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SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose HalfDork
2/9/14 1:40 a.m.

I typed a bunch of stuff then deleted it all, I'll try to stay brief.

Looking to downsize the fleet, turbo and AWD appeals to me, everyone around here has Subarus, so obviously I'm intrigued by Lancer Evos.

What do I need to know about VIII's and IX's?
I don't mind a less than stellar interior or harsher ride, I've been DDing a coilover'd miata for over a year now, and I barely fit in that damn thing.

DD and Autocross to start, possible track use in the future, hypothetical mods limited to light bolt-ons and safety equipment if tracking happens.
With that in mind, worth paying extra to land an MR beyond cool factor?
Budget between 18-25k, ideally unmolested or molested by someone reputable.

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose HalfDork
2/9/14 2:31 a.m.

And yes, I searched first, all I found was Calteg's thread (here) that is concerned primarily with diagnosing an ailing example rather than with a healthy specimen
(and not at all concerned with an IX)

Desmond
Desmond New Reader
2/9/14 2:49 a.m.

Well, everybody around here seems to say the are unreliable, and I do know that Mitsubishi has never been on the top of the lists for reliability, but they are quick cars. Both AWD systems are great. If the Evo is anything like the GSX Eclipses, then it is probably not going to be reliable :P Although this could be because everybody mods them the wrong way and the bottle-neck, cheaper components break...

Know that AWD systems are heavy, so even though its a turbo 4 your MPG wont be great. Be sure and check the turbo for shaft play because I hear turbos begin to fail on these cars at the 80k mile mark.

BTW, which Evo were you looking at? One of the new models, or like an Evo 8 or something?

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltraDork
2/9/14 7:15 a.m.

Keeping things cool is a challenge. This is true of all turbo cars, but it's magnified on the flappy paddle cars. We had one locally (and this is where I can't remember if it was a IX or X) that was nearly boiling transmission fluid during summer autocrosses. The manual cars actually seem much more robust than the equivalent STI Subaru's. On sticky tires they launch like the hand of god is giving you a shove. Addictive stuff.

turtl631
turtl631 New Reader
2/9/14 9:39 a.m.

I have also noticed the lack of discussion about these cars here. Seems odd. I am also interested in these cars for a daily driver and rallycross car. I think the fundamentals are quite reliable. THere are some good threads on high mileage cars on evolutionm.net. 4G63 in Evo form is solid...I would take it every day of the week over a Subaru EJ25. The MR comes with the 6MT box which is less beefy than the 5MT, but for stock or reasonable bolt on torque, it should be fine. The heat issues are with the X cars with the auto box. VIII and IX do fine on track without needing all kinds of extra coolers.

I myself would like to track down a grey IX MR, but we shall see. I would do some basic engine work with the stock snail, and maybe a few other little things, but basically stay stock. The MR Bilsteins are noted to be quite good for street and rallycross use, and should be fine for track and autox with sticky street tires.

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose HalfDork
2/9/14 10:36 a.m.

I'd be looking for one with a stick, even if transmission heat issues were absent.
Are these issues apparent in everyday or Autocross scenarios, or only for actual tracking of the car?
Am I remiss in assuming that reliable/accessible cooling solutions are available?
(Upgraded rad, upgraded IC, bonus oil cooler, etc?)

I've gathered that, as one might expect, earlier examples are less complicated and lighter, both of which are appealing.

turtl631
turtl631 New Reader
2/9/14 11:14 a.m.

VIII and XI are stick only. Flappy paddle appeared for the X MR. X is a different chassis and looks totally different. IX had just incremental changes over the VIII.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
2/9/14 12:51 p.m.

I test drove one before buying my WRX. I appreciate handling above all else, but I found the EVO's ride to be brutal.

LanEvo
LanEvo New Reader
2/9/14 1:08 p.m.

I had an Evo VIII (bought new in 2003). It was my daily driver, winter beater, track car, and ice racer for 4 years and 60k miles of very hard use. It was the first car I seriously modded. Did the typical stuff: turbo, O2 housing/downpipe/exhaust, injectors, BOV, EBC, and tuning. Made 340 hp and 340 lbs/ft at the wheels with completely stock internals (including cams).

Gave me zero trouble at all. When we did a compression test at the time of sale, it measured dead even across all 4 cylinders. It was literally as good as new; I was even on the original clutch. However, I was very, very careful with break-in and I was totally anal-retentive about maintenance. Always very careful to fully warm the car before pushing hard. Never launched. Treat the car properly and it'll be dead reliable.

Unfortunately, most of these cars have lived rough lives. Lots were bought by high-school kids upgrading from their fox-body Mustangs. They we're drag raced, ran hard without proper warm-up, and generally beat to E36 M3. People didn't bother to break them in carefully and then skimped on maintenance. That's why you see so many with blown transfer cases and stuff.

