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97 AWD Swapped Spyder

Year
1997
Model/Trim
Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GST

jinscho

Proven Member
639
281
Jun 16, 2017
Bangor, Pennsylvania
Is that roll bar a custom piece? I've never seen one like that, but have been looking everywhere since I bought my spyder for something exactly like it. Can you post up some additional photos so I can get an idea on how it's tied into the body?
 

tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Is that roll bar a custom piece? I've never seen one like that, but have been looking everywhere since I bought my spyder for something exactly like it. Can you post up some additional photos so I can get an idea on how it's tied into the body?
No it's not custom. A company back in the early 2000's made a handful of them. They're pretty hard to find. It's tied into the top of the rear side plastics with a 6in long steel rod on each side. I believe you have to cut into the stock plastics when mounting it but don't quote me on that.
 

tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Alright so I've promised myself I'm going to be better about documenting my journey with this car compared to my old GSX. I posted a lot with that car on Facebook, but have since realized how easy it is to lose those posts as time passes.

I went to pick the car up last Saturday July 3rd just north of Grand Rapids, MI. I was staying with my parents in Fort Wayne, IN last weekend so it made the 3hr drive back in the car much more bearable than trying to drive it the 7hrs straight back to Lexington. The previous owner had the car since 2009 and used Tyler Hassing @ Force Engineering exclusively for all work that was done. I've got to give a shoutout to the PO here as the buying process went extremely smooth due to his transparency, willingness to answer my 100+ questions, and his continued help after the sale was complete. I was also pleasantly surprised when I stuck my head under the rear end and noticed it had an lsd rear diff!

The drive back was interesting to say the least. PO had only put 9k miles on the car in 12 years so there were things that popped up doing 80mph on the highway home that weren't noticed during the test drive around the block. The biggest issue was a fuel leak when filling up. I didn't notice it at first, but thankfully my fiancé was in her car next to me and pointed it out. We were only 5 minutes from the PO's house and after talking to him I deemed it safe to continue driving it home instead of towing it. There was no leaks on his garage floor, the garage didn't smell like gas nor did we smell or notice anything while on the test drive. I believe it is a bad evap vent or torn filler tube, but it's on my list to look into when I'm back up in Fort Wayne at the end of the month. Other minor things that popped up were the AEM wideband sensor intermittently cutting out and noticing the car needs an alignment and the wheels re-balanced BAD. But all things considered, the car making the 3hr drive back after only being driven about 50 miles in the last year was remarkable.

My mod list is up to date, but the car is currently on the pump gas tune and pulls very well @ 22lbs on the FP black. The previous owner didn't have the dyno sheet, but after talking to Tyler we're thinking it's making right around 500whp. I've got plans to get with Kevin Jewer and have him work me up a fresh flex fuel tune. The car will need minor bodywork and a complete respray to be up to my standards, but is otherwise very clean. The black swapped interior is almost mint, while the light bar and black top cover are in perfect shape. The RPF1's pictured ended up not fitting due to the current alignment specs having too much negative camber, so I pulled those back off for now. My plan is to attack the list below when I head back in two weeks and if everything gets done I'll make the 4hr trip down here to Lexington with it. Stay tuned I'll work on getting more organized with these posts and try and hold myself accountable to updating it frequently.

Day 1 changes made 7/3:

  • Kiggly HLA and no tick lifters installed with OEM valve cover gasket set
  • Dual piston gsx front brakes and stainless lines installed on all 4 corners
  • JMF radiator brackets and oil/brake reservoir caps installed
  • HKS cam gears installed
  • Faded A pillar weather-stripping and wiper arms painted
  • OEM weighted shift knob installed
  • Tinted reverse lights installed
  • Interior deep cleaned
Plan of attack for 7/23-7/25

  • Diagnose and fix fuel leak when filling up
  • Install AEM wideband replacement sensor
  • Paint and install new rear calipers (both bleeders broke on the current ones when installing the stainless lines)
  • Install clear cam gear cover
  • Install Eibach camber kit then alignment and (hopefully) install the RPF1's
  • Install GSXDude aluminum brake/clutch fluid brackets
  • Fix what I believe is a small oil leak at the drain flange to the pan
  • Install shifter cable and base bushings
  • Diagnose an issue I'm having with the Viper alarm the car came with. My headlights flash for a solid minute any time it is unlocked and a door or the trunk is opened. It didn't do this at all on Saturday...
  • Drive it back to Kentucky and schedule the bodywork/paint!

