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The importance of a timing job when buying a used DSM

Posted by JediMindBlazZin, Jul 2, 2020

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  1. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California
    I logged in to this account today for the first time after years of not being active. I was off doing Evo stuff and I even gave the s2000 a chance. When I sold the s2k I bought the 1GA I currently have. :hellyeah:

    When I purchased the car, the previous owner said the timing was done. I took his word for it, but I knew that I would much rather redo it just for peace of mind. After months, and months of putting a timing job on the backburner and buying other parts instead of focusing on timing (I did change ALL the fluids right away). I decided that it was time to do a timing job, especially since I want to tune the GSX and could not bare the thought of having something break for lack of maintenance. :nono:

    Fast-forward to last weekend. I finally had the time to get it done and low and behold, my jaw dropped. The timing belt auto tensioner was reused (not really a problem) and an allen wrench was used to align the holes. "how do you know they used an allen wrench?" you ask. Well, they NEVER PULLED IT OUT!!!!! The tensioner was placed with the wrench still inside the holes, and I've been doing WOT pulls for a while. It made me cringe so hard by just thinking that at any moment I risked something going majorly wrong. :banghead:

    Which brings me to the point on this thread. That's to remind you all to always, always, ALWAYS, do every maintenance job ASAP because you never know what the car is hiding. I got extremely lucky to not break anything while running the tensioner with the pin installed for unknown miles. :ohdamn:ROFL
     

    Attached Files:

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
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  2. Dericsh

    Dericsh Supporting Member

    495
    15
    Joined Nov 25, 2002
    Pearl River, Louisiana
    Welcome back! Glad nothing bad happened.
     

    Street Build 321  1

    1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 1G DSM
    Loading...
    JediMindBlazZin likes this.
  3. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California
    Thank you. It was definitely an eye-opener for sure.
     

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
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  4. DSMPT

    DSMPT Proven Member

    900
    460
    Joined Jun 12, 2014
    Japan / Mexico, Arizona
    Welcome back.
    Is the tensioner still working or dead? It's a kind of miracle that nothing bad happened while doing WTO pulls without tension on the timing belt. Maybe it was a homemade solid tensioner for avoiding to buy a new before selling the car to you.
    Anyways glad that you found it before something bad happens.
     

    Drag Race Build 2K  3

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM

    Street Build 2K  4

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM
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  5. 1cleangsx

    1cleangsx Proven Member

    354
    176
    Joined Sep 28, 2013
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
    That’s nuts. That means the belt tension was set just right via the tensioner pulley and hasn’t loosened any despite the auto tensioner being stuck the reset position, I’d say you got pretty lucky LOL
     

    Street Build 2K  11

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    13.2 @ 104.64 · 1G DSM
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    TK's9d2TSi likes this.
  6. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California
    Honestly i have no idea. I replaced everything brand new. But it was definitely a re-used auto tensioner .

    I was just hoping to reiterate the importance of doing major maintenance on these cars when buying them off someone with no records on paper.
     

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
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  7. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California
    Definitely so! I was feeling like I needed to take a trip to Vegas and cash in some of that luck that's left over ROFL
     

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
    Loading...
  8. DSMPT

    DSMPT Proven Member

    900
    460
    Joined Jun 12, 2014
    Japan / Mexico, Arizona
    Maybe it was a sort of temporal homemade solid tensioner by locking the dead auto tensioner's rod and put tension by the tensioner pulley. Otherwise it was really miracle that pistons and valves didn't hit each other.
    And yeah that's right, that's important that not to believe what the previous owner says and check by yourself before start driving.
     

    Drag Race Build 2K  3

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM

    Street Build 2K  4

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM
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  9. miguelmcv

    miguelmcv Supporting Member

    2,644
    165
    Joined May 3, 2009
    Fresno, California
    Like you are bro, and wellcome back.
    Good you post it, for those who are just starting to learn this platform, and get conscience how importan a timing job before anything when buying a dsm.

    Good luck with your ride and keep it up.
     

    Street Build 567  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM

    2K  0

    1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    manual · 2G DSM
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  10. luv2rallye

    luv2rallye DSM Wiseman

    7,729
    650
    Joined Jun 7, 2003
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Ha ha. That allen wrench in the tensioner looks just like what I did. Fortunately before I started the engine, I was picking all my tools up off the floor and couldn't find that allen wrench which got me thinking duh, did I ever pull..... Even wisemen get lucky every so often.
     

