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Discussion Starter #1
Well it finally happened. 290,000 miles and cylinders 1 & 2 with under 100 psi compression, happened last Friday. A lot of issues to sort out. First, if I get rid of the car, it's going to really suck, not just because I loved that car, but also because I also put in $7000 in the last 10,000 miles to rebuild the turbos, new radiator, water pump/timing belt, and a lot of other stuff. All of that money is down the drain if I junk the car now, but pouring several thousand more for a refurbished or Japanese 50K engine is more of the same. Counting the intercooler, boost controller, intake/exhaust and other minor mods, between that, the repair/maintenance and labor since 2003 when I bought the car, it's been roughly $70K into the car. Bought it used for $26K with 59,000 miles on it so that's close to $100K in 17 years. How much longer should I spend $3-6K per year for a car that's now 23 years old?

The other issue is that JDM is out of 6-speed manual TT engines right now. I can wait, that's not an issue, car is at the dealership, they won't charge storage I don't think at least for now. E-Bay has nothing, Surefire/Autozone is out of stock, O'Reilly is probably out of stock. The dealership told me it's not even worth rebuilding my engine, they took a look inside and it's pretty much done, more money in parts/labor than a different engine would cost. Some of the TT engines are around $2700 to $3400 with 40-60K on them, plus about $2700 labor to install the 'new' engine and get everything hooked up. That's about $6000 total. I'm willing to spend that. But the O'Reilly engine is over $5K, and 3SX told me their rebuilds are around $7500 and I'd have to get the car there and back from California. Once you start going up to $8-10K for everything, I mean, the car is 23 years old and what will happen next?

Any 6-speed TT engines around that have proven compression readouts for a decent price? Should I just junk the car and share an E46 M3 or M235i with my wife? I'll miss the Mitsu's hatchback for sure, since I mountain bike and can easily fit two bikes in the back. It's a pain to shove a bike into a sedan, and it scratches up the leather seats in back. I don't want to junk this car, but it's been such a money pit already maybe it's time to move on and get something newer. What else can I do to find a reasonably-priced engine that has a good 200K miles left in it?
 

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Money pit owner.
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290k is alot of miles, you put on 230k miles yourself in 17 years. When you did the last major service did you do a leak down or compression test and it was healthy? In my opinion, I'd part it out unless you had a access to a good/cheap drop in replacement long block. But I can certainly see how that is a hard decision to make.
 

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Here is another, potentially over-simplified way of looking at it, but i have thought about my VR4 in this way for the 13 years i have owned it, daily driven for 12 of those until just recently. As a DD, you can imagine i had to spend a lot of time and money on maintainance, repairs, etc, over the years.

You spent 100k in 17 years. That is a little under $500 per month. Would you have rather spent that $500 per month on a different car? Would it bring you the same joy, sentimental value, etc?

Moving forward - let's say you have to spend 9k to get a new engine and everything back running again, all in. As long as you don't have to do any other major repairs for the next 18 months after that (including the time it takes to get it back running and the car is down), then you maintain that $500 per month threshold.

Does that put it into perspective?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is another, potentially over-simplified way of looking at it, but i have thought about my VR4 in this way for the 13 years i have owned it, daily driven for 12 of those until just recently. As a DD, you can imagine i had to spend a lot of time and money on maintainance, repairs, etc, over the years.

You spent 100k in 17 years. That is a little under $500 per month. Would you have rather spent that $500 per month on a different car? Would it bring you the same joy, sentimental value, etc?

Moving forward - let's say you have to spend 9k to get a new engine and everything back running again, all in. As long as you don't have to do any other major repairs for the next 18 months after that (including the time it takes to get it back running and the car is down), then you maintain that $500 per month threshold.

Does that put it into perspective?

Yeah...especially if the newer engine comes with a transmission, turbos, etc., then I can store those for the next 100K miles. It would for sure be a super long-term decision. I would love to drive this car for another 20 years if I could. On the other hand, I would not mind sharing a newer car w/manual trans with my wife, we both work at home so commuting doesn't happen anyway. We have two other backup cars/SUV's so point A to point B is not an issue, it's losing the punchy/torquey manual trans that will drive me nuts.

I have not driven the M235i yet but I did test out an E46 M3, it handled great, smooth power, but the clutch was surprisingly bad. You know how our transmissions take 5-10 minutes to warm up? This one never did. Took a full 3 seconds to shift, every time. I'm like, what is up with the clutch, is it about to die, it only had 95K on it. Our clutches are not the greatest but they don't take 3 seconds to shift either. JDM Osaka does have some VR-4 engines for $2300 not including shipping. I'm 2 hours from the Los Angeles port so I don't think it would be expensive to ship it here. $5K engine & installation labor, not including shipping is not a bad deal at all if the engine has good compression and 50K miles on it. Waiting for their e-mail response.
 

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Funny you are looking at BMWs - My daily is a 2015 335i Msport. I have already started to go down the mod rabbit hole with that car, haha. So much for a stock daily. M235i is very similar in terms of powerplant, etc.

Anyways, i will always argue to keep the car. I plan to keep mine forever, if possible. I still drive it to work once a week.
 

