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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Telstar/626 Turbo Twins

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As usual, you’ve got a fantastic and informative website. I just have a few queries on the 1986 2.0 litre 626/TX5 models... I've seen a few used ones in car yards for about AUD$3000 – 4000 and was wondering if they make a good, basic budget turbo project car to start with.

Also, I have about AUD$2000 (max) in mind for modifications and wondering what might be the best for this type of car. I was thinking 15 second quarter mile times, but I guess I'd have to spend more to reach those times. If that is the case, I was thinking of saving a little more and perhaps buying a later model 2.2 litre turbo.

Thanks also for the article Shooting Tel-Star – that was an excellent story.

Michael S.

The 2.0 litre turbo TX5/626 is a great car to tinker with because of its relative simplicity and affordable purchase price. Unfortunately, good condition second-hand engines are hard to come by. This isn’t a problem if you have engine building experience and equipment. However, if you’re after 15 second performance, the 2.2 litre versions (with 5 speed manual gearbox) will do that outa the box... These are nice, comfortable cars that are commonly sold for about 6 – 7 grand. Whack on a high-flow exhaust and air intake (keeping things mild) and you’ll have a decently quick and reliable car. We reckon this is the best way to go.

Aero Excitement

Your article on modifying under-car airflow (Modifying Under-Car Airflow, Part 1) had me very, very fascinated in the first instalment. The second instalment (Modifying Under-Car Airflow, Part 2) now has confirmed my long-held belief that this area of car development provides many of the things that major car manufactures aim for but, for budgetary reasons and market forces, just can't afford to complete - increased fuel economy, quieter all while maintaining on-road stability.

Congratulations on tackling this – especially on a car that is perceived as high-tech by the general public. I encourage you to persevere with the front wheel deflectors (easy for me to say, I know!) but maybe with more of a "point" towards the front - less of a "brick" being seen by oncoming air and therefore potentially minimising pressure build up. My two pence worth anyway... I'm no aerodynamicist but I do think outside the square. When I finally get round to building up my 5.0 litre Torana, I will be performing this very mod for the reasons you found in your results - less fuel consumption and quieter.

Keep up these types of articles. Your approach is outstanding - thorough and logical, and it enables us slightly clueless car enthusiasts to do mods that we always suspect could be done and make our basic cars so much more than just being basic.

Bryce Denboer

TVR to Come?

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Have you heard of the brand TVR? You know the car from the movie Swordfish? Well, they are in talks with an importer to bring them to Australia! I'm waiting for the official okay from TVR in England to announce something, but in the meantime would you like to know more about their range?

If you didn't know, their cars are based around a tubular chassis, lightweight GRP body and 300kW (405hp) hand-built straight six engines. 0-100 km/h usually in around 4 seconds and 0-165 km/h in 10 seconds! Here’s a picture...

If you wonder why I'm so excited it's because I have owned two TVRs and NOTHING comes close. They are raw and loud - no ABS, traction control, airbags or any girly devices...

Steven Hambleton

Yep, we know of TVR – and it’d be great if they were ‘officially’ imported. If they go ahead we’ll see if we can nab a road test.

Potent Patrol

I hope that Julian Edgar and John Clarke are getting royalties on the sales of the Silicon Chip electronic kits because, in one word, they're fantastic!

I've been costing EGTs for the last couple of months and all have been in the range of AUD$350+.  Now I can build one for an all up cost of about AUD$140, including the thermocouple - just the thing to go with my recently completed Audi Do-It-Yourself boost system (The Audi's DIY Boost Control - Part 1)! The car? An aftermarket turbocharged 4.2 litre diesel Nissan Patrol. Not a performance car, sure, but one on which easy (and cheap) gains can be made.

Grant McAuliffe

No royalties go to either, but we’re glad you’re enjoying the kits!

Sigma Turbo Info

I am writing in response to the Mitsubishi Sigma Turbo question (Response)... Try for info on the factory Sigma Turbo.

George Kalimeris

Camber Comments

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Re: Fitting Front Camber Adjusters.

It would be appropriate to mention to your readers that in some states, such dramatic modifications like drilling and welding of critical suspension components will require an engineer’s certificate to maintain roadworthiness. Refer link

Secondly, "undersize" camber bolts are perfectly safe and recommended for road use if replacing the upper clevis bolts which takes the minor share of the load. (Lower bolt takes the majority). There are 3 large companies using this method, one of which is Monroe which has their product manufactured in Germany and is sold with TUEV approval. Whiteline bolts are between 1 – 3mm undersize depending on absolute size – that is, a 12mm bolt has a smaller difference than a 17mm bolt, etc.

Thirdly, these companies and Whiteline can offer exactly the same outcome as discussed in your article for around AUD$150 including a complete 4 wheel alignment with no drilling, welding or engineers certificate.

Jim Gurieff, Whiteline

Cluster Capers

I am looking at using the instrument cluster from an IS200 Lexus in an early-model Landcruiser rebuild that I am currently doing. Modifying/manipulating the sensor outputs from each of the sensors is no problem, but I know little about the stepper motors that Toyota/Lexus use in their late model instrumentation. Do you know of any resources or publications that detail stepper motor type instruments and how to control them?

Mark Rogan

Can any readers help?.

More on Speeding...

I have just been reading a letter from Anon (Response) on the legalities of being caught speeding in Victoria and have some views of my own on the matter. My father was recently caught doing 142 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. This gained him an instant 6 month ban. As you could expect he was unhappy with the outcome and then looked into legal advice and this is what occurred:

If a plea of guilty is submitted then past driving history goes out the window. Past history does come into play (to a small degree that establishes character of the driver), so it is worth trying to prove.

The lawyers informed him that the judge does not have the power to lower a recorded speed, but the prosecutor does have the power to do so. So the plan of attack was to approach the prosecutor and see if a deal could be struck to get a reduction of the sentence. This was successful and the penalty was reduced to a 1 month ban (of which he was only in the Australiafor 5 days).

So, in summary, the system as stuffed up as it is, sometimes does work!!!


Speedier Windsor

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I have had my Ford AU2 with nitrous as a feature car in your mag (Windsor Wake-Up!). The car ran 11.7 at the time you did the article and I was told that if the car improves to let you know... Well, with some small changes the car ran 10.92 at 125.33 mph. Now, to me, that’s a real street machine because it’s a daily driver!


Half-cut Hassles

I have been looking for a Honda B16A front cut and am really at an end as to what to do. I have contacted a multitude of "specialist wreckers" only to be told they’re out of stock and if I want one they can take my money and visit Japan to pick one up... What really ticks me off is they all advertise that they stock this stuff and have prices listed in magazines and on the net – it’s only when you talk to them they want a higher price, are out of stock but will "pick one up" in Japan. So I'm meant to give these guys my hard earned money and trust to look after me when they clearly make misrepresentations through their advertising? I can’t trust the ones I've talked to and will only pay for a product that’s been seen and examined. So now I'm back to square one. Is this the norm I am coming across? Any suggestions what to do from here?

Robert Unterberger

There are always fewer half-cuts arriving compared to bare engines and engine/loom packages. And, yes, many import wreckers will tell you they can get stuff for you – but all too often we see that doesn’t eventuate. All we can say is persist. You might be able to find a locally delivered Honda Civic VTi-R that’s being wrecked, but it might be more expensive than an imported half cut. If you haven’t already, try

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