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May 2011
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Ys [userpic]

Where to start?

On Sunday, driving home, a two-inch-or-so crack opened up in the hose that delivers coolant to the turbo in my Eclipse. (The turbo in the 2G DSM engines is coolant-cooled instead of the usual oil-cooled.) It was a very hot day, I had been driving for a while, and it happened as I accelerated up the hill from a stoplight. It vented pretty much all my coolant very very quickly, and a few seconds later my temp gauge pegged. I heard a horrific rattling sound, and saw the gauge, and immediately pulled over.

But not fast enough.

At a bare minimum, I'm going to need a complete top-end job. The turbo may be fried. The 7-bolt DSM engines (of which mine is one) are very prone to blowing out a thrust and crankwalking within 5k miles of this kind of overheat. (For the non-engine inclined: that's very bad. Think "holes in your engine" bad.) So I may be best served by just buying a new engine.

I originally bought this car (ten years ago!) with the intent to dump a few thousand into it and make it into a scary-fast fun car instead of just a fast fun car. I've never gotten around to it, though I've done a few things in the past as parts failed. It now has a racing clutch in it, for example, and I upgraded the rear brakes when they died. I bought this specific car entirely because it's eminently upgradable. People have gotten 700+ whp out of this engine. (I'm looking for more like 400 whp, but still.)

The right answer to this is probably to buy a new engine and turbo. Obviously, I wouldn't bother to buy stock at that point, since performance parts just aren't significantly more expensive than the stock ones, and I'm paying for the same labor (or possibly doing all the same work myself) either way.

If I wasn't currently dealing with having two houses, there'd be no question I'd just take this as an opportunity to get off my butt and do the upgrades I want. (As a friend of mine said, "The universe just handed you a round tuit.") But I know if I just put the car in storage to do this later, I'll never get around to it again. I could just unload the car for whatever I can get for it, and just give up on the entire idea. Buying another one is silly. And I don't desperately need this car; we have two others and Joel and I mostly ride public transit anyway.

I can manage to come up with the money but it cuts into my reserve for emergencies I was trying to keep with the whole house situation. On one hand, your engine exploding is sort of an emergency, but it's not a required car. The purely practical solution is to find someone who wants it for parts or to rebuild and get out of it, but I didn't buy this car to be practical in the first place.

So, yeah, I'll probably end up trying to spend the money to fix it. But I'll probably also feel guilty the whole time.

Stupid, isn't it?

Oh, and as a nice postscript, yesterday I was supposed to get my new crown on my back upper-right tooth. But it broke while the dentist was trying to seat it. They're sending it back to the lab to remake.

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated

I say upgrade it and get it fixed or fix it yourself. I love those types of cars. I used to have a fast, sexy car and I loved every minute of driving it. I understand though your concerns about having reserves for the two houses other mundane expenses. So do what you feel is best. My theory is to live my life without regret. Will you regret not having the car?

Engine damage is never good, but the rebuild sounds fun. I didn't realize you were so heavily into cars (not surprised though). I very nearly bought a '95 Talon a little more than two years ago but ended up grabbing a '93 240SX frame and doing a Blacktop SR20DET swap instead. I just sold that car about a year ago since I've upgraded my saab to be reasonably trackworthy, but it was a lot of fun (of course about half the power of what you're talking about). Just being nosy, but what mods are you planning exactly/is this the AWD platform? Also, do you drive autocross or other competition?

Yes, it's AWD (I live in Colorado, AWD is a must if you want a year-round car). As far as mods, a basic turbo/intake/exhaust upgrade is pretty much what I'm looking at.

And no, I don't drive competition.

Having driven several stupid-fast Eclipses, yeah, they are fun...But the ease of engine tuning very quickly overwhelms the powertrain. Once you're above 350hp, breaking driveline parts becomes a regular problem.

In addition, the chassis becomes very unsetteled at that power level. As low-tech as it is by comparison, a mustang or camaro from the same era is much better at controlling all that torque.