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Marshall Taylor
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Well it finally happened. 290,000 miles and cylinders 1 & 2 with under 100 psi compression, happened last Friday. A lot of issues to sort out. First, if I get rid of the car, it's going to really suck, not just because I loved that car, but also because I also put in $7000 in the last 10,000 miles to rebuild the turbos, new radiator, water pump/timing belt, and a lot of other stuff. All of that money is down the drain if I junk the car now, but pouring several thousand more for a refurbished or Japanese 50K engine is more of the same. Counting the intercooler, boost controller, intake/exhaust and other minor mods, between that, the repair/maintenance and labor since 2003 when I bought the car, it's been roughly $70K into the car. Bought it used for $26K with 59,000 miles on it so that's close to $100K in 17 years. How much longer should I spend $3-6K per year for a car that's now 23 years old?

The other issue is that JDM is out of 6-speed manual TT engines right now. I can wait, that's not an issue, car is at the dealership, they won't charge storage I don't think at least for now. E-Bay has nothing, Surefire/Autozone is out of stock, O'Reilly is probably out of stock. The dealership told me it's not even worth rebuilding my engine, they took a look inside and it's pretty much done, more money in parts/labor than a different engine would cost. Some of the TT engines are around $2700 to $3400 with 40-60K on them, plus about $2700 labor to install the 'new' engine and get everything hooked up. That's about $6000 total. I'm willing to spend that. But the O'Reilly engine is over $5K, and 3SX told me their rebuilds are around $7500 and I'd have to get the car there and back from California. Once you start going up to $8-10K for everything, I mean, the car is 23 years old and what will happen next?

Any 6-speed TT engines around that have proven compression readouts for a decent price? Should I just junk the car and share an E46 M3 or M235i with my wife? I'll miss the Mitsu's hatchback for sure, since I mountain bike and can easily fit two bikes in the back. It's a pain to shove a bike into a sedan, and it scratches up the leather seats in back. I don't want to junk this car, but it's been such a money pit already maybe it's time to move on and get something newer. What else can I do to find a reasonably-priced engine that has a good 200K miles left in it?

You could contact Donnie to get an estimate on a price to rebuild what you have. With 290 K on the clock you may need to have it bored for larger pistons. The heads will need to be rebuilt as well as the short block. The motor and trans can be strapped to a pallet and shipped to Donnie.

Donnie is “Donniekak” on this forum. His company name is “Kakperformance”. No one will be able to give you a firm price without tearing things apart to see what all needs to be replaced.

Good luck,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Are 1994-1997 Japanese TT 5-speed's compatible with a 1998 US 6-speed? As in if the transmission comes with the 5-speed engine can the differentials / torque converters on the current 6-speed be fine or do they have to be adjusted for gear ratio? What else would need adjustment or replacement from 6 to 5?

I would not mind a 5-speed at all, especially because it's getting REALLY hard to find a low mileage or refurbished 6-speed engine in the US or Japan. All look completely out of stock right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Could this be something you can use as part of a solution? Just saw it on ebay, its not mine.
No...91-93 and 94-99 have several differences, and since my current engine problem is most likely in the head, a short block isn't helpful, it would have to be a long block for sure. But thanks for looking. I have a bad feeling it will need a complete rebuild, and 3SX is seeming to be the best, but most expensive option. Oh well, that's what credit cards are for...
 

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3SX is seeming to be the best, but most expensive option. Oh well, that's what credit cards are for...
I believe Ray Pampena still builds engines, not that he is really any closer being located in NY, but he might be a little cheaper. Did they say what all blew up in the engine? Did it just jump timing and bend some valves? Did you blow a damn rod out the block? Unless you need an entire new block and internals I don't see how a rebuild is 7.5k unless you are going billet/forged internals and whatnot. Hell Pampena charges $5200 to do his 3.5L stroker, and that's built price. If you just need new valves that's cheap and something a local machine shop can knock out in a week or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Mitsubishi tech said it's probably either a broken camshaft or blown head gasket, because it's in cylinders 1 and 2 opposing each other. This is also described online: if it's two cylinders at once (as in suddenly, not slowly over several months or years) it's one of those two things above. I saw a bit of green fluid a few places on the engine, maybe that's just a coincidence but I'm thinking it's a blown head gasket. Radiator cap fluid down about 4-5 inches, nothing too out of the ordinary, but lower than normal. Engine was at normal temperature when it happened, it's just old. Really old.

The problem is the tech doesn't want to go into the engine at all, he's being lazy. That's how low-end shops like Pep Boys are: they will never, ever fix something broken, they just order a whole replacement part that's plug and play and install it. That is not how a dealership should be. I gave the service manager a lecture, I'm like dude the car has sat for a week and no progress, get your butt in gear and diagnose the problem, don't just give up and tell me to order a $5350 engine (I did find the right one finally through JDM). I figure between the labor to pull the engine, open it up, part costs for gaskets, valve stuff, cylinder rings and possibly heads, most likely a machine shop chemical dip to clean out carbon deposits, then close it up and re-install, I'm hoping $4-5K total (remember this is California, labor starts at $120/hr and up). Come to think of it, it's only $200 to truck an auto to Phoenix AZ from my city, I should for sure get some quotes from the shops there too, could be a much better price for the same parts and labor time.
 

