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Old 12-09-2012, 04:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Shop Needs Help

Hello. I am new to this forum so I appologize if I have any newbie Q's or post in the wrong section a head of time.

Ok so here is the problem. I run and operatate a performance shop in Westminster, MD so I am very familiar in what to do and mechanically inclined, however I have never had a car so Frankenstein'd in my shop before. It's pieced together and has so many parts from other cars and so many things done to it from other people I don't really know where to start so I'll try from the beginning.

It's a 1991 3000GT VR4 with a completely rebuilt engine. That much I know is good. He took his car down to a performance shop where they stole most of the aftermarket parts off the car and replaced them with parts from other cars. Wires were cut and things were moved around and turbos replaced with bad ones from a WRX.

He took it to another shop in Laurel where they too stole off his car again the turbos replacing them with poorly modified and leaking 13g's (15g's were stolen) of which were replaced with another set of bad stock 9g's. More wires cut and alarm system stolen along with the turbo timer and gauges. Apexi NEO is untested at this point too but was told its ok.

My customer picked me up so we could get the car only to find out the shop reverse polaritied the guage wires and fried the fuel pump. They put in a used Walbro and the car started again. His car originally went into the shop for a problem with it spitting after 5k RPM's. They stole his AEM and installed an ecu from a Montero which was also stolen by the shop after that. So I'm not sure of the ecu that's in their now. The fuel injectors were also stolen and swapped with God knows what and it has an AeroTechnics adjustable FPR. It has a FMIC and a grandier manual boost controller. The vacuum lines instead of being capped at the TB they left lines on them and just installed a tri-splitter on it which joins all three together. He informed me he has also done a 6-speed conversion on it as well.

Getting the picture yet...it's a Frankenstein car. Everyone knows my shop and our work so everyone comes to me to fix their cars but this one has me stumped.

It still has the problem of at 5k it looses power and spits like a machine gun. While coming to a stop the engine will sit and idle at 2k for about 2-3 seconds and idle back down to 1100 RPM's. Now I'm thinking for that IACV or idle adjuster screw but that's all the way in. I know it has good fuel pressure and climbs 1psi per 1lbs of boost but still nothing shows. I'm not really concerned with the lightly smoking turbos but need to figure out why it's losing power. The car does occasional decided to just shut off. I let it sit for a few seconds and then she fires up again. Other times she won't do it at all. I have read on here that a speed sensor or cable or ecu can have the same effect but I do not want to parts swap this guys car. He has been through enough but this is definitely testing my skill to its max and I'm just clueless to what the problem could be. I'll try and post some pictures up in the next day or two.

So any ideas at this point would be appreciated. My only thought would be to start from scratch but I'm not quite sure where scratch is. There are too many things rigged on this guys car. Any opinions on whether or not just starting with fixing the known issues or jump right on the main issue of 5k fall out? My thoughts are to take the car back to stock fix all the little things and work back up again. However it's his money and I do not want to blankety go crazy with it. Any chance I could just figure out what the problem is, fix it and then do everything else later?

Take into account the 5k problem was there before he had all these problems with people stealing from his car and Frankensteining the hell out of it.

One more thing. Because he did a 6-speed conversion on it doesn't the ecu have to match that for idle and drivability or am I wrong? I know with nissans you have to change the IACV and the ecu when swapping from auto to manual because of idle problems but I know this isn't a Nissan either.

Thanks for the help and sorry for the long post.

I also forgot to mention the shop we picked the car up from said they had it on a dyno (5-hours worth...BS) but said the car was leaning out too. Not sure whether I should believe them or not but that's what they said. I am going to talk to my customer about installing a wideband first so we can figure out where the A/F ratios are.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

Follow up information:


So I got a chance to speak with my customer a short while ago and this is what I came up with.

1.) I'll be making a list of the things needed to start all over from scratch.
2.) Labor wise I will be fixing the tedious things under the hood first to rule out any minor problem like fix the cluster mess in the engine bay by removing unnecessary vacuum lines, capping the ones that are just hanging there and cutting in new WG vacuum lines that are of equal length. The one WG turbo closest to the firewall has a vacuum hose about 1' long while the one closest to the front bumper is about 3.5' (maybe a bit longer then that) long. Yeah...I know. Someone actually did that.
3.) Testing the electronics for failure due to the sudden loss of spark (still can't figure out why)
4.) We are going to order in all new gauges including a Autometer wideband. All mechanical gauges. We are throwing the electronic gauges out. Very unreliable.

***I do need some ideas on a good modified ecu supplyer for plug and play action. My customer does not want to spend another $1k-$2k on a stand alone. (he had an AEM unit before). He wants something to just drop in and go.***

Pulled the ECU and not sure what it is. It's not the one that belongs in the car. On the back in black magic marker it says "WAS 1082 / NOW 1629". Not sure what that means.

Lastly on the 6-speed swap he had done a few years ago doesn't the ecu have to be reprogrammed for a 6-Speed? Does anyone know of a good drop in ecu or a company that makes a drop in for the VR4 with a 6-Speed swap and light mods with stage 3 tuning done already on a stock setup?

I took it out on a test drive and at 5k she started to drop boost. She would peak at 11-12psi and then fall to 7psi and lose all power. There was 1 stripped intake plenum bolt I am going to have to retap. I also noticed the WG lines are completely uneven. One is 3.5" long and the other side is 4'x3" long. Wow. What a mess.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

Wow that really sucks! I am glad your customer is sticking with the car even after all it's been through.

You don't need a different ECU for the 6 speed, if the car has a 91-92 motor it should have a MD159966 or MD159965 ECU. If you remove the ECU cover and post a picture of the board\plug I should be able to tell you what ECU you have.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

Prime example of why an owner should learn to work on these cars themselves or have VERY deep pockets.

