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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Regen Suicide?

I found the article on modifying regen braking on the Toyota Prius (A World First: Modifying Regen Braking) very informative. When it comes to modifying important safety systems like the brakes, it would be good to know what will happen in the case of a "mod gone wrong". For example with the Prius mod, what happens if the electronic elements added to the system fail? Do the brakes and associated failsafe systems still work correctly?

Robert Howlett

The mod mentioned applies only to the hybrid battery’s regenerative braking system – even if the add-on electronic module fails, the hydraulic brakes still operate normally.

DFA – Hooray!

I followed with interest your article on Real World Air/Fuel Ratio Tuning. Further to this I wondered if you had any further information about the Do-It-Yourself electronic interceptor?

Stephen Ault

The Digital Fuel Adjuster kit is now available through the AutoSpeed shop – see AutoSpeed Shop. For detailed set-up of it and other kits you might be interested in the book 'High Performance Electronics for Cars' - AutoSpeed Shop

Switch Searching

Hello - I am a 30 year old car enthusiast living in ‘ice-cold’ Norway. I have a very specific question for you:

In a lot of situations I have wanted a small, cheap adjustable rpm-sensing switch. This would be useful in many projects, like tachometer shift lamps, home-made modifications to engine/gearbox, etc. It has to have an adjustable switching point (rpm) and should be able to read rpm from the ignition signal or the tachometer signal. It would be nice if it was compact, easy to build and cheap.

Can you please try to develop a circuit that does this and then publish an article in your great magazine?

Kristian Kro

A Frequency Switch kit is now being sold by Jaycar Electronics (Cat No KC-5378) for AUD$35.95 - and we plan to show readers many uses for the product in future articles. The kit can be purchased through the AutoSpeed shop

Freudian Slip?

You seem to have Jayco and Jaycar confused in your latest Driving Emotion.... "For specific advice about the camper I even rang the Jaycar advisory line – only to receive a wet shower. Jaycar – or at least the guy on the other end of the phone – did".

BTW, if you really want something to camp in around Australia the Tvan is probably a better bet - instant set-up and strong enough to go off-road. All in a 750kg (dry) package - see

Richard Laxton

Slip #2

I think Julian got a little over emotional in his latest Driving Emotion... Maybe he just shops too much at Jaycar, but I don't think they sell camper vans...

"We were absolutely serious, looking at the tow-bar rating of my Lexus, going to the local Jayco dealer, and checking out the rental rates we’d get for our house while we were gone. For specific advice about the camper I even rang the Jaycar advisory line – only to receive a wet shower. Jaycar – or at least the guy on the other end of the phone – didn’t at all like the idea of living in an expandable camper."

Marty Plsek

Slip #3

The latest Driving Emotion has several references to "Jaycar" instead of "Jayco" - force of habit I guess, otherwise keep up the good work and be thankful for all us armchair editors!

Ashley Rogers

Article now fixed.

Rigid Bar?

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In the article Rear Sway Bars: Improving FWD Handling, I am having some difficulty understanding this image...

The swaybar seems to be rigidly joined at both ends to the axle beam, effectively simply increasing the stiffness of the axle beam. So why fit a sway bar standard when they could have just changed the design of the axle beam?

Kent Slaughter

As you suggest, the swaybar fitted to the Prius rear-end torsionally stiffens the axle. The reason this approach is often taken is that it allows easy variation in rear roll stiffness to suit different markets.

Bagged Answer

Re “Bag Me” - Joel Cottle (Response) Try this guy - he's the best I have come across in Australia

Tony Turton

Jazz or Fiesta?

I am currently in the market to buy a small car.

I am test driving the Fiesta LX at the moment and totally agree with you regarding the NVH of the car (Ford Fiesta Ghia Road Test). I also test drove the Honda Jazz (New Car Test - Honda Jazz VTi-S) and it is a much better car than the Fiesta - apart from the cost of the Jazz, I can’t see why it is not a winner. However, I was surprised to see that some car reviews stated "the Fiesta has low noise and vibration..." It makes me wonder if they have their ear-plugs in when testing the car... How in the world can it win the "Small Car of the Year” award? Having said that, I quite like the design of the car and some of its neat features.

Anyway, I just want your view on the 2005 Jazz - considering it is a bit more expensive than its rivals. Performance and smoothness wise, I quite like the Jazz.

If only the NVH was improved in the Fiesta and air-conditioning came standard. A less expensive auto option would also help me consider it - I quite enjoy driving it...

Jwo Wong

We’ll hit up Honda for a test of the MY05 Jazz and let you know how it compares to the original ’03 – ‘04 model.

Mixed Units

Any chance of getting figures quoted in consistent units? Articles seem to jump between hp and kW. Perhaps you could just quote it in both? It seems now and then an article will use hp instead of kW randomly. Great mag – I always looking forward to the next issue.

Andrew Lamb

Point taken – we’ll keep an eye on our use of hp and kW figures.

Turbo Gem

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I am currently building a TG Holden Gemini wagon. I have found myself a Holden Piazza 2.0 litre fuel-injected block that has been built up for use with a turbo, and need to find a VL Commodore turbocharger, intercooler and turbo timer to attach to the motor. Can you give me a few suggestions as to what kind of turbochargers would be suitable (eg TO4, RB30, T25, etc) that I could track down through most wreckers and/or auto parts recyclers.

Milan Vukoja

The ‘suitable’ turbocharger depends how much power you want. Your best bet is to use a turbo with a T3-type mounting flange; this will give you the flexibility to achieve a reasonably high output. As a starting point we suggest an ex-R32 Skyline GTS turbocharger – these are available cheaply, provide good response and should be suitable for up to around 200kW.

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