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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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More From the Wizard of NOS

As yet I see no link to my responses to you on your site.

Recently I did a search for my book and discovered that your review Book Review: The Nitrous Oxide High-Performance Manual came up 2nd on the list. This means that your biased and ill-informed review is likely to have an adverse effect on the sales of my book.

I have forwarded a number of examples of reviews made by people who have purchased the book and been very happy with it and as yet I haven't received a single review from anyone else supporting your opinion, despite there being a good number of people out there who are keen to criticise me.

Now I was prepared to drop this matter after you made the offer below [to publish the author’s views] but if that is not carried out in the very near future and you are not prepared to reconsider the contents of your review and write a more informed version, (now I've made you aware of information that supports my position), I will be forced to pass this matter to my legal department. They will be instructed to take whatever action is possible to have your unqualified review removed from the Internet and/or to take action against you to recover my financial losses. 

You may be in Australia but my legal department has international links throughout the world and I'm confident they will find appropriate grounds to successful take action against you, should you choose to ignore my request to deal with this matter reasonably.

Trevor Langfield

Your comments have been published in full in Response - see Response. The link from the book review to Response was not placed due to a production oversight; it has now been added. Your subsequent emails are also scheduled for publication in Response, which appears each week.

Can We Stop Hearing About...

In regards to the Unhappy Nitrous Book Author – Response and Response. Can we stop hearing about this guy's childish reactions to a bad review? Any author should respect people’s opinions of the book. Fair enough if he doesn’t like them, but I don't see how showing us/you good reviews or comments that, he points out, were written by amateurs, would make any difference to anything. Perhaps he wants you to change the article, but if this was a print magazine that would be impossible and as such I believe it shouldn't be changed.

Kent Slaughter

More Zs

In your ZZ engine guide Toyota ZZ series Engine Guide you have listed the 1ZZ-FE local release in the ZZE-112 corolla. It was in fact coded ZZE-122. The E112 corolla came with the 7A-FE engine and was the earlier bubble shape (for the local release). You also have not mentioned the 3ZZ-FE (1.6L) and 4ZZ-FE (1.4L) varieties. Cheers for a great article though.


Well spotted – that ZZE-122 typo has now been fixed. And, yes, there are the smaller ZZs but these are probably of little interest. The short stroke 3ZZ-FE 1.6-litre is rated at just over 80kW and the even shorter stroke 4ZZ-FE makes 71kW. These engines have not been sold in Australia.

Aussies in Germany

I would like to export a new Holden Crewman Cross 8 or a Ford Falcon XR6 ute from Australia to Germany. But there is one problem - it’s necessary to have LHD not RHD. Do you know a company which is able to the steering conversion?

Lars Liebezeit

We aren’t aware of any businesses doing the conversion – can any readers help?

Why the Stall

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Re Car Aerodynamics Have Stalled. Perhaps the reason car aerodynamics have stalled is that cars these days are getting more and more powerful such that the task of maintaining a constant speed requires such a small proportion of available engine power that it becomes frivolous to further reduce it. This is because a gasoline engine is inefficient at producing very small amounts of power. Reducing the power demand even

further (by reducing aerodynamic losses) may not result in an appreciable increase in fuel economy. In my opinion, this explains the current trend toward aesthetics and refinement, rather than aerodynamic efficiency. However, the coefficient of drag is still significant in determining fuel economy in cars with smaller engines. This is definitely evident in hybrid vehicles, but it is likely that other small engine’d vehicles, such as cheap compact cars, emphasize low cost and practicality over aerodynamics. Besides, these cars are more likely to be driven in city environments where aerodynamic efficiency is far less of a determining factor to overall fuel economy.

Michael Bloxham
New Zealand

Re Diesel Power-Ups #1

I read with interest the query on Diesel Power-Ups (Response.) There is significant torque in the lower engine rev range - with the trade off of lower peak power (for the same engine capacity). This makes for a different to driving experience to that of a petrol/LPG powered vehicle – typically, a more relaxed approach without having to be slow.

The acceptance of light diesel vehicles in Australia is increasing due to lower particle emissions (mainly black exhaust smoke), their improved performance and the high cost of fuel. My experience with modifications to my diesel vehicle is that there is a point where there are other desirable modifications before one delves into the engine internals. Many of these will provide a benefit without compromising reliability or economy. Almost all are bolt-on and don’t involve increasing the boost, which can trigger "limp home" on the vehicle ECU.


Re Diesel Power-Ups #2

In 'Response' this week (Response) Piotr Sawa asks about diesel mods. In the UK, where I now live, there are many companies offering ECU chip tuning for turbo diesel cars. This appears to be the most cost-effective way of boosting the output of turbocharged diesel cars. Although some chips require rolling road set-up for a specific car, many chips are just developed for a particular model of car and can be fitted by any competent workshop or even the owner themselves. I'm sure Piotr could order a suitable chip via the internet. Some sites to try would be:

There are more I'm sure which he could find by Googling 'chip tuning' or 'diesel tuning'.

Ben Garside

More on M3 Motor

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I have been reading your mag for some time now and I think that it's great. In a recent article (The BMW Six Cylinder Guide) you went though the history of BMW engines but little attention was paid to the M3 engine. I would like to see a history of the development of this engine/performance given that the M3 really represents the pinnacle of BMW performance. I think that this is the car that would be most likely to attract the attention of your expected reader base. I own an old 1994 M3 and it is in pretty good knick. I would also like a few pointers on how to discreetly modify this car without big exhausts, sacrificed reliability and drivability, etc... I am tempted to leave it stock if I cannot find a workable solution. It is pretty nippy out of the box. Your thoughts?


We’ll see how much tech information is available and consider a special feature on this engine. Modification? Without spending a lot of money we doubt you’ll find any substantial improvement – our first steps would be to measure intake and exhaust restriction and modify only where required. An engine management mod (such as an interceptor) would probably help as well.

Update on Reader’s Detonation Detector

Re New Detonation Detector – Response

“I was reading through your articles on building cheap detonation detection devices - DIY Detonation Detection - Part 1and 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!”


Following the same mods as you did for the Whisper 2000, building this version was straight-forward - just simple soldering again. Its sensitivity seems ample and clipping it to a fuel rail produced clattering injectors very clearly.

Simon Nieper
New Zealand

Team Effort Article?

Variable vane turbocharging please. This article could be a team effort. You do all the legwork and research on current state-of-the-art technology with reference to implementations in diesels and, of course, the new Porsche turbo. Limitations and advantages, reduced petrol consumption, controllers, control dynamics, mechanical and electronic, life span, etc. With of course a bit on stuffing under the bonnet of a current WRX, Nissan, XR6 Turbo, etc. I'll do my part by reading it avidly. Seems fair!

Simon Briggs

We like your suggestion! Unfortunately, we’re yet to see anyone in the aftermarket fit a variable vane turbo in place of a conventional turbo, although we know of at least one aftermarket variable vane turbo in development.

Suzuki v Mazda

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I am currently looking at the Mazda 2 and the Suzuki Swift for my next new car - I’m looking for a manual four-door with hatch. I have read your articles which are fantastic (Suzuki Swift Test and Mazda 2 NEO Test) and wish I had found this website sooner. What advice would you give to me on a preference for either the Mazda or the Suzuki?

Chris McManus

These are cars having slightly different directions – we suggest you decide by taking a couple for a test drive!

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