You're never going to get the same performance out of it that you are out of a bike. And IMO, it would actually be less safe than a bike if you did.

If it were me, I would just yank the engine and have the shortblock checked out (crankwalk very bad, yesss...) and then put a prebuilt stage I or II head package from Buschar or one of the other DSM tuners. If you have everything shipped to you at once - intake, exhaust, (preassembled) head, turbo, intercooler, etc - you could build the engine in one weekend and install it in another. Or mabye do the whole thing in one weekend if you can get some help.

If the shortblock is bad, well, Buschar or Slowboy racing would cheerfully sell you a complete engine. It will cost - a lot. Frankly, if the shortblock is gone, I would unload the car, unless you can find a replacement block for a good price. The DSM engines are starting to get scarce because they are grabbed and eaten up by racers.

A Mustang or Camaro would very much not be the car I want, among other things. Remember I live in Colorado; snow handling is a must, and the Eclipse AWD is awesome in the snow. Mustangs and Camaros, not so much. I'm also really not looking at cranking the hell out of it. Getting up around 350hp would make me plenty happy.

I have a good DSM builder here in town looking at it now. Right this second I have no place to work and no time to do it, even if I wanted to do it all myself. (Which, frankly, I might...but I can't right now.) The problem with getting the shortblock checked is that it's not possible without disassembling the whole thing, at which point I'm doing a rebuild anyway... On the bright side, his preliminary evaluation is remarkably positive -- the turbo doesn't appear to be completely fried and while the head gasket is definitely blown, the head appears to be mostly okay, which suggests that perhaps it didn't overheat too badly. Cam seals and valve cover and valve cover gasket appear to be toast, though.

If I do unload the car, it'll be giving up on that sort of toy entirely, pretty much. I don't really want to go down that road, but I will if it comes to it.

I'm also not trying to match the performance of a bike. That's why I have the tricked-out Superhawk. *grin*

It is great AWD. But you have to be very careful with it once you start adding power. Turbo selection especially; a big 20g or T3/T4, with their nasty lag, is no fun in the wet.

If the head's okay, then you're in the ideal position to do a top-end rebuild and get to where you wanted anyway. A full stage II setup and a modified 16G turbo will put you at 350hp, or a little more.

And I know you have the bike. Trying to avoid duplication of effort, is all. And a 500hp Eclipse is a really scary beast.

I'm seriously looking at replacing the engine with a buffed-up 6-bolt, which will run me about $3000 installed. It seems likely that I didn't fry the block, but it's so easy to get the 7-bolt blocks to walk that I'm paranoid now, especially if I want to do any upgrades at all.

At which point I'll probably put in a 16g EVO III (for about another $1000, installed). And then the exhaust, intercooler and fuel management will have to wait until later.

I spent about an hour talking to my builder this morning to get a good idea of what the options are.

That inexpensive? Geez, the pricing I've seen on built longblocks ran from 4k and up (way, way up), and that was without installation.

I'd be paranoid about the block as well. Use it as a trade on the new engine and everyone is happy.

I don't know if I would wait on replacing the exhaust. I can't imagine an Evo turbo being happy with a stock DSM exhaust.

I've been thinking about something similar to this, but with the old '91-94 Subaru Legacy turbo. It comes with a closed deck block thats good for 24psi, and can be stroked to 2.4l so you can use a cheap stock STI turbo. Only problem is, you also need an STI transmission to hold the power, and they aren't.

I don't know if I would wait on replacing the exhaust. I can't imagine an Evo turbo being happy with a stock DSM exhaust.

If you're offering to pay for it, I'd take you up on that in a heartbeat. *grin

Hey, I'm saving my money and looking for a first MC here...You offering the Superhawk if I do?


Gee, I heard that 'No!' from here.

Well then, I probably won't be doing the exhaust right now. I'm already looking at paying about $4k more than I have.