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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is half serious, half humor, half rant, but mostly humor.

Well, I had this perfectly good VR4. No problems (other than the radio antenna) and everything worked right. Can I leave well enough alone? Of course not, I had to improve it. So I bought a PMP FMIC, and the eBay pre-cat eliminator and downpipe that looked to make the most sense to me for the car. Plus I like HIDs and the stock headlights weren't great.

Right now my car is in about 5 million pieces being almost completely apart for the required work, but definitely not put back together. I am used to working on bigger cars than this and, despite my girly hands and long fingers, even I'm having problems getting into some of the tight spots where some Mitsubishi engineer thought "I know, we can put a bolt there!"

These guys love bolts. I think even the hose clamps have at least 3 bolts to mount them to something. Just when you think you've got all the bolts off, the thing will surprise you with one more. But you can't see where it is! Yes, there's a reason for that, and you will come to curse at it later after you find where it is. Who assembled this thing, leprechauns? I am also amazed by the advanced level of DFM (Design For Manufacturing) these engineers must have taken in school, and a complete lack of communication between them, and anyone who would ever have to work on the car. I've never worked on a car where I had to take off so many components completely unrelated to the job I was doing.

Oh, and the HIDs. I bought a set of projector H4 lenses and a bi-HID kit that does both high and low beams. I actually installed that earlier in the week, and it works great. 5000K bulbs, and both high and low beam provide plenty of light without blinding people (at least nobody's flashed at me yet), but I had a few things I didn't like about the installation, so I ripped that apart and am doing it while I have the bumper off.

Anyway, there is hope. The downpipe looks like it will actually bolt to the stock exhaust, and the pre-cat eliminator looks like it will be a much easier install than the old one is to get out. The real problem is my O2 sensor refuses to come out (even with the acetylene wrench), so I'm going to have to find a good way to break it and just replace it. Getting the factory intercooler piping out wasn't too bad, and the new stuff, well, I'm sure that will be a ridiculous pain. But for the time being I'm going to pretend it won't be that bad so that, after I eat my dinner, I'll get back out there and have back at it.

Tomorrow sometime I need to drive to Boston (about 6 hours). I wanted to take the VR4, but that seems unlikely. If I can get the rear pre-cat eliminator off tonight and get started on reassembly tonight, I may try to get it back together in the morning, do a quick test drive, and if all works out then throw my tools in the trunk and drive on out. Otherwise, I'll take the truck. The truck is probably the smart move, but there's no sense of adventure there.

Hope y'all are having as fun a weekend as me! :)
 

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Perpetual Modifier
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708 Posts
Good man! You should do some of the *-delete mods or *-reduction mods if you haven't already, it makes the engine bay so much easier to work on. Look up the vacuum reduction, clutch booster delete, EGR delete, and/or cruise control delete, in that order. That will remove a ton of clutter in the engine bay. If you plan on doing a lot of work yourself to the car, it will prove invaluable as time goes on.
 

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The d00d
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1,005 Posts
hahaha awesome. I love it! I swapped the stoopid hydraulic tensioner today and even that has quirks that you need to get around. Definitely look into that vacuum reduction that he mentioned. :) Glad to hear I wasn't the only one enjoying my 3s this weekend :p
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I gave up for the night a few hours ago, so I won't be driving it to Boston. However I got the O2 sensor out (more acetylene wrench), after which the rear pre-cat came out easily. Got the new one on and that whole section buttoned down, and got a good sum of the plumbing for the FMIC done. When I get back from my trip, I'll finish that up. Fortunately I have a garage where I can leave things for a while!
 

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1,737 Posts
After swapping the trans, rear turbo, rear motor mount, front turbo and most of the exhaust and oil lines, working on other cars is much easier. LOL


Stick to it, one of the reasons I bought the vr4 is to crack down and be able to say, yea I did that.


Next rebuild the engine incar :D Maybe
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, I'll get it done, I've spent enough time wrenching on annoying cars. However this one is definitely up there on the list of more annoying. Right now the car and tools are sitting out in the garage, I'll get back to them after this week's trip. :)
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fast forward 20 days and I've been travling for almost all of the time frame, and when I've been home I've had more important things I need to deal with. Good thing I have two cars.

