I read your magazine for the first time last week and I applaud your presentation and writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the magazine, and I loved the concise information and interesting articles, which were devoid of any undeserving praise or bad recommendations. I was wondering if you have or will be doing any articles on budget performance? I am 17 and I am looking for a good car to take to college. My current '96 Camry inline-4 four door doesn't quite cut it in the performance area, and it doesn't seem like a good base to do many modifications on. What cars should I be looking at to get a decently priced, but still nice, ride started? I will probably want to spend less than $15,000 on the car itself. I would have to spend less, but if I get good scholarships my parents are going to buy me a car for college.
Nathan P.-via the Internet
I am glad you enjoy reading Turbo and we thank you for your feedback. Before you make the decision of purchasing a car it's important that you do your homework. First you have to determine what type of car you want: four-door, two-door, coupe, hatchback, T-top, convertible, etc. Also you need to consider what type of driving conditions the vehicle will be exposed to. A two-seater sports car would probably be a bad idea if it snows five-months out of the year. If you're looking for a car in the $15,000 range, there are several cars you can choose from. Our first choice would probably be a Subaru WRX. You can find a three-year old model for around $10,000, which leaves you with $5,000 to fix up your car. The WRX has tremendous potential and with the right performance parts the car can be extremely quick. Our second choice would be a Honda S2000. Getting into a used S2000 will probably take up your $15,000 budget, but the car is a pleasure to drive. Something about having the top-down and the engine singing to 9000 rpm just makes your adrenaline flow. Our final choice would be a used Nissan 350Z. Prices for the 350 have been on a slow decline and if you look hard enough you can probably pick one up within your budget. The 350Z is a pocket-rocket out of the box; and with some suspension mods, the car will eat up the track. Hope that helps and good luck.
As the current owner of a WRX Wagon, I couldn't help but to be drawn to your "JDM Power Wagons" article in the July '06 issue. Talk about a difference in tuning philosophies, it's hard to imagine they both came from the same company. Lots of companies offer different stages of tuning, but it is the exteriors of these cars that surprised me. Most of the time tuner companies have a set exterior graphics package, mainly so you recognize who they are right away - but the contrast here is amazing. With the EVO everything pops and stands out. While on the Legacy you hardly notice it has decals on it. Great work on the article. Now to my question, I have a GReddy Profec e-01, like the one installed on the Evo, and I was wondering what they used to install it into the air vent. I don't think that is a mounting option that comes with the boost controller, unless it is something they recently included with their kit. Thanks in advance for you help.
Adrien Cooper-via the Internet
The mount kit that Trust (parent company of GReddy) used on the EVO wagon was actually a cup holder accessory that was attached to the factory vent. You can find these cup holders at Super Autobacs [(714) 903-9900]. If you are not here in the west coast where there are tons of stores that sell them, try searching the internet for one.
Dear Turbo Magazine,
I know that everyone starts out their questions with "I love your magazine," but in a world full of opinions and false Internet forums, your magazine is a beacon of truth that guides my import hobbies. I have had many imports through the years - from the MR2 Turbo to the 350Z and even a couple Hondas. My latest passion is for my 2004 WRX STi. I know that you guys are not as fond of the STi as its rival, the EVO. But from one import lover to another, especially one more knowledgeable than I, can you help me with my dilemma?
As I have mentioned, I own a 2004 WRX STi. I am to the point in my upgrades - or metamorphoses, as I like to call them - that I need a solid ECU upgrade. I am torn between some options. I like The GReddy E-Manage Ultimate because it has many features I am looking for, like data-logging and the ability to custom tune. The problem is I can't find a lot of people using it on the STi. I hear that it will not work very well for this application. Of course, this is coming from the have-no-clue-Internet-forums, and from the only local shop around. Can you tell me if it is a good option, or not? The other unit I have researched is the Cobb Tuning Access-Port, which is a little on the boring side for a control freak like myself. On the other hand it is proven on the STi's complex ECU. I am not one to go with the crowd, but we are talking about a little bit of money and I don't like wasting it. Please help!
Your Loyal Reader,
Matt Logsdon-Madison, IN
The first thing you need to realize is the difference between the Cobb Tuning Access-Port and the E-Manage Ultimate system. The Cobb system is actually making tuning changes through the factory ECU; while the E-Manage Ultimate is a piggyback system, and is just manipulating the sensor's signal. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. However, I checked with GReddy to make sure the E-Manage Ultimate would work with the drive-by-wire throttle system of the STi - they said yes.