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Last edited:

randman2011

Proven Member
430
186
Feb 26, 2012
Indianapolis, Indiana
The AWD-swapped Spyder was always my dream, but I no longer have any convertible chassis to play around with. I'm very jealous! Feel free to stop in Indy on your way through!

Headlights flashing is a door lock switch issue where the alarm doesn't know that the door has been unlocked when it's opened. Yours might have just fallen off or something but I have a spare BNIB and a spare used one you can have if they need to be replaced.
 

tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
The AWD-swapped Spyder was always my dream, but I no longer have any convertible chassis to play around with. I'm very jealous! Feel free to stop in Indy on your way through!

Headlights flashing is a door lock switch issue where the alarm doesn't know that the door has been unlocked when it's opened. Yours might have just fallen off or something but I have a spare BNIB and a spare used one you can have if they need to be replaced.
Great info! I'll pm you for one thanks. Unfortunately I won't be traveling through Indy on the way back, but if you haven't already, you should join the Fort Wayne 4G63 group on Facebook. They're a great group of guys not too far from you.
 

tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Well, after 3 days of reading through @bettfootball crazy build thread I feel compelled and inspired to dive deeper than I originally planned on the car. I've decided to take the panels/bumpers off and hunt down any rust on the chassis as well as do a full engine bay respray this winter. The bodywork/full respray the car needs was a little more than I was expecting, so I'll likely hold off on that until after the wedding this fall. I'll be back around the car next weekend and getting that fuel leak figured out is priority #1.

So far out of the list in my previous post:
  • I've painted the new rear calipers
  • Received an AEM wideband replacement sensor
I also purchased the following parts:
  • OEM 2gb mudflaps and got them cleaned up
  • BNIB purple Tial MVS wastegate that will go great with my soon to be ordered Morrison Fab stock replacement manifold and hot parts kit
  • Flat Out Graphics center caps and color matched Enkei stickers for the RPF1's
  • NOS OEM weighted shift knob
  • ExtremePSI 3in intake pipe and k&n filter (I'm pretty pissed I spent $80 on this tiny pipe but whatever)
  • Spyder garage banner
  • One of the last black 6-bolt lower timing covers and an OEM ABS delete kit from JNZ
  • Volk front LCA's
  • With the help of @Lilslmj post I picked up a set of reproduction Spyder floor mats (I stole this picture from his post)
Next on my list is to meet up with the owner of my old 18k mile 98 AWD auto Talon this weekend and buy back the mint Evo 9 Recaros I sold her with the car. To her credit, she wants the car to remain very original, so the Recaros have sat in the same bags I put them in 2 years ago. This will allow me to preserve the mint black OEM leather seats and give me an opportunity/reason to deep clean the carpet. Excited to get the car down here with me so I can start checking some of these things off the list and probably (definitely) add 100 more...

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Picked up the evo seats today and also got to see my old talon! Every bit as nice as the day I sold it. 19,142 miles on her now so at least she's being driven.

The parts pile waiting to go on the car is growing larger in the garage. I also placed my deposit for a Morrison Fab stock replacement manifold and recirculated hot parts kit! Will probably swap the black out for a red as my goals with this build are a responsive mid 500whp street car.

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Shoutout to @randman2011. I stopped by his place to pick up a new oem door lock switch while in Indy for wedding stuff and ended up buying this mint black boot cover! Nothing like having extras on the rare stuff!

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Well, I was hoping this update would include me talking about getting the car down to Kentucky and installing some of the parts waiting in the garage. What actually happened is a more realistic DSM story....

