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15+ Year Contributor
Dec 30, 2007
Huntington Beach, California
Hello everyone,

I just bought recently a 1992 Turbo Laser AWD. I'm a newbie to DSMs and I'm looking to get my car running like new and keep it that way! I'm hooked! I have the Haynes repair manual, and I have a book on street turbo charging and I have read dozens of online articles. That's really all I know at this point.

I wanted to include some information about the condition of the car. I was hoping I can make some new friends that can help me make this happen.

The car is fairly stock, with some minor mods. The main thing I'm worried about is the engine. The original one was taken out (reason unknown) and a used Japanese 4g63 engine and trans was put in. It runs OK, the throttle is a little starved at times, but it runs well. It also has an idle serge problem, that I have seemed to almost completely fixed (fuel filter, cleaned k/n air filter). One problem I have noticed is the emissions is different and is not smog legal here in California. It doesn't seem to have the equipment, but it has a cat. It won't pass the visual test, but I managed to get around it for now.

I will include a picture of the engine bay so that people may take a look and if they spot anything wrong with it, let me know (If you want a closer shot, I can take more photos, in fact I will put some new ones up soon that caught my eye and could be a problem).

Basically what I wanted to know is, can I some how make my car smog legal? I also wanted to make sure that everything is hooked up right, the previous owner said he was just learning as he went (gulp). I also wanted to get the idle problem solved.

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One thing I have been wondering about is the valve cover exhaust valve. I know some people just throw a small air filter on it and its done, but other articles have said that it should be kept the stock way hooked up to the intake. So I wanted to put a catch can in and hook it back up to the intake. I'm not sure where it could be hooked up, I think my dejon intake pipe replaced the stock nipple? I'm not sure.

If there is anyone local in the Huntington Beach area that might want to take a look in person, that would be really cool. I'm just a normal guy, 26, I even have some hook-ups at turbonetics, maybe we can work out some deal. Basically I can get everything they sell at cost :).

I will put up some pictures tomorrow when the suns out, the picture above was taken at night very quickly and kinda sucks. Oh well.

Thanks so much to anyone who read this post in hopes of helping me out!

Everything looks ok, i'm glad to see you still have your blow off valve dump tube still hooked up :) I'd try to get those wires tucked a little farther away from the cam gears though. or just throw a stock cover on it.

As far as the idle surge, the culprit (from what i've dealt with) is it's usually the ISC (idle speed control) or the FIAV (... something idle air valve ha). They are both fairly easy to check and replace and are both on or in the throttle body. The easiest way to diagnose a problem like this would be to swap parts with another DSM bud. For more info on these check out or search the boards.

Lots of people run catch cans off of their valve cover, others including myself just use a breather filter. Most people on the boards would recommend using a catch can, but your Dejon intake most likely doesn't have the two nipples for stock vacuum lines. Someone else will have to chime in on this one.

I would search these bards ALOT for the first few months of owning your car. Also, check out the tech section in the top left corner of the page.
For one, yes, the valve cover breather has to go back into the intake. I cant tell but, It Looks like you have a boost controller, and also the vac nipples from the TB looked capped off.

Nice to have another local join the DSM world.
Welcome aboard!

The VC breather needs to go to the intake pipe. At idle, it sucks in air to ventilate the crankcase. The air it sucks in is supposed to be coming from the intake pipe which is downwind of the MAS so that it is metered. That lets the ECU know how much air is entering the cylinders which, in turn, lets it know how much fuel to inject. Because the air is being sucked in from the engine compartment, and it has not gone through the MAS, the ECU doesn't know about it and will run lean at idle.

Dejon makes several models of the intake pipes. They have all the nipples, some of them (just the BOV recirculation tube), or none of them. If it doesn't have a VC breather nipple, I've heard of folks adding one to their intake pipes. Search around.

I agree that you should probably get a stock upper timing belt cover. I'd also get a new spark plug cover, too (keep crap out of there so it won't fall into the cyliner when the plugs are out).

Make sure you are running NGK BPR6ES plugs gapped to 0.028". They're $2/ea at NAPA.

Check out the virtual tour web page for a lot of images and part descriptions. And you can search around here for proper emissions setup.

