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Knock Sensing

Firstly congrats on a great site. I've learned a lot through reading your articles. I'm about to attempt building the DIY Detonation Detector - Mk II. This will be a permanent install in a circuit racecar (aka budget racecar), a turbo 1JZ Supra to be more precise. Anyway I plan to mount a headphone socket on the side of the seat so I can put headphones on whilst on the track after a tune to confirm no detonation at full race pace. My question is, instead of using the Piezo transducer, what do you think of the idea of using the stock Toyota knock sensor bolted to the side of the engine? These are currently not in use as I'm using an aftermarket ECU.



That certainly sounds like it’s worth trying.

Falcon Test

Being a keen car enthusiast (and a Ford fan) it was refreshing to read Autospeed's old articles on Performance Fords (Such as the TE50 and BA GT - P). The main reason being, these reviews didn't contain the sentence, "Because it's not as quick as a HSV, it's a shit car."

This is the general consensus of the Australian motoring press, thank you so much for offering a different opinion.

I'd be interested to see Julian's opinion on the FG XR8, bearing in mind that while it is a thirsty V8, it achieves the same fuel economy as an Evo X, despite the Evo being a four cylinder as well as being lighter.

Ed Stephens


Low Pressure Exhaust?

Your site has done an marvelous job on utilizing ram air induction to increase intake flow. The use of your Magnehelic gauge to find the best location for the intake got me thinking. Could a similar method be used to find the lowest pressure spot for your exhaust outlet? This could help a turbo engine spool.

Just a though for a future article,

Conn Clark

United States

In the past our measurements have shown that pretty well anywhere within the wake has a similarly low pressure.

Exhaust Sound

Have you done any research on how to make a car exhaust sound good. Sometimes a good note makes the "feel good" factor of a car. Some cars just drone, while others are plain noisy. The best I ever owned was an old BMW E30 323i. As far as I know the exhaust was fairly stock. So are there any combinations of diameter or length that can improve the sound. eg my standard Mazda 626 V6 sounds like crap. I've loved the articles over the years, Thanks for the stories.

Rob Grant


No we haven’t researched this.

Not So Thirsty

i just read your rap up on the vy ss commodore (see New Car Test - Holden VY SS Commodore) you gave it a great rap up untill you got to the fuel consumption 16.5L/100km on a light foot dont know what hole your pulling that one out of i do alot of suburban driving and little highway driving and im averaging 12 to 14L/100km and thats with a bit of heavy foot now and than.



Too Critical

I'm reading your newest article on the EVO X upgrades (see MRT's Evo X Lancer Upgrades). There's a lot of criticism of the upgrades.

First, while you make a good point that they're not fixing the usage problems of the car. But I've never even heard of aftermarket products attempting to improve subtle handling characteristics. It's just power power power and occasionally some handling, but never things like shift quality. Those are issues that should be addressed to justify the price tag of the car--but I wouldn't be waiting on the aftermarket to come through. More like Mitsubishi should drop the rice and bring back the fluid characteristics.

Second, you criticize a lot of cars in Autospeed... and I agree with many of your points. But what are the cars that don't completely suck? Especially ones in the affordable performance market? You compared the Evo to refined turbo cars. What ones are they? 80's cars? 90's? 00's?

Chris Katko

United States

Lots of aftermarket modifications address the deficiencies of the standard car eg in brakes, handling, performance, fuel economy, sound system, appearance and so on. B4 and After is an excellent example of modifications that address a specific car’s deficiencies.

Re the ‘cars that don’t suck’? We have well over 250 new car tests and probably more than 100 used car driving tests in AutoSpeed. If a car ‘doesn’t suck’, that’s what we write. Many of our tests are very positive. Specifically re turbo cars, the twin turbo VVTi Supra remains an all-time favourite.

Doesn’t Like GTRs

For a very long time I thought your opinion of Skyline GTR’s was heavily biased against them. I disagreed with your articles and comments and perhaps even agreed with the comments left by your readers. I had always read and heard about how fantastic they were. How great they were. I even read that they were so far ahead of everything else they were banned from Group A racing and effectively caused the creation of the V8 supercar formula. So you can understand my shock, disappointment and anger at you’re articles and comments after having been indoctrinated for so long by the internet, video games and the media, which had built a surreal amount of hype around the GTR legend.

That was before I owned a GTR. I purchased a R33 GTR Vspec during Christmas of 2006, and initially I was absolutely blown away by the car. Keep in mind the fastest car I had driven up until that point was an AU falcon. I thought it was incredibly fast in a straight line, it seemed like it cornered in rails and the breaks seemed to be very strong.

