RXReviews

Singapore Rotary Performance Parts Reviews ….. RE Amemiya | Autoexe | Knight Sports | Greddy |

AVOID: Sun Hotwires / Nology Hot Wires on the 8

Apparently, Nology Hotwires spark plug wires are causing CEL lights due to either:
– misfirings
– melted plugs
– shorted ignition coils

Sun Hotwires looks visually the same as the Nology, and is the OEM for Nology outside of the US – Sun (the maker of Hot Inazma) is widely popular in Asia as a ‘ricer’ brand.

Our advice – stay clear of Nology/Sun – better safe than sorry. Other brands such as RE Amemiya, FEED and Autoexe do not seem to have any probs and has been street proven – at least in Singapore it has.

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“CAPACITOR” EFFECT WIRES with grounded metal braiding over jacket

The most notable of exaggerated claims for ignition wires are made by Nology, a recent manufacturer of ignition wires promoted as “the only spark plug wires with built-in capacitor.” Nology’s “HotWires” (called “Plasma Leads” in the UK) consist of unsuppressed solid metal or spiral conductor ignition wires over which braided metal sleeves are partially fitted. The braided metal sleeves are grounded via straps formed from part of the braiding. Insulating covers are fitted over the braided metal sleeves. These wires are well constructed. For whatever reason, Nology specifies that non-resistor spark plugs need to be used with their “HotWires.” In a demonstration, the use of resistor plugs nullifies the visual effect of the brighter spark.

Ignition wires with grounded braided metal sleeves over the cable have come and gone all over the world for (at least) the last 30 years, and similar wires were used over 20 years ago by a few car makers to solve cross-firing problems on early fuel injected engines and RFI problems on fiberglass bodied cars — only to find other problems were created. The recent Circle Track Magazine (USA, May, 1996 issue) test showed Nology “HotWires” produced no additional horsepower (the test actually showed a 10 horsepower decrease when compared to stock carbon conductor wires).

The perceived effect a brighter spark, conducted by an ignition wire, encased or partially encased in a braided metal sleeve (shield) grounded to the engine, jumping across a huge free-air gap (which bears no relationship to the spark needed to fire the variable air/fuel mixture under pressure in a combustion chamber) is continually being re-discovered and cleverly demonstrated by marketers who convince themselves there’s monetary value in such a bright spark, and all sorts of wild, completely un-provable claims are made for this phenomena.

Like many in the past, Nology cleverly demonstrates a brighter free-air spark containing useless flash-over created by the crude “capacitor” (effect) of this style of wire. In reality, the bright spark has no more useful energy to fire a variable compressed air/fuel mixture than the clean spark you would see in a similar demonstration using any good carbon conductor wire. What is happening in such a demonstration is the coil output is being unnecessarily boosted to additionally supply spark energy that is induced (and wasted) into the grounded braided metal sleeve around the ignition wire’s jacket. To test the validity of this statement, ask the demonstrator to disconnect the ground strap and observe just how much energy is sparking to ground.

Claims by Nology of their “HotWires” creating sparks that are “300 times more powerful,” reaching temperatures of “100,000 to 150,000 degrees F” (more than enough to melt spark plug electrodes), spark durations of “4 billionths of a second” (spark duration is controlled by the ignition system itself) and currents of “1,000 amperes” magically evolving in “capacitors” allegedly “built-in” to the ignition wires are as ridiculous as the data and the depiction of sparks in photographs used in advertising material and the price asked for these wires! Most stock ignition primaries are regulated to 6 amperes and the most powerful race ignition to no more than 40 amperes at 12,000 RPM.

It is common knowledge amongst automotive electrical engineers that it is unwise to use ignition wires fitted with grounded braided metal sleeves fitted over ignition cable jackets on an automobile engine. This type of ignition wires forces its cable jackets to become an unsuitable dielectric for a crude capacitor (effect) between the conductor and the braided metal sleeves. While the wires function normally when first fitted, the cable jackets soon break down as a dielectric, and progressively more spark energy is induced from the conductors (though the cable jackets) into the grounded metal sleeves, causing the ignition coil to unnecessarily output more energy to fire both the spark plug gaps and the additional energy lost via the braided metal sleeves. Often this situation leads to ignition coil and control unit overload failures. It should be noted that it is dangerous to use these wires if not grounded to the engine, as the grounding straps will be alive with thousands of volts wanting to ground-out to anything (or body) nearby.

