Check out hard work Nick has put into this 1994 Mitsubishi Galant. Not only did he save it from becoming scrap metal, he has transformed this every day Galant into a thriller. With the limited tuners in the area, Laitsch has done an awesome job customizing everything from the wiring harness to making the subframe from a 2g Eclipse bolt in with minimal cutting of the floorboard. What’s your real name? (What’s your screen name?)
Nick Laitsch (eclipsh)
What do you do for a living and where do you live?
I’m an engineering student in Durango, CO.
What Mitsubishi(s) do you drive? How long have you had it/them?
My first Mitsu was a 90 AWD DSM. I had it from the summer of ’02 until January ’09 when I traded it for my parts car to build the Galant. The Galant any my 2g parts car are the only Mitsus I own now.
What’s your build philosophy/goals for your Mitsubishi? How do you use it?
My build philosophy is all about a balance of fun, functionality and detail. The Galant is my daily driver, family hauler and weekend toy so the design goals had to reflect it’s multiple uses. That meant keeping it quiet and comfortable for long hauls (my wife hated riding in my noisy, bouncy 1g) but still having a suspension and engine that could tear up the windy mountain passes I love to play on. I am working to keep everything as clean and as stock looking as possible while still bringing as much performance out of the car as I can.
What originally attracted you to the Mitsubishi? What keeps you going today?
When I decided to build the car my wife and I were talking about having our first child. I wanted a DD that would be easy to haul kids around in but would still have the fun factor of my AWD turbo 1g. Since an Evo was out of my price range and I wanted to stick with Mitsubishi it left me finding a 4 door I could convert to AWD with readily available parts. I was originally looking at doing a Mirage conversion but I found this Galant in the junk yard for $600 and saw the suspension looked exactly like a 2g DSM. The interior and exterior were in good shape and it was a lot roomier than my 1g. It also had a 4G64 I could use for a future engine build. In short, it looked perfect for my plans. I did a little digging around on the internet and found out the conversion was theoretically possible but, as far as the net-guru’s knew, no one had pulled it off yet. So I got to work finding my parts car, traded my 1g for it, bought the Galant and got to work.
What keeps me going today is how much fun I have driving the car. It is really comfortable for commuting in but still eats up corners in the summer and snowy roads in the winter. So far the car is just what I wanted, quiet, comfortable and a total beast when I decide to push it.
Got a favorite story about your Mitsubishi?
This last summer my wife and I took the car down to Albuquerque on its first road trip. We went to meet up with an Albq. DSM club for an afternoon gathering and drive. It was really funny watching everyone walk past the car without a second look until they found out it was AWD and turbo. Then the double takes started and a little crowd of guys came over to check it out. The hill climb we did later that day was the first time I really got to push the car. It wasn’t really tuned yet due to my wideband being on the fritz. I was still running rich and only on 10 psi of boost so I wasn’t expecting much on the power end of things. I was really looking forward to hitting the corners hard though. I had just installed a set of Koni/GC coilovers I scored from a DSMTuners member and was looking forward to trying them out. I was amazed at how well the car cornered with those and the 245/40/17 summer tires I kept from my 1g. After a few minutes I was gnashing my teeth because the Evo X at the front of the line was going too slow! I had to slow down and wait for the crowd to get ahead so I could really dig into the corners. The car just kept encouraging me to go faster and turn in tighter. It made every minute of work building the car worth while. I don’t think I stopped grinning for hours after that.
What are your goals for your Mitsubishi and how close are you to achieving them?
While I’d love to have a race car, in the end it will just be a fast daily driver and family hauler that I will eventually try to get onto a road course for some weekend hot lapping. Right now the donor engine is a bit too leaky to get onto a track with. I’ll need to get my new engine built before track days are an option. I’ll also need to work on improving engine cooling and braking before I can really say it is ready for some serious play time. The DD part is working out great though.
What was your favorite modification and why?
I would say the drive train swap but I never drove the car without it so to me the car has always been like it is now. So really, I think the engine management system has to be my favorite mod. I’m running a 91 turbo ECU in the car with Jackal speed-density tuning and a JAW 1.041 wideband controller. It was a nightmare rewiring everything but I really think it was worth it. I stripped out all the automatic transmission wiring, rewired the harness for the 1g ECU, added in the wiring for the wideband and other sensors I needed and wrapped it all up to look completely stock. The JAW setup also allowed me to run my custom gauges in the center where they are now. I’ve got digital boost, EGT and AFR displays right in the center of the dash where they look as clean and stock as possible. I still need to get an EGT probe in and wired up for the middle display.
Tell us about something really exciting you’ve done with other Mitsubishi owners.
The Albuquerque meet is really the only big gathering I’ve gone to. They were a great bunch of guys/girls and also helped me find my 2g parts donor. Unfortunately there aren’t very many Mitsubishi tuners in my area and aren’t very many knowledgeable sport-compact tuners here at all. My buddy Rick (pagosa dsm on DSMTuners) is the only other tuner I meet with on a regular basis. That has made the websites I frequent all the more important in helping me with my project.