I have the wiring for the HIDs complete and they work well, and I believe will be reliable. I haven't bolted up the downpipe yet, as I'm leaving that for last, but when I lined it up it looked like it would fit, so I'm less worried about that. Even if it doesn't fit, that is easily remedied with a few cuts and the addition of some flex sections.

The FMIC, on the other hand, is proving to be a real pain. None of the pipes are the right length, they're all off by an inch or so. The pipe going across the front of the engine interferes with the coolant hose. The pipe coming off the throttle body is too long and hits the coolant tank. The pipe off the front turbo hits the pipe coming from the throttle body.

So, I'm left now figuring out what to do. It looks like if I made a few cuts in the hard pipes and added some flex sections I could probably solve most of the problems. I also have all the factory piping still which I could reinstall with the factory intercoolers, and perhaps go for some new ones in proper condition since my ultimate goal was to have something that's not 140,000 miles of screwed up like the current intercoolers.

Part of me wants to just put all the factory stuff back together since it works, but I suppose the better thing to do is buy a bunch more clamps and some sections of flex hose to get everything fitting properly. Thoughts appreciated. I was hoping to get this back together this weekend, but that won't happen unless Advance has 2" and 3" flex hose, which I doubt, or I decide to put the factory stuff back on, which I don't want to do unless I were to get some new intercoolers.

Thoughts?
 

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Premium Member
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476 Posts
This idea is saving me headache for my FMIC, I decided to go with a 2-in 1-out intercooler. This way there is only 1 pipe having to go to the throttle and less pipeing to worry about interfering with everything. It will mean less in the end and give it a cleaner look. The pipes I will be getting universals and jsut cutting to the length I need. Hope this little bit helps you in maybe tweeking your ideas or thinking of something new.
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It drives! :D

Tonight I got it back together. Well, not back together, but back together enough that I can take it on a test drive. The bumper is still not on and the exhaust isn't attached to the downpipe, but otherwise everything else works. Gotta give the neighbors some reason not to like me, it's been a while.

The installation took a long time, but that primarily had to do with the fact that my work schedule has not afforded me any time to work on this thing. However, I will point out that the kit was not a bolt-in. I had to modify three pipes. The U-pipe coming out of the front turbo, the top pipe going over the front turbo, and the big pipe going to the throttle body. The pipes were too long, too short, insufficient bends, or a combination. The general shape was accurate, it just wasn't perfect. Considering the cost, this didn't bother me. However if you don't have a beading tool handy, it could be problematic. I didn't have to notch the body any to make anything fit, I just moved the pipes accordingly.

The HIDs were a bit interesting to install. The fact that the car has pop-up headlights makes things interesting, as the wiring has to be able to withstand the motion. What I ended up doing was pulling out the whole headlight assembly, drilling a hole behind them for wires, and then putting the wires through there. We'll see how it works out long term, but it looks good so far.

The exhaust is a pain, but then again so is every other exhaust I've done. I'm not sure this is really any worse. The rear turbo downpipe really was a pain to get off, but I did manage to get it off and out. Getting the O2 sensor out was the worst part of it. Once I managed that, it came out, but not without a fight.

So, initial driving impressions: Well, it definitely needs the exhaust attached, although I do really like hearing the turbos whistle. :)

The boost is way more responsive. I expect the responsiveness will go down some once I have the exhaust attached, but it comes right up. I don't know what the boost actually is, but it's pegged on the stock gauge. Before it read between 7 and 14. It also reads more boost at a lower RPM.

The intercooler does its job great. I stayed on boost for a while on some uphill stretches and there were no signs of heat soak whatsoever, whereas before there would be. No boost leaks that I could tell, either. I couldn't tell how solid the boost was, but it seemed to be plenty darn solid. The 9Bs are still doing the job fine. Definitely no significant lag, which I attribute to the lack of cats even though there's a larger area to pressurize now. No question, the car is faster.

The HIDs work great also, but I tested those before. Another interesting note, the front Active Aero was removed on the car at some point, but the motor was still there. I figured I'd leave the motor removed, which got me an "Aero" warning light. Oops. I guess i have to put that back on.

