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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Honda VTEC Aced

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In your article on Honda VTEC engines (The Honda B-series VTEC Guide) you state that the HondaCivic Type R 1.6 was, as far as you knew, the most powerful 1.6 NA engine in the world.The actual most powerful 1.6 NA engine in the world is the Japanese Nissan Pulsar VZ-R N1 which has 200bhp (147kW) from its 1.6 NEO VVL engine. It’s a limited edition version of the standard Pulsar VZ-R which comes with 175bhp (129kW).

Fergus O' Connell

You’re right - we (somehow!) forgot about that awesome little engine. Just a shame we’ve never seen one in Australia...

Wondering about Diesels

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Great effort with the magazine and especially with the diesel articles lately - Diesel Discovery - Part One and Diesel Discovery - Part Two. I'm sure a lot of us enthusiasts are very curious about diesel engines. One basic question though - why can't a diesel rev as hard as a petrol engine? What if we have a short stroke diesel - is that possible?

Also, how does a person with a turbo diesel engine continue the modification process after the usual breathing steps (exhaust and intake)? A bigger turbo or bigger fuel pump?Cams for diesels?Cheers - keep up the good job.

Ryan Parker

Interesting question. We believe that the short-revving nature of the diesel is related to their relatively slow rate of fuel combustion. Modifications? Well, aside from typical air intake and exhaust mods, you can improve the intercooling, add propane injection and modify the computer-controlled engine management (to alter fuel quantity and timing). And, yes, you can alter cam profiles and fit bigger turbochargers but these traditional ‘top-end’ style modifications often aren’t successful on an inherently short-revving engine.

More on Diesels

Just read the second part of the article on turbo diesel cars - Diesel Discovery - Part Two. Also worth mentioning would have been the BMW 330d, 530d and 535d. The latter put out around 150/163/204kW respectively and are all pretty quick – typically in the 8s for 0 – 100km/h and down to around 7 seconds for the 535d with an automatic gearbox. Also, in Europe, the Mk4 VW Golf was available with a 1.9 turbo diesel in three states of tune - 82, 98 and 112kW. The latter made it to 100 km/h in the mid 8 second range with a six-speed manual 'box - about as quick as the 1.8 turbo petrol version.

With rising fuel prices, turbo diesels seem to make a lot of sense in Australia and New Zealand due to their abundant low to mid-range torque (which ideally suits automatic gearboxes), relaxed high-geared high-speed cruising and excellent fuel economy. I can't understand why people here are so keen on powerful V8s and the like when the low speed limits mean exploiting the performance is a licence-loser.

Ben Garside
New Zealand

Very well spotted. For the 2006 model year, Australia will receive BMW 530D and X3 3.0d.

Waiting for the Big New Hyundai

Could you please advise if you will be doing a road test on the new Hyundai Grandeur 3.8 which is due for release on February 9th, 2006? This car has been shown on the Hyundai website and I am keen to know the cost of the vehicle ASAP.

Brian Stewart

We certainly hope to test it – if it’s anywhere as good as the Sonata V6 it should turn the ‘cheap luxury’ segment upside down!

Boost Vent Issue

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Regarding the latest boost control article - Venting Boost, Part 1... I think you have missed one of the key advantages of venting boost before it goes through the motor.

In a vehicle with a MAP sensor you can vent charge to atmosphere before it reaches the intercooler, thereby not having to cool the charge that is not going to be used. This has the benefit of making your intercooler work more effectively. Naturally, this will not work where there is an AFM because it has to be recycled. The recycled charge will be hot and the second run through the turbo will add even more heat which, in extreme cases, could lead to detonation. As a logical extension to this, if your intercooler is marginal, effectively increasing the inlet temp by recycling air which is warmer than ambient may push it over the edge and cause detonation. For this reason I would only recommend using inlet boost control with a MAP based system, except as an emergency backup or a "normal" blow off. When installing a vent before the intercooler people also need to remember that there will be a pressure drop, so if they wish to see 10 psi at the motor they need to measure this after the intercooler - not at the BOV.

As a matter of interest, all Indy cars have a mandatory boost limiting valve on the plenum, set at an incredibly low figure (I think its only 2.5psi), but they also have venting before the intercoolers for the reasons above.

Blair Coull

Interesting point. However, we must point out that you can successfully employ a vented boost system in an AFM based application – the recycled charge will pass through the intercooler twice and, so long as the intercooler is performing effectively, this shouldn’t be a major concern. But, yes, intake air temp at the engine will inevitably be increased – the amount of extra heat will depend primarily on the mass of air flowing through the vent system and the effectiveness of the intercooler. Remember, there won’t be a huge mass of air flowing through the system when a wastegate is being used.And, yes - as always – the ‘real’ boost pressure measurement is taken in the intake manifold.

Another In-Car PC Install

I was just reading through the latest issue and noticed the PC installin the XR6 Falcon - XR6 with PC.

I have done a similar setup in my 2003 Nissan Patrol and have linked pretty much all the same features but with on-road and off-road GPS navigation as well. I have documented it all and taken pictures of the build-up over the last year starting with a small 7 inch Lilliput to a 10.2 inch Xenarc moulded into the dash. If you are interested check them out at

You also did a feature on my Holden VL Turbo "TUFF VL" quite some years ago (Readers' Cars) – I still have it and have done some more to it but don't really get to drive it much any more.

Aaron Gillmore

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