If you still have a stock or moderately modded 2G DSM, you should first look into all the free mods available for your car. Free mods, are generally just removing unnecessary parts or gadgets. Some you have never put in use before.
Why do the free mods? There are several. Whether it be weight savings, cleaner intake system, or less clutter in the engine bay, any decision to do the free mods is a good one. They are free and really do help. Some of these mods are not necessarily free, but very cheap.
Step 1: Clean Throttle Body- $5
Over time, your throttle body will become very dirty. This can cause performance losses. Using carburetor cleaner, spray it onto a clean rag. Then wipe the inside of the throttle body as best as you can. You will want to make sure both sides of the throttle plate are clean, so it is best if you have a buddy inside the car (car NOT running) and push down the gas pedal so that the throttle plate will open.
Step 2: Verify WOT (Wide Open Throttle) is 100% – FREE
While you are cleaning out your throttle body and still have your buddy inside the car pushing down the gas pedal, try to rotate the throttle plate (via the throttle cable on the throttle body) and see if you can open the throttle any more. If you can, you need to adjust the throttle cable via the back of the intake manifold (2 10mm bolts).
Step 3: Hack Aircan and Intake Area- FREE
The stock aircan is very restrictive. You can remove the aircan so that the filter is exposed. The best way to do this is to buy a K & N Air Filter.
Step 4: Hack BOV Dump Tube– FREE
Attached to your BOV is a rubber hose that runs to the intake pipe. If you remove this hose, and take your intake pipe, you will see the plastic dump tube when looking into the end of the intake pipe. The recirculation pipe connects to this plastic dump tube. The dump tube is held into the intake pipe with glue. Notice how far the dump tube extends into the intake pipe? This causes a great amount of restrction of the air flow going into the turbo. There are a few things you can do here. The easiest, is the the dump tube from the inside of the intake pipe with a small air saw, dremmel, etc. Cut it so it is even with the wall of the intake pipe. The other option is to remove the entire dump tube and replace it with a shorter piece of pipe. Or just cut it after removing it.
Step 5: Remove A/C System- FREE
Now you may use your A/C in your DSM, but for some of us, we don’t mind just rolling the windows down on a hot day. If you are one of us and don’t care for A/C, remove it! Approximately 50-60lbs will be eliminated once it is all remove. That’s A LOT! You need to remove the A/C Compressor (rear of motor on driver side), A/C Condenser (in front of radiator), all A/C lines, and any A/C fuse box you may have.
Step 6: Remove Emissions- $4
Before you remove your emissions, please investigate your area’s emissions requirements. If you live in a rural area or just don’t give a darn, you can remove your emissions system (or most of it) for free. View THIS LINK.
Step 7:OEM Mitsubishi EGR Block-off Plate
In order to COMPLETELY remove your emissions, you also need to remove the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Valve. The purpose behind this EGR Valve is to reintroduce exhaust gasses that, were not burnt the first time, back into the intake system to try and burn it again. This is a big reason why the intake system gets dirtied up. The EGR block-off plate will clean up the intake system considerably and that is yet another potential boost leak eliminated.
You can find an OEM Mitsubishi EGR Block-off plate at the junk yard ONLY in the 1.8L T/E/L (Talons, Eclipses, and Laser’s). The EGR will need to be removed in order to get the plate.
The EGR Valve is located on the bottom passenger side of the intake manifold. There are (2) 12mm bolts holding it into place.
Step 8: Clean Intercooler and piping- $5
The intercooler is another one of those parts that gets dirtied up over time. In this case, it’s oil. Or blow-by. This causes the intercooler to be less efficient and wll create heat soak. Remove your intercooler and wash it. Purple Power, Simple Green, etc. will work. You can also fill the intercooler with gasoline, slosh it around, and dump it out. Which ever method you use, make sure you clean it until there is no longer any black coming out of the intercooler.
Also, check carefully for any corrosion on the intercooler outlets. They tend to corrode and will develop tiny pin holes which result in a major boost leak. This is VERY common.
If you just removed your emissions and EGR, this would be the best time to clean out the intercooler and pipes.
Step 9: Vent the Inner Fender Liner- $0-3
On the passenger side fender well, lays your side mount intercooler (SMIC). To allow more air to get to your SMIC, you can use a die grinder (or anything really) and cut a big square/rectangle out of your inner fender liner/splash shield. Then, fill the hole with mesh or chicken wire to ensure no mud or anything gets in there. This will greatly cool down your IAT’s.
Step 10: Remove the BCS Restrictor- FREE
By removing the restrictor in your Boost Control Solenoid, you will gain 1-2lbs more of boost.
Step 11: Check Your Timing- FREE
Step 12: Valve Cover Vent Breather– $5
On the passenger side of your valve cover, you will notice a rubber hose that runs to the intake pipe. If you remove this line, you can put a small breather on the port that the hose connected to on the valve cover. Then cap the outlet on the intake pipe where the other end of the hose went. This will clean up your intake pipe as there will no longer be any blow-by from crankcase pressure going into your intake.
Step 13: Unplug Clutch Switch- FREE
Under your dash down near your clutch pedal assembly is a little sensor. This sensor will disable you to start your car unless your clutch pedal is pushed in. This is bad for your thrust bearing. Unplug the sensor and you will be able to start the car without pushing the clutch in.
Step 14: Boost Leak Test- $25
Last but not least, Boost Leak Test! The BLT is one of the most important things in the Stage 0 Upgrade Path and should be done as much as possible. Boost leaks, will hurt your performance GREATLY, among other things like your gas mileage.
Step 15: 3G Eclipse Rear Suspension Parts– $0-50
In the 3G Eclipse’s, the rear control arms (upper and lower) and rear sway bar are a direct bolt on. The control arms are tubular, which makes them stronger, and the rear sway bar is much thicker, also making it stronger.
Step 16: 1G Radiator Swap– $0-40
The 2G upper radiator hose connects to the middle of the radiator. The 1G upper radiator hose connects to the passenger side of the radiator. The 2G upper radiator hose is very close to the exhaust manifold area thus heating up the radiator hose thus making it harder to cool the coolant. Obviously, it doesn’t make 2G’s overheat, BUT that added assurance is nice to have. This is more for piece of mind. The other benefit to using a 1G radiator in your 2G is it creates more room for tubular headers, external WG, turbo, etc. This is a nifty little free mod.
Step 17: 1G Thermostat Housing– $0-40
Using the 1G thermostat housing allows you to easily run a mechanical water temperature gauge.You simply thread the fitting for the gauge into the outlet that used for the AC Switch. Some will argue that you can’t use a 1G thermostat housing on a 2G head. They are wrong. The 2G uses 4 mounting holes. The 1G uses 3. But both heads are in the same bolt pattern. You will also need to use a 1G water pipe (to the water pump) and a 1G lower radiator hose. Modification to the turbo coolant hoses will need modification as well. The best/easiest water pipe to use would be from a 1G NA 4G63 engine. This water pipe will require no modification.
Step 18: Clean Headlights– $2
You can clean your headlights with Brasso, sold at Home Depot, Lowes, Kmart, etc. for under $2.00. Put some Brasso on a sock, scrub for 5 minutes and your headlight will be much cleaner. No need to buy those oh so expensive headlight restoration kits.