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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So.. I got the car about 10 years ago with 90k miles. The car is now at about 133k miles so I've barely driven it. After leaving the state for 3 years and coming back the car worked ok but after a while it started acting up. I had someone to turn the car on every now and again while I was gone so that should not have been the issue.

Now to the issue. Over the last few years I have basically changed everything that could be changed and I could afford to change in the car trying to make it drivable again but I may have done more damage than good. As the old saying goes, if it aint broke don't fix it. Anyways, Here is a list of what I can remember that is less than 5 years old. I got a rebuilt engine, timing belt, tensioners, water pump, temperature sensor, throttle position sensor (one screw broke removing it so its only held by the second screw), MAS, Idle control valve, fuel pump, fuel filter, all fuses were checked and relays, battery, air filter, spark plugs, spark plug wires, injectors, PCV, throttle body has been cleaned, putting a new fuel pressure regulator soon, radiator and alternator is new from the last 10 years, I can't remember anything else but I would think after years of replacing parts the car would just work.

Mechanics have worked on it but then it acts up again. Now for the issues which begins with the fact that its an OBD1 so I can't really figure out what's wrong affordably unless I do one of the tricks found online but haven't tried it. First thing. The car Struggles to turn on when I try to turn the car on at least once per week. I do have to charge the battery i got about a year ago to turn it on. Second thing. When the car turns on it sounds pretty bad, it struggles to stay on and for some time it just turned off on me after a few minutes. I figured I got a vacuums leak so I'm currently working on fixing that. But even if I did, it barely has any power and when I drove it last week, it could barely accelerate. not sure what else it could be and also keep in mind that I do not drive the car because I can't, I just turn it on for a while because it does overheat but that's another issue for the future. I will be talking to a mechanic at some point In the future but wanted to see if maybe I could fix it myself since I've been working on it for about a decade now.

Not sure if anyone can help with this but after years of reading posts on here, I figured that I should probably ask for help. Willing to take any advice given since everything I can think off is basically new at this point. Thanks
 

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Blindly replacing parts is not a good approach as you have figured out. Test stuff and read this forum. People will help guide you through the problem.

Checking the engine light can be done with an analog voltmeter. Click on Voltmeter to see one for $11 on amazon. It is a bit of a pain, but you can count how many times it rises and falls after touching the connector hanging off of the fuse panel by the driver's feet. I suspect you have a timing issue, a parasitic electrical draw and an overheating problem as you stated. I would fix the the throttle position sensor if you suspect the 1 screw is not holding it tight. Screws brake off all of the time on these old cars. If you can grab it with a pair of vice grips and turn it out that is the best. Next method is to drill out the screw using bits smaller than the screw, until you can clean the threads out.

If you don't have an engine light do the following.
Unplug your MAF and see if your car will idle. If it does, then your computer is having trouble controlling the timing after it warms up. If this is the case that means you could be having trouble with any number of items. I have listed a few below.

Vacuum leak would be the easiest to fix. Quickest way is just to listen for a high pitched hiss. Next way is to spray fluids around and listen for the idle to change.

The big item not on your list was ECU. ECU can cause timing issues. I would take it out and take the cover off. Take several very close and in-focus pictures and post them on this forum. Seems like everyone has had to have work done on their ECU at some point by this time.

You did not mention ignition coils. They can be checked with your new voltmeter.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No check engine light. I am unsure if it needs to be driven for that to come on or if it just needs to be turned on but I have not seen it.

Got the timing done like 3 years ago but I saw a different mechanic who said that he did something to the timing about a year ago and it did sound better for a while. I may ask a 3rd mechanic since I was planning on talking to someone else in the future.

I will have to drill out the screw that's stuck in the throttle body when I removed the sensor. It completely broke off and its kinda stuck inside at this point, I will do that after the car is back to normal. Quick question, When putting the throttle position sensor back, I've seen that it needs to be turn to a certain angle, would that mess the car up?

I will be doing the MAF unplugging by tomorrow. I do think that I have a clear vacuum leak. There is a loud his sound coming from the area were the injectors are in the middle. I will be taking that apart tomorrow to check the rubber pieces I placed on the injectors. I read that oil should be applied but I'm sure that I just put them on when I changed it last year at some point so they may be damaged. I will look at tutorial videos to make sure that its done correctly this time because I can't recall what I did besides just changing them.

The ignition coils are new and I know its been 25 years at this point but I was kinda hoping the ECU had nothing to do with it. I can check that if nothing else works. I've taken note of what you guys said so I'll try that tomorrow and let you know if anything new comes out of it. Thanks.
 

