It's All In The Interpretation
I can't believe Les Bidrawn's idiot comment "Every time an SUV drives to the mall, a little more polar icecap melts, water rises, people are displaced, baby seals go hungry, butterflies die..."-and this is all from the 'propaganda machine' (Resonator, April '08). I guess the scientists are wrong and the non-scientist Republicans know it all. I find these comments sickening. Bidrawn should stick to cars, not politics.
This man doesn't get it. -LB
Regarding the April '08 Resonator and the quote "Every time an SUV drives to the mall..." What a hoot. I do agree with you that we don't need to squander resources, but I'm surprised you didn't point out that every time an SUV goes to the mall, it's one less gallon of gas that we get to use on the track. Personally, I drive a Fit (which, by the way, gets better mpg than the ForTwo and is way bigger). That way, I save money and feel no guilt driving a 400-hp car when the weather is good. Why is it that folks who don't make a living with tools feel the burning desire to tool around in a Fleetside Pickup or a Dummer anyway? I can hardly make any connection to the ego with one of those goofy things. I don't expect an answer to that one.
This man does. -LB
I have a 1999 Passat 1.8T. The engine is shot and the automatic tranny needs to go. I'm going to replace the 1.8T and I was wondering if I can I swap out the tranny with a five-speed. What other components would I need to finish it out? What do you think this should cost me?
Converting a 1999 Passat from an automatic to manual is a fairly straightforward process-everything will be a direct bolt-on. You'll need all of the parts from the manual transmission setup including the transmission, pedal assembly, clutch, linkage, etc. You will also have to recode the ECU so the computer won't be looking for the automatic tranny. As far as cost, it's hard to give a concrete number. We suggest shopping around local dealers or junkyards.
Of Chips And Flashing
Your article about chipping a Jetta TDI (Proven, April '08) compelled me to write to you. In your notes you indicate that dealers use manipulative questioning to uncover stealth mods like chips or re-flashes. The truth is that dealers represent manufacturers, and if they warranty something that was caused by a chip they will be charged for the repair. I agree that chipping in general today is rarely a problem, especially with the '06 Jetta TDI. The problem is with chipping's past, such as with Audi's turbo 2.7-liter, where increased boost tended to blow up the stock turbos. Not coming clean about aftermarket mods, be they liquid, electrical or mechanical, does more harm than good. I know because I'm a technician. I encourage my customers to level with me, because I'm here to help them.VW especially is not out to void warranties because of chipping or flashing. It is the cause of failure that determines eligibility for warranty coverage. Remember, it's the past that caused the present to be this way. Why don't we all just be honest?
Anonymous master tech
San Francisco, CA
Your points are well taken. Thanks for keeping us honest.
Art For Auto's Sake
I'd like to thank you for publishing Kevin Clemens' column in the April issue. As you may imagine, this exhibit is very dear to me and my goal is producing the world's largest independent automotive art show. As it stands, we have well over 50 artists participating. Check out their website at www.hopkinsmn.com/_hca/velocity.html for the most current information. I would like to personally invite you to attend the opening weekend, and I hope to meet you in person.
The Art of Motion
I own a 1984 944 NA. I suggest you guys take a 944 NA, make some performance mods on it, and then dyno each step, like you do in the Proven section. I've been talking to different shops near me and they say there's not too much you can do, the factory squeezed what they could out of it. I don't buy it. These are great cars and I bet a lot of your readers would love to see some coverage on tuning them.
We'll pass the request on to project editor Mazlumian. It might be a hard sell, though, given his sordid turbo fetish.
What a hoot to read my letter among the others in the April 2008 issue. Thanks for the favor. But thanks especially for putting me under Heidi Klum. I knew she liked it on top and I do, too!
Larry Stoneman, Reader for Life
St. Louis, MO
No problem, thanks for the great letters.
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