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Street Build 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse (RWD LS Swap)

Year
1998
Model/Trim
Mitsubishi Eclipse N/T

Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
I don't know where to start but I have been into the Mitsubishi community for many years now but lately I have been getting more involved in working on them, joining social media groups, and showing up to events. Please be respectful of the build. Working on a project car with my dad that we fully agree on will never happen but I am just glad we are using the shell of one of my all time favorite model cars. Any helpful tips or suggestions are always welcome. I will be sure to pass them along to my dad.

I purchased this 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS originally as a parts car to fix others down the road since I had planned on fixing up one of my old 2G's (I already sold it). I bought the car back in August 2020 it was cheap and it has a blown transmission. The Eclipse is a 1998, GS, auto, with sunroof spec. It was sitting in a field for about a year. The car has been sitting in my driveway ever since and could not decide on what to do with it. Since it is a 420A model, I didn't know even if I fixed the transmission if anyone would be interested in it.

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My dad has finished his 3 car projects for the year so he was bored. He asked about the car a few times on what I was doing with it. The last time he seemed very interested in it and asked about if I would be interested in putting an LS motor into it since he pretty much had a spare engine in his garage. Me and my dad have a way different spectrum on taste since he usually works on American muscle cars. Even though I am a huge fan of the 4G63 platform, I have always wanted to work on a project with my dad forever. We can never fully agree on a car to work on together. I did work on a 1981 Chevorlet Camaro Z28 with him when I was a kid, I didn't know it at the time but apparently it was suppose to be my high school graduation present. Even if I knew then, I still wouldn't have wanted the car since it didn't interest me at all. Even if an LS motor doesn't really suite my fancy, I will be happy to have a final product to show and tell everyone, "Yeah I worked on this with my dad in his garage". I will love the car either way. It will be a cool and unique car I could take along side my dad to all of his car shows since mostly everything in my garage doesn't really suite his crowd.

In high school my dad helped me purchase my second car which was a 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse OZ Edition. Red with black interior. Even though it was a 420A model, I loved that car to pieces. I still miss it to this day. That car was so clean and had relatively low mileage.

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Day 1: Arrival
[11-21-2020]

Over the weekend my dad came over and picked up the grey Eclipse and we took it over to his place and got it on the lift. The first day we took off the hood, wheels, and stripped the rest of the interior. We assessed the car for an hour and discussed on how we were going to make this work. His goals is to drop in an LS1 motor with a Ford 9 or 8.8 rear end. Here's some pictures when it arrived over the weekend.

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Day 2: Engine Removal
[11-22-2020]

Sunday we pulled the 420A motor out of the car and assessed on what space we were working with. He's thinking about cutting up the firewall and most or all of the floor in the car to make it work and fabricating a bunch of stuff. I'm not sure to be honest. My dad plans on keeping all of the structural rigidity of the car. I'm not the most knowledgeable person in the car scene. I am learning as I go. I can do some stuff now but that's because I have ran into an issue already on my other Mitsubishi's. So I can do some novice things I suppose. He rambled off a lot of ideas but he is the expert in these situations so I am letting him make all of the decisions on what we should do. The car will have no A/C or heat but he would like to keep the power steering if possible or switch over to a different steering rack. Again, I am a novice and my dad doesn't have much of a social media presence so I will do my best to keep everyone informed. With everything going on in the world right now, the holidays, and winter coming up. I am sure we will have a lot of time to work on this.

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Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
Day 3: No going back now
[11-28-2020]

Got the dash out and all of the extra stuff. My dad did some rough cutting for fitting the engine and transmission. It’s just a rough cut job so don’t panic.

