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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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I guess I’m a fairly long time reader and only ever really put my 2 cents in a few times. I came close to not renewing my subscription when it came up for renewal. After the new look AutoSpeed came out, I’m glad I renewed my subscription. Since I wrote in last (read: incoherently complained) things have changed for the better, and since then the content has changed... You probably didn't even take note of my comments, but the stuff you've been pushing out since then has been great.

I do have a few gripes with the new way you’re doing things... but they’re fairly trivial. The first is that I'm not so sure about the way you re-release old articles. I was really hoping that you would be putting out the older articles in addition to a new article for the day. It's just the last few that you've put out I’ve already read (like many of your readers, I use AutoSpeed to cure my boredom... the archives are great for that)... If it was possible, I think it'd be great to put out new articles / editorials / responses each day, with one or two older archived articles chucked in for good measure. I guess I think you should really be adding value... but hey, you guys have your reasons, and heck, I’m sure there is a good reason for doing things the way you’re doing it.

The other was the pictures that you have at the top of each article. Being a photographer myself, I generally enjoy the photographic content in all of your articles... it's just the headings that you have on them! With this new, slick AutoSpeed, don't you think it’s time you made the font choices and effects you use new and slick?

As I said, my complaints were small and rather trivial, but they’ve been bugging me so I thought I may as well voice my opinion. And I, like many other readers, hope you stick around for the next 8 years too!

James Wade

Getting Your Car in AutoSpeed

I was just enquiring about how you can get your own vehicle in one of the issues as I think my car would be worthy of being in one.

Kurt Batley

The best start is to email pictures and a detailed description.

Intercooler Behaviour

I have some trouble with the logic expressed in The New Intelligent Intercooler Water Spray Controller, Part 1 and in the earlier series on the subject. On your blast up the hill, the manifold air temp stayed constant.  This implies that the heat input is equal to the heat rejected.  When you back off, you still have cooling air flow, and you have less combustion air flow.  Under these conditions if the intercooler air inlet temp was the same or lower, the outlet temp should be less. The higher manifold air temperature you experience implies that the air going into the intercooler is hotter when you back off.  This heat must come not from a heat soaked intercooler, but from a heat soaked turbo.  Given that the turbo is now glowing red, this is not surprising.  Turbocharger compressor discharge temperature would prove the point. When you back off the air is flowing slower through the turbo and spends more time in it - allowing more heat to be transferred to it. Heating due to compression is less, but heating from the hot turbo is more. Also, the turbo is a much bigger heat sink than the intercooler. An aluminium intercooler breathing cool air and being externally cooled should cool in a matter of seconds.

James Mewett

But according to that logic, if (when you back off) the air spends more time in the turbo getting hot, it also must spend more time in the intercooler getting cold! When we have measured compressor outlet temps, the temperature has closely correlated to actual boost ie high boost, high temp; low (or no) boost, low temps. However, we agree that some of the temperature increase measured after a boost event could come from residual heat in the turbo. We disagree that the turbo is a greater heat sink than the intercooler.

If you have a fast-response intake air temperature readout, you can do a simple test for yourself. Drive the car and measure the intake air temp when on boost. Now, cover the intercooler with a sheet of cardboard and do the same. In nearly all cars being driven in typical road fashion (ie point and squirt bursts of boost), the peak intake air temp will be much the same as when the intercooler was uncovered. However, the average temperature will be higher as the heat stored in the intercooler is fed back into the intake airstream off boost. This is a good example of how most intercoolers act primarily as heat sinks.


I've written to AutoSpeed a couple of times during my four and a half year membership of this magnificent on-line magazine, although this will be the first time I have written to complain.

Like many magazines your content is of a higher quality in some issues than it is in others. However the last couple of weeks I have been hugely disappointed by your decision to repeat old articles. I understand that you can rationalise this decision to free up some of the back-catalogue to new members, but quite frankly I feel ripped off. I have already paid for these articles, and every one of the repeat articles I have already read. Today's article (regarding the massive tuning effort on an Escort – see Escorting Power) was formerly a favourite article that I had read several times.

In some respects I understand your situation.  You feel that AutoSpeed has a standard of quality to maintain, yet you are having trouble keeping up the quantity of quality material.  So what better way to maintain the quality of your content than to re-use it?  right? .... WRONG. It has been obvious for some time that there has been a lack of original content, considering the use of articles that were previously published elsewhere, however, I had always found it an interesting way of introducing subject matter from outside the normal scope.

I can only speculate regarding the reasons for diminishing original content, but would hope that you are planning to improve the situation.  Maybe it's time for some more staff?  Regardless, I remain grateful that AutoSpeed exists to save us from the "pedestrian" automotive print media!

Keep up the good fight, but please, no more repeats!

Adam Seedsman

The Escort article is actually an interesting one to pick – we always thought it a good article but its reader rankings were previously very low. So as someone who had read that article several times, you were quite unusual among our readers. The general approach of repeating certain content is something that we’re watching closely – that’s one reason we introduced instant reader feedback ratings. At this stage those articles are rating as well as new material, indicating that the majority of readers are enjoying them.

Over the years we have often run material that has been published elsewhere eg Torquing Heads, Piston Rings, Greasy Times - Part 1, Bearings You Grease and many others. Basically, if we see material published that we think will interest readers, and we can gain permission to publish it, we’ll do so.

As indicated in AutoSpeed is Changing!, we are altering AutoSpeed. There will be more focus on driving cars, and more technical modification and background stories. There will also be less general stories and feature cars. The content that we are repeating comprises strong stories that we think add to our new themes.

Not So Green

I read with interest the article on the V8 Volvo Roadster (see Northern Composure) and noted the comment that it "drinks carbon free ethanol". Seems the writer of the article confused the public image of this fuel resource as being "green" (that is, renewable) with its chemical composition, as it certainly does contain carbon - in fact its formula is C2H5OH, that is it has 2 carbon atoms for each molecule. So, when burnt, it still contributes to the greenhouse gases and so global warming.

Richard Everett

Thanks – correction made.

Free Books!

Think you have what it takes to write a shortish (eg 500 words) review of a technical book? Like to keep the book when you’re finished? You’ll need to have a good knowledge of the material the book covers and be able to write clearly.

We’re after reviewers for the following books:

  • The Alfa Romeo DOHC Engine High Performance Manual (which cover the classic DOHC Alfa engines)

  • How to Build and Power Tune Holley Carburettors

  • How to Build and Power Tune Weber and Dellorto DCOE, DCO/SP and DHLA Carburettors

If you’d like to write a review (and keep the book!) email us with the book you’re interested in reviewing and a description of your expertise in the mechanical area that’s being covered. We’ll also rate the emails (which won’t be published) on grammar, spelling and clarity.

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