massive torque hole during the transition onto the secondary turbocharger (the B4's twin-turbo system is sequential) and a general lack of all-out power; the Australian-delivered B4 manual is detuned from the Japanese-spec 206kW to just 190kW."

The car featured in the story you mentioned highlights one company's mods to improve the situation. You might also want to have a read of Subaru Liberty B4 Twin-Turbo and Subaru Liberty B4 Tech Overload

Wake Up Jokers!

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To quote New Car Test - Holden Astra SRi Turbo...

"At one stage in our two-up interstate hike we pulled out behind a '03 Rexy, both of us aiming at passing a long crocodile of cars doing a dawdling 90 down this single-lane-each-way road. Down went his foot - in third gear - and down went ours. We both whistled past the line of slower cars, speeds rapidly rising to illegal levels. (But hell, always safer to spend as little time on the wrong side of the road as possible.) The Astra nonchalantly kept up with the performance paragon - much to the astonishment of the WRX driver who could barely take his eyes off his mirrors. He would have been even more distressed if he'd looked under the Astra's hatch - there he'd have found some hefty luggage. The WRX contained just the driver..."

I seeeeeeee, so the 7 second Astra Turbo is as quick as the 5 second WRX now is it? You guys never cease to amaze me. Did it occur to you that maybe his foot wasn't flat to the floor and, secondly, the reason he was looking in his mirror with that look on his face is because he was thinking "who is this fool trying to race me in a 'bling bling' Astra?" Nice try guys. The other weekend I drove behind a Ferrari F40 and I kept up with him. Perhaps because he too wasn't racing. I will offer my 2000 WRX for a test against your turbocharged Astra any day. Wake up jokers.

Stephen Ford

For the record, the Astra is low 7s 0 - 100 km/h and the is Subie high 5s. And much of the Rex's acceleration advantage can be attributed to the extra-hard launch that it's capable of (and which needs huge driver commitment and a lack of interest in clutch and gearbox lengevity). The in-gears performance is not world's apart - hardly surprising when you look at weight, power and torque figures.

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