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arrowhead

Proven Member
923
60
Apr 19, 2011
miami, Florida
Nice start, I think you have started something that many wanted to do, but for many reasons have never tried. I disagree with most of what was posted in your other thread, your dad is probably and old time Hot Rodder and this does not seem to him as a big deal.
The complete firewall wont have to be cut out neither the floor, these cars are not that bad as far as chassis strenght at least not as bad as Miatas or RX8s and these swaps are being done left and right on those, as well as other platforms.
We DSMRS are kept together by our engines and the beauty of the lines of our cars,
It will come a time that essential parts will be almost non exist, it is already happen with driveline parts and if it was not for the effort of very few individuals the same will happen with suspension parts.
So what is the answer, look into other platforms that have subframes, use of other trannys, rear ends etc.
I think in the future we will see more swaps of this type.

Mandy
 

Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
Day 4:
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We need everyone’s help
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Please read all of it.
[11-29-2020]

We are devastated today. Especially me.

We got the engine and transmission and everything fitting today and everything was looking up. Then after questioning the rear end rust extent we proceeded to look under the side skirts and the rust / animal damage is far more extent than we thought. Then my dad took a hammer to the panels and most of them broke apart.

We don’t feel safe building a high HP car and we want to make it safe and structurally sound. The question raised was, do we keep it and fix it or do we start over on a different car. I probably plan on owning this car a lifetime. Don’t be upset, we are junking the car. The car is literally crap. The rust extent was just more than my dad thought in the rear. It would be much easier to start over on a new car since we literally just need a rust free 2G, doesn't matter what it is.

So. We are not giving up. We are looking for a new 2G. Any model with do. RS, GS, GS-T, or GSX. Running or not, complete, or shell. The car just has to be rust free or pretty damn close. We would probably prefer a RS model with no sunroof and with crank windows but we will take anything that is within reasonable driving distance. My dad will want to look at the car in person. We are located in Lafayette, IN so nothing more than a few hours away from here. I’m hoping we can find a car sooner seeing how we are not being to picky.

We are NOT giving up. This car was a perfect template for us to mock up on what we need to do on the next one. So we are not scraping the idea, just the car. So please help us find a new one so we can continue!

Thank for you for continued support. We will get this done. Any leads on a new car would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully we can be back at this ASAP.

*** EDIT *** We are in discussions with a few sellers on a new car, hopefully we can close on a deal this week and continue our work.

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95REGF150

Proven Member
429
215
Mar 7, 2012
Elk Grove, California
Glad to see you went ahead with this project anyway even after everyone warned you off in the other thread. I really hope you pick up another shell and continue on with this. Would be very cool to see complete.

Definitely not worth fixing that amount of rust. That car was sitting in the weeds for way too long. But hopefully you can use some of the parts from this car on the next shell. Good luck in the search.

If you don't mind me asking I see you had removed the subframe and then cut out the firewall and tunnel for the motor and tranny to fit. Then you say you had the motor and trans in and mocked up. Were you able to get it to fit over the factory subframe? Or are you going to go custom with the front suspension and steering?
 

arrowhead

Proven Member
923
60
Apr 19, 2011
miami, Florida
Although not my position to reply, the subframe does not need to be cut out, I have taken measurements of this same engine and the inner space between the subframe and it shows plenty of space.
In the Miatas the same cuts are done to the firewall and the very backend corners of the frames, and in them the space is a lot less.
Mandy
 

Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
UPDATE.

We have a few potential candidates for a new car / shell. We received about 20+ offers on some nice looking 2Gs. Thank you everyone for the massive support on helping us achieve this. It sounds like we may be picking up a new one this coming weekend.

Also 95REGF150 and arrowhead, my dad explained to me all of the measurements he wanted to do on the engine and transmission. It's all technical to me but that's the space he needed. I believe he was going to go custom on the front suspension and steering.
 

Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
Day 5: We secured a new shell!
[12-5-2020]

I just personally wanted to thank everyone that reached out to us this past week. We were blown away by the amount of positive responses of people willing to help us out and find another shell. We received 25+ cars to choose from. (Purchase) We are happy to report we picked up a new shell this over this past weekend! This was ultimately our best choice for both of us considering distance, rust, and specs. It is a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T. Hardly any rust, southern car most of it's life, grey leather, sunroof, power windows, sunroof, big wing, and a manual from the factory. This was the car we decided on. Even though we got offered some non sunroof / crank window cars, this was ultimately my favorite chose considering distance, rust, specs, and what all came with the car. Even though my dad mostly has full control of the build, some compromises have to be made.