There are two things that aren't working right at the moment. First one is that at idle the voltage seems to be fluctuating some, I see it in the dash lights and the headlights. I'm not sure what's going on with that, if I screwed up something on the wiring or what. The started cranks strongly, even after the battery sitting for the better part of a month, so I don't think my connections there are loose. Any other ideas for something I might have hit in installation, or another cause for the problem?

The accelerator cable needs adjustment or else is binding. I need to look at that.

The shift linkage also isn't working right. 1, 2, 3, and 5 all work great. 4 you can feel some resistance in the shifter, and reverse you don't feel it going into gear at all. I need to look to see if something is binding or if I broke something (I know I was banging around up there), but all the gears work perfectly without grinding, so the transmission itself seems fine, and it seems to be getting the gears into where they ought to be. Any thoughts?

I need to look at components and how they interfere with the hood. I think something is interfering slightly, but I don't know what exactly. That I just have to find and adjust accordingly.

The next step as I see it is put the front bumper back on, get the exhaust hooked up (I'm leaving the stock cat-back on), and take care of these little details, and then it'll be good to go for driving. I can't wait to actually start putting some miles on it and seeing how it is. I really can't wait to get back to driving this thing.

I am wondering how much I'm pushing the stock injectors, knowing that they're somewhat undersized and that now the boost has gone up. I was against the idea of putting on 450s and an S-AFC previously, but I might be convinced on it now. Any thoughts?
 

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The d00d
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I skimmed that book you wrote and looks awesome! hahah I will reread it tomorrow before work but glad to see you finished it (mostly ;)). Where are all the pics?! :D
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I skimmed that book you wrote and looks awesome! hahah
Look for the new TV series - as the impeller turns. ;)

I will reread it tomorrow before work but glad to see you finished it (mostly ;)). Where are all the pics?! :D
I was going to take some last night, but I decided after the test drive that I was going to go inside and have a beer. Tonight I'm going to try to start addressing some of the other issues - get the exhaust bolted up properly and start looking at what's going on with my throttle and shifter cables, plus hood clearance. If it works as I hope, then the thing should be stock quiet (almost) up until I get on it at higher revs, and then be more growly. It would also be nice if my shifter worked right. :)

I gave some thought to the lights flickering, and think I know where I screwed up. For some reason the positive battery cable isn't fitting on the battery terminal properly, it's very loose. I don't get why, it was tight when it came off (at least I thought it was). So I shoved a bit of aluminum foil in to make it clamp properly. Oops. Probably a bad move. I'll redo that tonight.

I'm hoping to get everything back together fully this weekend. The fact that I can actually drive it now is great, but I have a feeling that this will just necessitate some more upgrades (fuel namely).
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Did a bit more work on it tonight. Turns out the lower radiator hose was interfering with the shifter. A little pushing it in the right direction fixed the problem, but I added a zip tie to keep it where it needed to be. Adjusted the throttle and now it's happy, too. Rotating three clamps got rid of all hood interference, and now it closes (and opens) perfect.

Got the front bumper back on, too. I had to do a bit of modification for it to clear the FMIC pipes, but that worked out well.

There are two things left - wiring up the new O2 sensor (Advance Auto's idea of a direct fir replacement is just another universal that they labeled as direct fit - grr...) and getting the exhaust hooked up. The latter will be a bit more difficult. I was going to try to hook this up to the stock cat-back just to see how it worked. Of course, the downpipe doesn't line up properly, and if I move the stock exhaust so it does line up, it hits the driveshaft. Well, that doesn't work. So now I have to figure out whether I want to just order a catback or mess around with adapting this.
 

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Do you have any pics of that intercooler you got from PMP cause i was thinking about getting that next pay check. But hearing about the problems with the pipes is scaring me off.
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I know, I'm behind on pictures. Now, as requested:

Assembly2.jpg

This is the car in its most disassembled state, getting ready to go back together.

Assembly3.jpg

At this point I had the intercooler in, but didn't have the piping together yet. I'd started on some of it.

Assembly5.jpg

Here you see the finished product under the hood. The two changes you'll note from the supplied pipes were what I did for the front pipe that goes over the front turbo, and the pipe going from the intercooler to the throttle body (actually for the pipe closer to the throttle body, there's another pipe that goes from the intercooler to underneath the air box area).

