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Response

Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Answer re Mixture Measurement

Re "Measuring AFRs" in Response of August 13, 2006 (Response)... Wide-band O2 meters are available from wbo2.com. The website has plenty of detail on the tech side of things and all prices are listed on a (bewildering) array of options, including kits and parts. From what I can tell, the prices are good considering the apparent quality of the product. I intend buying a setup once the engine I am building is ready for tuning.

Rick Dathan
Australia

More on that Peugeot Controversy #1

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Re Peugeot 407 HDi Touring and Of Peugeot Press Cars

Julian, well done for standing up to the Peugeot PR man. I've been a subscriber of your informative and no-BS site since January 2005. I couldn't believe Mathew's overreaction to what is your honest assessment of what is a heavily flawed car!

Incidentally, a good friend of mine is quite interested in buying a four-cylinder diesel 407 in either a sedan or wagon. While he hasn't test driven the car, he was surely impressed with the looks and features of it so far in the showroom. Now that you've highlighted its shortcomings, most importantly the vision problem at the A pillars and the fuel economy or the lack of (which defeats the purpose of my friend trading in his E34 525i to save fuel costs), I'm more interested than ever to see if the faults would bother me – and, more importantly, the prospective buyer.

I really can't imagine publications like Motor and Wheels would have too many good things to say about this vehicle if it's neither economical nor well finished, bottoms out on our roads and is uncomfortable to ride in.

While on the topic of visibility in modern cars, Peter Robbo's article in this month's Wheels magazine (Aug '06) pretty well sums up the problem of many modern you-beaut cars of today. I'm lucky enough to own a BMW 2002 which they used to illustrate the idea – in the 2002, you can clearly see the four corners of the car and there’s an almost all-round view except for the thin pillars. A stark and welcomed contrast to say a current shape Toyota Corolla where the top of the A pillar never seems to be to far from your forehead - especially when getting in and out of the car. I had a few near misses in my MB W202 where the thick C pillar blocked the view of oncoming cars while I was trying to turn right at a T junction. Okay, the later W203 and W211 models now have much thinner C pillars, but if a safety conscious car manufacturer like MB has made such errors in the past, what chances do we have with the others?

Hopefully, the vision problems highlighted by journalist like Robbo and yourself who are not afraid to stand up to the manufacturers would create a snowball effect and the end users will demand cars with better visibility in the future.

Keep up with the great work Julian! BTW I really like your choice of personal cars as well - the Audi 100/S4 and Lexus LS400. I drove them both when they came out and have very fond memories of them.

Tsung Lee
Australia

More on that Peugeot Controversy #2

I have recently imported a C34 Nissan Stagea from Japan and was hungry for all the Stagea information I could find. Upon Googling, I stumbled across AutoSpeed, read the preview of the article and, of course, wanted to know more. So I paid up, read the two articles and pretty much clicked around aimlessly looking at articles on cars I have previously owned and other imports in general - with a touch of buyer's remorse I dare say.

Today, I read the recent article on the Peugeot press car fiasco, which got me reading the related articles on the Tickford factory (From the Editor) and The Spin Circuit and, I must say, I'm hooked. Your laid back yet pull-no-punches attitude is just perfect. It's been great to get to know you and what you’re about just via these few articles and I look forward to poking through my numerous back-issues and of course seeing what lies ahead.

Matthew De Angelis
Australia

More on that Peugeot Controversy #3

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The singular reason I keep renewing my subscription is your honest reporting. I also greatly enjoy all the daily articles and tech features, however I cannot think of another motoring resource that is honest enough to report faults. The stories you have written about HSV and Peugeot show us how much the car makers, magazine press, etc are reliant on each other for revenue. They also show us how much manufactured news is distributed.

Keep up the good work!

PS - for the (sales) guys at Peugeot... Dangerous can mean "Being able or likely to do harm." The blind spots of the sizes that you have shown could certainly do so...

Robert Lawrence
New Zealand

More on that Peugeot Controversy #4

We all know that politicians react to bad reviews by going on the attack but I didn't realise that car companies did the same thing! I wonder why none of them consider that there might be something to learn instead? Your Peugeot man has just made a clod of himself so far as I am concerned.

Your opinion is every bit as valid as any other motoring journalist's, Julian. I want to hear it like it is. Put those two points together and it makes a review that I would far rather read. So I'd like you to keep doing what you do.

It is a great shame that the PR men of interesting cars like Peugeot, Alfa Romeo and Subaru have eliminated themselves from the list – I wonder what the people that make those cars so far away would think about (a) your opinions, and (b) their agent's actions?

Barry dal Herbert
Australia

More on that Peugeot Controversy #5

Re this week’s letters...