We drove over 12 hours on Saturday all in one go and we were exhausted. (We don't travel much). Luckily the car in person was as advertised. A fellow DSM member actually reached out to us in our post on the Facebook group forums so a big thank you to him for reaching out to us! The car is a rolling shell, no engine / no transmission. Even though we might not be using some of the little things from the turbo car, please don't ask for anything. Anything we don't use I will probably set aside for my GS-T as well.

Even though I personally hate to cut up a turbo car, it was the best choice with everything factored in. I didn't want to pay money to have a $500 420a shell shipped to us from the south sight unseen and be stuck back to square one like we were with the last shell. So please don't ask to trade shells. It already has me and my dads approval and I don't want to stall any more time. Now is the best time for us to work on this considering we both have some free time at the moment.

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Day 6: New surprises!
[12-6-2020]

Sunday, I delivered the car to my dads garage. Upon arriving I stumbled across a surprise! (A good one this time). While we were gone my parents actually found a Chevrolet S-10 LS1 project someone never finished. With the price being a good investment my dad snagged it up while we were away picking up the new shell. It has a 4.8L LS1 with a power glide transmission. My dad seems to think that maybe throwing in this motor instead will help keep some of the daily driver aspect to the car.

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The other motor my dad has laying around is a 5.7L LS1 that is a fully built race motor. Apparently this motor has 500+ HP as it sits naturally aspirated. My dad is guessing this engine will probably run about 300+ HP and might be a better candidate. The goals for the car which we didn't really discuss much into detail yet was mostly a street friendly cruiser. Something I could take to car shows / meets, drive in the city without worry. We might add some other tid bits like a roll cage and some big meaty tires but ultimately this won't be a drag car by any means. We wanted it to look like any other Eclipse driving down the road (for the most part) and my dad thinks I will be ultimately happy with something I can just hop in and go.

So today we pulled the 4.8L motor and transmission from the Chevrolet S10. We are going to tear down the new 4.8L LS1 and see if it was truly rebuilt like the seller claimed it was. We haven't fully done that yet but upon opening it up, it appeared to look somewhat rebuilt? It looked like they did a bad job cleaning it and keep in mind apparently the motor hasn't ran since the rebuild. We will tear it down more for further investigation. It might just need a hot bath but don't know why someone didn't do that in the first place. Ultimately we will use whichever engine needs the least amount of work. The main thing we wanted was the transmission which we didn't have any laying around and my dad thinks this will be a good candidate for the car. I asked my dad about maybe keeping the car a manual gearbox since it already had the pedals and I do enjoy my manual cars. My dad said it probably wasn't in our best interest since we might run into some fitment issues if we are choosing to keep the OEM console like I wanted.

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It's getting late, before I go, I just wanted to show you some pictures of the Eclipse I bought over the weekend. My dad told me he had one condition of the car. I asked him what that was and he told me he wanted to chose the paint color. (I started to panic a little haha). He wants to paint it a dark metallic grey with metal flakes in the car. Even though not far off from my vision, I do want to paint the car the OEM grey color as the last one, I wanted to keep that OEM look to the car and I did actually like the color of the last one. Who knows, I will probably have to see this color in person to see what he's thinking. Hopefully everything pans out better on this car and again, thank you for the tremendous support.

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Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
[12-19-2020]

Hey it's us again! Still here! We have been pretty busy with the holiday season, sourcing out some parts, and working on the front subframe of the new Eclipse shell lately and we decided to take a "factory look" approach. Of course the factory one is modified and more rugged than ever and it's turning out pretty good!

Also we decided to use the 5.7 LS1 considering this will be a N/A car and wanted to keep the overall performance of the car without adding turbos or superchargers (even though I wanted to). Also started gutting out the interior of the car yet again. Lol.

