Service and fixing some niggles

With the AYC fluid due a replacement, I dropped the car off to have all the diff oils checked, the mudflap refitted, the non operative drivers window and the knocking noise from the front left investigated.

The window issue was put down to the regulator, strange since this was supposed to have been replaced last year with an Evo 8 model although I’m beginning to lose faith in the work done by that particular “specialist.”

The AYC, rear diff, transfer box and gearbox oils were all changed to fresh fluids.

It was nice to have another comment from the mechanic about how nice this example drove compared to an Evo 7 he was working on recently.

While the car was in the garage I asked them to diagnose a knocking noise, present on low speed bumps from the front left corner. The knocking was put down to the strut and/or top mount. Since the top mount was supposed to have been replaced last year, I’ll be surprised if its that. So I’m on the lookout for a replacement strut on the MLR forum and eBay. I’d love a set of coilovers all round, but that will have to wait for finances to allow it.

Attention grabbing

Subtle V

Far from subtle

After not driving the Evo for a couple of weeks you forget how much attention it draws on the road. You initially think there’s something wrong with the car as it turns heads and people point. The funniest thing for me is when kids walking or being dragged to school stand open mouthed as you drive past. One small lad, can’t have been more than 4 years old stood wrapped up in hat gloves coat and scarf dropped his biscuit and stood fixated as I waved and pootled by him. That’s the thing about the old Evos – their massive Wings, vents, agressive bumpers all attract attention and make you feel like you’re driving a comical character of a car. What would be chavvy on another car is functional on the Evo and designed to increase performance and so people seem to like them, and give the thumbs up. Even though it is approaching 14 years old, they still look fantastic today and stand out against the swathe of silver Euroboxes commuting to work; If I had seen a V or VI when I was a kid it would have made my day, and no doubt a poster on my wall. I remember thinking at 16 when Tommi Makinen was driving, they looked so brutal and devastating but couldn’t ever envisage being able to afford one. Here’s to old cars raising a smile on an otherwise mundane commute to work!

Nail in tyre!

Puncture repairI took a rear wheel off the other day to inspect one of the mudflaps that had worked loose. Whenever I remove a wheel I use the opportunity to check the condition of the tyre. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I found a rather large nail in the centre of the tread. As it was not near the sidewall I took it the garage for a repair – a very reasonable £15. I’m glad I found it – I didn’t fancy cornering hard on that compromised tyre!

MOT time

MOT

MOT – easier said than done for tuned Japanese cars

One of the main issues, come MOT time with tuned Japanese cars are often the emissions. In order to pass the emissions test, I needed to fit a Catalytic converter. I managed to source one online for around £130, but there was no guarantee it would pass. Luckily the cat brought the emissions under the limit and it was signed off. If you’re in the same situation check before ordering a cat that your exhaust is not a single piece from the manifold back as you will have to swap the entire exhaust system or cut it to fit a new car. Luckily mine unbolts where it has a decat pipe and was an easy job to swap for the garage.

As the car had never been fitted with a rear fog light since being imported, it would not pass without one. Again I’m not sure how this has ever passed the 3 or so previous MOTs in the country but heigh ho!The garage wired the button in very neatly just in the recess below the steering wheel. I asked them to wire it into the rear light cluster, as I hate seeing the foglights cut and placed into the bumper or hanging down like an afterthought.

Job nicely done, I was issued with one of the new style white MOT certificates – making it much harder to find in future when filed in a service history folder amongst all the other white paged receipts!

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!

 

Falken wet weather tyre performance

I never really drive a car hard on the road in the wet so i am unlikely to test high speed cornering performance as such. However i always buy performance tyres. And the Falken FK452s are very impressive in the wet. Wet weather straight line braking is excellent. They also give you the confidence that should, an unobservant driver pull out, or a child run out in front of you, you have the right tyres to help you stop in time.
I have some notoriously slippy mini roundabouts near me, that can test any tyre. As expected the Evo does understeer and oversteer here. However having a car in front of me do a 180 spin at 20mph a few weeks ago and sit facing me waving, I’m convinced the surface has some fundamental problem or possibly a lingering diesel spill, so I can’t levy any blame at the Falken tyres. On a nearby large roundabout in the wet they just grip and go. Very impressive for a summer tyre.
One very noticable thing of 4WD is the complete absence of wheelspin out of wet junctions and roundabouts. It’s great to be able to pull out of junctions in the wet with no wheelspin whatsoever, even pulling out at speed. The difference between my 2WD daily hack and the 4WD in the Lancer is astounding in this weather. Even under full boost in 2nd and 3rd, theres no loss of traction.

Door switch fix

Door switchRecently I noticed that I was leaving my lights on by accident more often than not when I got out of the car. This is not ideal as the battery is fairly small and drains quickly. I soon realised this was because the door chime was not working when you open the door with the lights on. This is an easy fix and is down to the small switch on the door with a button that is pushed when the door shuts. A screwdriver and 2 minutes of your time is all you need to replace it (in my case with a second hand one). Unscrew the old switch, unclip the plug, plug in the new switch and replace the screw – problem solved.

Audi TT RS

Audi TT RS

Audi TT RS

I don’t tend to come up against many quicker cars on the road, mainly due to me not doing many miles in the Evo. One car I did come across though recently that was quicker was a new Audi TT RS; £40,000 worth of Audi, hammering down the local Dual Carriageway at speed. At around 340bhp from it’s 5 pot turbo engine the Audi was pulling away on the straights and looked fantastic, much more muscular than the old version renowned for those who have a strange fondness for hair products. I expect these TTs with a remap are serious weapons. However it does show how good value for money these 13 year old Evos are – currently worth around 15% of the cost of a new TT RS and almost identical performance. These things really are performance bargains.

Falken FK452 tyre review

Falken FK452 TyresOnce the new Falkens FK452swere bedded in, I took the Evo out for a spin in nice warm dry weather. The grip was astounding. As anyone that has driven a car with AYC knows, i chucked the car into corners, kept my foot planted and you could feel the car shuffling power around. Roundabout after roundabout was dispatched no problem at all. Oversteer is available with a lift on entry and easily quelled with application of power. Straight line braking is superb with no hint of the ABS intervening. I’ve used quite a few performance tyres in the past and the Falken’s are right up with the best of them which is very surprising given how reasonably priced they are. I’ve since had chance to put them to the test in wet weather and am very impressed. I never really drive a car hard on the road in the wet so i am unlikely to test high speed cornering performance as such. However i always buy performance tyres. The Falkens are by no means infallible but I can accelerate at full throttle in the first 3 gears with no wheel spin. Equally, grip during straight line braking is very good. Lateral grip is equally impressive, understeer only exhibiting itself if the corner entry speed is far too high. They make you feel confident that should an unobservant driver pull out or a child run out in front of you, you have the right tyres to help you stop in time. I have some notoriously slippy mini roundabouts near me, that test any tyre. As expected the Evo does understeer and oversteer here. However having a car in front of me do a 180 spin at 20mph a few weeks ago and sit facing me waving, I’m convinced the surface has some fundamental problem or possibly a lingering diesel spill so I can’t levy any blame at the Falkens. One very noticable thing of 4WD is the complete absence of wheelspin out of wet junctions and roundabouts. It’s great to be able to pull out of junctions in the wet with no wheelspin whatsoever, even pulling out at speed. The difference between my 2WD daily hack and the 4WD in the Lancer is astounding in this weather. Even under full boost in 2nd and 3rd, theres no loss of traction. Of course 4 Wheel Drive helps with any tyre, but for a summer tyre, the Falken’s really are impressive.