I couldn't agree with you more about the way you've come up in the industry. I love the fact that you did something that almost no one in the magazine industry does, and that is to let us know more about you and how you came up. Those of us who have been reading this mag for a long time already know, but it's nice to hear that from time to time. If I didn't have a subscription already, I would've picked up one just for your honesty and passion. I know what mechanics hand looks like - because I have them. I love cars just as much as you do, and people like us know that after hours of wrenching there's no better feeling than finishing your installation and checking it out and knowing you didn't pay anyone else to work on YOUR car ... unlike half of the editors out there who "take" their cars to shops and have them install everything for them.
Ram Forreal-via the Internet
Thanks a lot. It means a lot to hear that our readers are also are grease monkeys like myself. Nothing beats turning over the ignition on a car and hearing the engine come to life after you just rebuilt the entire engine from scratch. Keep the passion alive, keep the wrenches turning.
I would like to say first and foremost, I absolutely love your magazine. Out of all the tuner magazines available in my area, I find that yours is truly superior. You always have great advice, great feature cars, and excellent articles that stay on point and keep your attention. I especially appreciate the tech tips and the "how tos" that you offer.
Anyway, I have some questions too. I have unfortunately been forced to drive, for my entire life thus far, a Mitsubishi Mirage. Two of them actually. I have always hated the powerless, rusting, rattling, FWD P.O.S. that has been passed off as a vehicle of decent caliber. But don't get me wrong, I actually LOVE Mitsubishi in all of its great forms, and have great respect for the Eclipse and the Lancer EVO. In fact, I am in love with the EVO, a great car that I will soon be able to afford. Now I was wondering, do I have to worry about an EVO MR vs. the other models, or is an EVO an EVO? What performance parts would be best to start with? Should I start by protecting my turbo by installing a blow off valve and then a turbo timer, then move on to things like an exhaust and intake? Or vice versa? What simple bolt-ons should I start with, and at what point during these installations should I consider an ECU/dyno tune - after each part, or after a grouping?
I have also been told that the stock clutch tends to "fail." In your professional experience, what are excellent clutch replacements? On that point, I have driven only automatic in my lifetime, but I know how to drive stick. Should I perfect my driving skills on the stock clutch knowing I will burn it out (I drive like a maniac when I'm alone in the car) and then replace the clutch?
And now my last question: A good friend of mine has an insane '04 STi that does better than 11s on the quarter. He told me that installing a cold air intake on a turbocharged vehicle is a "bad idea," as he put it. Is this true? I can't see how it would be bad.
My general goal for this vehicle is a daily driver/10-second speed demon, but one that is still safe as the 4-door family-friendly sedan that it is. I understand that I have a lot of work to achieve that goal. Thanks again and keep up the excellent work!
Are Mady-Bedford, Mass.
It's great to hear that although you drove two P.O.S. Mitsubishis, you are still loyal to the brand. We think the EVO is the best all-around performance car you can buy for your money. The EVO's all-wheel drive platform matched to a potent turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant translates to one hell of a ride. Are, there are benefits to the EVO MR versus the other models. First off, the MR comes with a six-speed transmission and computer controlled LSD. Also, the suspension has been reworked for even better handling, and don't forget about the cool BBS wheels. If it were up to us, we would spend a little more money and get the MR. As far as performance products go, it's a great idea to have the vehicle tuned after installing an exhaust, performance filter and downpipe. The extra airflow going through the engine needs fuel and ignition tuning for the maximum power. It would be best to tune the vehicle with each new product but we understand that can get costly. Regarding your question about the factory clutch on the EVO: they have been known to wear prematurely. We have seen EVOs with less than 5000 miles that need a new clutch. The most likely culprit is the driver abusing the clutch. An all-wheel drive redline drag launch might sound great, but it wreaks havoc on the drivetrain. Unless the factory clutch is slipping, we don't recommend fixing it. Why fix something that isn't broken? to answer your last question, we do not know why your buddy thinks it's a bad idea to change the intake system with a cold-air system. One of the easiest ways to increase turbo spool-up is to reduce intake restriction into the turbocharger. Hope that helps. Don't beat up your new EVO too much, the better you treat your car the better it will treat you.