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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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More Cylinders Deactivated

I just wanted to add something to your recent cylinder deactivation article Cylinder Deactivation Reborn - Part 2...

I want to let you know that the US-built Honda Civic Hybrid (IMA) has a valve pause system that’s used to reduce fuel consumption by deactivating three of the four cylinders. It works from oil pressure in a similar way to the VTEC system, the only difference being that oil pressure controls small pistons inside the rockers. The rockers are normally locked, which allows the valves to function as usual unless the spool valve switches off oil pressure to the rocker pistons (somewhere between 900 and 3200 rpm). I am not sure if you have this model in Australia but I know it is over here in the UK and I think it is in the US too. Hope this helps.


Wire-in Boost

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I was looking around the ‘net and came across a product called the ESC supercharger (made by a guy in the US called Thomas Knight). It uses a 5 – 8hp motor that’s run off two or three batteries and they claim it produces up to 100hp gains over stock. It can only be run for 15 seconds at a time and the batteries will last for 400 seconds (approx). The batteries are charged via the alternator and/or overnight with a 240V charger. I asked about an ESC supercharger for my Peugeot V6 and they replied saying that it would make an extra 65hp at 5 psi. For more info go to Any chance you could find out some more info? Love the mag.


We’ve covered the ESC supercharger in the article Electric Boost. If you fit one to your Pug please let us know – we (and a lot of other people) would be very interested to hear the results!

Can’t Find the Article

I read one of your articles on washable air filters. The URL for the article was [/url] but this seems to have changed. Is the article still available?

Peter Hall

You just need to drop the [/url] from the end of the link (we’re not sure where you might have got that from). The correct url is Don't Bother Changing the Factory Filter

Another Suitable Turbo

Regarding sourcing a turbo for your Toyota Prius... Did you consider an IHI turbo off a Ford Laser TX3? They are a good little turbo with standard boost set at around 7 psi. There would be a fair supply of them out there, although you might be hard pressed to find one that hadn't been boosted (or blown). But, even at 12 psi, mine hasn't missed a beat in three years.

Matt Ellery

We went with what was available and in good condition at the time – but, yes, the Laser’s little IHI RHB5 would be another suitable turbo.

IEBC Problem

I finally finished the IEBC (Independent Electronic Boost Controller), but as soon as I connect it to the hand controller I get dotted lines on top of the screen - what is going on? I know the controller is okay because I used it elsewhere. I’m 100 percent sure that the IEBC is spot-on. I even went and bought "and used with no luck" the peak-hold injector kit - just in case... The motor I have is a Toyota 1JZ-GTE. What is going on - any ideas?

Leon Leondiadis

It’s very difficult to suggest a specific cause. Double check that the components are correctly positioned and oriented, check the soldering, check there is no damage to the solder tracks and try again. If you still don’t have any luck we suggest contacting Silicon Chip magazine (the designers of the kits). Note to readers - preassembled and tested versions of the IEBC are available at extra cost.

Fast Charged

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In regard to restarting your Prius (When One Mistake Can Kill) and your surprise when a low charging current was enough to start it...

You said the battery pack was made of D cells. A charge rate of 500mA into a single D cell would be more than adequate to charge a battery (I just looked and a NiMH D cell is about 10AH). The rule of thumb for a slow charge is 0.1 x the amp-hour rating. Because they are all wired in series, your charge current of 500mA applies to all of the batteries. After hours of trying at successively higher currents, I'm not surprised the battery pack was charged.

It was good to see you emphasised the safety aspects of working on such a car.

Christian Hack

Drag Information Found

In regard to David Coles’ question “Daihatsu Drag” Response... Go to It’s a good website with an aero drag calculator and a link to heaps of drag coefficients and frontal areas. But if he wants total drag at all speeds he will need to somehow add in the other losses in the drivetrain.

Craig Vincent
New Zealand

Hi-Ace Hankerer

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I just became a member of your site was wondering if you could shed a little light on the Toyota Hi-Ace super custom vans?

I’ve read (Hi-Ace Hankering) through and through and it is exactly the type of van I’m looking for. I currently have a 1992 Hi-Ace semi camper and am looking at upgrading. I’ve contacted Sports and Luxury Cars about the blue van you drove and found them to be pretty helpful. What I am after is insurance - I’m finding it hard to get it in New South Wales (I’m 27, never had an accident, never lost my licence and never had a claim). What I’ve found is that when you say “Japanese import” they nearly hang up on you - is this always the case? Also, what would be the fuel consumption of the 3-litre diesel turbo? My biggest concern is parts - I’ve tried searches on the ‘net and found nothing. Do you know of anywhere that supports them? Oh, and do you know if you’re able to import these vans in newer models? So far, 1996 is the latest one I’ve found.


Insuring a Japanese import vehicle can be a problem but you should be able to find a company that’s willing. Just Car Insurance or Shannons are probably your best bet. Sports and Luxury Cars are the ones to talk to re importing later models and should be able to provide the details of the back-up parts service they provide. We aren’t aware of any wreckers that carry imported Hi-Aces. Unfortunately, we haven’t recorded any fuel consumption data for these vehicles – we suggest looking at the fuel consumption of the Toyota Hilux 3-litre turbo diesel as a rough guide.

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