A boost leak test is critical and may make a huge difference in the performance of the car. This is covered 1038927059 times on the forum.

If you can find out more of the maintenance history on the car from the previous owner (if you'd believe him/her), that'd be valuable. When was the JDM motor installed? Did he change the timing and BS belts when the motor was swapped?

Do a compression test.

That ought to keep you busy for a few hours ;).
To the OPs question of getting smogged, if your car's got Cali emissions, check the door sticker (ala Defiant), then the lack of an EGR will be a problem. If it's Federal then you shouldn't have a problem other what others have suggested for making sure your car is in shape.
Wow can't believe that you guys miss the duel intake manifold. Well the reason that you didn't pass smog check was because of your intake manifold. Reason being there is no EGR. Just not having that little bit of exhaust gas going back in to the engine will not let you pass smog check.
The vaccuum lines being blocked on the tb is a big no-no for smog and the possible lack of an egr valve because of the cylone intake manifold. Was this originally a cali or federal car? I can't see an egr solenoid on the firewall by the evap and fpr solenoids. There should be 3 on a cali car.
First of all let me say thank you all for your help, I can't say it enough.

I'm reading up on doing a timing belt balance shaft belt and water pump.

I guess I need to figure out how to make a nipple on the intake somewhere. Anyone know the exact spot? I will look for pictures, but a confirmation would be nice. I think I have a boost controller, I'm not sure. I think you mean that weird controller zip tied to the radiator? Hmm.. Is having the vacuum nipples capped off on the TB going to cause any problems?

kenamond, thanks for taking a look. I'll be going to the junk yard a lot looking for stuff I can use, so I'll keep an eye out for the timing belt and spark plug cover. I have a friend that has a Modded Laser like mine, and he gaped and put some NGKs in and he gaped it. I'm not sure at what, but I'll make sure its at 0.028. I plan on doing a vacuum test in the future. From what I have read, I make some cap that goes over the turbo and I cap off some stuff and then I put 3-4 psi on the system and spray soapy water all over the vacuum lines / whatever. I will be lookin around the forums a lot I guess, haha. I'm going to call the guy that I bought the car off of and get as much info from him as I can, I don't know what kinda good questions to ask him. But I will start with asking if he changed the timing belt and bs? belt. I will do a compression test too, maybe after I check some other stuff. Thanks!

As far as the emissions, I'll go check the door real fast. But the car is a Cali car with 96k original miles, but the Japan motor and emissions stuff is all on the car. Hmm, I read the sticker, and I did find it saying it was a Federal Motor.

So, I accually am smog legal at the moment. I have two years until the next smog check to get it to pass legally. Is it possible to put an EGR back on? or replace some parts to make it stock emissions? or is there a cheater way? :p I will do some searching on the forum.

You guys need to let me know what the whole federal motor thing is? The TB seems to not have all the vacuum holes to begin with.

I will be adding some more photos soon. I just took a bunch of shots, that will help get a better idea what your looking at.

I love the internet! woot, thanks all!

California dsm's had the egr solenoid, a few more vaccuum lines for it, and some changes in the ecu to control it.

I don't want to lag the forums up, so I'll just throw up a link to all the photos I just took.

If anyone wants me to get a better shot of something, or wants me to zoom in; Just ask! I took all the photos with my Digital SLR, and I can zoom for days.


I am reading every post, so don't think I missed any replys. I'm making a list of things: Things I can do/can't, things to pick up from the junk yard, lots of researching & reading manual.

Once again, if anyone lives around Huntington Beach, and knows more then I know about DSMs, then I would like to meet up and have you take a quick look and drive or something. I got hook-ups with turbonetics if your looking to upgrade :).

Turbonetics Inc. | Home | Home
They make some really nice products!

Thanks again,

the plug by the air filter looks to be the plug for the stock boost control solenoid.
the thing on the fan is some type of after market boost controller.
the plug by the dipstick is you a/c fan plug.
the thing in the trunk with the wires coming out of it is the fuel pump cover.
you might wanna get a battery box too.
look like some did a sloppy job of replacing those hatch struts.
also the previous owner eliminated most of you vacuum lines. go to a wrecking yard and try to find a intake manifold with an egr valve and consult you repair manual to run your new egr lines and purge control solenoid. ever think about checking if you have a 16g along with that JDM motor? pull the intake pipe and check. and yes, you don't need a filter cover.
Go the the local junk yard find yourself a 91-94 tubo throttle body and intake manifold for pic 5

Pic 5: Please get yourself an upper timing belt cover.