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Are you mechanically inclined at all. If so I can tell you some test you can do to with some cheap test tools to find out what's going on. Hell ship it out here I could build you a badass set up for a reasonable dollar
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Are you mechanically inclined at all. If so I can tell you some test you can do to with some cheap test tools to find out what's going on. Hell ship it out here I could build you a badass set up for a reasonable dollar
Good question. No, but I can work on my mountain bike, so the answer is I'm more mechanically inclined than I was 4 years ago lol. I know this sounds really bad but I feel like driving the car home, putting in some engine Restore and antifreeze-compatible head gasket sealant, drive it gingerly for 200 miles and see what happens. If those don't work, I'm out $25 and get the engine replaced later anyway. Keep in mind I've only driven it like this for two blocks, got it towed to the shop, it doesn't sound very bad cold, just a hard tap like a valve is displaced. No visual smoke out of exhaust or the engine bay. Oil and coolant for now look correct colors. If the shop doesn't get off their butt I'm seriously considering driving it home if it can make it and then basically flipping a coin to see if Restore and Barr's work.

Go ahead and quote me for a complete rebuild.
 

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2088217335 call me tomorrow. I guess you could try treatment but never seen that shit work in anything. Have had customers use that crap and it always ends badly. A bottle will not fix a mechanical issue. I always laugh on late model stuff when people tell me the dealer did a software update to fix a mechanical issue. Hence why the problem is still there and now their at my shop.why would you blow up a perfectly good block. That's how you have to spend some real dough. Get someone that can rebuild it hell. I know where a good core is right now
 

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Sounds like the perfect time to learn how to work on cars to me ;-), cant break something thats already broke.

So my input from my brain....

Broken camshaft, Uhhh....no. you have 2 camshafts on 2 different banks, for 4 to break in exactly the same spot is super unlikely. Tech doesnt know what a DOHC v6 is apparently?

Head Gasket....possibly, but once again cylinders 1 and 2 are on different banks, you would need both head gaskets to fail in the same way on both banks.

So maybe you are confused which cylinders are 1 and 2? or maybe Im confused....but one bank should be 1-3-5 and the other 2-4-6. Something isnt adding up here. Did you/he test all cylinders or just 1 and 2?

The only things in my head that could make any sense are bent valves, broken valve springs, piston rings, jumped timing belt?. But if these are just on cylinders 1 and 2 its very odd to me. I almost wonder if the tech wants your car for dirt cheap, or something went wrong with the compression test? Perhaps he just doesnt want to work on the thing?

Its just not making sense to me and personally I think someone is trying to take advantage of your limited knowledge.

Also a blown headgasket, is the car smoking at all? Coolant in oil?

Also, I want pictures of this car that has $100k invested into it. This thread is blowing my mind lol, my BS meter is through the roof right now. Why are you worried about 7k being down the drain? Someone already took for you $63,000!
 

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Sounds like the perfect time to learn how to work on cars to me ;-), cant break something thats already broke.

So my input from my brain....

Broken camshaft, Uhhh....no. you have 2 camshafts on 2 different banks, for 4 to break in exactly the same spot is super unlikely. Tech doesnt know what a DOHC v6 is apparently?

Head Gasket....possibly, but once again cylinders 1 and 2 are on different banks, you would need both head gaskets to fail in the same way on both banks.

So maybe you are confused which cylinders are 1 and 2? or maybe Im confused....but one bank should be 1-3-5 and the other 2-4-6. Something isnt adding up here. Did you/he test all cylinders or just 1 and 2?

The only things in my head that could make any sense are bent valves, broken valve springs, piston rings, jumped timing belt?. But if these are just on cylinders 1 and 2 its very odd to me. I almost wonder if the tech wants your car for dirt cheap, or something went wrong with the compression test? Perhaps he just doesnt want to work on the thing?

Its just not making sense to me and personally I think someone is trying to take advantage of your limited knowledge.

Also a blown headgasket, is the car smoking at all? Coolant in oil?

Also, I want pictures of this car that has $100k invested into it. This thread is blowing my mind lol, my BS meter is through the roof right now. Why are you worried about 7k being down the drain? Someone already took for you $63,000!
I agree this most of this here. I think the problem might be misdiagnosed. Either you don't have low compression, or you do and the reasoning is wrong.

I would start by just getting the car home (just tow it?) and doing a compression test of your own.
 

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I would get the car home. This repair facility sounds like total bs. They will totally screw up your car, if they work on it.
First off have they pulled the upper intake plenum? How would they get compression reading on #2 cylinder if they haven't torn into it that far? #2 is under the intake, have they done this? I would ask them these questions.
Second what is the actual issue?
I know you said a tapping noise.
From where up top, down low in the engine? Have they verified timing?
Have they pulled valve cover to verify a cam follower hasn't popped out in the suspect cylinder..
Idk I'm sorry I feel for you.
I will help in anyway I can
 
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