However after a while the reality of the car’s performance (or lack thereof in some areas) began to get my attention. Much like yourself I was under the impression that the 4WD system would provide near infinite levels of grip. Suffice to say there were many near misses in the first few months when the rear end would unexpectedly let go half way through a corner. It didn’t seem to do it in a progressive manner either. It just lost grip suddenly and if you weren’t completely awake it would be VERY hard to catch. I could only imagine what the even-worse R32 must have been like. Then I began to realise the lack of torque at low engine revs. It was very hard to keep up with slow moving traffic and low speed overtaking manoeuvres or crossing an intersection while the car was off boost became really dangerous due to the lack of off-idle torque.

Making matters worse was the size and weight of the car. It felt very heavy at low speeds and was absolutely huge when I went driving on mountain roads. I would often find the car occupying an ENTIRE lane around a blind corner and end up praying that there wasn’t an oncoming car that was just as wide – because the car wasn’t predictable enough to make sudden changes. The heavy weight, lack of low down torque and the unpredictable handling made driving the car on public roads a scary experience at times. In my opinion that’s not a good way to describe a performance car.

I just wonder if an Evo, modified MX-5 etc would in fact be better propositions as performance cars on real roads. However there are positives to GTR’s and I won’t go into them here as they have already been mentioned elsewhere.

While I still think you should cut GTR’s some slack - after all they are old cars now and compare favourably to most cars of similar age I have come to the conclusion that most of your concerns and criticisms of GTR’s were in fact justified. A quick search on will show that many GTR owners are now also coming to these same conclusions and changing their opinions and attitudes.



Aerodynamic Pressures

Re: Low Drag Car Aerodynamics

Hello or G'day (whichever you prefer); I'm in a Forum discussing air filters in Crate Late Models

Someone just provide the link to your article as "proof" that the are at the base of the windsheild is a "high pressure area". However, I beleive this to be wrong. The reason cabin inlets are placed at the base of the windsheild is because that's the best place for air to be "sucked" (i. e. low pressure) into the cabin .... not "blown" (i.e. high pressure) into the cabin. If you could list references which prove that I'm wrong and you're right, I would be eternally grateful (and very surprized). Thank-you and have a G'day,

Richard Cadmus

United States

We’re right and you’re wrong! One reference is Hucho, (Ed), Aerodynamics of Road Vehicles, Page 4. It’s possible to directly measure the pressure – see More on Siting Cold Air Intakes.

Intercooler Coolers

Accidentally I found your website and now I love it! You have article about intercooler spray using chilled down water (see Peltier Intercooler Water Spray). This is all about energy and as you already know, it can't work using few watts chiller. I suggest you to try other, more powerful approaches:

1. In place of water, use other liquid with better vaporisation characteristics. First thought - alcohol. But it is flammable :( This is dangerous in result. But wait! Winter window washer contains alcohol too, it vaporise better, so using proper water/alcohol proportions you can do it. Just you have to make right mix.

2. This could be the best one: coll _topmount_ intercooler using CO2 fire extinguisher. Personally I like this idea very much. I think, it could be nice dragrace setup for turbocars without NOS category. If I'd have WRX and access to dyno, I would definitely test it, because on dyno you can do it just manually, withotut single hardware mod. You have to make sure engine do not breeth CO2 gas. Good ventilation is a must. That's why topmount intercooler is better candidate for such cooling.

3. Dry ice on intercooler. But I like number 2 more :) I will appreciate quick answer about your decision: are you going to do this and when. I really need to know what you think about those ideas.

Ilmars Jargans


  1. Water in fact has a better latent heat of evaporation than pretty well all fluids.

  2. No doubt the CO2 would be very effective but it doesn’t seem all that viable for normal road use.

  3. Ditto.

Moving Firewalls

Let me start by saying that I reckon your website is by far the most informative website on the internet with regard to car related information. I have enjoyed reading your numerous articles and your approach to the subject matter. I would like to request an article on modifying and cutting of vehicle firewalls to be able to fit long motors. This is something everyone will face at one time or another and I would very much like to hear your take on the subject. Thanks in advance.

David Sussens

South Africa

We can’t see something as major as modifying the firewall occurring in any but a minute percentage of modified cars, so we won’t be covering that topic.

New Car Wanted

I've come back to this article a number of times – Don't Bother Changing the Factory Filter. I reckon it's a top bit of research. I was surprised to see it only rated a 2.65. Is that what happens when you tell people things they don't want to hear?