Julian's articles about his correspondence with Peugeot have prompted me to write. In opening I must write that I have no affiliation with Peugeot and no commercial interest in the car industry other than owning one (not a Peugeot)!

I have been an avid reader of Julian Edgar's writings since his 'Zoom' days - and that is a long time! I guess reading literally hundreds of his articles means that, even if his thoughts are very carefully authored, I feel as if I have seen enough to reveal his values.

Julian has at least once made it very clear he has no interest in purchasing a new car. There are very few (possibly no) circumstances under which he would be prepared to pay for one. Julian would rather do it cheaper his way, which is fine, but this does influence his writing. Not surprisingly, Julian doesn’t have the same set of values as all of his readers. For instance, I have knowingly paid a lot of money for a commercial product to reward the producer for their investment in intellectual property. Julian’s focus is to reverse engineer the product instead, personally save some money, then make more money publishing his findings for all. I wouldn’t be surprised if these characteristics have made a lot of enemies for Julian. It certainly doesn’t help industry in general.

One thing I share with Julian is a concern that mainstream motoring journos tend not to be able to be objective about the new cars they review. Julian has accused them of trying to stay ‘sweet’ with the industry and this is a reasonable suspicion. In fact, I find that the used car reviews tend to be far more insightful and a much better and balanced assessment of the car.

I read Julian's reviews closely because he sometimes looks at a new car from a different perspective from the mainstream. A different perspective is sometimes useful, even if biased or flawed. After all, I can always test drive the car and make my own assessment. At least I'll have some other things to look for.

Sadly, Julian went too far with revealing his email correspondence with Peugeot. He just shouldn't have stooped to this, nor should this have been published.

I must accept that Julian's lack of respect for commerce is the essence of his ‘refreshing’ view, and I still want to read Julian's articles because of his different perspective. He clearly spends a lot of time thinking about technical things that interest me, but this incident demonstrates that some editorial control is required.

No doubt Julian does not objectively recognise what he has done because he was personally offended. I'm sure Alan Jones or John Laws think their views and methods are defensible.

AutoSpeed, please leave this behaviour to those channels of the media who specialise in this, and whose audience enjoy it.

Andrew Sieber
Australia

More on that Peugeot Controversy #6

You might like to highlight the difference between Mitsubishi's engineering response on the 380 steering kick back, which I have just read (Steering the Mitsubishi 380) versus the petulance of the Peugeot (sales based) response...

Rob Lawrence
New Zealand

Pat on the Back for Mitsubishi

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In response to your article on the Mitsubishi 380’s suspension/steering (Steering the Mitsubishi 380)... I think it is commendable how Mitsubishi respond to issues and support their 380. They appear to be passionate about their product (possibly due to their futures riding on it) and our other Aussie builders could learn a lesson from them.

Brett Cashmore
Australia

More on Gas!

Idea for an article... Could you do an article on gas conversions that investigates new technologies and options that improve the efficiency of CNG for cars (rather than the rather outdated taxi pack conversion)? It a well known fact that CNG cars have less power and economy than their petrol equivalents, but with better octane rating than petrol is there scope for better performance? Do manufacturers need to offer dedicated higher compression engines to gain the efficiency of the higher octane fuel? Are there any new technologies around the corner that will improve this efficiency? Can Australia develop a world class solution and sell it to the world? There is one company that has such a system in development but I was wondering if there are others - the web address is www.gas-injection.com

Adrian Bois
Australia

Stay tuned - we plan to do some alternative fuel stories in the coming months.

Epic Update

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Hey guys, I've just been reading up on BMWs.... Seems like you've possibly missed covering a rather important engine in your Engine Epic – Engine Epic Part 3 - BMW. It is mentioned towards the top of the page but no details were given - I'm referring to the S14 engine, found in the first incarnation of the M3. A double overhead cam, four valve per cylinder little beasty, which puts out around 200bhp. I've listed its info below (borrowed from www.bimmerforums.com)

S14 – straight four, DOHC 16-valve, solid lifters and individual throttle bodies. Available from 1987 to 1991 and weight is 106kg (234lb). The engine is used in the E30 M3 and Italian only E30 320is 2.0L (195bhp), 2.3L (192-200bhp) and 2.5L (215-238bhp).

Nick
Australia

Yep, that oversight was remedied with the 2004 update of the engine epic series – see 2004 Engine Epic - BMW Engines. Thanks for the info – what a great engine!

New ‘Box for Bravo

I need a solution for gearbox conversion in a Mazda Bravo 1996 (2600cc engine). The original gearbox second-hand is over AUD$1000. Is there a cheaper gearbox that I could fit to this vehicle?

Darryl Hill
Australia

Hmm, not sure – we suggest contacting Dellow Automotive +618 29774 4419. Can any readers help?

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