What’s the best part about being a Mitsubishi owner? The most challenging?
Besides driving one? The web forums with their huge knowledge base and member support have to be the best part of owning a Mitsu. I cannot offer enough thanks to Chris Raymond for building DSMTuners.com and to the founders of theGalantCenter.net and other DSM sites, including this one, for helping bring us all together. Our community wouldn’t be anything near what it is today without all their hard work and dedication.
The most challenging part has to be overcoming all the abuse our cars get over the years and getting them back into shape. Both my 1g and my 2g parts cars came to me in terrible condition and needed lots of work just to get them back to stock reliability. I still have a bit of maintenance work to put into mine before I’ll feel it is up to snuff mostly related to the poor abused engine that is in it now.
What excites you about the coming year? (Your Mitsu and your community)
I am really looking forward to getting more body work done on my car. I’ve got a RRE hood vent waiting to go on and will be putting some more work into my front grille area and hopefully getting the car painted. I’d love to say I’ll be getting my engine built but I don’t think I’ll have the funds on hand to make that possible.
How often do you get together with other Mitsubishi owners in person?
I get together with my buddy Rick a few times a month.
Your thoughts on those who part out otherwise salvageable cars?
Every time I go to the junk yard and see a vehicle that looks great and just needed a little work I wonder why on earth anyone threw them away instead of fixing them or selling them cheap to someone who would. I do not like to see anything going to waste. Americans throw away way too much stuff. It is a very bad habit we can’t afford to keep for all sorts of reasons financially, environmentally and ethically. I believe reduce, reuse recycle applies to cars too. My wife’s ’96 Corolla came out of the same junk yard as my Galant and our ’89 4Runner was about ready for one too before we bought it. A little elbow grease and some know how got all three on the road and doing great. That means not wasting energy and raw materials producing a new car and not having to spend energy crushing and recycling the old ones. It was also a great cost savings for us. Our whole fleet has cost us less than a third of one new economy car. On the other hand, if someone hadn’t dumped those cars we wouldn’t have gotten such good deals. I strongly considered putting my 2g donor back together into some sort of drivable machine but it was past the point of no return. I had to use too many critical parts off of it and there was too much strut-tower rust, cigarette damage and body damage to make it worth buying and installing a FWD drive train into it. I’ve parted out as much of it as I think I can at this point. I’d part out more but the big stuff isn’t cost-effective for buyers to ship. I’ll be leaving the rest for junk yards to work with.
How do you feel building a Mitsubishi compares to building a Mitsubishi community?
From being a member of several Mitsubishi communities I’d say they both take a lot of patience, hard work and dedication.
How has your Mitsubishi build benefited from your involvement in the community?
Simply put, I couldn’t have built it without all the help I got from the members of theGalantCenter.net, DSMTuners.com, and Abq-DSM.com and all the knowledge they have put together on those sites. I hope I’ve been able to give back as much as I’ve gotten.
What’s next for your Mitsubishi?
I recently scored a deal on some Wiseco pistons for my 2.4 block. I’m looking forward to building that engine up when I can afford to. More immediately I’ll be finishing up the front end by adding wire mesh in the upper opening, installing my hood vent and taking care of a few dings and dents to prep the car for paint. My wife and I just had our first baby show up Jan. 28th and I’ll be staying home watching her over the summer so a lot will depend on how much time and money I can throw at the car.
Who has helped you the most along the way with the car? Did you have a mentor?
Aside from the knowledge base online my buddy Rick Cotton has been an enormous help along with several of his friends who pitched in pipe, hangers and welding skills to make my custom exhaust. My dad designed and built the center bracket for the drive shaft and helped tear down the Talon I used for a donor.
Who do you look up to in the Mitsubishi community?
I respect everyone who has the guts and skills to pull off something new and innovative.
Have you ever thought about being a mentor to a newbie? What sort of projects interest you?
I try to help a lot of newbies on the websites. I have to admit to avoiding questions which can easily be answered by a repair manual or a quick search though. Off the web I always try to help other car guys in any way I can. I’ve gotten a lot of help and really like to pass it on whenever possible. I am always interested in projects that are unique or innovative in some way. Bolt-on projects are only exciting when it is getting bolted to your own car. I like to see what people make for themselves or adapt from another use in a way others haven’t thought of.
Is there a particular shop you’d like to recommend?
A1 Auto Salvage in Farmington, NM. They really got excited about my project and gave me some great deals to help me get it together. Lots of nice guys down there.
Are you on Twitter? Facebook? How can people find you online?
I am on Facebook but I usually only friend people I know from off the web. If someone wants to find me online their best bet is a PM on DSMTuners or theGalantCenter.
Could you refer us to any other Mitsubishi owners you feel we should interview? Please let us know here. We’d love to tell someone they were recommended!
Ray Peters has an awesome turbo/supercharged 1g DSM with a 2.4l engine that he rally-crosses. I’d suggest contacting him. He’s made some other interesting parts for it and helped with DS-MAP.
Thank you for allowing us the privilege of sharing your story with the world!
Thanks for letting me share it .