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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Very quick question... Have you guys ever come across an inexpensive boost sensor? I know you can get a 2 or 3 Bar GM/AC Delco one in the States for $50-$60 as there was a turbo Trans-Am in the late ‘80s, but is there anything commonly available here in Australia that you know of?

Shaun O'Brien

We aren’t aware of one that works off car voltages and has a conditioned output (eg 0-5V) - and we have searched long and hard! Can any readers make a suggestion?

Detonation Detection Brilliance

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Great idea regarding detonation detection and recording using the mini recorder (Detonation Detection and Recording). I was meaning to build up the earlier box version for some time but this is even better and easier - especially since I have a high quality mini recorder on hand. Keep up the good work.

Tony Goodlich

Dog Link

Your link to the "dogandlemon" site in the Response column Response points to the wrong place. It should point to here... dogandlemon

Kim Miller

Thanks for that – link now fixed.


In your story "Not More... Tech Tips" you have used the word "ouctomes" - what does this word mean? :-)

Brett Cashmore

You probably guessed it – we meant "outcomes". Article now fixed.

Electronic Kit Info

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I am looking for the Digital Fuel Adjuster and its associated hand controller. Could I get the documentation for the operation and usage of these two units? I have read the two articles on the Digital Fuel Adjuster and understand how it works but I am not clear on the actual settings – for example, if you increase the richness (or decrease it) how do you know when the mixture is correct?

Scott Stierheim

For more info on building and tuning the DFA we suggest you purchase and have a good read through the book Performance Electronics for Cars - AutoSpeed Shop. We also suggest reading Real World Air/Fuel Ratio Tuning and Tuning Air/Fuel Ratios.

Big or Small Block?

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Re GM's 7-litre V8 GM's LS7 7-litre V8 - the "small block". Could you please tell what defines a large and small block? I thought it just came down to displacement.


As its name suggests, the big block has a larger block design and is bigger overall compared to a small block variant. This difference is most easily identified by the width of the valve covers. Interestingly, the Chev small block came in versions ranging from 4.3 to 6.6-litre capacity while big blocks range from 5.7 to 8.1-litre.

Do-It-Yourself Alignment

Has AutoSpeed ever written an article about fabricating some small laser units to aid wheel alignment? I run a Subaru rally car in local Queensland comp and find I am wheel aligning before every event. It’s amazing how accurate you can get with string lines and a fine gauge adjustable camber device (mine is a rowing tool!). But a "shade tree garage" tool would be ideal! Any ideas?

Ralph French

We haven’t covered this in an article but it’s a very interesting idea.

Pump Suggestion

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Just a quick one on high pressure pumps for intercooler sprays. If you have a look at industrial/agricultural suppliers you will find that you can get high pressure (up to around 150 psi) 12V pumps that may be suitable. They use these to pump insecticides out of those big tubs that you see on the back of the quad bikes. A good example is the Shurflo pump part # 8030-813-239 - if you shop around it can be found on the ‘net for around US$120. Hope that this is a help.

Paul Nelson

We’ve mentioned using agricultural pumps for water sprays in a couple of previous articles The Complete Guide to Intercooling - Part 2 and Water Injection and we’ve listed another Shurflo part number in the article Intelligent Intercooler Water Spray, Part 2. But, yes, the Shurflo pump you suggest does look good for the application – thanks for that.

Magnificent Magna

I see the article The Sporty Magnas

I have owned a TJ Mitsubishi Magna Sports since June 2001 and have been very happy with it. I think that my best performance modification was to remove the lowered springs (installed by me at 600km) and 17 inch rim/tyre combo, put the standard stuff back on and then put the tyre pressure up to 40 psi! The change in handling is amazing for such a cheap (like free!) modification.

I haven't driven a manual version of the same car but this mod, in combination with the auto trans and its trace/traction control function, means you don’t have to lift off the throttle in the majority of conditions. Because I also didn't want to change the ride quality (due to having to carry the wife around as well) I couldn't justify a total spring/damper change just to take advantage of the bigger tyres and lower ride - not to mention potential problems with gutters and driveways.The brakes were a bit of a weak link but, through experimentation, I ended up settling on Bendix Ultimates combined with some locally sourced grooved rotors. The pads were about AUD$70 and the discs were AUD$90 each (including machining). Slightly increased pedal pressure was needed and there was a bedding in time of about 100km but after that – wow!

I have favourite road that I travel on the way home from work and it’s a good indicator of how effective this mod is. The road is about 15km long with mostly 2nd and 3rd gear corners followed by short straights with a couple of high speed ones thrown in. After the 2nd high speed straight I would need to nurse the brakes, but now I just try to push the pedal to the firewall and turn in - no fade, plenty of power and you can get the discs glowing at night (which caused me some consternation at first!). One trade-off is that you get plenty of brake dust but I don't mind washing the wheels in exchange for the better performance.

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Maintenance wise I've had the dealer do all the scheduled servicing. I'm still on the original rear brake pads after 112,000km (though they are due for replacement) and have had the fronts replaced three times. The auto trans used to flare on the upshift from 2nd to 3rd when driving hard but since I mentioned this to the dealer and they 'flashed' in another program it's been perfect - although it seems to want to return to the flaring on occasion. I've never had any mechanical hiccups from the car except when taking it in for a service. The dealer always seems to break or damage something when they have the car - like broken wipers, scratches in the paintwork, etc. When I had the air filter replaced they broke the airbox, when they replaced the battery (three years old) they broke the battery box, when they replaced the steering column (twice under warranty) they scratched the dash plastics and the paint work. I also still can't work out how they check the trans fluid level without actually pulling out the dipstick. Recently, when the timing belt was replaced, the air-con stopped working and I was told it needed re-gassing. When I pressed them they inspected the system and found one of the plugs wasn't connected - but they re-gassed it for free anyway. Currently, after they disturbed the air-con system when doing the timing belt, I now have some sort of ticking noise on start-up in the mornings - it isn’t in the engine but the belt was slipping and the whole air-con set-up just sounds wrong.

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Overall, I'm very happy with the car - to the point where now, due expansion in the family, I'm looking for a low km TJ Series 2 Sports Wagon which I'll more than likely pick-up for less than AUD$20k. I just can't bring myself to look at a TL model though - there's something about those headlights...


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