This month's guest columnists are the one-two punch of Tracy Nova and Talia Sundseth, offering insight on car topics as well helping to unlock the secrets of love and relationship bliss. Stump our knowledgeable staff of beautiful, technically proficient lovelies and win totally awesome gear for doing it. Albee Buenavista got at us with a size problem, and receives a set of stainless brake lines from Goodridge (www.goodridge.com)-but remember kids, it's not the size of the turbo, but how you spool it (har!). Pulling no punches, offering service with a smile and small slice of 'tude, here are Tracy and Talia to answer some mail.
Want to win some cool prizes of your own? Then stop asking us questions on MySpace and direct them to email@example.com. Living with dial up? Snail mail letters to Super Street, c/o Tech Q&A, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Question Of The Month
Q In celebrating the success of my own printing business, my wife allowed me to indulge in a toy and purchase a 1988 Celica All Trac. I love this car's uniqueness and handling, so I did some research to find some performance mods for it and came across an XS Engineering exhaust and downpipe and a Forge Motorsports blow off valve. I also went online and found a T3/T4 Turbonetics turbocharger. The package also includes an OE CT26 turbo with a new ceramic compressor and turbine wheels. Do you guys think this is good idea? My friend told me to go with a Garrett GT3076R. I don't know much about turbo size, and I want something to keep the lag down, but also big enough to give me good power. This whole turbocharger issue has me pondering "size" questions so much that my wife snickers about.
What should I do?
Albee BuenavistaFlushing Meadows, NJ
A Provided that the rest of the motor is sound, you should try to go with the Garrett turbo on the stock cast iron exhaust manifold if possible. Of course, the other major consideration would be the intercooler upgrade and, in this case, a front mounted air-to-air intercooler. Consider at least a head gasket replacement to a tri-metal style gasket if you are going to run more than 10 psi of boost on what should be a higher mileage engine by now. Size of turbo does not matter as much as the construction and its ability to boost quickly. The reduced lag is what will make your smaller AWD vehicle the most fun to drive. You need to leave the size issues to us girls. Yes, it matters. Herbal medications, enlarging pumps and special oils are all hoo-ey. If your wife is going to tease you about size, remind her how effective you can be as the "angry inch." If she still complains, call the plumber.
Q My boyfriend and I are on the verge of breaking up because of his car and I need your help! Bryce just bought a '01 VW Cabriolet without telling me. I just came home one day and he was all giddy about this used car he bought "so we could take little weekend trips together." He says we can have so much fun "tanning in it together!" What happened? Where did I go wrong? He drove an old Honda Prelude when we met, and there was no hint of this. There are now way more hair products in his bathroom than before, and he listens to Avril Lavigne on his iPod now. Do you girls know of any kind of performance modifications I can possibly do to this car to make it more manly? And maybe something that will rub off on him as well? JennaSan Jose, CA
A Well, Jenna, there are lots of really effective dating sites on the internet that can peddle real men. Perhaps a Samoan, or maybe a recent convict might work out better? So much pent up testosterone, you know. So it sounds like he bought the VW for himself, but tried to portray it as a gift to you? We would like to believe that. Do you catch him at home watching Lifetime or the Oxygen Network? Look, this could not have been a surprise to you. He probably seemed stylish in his Prelude days, and you thought he had boy band CDs from long before. There should be a fairly anemic 2.0-liter, 115 horse engine under that hood. There was no turbo available, and why would there be? Who would buy the sorority sister staff car looking for performance? Consider this a blessing. You found out sooner. Why would you want to modify a car without a roof? Any additional power, not that there is much room to increase the output, would be lost on the twist-o-flex chassis (Twist-o-flex, yes reminds me of this very gifted gymnast I dated -TN). One day, Bryce will take you on one of those weekend drives that ends in the parking lot of a spa, and at that moment, you will know what must be done.
Q I am a 26-year-old aspiring DJ and drive a '96 Ford Probe GT. I've had this car since high school, so it has a lot of history and memories for me. Ten years ago, I had a $4,000 stereo system installed, which was top of the line at the time. The car is very reliable and I still like its looks. A few years ago, I had a body kit installed and the badges removed so very few people are able to identify this car, which is dope. The only problem is that there are not so many parts available for modifying Probes. One upside to the car is that it gets killer gas mileage (I drive a lot), so I don't know if I want a turbo or supercharger, or if it would be very practical. Also, I would like to get your thoughts on the KLZE engine swap and if that is hard to accomplish now. How rare are those swaps in the United States? Will I have a harder time servicing a KLZE modified car? Yet I am still holding on to my goal of this car being a feature in a magazine in the future. What do you suggest?
Via the Internet
A As you know, the '93-97 Ford Probe and the Mazda MX6 share identical drivetrains. The Probe was built in Flat Rock, Michigan, alongside the Mazda MX6. The Probe GT was equipped with 2.5-liter, 164 horsepower V6 engine. In Japan, the Mazda MX6 offered the higher performance KLZE 2.5-liter V6 engine rated at 198 horsepower. Not we that we can endorse engine suppliers or installers, but if you hit up an internet search for Mazda KLZE engine, you will find several U.S. suppliers and installers for this JDM engine. You will need to get the engine, and the computer and related wiring that will allow you to run it in your Probe. The KLZE achieves its increases output with more aggressive camshafts, higher compression and a larger port intake manifold. The engine is a direct replacement for the 2.5 currently in your Probe. The engine can be swapped into the car using factory mounts, exhaust manifolds and other bits. The key here is that nothing needs to be custom made for this swap. The engine will provide greater output in stock form, and a few bolt-ons, such as an intake pipe and free-flowing exhaust, will make a bit more than 200hp without any sacrifice in reliability. You should have no harder time servicing the KLZE than the stock KL03 because only a few major components are different, such as pistons, cams and intake manifold. These will not need replacement until you will likely need to replace the engine. Oil servicing and maintenance should not differ for the KLZE. As for a magazine feature, we suggest just enjoying your car and not making the feature such a priority. If you are hell bent on getting in the magazine, perhaps consider a Readers' Rides picture with a hot chick in a bikini posing in front of the car. Editors love that, but just don't send in a Polaroid.
I like probes, too. Just not the kind that gets shoved up my poop chute.