A month is a truly short period of time, and in my career field it just happens to go by in minutes it seems. For such a transformation to occur in one month of working weekends, it’s truly astounding.
Many of you have followed the progress of the 2G Eclipse that my closest friend Nathan owns. When he acquired the car a year ago on a trade, we mostly acquired it because of the parts that were included. It looked like it came straight from the early 2000's rice scene, and was heavily neglected.
The shock towers were beat to shit, but surprisingly rust free. There’s literally zero rust on this car, which is insane considering it came from Ann Arbor Michigan. As we dug deeper through this pile, we found out the car used to have hydros, which explained much of the questionable “customization” we found throughout this thing.
I wish I had some of the older pictures, but the picture with the Audi wheels shows how terribly and untastefully this thing was modified. Car didn’t have an engine, transmission, driveline, just a ratty interior and tons of spare parts. We had considered what to do with it many times, but as DSM purists, it had to live on.
Roughly a month ago, the motivation hit. We were walking through a junkyard looking for interior parts for a buddies 1G Eclipse, when we spotted a 1999 GST with a motor. We quite literally knew absolutely nothing about it, except that we could turn it over with a breaker bar and that it was fully complete. $260 later, they pulled it and loaded it into our F250.
We took it home, it was an automatic motor, so we removed the centering ring for the torque converter that’s pressed into the crankshaft, and mated it to a 2G manual transmission and clutch that we also knew absolutely nothing about. The car did have some goodies installed by the last owner, including -6AN fuel lines tank to rail, and an AEM FPR, fuel is sent by a very noisy Walbro 255.
We threw the motor and transmission in less than six hours later, and got the suspension bolted up. We had access to a red 1997 Eclipse parts car, so many body panels were red. Recently, we made a deal for a 1995 Eclipse GSX from our very close friend Casey, and the interior was brilliant, as were many body panels too. It just happened to also be white, like Nathan’s Eclipse. The frame had rusted out, and it now was going to live on through our 1995 GST.
We used the rear bumper and tail lights from the 97, the spoiler from the 95, and the front bumper came from the 95. We had a car that was now multiple colors, but we were lucky that every panel was a 1999 panel. Both donor cars had been rocking the coveted 1999 panels and it worked out for us. Nathan had noticed NAPA sells some pretty trick Automotive 2K clear coat in a rattle can, and we got several cans of Chrysler perfect match white rattle can paint and got to work.
We had to scotchbrite the rear bumper and side door skirts, prep them up and paint them. All in all, it made a dramatic difference. We used the wheels from his 1990 Laser, which are Bremmer Kraft BR07s mated to 225/50/17 Dunlop Star Spec tires. The car went from being a 3/10 to a solid 8/10 exterior wise in just roughly 2 weeks.
The interior still needs swapped over, but that is all stuff we are getting to. Back to the mechanical condition of the car. 2 weeks ago, it fired and was running rather rough. We did absolutely nothing to the junkyard motor except change the oil. We started it, and welded some hard intercooler pipes up. Nathan and I decided to drive it around the block, sans a hood, bumper, headlights, and other things to say the least. We made it roughly 825 feet before the car stopped running and I pushed it home. It was funny, and slightly disheartening.
Worried that the car jumped timing, we quickly verified that wasn’t the case. We soon realized the car wasn’t making spark, and ironically it had fuel pressure, but the injectors weren’t firing. Later than week at work, he quickly told me it was obviously the crank sensor or cam angle sensor. We swapped cam sensors, ecus, nothing. Unfortunately the crankshaft sensor is a complete pain in the ass, requiring removal of the engine pulleys and belts. He elected to get a new timing belt, balance shaft belt, tensioners and hardware.
After buttoning everything back up, the car once ran again, but still was idling rough. Throttle input would instantly mess things up. Obviously that would make you assume the throttle position sensor was out of whack, but Nathan elected to swap MAFs and things cleaned up tremendously. He drove the car around the block and stated that things were far better, save for some small kinks to be worked out.
There’s still old gas in the tank that we are running out of it, and other odds and ends. What we do know is that the engine compression tested at EXACT new numbers earlier this week. Our junkyard engine has a clean bill of health, and runs roughly 15-17 psi of boost at the moment through the stock T25 turbo. Mods include a full 3" exhaust, Greddy type S blow off valve, custom hard intercooler pipes, and a lightweight crankshaft pulley since the OEM was damaged. The car definitely puts on very well for what it is, and is running rich. That means it’s time for more boost, and more power.
Stay tuned for more progress. Pics are below and you can see the progress as you scroll. Everything is now paint matched, and this was a car we used to be embarrassed of. Now it’s a car we’re proud to say we’ve saved, and a car that would definitely break hearts of previous owners.
( Picture disclaimer) Sorry for out of order photos. Doing this from a truck stop with my iPhone, and the pictures are from three different iPhones taken by three different people, you get the idea.
Matthew and Nathan are two DSM obsessed idiots that own more than six DSMs between us. We have zero sense of self respect or financial security. However, we do love us some DSMs.