I would start by doing the basics like vacuum leak test and getting all the vacuum lines sorted. A bottle of soapy water and some real diligence looking for leaks on the upper half of the motor and all the IC hoses.

Running a data logger. Make sure the idiots did not jack up the car by the oil pan. It should have a convex bottom.

Troubleshooting things like the injectors and ignition system.

Here is a link to the manual and to a site I think will get you pointed in the right direction.

Stealth 316 Home

3SX Performance - Service Manuals Backups 3000GT / Stealth*-*Mitsubishi 3000GT*/*Dodge Stealth Parts

You came to the right place. Lots of great guys willing to help and very knowledgeable.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

alright, well due to you posting in the new owners section, you probably arent going to get the attention you need, but have faith... your issues are not as bad as you think.

in this order, you need to do stuff to get the car running correctly, and you can go from there.

this is a good resource for some information
Main Page - 3SI Wiki

so is the website "stealth316.com"

1. get a stock ECU. the codes were just posted above, and from memory, i believe they are correct. there are no drop in stand alone ecu's... this is a niche platform. dont use the same mindset you use with ANY other platform. it wont work haha

2. fix the fuel pump. i say fix, because it sounds like its dying, you dont know whats really in there, and its not hard to take out so its really no big deal. there is a plate with the fuel pump tophat and like 6 bolts under the spare tire in the rear. a new fuel pump is like $100 so worse comes to worse, its not even that much money

3. fix the vacuum lines. Vacuum Reduction - 3SI Wiki
you can also search on here for other vac reduction links. you dont 'need' any vac lines except the ones that run to the wastegates (and brake booster but im talking about lines, not the big hoses). depends on how 'stock' you wanna make it.

those are honestly your biggest issues. with the parts in front of you, all of those wouldnt take but 4 or 5 hours to fix.

now when i say everything, i am just taking what you say and going with it. there could be a lot of underlying issues that you dont even know about. like you said it lost spark, so you need to test the coils: Stealth 316 - Ignition Coils

i think you should take out the fuel pressure regulator and put in a stock one. along with stock injectors.

those first 3 are the big ones though. after that, you should be able to start narrowing down the issues. the ecu is the biggest one. make sure the ecu you get does NOT HAVE LEAKING CAPACITORS. if it does, replace them (im pretty sure there are 2 that are notorious for leaking).

thats all i can think of, but there isnt really that much to do, you will be fine. and it wont be that much money for all the parts. just get used stuff that is known working correctly.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

Someone wrote in black magic marker "WAS 1082 NOW 1629" whatever that means.

The ecu information is MD159966
E2T35678
1710 T

I'll try to post some pictures from my iPhone.




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Old 12-09-2012, 11:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

I also spoke with my customer tonight about his Frankenstein car.

1.) We are first getting a wideband and a Vac/Boost autometer gauges
2.) Fixing the vacuum hose circus under the hood
3.) Tig welding the threads on the lower intake manifold and the drilling and re-tapping them. The previous shop stripped the threads.
4.) Sending out the injectors to Jim Wolf Technology to get them bench flow tested. We have no idea what that other shop put in his car.
5.) Ordering in a modified ECU that's preprogrammed to his setup.
6.) Uninstalling the Apexi Neo (since we do not know of its condition.
7.) Replacing the turbos with 15T
8.) New MAP sensor
9.) New gaskets, o-rings and seals
10.) Install a manual boost controller
11.) Fix and repair butchered wiring harness

We just found out this afternoon they also stole his turbo timer.

12.) Lastly replacing his spark plugs. All 6 were gapped smaller then what my gauge would start with. I had to use a feeler gauge...get this...

.005 for plug gap on all 6 spark plugs OEM calls for .040 and .025 for modded engines.

So does this sound like a plan and a good place to start? I am not sure if this will cure his problem of the car falling flat at 5k though. At least this way we are narrowing down the possibilities and fixing necessary things while we are at it. Let me know what you think.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

You are a BIG glutton for punishment!! Even I would say sorry for fixing that car and I do a LOT of repairs after they have been through stupid peoples hands.

Make sure you have the right impedance on the injectors
Make sure you have proper fuel pump flow, or just put in a good one.
Goofy idle is from IAC. Make sure its not shorted or open. Clean the throttle body at the plate and the well the IAC sits in. Replace o-ring if its crap.
Aged ignition coils get flakey. Replace with good new ones to eliminate one more stupid thing going wrong. Its not money wasted.
Post in a local forum to see if anyone nearby can plug in that NEO for you and confirm it works.

Unbelievable gap on the plugs! I bet someone didnt know their in from their mm.

If I ever end up im MD with anyhting broken, I'm fixing it myself at the side of the road!

Dont give up on rymer for the ECU id. He has a lot on his plate, but he knows ECU's in and out.

Good luck. You're going to need a LOT of it to make that poor car right.

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Old 12-10-2012, 03:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

That ECU is a 9966,
It looks like it has had a few of the capacitors replaced. If you have any doubt the ECU is not working, find another member who can test it in a known good running car. Or send it to me :-)
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Shop Needs Help

I'd clean that IAC, that will help with your idle issues.

It's very very easy to take the IAC off and clean it, I used 91% rubbing alcohol to get the carbon off of it.

Just take the Y-pipe off and it's right under the throttle body. Unplug the connector on the IAC then 2 bolts and it's off, just make sure you don't lose the Large O-ring for IAC.

It's free to do unless it test bad.



He also mentioned about the customer doesn't want to deal with AEM or any of that, he should think about using the 99' Flash ECU, but granted it will cost good money if you can find one.
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