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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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R33 Kit Upgrade

I have a couple of questions that I would LOVE you to answer... I’m about to buy a R33 Nissan Skyline turbo and am wondering if there are any performance places in Melbourne that do kits. Any drive-in, drive-out deals for the Skyline?

Hayden Moore

As far as we’re awarel, there aren’t any workshops offering ‘kits’ for the R33 – each workshop uses its own combination of custom and off-the-shelf parts. However, there are plnety of workshops that will be only too happy to help you out – ring around.

Searching For...

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Help! I live out in the bush, am recently retired and want a little car for myself. Is there somewhere I can go to for info on cars? I want a 2 seater - maybe twin turbo - that can handle country roads. Due to health costs my budget for this is about AUD$20k. I have looked at Nissan 300ZX and the like and they are very nice - but what other cars are there to look at? Sorry about my small budget but life is life...

Alan Curtis

Hmm 2 seater, maybe twin-turbo, the ability to handle country roads and up to around AUD$20k... The only vehicle that fits that description is the Z32 Nissan 300ZX TT. Other vehicles to check out are the Toyota MR2 (supercharged and turbocharged versions), Supra single and twin-turbo versions, Soarer twin-turbo, Nissan S13 and S14s, R32 and R33 Skylines and maybe the Mitsubishi FTO MIVEC. Do a search for each of these cars in the AutoSpeed search box – we’ve road tested pretty well all of ‘em!

Holden v Ford

I find it funny that since the VZ Holden came out you have done new car tests on the ute, SV6, Calaisand Monaro [and now the Acclaim wagon] . This compares quite favourably with the two years it took before you did a road test on an XT Falcon. What’s happening there?

Evan Roberts

The reason for that is very simple – we primarily test cars if/when the manufacturer makes them available to us! (The XT Falcon was hired, and an upcoming Fairlane test is also on a hired car.)

More on PC Shut-Down

Re the In-Car PC (Setting Up an In-Car PC, Part 1) and auto shutdown, I suggest you have a look at the two websites below... This site has a great forum with a community willing to help. There is one forum dedicated to power supplies, inverters and PC shutdowns. This site has a lot of parts that would be relevant to your in-car PC project. The DC-DC power supplies have the ability to shutdown the PC - I personally have not bought anything from them and had it shipped to Australia, but a lot of people in the mp3car forums recommend them. The also have a touch-screen kit that you could use as a input device. Windows XP has an on-screen popup keyboard that works great with touch screens. The touch-screen kit is not exactly cheap at US$100.

Jeff Male

Spade a Spade

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An interesting story on the new Holden Commodore wagon (Holden Acclaim Wagon). You certainly call a spade a spade, but at least we get an honest opinion. I'm hoping Julian is preparing to do some stories on restoring his newly acquired Austin 1800 - the one car Ralph Nader judged safe at the time. Keep up the great varied stories!

Rob Grant

A resto isn’t planned for the Austin – but you never know what might happen...

Holden Wagon Nothing Great

Just finished reading your article about the ‘new’ Holden Acclaim wagon where you did a 2500km round trip (Holden Acclaim Wagon). We've just done Melbourne to Sydney return with some travelling into the Sydney CBD and clocked approximately 2300km in our 2003 Subaru Liberty RX limited auto wagon (2.5 litre).

I have whinged to Subaru about fuel economy of this thing since we have had it – it struggles to get 10 litres per 100km week to week (including work, daily grind and longer country style trips on weekend). However with two kids under 4, my wife, myself and all the stuff you take for 10 days away from home we averaged 8.58 litres per 100km for whole trip - with cruise and climate switched on for all but first 2 hours of the trip. In that leg – on a clear freeway and in cool conditions – the car got 7.81 litres per 100km. (Sitting on the speed limit where possible.)

Yes, it might be smaller and slower than the Commodore but in terms of interstate cruisability it’s absolutely fantastic. Oh yeah, it’s also very well screwed together, handles well, secure in the wet and has good resale.

Simon Brown

Re Digital Fuel Adjuster

Regarding the digital air/fuel mixture modifier (DFA) and hand controller... Do they come pre-assembled or do I need to put them together myself? If so, will a basic ability to follow instructions and electronic knowledge suffice?

Also, do you intend to do any articles on the assembly (if needed), installation, tuning and results of putting this kit into a vehicle?

Compared to the price of an aftermarket chip this kit is rather cheap. How does it compare features wise? Is it just basic or does it do everything that the others do, particularly in regard to mapping points and ease of tuneability? Would I be on track by suggesting that all that is really needed in addition to this kit (including hand controller) is a nice safe bit of road and a proper air/fuel ratio analyser?

I’ve been keeping a keen eye on this for a while, with my expectation that it will make what was once a $1000 exercise (for an aftermarket chip) something that is now realistically accessible.

Darren Smith

All kit assembly info, circuit diagrams, operating features and tuning details are in the book High Performance Electronic Projects for Cars - see the AutoSpeed Shop. If you’re not confident constructing the kits, you can buy the DFA and hand controller preassembled. These are going to be released soon (though obviously at a much higher cost than the Do-It-Yourself kit). We have a 3-part series coming up on the use of the DFA. As you’ll see, the unit is very easily tuned on the road using a wide-band air-fuel ratio meter and yes, excellent drivability can be achieved.

Breathed-On Mira

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I am using an AMR300 blower on a Daihatsu Mira 659cc engine and want to run max power from the blower. What is maximum blower rpm I can run (pulley ratio) and optimum engine compression for that blower and boost (running 98 octane fuel)? All intake, exhaust, head, cam and fuel pressure regulator work will be done. Any help would be much appreciated as I can’t source any of that info on the ‘net.

Jamie Sotiroski

AutoSpeed is currently in the process of a custom Japanese-import supercharger installation. If all goes to plan, you should see this on AutoSpeed in the coming months. As you’ll see in that series, there are a whole lot of aspects to be taken into account! It’s impossible for us to suggest the maximum blower speed and boost/CR combo because there are so many variables. In any case, we suggest starting with mild settings.

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