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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

9 March 2003

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STi 'Cooler - Great or Garbage?

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One of the things for which I use AutoSpeed is to find out information about products I cannot test myself - one of those products is intercoolers. But I found your advice to be rather contradictory. In article #0747 (Cooler Flows) you say, "Due to high demand, the price of a second-hand genuine STi intercooler is around $595. Those dollars make it an expensive proposition - but if you can find one available cheaply, grab it!"

So, taking your advice, I did. Then I see in article #1619 (Top Mount Trial) that you say some very different things...

"The acclaimed STi intercoolers put in a fairly unimpressive performance...the STi intercoolers have no thermal mass advantage over the base WRX versions... the STi core volumes were no different to the basic WRX... of those models tested here, none of the STi 'coolers gave any thermal advantage over the normal WRX part and their airflow advantage is minimal... overall, the STi intercoolers failed to live up to their reputation."

How is it this IC is such a great find, rated near the top of the pack in one article, and then not even worth bothering about in another article?

Jim Chittenden

Your comments have been taken onboard, however we never had the chance to test the STi intercooler against a standard WRX intercooler in our early Cooler Flows article; the comparison was against Toyota, Nissan and other OE cores.

When compared to most other OE intercoolers the STi part shaped up very well, but against the usual WRX core there's hardly any difference (except for the silicone feed pipe). At the time the Cooler Flows article was written (in 2001) we weren't aware of the similarities between the WRX and STi cores quite simply because we were the first to find this out in our later Top Mount Trial series...

At the end of the day, the STi 'cooler remains quite a good unit - it's just not a worthwhile upgrade for those already possessing a standard WRX intercooler.

Traction Control on Manuals?

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G'day. I was just reading your story on the Ralliart Magna and you didn't seem to like that it didn't have traction control. I have never heard of a manual car having traction control - is there such a thing?


Sure, plenty of new cars with manual 'boxes have traction control. HSVs, XR6 Turbo, Barina SRi and Supra TT to name just a few. Note that the auto version of the Ralliart Magna scores traction control but no front LSD.

No Traction Control with LPG?

In regard to Julian Edgar's story on the Holden Commodore VY LPG wagon. Holden delete ETC (electronic traction control) on vehicles fitted with LPG so they will not backfire when the ABS unit sends a request signal to the PCM for retarded ignition timing due to a spinning rear wheel. The Ford LPG vehicles run ETC as an option and manage to disable it when engine is switched to LPG.

Tim Car

Camry Coverage?

I just read your review on the Mazda 6 and was wondering if a review on the new Camry is coming soon.

I have read a review by Dean Evans in Wheels magazine (Nov '02) and it seems the Mazda 6 got the nod - though I can't help wonder is it really the Mazda 6 that has a better fuel consumption. If you have tested the new Camry, which one of the two would you pick - the Mazda 6 Classic or the Camry 2.4? Thankyou.


We have a full road test coming up on the Camry V6. We have also spent a few days driving a 2.4 Camry and found it slightly underpowered in some circumstances. Just like the V6 model its ride is also fairly questionable - you'll have to wait for our test to find out more!

Rex Off the Rails

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I recently read your article on making a WRX handle and found it interesting reading. Being a WRX owner myself, who has been down this road already, I look forward to reading the second part of the article and read your conclusions compared to my mine.

However, I have to say at this point one thing really working against your test car, particularly in terms of understeer, is the choice of tyre and the condition they are in (which I assume will be replaced before anything else in the next article). The Toyos have a very soft sidewall and their tread design is fantastic in the wet, but results in vagueness when making fine adjustments, and premature loss of grip with high lateral loads. In short, they promote an excessive amount of understeer in a WRX. I know, because I have tried them and several other makes of tyre on the Rex.

PS: If you were ever wondering what happened to Gary's DMS suspension reviewed in the "Wonder White" article a few years back... I now have them in my car. It was because of this article that I decided to look at DMS struts in the first place. However, I never thought I would end up buying the actual struts featured in the review.

Quinton Dolan

The Toyo Proxes T1-Ss fitted to our test car may not be the ultimate tyre for the WRX, but we know they're a lot grippier than the standard Michelins! They're also a fairly common tyre, frequently fitted to Rexes.

At the beginning of our series the tyres were in fine condition, but after a few plough understeer manoeuvres they're now a bit worn around the outer shoulder - something you'll no doubt be familiar with. Rather than change the brand of tyres at this stage - and alter existing on-road characteristics - we must continue development with the current tyres. There's no point changing them because we solely want to assess handling balance - not outright levels of tyre adhesion. Note that there's a difference between setting up a chassis to handle neutrally or simply whacking on sticky tyres to mask any handling woes (in this case, understeer). We've owned a Liberty RS turbo and found that swapping to Yokohama A008 RSs sure reduced understeer - but only thanks to improved tyre grip. The chassis was still quite understeery.