Unless you are prepared to accept poorly suppressed ignition wires that fail sooner than any other type of ignition wires and stretch your ignition system to the limit, and have an engine with no electronic management system and/or exhaust emission controls, it’s best not to be influenced by the exaggerated claims, and some vested-interest journalists’, resellers’ and installers’ perception an engine has more power after Nology wires are fitted. Often, after replacing deteriorated wires, any new ignition wires make an engine run better

April 2, 2007 Posted by | Engine | 59 Comments

Knight Sports ECU Remap Prices

Knight Sports – the Japanese rotary tuning specialist – will be making a stopover in Singapore sometime April, primarily to provide ECU remapping for the large number of JDM 8s here. Here’s an insight on how much it costs to tune the 8’s ECU and what you get for your money

Light tune = S$750 (US$480)
– Speed cut
– Fan control to lower water temp

Basic tune = $1200 (US$770)
– Speed cut
– Fan control to lower water temp
– Ignition timing
– Smoothen pitch graph

*NB: Apparently both Knight Sports and RE Amemiya’s tuning service are not suitable for Euro-spec 8s, which are detuned and have totally different maps from the JDM/US versions.

March 23, 2007 Posted by | Electronics & Gauges, Engine, News & Events | Leave a comment

Preview: Green Drop-in Air Filter + REVi Ram Air Duct

Fresh from the States and lying in my storeroom: the Green high-performance drop-in filter for the stock RX-8 airbox, and a spanking new REVi Ram Air Duct from Racing Beat. For those that have been following my mod antics over the months, you’ll know i’m searching for that perfect price-performance solution for the RX-8 4AT.

Now my Apeximota – the Simota carbon fibre box + A’Pexi open pod filter intake solution works great – there is no loss in low end, gains in the mid and high end, and the car feels so much livelier. The only problem? It’s really LOUD – a hair under the same dB levels as the AEM.


Green Filters have been all the rage in Europe for some time now – the cotton material they use is far superior to K&Ns, they use less oil so there is less chance of ever mucking up the MAF, definitely better filtration performance in tests – just all-round better than an K&N. Check out the BMW, Porsche and AMG forums – Green is a mainstay there. In fact, Green is the standard OEM filter for all AMGs in Europe i believe.

So my theory? A high-airflow drop-in like Green will retain the heat/vacuum benefits of the stock airbox, perform as close as possible to an A’Pexi, get fresh cold air using the ram air duct without compromising water-damage (e.g. the AEM) – and tadaaa – a quieter with much better performance than the big-name/big-pricetag brands out there.

I’ll post a review once it’s set up.

September 25, 2006 Posted by | Engine | 1 Comment

Review: AVOID Cyclone, Turbonator, Surbo, etc

Turbulence of the air in the combustion chamber is vital to the operation of all modern petrol and diesel engines. The main effect of the turbulence is to speed up the burning of the fuel / air mixture, and manufacturers like Cylone, Surbo etc claim that their devices create more turbulence. But can a “bolt-on” device really increase the turbulence in the cylinder? The simple answer is no – the flow in the intake system is already highly turbulent at part load, with air speed past the throttle in the region of 200-300 metres/second. A device upstream of the throttle may make the air swirl there, but the swirl pattern will be destroyed as the flow squeezes past the throttle blade. Injection of “a small amount of turbulent air” into the inlet manifold, as some devices claim, will have even less effect. It is interesting that the makers of such devices state with confidence that the device increases turbulence, but do not have any direct measurements of turbulence to show that this actually is the case. How, then, do they know?But don’t just take my word for it – there have been many studies, both direct flow visualisation and computer simulations, showing turbulence in the intake system. For example, Rai Alsemgeest at Warwick University did a study of intake manifold flow for Jaguar; see his presentation for full details. Here’s his animation showing a section through the intake manifold, where different colours represent different air speeds – red being the fastest and blue the slowest. Air enters from the left of the picture; the white shape in the middle of the flow is the partially open throttle blade:

It’s very obvious how incredibly turbulent the air flow is. There’s no way that a swirling air flow pattern set up before the throttle could survive and affect the burn within the cylinder, nor that a small additional air flow into the mainfold from a “bolt-on device” could make any significant difference. At wide-open throttle the air flow is much smoother, but from a fuel economy perspective this is unimportant as the engine spends 99% of its time at part throttle.

