It is no surprise that I have quite an addiction to DSM’s. If I could, financially, I would buy up any cheap DSM’s I come across- and it seems like I come across a lot. Weather it be cheap, drivable DSM’s, rolling shells, or full cars that need a little love in order to drive down the road properly. If nothing else, I buy them or want to buy them just to save them from being hauled to the scrapyard. Well, just a handful of days ago, I came across another one on craigslist which was located only 35 minutes away.
Text by AJ Hunsinger // Photos by AJ Hunsinger
The car, is a 96 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST Spyder with the turbo 4G63 and was listed for $750. The craigslist ad had a few pictures. Some interior shots and a couple pictures of the outside of the car, but no engine bay pictures. The ad also had a brief description of what was wrong with the car. The seller said that the turbo was shot, needed to be replaced, and deemed the car undrivable in its condition. He also said that the car does run and drive fine, but simply would not build any boost.
Now, lets stop right here. At this very moment when I read that the car did run and drive fine, but didn’t build any boost, I already knew what was wrong with the car. I knew that even with a bad turbo with crazy shaft play, the turbo would still build boost. This meant that the issue was not caused from the turbo itself, but the wastegate. More specifically, I knew that what had happened was that this kid was driving the car one day and all of a sudden it wouldn’t build boost. Even more specifically, the exact problem was caused by the wastegate actuator arm popped off.
This is a very very common problem with DSM’s. The only thing that holds the arm in place is a small c-clip. Over time, with vibrations, age, etc, these c-clips get worn out and fail to do their job. Even though it is literally a one second fix, someone that isn’t very mechanically inclined would immediately jump to other conclusions, like a blown turbo.
Wednesday night, I drove up and looked at the car. On the way, I was ATM hopping to pull money enough money out to pay for the car if I felt strong enough about buying it. As soon as he popped the hood, I noticed the wastegate arm was indeed popped off. So, I asked him what I needed to do in order to go home that night with the title. He told me if I paid for the car in full, he would sign the title and the bill of sale and I could take the title. So, I gave him the cash.
The next day, my brother and I made the trip back up to pick up the car. The car though, would not start. After charging the battery, playing with the terminals, and checking the wiring to the starter, we decided to try and pop start it. Finally, it fired up and we loaded her on the trailer. When we got home, I popped the wastegate actuator rod on with a cotter key to hold it into place, and I pulled apart the battery terminals and found a lot of corrosion on the wire that goes to the starter solenoid. I snipped the end off to expose a new piece of bare wire and put it back into the terminal. Then, she fired up on her own.
Over the last couple of days, I have been going over some things. The knock sensor wasn’t plugged in and I couldn’t find the plug for it on the harness side. Well, it was because the plug had been cut off for whatever reason. So, I wired it directly to the knock sensor wiring and now that is fine. The car ran and drove OK prior to fixing this, but now it runs amazingly smooth. Now, the timing isn’t being pulled like crazy from the lack of the knock sensor.
The car has a few mods.
- A boost gauge that doesn’t read vacuum.
- An eBay manual boost controller which I already pulled off and threw in the trash.
- Greddy Type S BOV.
- The red, ebay, matching fuse box cover and oil cap, which I have already sold.
- Razzo shift knob.
- An ebay, long route, JDM FMIC with hardpiping.
- Injen aluminum intake pipe.
This is my first Spyder. I have never liked convertibles. I never thought I would own a convertible. But, this thing is clean and I picked it up for dirt cheap. The car was garage kept a lot with this owner and was previously a southern car, so there is absolutely no rust what-so-ever.
A DSM friend messaged me via Facebook after I bought the car and told me he knew the owner of the car before the kid that owned it before me. This dude, was actually a decent dude and mechanically inclined. So, I hit him up and we chatted about the car. He currently owns an Evo X. He had tons of pictures on his facebook of the Spyder from when he had it. He put the tan, leather interior in as well as a lot of other maintenance work.
This is going to be my daily driver. I have already had several offers on the car for $3000. But, I am going to sit on her for awhile. She is mostly stock and as long as I do basic maintenance, she will be reliable. And, this is a daily that I can actually work on. I hate daily driving something that I don’t know how to work on. When something breaks or the car develops issues, unless it’s a DSM, I have no clue how to diagnose it.
I named her Charlotte- as in Charlotte’s Web, you know, the children’s tale about the Spider and the Pig. I am super excited to own her and work on her. I have plans for her, although its nothing like what I have done with DSM’s in the past. Prior to now, I was focused on making the car faster. This one, will be kept mostly stock to maintain a practical daily driver status.
I will be taking the lowering springs off of Virgin Mary and putting on Charlotte. I will be doing all the maintenance; timing belt, water pump, fluids, etc. But, I will be making it much much better as well. That wheel gap, that has to go.