I bought a VY SV8 in 2003 when fuel was 90 cpl. It's a nice car in some ways. brilliant open road economy. Not too bad around town for a 5.7 V8. What I HATE is the lack of low down grunt. The car's 6 years old so it's time to dump it. Depreciation? WOW!!

Maybe a new MY09 WRX this time. I am tired of Aust (lack of) quality. I am on my 4th clutch. NOT!! owner abuse. Driven plates remain PERFECT and reusable. The facfory pressure plate breaks when revved into the high fives. Fitted a GM Truck clutch adapted by Wrights Clutches of Lismore NSW. Had no more probs.

Peter Hall


Stories that can be perceived as negative (like the one you have cited, and some new car reviews) always get lower reader ratings than positive stories. As you say, it’s what happens when you tell people things they don’t want to hear.

Leaf Springs 1

Concerning your article on the Mitsubishi Colt Fastback, You mentioned that you were unaware of any other car that used a transverse front leaf spring, Corvettes have been doing that from 1984 to the current models on both the front and the rear.

Kevin Muggli

United States

Leaf Springs 2

Regarding your article on the Mitsubishi Colt Fastback and the relative uniqueness of its front transverse leafspring. Do the C4 and up versions of the Corvette qualify?

Andy Miller

United States

Leaf Springs 3

Regarding the transverse leaf spring setup on the Mitsubishi Colt fast back; The C4 and C5 Corvette use a composite transverse spring on the front and rear suspension. Apparently there are a lot of cars that use this setup now, including Volvos, Smart cars and Mercedes Sprinters!



In the article we actually said “three leaf springs”.


I've just read Julian Edgar's article The Technology Jump That Isn't Going to Happen. I used to work for IBM repairing Selectric typewriters among other things. Previously I worked as a motor mechanic. Those golf balls are quite a piece of machinery aren't they?

There were over 500 adjustments that could be made to get that letter to print in the right place at the right time and it could be that is something went wrong there were plenty of snapped springs and steel tapes to replace.

Enjoyed the article.

Lindsay Reeves


Too Much Torque

In the article VTEC Powerhouse, written by Michael Knowling I find the results virtually impossible to swallow. Granted the readings were on an engine dyn and therefore should be quite accurate, but the torque seems impossibly high for a naturally aspirated 1600cc engine. (and therefore the power) Increasing an engine's torque per litre is much more difficult than most people realise. The easiest way is to increase the compression ratio, but engine designers have known this forever, and as technology has improved, standard ratios are now at and beyond what tuners of the 60's and 70's deemed 'full race'. You could play with different combustion chamber designs, but it's a black art, and you are never going to do a better job than Honda.

So I ask how it was possible they got 200nm from 1.6l? According to wikipedia the most torquey B16 is the B16A4. It made 157nm from 10.4:1 CR. The worst was the B16A1, which managed 150nm from 10.2:1. So by basically just increasing the CR to 11:1 they made and extra 27% (200nm)???

The numbers don't add up... Something wrong with the dyn perhaps??? This article provides some excellent info on the subject with lots of comparable data:-

ps. anyone who argues that the extra torque came from their camshaft profiles or forged pistons is only proving their own ignorance...

Rick M.


In general terms, we don’t see any problem with an increase in torque of 27 per cent. It certainly doesn’t come just from compression ratio changes – this engine has non-standard intake manifold, (very long) exhaust extractors, cylinder head porting, different ‘high lift’ cam profiles, specific engine management mapping and so on. All will aid in better than standard cylinder filling (and in the case of the engine management, getting more power from that filling), resulting in increased torque.

HPV Suspension

Would you tell me which Firestone Air shock you used in your recumbent trike. I'm building a recumbent tandem quadcycle and considering suspension designs.

Jeff Schneider

United States

Firestone 4001. Note it is not a ‘shock’ – it is a spring only.

Toyota Caldina

I was doing some searching on the net for info about my ST215 GTT Caldina. I came across your article, but found some info that is slightly wrong and wanted to bring it to your attention: The Toyota 3S 2-litre Guide

Firstly, It the last paragraph, you mention an ST256 Caldina. The model code is actually ST246.Secondly, you mention upgrades to the 3S-GTE for the ST246: "you’ll find a fourth generation 3S-GTE boasting direct-fire ignition, a new intake manifold, revised engine internals and an integrated exhaust manifold/turbine housing." All of this stuff is on my 97 ST215 model, which helps explain "Curiously, the Caldina GT-T’s 3S-GTE puts out slightly more power than the MR-2 or GT-4 - 191kW and 324Nm." you've quoted for the ST215 3S-GTE.

Keep up the good work and good reads. Thanks

Steve Wandel



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