  • Engines already have high levels of turbulence, and the physics is well understood
  • Adding more turbulence can give only a tiny fuel economy benefit – this is proved by experiment
  • Ignition must be adjusted to suit the faster burn, or the effect will be worse economy
  • Increased turbulence at full load will most likely damage the engine unless the ignition is retarded
  • Anything in the inlet manifold is extremely unlikely to affect in-cylinder air motion anyway

September 12, 2006 Posted by | Engine | 29 Comments

Dynotest: RX-8 4AT Stock

One of the good bros in Singapore just did a dyno at ST Powered last weekend. (Apologies for my crummy picture taking – smoke too much, hands shiver). In summary, the results were:

  • Speed: 170kmph@6496rpm
  • Power: 105.8HP@5491rpm
  • Torque: 136NM@5491rpm

True that the system was not able to capture power above 5500rpm, but looking at the power curve’s linearity, i would say that it wouldn’t even hit 130HP at 7500rpm.

September 11, 2006 Posted by | Engine, Others | Leave a comment

Just In: Greddy Air Diversion Plate for RX-8

Hooa! Guess what just flew in from Japan and is now at the shop? Spanking new sets of the Greddy Air Diversion Plate. According to what’s printed on the packaging, it is ‘designed not only to improve under the engine looks, but also to contain airflow to the radiator core, thus improving cooling efficiency. Made from 1mm aluminum and embossed with the Greddy logo.’

Makes sense to me, and logically, it will definitely be a better conductor/dissipater of heat than the flimsy plastic thingie it replaces. For the price of just over 10 packs of Marlboros, hey who’s complainin?

Available with very limited stock at Monster Garage Ubi. (Saw quite a few reds and a couple of blues)

September 10, 2006 Posted by | Engine | 1 Comment

Preview: Apeximota intake (Apexi – Simota hybrid carbon fibre air intake for RX-8 4AT)

Air intakes for the RX-8 are notoriously expensive, with the brand name ones from Racing Beat, Autoexe and RE Amemiya going for an avg S$1.5k. But here’s a much cheaper option that could hit the sweet spot between price-performance n looks – the Apeximota!


I’m bringing it to my fav spot at Yishun to do some hard testing, but initial runs are very encouraging. There are noticeable performance gains esp in the mid-range, and man, can this baby scream…
But what’s the Apeximota? Quite simply:
– the famous Apexi open pod filter
– Simota’s beautiful carbon fibre airbox/heatshield
– specific rubber adaptors + mesh custom made for fit
– silicon sealing finished via superheated airjet
– 4th gen chrome intake pipe w maf sensor port

This is a variant of what RX8Club oldbird SQflyer did in 2005, who commented back then: “The intake works fine on auto RX-8s. No idling nor engine stalling issues and improvement in throttle response was noted. As for performance figures, an average of 2 runs using the new intake and an average of 2 previous runs using the stock intake on the same stretch of road gave VERY close figures. In fact, most timings were less than 0.1sec apart. Gains in HP were 0.8HP or 0.65kW and gains in Torque were 0.7Nm. Although a little inconclusive as the runs were done on a different day under different environment conditions, the results were not surprising. Gains were marginal for manual 8s and even thinner for auto 8s in our tests. Basically, don’t expect to see much improvement in terms of performance (as with other intakes). Just enjoy the improved throttle response, more “grunt” in the sound department and a nice shiny CF heat shield airbox when you open your bonnet.”

I’ll be posting a full review with pix these few days so look out for it!

September 9, 2006 Posted by | Engine | 1 Comment

Putting the synthetic vs mineral motor oil in a rotary debate to rest

Over the years there has been much debate on whether synthetic motor oils can be used in rotaries. Previously, FCs & FDs did have seal swell issues due to reaction with additives in a relatively infant synthetic oil industry then. Today, there are a whole new range of synthetics – from PAO esters, double esters etc. Note however that some oils labelled fully synthetics are severely hydrocracked (read refined) dino oil – only the pure PAOs can be considered lab created. Then again, it is not uncommon to find mixtures of hydrocracked dinos and esters marketed as fully synthetics. So, will today’s synthetics cause problems with the RX-8 SE3P?

