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3 engines and a van (advice needed)

Intrepidor

Probationary Member
11
12
Sep 23, 2022
Greenbush, Michigan
Hello! Vehicle in question is an imported 1991 “Mitsubishi Delica L300 Star Wagon Super Exceed” with a very rough running 4G64 engine and a long story so I’ll just summarize my questions. I currently have 3 engines and will be rebuilding one of them, but after reading here about the whole 6-bolt/7-bolt thing, I’m a novice and just getting into rebuilding my first engine. Looking for some advice.

Here are the engines:
Engine #1:
4G64 6-bolt 166k miles. In van and running, but very rough, smoky and guzzles oil. Shop said it’s got decent compression but has oil leaking past the cylinders (esp. #3 cylinder)
Engine #2: 4G64 7-bolt only 30k miles. Bought as our replacement, but install shop discovered it was DOA. “spun balancer shaft” is what they told me.
Engine #3: 4G64 6-bolt Unknown milage/origin. There’s damage to the block and looks like it’s been sitting outside for years. Mainly using this to practice tearing down/rebuilding.

Here are my goals:
Priorities in order of importance:
Reliability, fuel economy and anything I can do to smooth out/quiet the ride (we sit on top of the engine, so it can be a bit loud/vibrat-y). Mostly interested in a stock build and not necessarily increasing power/torque unless it benefits the priority goals.

Here are my questions:
Question 1:
I’d prefer using the “new” low mileage Eng #2 but am I better off avoiding it because of the 7-bolt crankwalk thing?
Question 2: Is crankwalk even an issue if you’re keeping the engine mostly stock and driving “conservatively”?
Question 3: Since I’m going to the trouble of rebuilding everything, are there any “must-do” upgrades I should consider?
Question 4: Is there a favorite rebuild kit/company you guys prefer?

Full story (in case you’re not into the whole brevity thing):
We bought the van a couple years back with the goal of camperizing it, knowing it had a rough engine but near perfect body. It had starting issues, lots of white smoke on startup/acceleration and went through about a quart of oil every fill up, We always intended to replace/rebuild the engine and living in Seattle at the time, we knew finding a shop wouldn’t be a problem. We finally bought a low mileage 4G64 through a reputable source and had it shipped to the install shop. Perfect.

The shop removed the oil pan to start replacing seals and found chunks of metal inside. Further investigation revealed damage to the balancer shaft (what they diagnosed as a “spun balancer shaft”), so the engine was a no-go. Contacted the seller who refused to return my money or take the engine back. Lots of back-and-forth later, he ended up sending a “replacement” engine (engine #3) with supposedly 160k miles (same as our current engine) but no way to verify.

While all this was going on COVID happened, which (like many) changed our plans and we ended up relocating to Michigan. The van was still sitting in Washington and I had very little confidence in finding a shop near us that would even look at our rig (we’re somewhat rural here, and it’s clearly the land of Chrysler and Ford - even our Outback gets funny looks!). We resigned ourselves to selling our dream rig at a loss because - while I’m mechanical - I felt an engine rebuild was waaay outside my wheelhouse, but the Delica forums convinced me otherwise. I’ve got time, indoor space and two out-of-vehicle engines plus a third running engine in the van. What a great time to really learn about your vehicle and the engine that runs it! so… here I am.

Couple weeks ago I was looking at engines 2 and 3 side by side and noticed one of them had a 6 bolt crank and one had 7 bolts. I did a google search on what the difference was and boy… what a habit hole! :D But it also led me directly to this forum which Im already learning a ton from.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,436
5,265
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Is the van a stick or an auto? Super cute vehicle! The crank walk thing is usually from someone running a heavy clutch plate and holding in on the clutch while starting the motor (no oil yet and pressure on the thrust surface of the crank spinning to get started). Some of us unhook the clutch switch so we don't have to push in on it to start the motor. When I rebuild them, the motors that came in an automatic transmission vehicle have no crank walk issues as apposed to the ones that had a stick shift. Can you pull on the flywheel or balancer and feel any of the motors move back and forth internally? If so, stay away from that particular one. 6 bolt motors are beefier in the connecting rod department, where the 7 bolts have a lighter rod in them. Both are good engines for your goals and either would work. Are you leaving it non-turbo or are you wanting to turbocharge it like our cars are?
Welcome to our fun little group! If you get a chance, fill out a vehicle profile HERE so we can gander over what all it is made up of. :thumb:
Marty
 

DSMPT

DSM Wiseman
2,125
1,689
Jun 12, 2014
Japan / Mexico, Arizona
Congrats! You got a very clean Delica! It was prevalent back in the late 80s and the 90s in Japan and I always wanted it, well I still want :)

As for choosing the engine model, have you confirmed if the 4g64 in the van right now is a wide block or a narrow block? If not yet, just for in case I would confirm that first before deciding which block and buying the parts since the engine is longitudinally mounted.

Sorry off-topic. This (registration revoke) didn't happen in where you live? This is happening in Maine. My friend sent me this link before.
 

