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untchabl Reader
11/3/19 3:32 p.m.

I'm hoping that the engine is good. I know that the fuel pump is bad, it's sitting in the back and it's really crusty. 

Hoping to try to do a compression test tomorrow. I hooked a jump box to it yesterday after I got it home and the engine spun over freely, so at least it isn't locked up.

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy Dork
11/3/19 5:22 p.m.

I had one of these years ago. Lots of fun. I'm in to follow along. 

untchabl Reader
11/4/19 8:09 a.m.

Forgot to post the bill of sale to document the purchase price.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso Dork
11/4/19 9:44 a.m.

For challenge budget, DSM link can be had for around $500 shipped on the "DSM Classifieds" Facebook page. It's by far the easy button for tuning - even for a complete entry level tuner. The capabilities are almost endless for these cars. You can even cheaply add electronic boost control with a $60 solenoid. 

For turbo, stick with a Mitsubishi flanged unit 16g or 14b (your stock turbo that has gone deep into the 10s). You'll want to do this to retain the stock o2 housing which makes adding an aftermarket turbo more work. Not saying it can't be done, but in my opinion, not necessary when so much power can be had from a 16g. Your other option is a Holset with a bullseye housing that is a direct bolt on. A 2g o2 housing is also an upgrade that can be ported to the moon. You can also port the heck out of your stock 14b. 

Find the biggest injectors for cheap. Add walbro 255, rewire fuel pump, add FPR. Then do arp head studs. Again, Facebook page. Turn up the boost with a wide band and log with DSM link. 

As said by someone else, buy the timing belt tools. What a pain to do without. A breeze with. I used to have to line the timing up a tooth off back in the old days to make work. 

A lot of fun to be had here. I have a 2g that is under challenge budget. I'm on the fence if keeping it or going for an LS swapped rx8. 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso Dork
11/4/19 9:47 a.m.

Also - check for boost leaks. Rebuild throttle body with new shaft seals because yours are leaking.

As said, YouTube jafromobile for all of the DSM knowledge you'll ever need. 

NickD PowerDork
11/4/19 10:49 a.m.

I seem to remember my friend who had been heavy in DSMs saying something about smacking the wastegate with a ball peen hammer to put a dimple in it and make more boost for cheap. Am I remembering that right?

There was the forum member who had the 600whp DSM for sale for $6600 and I really regret buying my $5000 Rotrex blower kit for my Miata instead of just buying that DSM instead.

java230 UberDork
11/4/19 11:01 a.m.

In for DSM fun. I always wanted one....

untchabl Reader
11/4/19 12:18 p.m.

Results of the compression test weren't good but honestly I'm not exactly surprised. Seller seemed a little "shady" when I asked about why it had been parked and the condition of the drivetrain at that time.

Cylinder 1 - 80psi

Cylinder 2 - 140psi

Cylinder 3 - 10psi

Cylinder 4 - 165psi

So I've got one dead cylinder and one cylinder that's low. Next step is to pull the head and see what I find. Probably going to be a little while before that happens though, I've got to finish my Volvo C30 project and the top end rebuild on the 4.7 in my Mom's WK Grand Cherokee.


TJL HalfDork
11/4/19 12:27 p.m.

Check it with a scope or camera to see if pistons are intact?  Or see if metal chunkies come out when you drain the oil?

engiekev Reader
11/4/19 3:12 p.m.

Focus on getting it running before buying modifications, its easy to get caught up in upgrades with these cars because it's almost too easy to make more power!

Check head for bent valves, if timing belt ever skipped or broke its very likely the valves are bent.  If the pistons aren't too badly damage you can maybe get away with throwing a new head on.  Others have mentioned swapping to 2G head, that also requires a 2G Intake Manifold and some machining work drilling out the head bolt bores to match a 1G 6-Bolt stud size, may push your budget a bit.  2G head has smaller intake ports, so increased velocity and quicker spool.  The decrease in port area will not affect power, the Evo 8/9 head port geometry is very similar to the 2G DSM head and they pump out some crazy numbers on stock ported heads.

The timing belt tool kit everyone has mentioned (in addition to some binder clips):


Gates timing belt kits are a good option on the cheap and include a water pump.  

Don't bother with MLS head gaskets unless you are totally refinishing the head/block at a machine shop.  The factory style composite gaskets can support 400+ HP without issue.

