For #GTKY today, I want to share a story with you. What follows is both thrilling victory and agonizing defeat, but first, a little backstory. I’ve recently sold my 92 Mitsubishi Galant VR4 – to a friend. Over the past two months, I’ve replaced the sketchy, leaking engine that was in it with the cherry lump I had on a stand for my 91 GVR4 race car. Today was the day I was finally going to deliver the Galant to its new owner. If you’ve had an experience anything like the one I’m about to relate, I’d sure like to hear about it.
Last night, I drove the car to Keith’s shop, very gingerly manhandling it into first gear from what seemed like every possible red light along the way. Pedal was engaging right off the floor, wanted to grind going into first or reverse from a dead stop. Although we’re running the flywheel and pressure plate which was in 464 before the engine went down and a lightly used ACT 2100 Keith had at the shop, neither of my Galant have EVER had problems with the pedal, fork, or pivot ball, and I was reluctant to do the contortions required to adjust the pedal unless I absolutely HAD to.
At the shop, we bled the clutch. No dice.
We adjusted the shifter cables. No dice.
We replaced the slave cylinder. SOLID GOLD, BABY.
Dialed in base timing. Gave the car a final once-over. And gently abused it in the now empty industrial park.
This is what these cars felt and sounded like when they were brand new. OMG. I have never been in a nicer Galant – and I’ve been in 3/1000. 464 sounded like the Sewing Machine of Justice as it confidently raced through the compound. It was at this moment I realized why I wanted a GVR4 in the first place and I hoped that 195/2000, collecting dust in my garage, would one day feel like that. Just incredible.
Huge weight lifted, I hit the road for a victory lap around NW Phoenix on my way home. I’d forgotten my phone at home and had no idea what time it was (though I knew it wasn’t 7:40, as the clock and radio reported), but it didn’t matter. We were WOT onto the highway, transmission shifting like it was filled with golden butter from heaven, 12psi rock solid to redline, not even a hint of smoke from the exhaust.
As I made the transition from I-17 to the Loop 101, it started to make some noise. Sounded like a small exhaust leak. Makes sense; as many times as I’ve had that exhaust and turbo installed/removed in the last couple months. A little heat cycling probably means I need to re-torque the hardware. No worries. Within a mile, the exhaust leak grew louder. I clutch-in and free-revved the engine. Yup. Definitely indexed to boost. Deciding not to push my luck, I got off at the next exit and made a B-line for the house.
At the exit ramp stoplight, the exhaust was noticeably louder. Blipping the throttle, I thought about how it sounded like an open wastegate on one of them race cars at the DSM Shootout. I half regretted having to make it go away because it was kinda cool. The car felt fast. It was really starting to sound fast too.
At the next stoplight, it sputtered a bit. That’s strange. I wonder which exhaust bolts might have come loose? There’s no chance the turbo is going to fall off, but man, this is getting pretty loud.
At the nest stoplight, it died. It would not restart. Starter cranked and cranked, and there was a soft sputter about every fourth rotation. WTF.
Temp gauge = perfect.
Intake plumbing connected (though the MAF/upper snorkel were loose, tightening changed nothing).
Plug wires connected.
Two EMTs just getting off-shift stopped to help me push the car through the intersection into a bus stop pull out, then went about their business.
No idea what time it was, I began the walk home. It was about 2 miles. (No phone. Remember?) From the peak of victory to the depths of defeat in 15 minutes. From the nicest Galant I’ve ever driven to the worst night of my life. Ugh. I got home, grabbed my phone, texted Keith to let him know what happened, and he rolled by with a tow strap to help me drag it home. About 1AM, I was finally done for the night, sending poor Mike a dramatic, borderline psychotic email update, as our plan was for me to drive the car to work today and deliver it to him tonight after work.
Here she sits. Funny. She looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Best I can tell, the hydraulic tensioner – the only part I re-used when I did the timing belt – gave up the ghost and introduced enough slack to lose timing. I won’t know for sure until I pull the #1 plug and check those marks tonight after work. (I’m also going to open up the ECU and double check the board, yank the intake snorkel and make sure the turbo is still good – irony – and probably re-examine my vac line connections.)
For a few brief minutes, this was the nicest Galant in the world. That’s the Galant I’m delivering to Mike. Hopefully tomorrow. Maybe other people can spin the condition of their cars for sale, I can’t do that. When I hand Mike the keys and tell him this Galant is 100%, I don’t want any doubts. It’s just how I roll.
Have you ever broken down and had to walk back to the fort?
Ever have a brand, spankin’ new machine go south on you like this?
Tell me about it!