This year, we've decided to do something different. Rather than trusting ourselves to answer your mind boggling tech issues--because we're really not that technically proficient--we're going to pull in a few pretty faces to help us out. Surprised? Don't be; they do know a thing or two about the inner workings of a ball bearing turbo, what makes iVTEC fuel efficient and are also willing to aid you with personal issues as well, like whether it's kosher to kiss on a first date or how you can remedy bacne (acne on your back). This month, Pearl Nalani steps in and gives us her take on tech-related issues and why you should never tell your girl that she's fat. Think you can stump us with equally disturbing questions? Please chime in by writing to us at: Super Street, Technical Support, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best questions always receive cool prizes, like Efran Gomez, who scored himself a cold air induction kit from AEM that features the Dryflow filter (www.aempower.com).
What up guys, love the new look of the magazine. I've been emailing Richard Chang for years about doing a feature on my car, but he never replies back. Seriously though, my car is tight. I drive a 1992 twin turbo 300ZX with chrome rims. After my last promotion, I decided to go trade in my Monte Carlo for something a little faster. Got any tips on taking some weight off the car? Also, any tips on how I can let my vieja know that she's gained too much weight since we got married and I'm thinking of going out on her?
Cherry Hill, NJ
Well, the Monte Carlo was already a given, Efran. After all, you are from New Jersey. You also probably carried a switchblade in your boot too, right? I have mixed opinions on the Z32 you drive. Depending on whether you drive a 2+2 or a 2-seater, your car's curb weight is somewhere between 3,300 and 3,600 pounds--and this is for a sports car that was built in the early '90s! Your car definitely needs to go on a diet. Weight reduction will be difficult, so focus on trying to find 16 places to remove an ounce of weight, which will add up to a pound. Splurge for exterior replacement parts made of lightweight composite materials, like new wheels and the hood. Decide how badly you need those power seats and your stereo system. Most of all, try to reduce unsprung weight, such as wheels, tires and brakes to improve dynamic performance. As far as the wifey question--you can never, EVER tell a girl that she's gained weight (that is--without her being offended/hurt). Instead, why don't you divert her attention to something you can both do together that's fun and full of calorie-burning action? Hmmm, how about reliving your honeymoon night, for starters?
I read a lot of magazines and Super Street is my favorite. I drive a 1995 Civic DX with a D-series motor. The car has been pretty great for me, and with a cold air intake and better exhaust system, it has been pretty fun. What do you feel is the next best modification(s) I can make without making the car a ticking time bomb, or too unreliable to use a lot? I need the car to be reliable since I use it for my employment as a sales representative in the delivery department at Domino's. Also, I see all of those hot import models in your magazine. What kind of guy do those girls date, and how do I get to meet one of them?
San Jose, CA
Your car-related question is cute, but we can get to that later. So you seem to suggest that import models are some sort of rare unobtanium and beyond the reasonable grasp of a mere mortal. This could be a self-esteem issue, or maybe you are just leveling with yourself and somehow subconsciously realize that living out of your Civic DX and delivering pizza does not exactly cast you in the role of "great provider" or "baller" role that import models and 98% of all women on the planet are drawn to. I don't think import models are unique female creatures. Sure, the fact that they are too attractive for you means that they will be inclined to roll with someone more attractive, well endowed and more goal-directed than yourself. You can only work on one out of three, and I would focus on pushing yourself to a job that says more about you than "Today, I got tipped twice with weed!" But hey, import models are people too! And to meet one, all you have to do is add her as a friend on MySpace or visit Model Central at HIN. Then you can buy her pictures with your tip money and forever cherish your new "friend" on the wall at Domino's, after checking next week's schedule. How convenient!
As far as your Civic, to improve the power on your car and really not compromise the reliability, consider an engine swap. Yes, this is not the cheapest route, but it shows you are not such a weenie and take your car seriously. Replacing that D-series motor with a larger and more powerful B/K-series will give you a giant horsepower increase and give you an engine that is far more receptive to tuning upgrades and even more power. Honda's B was a great engine that came in many displacements and cemented a reputation for trouble-free service and fuel economy in many Civics and CRXs. The D-engine was never designed for the performance duty of the B-series, which features a better VTEC valvetrain, a genius of a cylinder head and was about as durable a short block as has ever been issued by any car company. The B-series is a great place to start ($$$), and allows you a wider range of upgrades once you get thirsty for more power and need to impress that import model you want to date. So move back in with your parents (if you don't already) and start socking away some cash now.
My boyfriend, R'ondre, and I both drive 2007 Eclipse Spyders. I almost got a used Cavalier droptop, but I got a great deal and friendly credit from his friend at the Mitsu dealership on a base four-cylinder GS model that almost matched his. I drive an automatic and he drives stick. It gets in the way sometimes when we're driving together and I'm feeling frisky on the road, but that's a different story. Sometimes we like to race each other on the street, but it seems like his car is much faster than mine even though we drive the same car. Why does an automatic feel slower than a manual transmission?
Eclipse Spyders are so cute, Vinita! But why are you dating a guy who drives one? There's a difference between a guy who drives a real roadster, like an old Cobra or even one of those high winding Honda S2000s, but men who drive convertibles also typically spend more time getting ready than I do--and I'm a model! It's my job to look great all the time, no matter how long it takes. If a guy only cares about being prettier than you, then don't be surprised if you come home one day to find him in bed spooning with another man. What does he watch on TV? Does he harbor aspirations for interior design? Is his jaw inexplicably sore a couple of times a week? Just concerned for you, sister. Most men have a barometer for what is a chick car and what is not. Sounds like R'ondre's is broken. And why does his name sound like a dancer in a male revue? Good luck with that.
Your automatic is slower for a couple of reasons. Even though both Spyders are equipped with the same engine, the automatic presents more parasitic power loss. In a nutshell, there is engine power lost in just trying to run the torque converter and transmission gears in an automatic. Plus, the "feeling of engagement" is controlled by the stall speed on the torque converter which is usually not designed for "speed contest" style driving. The automatic also has a bit of a weight penalty versus a manual transmission. The clutch and direct dear setup of a manual represents less powertrain loss than an automatic with torque converter and fluid-soaked operation.