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GVR-4 Car dies while driving. Able to start eventually. Need help!

Posted by Sburke, Nov 22, 2020

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  1. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    I have a 90 galant VR4. Coming home from hiking the other day, it randomly shut off while going 50mph. Cluster was dead, but all of my lights were working. Tried to restart it, and nothing. No cranking, no life in the cluster. All other electronic devices power up, electronic boost gauge, headlights, etc.

    After it sits for 30 seconds-minute with the key on accessories, the cluster will show life. Once this happens, it will finally restart. It will drive for roughly a minute, and will die again. Then you will have to keep repeating this cycle to make it home!


    Pulled the ecu today, and everything appears fine. Could this be the MPI relay? Very odd how the cluster has no life for 30 seconds-minute, and the car won’t turn over period during this time frame. Once the cluster shows life, it starts.

    Ideas?
     

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
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  2. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

    527
    65
    Joined Jul 22, 2020
    Queens, New York
    Total wild guess on my part that probably wrong, but could it be a capacitor that buffers the power flow to the electronics that's dying, and needing way more time to be recharged than it's supposed to need? I had a dying ECU years ago that caused the car to run erratically or not start, but never die while operating. But capacitors do die eventually, often drying up.
     

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  3. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina

    I pulled the ecu. Everything looked good.
     

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
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  4. motomattx

    motomattx Proven Member

    3,230
    1,157
    Joined Dec 9, 2010
    wampum, Pennsylvania
    You have a problem with power getting to where it needs to be, it sounds to me like you have a wire or wires somewhere that are too thin or have a broken shielding on them that have gotten corrosion inside of them somewhere and your losing power after they heat up, that or possibly a bad fusible link somewhere or a general fuse box issue somewhere, its not an electronic problem with the ecu or any kind of solid state controller from your description. It also could easily be your ignition switch getting hot and shutting down or the connector to it, pull the under panel off and feel it next time it shuts down to see if its warm.
     

    Drag Race Build 4K  10  24

    1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 2G DSM
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    TK's9d2TSi likes this.
  5. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina

    Going to try and go over wiring today, and will check the ignition switch for heat.


    Forgot to note. The car has randomly been hard to start for 2ish weeks. I know the throttle body shaft seals have a leak, so assumed it was just that while I waited to replace them. First crank in the morning, car always stumbles and will die. Second crank, it fires right up. Also, I noticed when in the mountains at a higher elevation. After turning the car off, it won’t restart. Would just crank and crank, but not fire. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, and everything is fine. That issue will only happen at elevation. Again, assumed it was just the leak at throttle body.

    Also, the past few days it would randomly make the warning chime noise while driving. Which would only last 3 seconds, maybe once every other day? No dash warning lights though?
     

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
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  6. TK's9d2TSi

    TK's9d2TSi Supporting Member

    4,291
    1,668
    Joined Sep 11, 2017
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I'd start looking around the ignition cylinder. Remove the cover, start the car and start moving the wired/harness/key and see if it stalls. It can also be the ignition cylinder itself.
     

    571  3

    2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport - Classic
    awd · automatic · Misc Vehicles

    621  4

    93 Civic 4 Door -sold-
    fwd · manual · Misc Vehicles

    Street Build 3K  6

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    12.2 @ 120 · 1G DSM
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  7. steve

    steve DSM Wiseman

    13,619
    730
    Joined Feb 3, 2002
    Boulder, Colorado
    It's been awhile for me, what in the GVR4 cluster shows life, the factory boost LEDs, the warning lights, what else?
    Do you know what to look for to know if the ECU is functional or not?
    Have you pulled out your multimeter and checked to see if the MPI relay is being activated and if any power is going to the cluster?
    What causes the warning chime normally? Is it a door open or seatbelt indicator?
     

    301  4

    2008 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro Roadster
    awd · manual · Misc Vehicles

    276  5

    2002 Audi TT Quattro Roadster 225
    awd · manual · Misc Vehicles

    273  2

    1992 Dodge Stealth RT/TT
    awd · manual · 3000GT/Stealth

    4K  12

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    manual · 1G DSM
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  8. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina



    Took the column area apart. Lots of random wiring. The Japanese love adding garage electronics. Moving any of it around doesn’t cause it to stall. Ignition doesn’t get hot, and wiggling it’s harness and key doesn’t cause it to stall. Drove it around the block, and it will stall within a minute of driving. Currently sitting in the car right now, while it’s been running for 5+ minutes. Still hasn’t stalled.