I drove up to my parent's house Friday afternoon excited to get the car out of the garage. Go figure the battery was dead, doors were locked, and the key I was given works for the ignition but not the doors or trunk (where the battery is). So after calling one of my dad's retired LE friends, we broke into the car and got it jumped. At this point it's a minor inconvenience and I'm just happy to go drive it. I also noticed the battery reset fixed my headlight flashing issue so that was a relief. We get back to my parents and I park it for the evening. The next morning I take it over to my buddy's house who helps me work on my cars as a side gig. The plan was to install solid shifter cable bearings, replace the wideband sensor and rear calipers, diagnose the fuel leak, and fix the oil drain leak at the pan. Everything is going well and we think we got the leaks resolved, but moving to the brakes and go figure RockAuto sent me the wrong left rear caliper (realized this after I prepped and painted it back in Kentucky). So we at least got the right side on and bled. I then go to leave as my extended family is gathering at my parents house for dinner and make it halfway there before the car completely dies.

When I say dies, I mean I lost power to everything instantly. Thankfully I was able to coast to a side road and pull off on the shoulder. I try cranking it and get nothing. I pop the trunk and check the battery, all looks good back there. After realizing my open door dash light and chime was working, but not my gauges or windows, I pull the fusebox cover off as it was relocated to the glovebox. While I'm trying to look for blown fuses I call my buddy and get him en route with his mobile tool kit and repair manuals. Long story short, we realize it blew the 30A alternator fuse so I head out to AutoZone in my buddy's car and pick up the two they had on the shelf. I was in a mad rush as a big thunderstorm was rolling in within the next few hours and I was stuck on the side of the road without the ability to get my windows up. As I'm pulling back onto the side road my buddy is calling to tell me he swapped another 30A fuse over to make sure it'd crank, well it did but now there was a puddle of oil on the ground... You literally can't make this next part up.

It turns out the car has a mechanical oil pressure gauge and the braided line was rubbing against the frame rail which caused the leak. Why it decided to give out at that very moment I have no idea. So at this point we rush back to his house and grab what turns out to be a Subaru oil fitting to attempt to plug the spot where the line was tied in so I could at least drive the car the last 2 miles home. We make it back to the car right as the wind is picking up and the sky is going black. We couldn't believe it, but the Subaru fitting threaded right in! There was still as slight leak as we didn't put any tape on the threads, but it was good enough to get me home. I fire the car up again and get it rolling down the street to find a spot to turn around. Well 50ft down the road the fuse blows again and I realize we've got a serious short somewhere. Using the last 30A fuse we had, I got the windows rolled up and called my dad to come tow me back as at least my flashers were working.

The fuse popped again on the tow home and by this point the rain was minutes away. I was hot, tired, and hungry having missed dinner and seeing my extended family while stuck on the side of the road for several hours with a car I was supposed to drive 4 hours back to Kentucky the next day. I grabbed a universal cover I had stashed in their garage from when I had my green GSX as I wasn't sure if the top leaked at all. I threw that over the car and used a ratchet strap underneath to keep it from blowing away in the storm and ran inside defeated as it started to pour. Sunday morning I woke up early as my fiancé's parents and several friends/family members were coming to my parents for a pool party. Our parents hadn't officially met yet, and everyone was also there to celebrate my birthday so there was no way I was going to have time for the car before we left that afternoon. I knew I needed to pick up a battery tender, oil, and more fuses. I grabbed all of that and got back to car to start pulling the battery out and getting the things my buddy would need in place when he returns to dig into the wiring issue and swap out my mechanical gauge for an electronic one next weekend. I won't be making the drive back up for awhile, so I'm hoping he can get the rats nest of wiring figured out under the steering column from the Viper alarm system and get the short fixed. All in all, I'm thankful these issues happened locally where I had the help and support of my friend and my dad. Had it blown fuses or that line busted while driving down I75 I would have likely caused an accident or not caught the oil leak and potentially lost the built motor. Why did I decide I needed another DSM again??

