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Muffler Flows

During the "Giant Muffler Test" you had a dyno for load testing but I didn't see any dyno results in the article. Is there another table somewhere that shows the changes in peak power as a function of the different mufflers? The reason I ask is to understand the price/performance trade off.

Bob Wilson
United States

The better the flow, the better the potential performance.

Rear Wheel Drive 1

With regard to “Driving Emotion” 19/05/07. I remember reading a column written by Ed Ordinsky where he commented on driving his Group N Lancer Evo rally car (of the time). Due to mechanical failures in separate events, he had the opportunity to drive the same car in both front wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. He stated that in rear wheel drive ‘mode’ the car was unpredictable, damn near dangerous, and slow. But in it’s front wheel drive ‘mode’, the car was much more predictable and was only marginally slower than with it’s normal four wheel drive. I still prefer a well set up rear wheel drive car, though. Especially when you have some decent power, it’s just more FUN.

Howard Hartman

Rear Wheel Drive 2

I felt compelled to offer my opinion based on my experience re: Driving Emotion - Rear wheel drive can be dangerous.

I have owned a 2003 Mitsu Magna Sports for three years now, a  relatively powerful and as previously reviewed by you, a very responsively engined car (unfortunately though, the manual trans is  without traction control).  I also own a 16 foot trailer boat which weighs around 800kg.  I can categorically say from personal   experience that towing this boat, regardless of the steepness of ramp, or however thick the sand or caked-on the seaweed might be, I’ve never once had a problem pulling it up out of the water.  I've also never had any dramas at roundabouts or tight turns while towing, and any wheelspin I experience is only if I provoke it, and   is always without real drama and is very easy to recover.  Loss of traction does not naturally lead to vehicle instability with this car.

Upon purchasing the car back in 2004, my colleagues felt it important to emphasise the tried and tested put-downs relating to 'typical'   front wheel drive characteristics.  When asked if they'd driven or   had been in one before, the answer was inevitably always "no".  While doing my research, a test drive of the main four 6 cylinder   cars at the time showed the Magna to be the highlight.  I therefore believed my decision to be sound.  From my experience, I agree that FWD can in fact be safer in many common situations.  It's not necessarily the fastest way to launch a large car from a set of lights, but it does make a great package overall that shouldn't be overlooked simply based on antiquated, typical assumptions and opinions.

Andrew Fletcher

Rear Wheel Drive 3

I agree with your Driving Emotion 'Rear Wheel Drive Can Be Dangerous'.

Before my current vehicle, I've only ever owned front wheel drives. A base '86 Corolla, a '86 Twin Cam 16 Corolla, an Alfasud Ti, a twincarb Alfa Sprint, and a G200 Charade.

So imagine my shock, when, shortly after picking up my '98 MR2 GT, on a very wet day, the back stepped out around a large roundabout at  about 70 km/h in third geer. In hindsight, this was too fast, but  in the dry the thing just grips and grips at ridiculous speeds!  Thankfully, I managed to ABS to a stop, avoiding a head on   collision or gutter mounting incident.

After that I treated my MR2 with respect in the wet, let me tell you! It's not even that powerful, 130 or so kW, but I've had wheelspin in first, second and third gear very easily. Although, now I've had a bit of a chance to experiment at lower speeds, I've got the hang of the power oversteer thing, but boy was it frightening that first time! Definitely not the macho fun it's cracked up to be ...

So now it's up for sale. And will my next car be RWD? Not on your life, I've got my eye on a beautiful little Alfa 33. *Sigh* I just can’t escape my love for Alfa flat 4s!

John Williams

Rear Wheel Drive 4

Going beyond the very basic (and somewhat indisputable) drawbacks of "cheaper" front wheel drives (the questionable launch characteristics, torque steer, etc etc) front wheel drives are cheaper to build and more economical on fuel - with these benefits,   why would even recent sports cars (200sx, 350z, MX-5, etc etc) persist in making rear wheelers?

Leaving sports cars aside, I think the reason many refuse to consider front wheelers is because a generation of us has grown up with rear wheelers.  Making the transition requires learning a whole different set of skills - do I brake before the corner, or into the corner?  Do I use throttle or brake at the exit of the corner? Will the throttle induce understeer or oversteer?  And how does one achieve desired results in modifying the suspension?  All of which may seem basic to a motoring journo, but questions which everyday drivers would struggle with.  In the end, it may boil down to people sticking with what they're used to.


Rear Wheel Drive 5

I totally agree with the view that you have published about rear wheel drive being not as good as it's perceived to be. This I think can in no small part be attributed to the likes of people like Mark Skaife shown in the various Holden/HSV advertisements talking about his belief that RWD is safer than FWD.

I also think that the wheelspin you refer to in the article and it's perceived 'benefits for real drivers' that the forums advocate is a crock of #$%&. During the process of finding go fast bits for the Sports Magna (Used to be a Sedan now a wagon) I contacted an   Australian Magna club website asking about what would be a good place to start.

He replied by telling me that they are a great car as long as you get the manual and not the auto. His reasoning was that the manual is   able to bag the wheels up very easily thereby showing it obviously   had more power. Whilst there is no doubt that generally most   manuals are more powerful than autos (less PWR train losses) I don't understand the bit about wheelspin. Whenever I was driving   through the hills of Adelaide and turned the traction control off,     as soon as I floored the throttle the car would head straight   towards the outside of the turn requiring me to back off the gas. You couldn’t steer properly or pick a good line through the corner.  This happened on high and low speed corners. With the traction control turned on I had no worries, wet, dry, fast   or slow the best technique was to brake hard b4 the corner, turn in   and stand on the throttle, easy effortless and very neat. I have surprised quite a few 'Real Cars' when passing on the outside of some corners because the power gets to the road and I can still steer the thing.

I don't confess to be a fabulous driver but it always seemed to be the best way for the car to get around the bend - with the traction control ON.

Also brings to mind a conversation I had with a Pommie bloke I used to work with. He was talking about the Australian obsession with wheelspin, in The UK he told me they were obsessed with getting the power to the ground where as in Oz they want tyre smoke? He couldn't  understand it and neither can I, I'll take FWD and traction controlled autos with no wheelspin that you can steer over RWD no  traction control and big slow slides, unless it's Drifting which a whole new kettle of fish.

Darren Roles

Rear Wheel Drive 6

I'm not sure you can tar all RWDs with the same brush used for EF Falcons and VT Commodores. Having owned a V6 VP Commodore (with IRS & ABS) and a R32 Skyline GTST, I'm certainly no rally driver but after having "moments" in both, I can tell you the former is far more dangerous. This is despite the later having no ABS, a LSD, and far from a linear power delivery. One has a balanced chassis and suspension package that when the car lets go it does so in a progressive fashion and is easily recoverable, the other is a lead-tipped dart ready to pendulum swing down (or off) the road at the slightest provocation and with little warning. RWD, FWD, or AWD, those particular locally produced cars were never going to handle well under anything but the most benign situations.

Ashley Rogers

Water Spray

Re: Intelligent water spray - I love the article on the intelligent water spray and it seems to be the best controller on the market. I have a Celica GT-FOUR with the water to air intercooler setup installed.  My question is how do you think the water spray would go on a WTA setup?  With the stored energy I imagine the spray would turn on and off at longer intervals to an air to air setup. Would this be bad, shouldn't it just even itself out over time to be equivalent? Have you tried the water spray on a WTA setup?  If not would you like to know the results if I do install it?

Ben Haines

The thermal mass of a water/air system makes it less responsive to short term changes like a water spray.

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