Once the chassis is set up with good balance then is a good time to increase grip levels.

Ahh, the DMSs - maybe one day...

Filter Findings

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Excellent magazine - particularly the features on modifying cars and dyno testing. I have noticed a lot of hype recently about pod style air filters and thought it might be an idea to dyno test various pod filters on various cars (ie naturally aspirated, turbo, 4/6/8 cylinder, rotary - probably not all of these coz it would take forever). I know you guys won't be scared to publish the results if there is not a huge improvement over factory.

Rod Derengievsky

A side-by-side dyno shootout is difficult to conduct - and you really need to quantify filtration performance as well. No question, an appropriately sized pod filter flows extremely well but, depending on the intake arrangement, they often suck hot under-bonnet air. That kills power and increases the likelihood of detonation. For our extensive series on air intake mods, start at "Into the Intake - Part 1"

And Some Comments on the New AutoSpeed Site Design...

PDFs No More?

How can I download the articles like you could before in PDF format? Thanks.

Douglas Hancock

We will not be using the PDF format for the following reasons (which were advised in a recent email to members):

- Members now have permanent access to all issues they have subscribed to so it is not necessary to have your own copy as you will always have access to the original.
- The File|Save As option on Microsoft's Internet Explorer saves a far better quality copy of the article than was available in PDF.
- The printer friendly version of articles is far better than it was previously so users who like to print the articles no longer need the PDFs.
- Many of the members using the PDF feature were using it excessively by regularly using site crawling software to download every PDF on a regular basis. With over 1,600 articles this was not only putting unnecessary pressure on our server but was also becoming an unnecessary but significant expense.
- PDFs were regularly being used to distribute member only content around the world via forums.
- The additional time taken to format the PDF versions of articles was not justified by the number of members using the feature.
- We were continually confronted with technical support issues relating to anything from how to install Adobe Acrobat to how to find a previously saved PDF on someone's hard drive. Again the resources required to handle these enquiries was not warranted.
- Without a considerable investment in page layout software and staff training we felt the appearance of the PDF versions of the articles was unsatisfactory.


Congrats on the new format - it looks very professional (not that the old format wasn't) and is much easier to navigate and read.

Darren Roles

Oh No!

Ahhhhhh!!! What did you do to your site?! You complicated it, fumbled it and no more PDFs... it's hard to read and navigate. PLEASE, go back to the old way! Great site BTW.

Toma Kicovic

A Pain!

This new format is a pain - change for the sake of change, I feel. The log-in is not user friendly and I'm getting that way too. The previous opening page showing the new features each edition was much better. Regards.

Larry May

The changes we made were essential to the future growth of AutoSpeed and have been a resounding success with our readers.

A problem did exist with the login where members had to log in again sometimes but this has now been fixed.

The current opening page still shows the new features, in fact, if you are logged in it now shows the last 10 articles published in the left column and the last 12 articles published in each section in the right column.

Good, But...

First of all, I really like the new AutoSpeed layout - it looks very professional and I like the less-is-more design philosophy... it's good having the article on one page now too. Oh, and interesting article about the facts behind the fiction of motoring journalism. I have two problems/questions regarding the site, however...

1. It doesn't seem to remember my username/password; ie I have to log-in each time I return to the site... yes, I have cookies enabled and I don't have this problem with any other site that remembers my details so I'm pretty confident in assuming the problem is server side.

2. Where has the email-the-editor function gone? If it has disappeared for good, may I ask why?

3. I know you've said that the Editorials were being abolished because you figured that if an idea was good enough for an editorial it was good enough for a story... but I miss the editorials, I think they were a good read... and apart from the above-mentioned article I haven't really seen much where the idea for the article could of been an editorial piece...

Otherwise, I must say that I am very happy with how AutoSpeed is working now... looking good!

Dan Boman

1. The problem with logging in should now be fixed.

2. The Email the Editor feature has, for the time being, just been replaced with the feature you used to submit this message. We are currently receiving hundreds of messages each day, 95% of which relate to the changes made to the site, and many of these would have been unnecessarily sent to our editorial team had the Email the Editor feature been enabled. Instead we are filtering all messages and passing on only those that are relevant to editorial matters.

3. Whether they are called Editorials or Special Features doesn't change whether or not they are a good read, in fact as full-length feature articles we feel they will be even more enjoyable. The decision to bring back the columns (or the feature length version of them) was only made in early
January. Obviously AutoSpeed is produced many weeks in advance so that sort of decision takes some time to impact on the week-to-week content.

Short and Sweet

Love what you have done to the site - feels more intuitive.

Makeen Buckley

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