Oil leak!

Oil leakWorrying times as I spotted the rainbow colours of an oil leak on the rain soaked driveway. Further investigation found the dipstick out of place and oil sprayed all over the top of the engine bay as well as down the back of the block.

I topped up the oil which was down by a whole litre, hoping I had not done any damage in the meantime.

There can be several reasons why the dipstick gets blown out:

  • The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PVC) valve is faulty and not vacating crankcase gases as it should.
  • The piston rings or bores are damaged or worn allowing combustion gases to overpressurise the crankcase
  • The dipstick o-rings are simply worn
  • Not fully replacing the dipstick after a oil check or change

I’m hoping it’s the last option but having recently taken the car on a 3 day road trip using it very hard, i’m wondering if the increased boost from the recent map is causing problems under hard load. I did notice the engine hitting 25psi on the boost gauge recently which is over 1.72 bar – more than I should be running and not a good idea on a standard engine. Whether this is down to the cheap looking gauge not reading accurately or a genuine problem, I’m going to ask the garage that mapped it to find out.

So I cleaned up the engine bay, checked the breather pipes and dipstick and kept an eye on it.

Lo and behold as soon as I used full boost through the gears there was a drip of the black gold on the drive as soon as I pulled up. Yet again the dipstick had blown out, So I’m going to take the car in to the garage for a leakdown test to see what health the engine is in and hoping that worn rings is not the culprit which would leave me with a hefty bill for an engine rebuild.

Watch this space…


Clutch change

Evo 5 clutch change

Standard clutch and flywheel upgraded to larger Evo 8 items

Having enjoyed the extra boost for 2 weeks of post remap fun it was clear the clutch was struggling to keep up with the increased torque. It was starting to slip quite badly under boost. (For those unfamiliar, this means the revs increase without a corresponding increase in vehicle speed, the same as what happens if you were to slip the clutch yourself) Having heard of a fellow Evo owner’s clutch going from slipping to broken in no time at all, I thought it better to get the car into the garage sooner rather than later. I booked into DWR again who changed the clutch and flywheel for a slightly larger Evo 8 item with a very quick turnaround time, given the little notice I gave them. The increased surface area of the clutch and flywheel should mean it can handle up to 400bhp no problem at all.

Something interesting Darren did point out, was how the engine bay had got dirty quite quickly since he last cleaned it and that the manifold may be leaking when warm, causing exhaust gas to vent out. So that’s something to keep an eye on in the next few months. They also spotted a split steering gaiter and 2 worn balljoints that were replaced at the same time.

Good service from DWR and now the Evo was ready for it’s next challenge, 3 of the best driving destinations in England…

Remap time!

Faulty actuator

Faulty actuator caused lack of boost

Since the rolling road day at Area 52 Motorsport, I discovered that the car was only producing about 12psi or 0.75bar boost when it should be around 1.1bar as standard. So I booked the car into DWR Performance in Chesterfield to get diagnose the fault and remap as and when it was running correctly. Darren at DWR diagnosed a faulty turbo actuator, the ‘top hat’ has rusted through where rainwater has dripped through the bonnet vents down the actuator arm and settled, rusting over time. The actuator is the component that vents excessive boost from the turbo, should it reach the predefined level set by the ECU. Since the actuator had failed in the open position, when tested, it was only holding boost up to around 12psi before opening and venting anything in excess of that amount. This is a common fault with the older Evo’s due to the way the actuator is mounted. Darren removed the radiator and fitted an Evo 8 actuator which does not have the same exposure to rain water due to its orientation.

Coincidentally whilst in for fitting, there was a another Evo on the ramp – a IX that had been brought in by it’s new owner because he got beaten in a straight line by a 1.6 Honda Civic! It turns out he was getting no boost whatsoever! Kinda worrying that he hadn’t realised there was something fundamentally wrong until the Civic zoomed by!

With my new actuator fitted Darren mapped the car on the road with the ECU targeted to 1.5bar which is approximately 22psi. What a difference! The car felt absolutely savage on the way home. I kept accidentally hitting the rev limiter due to how much more quickly the revs climb under boost. The car now pops, bangs and spits flames on the overrun, sounds fantastic, I love it.

Turbosmart Dump valve

Turbosmart dump valveWhen I bought the car it came prefitted with hardpipes and a Forge recirculating dump valve. This was a nice subtle sound for everyday use, easily audible within the cabin on gearchanges. However with the Evo now relegated to weekend duties for the most part I thought I’d try ‘chav it up’ a little but buying a Turbosmart Dual Port Blow Off Valve. This dump valve, as they are known, has two ports to allow some air to recirculate back into the intake and some to be released out.

