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Old 12-27-2012, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default VR-4 hardly starts

So, I finished dropping the engine back in my VR-4 from having the heads off for a valve job. I went to start it up and it takes a bit longer than usual to start and cranks a little bit slower than normal. When it does catch, it either fires off a few times and dies or does one quick rev to ~1500 rpms and dies. I was able to get it to stay on for a bit by giving it some gas, but it ran really rough and low, even with 50-75% throttle. It did this for several seconds, then it revved to around ~3500-4000 rpms really quickly. I had my hand on the key and scared the piss out of me, so I shut it off out of instinct. Things of note:

-I checked the timing and it was on every mark before I dropped it in
-I had an issue with the car trying to start itself when the battery was connected, but it was resolved. I only attached one of the wires by the starter and missed the smaller one. Trying to find out the problem caused me to flood the engine, so I pulled the front plugs and let it sit over night. No change, so I replaced the plugs. Still no change.
-I have a couple connecters that I'm not sure of what they connect to. There is no other connecter anywhere near that I can find. One is below the passenger headlight. The other is near the power steering pump.
-OEM MLS headgaskets were used. No milling was done as the machine shop said the heads looked fine. A scraper was used to remove the old gaskets residue. It was about the smoothest thing I've ever felt before I put the gasket on.
-Whenever it turns on, the garage gets very smoky and there is a very burnt smell. I can't see any origin for the smoke. It's just smoky all over.

That's all I can think off the top of my head. Any other questions, just ask. Any help would be great. I'm tired of not being able to drive her.
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Jet Black 1991 3000GT VR-4

Custom 3 Inch Straight Pipes, Matrix Air Filter, Greddy Type-RZ Blow-Off Valve, 6 Puck Clutch, Blitz DTT DCII, Greddy 60mm Boost Gauge, Greddy 60mm EGT Gauge, Blitz SBC-ID EBC, Vacuum Hose Reduction, MSD 8.5 Wires, Lightweight Flywheel, Drilled and Slotted Rotors, Short Shifter, Rear Strut Bar, EGR Delete, CXRacing Hard Pipes, Oohnoo's DualCore FMIC, '99 Front End Conversion, Deft Racing 575 Fiberglass Hood, Maximal Performance Solid Motor Mounts, 3SX Lightweight Crank Pulley, 3SX Adjustable Cam Gears, 3SX Modified Water Housing, AC Delete, FuelLab Fuel Filter, FuelLab AFPR, 3SX Fuel Loop, Russell ProClassic II Fuel Lines, Hotwired Walbro 255, 15G's, Innovate Wideband, 550cc Injectors, SAFC-II, Maximal Performance Stage 2 Transfer Case Bracket, Drweldin's Upgraded Wastegates, ARP Headstuds

Last edited by pwhite2012; 12-27-2012 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Extra details
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

stupid question.. are the wires in the right spots? it almost sounds like you have a couple spark plug wires crossed
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

Yup. I checked those several times. I really thought it was a problem with the spark plugs or something along those lines, so I made sure they were right.

Another thing of note - coolant is slowly dripping down the driver side by the oil pan. I can't tell where exactly from, but the bead is on the underside of the oil pan, very close to the oil filter. I don't believe there should be any coolant over there except in the heads/block. I hope that doesn't mean the gasket didn't seal... Of course, I got a little overzealous filling the coolant and ended up getting coolant everywhere, though this is the only "bead" that is steadily dripping.

Last edited by pwhite2012; 12-27-2012 at 07:41 PM. Reason: Wrong words...
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

It sounds to me like you may have the cams reversed on one of the heads, intake for exhaust. I had this happen to me once. It does not seem possible to swap the cams and have it semi-run, but it is. Check this out. 3SX Performance - 3000GT / Stealth Cam Shaft Identification*-*Mitsubishi 3000GT*/*Dodge Stealth Parts
This may not be the issue you have, but...perhaps worth a look.
Good luck.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

I will check the front cams in the morning. As for the rear cams, it's a 91. Since the CAS is on the head, and the notches are in one of the cams for it, isn't it impossible for those to be installed backwards? Or, at least the one the CAS is attached to (I can't remember if it's exhaust or intake). I suppose the other rear cam could have been swapped out with any of the other cams, or is it not possible for a rear cam to fit in the front head?
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

I would track down that coolant leak. It's possible it's a headgasket leak, I don't think there is much else that would be leaking coolant. Also, if you have to rip apart that end of the engine it will give you a chance to check your timing again and make sure that it's on.

Can you take pictures of the plugs? Is the one under the passenger headlight for the Acitve Aero, if you don't have yours anymore?
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

It's not the active aero plug. I've taped up the plug, so I know which one that is for sure. That's not it. I'll go take some pics of the plugs in question.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

Here's the pictures of the two plugs.
Attached Thumbnails
VR-4 hardly starts-20121228_095713.jpg   VR-4 hardly starts-20121228_095828.jpg  
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: VR-4 hardly starts

I checked the front cams and they are in the correct spots. The timing is also still on as far as the front cams. I imagine the rear cams are also still in time, though I haven't physically checked. It doesn't sound out of time for the few seconds it is on, though. Any other suggestions? Anybody know about those plugs? A leaky headgasket wouldn't cause these problems, would it? I know people have their cars running before they notice the leak, so I wouldn't think that was the problem.
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