As others have said, ECMLink V3 (DSMLink formerly known)  is what you want for tuning along with a wideband (you can wire in a wideband analog output into the factory harness and ECMLink will log it).  ECMLink has very fast logging and "on the fly" tuning, a really sweet package for the money.

ECMTuning can replace the capacitors and "socket" your EPROM ECU  for $50 (check if you have one first, if not you can get one for $100 on facebook groups easy).  


Build a boost leak tester, as others have mentioned there are going to be vacuum leaks that make the car idle like crap.  

For mods keep it simple, people were going 12s in the early days without overcomplicating things.  Simple upgrade path for 300HP:

  • 2.5" or 3" exhaust
  • 16G turbo (Small 16G, Big 16G, Evo3 16G all good, depends on what HP you want and spool characteristics)
  • 2G O2 housing - goes for $30-50 and more area than the 1G O2 housing
  • Intercooler upgrade is required (Hack together a FMIC kit or some SMIC can be made to work)
  • 550cc Injectors from Evo 8/9, Walbro 255 Pump or equivalent with Fuel Pump Relay re-wire (Walbro 190lph pump will not necessitate an adjustable FPR, saves money on budget, but may max out on a Evo3 16G)
  • MAF (optional) - 2G or Evo MAF.  There are conversion harnesses made, and ECMLink can run either option.  The 1G MAF is restrictive.
  • Clutch upgrade (used ACT 2100 will do, or Exedy Stage 1)
  • ECMLink & Wideband O2
  • Manual Boost Controller

Other worthwhile modifications:

  • Fill motor mounts
  • Rear-Toe eliminator (can build your own kit with some steel stock and heim joint) - From the factory the rear toe increases under suspension compression
  • Evo shocks bolt up with some work (Evo8/9 takeoffs are dirt cheap!)
  • Shifter rebuild and metal bushings. Factory bushings on shifter base, and at shifter linkage on trans are rubber.  There are steel and bronze bushings available for both.
  • Oil cooler - 1990 4G63 had a factory oil cooler, the oil filter housing is unique.
  • Non-Cruise Control throttle cable.  Improves pedal feel.  Might be able to find one new aftermarket still?

Some pretty good resources available here as well as VFAQ of course:


These cars are the definition of cheap speed, which makes a $2k challenge build very fun!  

I have some cheap parts to offer that might work for you, would love to see them on a $2K car.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso Dork
11/4/19 3:24 p.m.

I have a spare 2g o2 housing you can have for shipping as long as you promise to put one of my race team stickers on your car for the Challenge. "Real McCoy Racing." 

engiekev Reader
11/4/19 3:28 p.m.

Forgot to add, when you go after the fuel pump be prepared for the studs to break!  The sender unit may also be unsalvageable if it has sat for a long time.  The fuel filter is easily accessed, and cheap, replace it while you're in there.


RacetruckRon HalfDork
11/4/19 3:31 p.m.

First off, well bought.  I'll be following, I've always loved these cars.

I think I have a fresh set of pistons sitting in a box somewhere with a bunch of other 4G63 random parts. I can't remember if they are for a 6 bolt or 7 bolt though.

crankwalk SuperDork
11/4/19 3:53 p.m.

My ultra cheap factory junkyard parts DSM build:


Evo 8 or 3g MAF (round and not oval like a 2g)

1G Auto FPR (higher base pressure)

2g exhaust manifold (port if you got the time) and throttle elbow

Evo 8 injectors

ANY 16g - Small/big doesnt matter for budget just whatever the cheap you can find (port match if youve got the time)

O2 housing dump pipe - You really don't even need a full exhaust if on a tight budget if you have the dump pipe.

Crush the top of the stock 1g DSM bov slightly to hold more boost before it opens (also google Dodge mod)

Supra Fuel pump or rewire


Find an old Keydiver EEPROM chip or burn your own.


That's high 12s while the clutch lasts. Intercooler isn't super efficient but it will be good enough for drags on a budget. MKIV stock Supra side mount intercoolers used to be cheap to put in the stock location. I was running consistent high 12s in my Galant with 1.8 60 fts with a big 16g about 15 years ago with a similar setup making right at 300hp. At the time, Evo VIII stock stuff was cheap so injectors and MAFs I just scooped up for low buck builds. Lots of people will say DSM link and I agree it's great and I used it BUT I used to take these cars  pretttttty dang far back in the day for virtually no money and it was kind of fun that way.


