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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Interior Revamp

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Re your article on Getting into Leather. Another product that is dirt-cheap is Dubbin Saddle Soap. It cleans, nourishes and protects - but it still requires lots of elbow grease. My Subaru Liberty Bilstein has leather and had spent some time outside, which hardened the top of rear seat and tops of front seats - it's now soft as a baby's bum.

It looks like your next project might be timber restoration on your BMW 7-series. If you go ahead, consider using a clear resin like GRP, which will give a tough and super shiny surface if it's wet-and-dryed and then cut and polished. At least consider a two-pot clearcoat to get some durability into surface.

Simon Brown

Dash Attack

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I don't know if you have a forum so I am emailing you. I saw a Holden VK Calais today and I loved its dash. Just a quick question - is it possible to fit the electronic dash into a VL Calais, and how much would it set me back?


We did have an AutoSpeed forum but for a variety of reasons we closed it.The VK Calais digital dash should go into a VL, but you'll probably need some - perhaps all - of the VK's sender units. Some specialist speedo and tacho calibration work and some mirror dashboard trim work may also be needed.

Livelier Lancer

I'm after some ideas to make a 1998 Mitsubishi Lancer 1.8-litre go faster - any kind of engine mods that will help?

Leigh Gray

A lot depends on budget. As far as cost-effective bolt-ons go, we suggest a high-flow exhaust and air intake and maybe a custom tuned UniChip (something you can sell later down the track if required).From there you can look into cams, compression, head work and nitrous but things start to become expensive. The better option would be the 1.8-litre turbo engine from the Australian-delivered Lancer GSR AWD turbo or to turbocharge the factory motor. You'd need to budget at least around AUD$5000 - and perhaps more - for this sort of conversion, depending largely on the management system you chose.

Keep it Consistent

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I was just reading New Car Test - Holden Adventra CX8 and was interested by the comment, "which redirects torque to the wheels with greater traction". In Response 01/10/02 you guys got pulled up by Daniel Simms regarding the technicalities of the torque/power splitting system employed and you agreed with him. Could we please have a bit more consistency...

Chris Marston

Speedier Suzi

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I own a 1998 Suzuki Cino 1.3-litre 3-door and am looking for ways to boost its performance. I'm considering getting some kind of air filter, fuel booster and maybe even have it turbocharged. If you can help or refer me to someone who can, it would be much appreciated.

Peter Lane

Your best move would be to go for a Swift GTi conversion (or to buy a factory GTi as the starting point). From there, companies like AVO offer bolt-on turbo kits that can give as much performance as you like! Another option is the Suzuki 1.6-litre bottom-end with the GTi DOHC head - see Head Start

Water Injection Mastery

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I read with interest your well-crafted article on the "Intelligent Intercooler Water Spray" (Intelligent Intercooler Water Spray - Part 1) and noted mention of a control module for water injection. My question is whether that system been made available?

Darius Grau

They sure are available! Check out Motor Speed Control Module - Part 1, Motor Speed Control Module - Part 2 and Motor Speed Control Module - Part 3 - Water Injection


Once again I find myself writing into your esteemed publication. This time to ask a question... Recently you have run a few articles regarding the Nissan VG30 engine in various guises. I was considering the transplanting of a VG30DET into an S13 chassis (either 180sx or Silvia). This is a transplant that has certainly been done before. I now discover that the VG30 has evolved into an all-alloy engine known as the VQ30, an engine renowned for its lightness and smoothness. Unfortunately as far as I can see, the VQ30DET comes only in vehicles with an automatic transmission (Gloria, Cedric, Leopard, R35 Skyline). The closest thing with a manual seems to be the VQ35 in the Z33 300ZX. Anecdotal evidence says that the gearbox from the VG series engines will not fit.

So, what should I do? Give up? Without buying a complete gearbox and bell housing from a new 300ZX (AUD$3000+), how can I bolt up a 5 speed to this box? Custom bell housing? Adapter plate? Am I missing something? If anyone can offer any solid advice I would love to hear it.

BTW - The Skylines running in the Japanese touring cars have been using this engine instead of the RB26 for over a year now. It seems that they get a far better weight balance while still getting the regulation maximum 500BHP or so.

Richard Laxton

Sounds like an interesting conversion! As you said, it seems that the VQ30DET only ever came fitted with a 4-speed auto. UPDATE - it turns out the VQ30DET can come fitted with a 6-speed manual, but such a combo is rare. Try contacting Japanese Motorsport or Adelaide Japanese Dismantlers for details on the bolt patterns - they should know or, at least be able to measure them up for you. See and Aside from that, you are looking at an adapter. Contact Dellow Automotive +618 29774 4419 to see if they can offer parts or advice


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Just a quick note about Response... I was intrigued to see Stephen Ford so strongly defend the WRX against the Astra that you claimed was keeping up with the WRX. He seemed to make the issue a personal one and just didn't want to believe your claims. Of course, reading the rest of his response, I soon understood the reason for this - he owns a WRX! And we all know how some can get touchy-touchy when their pride and joy is under 'attack', I think some people need to wake up and realise there are going to be other cars out there that can match the performance of theirs, even if it's from a manufacturer like Holden...

Kaveh Sharifi

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