1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse Engine stopped while driving

Tiny
DJAILER
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 14,000 MILES
My Eclipse GST just stopped running about a mile from home. No warnings, sounds, just stopped. Oil pressure light was the only thing lit. I coasted to the side, checked the oil (I just checked it a few days ago) and it is OK. The radio, lights etc. All worked fine. The check engine light did not come on so no error codes?

When I tried to re-start it was very weak - almost wheezy? I put my battery on a charger just to be sure it was OK - it is three years old (100 mo battery - Kirkland(COSTCO) brand). My alt has always read a little below the bottom line but it will go up when I accelerate.

I don't have a lot of diagnostic tools but are there some obvious things I can check before drawing up the courage to take it in to a repair place? The negative ground looks fine, no obvious cracks or broken plug wiring. I assume it is electronic ignition so if the problem is there or ECU I am stuck. Except for the wheezy starting I would suspect electrical - alternator gone maybe? I can get that off easy enough and take it in. I am going to see if I can get my cylinder pressure gauge all the way down the plug well to see if that may be part of the 'wheezy' noise. Once a few of the family wakes up I will have them turn it over briefly to see if I can tell anything more from under the hood.

Thanks
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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 AT 9:46 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
First of all thank you so much for your donation. If it's slow to turn over the first I would do is make sure the battery cable's are clean and tight. Have the battery and alternator tested. Let me know what you find.
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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 AT 11:40 AM
Tiny
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OK, I panicked. When I went out to look a little closer the next day I found the timing belt had broken. End of search. Very sad story - especially since it is an interference engine and the odds are pretty good some valves may have gotten in the way :(( I am working on getting the head off to check out the bad news. I will probably need to find a new/rebuilt one once I get in there. Hopefully no worse.

Sorry for wasting your time. I guess I do have a question to help make it worth your while. The heads I am finding don't come with the cams etc attached. Is replacing those, and all the parts that come with them so I can put it back on.

1) hideously expensive
2) doable by someone with a few tools and motivation (I've got the Haynes manual), or
3) worth paying a someone to do?

Thanks

Doug
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Sunday, August 29th, 2010 AT 11:07 AM
Tiny
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Sorry about the bad news what size engine do you have?Is it turbo or non turbo?AS far as replacing the head if the cam is in good shape I would reuse it and anything else on the head that was good I would reuse as well. Other wise that's really going to add up. Are you sure that you damaged some valve's?You could always put a new timing belt on and see what kind of compression you have what do you have to loose at this point.
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Sunday, August 29th, 2010 AT 8:47 PM
Tiny
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No, I haven't actually gotten the head all the way off yet so I can't be certain. I am crossing my fingers but.

I have the 2.0 FWD GST - yes it has a turbo. I figured I had little to lose as well, which is why I dug into taking the head off. I think I disconnected everything I need to. A lifting bracket is all that is left connected to anything that I can tell. I just have to get out there and see if I can get it off now.

My question on putting the head back together was more of how much technical trouble could I get in? I don't know how to tell if the rockers etc are good or not? And I assume I should probably get some kind of new gasket/seal kit for the top end anyway. And a head gasket of course. I have the manual and am certainly not afraid to use the tools I do have!

About a new timing belt. There are apparently two - one the balancer and the regular belt. How much better is the $150 kevlar belt than the $50 one? Is it more durable over time or just under racing conditions? I just drive it to work and around and I don't beat it so if they have similar endurance I might as well save $100. And I gather I should replace the tensioner and rollers as well as the water pump since I am in there anyway.

One more thing. The manual makes a point out of using a 'special' tool to be sure the crank pulley doesn't move when you bolt it back on. (You have to take it off to replace the balancer belt) Why does that matter? If it moves you just rotate it back to where it needs to be. I am just not visualizing how those go together.

Thanks

doug
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Monday, August 30th, 2010 AT 10:52 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
I was hoping you hadn't taken the head off and could just try the belt and see if you had compression if you did then all the work you would have to do is a new belt. But since you already have the head off pretty much then I would take the head to a machine shop they can tell you how everything look's like if you have bent valve's bad cam etc.I would have them do a valve job while you have the head off. Also have them test the head for leak's etc.I would get a top engine kit they sell them they come with head gasket intake exhaust gasket's etc. As far as putting it together like checking everything have the machine shop check the cam etc. Now your timing belt the kevlar belt is stronger then the standard one and probably has a higher mileage change interval then the standard one and will have a stronger resistance to coolant or oil if it were to get on it. It's up to you if you want to make that investment.I would do the water pump also I have seen timing belt set's have the belt tensioner belt etc you could save some money by finding a kit. The reason why they don't want the crank moving when your putting the timing belt in place is because if the crank rotates in the wrong place and the cam move's bent valve. They hardest part is going to be getting everything timed correctly. Let me know what you find.
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Monday, August 30th, 2010 AT 1:35 PM
Tiny
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So far I found nice little half-valve shaped indentations in all four of the pistons. Worse on the intake side but noticeable. Not good but not unexpected. There was a lot of loose, black carbon(?) Shavings in on all four pistons. Weird. That must've been shaken loose by the valves pounding on them.

I found a rebuilt head at dsmgraveyard. Com for about $290. It doesn't come with cams but the ones I have should be fine I assume. I will need to get a new head gasket, top end gasket set, then go to work on the timing belt, etc.

Time to start saving those nickels and dimes.

Thanks

Doug
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Monday, August 30th, 2010 AT 10:39 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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Sound's like a plan see if you can get a top engine gasket kit might save you some money. Also when you put the cam in the rebuilt head don't forget to lube the cam up.
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Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 AT 12:09 PM

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