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1G 1991 Eclipse GSX 5-Speed Won't Start

Posted by El_Ryno, Sep 22, 2020

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  1. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Chicago, Illinois
    Hi Fellow DSM owners. Reaching out for some help as I've spent hours searching the forums and Google but have not found anyone with the same issue.
    I had my 1991 Eclipse GSX in storage for over 10 years. Prior to placing the car in storage there were no engine nor electrical problems. Car is mostly stock except for 16G turbo and full 3" exhaust. Also the car has a factory anti-theft system and ABS.

    I recently took the car out of storage and, with a new battery installed, it started up just fine... twice. Unfortunately my luck ran out today. The battery is fully charged and reading 13.2V but when I turn the key the engine does not crank/turn over. Dash lights up, radio functions, interior lights and brake lights all work.

    When turning the key all I can hear is a ticking noise coming from the Idle Speed Controller (ISC) under the throttle body. Tried unplugging the clutch sensor / switch but engine still not cranking. I don't hear the starter making any click noise when I turn the key, just the ticking from the ISC. Could this be the starter relay switch or starter motor / solenoid gone bad? Any way I can test the starter relay before purchasing a replacement? Any other ideas on what the issue might be?

    I need to get the car moved by Sunday so any tips would be greatly appreciated :)
    Thank you in advance!
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  2. lglracer

    lglracer Supporting VIP

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    There should be a relay under the dash IIRC that is for the starter. I would get a volt meter and see if you have voltage going to the solenoid wire at the starter (might need 2 people). You could try to tap on the starter also to see if that helps.
     

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    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    manual · 1G DSM

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    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse N/T
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  3. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    After sitting that long I'd start with basic stuff like grounds under the hood. Clean them off on both ends.
     

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  4. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Does the anti-theft have a starter cutoff and could that be on or malfunctioning?
     

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    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  5. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    @lglracer, @pauleyman, & @XC92 thank you all for the prompt replies and tips!
    Upon further inspection / startup attempts I can hear the starter relay under the left dash clicking when I turn the start key so I believe the relay is ok (though I've ordered a replacement just in case). I can also hear what I believe is the starter solenoid clicking once per key turn. Checked several of the ground wires and all look good so far, however I cannot yet see the ground connected to the starter bolt. Need to remove the battery tray/plate next to try to get access to the starter motor.
    I have been scouring the forums and it seems others have encountered this 'single-click no-start problem' but unfortunately I have not found any common cause or resolution :-\
    No clue if/how the factory anti-theft might be the culprit, but it does seem that power is making it all the way to the starter solenoid.

    Any other tips/tricks/ideas?

    Thank you again!
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  6. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Ground wire to starter bolt looks good
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  7. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    All you did was a visual inspection or an electrical and physical inspection? Visual isn't good enough.
     

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  8. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Hi @pauleyman thanks for the reply :)
    Yes visually and physically the grounds from the battery to the chassis/firewall and on the starter bolt seem secure and free of corrosion. I know there are several other grounding points, however the vehicle is not exhibiting any other electrical issues. I can test these two grounds with a voltmeter tonight. Just bizarre that the car started and ran ok twice in the past week, and now all I get is the (starter solenoid?) click sound when I turn the key. I did move the vehicle about 30 feet the last time the engine started. The only other thing I did since the engine last started was jack up the rear end of the car to remove the rear wheels and inspect the parking brake cables. Could this just be a starter motor gone bad? I've owned the car since 1996 and I don't recall ever replacing the starter so it may be original.
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  9. steve

    steve DSM Wiseman

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    The only valid check at this point is with a multimeter. You need to measure the voltage at the starter solenoid and what what it does when you turn the ignition switch to start. If it's not going to 12v then you need to work backward from there to figure out where the signal is being interrupted. If you have 12V to the Starter Solenoid then check the power to the large stud and make sure you have a good ground at the mounting bolt. If both of those check it sounds like a starter.

    Without the factory anti-theft protection the circuit is pretty simple but it gets more interesting with the anti-theft. The signal from the ignition switch still goes through the Starter Relay but now there are two ways that can activate the starter relay (ground the relay coil) and break the connection to the starter solenoid.

    The first is the normal clutch safety switch and the second is the Theft Alarm starter relay (C-25). The CSS is normally closed so if you forget to push the clutch in it activates the starter relay and disconnects the signal to the starter solenoid. The Theft Alarm starter relay is normally open and doesn't do anything unless the Theft Alarm is triggered and then like the CSS it grounds the Starter Relay coil, activating the relay and breaking the connection to the starter solenoid.