Yes and no – rem that a rotary engine needs to inject and burn motor oil for cooling and lube at the same time. If the oil doesn’t burn cleanly (and the culprit most of the time are additives and high-ash content), then deposits are left behind – that of course isn’t ideal.

So should we still use synthetics? Yes – synthetics by definition have qualities that can only benefit the rotary, BUT use only synthetics blended by rotary tuners, have proven efficacy, or are guaranteed by the oil manufacturer. Use anything else and it could be a case of Russian roulette. The brands i’ve used without problems and i highly recommend, ranging from 30wt to 50wt viscosities include:

 Idemitsu Fully Synthetic Rotary (avg S$170 per oil change, limited availty at Monster Garage)
Trust F2 Synthetic Rotary (it’s actually a semi-syn. Avg S$150 per oil change, avail at Autobacs)
 R-Magic Racing Energy for Rotary (Fully Syn, avg S$270 per change, avail at Autobacs)

So the advice from RXReviews is NOT to use any other non-rotary synthetic for now, until Mazda issues a circular stating otherwise – the safest bet is to go back to Shell Mineral, but the smoothness and slight performance advantage synthetics bring is compelling. Myself? I use Idemitsu 30wt and i’m very very happy with it.

And for those who’s asking what ATF oil i use? Redline Fully Syn High-temp ATF. It def makes the tranny smoother, a very slight performance increase but most importantly, peace of mind as i really whack my gears!

September 5, 2006 Posted by | Engine, Others | 3 Comments

RE Amemiya ECU Reflash

I found a really cool feature in the RE ECU reflash: Smart shifting between normal and agressive footworks. Driving normally (up to 2/5 pedal), shifting as per norm, albeit a little higher rpms than stock. Driving aggressively (3/5 pedal to full), gears will redline at 8200 for 2 secs before shifting. And all this on full auto w/o using paddle shifters ‘manual’ mode.

Other published features of the RE reflash:

  • Speed cut removed
  • Rev cut increased.
  • Fuel efficiency increase.
  • Temperature reduced.
  • Latest Mazda ecu firmware

August 28, 2006 Posted by | Electronics & Gauges, Engine | Leave a comment

Review: Hayden ATF Cooler for 4AT

History: Read from forums and all that esp for PI auto cars (where should anything go wrong MM/PI will ask you to fock off) ATF cooler is a must to ensure that your transmision lifespan is extended, esp if you’re like me pia the car all the time.

Went to Garage R, spoke to a seebay tao sales guy. Quoted me $750 for HKS ATF cooler, told me needed 5+ hours to install, ask me come another day. Spoke quite rudely, prob because i was wearing my fav Mohd Mustafa shirt and banana slippers.

Went to AutoDynamac to fix my lighter socket, also asked about ATF cooler. He quoted aga half price of GR for a Hayden. Super friendly and helpful, shares same fashion sense as me – mustafa shirt and slippers too.

Got a call from Zav, one of the Monster guys, told him i was hunting for ATF cooler. Within 5 mins, he told me he sourced for the perfect size for the RX8 (a hayden, ‘heavy usage’ on the box, claims 33% cooler than others), and that it could be installed the moment i came over. This is great service siah!

Installation: Mechanic seemed very experienced, and what i like about the garage is that all the parts, tools, and that mechanical thing that lifts your car up – is completely new. Shit, even the toilet my wife says ‘pass’. Solid……. Installation was finished in 45mins.

i had concerns that once you change the ATF piping routing, you’ll need to top up ATF fluid. Well, the installation was done so well that not more than a few drops of ATF fluid was lost. To be kiasu, i went to see ATF levels when i got home – still full! The ATF will be installed at the bottom right foglight recess area. PI cars don’t have foggies so this ain’t any problem

Ride: Ride seems snappier, and gear changes faster. that’s for sure. Somehow, dunno psychological or not, my foot kinda seems much heaver.

Cost: Equal in price or marginally cheaper than AutoDynamac. But more important than cost is peace of mind that you got pple experienced in rotaries installing for you.

August 28, 2006 Posted by | Engine | Leave a comment