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Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
[12-20-2020]

See ya later alligator! Stock gas tank out, looks like a fuel cell might be headed our way or something else. Didn't get much done today, it was a Sunday and we were tired.

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randman2011

Proven Member
425
185
Feb 26, 2012
Indianapolis, Indiana
The GSX gas tank is designed around a driveshaft. I'm not sure if it would be better or worse for this application than a fuel cell, but I would think that it would be compatible.
 

Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
[12-26-2020]

Today we got some of the firewall cut for the transmission and engine. We still have some further modifications to make to the factory subframe. Yes we cut the factory wiring harness, don't be upset. OMG

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Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
[12-28-2020]

Always jokes coming my way here at Mitzu Garage. My dad is just so funny.

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[12-28-2020]

Now it’s time for the real meat and potatoes of today’s post. We have accomplished the FIRST LS swapped Eclipse with a factory modified subframe to house a GM 4L60-E transmission.

Some of y’all said it wouldn’t work, some y’all said it was impossible, some of y’all didn’t believe in us or our fabrication skills, yet here we are. Can’t wait to roll up in this. Love or hate us, me and dad are having a great time!

Sidenote, we have tried several transmission fitments and the 4L60-E is the best fitment wise for our end goals. We are trying to keep the car as factory looking as possible. This isn't a car meant to be a drag car, it's just a street friendly cruiser. We are living off the concept, not the horsepower or quarter mile times.

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ec17pse

Freelancer
5,160
2,396
Nov 1, 2008
London, UK, Europe
Whats with the spacers on the front subframe? Are you eventually planning to make a subframe to fit around the trans so you can get the stock placement again as currently all your suspension points are now way out of whack for the entire chassis.

I didnt know if the spacers are just for mockup to get clearance and will be looked at later or not.
 

Mitzu Garage

Proven Member
65
80
Oct 9, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana
Whats with the spacers on the front subframe? Are you eventually planning to make a subframe to fit around the trans so you can get the stock placement again as currently all your suspension points are now way out of whack for the entire chassis.

I didnt know if the spacers are just for mockup to get clearance and will be looked at later or not.

I'm not exactly sure what my dad is planning but he says the whole suspension is getting a major overhaul. No, the spacers are staying.
 

ec17pse

Freelancer
5,160
2,396
Nov 1, 2008
London, UK, Europe
I'm not exactly sure what my dad is planning but he says the whole suspension is getting a major overhaul. No, the spacers are staying.
If those spacers are staying i really hope he is finding a way to make the lower arm and compression arm mounting points higher. Its going to throw off the front to rear balance off completely as the intersecting paths F-R front be the same.
What i would of done is have someone make a custom frame that goes around the setup once in but keeps the stock mounting points in the right place so you dont mess with how the roll centers are etc. Normally we like to raise the points not lower them
 

95REGF150

Proven Member
429
215
Mar 7, 2012
Elk Grove, California
If those spacers are staying i really hope he is finding a way to make the lower arm and compression arm mounting points higher. Its going to throw off the front to rear balance off completely as the intersecting paths F-R front be the same.
What i would of done is have someone make a custom frame that goes around the setup once in but keeps the stock mounting points in the right place so you dont mess with how the roll centers are etc. Normally we like to raise the points not lower them

I was thinking the same Bobby. This is the part of this project we all knew would be difficult getting the motor through that subframe. So I'm following along to see what they come up with. With the frame that low I don't think you could even get the car to sit level without it dragging the ground so they definitely have a lot of custom work to do suspension wise. Looking at it from those pictures seems like it would have been easier to split the subframe into 2 separate pieces to keep the mounting points original and then make a tube frame crossmember or the like to reconnect them under the trans.

Hey maybe he's gonna go 60's gasser style with it. Straight axle and all with that nose high stance. haha
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j/k. I'm really interested to see what your dad has planned. And really cool to see something completely off the wall and different in these cars so I commend you guys for that.
 
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