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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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One-Off Hybrid?

Re Driving Emotion–"A commercially viable one-off car" (Driving Emotion) ... It was interesting to read this as I had recently considered this very option - although my idea was heading is a vastly different direction. I had considered the possibility of re-shelling a third generation Prius hybrid - in essence doing exactly what was stated in this editorial. Take a third gen Prius hybrid (sadly, still expensive at around NZ$20,000), build a space-frame and composite body shell to form the smallest possible lightweight two-seater hybrid car. Some possible further modifications include adding a turbo (as done in previous AutoSpeed articles) to improve the top-end during up hill driving, or possibly using a modified Thomas Knight Turbo ESC design.

If a 1200+ kilogram four seater hybrid can achieve 20km/L, then what could a two seater (possibly as light as 750kg or better) hybrid do?! Would you ever need to add gas when toddling around town? To top all this off, it would be possible to purchase from the US a "plug-in" conversion which would further improve the around town mileage. Or, for those with far too much money, perhaps converting a new Lexus GS450h into a two-seater lightweight - power of a V8, economy of a V6 and incredible performance.

Unfortunately, the latest generation Prius is still quite pricey and the costs of the conversion on top of that make this a very distant pipe dream for me. But perhaps someone out there reading this will become motivated to try this. I'd love to see the results. Eco racers anyone?

Lindsay Young
New Zealand

We’ve considered in detail doing this. However, it would be very hard to improve upon the Prius aerodynamics and it would also be difficult to bring the weight down as far as you say - the power split device (containing the electric motors) and battery pack are both quite heavy. That said, we’d love to see someone try it!

Reader Response to the Unhappy Nitrous Book Author

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Re Unhappy Nitrous Book Author #1, #2 and #3 Response ... Whilst Mr Langfield makes a strong case for himself in these articles, I feel he misses the point completely: If you are writing a book that you expect people to pay for, keep it brand-free and refer to different setups by design, not name. Likewise, if you believe your way is the best, keep the brand out of it, and simply explainthe various principles - the correct resolution should be self-evident.

Any document which stresses the advantages of a given product and the disadvantages of another - which is not an impartial journalistic commentary/editorial (with no pecuniary interest either way) – is a Sales Pamphlet. End of story.

Keep on Keeping it Real.

Luke Konynenburg

Need Some Stuff on Electronics

Articles on automotive electrics...I'm over 60 years of age and my friend has a 1993 Nissan Civilian motorhome which I’m helping with.There are wires going everywhere - probably from when it was converted from a bus. I want to be able to read a wiring diagram, check/correct things and learn how to use my el-cheapo multi-meter. The motorhome is 24V and a few things have been connected with 12V relays - no wonder the hot-water circuit blew...Being on a pension it is hard to pay the auto-electric guys their AUD$60 per hour - it soon mounts up. Can you help me out?

Noel Cook

Our most relevant article for you is Using a Multimeter. We suggest you obtain all relevant wiring diagrams and maybe pick up the latest Jaycar catalogue for ideas on what electronics (ie relays, switches, etc) are available. There might also be a TAFE (or similar) auto electrics course that covers the topics you’re interested in.

DFA for Supercharged Pajero

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I recently bought the Performance Electronics for Cars (Book Review - Performance Electronics for Cars) and what a good read it is. I have built the Voltage Switch to activate a thermofan. Nice work. I mainly bought the book for some more info on the Digital Fuel Adjuster (DFA). On Julian’s Lexus with the Eaton supercharger fitted, there was no mention of engine timing mods. Was this because the factory ECU was able to cope as extra fuel was delivered? I am undertaking a supercharger conversion along the same lines as the Lexus featured, in my Pajero. I have been reading through my manual and going by what has been written, the factory ECU should be okay. My supercharger should only be putting out about 9 psi - give or take.I have built and fitted stainless extractors and free-flowing airfilter with no problems - this leads me to believe that, with a bit of fiddling of the DFA, all should be sweet. I have a Haltech E6K ECU - do you think I should use it or just go with the DFA?

Darrin Douglas

The supercharged Lexus V8 seen in Performance Electronics For Cars belongs to a Soarer which was imported from Japan as-seen. We’d certainly have a go using the DFA on your Pajero – so long as it has a voltage output airflow meter rather than a frequency output airflow meter. Keep an eye on mixtures and an ear out for detonation and you should be okay. However, the Haltech unit has far more capability than the DFA.

Graphic Detail

I just wanted to say content wise your web mag is unbeatable – I’ve never come across any publication that tracks down and investigate ssuch a multitude of Japanese cars from different eras and styles, etc. Very thorough stuff. I do web graphics for car websites - if you ever want to spruce up your graphics or just your logo take a look at my work...

Sam Hyde

Glad you like our material – thanks for the offer, your designs look good!

Gas Fuelled Adventra?

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I have a VY Holden Adventra and am considering fitting LPG. On enquiring to Holden I was informed by that you cannot fit LPG to a VY because it creates engine trouble.Would you please let me know if a 5.7 litre Gen 3 V8 Adventra can be fitted with gas?

Louis Castellaro

See As detailed, it is possible to fit LPG to a Gen 3 by replacing the standard injectors. We suggest contacting the company – Gas Injection Technologies – on 02 9720 1119

Audi Died. Looking for New Love...

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I bought the Audi S4 that Julian Edgar owned and, sadly, it was stolen from my home and written off. I was broken hearted. It was the best car I have owned and proud to have had it. Since then I have been on a quest to replace it. How can you replace such a unique car? I am currently looking buying a Nissan 350Z. I bought a Lexus GS300 but it feels like a bus after the Audi S4. What do you think of the 350Z?

Eric Holtamann

Sorry to hear that – a shame for the mighty Audi to go out like that.Our reviews of the 350Z can be found at New Car Test - Nissan 350Z Track and Nissan 350Z Roadster Test. Note that we haven’t yet tested the updated model with the revised suspension settings. Dare we say it, it you’re after a largish four-door to replace the Audi it might be worth checking out second-hand HSVs and quad-cam Ford XR8s or the SOHC Fairmont V8. There’s also the Liberty B4 TT and the current 2.5-litre turbo range. And don’t forget second-hand BMW sports sedans, Jag S-type and Saab Aero. Julian replaced the Audi with a VVTi Lexus LS400 – stay tuned for an upcoming buying second-hand article...

New Detonation Detector

I was reading through your articles on building cheap detonation detection devices - DIY Detonation Detection - Part 1 and DIY Detonation Detector - Mk II - and thought you might be interested to know Dick Smith are selling another 'Personal Sound Amplifier' that looks well fit for the application. I'll give it a shot this weekend tuning my RX3 - so there’s bound to be plenty of detonation!

Simon Nieper
New Zealand

Looks ideal – let us know how it goes!

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