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The Street - Readers Rides

Readers' Rants, Raves & Rides

Dec 5, 2006
0603_sccp_01_z+the_street+dodge_srt_4 Photo 1/1   |   The Street - Readers Rides

This month's winner is Eric Grassman.For his troubles, he'll receive enough Mothers car cleaning goodies to satisfy the most anal, white-glove-wearing, concourse-cruising flock of showcar weenies anywhere. Mothers' new FX Line of car care products is among the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art wheel cleaners and waxes available today.

Eric will receive:* FX SynWax * FX Tire Shine* FX Wheel Cleaner* FX Spray Wax

Mods: Mopar stage one blow-off valve, Forward Motion WGA, K&N drop-in filter, Magnacore 8.5mm spark plug wires, DC Sports 3-inch cat-back exhaust with 4-inch tips, NGK Iridium spark plugs, Hotchkis powering springs, sway bars, and front and rear strut-tower braces, Tokico Illumina shocks, 5Zigen 17x7.5-inch gloss black FN01R-Cs, Michelin Pilot Sport 225/45R-17 tires and Carbon by Design splitter, eyelids and lettering.

Eric says: " Running 17 lbs boost netted me 266/288 torque and horsepower to the wheels-enough power to spank a few rice rockets and still get 22mpg."

Submit pictures of your car to "The Street" and if we pick yours as the ride of the month, we'll send you a boxful of Mothers car care products. Or maybe a pile of smashed slalom pylons.

Just give us what we need. First, send high-resolution images (1200x1600 pixels minimum). Make sure your individual file size weighs between 400 and 500kb.

Second, we need information: performance mods as well as the year, make and model of your car. Don't forget your full name and location. And provide us contact information-an e-mail address and phone number. Tell us why your car rules and don't be afraid to be long-winded; we love to edit. Prizes shipped within continental United States only. No P.O. boxes.

* Mail electronic submissions to sccnews@primedia.com. Alternatively, you can send a CD or prints via snail mail to:Sport Compact CarAttn: Reader's Ride2400 Katella Ave., 11th FloorAnaheim, CA 92806

SmokeBurnout of the MonthOwner: Will ParksLocation: memphis, TNWill says: "Here's my '04 Scion xB doing a burnout at Nopi Memphis this year. I was in a runoff with an older Mustang GT that somehow won."We say: Who says you can't do a burn-out in a lunchbox?

Gotmail?OK, wise-ass, so you need some space to vent. Here it is. Direct letters to the editor to sccnews@primedia.com and we'll do our best to come up with a snide response. Or completely ignore you. But hey, at least you've got a voice.

Long GoodbyesAs a longtime SCC reader, I can say that we are truly loosing a hero with the departure of Josh Jacquot. I was ecstatic last year when he took the then-faltering pages of SCC back in the right direction and have been amazed at the fantastic changes he made. What makes Josh is a hero is what he alluded to in his "Last Column." It seems working for SCC was, to him, not really a job and therefore, he could devote to it a level of passion normally unseen in the "work place." I too share this passion for all things automotive and love wrenching on and diagnosing cars. I can't see myself doing anything that doesn't involve the automotive industry. Without cars, work would just be, well, too much work. Thanks Josh for all the laughs, tips for fighting tickets, and tongue knots trying to pronounce your name while bench-racing with buddies.Joel KallgrenMt. Vernon, WA

I'm saddened to see Josh Jacquot leave SCC. Jacquot brought so many great changes to the magazine in such a short time-more tech articles, better features and less irrelevant crap. I can only hope that his successor doesn't screw up and take the mag in a different direction.

That said, I think the January issue was the best yet! It's about time you started printing new articles such as Test Bench and Buyers Guide. I couldn't believe how many great tech articles there were. Keep them coming!Shaun YasakiFrom the Internet

Time To DistanceOK, you guys need to include 60-foot times with any 1/4-mile test results. 60-foot times are a very big part of the 1/4 E.T., but I know that you guys already know that. The only thing I can't figure out is why you guys don't include that information in your 1/4-mile test results.Jay MarkusFrom the Internet

Rufies in the USCCI was wondering the why USCC shootouts never feature, oh say, a Porsche, tuned by a company like RUF? Is it a problem of too many cylinders? The Supra sports 6 cyl, so that can't be it. Maybe it's the fact it has a rear-engine design? Well, the mid-engine MR2 was featured. Maybe it's the turbocharging or its flat-engine configuration. But wait, the Suby has a turbo boxer engine. That can't be it either. Is it that you are afraid the Skyline won't prevail, especially when you consider the Porsche would probably be a better daily driver in the end? Or hey, maybe you already answered this question and I'm just dumb. Let me know. Oh, and if you say its because its a European car, well present the Audi... so lets hear it.Jacob MeyerBurlington, VT