Intrepidor

Probationary Member
11
12
Sep 23, 2022
Greenbush, Michigan
Is the van a stick or an auto? Super cute vehicle! The crank walk thing is usually from someone running a heavy clutch plate and holding in on the clutch while starting the motor (no oil yet and pressure on the thrust surface of the crank spinning to get started). Some of us unhook the clutch switch so we don't have to push in on it to start the motor. When I rebuild them, the motors that came in an automatic transmission vehicle have no crank walk issues as apposed to the ones that had a stick shift. Can you pull on the flywheel or balancer and feel any of the motors move back and forth internally? If so, stay away from that particular one. 6 bolt motors are beefier in the connecting rod department, where the 7 bolts have a lighter rod in them. Both are good engines for your goals and either would work. Are you leaving it non-turbo or are you wanting to turbocharge it like our cars are?
Welcome to our fun little group! If you get a chance, fill out a vehicle profile HERE so we can gander over what all it is made up of. :thumb:
Marty
OK thanks, that's some good info! It's a manual trans and I don't have anything preventing me from starting the engine with the clutch engaged (however I've always done it that way out of habit).

Just checked the flywheel and balancer and there's no give, so that's good. Is there any significant advantage to going 7-bolt vs 6-bolt for my particular situation (keeping mostly stock/non-high performance)?

Need to do more research into turbo vs. NA for my application. I'm a total noob at this and want to keep things simple, but like the idea of a turbo. Just not sure if it makes practical sense because at the end of the day... I'm basically pushing around a heavy, rounded brick :D

Thanks for the vehicle profile link! Will fill that out later today.
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,436
5,265
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
You may want to keep it as a naturally asperated van. It makes it simple. I was just probing your mind to see what you had for plans. I don't see any reason to go with one over another other than the 7 bolt motor is higher in compression so as a N/A motor, it would push you around better with more HP.
Believe it or not, our AWD cars are HEAVY with all of the extra drivetrain components in them so I bet your van is not heavier than the AWD models of DSM's.
I am not familiar with the transmission in the van so you may need to check the way it bolts up to make sure the pattern is the same for your transmission.
 

Intrepidor

Probationary Member
11
12
Sep 23, 2022
Greenbush, Michigan
Congrats! You got a very clean Delica! It was prevalent back in the late 80s and the 90s in Japan and I always wanted it, well I still want :)

As for choosing the engine model, have you confirmed if the 4g64 in the van right now is a wide block or a narrow block? If not yet, just for in case I would confirm that first before deciding which block and buying the parts since the engine is longitudinally mounted.

Sorry off-topic. This (registration revoke) didn't happen in where you live? This is happening in Maine. My friend sent me this link before.
Yah thanks! We couldn't not buy it when we saw it. As I mentioned in a different post, there are a lot of these coming into the states now, and many with super low mileage. There's even an importer here in Michigan now.

OK, so more new info for me - didn't know there were wide/narrow blocks! Any way to quickly find out? As far as I know both engines came out of other Delicas so fitting them shouldn't be an issue but will be good to know for ordering parts, etc.

Yeah, the Maine thing sucks and they're trying to fight it. They're basically being lazy and grouping our full-size vans in with tiny micro trucks. Total BS. I'm in Michigan and safe (for now).
 

DSMPT

DSM Wiseman
2,125
1,689
Jun 12, 2014
Japan / Mexico, Arizona
OK, so more new info for me - didn't know there were wide/narrow blocks! Any way to quickly find out? As far as I know both engines came out of other Delicas so fitting them shouldn't be an issue but will be good to know for ordering parts, etc.
Please refer the link below.
Yeah, the Maine thing sucks and they're trying to fight it. They're basically being lazy and grouping our full-size vans in with tiny micro trucks. Total BS. I'm in Michigan and safe (for now).
Yeah it really sucks. I don't live in the States but I don't understand why that happens. Well it's good to know that at least where you live is safe.
 

Dericsh

Supporting Member
1,333
563
Nov 25, 2002
Pearl River, Louisiana
I’m not the person to give you an answer but maybe something else to research.

Another thing to consider between 6/7 bolt might be parts availability. 6 bolt stuff is harder to find by the day seems like. Maybe the 64 engines use different parts though. I’m talking about mainly timing components, maintenance things that you’re going to need in the future.
 

Intrepidor

Probationary Member
11
12
Sep 23, 2022
Greenbush, Michigan
I’m not the person to give you an answer but maybe something else to research.

Another thing to consider between 6/7 bolt might be parts availability. 6 bolt stuff is harder to find by the day seems like. Maybe the 64 engines use different parts though. I’m talking about mainly timing components, maintenance things that you’re going to need in the future.
No, this is a great point! I suppose that’s one of my other goals is to ensure parts are easier to come by (it’s already hard enough to find parts for these).
 

Intrepidor

Probationary Member
11
12
Sep 23, 2022
Greenbush, Michigan
One other question I would have is, the 7 bolt only has around 30k miles whereas the 6 bolt has about 160k. Would this be reason enough to go with the 7 bolt, or since I’m doing a full rebuild does mileage cease to really be an issue?
 
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