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…


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….

Hesitation on full throttle

An annoying problem has been plaguing the car of late; Under full throttle the car jerks and holds back before accelerating. There doesn’t seem to be much pattern to the jerking other than it tends to occur most on WOT. This got me thinking that it was either fuel or ignition related.

Since the spark plugs probably hadn’t been changed in a while, I wondered if they were worn and if the spark was either too weak or being blow out under a lot of boost pressure.

On removing the plugs, they did seem quite worn, so in went 4 fresh NGK BR8EIX plugs from Ross Sport.

I took the car out for a quick test and pleased to say no more kangarooing silliness

Coilpack failure

coilpack was the culpritI was on my way out in the car and pulled out to overtake a Ford Galaxy people carrier and bam! No power! I was just about pulling alongside but barely accelerating. So I pulled out of that maneuver rather quickly and sheepishly dropped back to stop and try and find the problem. I opened the bonnet and nothing seemed amiss but the car was running very badly on what sounded like 3 cylinders.
So I set about the usual culprits, spark or fuelling. I changed the spark plugs for a brand new set but to no avail. So next I bought a second hand coilpack from the MLR forum. I fitted this and the engine fired into life running sweet as a nut again.

Often in this situation, I set about changing the cheapest item first. If you experience similar symptoms the following are usually the culprits in order of the cheapest up to the most expensive:

  • Spark plugs
  • Bad fuel
  • Coil pack
  • Wiring fault
  • Fuel pump
  • Injector
  • Timing out
  • Coolant leak into cylinder often meaning Head gasket failure

Hope this helps!


Loose manifold bolts

Exhaust manifold bolts vacate the premisesI was on my way to work when I heard a loud clattering and a slight loss of power. I pulled over to have a look under the bonnet, and noticed how loud the engine was when idling, it sounded like the exhaust or manifold was blowing. I could feel exhaust gas eminating from somewhere in the engine bay. It turns out one of the bolts fitted to the exhaust manifold had come undone and vacated the premises. Figuring I wouldn’t be doing too much damage, I continued to work and back home and replaced the bolt. Unfortunately the cream coloured rocker cover is now discoloured from exhaust gases, so I need to clean that up at some point.

Edit, it happened again! This time the other bolt. I got the garage to replace it and seem to have gained another 0.3bar boost. It seems exhaust gas must have been escaping slightly from the loose manifold bolts. Now the bolts are tight, it is boosting correctly and the fuelling is still fine under load. She feels verrry nippy now. Free power!