Fitting in my case was very easy; Simply remove the Forge valve by undoing the jubilee clips securing it to the intake pipe and replace with the Turbosmart.

Turbosmart Hardness settingThe Turbosmart has a hardness setting that is easily adjustable. By twisting the case you can specify how much air gets released to atmosphere and how much gets recirculated into the intake system. Too ‘hard’ and the engine could stall at low revs by venting all air out, too soft and all the air gets recirculated.

After a trial run down the road, at a mid range setting, the car sounded great, with no stalling issues and had my brother in the following car chuckling at the commotion on each gear change. The hiss of escaping air is now clearly audible outside the car and as juvenile as it is, I think it’s great!

Rolling road day

EvolutionSeptember marked a Lancer Register organised visit to Area 52 in Kirby-in-Ashfield for a club Rolling Road day. I was interested to see what power the car was making as well as talking to some other like minded owners.

The guys at Area 52 are very professional and see high powered cars day in day out, so have no problems ensuring the engines are safe whilst on the rollers. In fact one  run was cancelled for one of the owners mid session as the engine was showing signs of pinking (fuel igniting before the spark plug fires).

Evo X

Since Previous garage Wraith Evolutions in Chesterfield had said car was definitely not standard as it seemed livelier than a standard car, I was interested to see what power it would make, as well as ensure the fueling was OK.



It turns out the car was running well down on power at 256bhp and was boosting to 11psi or 0.75bar (standard is around 15psi or 1 bar) which I had stupidly thought was just over 1 bar due to the gauge’s PSI measurement indicator being obscured by the surround. The guys suggested that maybe there was a boost leak somewhere and tightened up the clamps and checked the recirculating valve but to no avail. So all this time I thought it was running slightly more power than standard, it had been a lot less!

First time on the rollers

This made sense as the car felt quick to 60-100 but then didn’t seem particularly savage after that. Also having been for a blast with my brother’s Clio 197 and come up against an Integra DC5 on the road, the Evo didn’t pull away as much as one would think.

The guys also diagnosed the steering issue that has plagued the car since the new suspension; The universal joints in the steering column are binding causing the resistance/no resistance feeling. This will need to go back into the garage to be sorted as they have obviously made a mistake fitting the ARB bushes and let the steering column go loose.

It was a good day out seeing other cars up close and chatting to owners about their mods and cars.


Extractor fan seemed a little excessive

So the day was very useful and now armed with the knowledge that the car was underboosting the next step was to diagnose the problem….

MOT time again


The dreaded MOT time again!

Another easy pass for the Evo come MOT time, the third in my ownership. All that was needed were two antirollbar bushes at £14 each – not bad for Mitsubishi! Apparently fitting was easier said than done however as the subframe needed to be dropped down to fit them. I also managed to secure a set of used shocks with Eibach springs that looked in excellent condition for £250 from the MLR. I got these fitted by the garage at the same time. This has cured the knocking from the front nearside that has steadily been getting worse over time.

The driver’s window is now finally fixed (for good hopefully!) and I can use a McDonald’s drivethrough without opening the door and getting out like a weirdo! A second hand regulator to the rescue.

The car was handling better with the new suspension, however there was was clearly a problem with the steering as turning right loaded the steering so it was heavy then went light again while turning left the steering was very light. You couldn’t have any confidence in the handling due to the varying resistance. I assumed it was something to do with the new suspension from running various camber, toe and castor after fitting. So the car is in for 4 wheel alignment and I’ll report on the findings when she’s back


Honda Integra DC5

DC5I ended up behind a lovely Honda Integra DC5 on a dual carriageway the other day which was shifting, so decided to try keeping up with it (at a distance) to see how it compared. The ‘Teg sounded fantastic and was clearly well maintained as you could see the shiny blue and silver suspension components underneath the back of the car. Through the gears the Evo was quicker and gained fairly easily but not as quick as I would have liked.

The JDM Integras usually have around 220bhp so unless this was modded, the Evo must be down on power. Obviously transmission losses account for a lot on a 4WD car, but I have a niggling feeling that the car should be making more power…

Tuned Japanese cars and emissions

exhaust emissions

Evos can struggle come MOT time

One of the main issues, come MOT time with tuned Japanese cars is often the emissions. Often when your car goes for it’s MOT that you’ll receive a call from the garage to say you’re over the legal limit for emissions – Don’t panic. There are many reasons why the emissions may be reading over the limit.