RUF Porsche? Bring it on! -Ed

Give Us DomesticsLay off the Hondas and Subarus for a minute and write me some articles on the new Chevy Cobalt. I recently purchased one and it is a very stable car with a torquey motor that seems to have good aftermarket potential. I would like to see articles that concentrate on the suspension components and handling aspects of the car-where it is lacking the most. As a true car enthusiast and not just a Japanese car lover, I would also like more articles on domestics such as the new Saturn Sky or Pontiac GTO. Don't say they aren't "Sport Compacts" because neither are the Supras, NSXs, or the Skylines you love so much. I love all kinds of cars, show me how they react to your aftermarket treatment and crazy driving techniques.Dave PereiraFrom the Internet

We don't discriminate. All "sport compacts" are welcome here. Keep your eyes open.

Accusations of RiceTwo Evo's in your USCC article. One totally badass with huge horsepower and mods galore and one ho-hum Evo with a couple mods and which one do you have the most pictures of? The Riced-out one with the stickers on the side. Boring! Show us pics of the cool one! You guys must be ricers at heart.Jay JochecFrom the Internet

25 Ways to Live Like a Car GuyThe "25 ways to live like a car guy" article in the January issue was great. After reading it I realized I had already accomplished 5 of the 25, (buy a beater, powerslide, watch a short-track event, modify your car the day before an event, and last but certainly not least, jump your car) all just because I had the chance. Needless to say, when I heard about the "The Eve of Devastation" event at our local track, I had to enter. I took my '88 MX6, gutted it, and then removed the exhaust and spray painted it. It was the most fun I've ever had, competing in the forwards/backwards race, spectator race, and the jump contest. It was the first time I've ever been to any track, let alone raced on one. Just wanted to let you know the other 20 ways are now on my to do list, and keep up the great work.Matt HeimlichStevens Point, WI

Love Letter of the MonthFirst off, I have to say that you guys are a godsend. You're the one thing that keeps me going at work and the always-needed bathroom read. I have learned things from SCC that you can't in a classroom. Just want to thank you guys for being the best friend I always wanted but never had. Keep up the good work!Jonathan MarionOrlando, FlFrom the Internet

Dear DaveDirect "Dear Dave" tech letters to dave@eyesoreracing.com. Coleman will share mind-numbing details, earth-shattering revelations and technical nerdisms in this space each month.Can you stump the geek?

Is that a Bernoulli in your pocket?A few days ago, I got into the age-old argument that backpressure (meaning small diameter exhaust pipes) equals bottom end torque. I was well prepared for this argument with Bernoulli in my back pocket. I tried to explain that the small diameter tubing would increase the exhaust velocity meaning there would be less backpressure at low RPM, but would become a bottleneck at high RPM and increase backpressure.

The inverse goes for larger pipes, at low RPM the velocity is down so backpressure builds until higher RPM where the larger pipe with more gaseous fumes will increase velocity and lower backpressure. I realize that this has probably been addressed a thousand times, but this old wives' tale has to be killed off.Rob KingPittsburgh, PA

I can't sort out which side of the argument you and your pocket Bernoulli come down on this issue, but backpressure does not increase torque.

Here's the phenomenon in a nutshell: Exhaust doesn't go out your exhaust pipe in a steady flow. At the tailpipe, after several cubic feet of pipes and mufflers, it's reasonably constant, but in the exhaust port it's a different story. Every two revolutions, the exhaust valve opens, some air is pushed out, then the valve closes and the air has to stop. During the closing of the exhaust valve there is an opportunity.

If you imagine the cylinder full of air that just got pumped into to the exhaust as a solid, it will be a big tube, or column, of air. This air column has some inertia, so it isn't terribly thrilled about having to stop when the valve closes. As the valve starts closing, the air column tries to keep going. This inertia can be used to help suck the last of the exhaust out of the cylinder. And because the intake valve is starting to open as the exhaust valve closes, this sucking alsohelps start the flow of fresh combustibles into the cylinder.

Inertia is 1/2MV2 so increasing the V (velocity) of the air column is the best way to increase inertia. Make the exhaust pipe smaller, and jamming the same amount of air through it will require one of two things. Either that air will have to get compressed to fit into the smaller pipe (that's backpressure) or it will have to go faster to all get through in time.

In reality, both things happen. With relatively low exhaust flow at low rpm, the velocity helps scavenge the cylinder. At higher rpm, though, it takes too much energy to make the exhaust go fast enough, and backpressure starts to build.

Generations of hot-rodders have seen the small pipe/big torque phenomenon and wrongly assumed it was the backpressure causing the low-rpm benefit.

The whole air column inertia thing really only applies to the header primaries anyway. As you get farther down the exhaust, the air doesn't really have to stop when the valve closes, so its velocity is irrelevant. Bigger, at that point, is better at any rpm. There is a point where a bigger pipe won't help any more, but you can't boost torque by going smaller.