    1G Starter with Theft.PNG
     

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    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
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  10. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    I have no way to be sure but I suspect that it has something to do with the anti-theft. I had an aftermarket one installed in mine when I bought it, and eventually I stopped using it and pulled the fuse. It forgot to turn itself off and drained the battery, and nothing I or the shop could do fixed it. One day I'm going to pull it entirely, but car electronics scares me, and I want to do it in a way that removes the alarm but restores the car's remote door lock.

    Anyway, if basic starter wiring diagnostics don't fix this, take a good look at the anti-theft. I recently replaced the starter on a different car because it would often not turn over, just the relay click. After ruling out everything else (including a starter bolt that some idiot mech neglected to fasten but was at least kind enough to leave in a transaxle top well where it stayed for years, new battery, cleaned battery terminals and clamp), I got a new starter, and that fixed it. Best $80 I spent.
     

    299  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  11. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Chicago, Illinois
    @steve wow thanks for the detailed electrical info on the theft alarm starter relay and tips on testing the starter motor! I'm working today on pulling the starter motor out but it seems testing it will be a two-man job. The 1991 TEL electrical service manual shows it located behind the radio correct? Also, any idea where on the part number for the C-25 relay? I have the Mitsu ASA parts software and I think it may be MB627895 labeled "Relay, Auto Door Lock Control"

    @XC92 thanks for the tips! New starter should be arriving today and I'm hoping to find the part number for the theft alarm relay to order that part just in case.

    What a PITA it is to get to the starter motor! So many hoses, shift cables, and vacuum lines in the way :-\
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  12. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Yes, it is a PITA. Actually replacing the starter is very simple. Two connectors, two bolts, that's it. But taking everything out to get access to it, and then wedging the old one out and new one in, plus the wires, then putting everything back together again, that's the hard part. But I still prefer that to either taking a chance with a random mechanic or paying premium for a really good one.

    I am SO glad I got into repairing my own cars a few years ago.
     

    299  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  13. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    @XC92 Thanks for the encouragement :) Old starter is out of the car!
    I unbolted the shift linkage and zip-tied the fuel, coolant, and vacuum hoses to keep them out of the way. Lower starter bolt was no issue but I needed to use a 1/2 inch socket wrench to break free the the upper bolt (with the ground wire). I really hope its no more difficult to get the new starter motor in place. I've got this 1G and also a 2G GSX and this is the first I've worked on either of them in 11 years. Though I'm getting back into wrenching now I'm disappointed in myself for not changing the starter motor back in 2001 when I installed the CenterForce clutch disk... would have been so much easier then. c'est la vie

    Now I have to wait for the wife to come home from work to turn the ignition key so I can test the voltage at the starter solenoid as @steve recommended.
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  14. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    I actually have this to look forward to soon as I'm replacing the clutch which requires the starter (and a bunch of other parts) to be removed. Fun times.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
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  15. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Ok so from the positive lead at the starter solenoid to chassis ground I'm seeing 12.8V on the multimeter. Actually it's 12.8V all of the time even without the key in the ignition. Not sure if that's normal?
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  16. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Ok tested the old starter and it's ok but I already have a new starter motor to install. Also I can feel the alternator relay (under the hood) and the starter relay (under the dash) both clicking when my wife turns the ignition key. Seems like both relays are working ok.

    With the starter out of the car I measured the voltage from positive battery terminal to solenoid signal wire and it's 12.7V however when my wife turns the ignition key the voltage does not change. In this scenario, shouldn't the voltage drop to zero volts?
     

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  17. steve

    steve DSM Wiseman

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    The large B+ terminal stud on the starter is connected directly to the battery so it always has battery voltage on it as show in the diagram above.

    The S terminal is connected to the ignition switch via the Starter Relay and should only have battery voltage on it during the attempt to activate the starter.

    1Gstarter.jpg

    So your results confuse me.
    In addition your Starter Relay shouldn't be doing any clicking, on MTX cars the Starter Relay breaks the connection to the S terminal disabling the starter.
     

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    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
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  18. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    Chicago, Illinois
    TL;DR
    I'm an idiot. The issue was the clutch safety/start cutoff switch. The rubber or plastic stopper/nub that was insert into the clutch pedal arm apparently dry-rotted and disintegrated into tiny pieces. Without this stopper/nub the switch button just pokes through the hole in the bracket at the top of the clutch pedal arm when the clutch pedal is depressed (thus never activating the switch). I thought I had disconnected the clutch safety/start cutoff switch, but what I had actually disconnected was the clutch cruise-control switch :-\
    Thought I did replace the starter motor with a new unit (not a bad idea on a 29 year old vehicle), the real issue wit the engine not starting was due to the missing tiny rubber/plactic stopper/nub not triggering the clutch safety/start cutoff switch. Looks like STM Tuned has the replacement part # MB151298:
    https://stmtuned.com/products/mitsubishi-oem-clutch-brake-pedal-stopper-for-1g-2g-dsm