These are relatively high-maintenance cars and it's not inexpensive to do things properly. American buyers treated them like Ford F150 pickups, then complained that they were unreliable. Find a good one (with full service history) from a mature owner, and you'll be just fine.

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy New Reader
2/9/14 1:30 p.m.

The cars are a lot more reliable then people give them credit for. As were the older DSM's. Like DSM's, a large portion of the problems are directly related to the owners. Find a clean example and don't go over the top with HP, and you can have a very fast and reliable car. A stock engine stock turbo car can be very fast and reliable with mild bolt ons, tuning, and a good driver. My only complaint is that they can be too easy to go fast in, they are so forgiving of mistakes. Like DSM's, you need to tend to the rubber parts like belts and hoses that don't last as long in the high heat environment. But the hard parts tend to be bullet proof. The only exception is the MR 6 speed, it's not at strong as the 5 spd. unit, and doesn't hold up well on high powered cars on the track.

LanEvo
LanEvo New Reader
2/9/14 1:34 p.m.
SnowMongoose wrote: I'd be looking for one with a stick, even if transmission heat issues were absent. Are these issues apparent in everyday or Autocross scenarios, or only for actual tracking of the car?

The non-MR models had a 5-speed gearbox, which is stronger and has better feel than the 6-speed found in the MR. That alone would make me lean towards the regular model (called "GSR" in most markets) or "RS" version.

The IX had variable valve timing, which made for more potential power. But there's much more knowledge about tuning the older models.

Remember, the Evo VIII drivetrain was basically unchanged from the Evo IV. From my point of view, that makes it a safer bet as there's tons of knowledge out there. Check out the Euro forums and you'll see what I mean.

The 2003 models had open diff in the front. In 2004, the RS version had LSD in front, whereas the regular model still had open diff. After 2005, all models had front LSD. This is important because non-LSD versions have noticeably better steering feel. But most people prefer the LSD versions because it's easier to dial-out the understeer.

RS versions were stripped of air-con, ABS, and power windows. The huge rear wing became an option (it was stock on other models). But it really wasn't substantially lighter. In other markets, RS versions had what they called "sprint gearing" (i.e., close-ratio gearbox), but US-models didn't have that. The big advantage to the 2004 RS was that it was $1500 cheaper and included a front LSD. That made it attractive for folks looking to build rally cars.

All in all, a 2005 model Evo VIII is probably the best bet. That seems to be the sweet spot.

Advan046
Advan046 Reader
2/9/14 3:00 p.m.

I bought mine me and still own it. No reliability issues at all. Probably never sell it. Only mods are PSS9 Coilovers and an exhaust. The exhaust was more due to rusted off stock exhaust. I ran many rallyxs and autox and track days. But the worst I did to it was driving through the DC area Snomegedeon. That just packed salt into every nook and crack.

As said earlier, all 8s and 9s are manual transmissions. Either 5 or 6 gears.

I went for the 04 RS as it doesn't have ABS nor the active yaw and active center diff. I like the feeling of being in control without too many computers between me and the driving experience.

They are much more expensive to maintain than a miata. Just basic stuff can be expensive but the expense is worth the performance that you get.

The MiVEC motor with the upgraded turbo in the 9s have a noticeable reduction in turbo lag.

I sometime did wish for the 6speed as the drone on the highway is sometimes too much.

No cruise control ever offered.

Best fuel economy in stock setup was 21MPG on the highway at 55MPH.

Like any car. Put good quality parts on it and it will be reliable and fun.

Any specific questions?

Advan046
Advan046 Reader
2/9/14 3:04 p.m.
LanEvo wrote: RS versions were stripped of air-con.....

Correction: my RS and All USA market Evo8RSs came with A/C.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
2/9/14 5:01 p.m.

I only know of them through my autocross region where a few guys have run them in various classes. One was prepped for BSP a few years ago and it was crazy-fast. The other is a MR currently prepped for Street Modified and has a couple of Pro/Tour wins, although they blew the engine at Nationals last year. Both are/were dedicated autocross cars and not street legal (trailered to events). A few years ago, another region member won a Jacket in STU, but the car has since been sold.

They definitely seem like neat cars, but they also seem to have the "flat-brimmer" stigma. Granted, the few I see around work are often driven by guys in their 50's... It would seem you'll be searching to find one that hasn't been modded and beat on. It seems the engine can make crazy amounts of power on E85.

LanEvo
LanEvo New Reader
2/9/14 5:26 p.m.
Advan046 wrote: Correction: my RS and All USA market Evo8RSs came with A/C.

AC was available as a factory option. It was standard on other models.

Advan046
Advan046 Reader
2/9/14 7:49 p.m.
LanEvo wrote:
Advan046 wrote: Correction: my RS and All USA market Evo8RSs came with A/C.

AC was available as a factory option. It was standard on other models.

