Where We Cure All Your Tech Problems
Life is full of mystery and wonder; cars just add to that confusion. Stumped on a technical issue or just can't figure out what to do with your ride? We're here to help guide the way. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to us at Super Street, c/o Tech Support, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Question Of The Month
Q Let me tell you that it was Super Street that made me pick the ride I have. It was your articles on the 2003 EVO VIII that made me choose it over the STI. And I have to tell you that this was my first import car and I love it. But it is coming up on 60,000 miles and it's time to do some work on it. I'm going to be changing out the timing belt. I'm thinking about using a GReddy Extreme timing belt; is this one you would use? Two at the same time, then I change this out. I was thinking of going to HKS adjustable cam gears. But I have to tell you I really don't know what I gain by doing this. Could you please fill me in on the advantages of going with a set of adjustable cam gears? And do you think this is something I should do?
Via the Internet
A There are some cars that just ask to be driven hard; the Evo is one of those cars. The GReddy Extreme timing belt is something we would recommend. Although it's not a necessary upgrade, it will give you some added peace of mind-knowing that you have a quality belt protecting your engine. The HKS cam gears are cool parts. However, we don't recommend it unless your engine is highly modified. The Evo responds amazingly well to a free flowing intake and exhaust. If you're past this point and starting to build the top end of the engine, then the cam gears should be considered-along with upgrading the camshafts. Think of the cam gears as a tuning item. They will allow you to fine tune your engine, but don't expect to see large power gains from this modification-especially on a stock engine.
Q I have a tech question concerning my '93 Skyline R33 GTS Type-M. I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I imported the car from Japan through Canada and it's fully legal with NHSTA. If I were in Cali it would be different. I'm trying to track down a suspension components that will be track capable; the question is what components are compatible with the GTS? A few of the local shops have said it's easier to source suspension components for a GTR but they don't know about the GTS. Is there a difference and if so, what do I need to look for? Any help and suggestions are appreciated at this point. Thanks and keep up the great work!
St. Louis, Missouri
A Although we can get parts easily here in Cali, it is near impossible to get a legal Skyline into this state anymore. From what we know about the compatibility of the two models (GT-R vs. GTS), we'd recommend sourcing parts designed specifically for the GTS. Keep in mind that the GT-R uses a full subframe in the front while the GTS only has a basic engine crossmember (like the S13/S14). As the suspension components attach to the crossmember (or subframe) parts between the GT-R and GTS are not likely to interchange. In fact, for the tension rod, you can probably use one designed for the S14-as long as it's adjustable. When it comes to coilovers, the AWD GT-R will require different spring and damping rates than the FR platform of the GTS. The only exception would be if you had an AWD GTS-4. Contact TEIN USA (www.tein.com); it lists a coilover system specifically for the GTS (special order). Although its listing only shows the ECR-33 chassis back to 1995, we believe that part number should fit your application. Contact its sales department for more information and to see if they have any other parts available for your application.
Q I have a question that's always been bothering me. Everyone knows that when you have a turbocharged car you're supposed to use synthetic oil and high octane gasoline. Yet I see these old Volvos and Saabs and their drivers are putting regular octane gasoline into their cars and going 200,000-plus miles without any problems! How is this possible? If you use lower octane gas, won't that cause the car to detonate? Do the Swedish know something about cars that we don't? Thanks guys and great magazine!
Via the Internet
A Have you ever been to Ikea? The Swedes are excellent engineers. Actually, the formula is quite simple. Build a turbo engine with low compression and low boost pressure and retard the timing; it can run reliably on low octane fuel. The car might not be fast, but it should hold together. For those of us who want more power, the formula is higher boost and a more aggressive timing curve. Unfortunately, this requires higher octane to keep things from blowing up.
Q I follow your magazine like a religion, and I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I've got a twin turbo '96 Mitsubishi GTO (or 3000gt, whatever you wanna call it) with a DOHC V6 24v engine and I'm totally in love with it. However, the car has an insane amount of power, which is only helped by the after-cat and cold air intake. It runs at about 350 bhp on the dyno, and I need more control in it. What are some inexpensive ways to get this car back under control? I love the car, but I've been pulled over twice for going "too fast" and I've crashed it twice because it wouldn't turn or stop in time. Some cheap control help would be greatly appreciated. I'll hire you guys a stripper or something. Please?
Via the Internet
A A stripper? Remember, our address is listed above. If you've crashed twice and keep getting tickets, our best advice would be to attend a high performance driving school. A good driver can make a Kia from Hertz go fast. Unless there is something wrong with your GTO, your problem is not likely to be solved by bolting on some Brembo calipers and a racing suspension. These parts will only cause you to crash at a higher speed. You obviously have a craving to out-drive the car. If you can't afford driving school, find a club that offers open track days (HPDE events) and sign up. Nasaproracing.com and speedventures.com are a couple organizations that offer such events. Once you learn proper driving techniques and the limits of your car, you will not only gain control of the beast, but you'll also become a faster driver. The ticket problem is on you-unless you want to put a speed limiter on your car.
Q Since you guys are "all knowing" when it comes to cars I thought I would ask: Why are the late 80's Toyota Corollas called AE86? I thought that it was only for the '86 year models, but when I was reading the '07 November issue tech questions, the '87 year model was also called the AE86. You guys also said something about an AE92; what's the whole story about the Corollas and what does AE stand for?
Via the Internet
A Thanks for the compliment. Now we can go home to our wives/girlfriends thinking we are "omniscient" only to get kicked to the curb. This is actually a good question. Historically, Toyota designated the Corolla with the chassis code "E." For this reason, any Corolla ever built will have an "E" in its code. The "A" is a code for the engine family (3A, 4A). That's why every Toyota produced with the 4A series engine will have the "A" engine code. For instance, the first generation MR2 (with the 4AGE) is known as the "AW11." The "86" in AE86 does not refer to any specific year. Instead, it signifies the generation of the chassis. For instance, when Toyota switched the Corolla GT-S to a FWD platform in the late 80's, it was called the AE92. It still had the 4A engine "A," was a Corolla "E" and was given the generation code of 92.
Q I currently own a '97 Dodge Neon and I'm running a stock 2.0L engine with an SRT-4 turbo setup. It runs great but, my question is this. I have been thinking about rebuilding my motor. I was thinking of boring the block out and going with a better bottom and top end, maybe have the head ported and polished. But would it be in my best interest to swap in the actual SRT-4 2.4L engine instead? There are a few first-gen Neons running this setup, and it's relatively easy to do. I don't want my car to be like everyone else's; I like to be different. Please help! Thanks for the awesome magazine, I never miss an issue!
A It sounds like you already know what you want to do. You just want someone to help you justify it. You're in luck, because we agree with you on doing the swap. If you're past the level of the turbocharged 2.0, you might as well step up to the SRT-4 2.4L. The extra displacement will be quite noticeable and it has proven to be a stout engine. Building the 2.0 could be interesting, but in the end, you will likely wish that you had done the SRT-4 swap. This swap is not for everyone. We'd only recommend it to someone who has some experience wrenching. If you can afford it, we say you do it. Whichever route you choose, be sure to give us an update when you're done.