Causes of high emissions can be:

  • Catalytic convertor not fitted. In order to having a hope of passing the emissions test, you’ll need to fit a Catalytic converter, even if just for the test. Many Japanese imports come into the country without a cat, and many owners remove them to gain a healthy increase in power output. Replacement cats can be sourced online for around £130, with a genuine Mitsubishi part costing a lot more. If you have a decat fitted then check beforehand that your exhaust is not a single welded length from the manifold back, as swapping a cat over will then be a lot harder requiring the old exhaust to be cut apart.
  • Faulty coolant temperature sensor. A fault coolant temperature sensor often fails in the ‘cold’ position meaning the ECU believes the engine is cold and is therefore adding more fuel than it should, when the engine is warm. This is cheap to replace and should show up on a diagnostic check.
  • Faulty lambda/oxygen sensor. A faulty lambda often means the fuelling on part throttle will be incorrect, with the ECU receiving incorrect data, it may overfuel incorrectly. Again, this is relatively inexpensive to fix.
  • Wrong temperature grade spark plugs. Many problems can arise from fitting the wrong plugs. Run too hotter grade and you risk detonation and sever engine damage. Too cool and there will not be a proper burn and you may again be running too rich, causing emissions problems.
  • Exhaust leak. Rare on Evo’s as most have stainless steel exhausts but it does happen with older joints rusting and leaking. This is usually an easy fix with a weld or new exhaust section.
  • Aftermarket ecu mapped too rich to pass. Tuned Jap turbo cars are often mapped to a certain specification and/or badly mapped. If the ECU is running too rich due to a poor map, there is little to resolve it other than remapping or replacing the standard ECU system. A overly rich map will of course require a remap to lean out the mixture. A map that is too rich is not good for the engine anyway, and will destroy a cat in a short period of time. Fortunately this is rare.

If the emissions result is marginal, you can often get the car through by ensuring the cat is nice and hot for the test, i.e. take the car for a hard drive beforehand.

What is Active Yaw Control?

Active Yaw Control is the system Mitsubishi use on the Evo 4-10 as part of the rear axle. The AYC system uses a clutch pack to send different amounts of torque independently to each rear wheel, depending on a variety of input sensors including G sensors, ABS. These sensors feed the AYC ECU information on the attitude of the car, how much slip is being generated, e.g. if the car is starting to oversteer or understeer, the car will vary the torque sent to each wheel to correct the yaw moment of the car. This aids cornering allowing you to corner faster and harder. Of course the AYC only operates under acceleration and is not a foolproof system. An Evo can still oversteer – especially in the wet on poor tyres. AYC does not defy the laws of physics. Personally I like the feeling of the AYC system. You can sense the car shuffling power between the wheels as you accelerate out of a corner. As you start to expect the rear to slide and anticipate adding a fraction of opposite lock, the AYC system sends the power to the inside wheel and the car simply grips and goes. It’s a very strange sensation when the AYC is at work; You are expecting to have to add corrective steering lock if the tail steps out but there is no need. Keep the steering straight, the AYC shuffles the torque, and you slingshot out of the corner.

Oh and beware stepping into a RWD car after getting used to AYC! You might have your work cut out catching the back end until you dial into it’s inherent ability to slide.

Cleaning jobs

I had a nice sunny Sunday afternoon free last weekend, which I decided to use sprucing up the fleet.

The jobs on the list for the Evo were to:

  • Hoover out and clean interior – Tidying up the interior was nice and easy though I noticed the suede on the driver’s door car had seen better days so I might need to look at replacing this.
  • Refit drivers side wind deflector – Refitting the wind deflector took seconds. I had initially starting removing them as I thought I preferred the look without, but then promptly changed my mind 🙂
  • Fit Mitsubishi 3 triangle badge and new Spirit of Competition sticker – The harsh winter of 2010 early 2011, left my decals and badges in a sorry state. The rear Mitsubishi badge had disappeared and my Spirit of Competition sticker on the bonnet had peeled and was missing some letters. I purchased replacements from Mitsubishi and the MLR Shop for a total of £50! To get the competition sticker off I used a hair dryer on low heat and gently warmed it, until the sticker started to peel. You need to take extra care not to damage the paint as it can be quite thin on these aging Evos. I couldn’t get an exact replacement of the small Mitsubishi badge anywhere, the previous one was plain red plastic, instead I had to settle for the one Mitsubishi had at £23, Red with silver edging.
  • Sort out passenger door that was incredibly stiff to open – Endless WD40 and opening and closing the door like a madman, soon sorted this

This left the car looking a bit tidier, it just needs a thorough wash and ideally a detail to remove the grime of the past year in all the nooks and crannies.

Recommendations for a good detailer in South Yorks please!