On a more positive note, I had a great time celebrating with everyone and throwing back some much needed cold beer Sunday afternoon. I also returned home that evening to a few packages waiting for me including my Spyder floormats and a package from JNZ which had a OEM red front emblem, OEM Spyder emblem, and two OEM key blanks. Now I'll need to order the electronic gauge, another left rear caliper, and keep my fingers crossed my friend can get everything buttoned up from my parent's street so I can get back up there and finally drive it down here.

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Last edited:

tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Well yesterday turned out to be productive! Within a few hours my friend and mechanic had traced the ground issue to my ignition capacitor. Turns out it was shorting out on my oil pressure gauge line which caused the leak... I'm glad both the issues stemmed from the same thing though as that saved further diagnosis time. He was able to get the capacitor deleted, replaced the Autometer oil pressure gauge line, and fired the car up! So relieved it wasn't a bigger issue! I was originally going to replace the mechanical oil pressure gauge with an electronic setup but ultimately decided against it as I didn't want to go changing more things up before the car is back in Kentucky with me.

I plan to head up next weekend to pick it up and finalize a few small things like replacing the left rear caliper, installing the braided stainless clutch line, and replacing the current an style oil drain setup for the Morrison Fab MHI kit. Once that's all complete I think it'll finally be ready to make the trip down here.

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Well a month after driving to Michigan to purchase it she's home in Kentucky! Drove up to my parent's house Friday afternoon and started getting the car prepped for the 4hr drive down I75.
  • Oil changed
  • Wheels balanced
  • Left rear brake caliper installed (bleeder on the original broke when installing the stainless lines)
  • Stainless clutch line installed
Of course Mother Nature decided Saturday was a good day for a torrential downpour, so I made a pit stop for a set of new wiper blades and gas (Fuel leak issue fixed! Turns out there was a metal section on the filler tube that was missing clamps on both ends...). Thankfully my top didn't leak a drop and it was cool enough that I could keep the windows up and air circulating in the cabin so the windows wouldn't fog up, but man a/c and cruise control would have been nice for the trip. That being said, I can't complain too much, she turned over 77k miles as we were pulling onto the interstate. Overall she did great and once we passed the rain I was able to put the top down and crank up the stereo. The PO installed a set of really nice Pioneer 4 ways with a matching amp mated to a period-correct early 2000s Pioneer flip up headunit.

We made it back late afternoon Saturday and I parked the car for the night to host my fiance's brother and girlfriend for dinner and drinks. I knocked out a couple pounds of bbq wings for dinner and also made some bbq and brown sugar bacon with cream cheese/sausage crescent rolls for breakfast the next morning. Not to get too far off on a tangent, but my Uncle owns a delicious bbq joint in Ft Wayne called Shigs n Pit and both my Dad and myself have been using his rubs and sauces he developed after multiple national competition wins. If you smoke or grill chicken, pork, or beef I highly recommend you give his stuff a shot.

Got up Sunday morning excited to get some stuff done on the car! I first pulled her out and gave her the first bath since my ownership as well as a good interior detail. While I was at it I figured I'd also knock out my Sonata and my fiance's Mazda. Once that was done I reorganized the garage so I could get both cars in (I've offered the garage to my fiance time and time again but she's too uncomfortable pulling in and out I guess..). I also got my intake installed and some dress up bolts for the front bumper support. I decided to go ahead and swap in the Evo Recaros and the passenger seat came out fine, but of course the driver's side bracket was corroded and one of the front studs snapped off...also both rear bolts are corroded and cross threaded so I have a feeling those are going to snap too. Didn't want to get too deep into that and render the car undriveable, so I left well enough alone for now and will pick up a drill/tap set to get those taken care of. I at least put in my new Spyder floor mats and took a couple pictures before calling it a night.