    @steve thanks so much for the reply and detailed schematic! Basically what I was trying to describe is that I was getting a good 12.8V to the "B+" terminal on the starter, but the "S" terminal was staying grounded even when the ignition key was turned. In other words, I was measuring the voltage between the "B+" terminal and the "S" terminal and was getting solid 12.8V with the ignition off. When my wife turned the ignition key to start position I expected this voltage to drop to zero volts briefly (to activate the starter motor), however the voltage between B+ and S terminals always remained at around 12.8V. This indicated to me that something was interrupting the power from the starter relay to the S terminal (which was true; see above).
    Also, with respect to the relays clicking, my understanding is that all of these old style relays are electromechanical (as opposed to solid-state), and you can definitely audibly hear, and physically feel the relay click when it switches on/off. In my case, I could hear and physically feel (by touching it) the starter relay (under the driver dashboard) and alternator relay (under the hood) switch/click on when the ignition key is turned to the start position. Also, as you kindly detailed previously, my car has the C-25 theft alarm starter relay (behind the radio?) which I can also hear click on when the key is turned to the start position.

    Anywhom, problem solved and now I have a new starter motor. Also took the opportunity to spray paint the battery tray which had a few rusty spots.

    Big thanks to @steve, @lglracer, @pauleyman, & @XC92 for all of your helpful tips, advice, and encouragement!

    Now my only concern is the Idle Speed Controller (ISC) servo (part # MD628051) making a loud buzzing noise with the ignition in the power-on position. Not sure if this is a sign of impending failure?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020

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    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  19. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  20. steve

    steve DSM Wiseman

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    The buzzing when you first turn the ignition on is the ECU stepping the ISC pintle out and in (rehome). There is a difference in the sound between working and not working but I can't describe it off-hand.

    If you still have one of the metal cased ISCs with a beige connector you should replace it ASAP with the newer black plastic version. They are much less likely to blow up the driver chips in the ECU that control it.

    P1010004.jpg
     

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  21. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    @steve thanks so much for the tip and nice photo comparison! I do have a metal-cased ISC with the beige connector!

    20200924_035701.jpg
    Please ignore the multicolored zip-ties. They were just to keep the hoses and vacuum lines out of the way for removing the starter motor.

    I was going to order a replacement ISC from RockAuto for $70 but then I noticed there are a bunch for sale on eBay for like $20.

    Are you aware of any difference between part numbers MD628051 and MD628053 for the ISC? Are both compatible with 1G 4663 Turbo engines?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020

    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  22. El_Ryno

    El_Ryno Probationary Member

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    178  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  23. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Glad to hear that you figured it out and fixed it. It's these pesky little problems whose source seems impossible to track down that are the biggest time-wasters and head-scratchers. They're not unlike those very specific problems whose source you know but are unable to fix, that keep you from completing a job, like a CV axle end whose splines are rusted and seized in the hub splines.

    Also, thanks for the starter videos and advice about ISCs I guess it's time to look at my car's ISC--and while I'm at it the clutch starter cutoff, as the last time I ran the car I seem to recall that I could start the car without engaging the clutch pedal, which is the opposite problem as yours and dangerous.

    Btw, my understanding is that you should stay away from eBay aftermarket parts for DSMs. This one seems too good to be true at $20 compared to RockAuto's $70. Their prices are pretty good so it doesn't feel right to me. Do some research before buying. Also, I found a vendor site that's very helpful, with extensive product descriptions. It's RTM Racing and they specialize in cars like the DSMs. Check out what they have to say about ISCs.
     

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    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  24. triggerx

    triggerx Proven Member

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    So I personally just ordered the one from Rock Auto by Standard Automotive. If I receive it before you do I’ll be sure to at least post pictures and inform you of what is included. Mainly I would suggest changing out the Oring/gasket if your 91 has one for the IAC as well.

    As far as that eBay part goes, this is just my 2 cents from experience. I’ve worked for an aftermarket part company, and they do get a lot of those parts for dirt cheap. So 20$ isn’t too ridiculous.

    A majority of aftermarket parts do come from China. From my experience most of the issues we had were from any parts that had electronics in them. Resistance values, dimensional tolerances, material just tend to deviate from their OE counterparts too much.
    That being said, a lot of parts, including OE parts are manufactured in China. It’s very possible to come across a quality part or even a part produced in the same factory as an OEM or aftermarket supplier.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those IAC valves on eBay are the same ones Rockauto are selling. You’d have to do a bit of research and testing though to find out.

    Overall it is a risk that I wouldn’t personally take especially considering what Steve mentioned regarding driver chips in the ECU.
     

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