    3K  0

    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    14.200 @ 95.000 · 2G DSM
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    camocorvette and buddahboost like this.
  11. DSMPT

    DSMPT Proven Member

    900
    460
    Joined Jun 12, 2014
    Japan / Mexico, Arizona
    Last year I bought a complete engine as spare which was taken from a "running" car and the engine had this tensioner hahaROFL

    67583439_10218092037266724_6563333979661926400_o.jpg
     

    Drag Race Build 2K  3

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM

    Street Build 2K  4

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    camocorvette likes this.
  12. luv2rallye

    luv2rallye DSM Wiseman

    7,729
    650
    Joined Jun 7, 2003
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Ah, the permanent no tension tensioner.
     

    3K  0

    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    14.200 @ 95.000 · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    DSMPT likes this.
  13. DSMPT

    DSMPT Proven Member

    900
    460
    Joined Jun 12, 2014
    Japan / Mexico, Arizona
    Haha right. The car was running like this for many years.
     

    Drag Race Build 2K  3

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM

    Street Build 2K  4

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM
    Loading...
  14. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California
    Like someone had mentioned, I think it was tensioned just right to where the tensioner didn't have to carry any load. Definitely a lucky situation to be in.
    I feel like having a DSM makes you a different type of gearhead. So many things can go wrong as these car can be quite problematic. But, at the same time if everything that needs attention is taken care of, they are pretty reliable. The bad rep just comes from bad owners. I NEVER had any issues with the 3 DSMs I've driven.

    Any idea why someone would use a solid tensioner tho? I've had replies on FB about how some people hate the auto tensioner and use a solid one or custom fab one. But WHY?? :hmm:
     

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
    Loading...
    camocorvette likes this.
  15. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California

    Thanks brotha. Im just trying to lower the curve of these cars getting a bad rep for being unreliable, when people just want to dump money on performance without maintenance. These are old cars that can either be great, or make you want to pull out your hair.
     

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
    Loading...
  16. JediMindBlazZin

    JediMindBlazZin Proven Member

    72
    17
    Joined Nov 25, 2011
    Palmdale, California
    I'm surprised people don't keep the "grenade pin" from the oem tensioner as a trophy indicating that their motor didn't blow, and just reuse the pin if they're ever reusing the tensioner ROFL. But yeah I've definitely seen tensioners reused and held on with the allen wrench. I'm always afraid to reuse them.

    How many times have you reused a tensioner?

    Hahah, I wouldnt say it was luck, I'd say it's wisdom by knowing that it's possible to leave the pin, and double checking :D.
     

    793  7

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    488 whp · 389 lb/ft · 1G DSM
    Loading...
  17. DSMPT

    DSMPT Proven Member

    900
    460
    Joined Jun 12, 2014
    Japan / Mexico, Arizona
    If so, it’s a miraculous story.:thumb:

    This is about theory and personal preference. Similar to hydraulic lifters vs solid lifters. If you would set it properly, the solid tensioner would "theoretically" perform better especially at high RPM, you can keep the same valve timing at any range of engine speed, it would be affected less by engine speed. And you wouldn't need to replace it again. But there is a risk that in case if its lock nut gets loose, it may damage the engine badly. and since it's not auto, you sometimes need to adjust it.

    P.S. As for the pic above, this is a different story. The previous owner just didn't want to spend some money to buy a new tensioner.
     

    Drag Race Build 2K  3

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM

    Street Build 2K  4

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    JediMindBlazZin likes this.
  18. chrysler kid

    chrysler kid Proven Member

    2,301
    401
    Joined Dec 20, 2002
    Mckinney, Texas
    Anytime I buy a used dsm I always re-do the timing belt job.

    Half the time its a new belt covered in oil, half the time the tensioner is so far out of spec that it's barely holding tension, and once I tore one down that was over adjusted and the arm was just resting on the tensioner

    To this day im still not exactly sure why Mitsubishi decided to design a hydraulic tensioner system. It's critical flaw is that if a car is left in gear on an incline the hydraulic tensioner would bottom out on the arm. Were they trying to reduce stress on the belt, or was it just over engineered because the oil pump isn't crank driven.

    The hydraulic tensioner and tensioner arm assembly itself are just over complicated. Maybe they just wanted to sell specialty timing tools. Maybe they saw the extra boost caused too much stress on the belt with a fixed tensioner. Maybe the engineer saw a fractional improvement on belt drag and the math showed it improved belt life
     

    2K  15

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · automatic · 2G DSM

    2K  12

    1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    fwd · manual · 2G DSM

    2K  0

    1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    14.1 @ 97 · 2G DSM
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    camocorvette and JediMindBlazZin like this.
  19. CKOPOCT

    CKOPOCT Probationary Member

    12
    10
    Joined May 27, 2017
    North East, Maryland
    Wow... no words. Welcome back. That'd make me wonder what other un-fun surprises I'd find. Duct taped stereo wiring maybe?

    Heed Jedi's wisdom. Check it out for yourself!
     

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