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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Tiptronic Tweak

I would like to find out more info on how the Digital Pulse Adjuster (DPA) can alter characteristics of an auto tranny - especially the Tiptronic on '99 VW Passat (Tiptronic is 5HP19FLA).

Nenad Lutovac
Russian Federation

The DPA can be used to vary any pressures controlled by a PWM solenoid.

Aero Measurement Suggestion

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Re: The Prius underbody aero-mod Modifying Under-Car Airflow, Part 2...

Congratulations on beating Toyota engineers at making an aerodynamic car! (I say this tongue in cheek because the factory engineers no doubt had a dozen different reasons to avoid your approach, but the only one I can think of is the need to have access to the tie-down hooks.)

My question is: Given the nifty instrumentation of the Prius, were you able to work out how many kW of power you were saving at 100 km/h? Was this a free kW? 5 free kW? Even those people not interested in fuel consumption may want some free power increases.

Patrick McAuliffe

No, a power saving figure has not been determined.

Looking for a Solenoid

Regarding the electronic blow off valve article (The $70 Electronic Blow-Off Valve)...

I am having great difficulty finding a Goyen 0.25" solenoid to control vacuum pressure. I can not seem to find any solenoid valves in 1/4" sizes. I am looking for some because I want to make my own boost controller. I am going to use two Hobbs switches to read boost, and the solenoid will be inline with the vacuum line going to the wastegate so I can "pinch" or shut off the pressure going to the wastegate until a certain boost pressure is reached.

If you could give me a website or somewhere where I can purchase a suitable solenoid valve for this I would GREATLY appreciate it.

Shane Atienza

Try doing a Google search using “Goyen solenoid valves” or look up “Pneumatic Supplies” in your local directory. Note that we’ve already covered a boost control system that blocks off pressure to the wastegate up to an adjustable level. See The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 1

Electronics for Soarer

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Currently I own a 1998 GZ20 Soarer. The two things I would like to change most are the steering weight and the ability for the car to cruise above 107 km/h (it would be nice if it were a manual too...)

I assume as my car has progressive power steering that it is possible to either use the Digital Pulse Adjuster or the Speedo Corrector to alter the weight. Which of these two products would give the best result or be easiest to implement?

With regard to the cruise control that will not cruise above 107 km/h, is there a way with your current devices to allow 110 or more?

And another thing is the Smart Mixture Meter accurate enough to safely change air/fuel ratios or does it serve only to act as a gauge?

Justin Owttrim

We have just now released an article on using the DPA to enhance power steering – see Mapping Power Steering Weight.  We’re not sure on how to tackle the cruise control issue – we’d need to see a wiring diagram and find out how the system operates. The Smart Mixture Meter isn’t intended as a primary tuning tool – a wide-band meter is best suited for this application.

VR4 – with a Difference!

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I was just reading your awesome article on the '88 JDM VR4 (Australia's Best Value Performance Car) and partly thanks to your article I now own a fully sic VR4! But get this: an auto! Yep, there are few knocking around. One's in Adelaide at YahooMotorsport and another is in Japan(which I almost bought through J-Spec) - I bought mine off e-Bay believe it or not. The reason I went for an auto was because I liked the idea of a hotted up family car - my wife can drive it with ease and I can have my fully sic'ness. 

Josh Edwards

Colour Problem Solved

In response to the "Paint Pursuit" letter at Response, the colour that the person is looking for is "Mercury" (silver) and the paint code is 2J011.

You may wish to pass on this link: It's a scan I did of the 1982 GMH colour chart.

I am better known on a number of Holden/Commodore based forums (there's that horrible "f" word!) such as Street Commodores, Brock Commodores, Fastlane, etc as "commodorenut" - hence the name written over the top of the pic. Fortunately, I am a lot more intelligent than the majority of forum "contributors" (if you could call them that) and have learnt mostly from hands-on experience.


Missing Pot

Just read Modifying Under-Car Airflow, Part 2 and wondering if you still have the LS400 with the headlight levelling potentiometers? If they can be easily removed and fitted to the Prius you could check for lift or downforce more accurately when modifying the undertray.

Just a thought.

Les Dombi

A good suggestion. Yes we still have the Lexus but note that a generic slide-type potentiometer can be added to any car suspension system.

X-Trail Genius

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In an article of 30 April 2002 (New Car Test - Nissan X-Trail Ti) you concluded at the end thereof: "In fact we were so impressed by the technology of the X-Trail - technology which gives stronger pointers to the shape of the next decade of Nissan four-cylinder performance - that we've decided to cover the tech aspects of the X-Trail driveline in another, more detailed article, appearing next week."

As I am very much interested in the technical and operational aspects of the X-Trail drivetrain, would it be possible for you to furnish me with a copy of that article, or alternatively direct me to where I might find it, as I have been unsuccessful with searches?

Nelis Kruger
South Africa

The article on Nissan’s X-Trail engineering can be found at Nissan's New Engineering.

Simple IS Solution?

Re IS Slow Response... The 1G series is an aging one, and I was surprised to learn that the Lexuses (Lexi?) were running that tired old series in the IS. It may be a less desirable option due to age, but the 1G series in the Mach 3 Supras and Soarers (ended 1992 and 1990 respectively or thereabouts) had twin turbo setups and superchargers. I'm thinking of the 1G-GTE and the 1G-GZE. Unless something radical has changed, wouldn't getting one of the blowers of those be a good place to start for those bottom end woes?  It's a factory setup after all and you'd be able to afford to get 3 of those engines or just the blowers for the price of a TRD kit and it would be way easier to set up. Just a thought.

Republic of Korea

You’re absolutely right re bolting on the factory supercharger or twin-turbo set-up. If an improvement in low-to-mid range grunt is the primary goal, either approach might be worth a look. The only problem is their limited potential for power. In standard form, the IS200 engine makes 114kW – the supercharged version makes only 11kW extra and the twin-turbo makes a relatively modest 40kW extra. The twin-turbo arrangement also might not bolt on to the IS200’s later model VVT cylinder head.

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