Next up on the list is a rear camber kit install, alignment, and getting the RPF1's installed. After that I plan to just enjoy it as is for the next few months before really tearing into it this winter. Stay tuned

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Nothing much in the way of updates yet, I've taken the car on a couple 30 minute cruises around town and she's running great! It got a ton of attention which isn't a surprise, not many clean DSM's in Kentucky it seems. I've got my alignment scheduled for the 19th so hopefully I can get these RPF1's on soon. As a side note for those following the Flat Out Graphics RPF1 center cap thread, they do not work with our cars due to how far out the axle nut sits. So I ordered OEM Enkei caps and will just use the Mitsubishi logo overlays he makes.

This past weekend I did replace the big, ugly coolant overflow reservoir the car came with, to a JMF deluxe setup and used it as an opportunity to add more purple to the bay. I think it ties together the JMF brake/clutch fluid caps and radiator brackets well. I replaced the aftermarket key the car came with and had two OEM blanks cut, sometimes it's the little things. I was also able to further organize the garage by putting together this fairly nice metal shelf I found on Amazon for only $100. Seems sturdy and each shelf is rated to hold 200lbs. Next update should include pictures of the car on the RPF1's, Evo 9 seats installed, and potentially a new UICP (I don't like the way the current one is routed) with a purple Tial BOV. I don't plan on doing much else until the Morrison Fab stock replacement manifold shows up this winter, but I'll try and get the car out for some cruises and pictures as Lexington has some beautiful horse country backdrops and driving roads.

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Well the alignment didn't go as planned yesterday... In typical DSM fashion I'm throwing more money and parts at it to get the issues fixed. We couldn't get the camber pulled out of the rear without bringing in some crazy toe, even with my Eibach camber kit. This morning I went ahead and ordered some Volk toe arms and Bobby's tubular rear upper wishbones so I'm hoping this combination will finally allow us to get the -2 of camber out of the rear. We were able to get the broken stud out of the body for the seat frame and one of the two crossed threaded/corroded bolts out on the rear of the driver's seat. Once the parts show up I'm headed back to the shop for install and hopefully tackling this last seat frame bolt so I can get my Evo Recaros in!

On a more positive note, I took the car out last night with my fiancé for a cruise through some neighborhoods we've been looking at building in. We had great weather for a 45 minute top-down drive and it's so nice to have a solid sound system! I'm not sure I could ever go back to a hardtop after the small taste of AWD Spyder life I've had so far. The fiancé absolutely hates the power though haha. It's only making around 500whp right now on pump gas and a quick second gear pull on the main road heading home was enough to get me in trouble. We'll see how she does when it's back to 570+ on e85 soon!

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Another small update this week.

  • My Volk toe arms showed up
  • I got on Bobby's group buy list for the tubular rear wishbones
  • I bought just about everything Boosted Fabrication offers for the 2g
  • Came up with a redneck lifting solution as my current jack couldn't get under the car, a trip to HomeDepot for a 2x4 and $4 later I'm good to go
  • Installed Boosted Fab anti-sag front bumper brackets I already had and installed a new driver's side splash shield which seems to be like gold nowadays
  • Cleaned up some small bits of surface rust and tightened up all the t bolt clamps on the IC couplers
  • Took the car out for some dinner last night and couldn't be happier with how well it runs. Sat in the Chick Fil A drive thru line for 15 minutes with the car idling like a champ on the 2150s and the temps never over 195
  • Decided to hop on eBay and try my hand at the Phil Beers DSM memorabilia collector life and picked up a few cool pieces I'm going to have my fiancé frame up for the garage.

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
I got the front bumper supports coming too, hopefully it takes care of the very tiny sag for me.

Car looks great!
Thanks! It should take care of it no problem. I ran them on my last GSX and have had great results both times.

Also, I just went and picked up my Evo 9 steering wheel that I had wrapped and my sun visors that were reupholstered in black!

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tylersevo

Proven Member
489
120
Jul 12, 2011
Lexington, Kentucky
Got the sun visors and evo wheel installed now just waiting on the airbag cover. My personalized plate also showed up finally and I think it looks awesome! Really helps tie in the storm trooper black/white theme.

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