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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Porting Gains Tech

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Re your article “Porting Gains” on Falcon heads - Porting Gains. On the modified AU head you talked about how far back the short side radius has been moved on the inlet port. Is there any chance of doing a side view drawing to show exactly what is meant by this?

Tony Goodlich

No further details are available - we put all the information we had in the article! Perhaps contact the company that did the porting.

More on Quality Speakers

Re Driving Emotion loudspeakers: I too am not an expert but have ventured down similar roads. Whilst I am really happy with my B&W 603 Series 1s, I have a friend who went the Krix path and I am really impressed with their sound. I do have an Aaron sub (an Australian manufactured product) which I too am delighted with. If anything perhaps a little dominant for music but for home theatre it's great. My stuff is driven by Yamaha receiver.

Simon Brown

Help in RX2 Chase

Re Response... I'm writing to offer my advice to Joseph, who wrote to you for help tracking down an original and genuine RX-2.

One of the best places to look for old rotaries is on the forum. The best place to start is by looking in the Car Trader section. Alternatively, by using the Search function to search the Car Trader section with keywords like 'original' and 'genuine' and, of course, ‘RX2’ (or ‘RX-2’ to spell it correctly). You can also look at older advertisements to get an idea of prices. Since these cars often take some time to sell, some of them may even still be available.

Also, the RX-2 Owners topic in the 'Members Rides & Projects' section is full of nice cars. In my experience, many rotary owners are considering selling at any given time, so making an offer on a car in this section may be a good approach. You'll need to sign up to the forum to view the Members Rides section.

Web and print classifieds and the Trading Post are still good options, but such is the demand for early RXs, good restored cars often change hands through enthusiast networks like Ausrotary. Strong demand also means that prices are climbing, but the cars are now old enough that there are some well-restored ones available and they're usually priced in the low to mid-teens.

James Whitbourn

Bring on the Swedes!

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Been a bit quiet on the review front recently but good to see the new one on the Volvo V50 T5 AWD Volvo V50 T5 AWD. Now Julian has had a chance to stick the boot in to the S40/V50 twins a fourth time (literally and metaphorically). How about a review of the equivalent product from the ‘other’ Swedish brand. I've checked out the Saab 9-3 SportCombi and it seems to be everything the Volvo is not, practicality wise, and may just be the thing he needs after venting his rage on the Volvo interiors a few times now. The drive experience on the other hand I'm not sure about. So how about it? Saab 9-3 SportCombi - both models please, base Linear (no options and 16 inch wheels) and fully loaded Aero.


Stick around - we have a hot Saab review coming soon!

Reader’s Edit

You don't seem so convinced that animal repellers work (LED Dashboard Indicator, Part 1) so I've decided to help out with an edit that better clarifies your doubt...

"(It is claimed that) As the car moves forward, air is (allegedly) forced through the front of the "repeller" and (under certain rare circumstances) a high pitched sound is (supposedly) emitted. This (apparently) scares animals (usually stupid ones) out of the way of the oncoming car (into other oncoming traffic, usually). Most often, they’re fitted (stupidly) where a car is (believed to be) often passing through (so-called) kangaroo territory. Cost for a pair is just (hopefully) AUD$4.50."

You might also be interested that, in the coming weeks, I'll be completing a 1JZ-GTE engine conversion into a Toyota Hilux - including manufacturing engineer-proof engine mounts, rear-mounted radiator and extremely tight fitting FMIC plumbing. I have far too many digital pics of the conversion to not do something with them. Please let me know if this may be of some interest for an article.

Then, once that's complete, it's a backyard AUD$400 supercharger application to a beaten up AUD$500 Excel (all second-hand bits – Toyo SC, Impreza intercooler, injector control module, two extra injectors, rising rate fuel reg conversion and larger throttle body). Should be interesting to see just how long the already dodgy gearbox lasts!

Bryce Wood

Thanks for the edit! Your projects sound very interesting – keep in touch and let us know how it goes!

Possible DFA Application

Thanks for a great publication - I always find something of interest in the newsletters. I'm really interested in the Digital Fuel Adjuster (DFA) but I'm not sure how I could make it work on my BMW F650GS 04/2000 which does not have an airflow meter or MAP sensor. The F650 has n-alpha which uses rpm and throttle position to sense load. It also has a closed-loop function using a lambda sensor (either rich or lean, not degrees of.) It only appears to be in closed-loop at fairly small throttle openings - perhaps up to 20 percent. Would the Digital Fuel Adjuster be any use?

