AutoSpeed in 2014

Posted on October 4th, 2013 in AutoSpeed,Driving Emotion,Hybrid Power by Julian Edgar

Well, it’s an exciting automotive time for me.

I’ve been working hard on a project – turbocharging my little Honda Insight – that’s going to result in a whole bunch of interesting DIY AutoSpeed stories in 2014.

Yes, even if you’ve no particular interest in turbo’ing a hybrid!

So what sort of stories then?

Well, first off the rank, I’ve bought a TIG welder and have been learning how to drive it. I must say that it’s been a very steep learning curve: despite having experience in both MIG and gas welding, TIG’ing aluminium is a dramatic step up. I’d expect some time in 2014 to write a story about learning how to TIG weld – in the mean time, I’ve done a story for AutoSpeed on making a welding trolley to hold the unit and its gas cylinder.

One of the things I’ve been welding is a water/air intercooler heat exchanger. The Honda will use the intercooler to maintain a constant inlet air temp (eg 35 degrees C ) – not just to cool the air when on boost. This is likely to require passing engine coolant through the heat exchanger following start-up on cold days, transitioning to working as a standalone heat sink, then in hot ambient conditions to working as a conventional cooler with pump and front-radiator. The aim is to achieve best fuel economy, as well as avoid detonation caused by high intake air temps.

I’ve also made a new airbox, taking an unusual approach that is easy to build and uses a widely available, paper filter element. The result flows well, is compact and can be adapted in size and configuration as required for the particular application.

To connect the turbo to the intercooler and then the throttle body I need new intake plumbing – and I’ve been making that as well. I chose to use mild steel mandrel bends – and I’ve made a simple tool to place a bead on the ends of the tubes to stop the hoses blowing off. We’ll be covering the tool, that uses a hydraulic press to power it, in a story in 2014.

Not yet made as I write this, but on the list of things to do, is a new exhaust system. I want to incorporate something I’ve long admired – a variable flow exhaust valve. I’ve got one sitting on the shelf (taken, from all things, a Ferrari rear muffler!) and I’d like to be able to integrate it near the rear of the car.

Driving the engine will be a MoTeC M400 – initially I’ll be controlling fuel, spark, EGR, VTEC changeover and turbo boost. Sitting in the same box near my desk as I type is also a MoTeC CDL3 dash – it will be displaying as many bits of information as I can configure into it.

I’d like to later integrate electronic throttle control – but one step at a time.

And what of the ‘hybridness’ of the car? Longer term, I’d like to use a new li-ion battery pack and controller, potentially over-rating the 10kW electric motor for short term bursts. But initially at least, the car will run as just a turbo three cylinder without the hybrid system operating.

My ultimate aim is to maintain the car’s  unbelievably good fuel economy and have up to 40 per cent more power.

On a different topic, over Christmas and New Year I expect to be in Germany for a month – as we did this year for the UK, I believe that will result in some very interesting tech stories.

2014 is AutoSpeed’s 16th year of publication – it looks like there will be plenty of interesting content!

8 Responses to 'AutoSpeed in 2014'

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  1. Ben Powell said,

    on October 4th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Ha you always did say that the Insight would be a good thing to modify conventionally…

    As for the hybrid systems, there are some ‘interceptors’ that blur the line between interceptor and stand alone management. They alter injector pulsewidth directly and can do things like clamp the original MAP sensor signal (they have their own on-board), alter rpm limits, control boost, and so on. Perhaps someone who still has a functioning hybrid system would be best to use one of these? I mean there’s no opportunity to over-power the electric motor, but it looks like it would be easier to integrate with the stock Honda systems.

  2. Glen said,

    on October 4th, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Just wanted to say I’m really looking forward to reading about your journey with turbocharging the Honda insight, I’ve been reading Autospeed for about 5 years; its taught me a lot and really encouraged me to think outside the box. Keep up the good work!

  3. DAVID Z said,

    on October 10th, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I would like you to do road tests of new vehicles again, you are THE best hard hitting and most honest tester in this land

  4. Julian Edgar said,

    on October 11th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you David, but there is zero chance of that happening!

  5. Greg J said,

    on October 15th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Hi. I see you’re interested in looking at variable flow exhausts. While not quite the same, a couple of years ago now, when watching the F1 they were talking about the exhuast being used to improve certain aerodynamic aspects of the car and I wondered if that idea could be translated to a road car. Could the postion of the exhaust outlet be used to either reduce the drag of the car or increase power (opposite of ram air) or both?

  6. Roland said,

    on October 15th, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    That’s great news since you even have readers over here in Germany 😉 In case you get to Berlin during your travel don’t forget to visit the ‘Meilenwerk classic remise’ in Sickingenstraße where lots of most expensive and unusual old cars are stored and shown. Or just give me a hint 😉

  7. Ross Wonderley said,

    on October 16th, 2013 at 4:00 pm


    I liked your article about using pots as adjustable voltage dividers. I’ve seen a similar technique used to correct rough running in a friends motorcycle by altering the output of the temperature sensor.

    In the second part of your article, you describe using a pot set permanently to halfway to divide the voltage down to 2.5V.

    You could achieve the same thing more reliably (assuming you want the centre voltage to be fixed) and cheaply by substituting two 5k fixed value resistors for the 10K pot 1. One resistor between +5v and the wiper of pot 2 and one from the wiper of pot 2 to ground. This would evenly split the voltage to the same fixed value without the risk of being nudged out of adjustment and would be accurate to within 2% if you used 1% resistors.

  8. Mike said,

    on October 17th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Julian,
    If you are going to Germany, you will never forgive yourself unless you allow at least a full day to visit the Sinsheim Car and Technology Museum. You can get an indication of what I mean by going to .
    I guarantee that it will blow your mind!