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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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AutoSpeed Interesting and Entertaining

Re: “Hip and Fun?” – Response... As a 24 year old with little technical background in vehicle modification, I read AutoSpeed to be interested and entertained. Frankly, tech articles with no real-world or human element bore me to tears and what first attracted me to AutoSpeed was the unbiased, informative, and above all, human feel of the articles. I first came across the site by chance and was moved to subscribe several years ago by just the sort of writing that appears to offend Mr Eby. Though I don't understand all of the concepts or terminology, I have found much greater understanding through reading articles that keep me interested.

So thank you AutoSpeed, for drawing me away from the newsagent's magazines full of chrome and little substance, and into a world that reinforces the idea that cars are possibly one of man's greatest inventions without reading like a textbook.

Kieran Clarke

Need More on MPS

Why are there so few reviews of the Mazda 3 MPS? I have only seen two short reviews in Australia – one claiming it was good, the other claiming it was crap. 190kW rates it as the most powerful hatch - using the same underpinnings as the Focus XR5!


Can’t Find the Flow

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I am trying to locate an article in the archives but am unable to find it. It was regarding turbulence/heat under the bonnet and in the engine bay. I remember the article had diagrams showing airflow and illustrated airflow through the radiator and how negative air in the engine bay can be a problem.

Are you able to help?

Lisa Stowner

You’re after this particular series...Undertrays, Spoilers & Bonnet Vents, Part 1
Undertrays, Spoiler & Bonnet Vents, Part 2
Undertrays, Spoiler & Bonnet Vents, Part 3

Rubbish Website

I was hoping for bit more considering the esteem I read your magazine and assumed that someone would cast at least a cursory critical eye over a reader-suggested website before publicising it. However, the 'eagleresearch' internet site mentioned in one of the letters this week – Response - appears to be rubbish. It deals mostly with carburettors - as if it is news that they can be improved - and then very basic fuel saving techniques. It goes on to make outrageous claims that FI cars are designed to waste fuel and appears to be the usual croc made to sell a dubious petrol saving device - in this case US$388 for their 'water injection' system. I really do hope we hear no more of these people (or testimonials from AutoSpeed reader letters) and that no one gives these people money.

Craig Dunn

We understand your concerns but there is some merit in what the company claims the EFIE can do... “The EFIE allows you to apply an offset to the voltage coming from the oxygen sensor, so your vehicle's computer is completely unaware that the oxygen content of the exhaust has increased.” We have attempted similar mods using a sophisticated Toyota Prius (which runs closed-loop at all times) but have been unsuccessful. Note that the company offers a 60 day satisfaction guarantee. Listed price is also US$60.

Deadly Bonnet? Nah...

Re Response - I would just like to point out to Evan Smith that you can buy several carbon bonnets for BA Falcons that are ADR approved and 100 percent road safe and legal.

Piotr Sawa

Counter Assistant Fight Back

RE Driving Emotion – “Jeez, how do spare parts counter assistants keep their jobs?”

Personally, I find this article to be pretty offensive. Now, while I understand your specific complaint, I think you are being pretty prejudiced towards counter staff. I am 20 years old and I have been working at a major parts chain for some months now, having no experience in the automotive industry other than personal.

The thing is, people expect us to be experts and have years of practical knowledge. I find this attitude to be frankly bullshit. If we had the knowledge, most of us would be mechanics earning far more than what we get working on a counter in a store. Would you be willing to pay more for parts in order that I complete two or more years of training, just to work in a shop?

Case in point; a man comes in and says "My RAC man says that I need to replace two filters in my car because fuel isn’t getting through". So, obviously, I ask him for details of his car and also if he can narrow it down as to which filters he needs to replace, to which he replies he doesn't know. Naturally, I tell him that without more information I can't be sure which filters he needs - however I will sell him fuel and air filters because they are the most likely to be causing the problem. He replies "Uh, is there someone more senior than you who would know?"

Apparently we are psychic. Anyway, my point is, have a little more patience with counter staff - we are most definitely doing our best!

Shae Palandri

Multi Light Dimmer

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I was just reading your article on the interior light dimmer delay – Delaying the Dim. Will one unit control more than one light? My car has four interior lights. I assume I don’t need a unit for each interior light?

Craig Dunn

One unit should be fine.

More on Aero

Re your article on aerodynamics – Driving Emotion... I just towed a hired trailer 150km each way to my country property. It had a vertical tailgate/ramp that caused my Toyota Hi-Lux to use almost exactly twice the normal amount of fuel (20 litres per 100km vs 10 litres per 100km) at only 90 km/h. The same weight on my smaller trailer makes about 1 litre per 100km difference. And as for these clowns who have a downforce wing BEHIND the back axle on their front wheel drive cars... It LIFTS the front wheels (reducing traction and handling), adds weight (reducing acceleration), adds drag (reducing top speed and increasing fuel consumption) and costs money. A lousy trade-off... Nearly as bad as the front "streamlined" panel people put in front of their dirty great luggage carrier on top of their 4WDs!

Roger Duance

DIY Citroen Suspension Mods

Re Resetting Springs

Good stuff! However, on my 1973 Citroen, the same can be accomplished by loosening a few set screws on the rollbars, twisting the height adjuster brackets slightly in the desired direction and retightening the set screws. It takes about five minutes to do. That global adjustment is in addition to the five height steps that are instantly available by simply moving a handle by the driver’s left knee to a different notch. Spring rates are adjusted independently by adjusting the nitrogen pressure in the suspension spheres - something that can be done with simple home-made tools and a bottle of nitrogen gas. No blacksmithing involved.

After reading AutoSpeed for a while, I think you would love those cars - they are a tweaker's paradise. Of course, you might end up hating them to bits instead, for any number of good reasons. A quote from the current Practical Classics on restoring a Citroen SM: "It will cost you your sanity, but it's worth it. Really."

Asbjorn Bonvik

Reset Spring Rate Variation

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RE: Resetting Springs... Once again a very informative and useful article - congrats and keep up the good work. But I do have a question. In the article you mention that the coils were adjusted separately and that it was important to have even spacing of the coils. Is this always the case? Is it possible to change a spring from linear rate to progressive rate by varying coil spacing?

Lindsay Young
New Zealand

Theoretically, yes – you can create a softer section in the spring by spacing the coils closer together. However, according to Industrial Engineers and Spring Makers (the company involved in the article), it doesn’t produce a noticeable effect when resetting a spring by an inch or two.

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