Paul Cummins

The DFA could be used depending on the output characteristics of the rpm and throttle position sensors. If either gives a voltage output, the DFA can be used to send a false signal to the ECU and, presumably, alter mixtures/timing. We imagine the throttle position sensor outputs a voltage signal but the rpm sensor is most likely a frequency signal.

Front-End Angle Dispute

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The Beginners' Guide to Front-End Angles, Part 2 states: "Not often mentioned but an important point to know is that an increase in negative camber requires an increase in toe-in, and the combination of the two can change steering feel quite a lot."

I would argue that the opposite is true. Toe-in generates an inward thrust due to steer angle which has a stabilising effect. Negative camber produces an inward camber thrust which should have the same effect. Combining the two should increase stability at the expense of control and it should increase tire wear. To quote Milliken and Milliken in Race Car Vehicle Dynamics (pages 726-727) - "For many radial tires, 1.0° of camber produces about the same lateral force as 0.1° of steer (10:1). For bias-ply tires the effect is more pronounced: 1.0° of camber is equivalent to about 0.2° of steer (5:1). From this simple rule of thumb, it can be seen that static negative camber will require toe-out to keep the wheels from fighting each other." For what it is worth, if you measure your total toe in mm, the Milliken's argument implies that 2.5° of negative camber needs about 5-6mm of toe out on a typical radial tire.

Perhaps this is just another example of the experts not agreeing about much when it comes to alignment. Most written sources I have seen seem very reluctant to recommend front toe-out. I would guess this is a general apprehension about recommending any de-stabilising modification. I guess the point is that any alignment that is outside OE specs should only be adopted based on controlled experimenting.

James Mewett

Claimed Torque v Apparent Torque

I really enjoy reading your articles and have been meaning to write to you about my experiences with big motors. Recently, you did an article on the Ford EF Falcon and the benefits of a big, slow revving torquey motor - of which this one appears to be. I don’t know how old you are, but I wonder if you remember the engines of a few decades ago...

I remember when the Ford Australia 4.0/3.9 six came out - there was an outcry that it was so feeble in torque compared to the 4.1litre that it replaced. Although the claimed torque figure was higher for the 4.0/3.9, running the same gearing and transmission as the superseded 4.1, contemporary magazines and drivers judged it to be inferior in torque.

Oh, but how things change. Nowadays, with most people driving in nothing bigger than a 1.5 or 2.0 litre, those big 4-litre Fords seem sooo powerful and torquey... Interestingly, the Ford 4.1 of the ‘70s and ‘80s was seen as the most 'inferior' of the big Aussie sixes in terms of torque. The Chrysler six feels just like a V8 and the Holden red six - although relatively small - gets great torque from less than 2000 rpm. Another good example is the Rover V8 (just gone out of production after 40 or so years) in comparison to the big Aussies and US motors - it was always judged as having poor torque but, in its UK homeland where large motors were seen only in expensive Mercedes and BMWs, it was always talked about as having lots of torque...

I once had a Chrysler 360 V8 - a gargantuan motor with a gargantuan thirst for fuel. However, it was genuinely difficult to drive without smoking it up - so high was the initial torque. Now I don’t go in for all that stuff and I don’t mean it did that while held on the brake or being revved up - just normal take offs... And that was with 245 rear tyres. While this motor was seen as the 'king' of torque, there were other notables such as the Ford Cleveland 351 and (to a lesser extent) 302. Even the Holden 308 (nee 304) was not known as a big feeling or torquey motor. The reintroduced Ford Windsor 302 for the 'E' series Falcons was known to be quite torquey and this is born out by comparison road tests. Generally with a heavier car, MUCH higher gear ratios than the rival Holden V8 - but with the same advertised torque 'figure' - it always managed to get going (say, up to 60 km/h) as fast or faster than the Holden. Interesting - such was the far greater low-down torque, it could overcome the handicaps of higher gearing and weight. I think what I am saying is that claimed torque and the feeling of torque is a comparative thing. It would really be interesting if those old type motors had modern fuelling and technology applied to them to see how they would translate in a modern car - I think they would 'feel' great to drive.

Craig Dunn

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