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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Impaired Butterfly

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Just reading through some back-issues and, as usual, they are all top-shelf. Re the article "Butterfly Effect" (Butterfly Effect)...

The product looks very professional but are you guys going to do any testing of one of these valves on a ‘typical’ modified 3 inch exhaust? I bought a similar one (with an electric motor) from Japan for my Lancer GSR and it measured 91db with it open and 90db with it almost closed (free-revving to 4500 revs). That's only a 1db difference - not really effective given the massive backpressure is causes. The engine runs 16 psi of boost with the valve open but can only generate 12 psi with it closed. Keep up the excellent work.

Paul Dietrich

Check out Pure Pipe Perfection 2 - Introducing the Secret Weapon... and Pure Pipe Perfection 3 - Calibrating and Testing the Secret Weapon... for our previous article on testing an older-style variable backpressure exhaust butterfly. We also plan to fit to a car one of the latest valves. Interesting re your results with a valve on your Lancer. It appears that the amount of noise suppression achieved depends a lot on the location of the valve in the exhaust system and the cat/mufflers used.

A Serious Surf

I currently have a 1993 Toyota Surf but have seen your review on the later-model SSR-G and am considering buying this model. But I am having trouble in finding out whether the new models have full-time 4WD and, if not, can full-time 4WD be engaged and used on roads at speeds in excess of 80 mph (which, of course, I cannot do in my version due to the diff)?

Ian Reaney

The 1998 Surf SSR-G can be driven in RWD, full-time 4WD, diff-lock 4WD or low-range diff-lock 4WD mode. Full-time 4WD can be used at all road speeds.

Top Tickford?

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Re your Tickford 5.6 test - New Car Test - Tickford TE50... The bloke who wrote the article must be a brain dead fool who is in the wrong game. He should try a career in the dress making business - d$#^head.

Mark Smart

Switch ‘Em On!

Re your article on driving skills (Everyday Driving Skills) and especially turning on lights before it gets dark... I live west of Melbourne and frequently drive into the sun. Vehicles coming towards me can see me easily lighted by the sun behind them, but I can't see them! So if you are driving with the sun behind you please turn on your lights - even though you can clearly see cars coming towards you.


Spec Screw-up

Regarding the article: Two-Hundred to Treasure your author, Michael Knowling, wrote:

"The S15 GT Special Edition was the perfect indulgence. In case you aren’t aware, the GT-spec S15 boasts a leather-lined cabin, chrome interior details, polished wheels and a Japanese high-rise rear wing. Oh, and of course there’s the GT badge – which everyone seems to think was pulled off a Skyline... Robert’s GT Special Edition is based on the upmarket Spec S platform."

The Spec S was actually the cheaper of the two models. At the time the line up was:

Spec S

Spec S GT

Spec R

Spec R GT

(nb: neglecting gearbox differences)

The Aussie spec cars have a lightened flywheel and, in some cases, a different turbocharger to the Japanese specs – this among a myriad of other small differences, the most obvious externally is the lack of rear bumper reflectors.

Jon Embury (a happy Spec S owner)

Charged Up?

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RE: Mains Power for Your Car!

The article mentions that you should run the inverter only when the engine is on to save a flat battery. However, I have heard many car sound professionals say that this doesn't help a lot because, at idle, all alternators generate only enough to keep the engine running.

I don't know how true this is but it seems possible, what do you guys reckon?

Kent Slaughter

Most modern alternators should provide sufficient charging but, of course, it depends on the electrical load. It’s certainly better to have the engine running than switched off when the inverter is powering a load.

Plugged In

Just an idea that I thought about when you had the article about “Mains Power for Your Car!” - Mains Power for Your Car!  It would be good if we could plug the car into mains power so if you where working on the stereo, you could then do this without having to start the engine.

Bradley Ford

The easiest approach is to connect a large battery charger.

Chasing a Pony

I would like to import a new Ford Mustang to Australia. Can you recommend a company that will modify an American Mustang to Australian standards?

Jason Walz

Try Cross-Over Sports and Luxury Cars +61 3 9753 5799 We have done a number of articles on Mustangs imported and complied by this company – do a site search under “Mustang”.


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Re your Pug 307 CC Dynamic test...

The "0" button can be disabled by turning a switch in the rear compartment and can then only be opened via the remote control. I doubt the "0" switch was defunct during your test.

"Short-drop": it's not annoying, but a good feature if you have frameless windows like on a coupe or convertible. Good cars have it, like my friend's Mercedes CL 500. However, 307 CC drivers in Germany report in the local CC forum that there is a bit of confusion on how to stop windows from dropping when in a car wash, but this is explained in the manual.

Ergonomics: I agree with you on this. They definitely gave style preference over function.

Performance: I had all three variations for test from my dealership, and finally ordered the 130kW Sport version. Yes, the car is heavy, acceleration leaves a bit to be desired but handling is excellent and I daresay that the greatest fun comes from driving with the top down at cruising speed - while being able to go at 220km/h on the Autobahn when you're in a hurry! I'm currently in a Mercedes E320 CDI Sedan and am eagerly waiting for Feb 2005 when my current car will be out of its lease period and the new one hopefully arrives.

Michael Grom

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