VFAQ - READ THIS FIRST  <- Study this

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso Dork
11/4/19 5:52 p.m.

We're all counting on you.  Pulling the head is easy. Drain coolant, Unplug engine harness, set timing to past tdc, cut belt since you're replacing anyway, unbolt the 4 turbo bolts only, remove valve cover, remove head bolts and lift the head/manifolds off as one piece. Then you can get to the gaskets and timing set easily. 

May be easier to buy a bolt on ready head from the Facebook page. Sometimes you can pick up a machine shop fresh unit and save money. Use a Fel Pro composite head gasket and ARP head studs.  Good for 30psi boost all day. 

AnthonyGS Dork
11/4/19 7:47 p.m.

I was totally searching for one of these yesterday for these reasons.....  I would love to find one.  This is a chassis engine capable of a radwood win and top 3 overall.

untchabl Reader
11/4/19 8:32 p.m.

Englekev, Crankwalk and Scotty con Queso...thanks so much for all the info and support. Give me a few weeks and I'll have space in my shop to start tearing the car apart and see what I'm working with. Keep the great advice coming, I can use all the help and info that I can get.

I have no plans on buying any upgrades/mods until I can determine what the condition of the engine is and make sure that the budget will support getting the car to be at least a somewhat reliable driver.

engiekev Reader
11/4/19 9:42 p.m.

I've got a Supra smic and piping, along with a walbro 190lph pump with your name on it.  Nobody in the DSM game now wants these low power parts anymore, would love it if they got used well to kick some challenge butt.

Make sure you check over the drivetrain well. There was a transfer case seal recall, some leaked and the recall kit is still available:


Fun fact: If you do ever venture into a driveshaft rebuild, its actually cheaper to buy these transfer case recall kits for the u-joint than it is to buy the u-joints separately.

The usual stuff like driveshaft carrier bearings, and CV axles can be problematic.  Hopefully the trans is in decent shape, as parts are getting hard to find for the internals but you can probably find a used unit if it's no good.  Usually the synchros get crunchy.  You likely have the OEM "3-Bolt" (3 or 4 bolts connecting axle shaft to hub) rear differential that is viscous limited slip, unless someone upgraded to the "4-bolt" rear differential from a 92-94 DSM.  

TRE is one of the best remaining transmission rebuild shops, probably out of challenge budget for a lot of their services but they have some good suggestions for gear oil use, clutch adjustment and selection:


bonylad New Reader
11/5/19 7:27 a.m.

Love a 1G DSM!

wvumtnbkr UberDork
11/5/19 7:41 a.m.

I'm not sure I would rip the head off yet.  


If that cylinder was sitting with the valve open for years, it might just need to be run for a bit.  I would think you have enough compression in the other cylinders to at least start.

engiekev Reader
11/5/19 7:45 a.m.
wvumtnbkr said:

I'm not sure I would rip the head off yet.  


If that cylinder was sitting with the valve open for years, it might just need to be run for a bit.  I would think you have enough compression in the other cylinders to at least start.

That is a good point.

Can you get a bore scope in to check the valves? If they are bent its usually pretty obvious with interference marks on the pistons, and valves hung slightly open when not at TDC.  If it did skip or break the belt, its possible only one or two cylinders have bent valves.  Its possible this happened and one of the previous owners tried putting a new belt on without fixing the head.


AWSX1686 SuperDork
11/5/19 7:50 a.m.

This looks like a promising contender. Good luck with it!

Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
11/5/19 8:02 a.m.

You're in Siler City!

I am not sure if any parts from the later Eclipse models swap in to yours, but the ones from the late 90s are common as dirt in the u-pull yards around Raleigh.

untchabl Reader
11/5/19 12:15 p.m.

Just ordered a bore scope from Amazon, so I'll try it out this weekend. Hopefully it's actually decent quality. 

crankwalk SuperDork
11/5/19 3:32 p.m.
engiekev said:

I've got a Supra smic and piping, along with a walbro 190lph pump with your name on it.  Nobody in the DSM game now wants these low power parts anymore, would love it if they got used well to kick some challenge butt.



That SMIC and a walbro along with a boost controller alone is good for mid 13s.  I would definitely recommend that.

Here's why people got the Supra intercoolers back in the day. Stealthy, cheap (I got mine before a FMIC for $40) , and more than twice as thick as stock. Perfectly fine for a high 12 sec car with a 16g. 

Image result for supra smic on dsm

Image result for supra smic on dsm

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