I’d like to give you the details but…

Posted on May 9th, 2004 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

I think that I am largely an instant gratification personality. I build it, then I like to immediately sample the results.

When I edited a print magazine, one of the excruciating aspects was waiting for the issue to come out – sometimes that would be months away. (It was even worse when I freelanced for magazines: in that case, you could wait over a year to see your work in print!) Of course, working with a web magazine like AutoSpeed has meant that if I want to see something published a week after I write it, that’s possible.

However, the major projects that I have been working on for the last year fall into the, er, distant gratification basket…

As I mentioned in my September 2003 Driving Emotion, I’ve been working on an electronics book that I am preparing with Silicon Chip, an Australian electronics magazine that we at Web Publications now also publish on-line. The book will cover a range of DIY electronic modification kits designed for performance cars. In that article I mentioned a brilliant new kit interceptor that can allow the alteration of air/fuel ratios across all loads – mentioned there was the Mark 1 version; electronics designer John Clarke and I are now up to Mark 3.

And each version just keeps getting better and better.

Most of the testing has been carried out on my Maxima V6 Turbo (although we have also tested on two Impreza WRXs, a Lexus LS400, a Nissan 200SX, a BMW 735i and other cars) and we’re now at the stage where the air/fuel ratio can easily be set throughout the complete load range. So what, you say? Well, keep in mind that the kit (including the digital hand controller) will be under AUD$150; it’s incredibly easy to tune; fitting is quick and easy; and the driveability is simply fantastic.

And what you can achieve with it is jaw-dropping… I can’t give it all away (grrrr!) but I can tell you that the Maxima is currently driving around with intake system mods that I had thought were technically impossible…. And driving absolutely perfectly.

And it’s not just the Digital Fuel Adjuster (as we’ll call it) that is working extraordinarily well. Just today I completed wiring into the Maxima another four of the kits. (All have been running in the car for the last few months; today’s job was to install them permanently.)

Take the auto trans. Having had the relevant kit out of the car for the last week I couldn’t believe how bad the trans logic was – always in the wrong gear when I wanted a down-change; slow and unresponsive. I put the module back in and the car feels like it has 20 per cent more part-throttle horsepower! And yet when you drive it gently, it up-changes early and lets the torque do the work.

Or the intercooler water spray. Testing tonight on the steep roads around where Iive, I booted the car up hill and down dale, constantly reading off intake air temps as I made the poor car work as hard as it could. The result on this 30 degree C evening? A measured intake air temp that never went over 65 degrees C – and that’s with only a small under-bonnet intercooler! When I got home I refilled the spray water bottle – the one that I’d topped-up prior to leaving. And the intercooler spray water consumption after this intensive 30 minute test session? About a single cup….. Geez that control module works well…

Or maybe the excellent intercooling results were coming from the other kit that was controlling the high speed operation of the intercooler blower – the one that monitors real-time intercooler temp and causes the temp peaks to be simply obliterated…

Or maybe it was the other kit that switches on the intercooler fan in slow speed anti-heatsoak mode at low road speeds…

With dashboard pilot lights monitoring the action of the four kits, and a MoTeC high-speed air/fuel ratio meter displaying air/fuel ratios, I had lots to look at. (Not to mention further analog gauges for boost and intake system restriction!) But to say that I was pleased was an understatement – not only was the driveability perfect with the massively modified intake, but with the much more intelligent auto trans and the way in which the intercooling system was working, it was a far sweeter overall package.

And there are three really important points to keep in mind: all these kits will be very, very cheap; all will be easy to make and even easier to wire into the car; and the results that can be achieved are simply outstanding.

At AutoSpeed we’ve already done some groundbreaking high performance automotive electronics. Working in conjunction with eLabtronics, we published in May 2000 the Intelligent Intercooler Water Spray module

Our LED Mixture Meter – another project designed in conjunction with Silicon Chip – was published in June 1999. Both have proved extremely popular with readers, with many thousands of the two modules in use in performance cars the world over.

But I think that the new projects will put these in the shade – it’s no exaggeration to say that these kits will represent the best DIY tools for modifying cars that have ever been seen.

At this stage I can’t tell you any more than that…but if you want a sneak peak, check the just released Jaycar Electronics catalog on pages 12 and 13…

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