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Actually, having just been through the ringer of " I know better than to take my vr4 to ANY mechanic unknown to this forum; but I'll do some vetting by tapping some Mitsu owners I know and certainly find at least one wrench turner suitable for this specific platform", trying to chase and pin down my hesitation turned click no start problem. And while my car sat only between nice days during which I also had time to do some driving. Then became a daily short distances driver for a short period prior to not starting. That it is a 92 with less than 110k miles on it, original oem parts other than those that mitsubishi replaced along with the tranny and txfer case due to the NTSB documented manufacurer defective transfer case leak out and lock up recall event happened to my car, a few other than electrical/charging/starting replacements, makes my experience similar enough to say HOPE THAT IT IS THE ECU. So much so that the next first thing to do is be sure that nothing is causing ecu damage, and as long as such is the case second step is to BUY A COMPATIBLE ECU REBUILT BY A CONFIRMED AS QUALIFIED AND RELIABLE BY 3SI MEMBERS, AS A SOURCE for another replacement for your car. Replace your existing with the rebuilt one. And PRAY TO THE BENEFICENCE OFCYOUR CHOICE THAT THE CAR STARTS AND RUNS; even if it runs briefly you will be much further along than tsking any alternative approach. Because you can only rely upon the data link information reflected by the analog multimetwr needle bounce test, IFCYOU KNOW THE DATA IS COMING FROM BENCH TESTED AS WORKING ECU. And if it starts or anything improves at all with the new ecu install, that info can be used as a reliable point of reference regarding the next best steps to take in your troubleshooting process. But that said, if it still doesn't start, I would only subject the new ecu to exposure to the cars electrical system as needed, that the ecu data response suggests.

The final result of my brilliant vetting a mechanic idea resulted in a 60k mile timing belt w water pump and tune up service, non msd 7mm made in house plug wires, replacement coil pack cluster charge but with just one pack actually replaced, inspection and repair existing plus purchase of additional rebuilt matching oem ecu (at a chrome ecu price charge of $750), a suspiciously broken tach and notably faster idle speed (~1250 rpm), same day return after initial completion partially spun out harmonic balancer fixed at my added cost; getting my bill paid off and the car home where I discovered the mentioned flaws and lies.

Cost $4085.58

Bought me a total of less than 500 miles worth of driving until it stalled and remained unstartable. Until a really cool thing happened that saved my car for me. The discovery that a 3si member with 17 years of experience working with fixing, massively upgrading and building and modifying this specific platform!

So know that no local shop can do the work as necessary on your car. Avoid throwing jello against the wall to see what sticks, use this site and the experienced members for suggestions amd directions for axpatient amd effective approach to troubleshooting...AND LET THE MEMBERSHIP KNOW YOU NEED HELP BECAUSE THE CAR MAY BE LOCATED NEAR ENOUGH TO A MEMBER WHO IS WILLING TO PHYSICALLY ASSIST YOU EN VIVO!!!

I've owned my car since 1998. I've tried 3 shops 4 times twice at the dealership, two other independent...never got it back glitch free, always came with new issues needing fixed; and were thanks solely due to this site and member advice!!! VERITAS!

Stay positive and patient. It pays off. My car is proof as the end of an entire stage 2 upgrade amd 500hp is almost complete!!!

Good luck.

Peace
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Glad to hear that everything worked out in the end and thanks for the tips. Honestly, the car can sometimes be a bit costly but I think at the end, its kinda worth it. Plus its almost an Antic at this point, whatever that's worth. My car is in good condition inside and out the only issue is how its functioning right now. I'll keep the ECU tip in mind but I'm going to try to fix the seals on the injectors since im hearing a large hiss coming from that area and really think the seals are broken. The car does start and I don't have the check engine light on so I do think the ECU may be ok but we'll see since that will eventually be something that will have to be addressed if nothing else works.
 

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The LARGE sucking sound bothers me.
I'm wondering if you are missing gaskets on the lower and upper plenums...or even at the throttle body.
Also, I would check to see if you have a BISS screw in place...

Just thinking out loud...

Bob.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well... The plenums have the gaskets and the throttle body does too. I worked on it in the past but ill take it out and clean it since im cleaning the injectors and replacing the rubber pieces. I was unable to do it today due to a massive rain storm but I did test something out which gave surprising results.

When I removed the Mass airflow sensor the cars idle became what it should always be. It went from struggling to stay on and hesitating to a stable flow. Again. I do think I have a vacuums leak in the injectors and hope Im right so it can be fixed. I may also check the computer with he voltmeter but idk how much I trust that.

If there are any other opinions. They are welcomed. Thanks.
 

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Well... The plenums have the gaskets and the throttle body does too. I worked on it in the past but ill take it out and clean it since im cleaning the injectors and replacing the rubber pieces. I was unable to do it today due to a massive rain storm but I did test something out which gave surprising results.

When I removed the Mass airflow sensor the cars idle became what it should always be. It went from struggling to stay on and hesitating to a stable flow. Again. I do think I have a vacuums leak in the injectors and hope Im right so it can be fixed. I may also check the computer with he voltmeter but idk how much I trust that.

If there are any other opinions. They are welcomed. Thanks.
Work on the air leaks first. Check all of the connections on the air intake side. My first guess would be the rubber gasket between the air intake tube and your intake manifold. The rubber sleeve gets deformed over time and does not like to seal tightly. Sometimes as you tighten the connection, the tube will back out, unless you keep pressure on it.

