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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Idle Problems in Cam’d Ford

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I have a 1999 Ford Falcon XH with headers into high-flow cat and 2½ inch exhaust, Stage 3 cam and adjustable cam gear. It doesn't idle unless I disconnect the idle control solenoid and wind up the base idle. Do you know what I can do to stop this problem?


Try contacting Jim Mock Motorsport (JMM) on 03 9399 4401. JMM has plenty of experience with cam’d Ford sixes and should be able to offer some help.

Daihatsu Drag

I'd like to know the drag coefficient for a 1987 Daihatsu Charade in order to accurately calculate required power vs speed. A graph of power vs velocity would be great! Daihatsu have pulled the pin in Oz now (a pity) and getting technical info for older vehicles is very difficult. Any ideas?

David Coles

We understand your difficulties. Try contacting the Daihatsu Australia head office. Can any of our readers offer any info?

Would Like More Mix

I have been an AutoSpeed member for six years and have just renewed for another 100 issues - but I can tell you I had to think about it.

I know every man and his dog has a four-cylinder turbo car with blue LEDs on the bonnet. I hate that. I’m getting bored of almost every article being either a grey import or a turbo four-cylinder (well, that’s what it seems to be like). I’m into high tech stuff like retrofitting EFI to old cars and installing turbos to older cars. I think there is a lot of retro stuff making a comeback. Drag cars and rally cars also have a lot of high tech stuff in them.

I have two friends that have been members for about the same time and they seem to agree it is getting a little biased to turbos, 4s and Japanese 6s. In your defence, I’m sure you will reply with “but this and that” and I guess it's a sign of the times, but nostalgia racing and retro high tech modifications is very popular from what I see.

Stuart Bunning

The cars we feature are largely determined by the type of cars commonly being modified. We always strive to feature ‘different’ cars which are suitable for our readership – but your point is taken. Incidentally, our readership stats show few people read articles about race cars of any type.

Camry Gremlin?

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I recently had a noise coming from the steering wheel of my 2003 Toyota Camry Altise 2.4 (auto) and I sent it to a Toyota dealer for inspection. They told me it is a steering bracket problem with the Camry and they are waiting for a fix from Toyota. They also said it is safe to drive and don't know when the recall to fix the problem will be. Have you had other Camry owners who have encountered similar noise problems?

Kenny Koh

We haven’t heard of anyone else having this problem. See  for official automotive recalls - there is currently nothing relating to your problem.

Answer to Mini Engine Conversion

Great to see some classic Minis being featured. In response to the letter "Monster Mini Conversion" (Response), there are a number of Minis in Australia currently being fitted with the Toyota 4E-FTE - see the forums for all you need to know.

Michael Clarke

Sizzlin’ Suzi

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I was wondering if the 660cc turbocharged engine out of the Suzuki Cervo Mode SR (Suzuki 660cc Turbo Fun) would fit in to a 1983 Suzuki Hatch pretty easy. Or what would be a better option?

Joel Irvine

The engine is from the same family but we don’t know how you’d go mating to the existing gearbox or mounts. A half-cut would give you the turbo-spec gearbox, factory ECU and loom – and increase your chance of success. Alternatively, you could sell the hatch and buy a Cervo Mode.

Tyre Diameter Question

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I'm trying to find information on how changing to a smaller diameter tire will influence the final drive gear ratio. I want to know if any testing has been done or articles written regarding this.

Daniel Gigante

Changing tyre diameter will affect a car’s overall gearing. To give you an example, a 205/60 15 tyre has a rolling diameter of 197cm – this means the car travels 197cm for each driveshaft revolution. Now let’s look at a smaller diameter tyre. A 205/55 15 tyre has a rolling diameter of 190cm. It makes the car travel 190cm for each driveshaft revolution. In this case, stepping from a 205/60 15 to a 205/55 15 gives 3.5 percent shorter overall gearing.

Mazda Motor Swap

I am putting a BP turbo motor in my Mazda 323 (BFMP) and am having trouble with the engine mount, driver’s side axle and power steering mount. Could you help with this please?

Robert Browning
New Zealand

Try asking on a 323/Laser related forum – we’re sure someone who has done the conversion can help.

Another Maxi Freak!

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I was surfing the web for info on the Nissan V6 Turbo Maxima and saw that you have one that you’ve been bombing up with D-I-Y mods. I was wondering what info you could send me as I have just bought the exact same car but it runs like a diesel Hilux... I have been told there’s a problem with the fuel reg or coolant temp sensor - but that’s not what I’m asking... How hard does your car go? I got mine for AUD$2000 with 116,000km, 6 months reg and roadworthy certificate – and it all works except for a coolant sensor or fuel reg. It goes okay when cold but then its just plain flat and smells rich. If you know anything about this could you please send me something?


You will need to get the car running properly before making any mods. Your first step in the fault finding process should be to check the output of the coolant temp sensor with a multimeter. It the sensor is okay, the next step should be to check air-fuel mixtures and look at fuel rail pressure. The AutoSpeed Maxima has now been retired (and is for sale) but when it was running, it was quite a quick beast - it did the 0 – 100 km/h in around 8.1 seconds.

IEBC Experiences

In setting up the Independent Electronic Boost Controller recently, I came across a problem and devised a solution that I thought I'd share with you...

The problem related to the boost control solenoid I was using. Although not a solenoid originally intended for boost control, it did hold pressure, operate over a wide range of duty cycles and was a 'power-to-open' style. However, the internal orifice of the solenoid was quite small and required a very small vent in the T-piece to achieve accurate control. This resulted in the wastegate taking a noticeable time to close again during quick gear changes - boost was slow to recover on many 2-3 and 3-4 changes compared to the rise time in 1st gear from a standing start.

As a solution, a one-way valve was tee'd into the wastegate actuator feed line and connected to the plenum - with the arrow pointing to the plenum. This resulted in engine vacuum being applied to the wastegate actuator during shifts, forcing it to snap shut. The extra vacuum leak at idle was barely noticeable through the small orifice in the T-piece - a small increase in idle revs was tuned out using the idle air control on the throttle body. For safety’s sake, the vented side of the T-piece was also plumbed back to the air cleaner.

After some fine-tuning on the IEBC, the result was a consistent boost rise after each change (To compensate for the vacuum, the valve was opened a little earlier in the load range to "pre-charge" the line and control overshoot).

I have to say this is the best boost control system I have tried on this car to date (it's the fourth system, including factory). Kudos to John Clarke and Julian Edgar for these excellent kits.

Cary Wintle

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