Pic 10: You have a question mark next to a plug that plug goes to the coolant over flow thats between the rad and air filter/pipe.

Pic 18 Yes thats a manuel boost controller.

Pic 21 Plug for the missing a/c fan.

Pic 22 Yes it's sloppy down there, it's easy to pull the center console out and clean, so while your in there buy a symborski shift kit it you don't already have it in there...make sure you grease the bushings....Well I do at least.....

Pic 23: Your missing a little rubber post and the small piece of carpet...Lol...Sorry I lost track how many Junkyards I raided for little nuts bolts clips etc....I like everything to be in there.....

Pic 25: Yeah as stated above someone did a crappy job at replacing the hatch struts...... Also yours missing 2 plastic fasteners...

Pic 26: Didn't do too well with the battery relocation, using very small and cheap all-thread rods... and I don't see a fuse or circuit braker anywhere near there....Missing 2 plastic panels, a hatch prop and 1 interior fastener

Pic 30: No it does not look ok...please use a gromet

Pic 31: Harness for the fuel pump....Looks like something is spliced in....???

Pic 33: From improper installation of hatch struts...

Pic 35: You guessed it hatch strut...

Went throgh them all so need more help pm me or post up more pictures....
To tell if you got a 16g pull off the intake pipe and check the fins on the compressor blades.....If the blades are even then its a 14b if they go in then out/ uneven its a 16g
By stock boost peak do you mean max boost from the factory??? 1G cars have a stock boost pressure of 8-12 psi. And I see that you have an aftermarket boost gauge already so....8-12 is safe since you have an upgraded turbo as well so you should be fine on stock boost with stock injectors (I've never had any problem personally, no knock.....)Please get a datalogger to monitor for knock as well as a adjustable fuel pressure regular=afpr. I say bout the AFPR because in your profile you have an upgraded fuel pump, but the question is what liter per hour is it 190lph is safe without an afpr; 255 or more and you need 1...
Yea, stock setup, max/typical boost.

Yeah I do have a high pressure aftermarket fuel pump. I have no afpr. Does the car have a stock fpr? I'm not sure, and didn't check.

The car is running fine, but I'm still having idle surge. I'm idling a lot, so... its always on my mind (even when I shift I watch the idle drop, sometimes below 1000 rpm). That seems to be the biggest problem.

I need to check a lot of stuff, but I want to get this idle shit fixed. Does anyone know if setting the base idle & timing would would help the idle surge?

My book suggests:
Vacuum leak test, leaking EGR valve, spark plugs/spark plug wires/distributor cap/rotor, air filter clogged, full pump not delivering sufficient fuel, leaking head gasket, timing belt/pulleys worn, camshaft lobes worn.

When I first got the car, I put new spark plugs in it, and I cleaned/oiled my K&N air filter (lightly), put a new fuel filter in, I opened my fuel take to take a look at the fuel pump (which when I looked at my fuel pump, it was hanging there, not in the proper spot) so I took out the high pressure walbro, and put in a similar one and zip tied it in w/ a pad under it to keep it snug. The fuel pump was very quiet at first (no the walbro, loud MFer) and now, 3 weeks later it makes different noises (sometimes wining, or makes a empty suck sound). Overall the car idles better then it did when I got it, and the idle surge is much better now. It seems like the ECU is trying to help it idle correctly, which is making it crazy at times.

In the mean time, I'm putting together a list of things to do after I fix the idle problem. The next step being performance and reliability.

So you all have given me a lot to go off of. I have a list of general things to fix, stuff I need to upgrade, and stuff I need to get from the junkyard. So after the idle thing is fixed I will be really fixing the car up to run like a champ and you will see me out there provoking some other drivers :sneaky:

Thanks again.

Also, I noticed...

The valve cover exhaust valve is pointed right at my distribtor cap plug. Looking closer, the plug seems to be cracked and not seated all the way down as far as it can plug in. It also has a coat of oil all over it from the exhaust hittint it, and it has some wires exposed.

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