On a side note if you don't have an engine light there is no reason to check your ECU with a voltmeter. Sounds like the air leak should fix a lot of your problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hope it's just an air leak. I'll work on it this coming weekend and see if I can finally find a solution. I'll check any rubber pieces or gaskets to make sure their ok. I'll let you guys know if anything gets resolved. thanks
 

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Well... The plenums have the gaskets and the throttle body does too.
Hope it's just an air leak. I'll work on it this coming weekend and see if I can finally find a solution.
One of most common errors is throttle body gasket flipped backwards, that causes a vacuum leak. The hump on top edge needs to be closer to rear stud than the front stud.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I never removed the throttle body in the past. When I saw that the part which controls the rev was connected, I didn't want to mess with more than I understood so I cleaned the inside and left it. I am going to be checking the gaskets in the car because using the rev thing on the throttle body, I was able to confirm that the car accelerates with 0 hesitation with the mass airflow sensor disconnected.

I did replace the part last year so its new. Is there anyway to check if its working correctly. I feel like the original one was fine but the last mechanic told me to change it so I did but I do not want to buy another if I don't have too since their not the cheapest thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I finished replacing the spark plugs, placing new rubber pieces on the injectors, and changing the fuel pressure regulator. Tightened all the bolts. Confirmed the gaskets are good. And the car actually sounds better. Well better than it did but now on to a new issue. I'll be googling it but also welcome any help.

The fuel pump works and is new. The fuel filter is new so I don't think their the problem but the car turns off after a few minutes. Tried checking the power flow to make sure the alternator is ok and it seemed fine. Any advice for a car just turning off on its own.
 

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If you car is just straight up turning off and not winding down slowly, check your MFI relay. It's off the center console on the passenger side under the carpet. It holds switched ignition power to the ECU and fuel pump. If you search around you'll see several posts where they cause all sorts of problems as well as randomly cutting off after 10-15 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you. Yes in roughly 15 minutes the car turns off. The AC will continue but it just turns of without winding down or anything. I'll look into the MFI..
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey. I cleaned the MAS and the MFI sensor just incase. The car does accelerate a lot better while idling (no hesitation) but after several minutes of checking to confirm the idle issue was gone, white smoke started flowing out from the engine area. The car sounded fine but when I accelerated using the piece behind the engine which increases RPMs, most white smoke began to come out. Has this happened to anyone?

I just installed new spark plugs and applied new seals to the injectors so I know their good. The gaskets is also good, cleaned it before placing it back so im unsure were the white smoke could be coming from. Thanks for any help
 

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Hey. I cleaned the MAS and the MFI sensor just incase. The car does accelerate a lot better while idling (no hesitation) but after several minutes of checking to confirm the idle issue was gone, white smoke started flowing out from the engine area. The car sounded fine but when I accelerated using the piece behind the engine which increases RPMs, most white smoke began to come out. Has this happened to anyone?

I just installed new spark plugs and applied new seals to the injectors so I know their good. The gaskets is also good, cleaned it before placing it back so im unsure were the white smoke could be coming from. Thanks for any help
Hopefully you just got some spray on your exhaust manifold and it started burning off after the car warmed up. Still try to track it down visually. Make sure you don't have a hose or wire dangling down on something hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hello. I didn't drive the car because of the smoke cloud but I'll try to track the source of it if it does not go away on its own. The other issue with the car is that fact that it over heats. The two fans work when the air conditioner is on so im assuming the motors on them are fine but the engine fan does not turn on automatically. The thermostat, Water Temperature Gauge Sensor, and coolant temperature sensor has been replaced but it did not fix the issue.

The engine fan will also stop working about 20+ minutes after its been running because of the AC. The engine fan will also malfunction if the air conditioner is turned on after the heat gauge goes past Half way. What I mean by that is that when the air conditioner is turned on, both fan will work then the AC air conditioner fan will stay on but the fan that turn on for the engine will work then click and turn off, then work again for a few seconds click and turn off causing the car to continue overheating. Does anyone have any idea what I should look into to correct the issue?

Thanks
 

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You probably already know this, but never keep running a car that is overheating. You can turn it on for a few minutes to test, but don't let it get near the red. You can blow your head gaskets, warp or lock up the engine. First thing to fix is the white smoke. To keep your car cool you need to have enough coolant circulating. Even if your car overheats you, should not have smoke coming out of your engine compartment. Look for rotted hoses or loose hose clamps. Hopefully it is something simple and not a failed water pump or the coolant tube that connects to the water pump. After you fix the leak, I would test or just replace your thermostat. After that, I would look into the fan control issue.
 

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Does the check engine light illuminate at startup? Your car has one of the "hybrid" ECUs, between obdi and obdii. If the cel doesn't come on, it's an ecu issue almost guaranteed.

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