    Mine is a JDM VR4, so it doesn’t have the auto seat belts. The door I believe does have a chime, again the car is currently running. Opening the door doesn’t cause a chime right now. Maybe it never did. Who knows 100%. But the door open icon does show in the dash if you open the door.

    Could the mpi relay be causing the dash to go out?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
    Loading...
  9. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina

    I noticed the relay circled, is incredibly hot. Almost couldn’t touch it, in order to pull it. Swapped it out with a known good one, and it started to get hot after 5 minutes. If you pull it while the car is running, it doesn’t kill it though. Hoping this will point me in the right direction? Happen to know what that relay is for?

    Also, the MPI clicks when the car is turned off, as does another relay under the steering wheel area. Pretty sure that’s normal though

    *Edit* It’s a relay for the power windows. Not sure why it’s getting insanely hot.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
    Loading...
  10. motomattx

    motomattx Proven Member

    3,230
    1,157
    Joined Dec 9, 2010
    wampum, Pennsylvania
    The mpi relay should only click off one time after the car is turned off, it should take a few seconds, if it continues to click then I would suspect the ecu is having a problem.
     

    Drag Race Build 4K  10  24

    1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
  11. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina

    It only clicks once, as does another relay somewhere under the steering wheel.

    I’ve never used the turbo timer in this car, it’s always been completely powered down. Deleted it earlier, and drove the car for 20 mins without it shutting down. Would be wonderful if that’s the issue, time will tell.
     

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
    Loading...
  12. luv2rallye

    luv2rallye DSM Wiseman

    7,831
    722
    Joined Jun 7, 2003
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Sounds like you may have a short in the power windows wiring if that relay is hot.
     

    3K  0

    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    14.200 @ 95.000 · 2G DSM
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  13. Sburke

    Sburke Probationary Member

    20
    14
    Joined Nov 10, 2009
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Relays were still getting warm, and it would still make the random chime with the turbo timer deleted. Not the issue. Ripped into the car more, and happened to stumble upon an aftermarket alarm. It looked factory the way it was hidden, had foam around it. What junk. I hate aftermarket electronics. Problem solved
     

    Attached Files:

    331  1

    1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
    awd · manual · Galant VR-4
    Loading...
  14. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

    527
    65
    Joined Jul 22, 2020
    Queens, New York
    Sorry to belabor this but how do you know that the ECU is fine? Just looking at it means nothing. There are ICs there that could be fried but look fine, bad traces, blown SMD components like resistors, diodes & capacitors. My car had similar symptoms years ago, not starting, then starting, or starting but with lots of hesitation like only 2 cylinders were firing. It was the ECU, which looked fine but wasn't. You have to test it with the proper tools.

    Ironically, now I'm having electronics issues with my '92 Talon. I just spent the past 4+ months restoring it after it sat in a driveway for several years due to a bad clutch and seized brakes. Fixed all that and then some, and all that's left is checking all the lights before getting a state inspection. Most work, but the dome light cuts out when I shut the engine off, which IIRC isn't right. And the radio lights turn on and controls work, but no sound. I replaced the fuse but still no sound. The rear center brake lights don't work even though the bulbs are fine.

    Don't mean to hijack your thread and no need to respond to all this, just trying to show how random things sometimes seem with car electronics, which unlike the mechanical parts you can't diagnose by just looking at and playing with them. You need diagnostic tools, at the very least a multimeter but likely something more serious to test the ECU. Have you checked the OBD? Even pre-'96 cars have a very basic OBD1 system that can be useful.

    Btw I just saw your last comment about how it's the alarm. Ditto. My AM alarm system (which also remotely opened the doors) went bad years ago and started draining the batteries. Instead of yanking it, I just pulled the fuses. Problem solved. One of these days I'd like to either pull it, or fix the drain and disable all but the lock remote, which I like. Or, replace it with a device that only opens and locks the doors. Alarms are stupid anyway. Nobody pays attention to them. Silent alerts are better.
     

    357  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
    Loading...

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