The front pipe was a bit too high and was kinking the upper radiator hose. Two cuts and some silicone connectors would have done the trick, but since I had the 2" hose sitting around anyway, I decided to go ahead and use that as it was easier. It doesn't touch the turbo, and even so, there are two heat shields right there.

The pipe going to the throttle body was bent a little bit off, and so just a simple cut did the job there.

I also cut a few inches out of the U-pipe that goes from the front turbo to where it meets up with what would be the crossover pipe. It was too long and was hitting. Cutting a few inches out fixed that problem.

Lastly, I had to do some bumper modifications. The ribs interfered with the pipes, so I had to cut the outer ribs out completely, and the inner ribs I had to cut a few inches out. I'll need to go over this again to make it look nice, but some tin snips did a pretty respectable looking job to start out with. The plastic is easy to cut.

This is really not a big deal to do. I cut the pipes using a Craftsman jig saw (blades were long enough to cut even the 2.75" pipes straight down without any issues). I have access to a beading tool, so I used that. However I've seen instructions for an easy DIY beading tool using vice grips, a muffler clamp, and a washer. If you ordered a couple of silicone couplers and clamps and have a solid weekend to devote to the project, I see no reason why you couldn't get it done. My issue was I never have a solid weekend to devote, didn't order couplers or clamps, and was on a 75% travel schedule starting from the day after I started the project.

I've driven it about 100 miles since getting it back together. No more heat soak, no boost leaks. With the 9Bs it still spools up quickly. In the 2000-2500 RPM range it has a hair of lag, but not very much. No doubt it pulls a lot harder than before, although I also made some exhaust changes in the process (which aren't completed yet). If you want the easy solution, buying a set of new side mounts probably gives you good enough results for less effort using the 9Bs. However this was cheap and I figured left me with good cooling ability if I decided to upgrade the turbos or anything else later. It was a bit frustrating at times since I was without my car for so long and relegated to driving the truck, but I'm glad I did this.

In the mean time, I'll have to make a post of all the old piping, etc. that is now for sale in case anyone wants it. It was pretty much new when I bought the car. The intercoolers were shot, though.
 

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The newbie
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177 Posts
Nice job with the install! Looks real good, makes me want to get to work on mine right away! You should post some pics with the VR4 with your other rides, if you are who I think you are, I hear it has TWO engines. ;) :p
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Another update. I've had the FMIC and downpipe installed for about 3,000 miles now. The car has been a joy to drive. With the 9Bs it still has quick spool times, and now that it's starting to cool off up north, the car is really doing well.

I didn't replace the O-ring going between the rear turbo and the pipe going to the FMIC, which I should have done. It appears to be leaking from there, so I'm trying to source a replacement. I also am unsure if I have another boost leak somewhere or not, but I'm fairly certain that O-ring is the only leak.

I'd recommend this setup to anyone who's got old, beaten up intercoolers and is looking for a repair that's also a nice upgrade.
 

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No more VR4!
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another update on this, having the setup on the car for over 3 years now.

I think a lot of the problems that I had with the FMIC pipes not fitting properly were due to my motor mounts being shot, as well as the leaking I had from the pipe coming out of the rear turbo. Once I changed my motor mounts (http://www.3si.org/forum/f35/change-your-motor-mounts-560785/), not only did all of my boost leaks go away, but the pipes also lined up significantly better. I also noticed that the one support bracket that was supposed to hook up to the intake manifold now lined up, whereas it didn't before. I cut it off because it didn't line up and was getting in the way.

So if you do a FMIC install and the pipes don't seem to be lining up, check your motor mounts. They probably need to be done. I'm very happy with the 3SX poly.
 

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No more VR4!
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798 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'll also add that the HIDs have been trouble-free since install. So that's been a good item. I was honestly a bit uncertain how well they'd work with pop-up headlights, but the answer has been very well! I can see everything at night. :D
 

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AWESOME write up. I just bought a 91 vr4 and 1 month later I seem to have major leaking coming from the rear turbo oring. No turbo in first or second but works in third....I have a slew of parts coming axles gauges mbc etc. That intercooler looks sick. Do you see the same one on ebay for sale?
 
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