Lawnmower ManI'm 18 and have recently purchased the car I have wanted since the eighth grade, a Nissan 240SX. Because I've been saving money since the sixth grade, I now have some money to start working on my car. I was planning on buying 57C or 57S Gram Lights for my car. Would you recommend these rims? I don't want to spend too much money, but I want to have a strong rim.

I've been following Project Silvia, and plan on copying everything that seems to perform the best, but I do have a few questions. In the July '05 issue, you mentioned switching coilovers. I thought the JIC FLT-A2 coilovers sounded great but were just too harsh on the bumpy roads. Is that right? I was wondering if you have found a new coilover yet and if it performed just as well. (Something compatible with the EDFC or the TEAS would be cool.) The town I live in has really bad roads, due to frost heave and snowplows, so I'm very interested in a softer setup.

You were also going to get a different front anti-roll bar because it interfered with your oil pan. What bar are you using now?

I also noticed that you are now using 235/40ZR-17 Toyo Proxes RA-1 tires. Were the smaller (225) Falkens not enough tire?

Would you still recommend a 38mm offset with the wider tire?

I plan to start working on my car in the spring because it's in storage. Here in Duluth, Minnesota, it can be pretty difficult to drive a 240 up the steep, snowy hills, even with 100 pounds of sand and two friends in the hatch. Will project Silvia's handling stay the same with the softer coilovers or handle better with the wider tires? Hopefully you will have this sorted out by spring so I can copy you.

I would like to buy coilovers only once, since my main income is from mowing lawns.Ryan BradleyDuluth, MN

I've driven a few cars with Gram Lights, but haven't done anything dumb enough with them to be able to comment on their strength. Rays tends to build strong wheels, so I suspect you'd be fine. Gram Lights are actually not all that light, but any wheel that is both extremely light and cast aluminum is gonna get bent in Minnesota. On a lawn care income like yours, waiting for a sale on Gram Lights might be a good plan.

The JICs are still on Project Silvia, they still work brilliantly on the track, and they're still a little on the rough side for the street. I'm not confident you can maintain this level of handling with a cushier ride, unless you step up to a more expensive, double-adjustable, remote reservoir setup, so that's where I'm planning to dump my next big bucket of cash. A master of the green like you should probably take a cheaper route. KYB AGX shocks are surprisingly cheap and work pretty well. Combine them with the tallest, stiffest lowering springs you can find (too low and the bump stops will ruin your handling) and a good set of adjustable anti-roll bars and you should have a decent rough-road setup that can still be dialed in to handle.

The Whiteline anti-roll bar is still there, and with a half-inch of scrap steel jammed under pivot bushing mounts to lower the bar, it manages to clear the Tomei pan. The solution is not ideal, but it works well enough for this lazy mofo.

Were the Falkens enough tire? Is there such a thing as enough? For the money, they were unbeatable, but the old Azenis Sport RT215 has been discontinued and the new RT615 is both more expensive and stickier. All else being equal, I would have gone to the RT615, but I had to put the hurt on Kojima's Project 300ZX TT, and R-compound tires were a necessary step. The change in size is just because Toyo doesn't make an RA-1 in 225/45-17.

The wider tires rub just a bit in the top of the front wheelwells under hard cornering and extreme compression; dropping down the corkscrew at Laguna Seca, for example. As for whether 225s were enough, that's impossible to answer. They were great until I stepped up to something stickier. Now that I've experienced the insane grip and flexible breakaway of the RA-1, though, I can't go back to street tires.

The exact offset will be a little different with AGXs instead of coilovers, as the non-coilover strut has a smaller diameter and the spring perch hangs over the tire. Wish I could be more specific for you, but offset selection sucks. My solution is usually to err on the side of higher offset and use high-quality spacers and longer wheel studs if I need the wheels farther out. If you use too low an offset, there's no way to move the wheel inboard.

Contact UsLetters to the EditorOur e-mail address is sccnews@primedia.com.Our fax number is (714) 978-6390.

Mailing AddressSport Compact Car2400 Katella Ave. 11th Floor, Anaheim, CA 92806Letters must contain the author's full name, address and home telephone number.Letters may be edited for content and/or length.

Staff E-MailJay Chen, Engineering Editorjay.chen@primedia.comJames Tate, Associate Senior Editorjames.tate@primedia.comTi Tong, Art Directorti.tong@primedia.comDave Coleman, Geek-at-Largedave@eyesoreracing.com

Don't just sit there. If you want the honor of being chosen for Burnout of the Month, get off your ass and destroy some rubber. E-mail proof of the rubber-roasting destruction to us at sccnews@primedia.com. Or you can mail a slide or print to SCC Burnouts, 2400 katella ave. 11th floor, anaheim, CA 92806.

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