Well all I can say is the three or 4 guys that I have rallyx or autox with that own RSs all have the same story. Mitsubishi released advertising for some sun and sound package for the RS but then decided to just ship all RS with A/C but minus the other stuff due to some EPA regulation of the engine without A/C needing certification. Which is big $$$$ So they stuck A/C back on and called it a day.

Advan046
Advan046 Reader
2/9/14 7:59 p.m.

In reply to SnowMongoose:

Based on your proposed usage I would definitely go with a IX and the 6speed and enjoy. Get the diff and trans fluid changed unless you trust the previous owner. The tire prices will make you cry so it is cheaper to replace any suspension components with bushings suspected of being bad instead of riding out some poor alignment.

You know the seats in the VIIIs were plagued with crappy North America only seat backs that broke with minor effort. I think they got it worked out with the IXs.

Remember even the newest IX is already 5 years old so age works its magic on all things. So strut mounts might be bad radiator shot intercooler full of stones or clay.

Good hunting.

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose HalfDork
2/9/14 8:21 p.m.
Advan046 wrote: Any specific questions?

None that you guys haven't covered, mainly wanted to get the GRM crowds thoughts, check for any "ZOMG look out for a certain issue" type problems.
I generally trust y'all to provide good information, or at least correct each other.

This would be my first serious car (the miata was my most expensive initial purchase, and that put me back... well, NA Miata type money) so I'd not be cutting any corners.
A similar sentiment goes for car age, this car would be ten or more year newer than what I'm used to.

Sounds like a pretty straightforward case of 'take care of it and don't drive like too much of an asshat and you'll be fine'

LanEvo
LanEvo New Reader
2/9/14 8:23 p.m.
Advan046 wrote: Well all I can say is the three or 4 guys that I have rallyx or autox with that own RSs all have the same story. Mitsubishi released advertising for some sun and sound package for the RS but then decided to just ship all RS with A/C but minus the other stuff due to some EPA regulation of the engine without A/C needing certification. Which is big $$$$ So they stuck A/C back on and called it a day.

Makes sense. It was definitely listed as an option, though. I considered trading in my '03 for an RS when they came out and I studied them in detail. I wouldn't be surprised if most (if not all) were spec'ed with AC.

Advan046
Advan046 Reader
2/9/14 9:25 p.m.

In reply to SnowMongoose:

Yeah I think that the IX was the last great Evo. The Xs are good and faster but seem to have lost the magic that was The Evolution. The more I read of how the new WRX is so Evo like the more interested I am in test driving one just to see if it is close to that guaranteed smile I have always had in the Evo.

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
2/9/14 11:00 p.m.

I have always wanted to drive one of these. Not to much to say, just wanted to say that. They are intriguing.

LanEvo
LanEvo New Reader
2/9/14 11:01 p.m.

The first Evo I ever drove was my buddy's Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition. The AYC in particular was mind blowing. Never experienced anything like that before!

When the Evo VIII finally hit the market in 2003, I was first in line to get one. The lack of AYC was a big disappointment. Then again, it still had the classic "tip-toe" driving feel Evos have become famous for. Wish I had held onto mine...

calteg
calteg Reader
2/10/14 2:20 a.m.

LanEvo nailed pretty much everything.

I'll add the following: The MiVEC motor in the IX is much, MUCH more responsive to mods. An VIII with bolts ons + cam will typically make less power than a lightly modded IX.

You want a 5 speed

A lot of the sunroofs break.

The 4G63 has been constantly improved since the late 80s. Most of the time that's a bad thing, but in the evo XIII and evo IX, they seem pretty darn reliable.

Spend the money and buy the best example you can find. Stay away from any that are throwing the random misfire code, like the one in the thread I made (I ended up passing on that car).

Expensive brakes, tires, and 3,000 mile synthetic oil changes are the cost to play. Just accept it and realize that the car is still ridiculously fast for the money.

Personally, I'm still on the lookout for a non-sunroof, non MR evo IX.

Advan046
Advan046 Reader
2/10/14 8:22 a.m.

I think that a NA Miata and an Evo8/9 are part of that short list of "affordable" sports/performance cars that everyone should drive at least once.

I really really miss my Miata and that reinforces my desire to keep the Evo.

SnowMongoose please let us know if you get one and the details.

SnowMongoose
SnowMongoose HalfDork
2/10/14 10:41 a.m.
Advan046 wrote: SnowMongoose please let us know if you get one and the details.

Pfft, so far I've introduced to these boards the handful of POS cars that have come into my possession recently, you can bet your sweet ass I'll share if I buy something legitimately cool.

Could I talk you guys into walking me through the 5-speed vs 6-speed (AKA MR vs non-MR) comparo?
Not paying the premium for the MR package has appeal to me, though the 'vortex generator' setup very much tickles my inner ricer.
(and is available fairly inexpensively aftermarket if I really felt the need)

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