A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

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teamtestbot
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Vehicle: 1989 Mitsubishi Van/Wagon
Location: MA, USA

Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby teamtestbot » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:42 am

Just got back from a 1700 mile road trip to Detroit (from Boston) and back! Aaaannd....

it has a missing cylinder when the RPMs are low. Idles like a diesel truck, but is smooth on the highway. It started about halfway to Detroit, and got progressively worse. However, I at least made it back into town fine, even if stoplights were terrifying.

I figured the problem was a confluence of a few things - first, the somewhat leaking valve cover gasket is now very much leaking. 1700 miles loaded heavy, pushing hard on the highway through summer heat will do it I suppose. I used (or more likely, lost) about 2.5 quarts of oil on the trip. Much of this is now clinging to the engine all over the place. There was oil grunge all over the spark plug wells, so next I figured it was causing the miss somehow.

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That's *after* cleaning - there's still grunge everywhere.

I took the plugs out and cleaned the whole area. I had new NGK plugs and Bosch wires ready to go, so figured it was as good of a time as any to replace all of it (both are original-to-me equipment).

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That did not fix the idle miss, but it sure as hell sounds way better otherwise!

The old #3 plug's connector showed far more oxidation:

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...so perhaps #3 is running lean due to a clogged injector? Barely anything at idle so it feels like a miss, not enough at higher loads but enough to pretend to get by?

At least now the top and hot side of the engine is much cleaner so I can observe for where the valve cover gasket might be leaking from. Pretty sure it's the chief contributor since the lower rim of it was very wet with oil grunge.

Any other hypotheses for "idles steadily but poorly, but no discernible trouble at street/highway speed"?

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Growlerbearnz
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Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby Growlerbearnz » Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:13 pm

Worst case first: A consistent misfire at idle, along with suddenly increased oil leaks, suggests a piston ring compression issue. If one cylinder was leaking it would be pressurising the crankcase, forcing more oil out the seals. At idle the compression loss would be more significant, leading to poor combustion. I'd be doing a compression test, and looking for one cylinder that was markedly lower than the others.

That said, it's probably something more simple.

Did you also change your distributor cap and rotor? (Does it even have a distributor?) They can have a buildup of dirt and dust which leaks away your spark, which shows up particularly at idle. Cleaning them can work, but changing them is more reliable.

If you had a vacuum leak, it would mess the mixture up at idle but clear up at higher speed.

Were the spark plugs all the same colour at the sparky end, or was one darker than the rest? The sparky end is usually a more reliable indicator of what's happening inside the engine. If one's different, then you know it's an issue with that cylinder rather than something systemic. Darker means running richer, or cooler, or oilier. Lighter means running hotter, leaner, or drier.

Good luck!
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

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teamtestbot
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Vehicle: 1989 Mitsubishi Van/Wagon
Location: MA, USA

Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby teamtestbot » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:44 am

I certainly hope that isn't the case! But it is on my list of things to differentially diagnose. Driving around with a clean engine has shown that a substantial amount of oil is coming out of the oil cap, which seems to imply higher than normal crankcase pressure. That would support piston sealing, or perhaps a blocked PCV valve... Need to borrow a compression tester.

Having the PCV go out would be strange because I replaced it just last year. I also replaced both distributor cap and rotor around 2 years ago around when I got it running. Worth a peek next time I have the seat frame off anyway.

I'm still favoring malfunctioning fuel injector however, because I feel like a cylinder with compression that bad to affect idling severely will also cause a noticeable shake if I try to stomp on the gas. But I can get on the highway up to 75 without noticeable lack of power or vibration.

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Growlerbearnz
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Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby Growlerbearnz » Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:19 am

Poor ring seals tend to show more up at idle, when the piston is moving slowly (more time for compression to leak past) and combustion pressures are lower (because the throttle is mostly closed and the engine is running under vacuum) At speed, a leaking piston ring has less time to lose compression, and higher combustion pressures tend to get behind the ring and force it into contact with the cylinder walls.

But still- fingers crossed it's an injector!
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

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teamtestbot
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Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby teamtestbot » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:35 pm

Unfortunately it was worse than all of those things. I followed the rabbit hole deeper and deeper with a compression test, which revealed that cylinder 3 was only pushing 30PSI dry or wet. At least I have new injectors and spark plugs & wires!

So at that point the head had to come off and the bottom end also had to come apart. I handed this work off to an area shop which I've done business with before and which are awesome (obligatory plug) because life has kept me busy and I declared doing it myself out of scope for now. I some times dropped by to stare. It got better and better!

Here's the head and valves. Valve seat/springs/guides were ruled out. As long as it's off, though, they are cleaning up the head and replacing said seals and guides, as well as the lifters.

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Next suspicion was piston rings. The shop did a literal leak-down test.

Image

Looks like both 2 and 3 have some kind of issue, though only #3 was returning bad compression.

So they order new rings. When the #3 piston was removed, however...

Image

The end of the rabbit hole has been reached. The ring lands were destroyed!

Fortunately, no damage to the cylinder wall. New pistons are on the way. Basically this thing got an accidental engine overhaul...

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Growlerbearnz
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Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby Growlerbearnz » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:00 am

Ew. That's pretty horrifying. I commend your lack of swearing.
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

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Mazdax605
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Location: 02330

Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby Mazdax605 » Mon May 30, 2016 9:05 am

Hey teamtestbot,

I know we are semi-local to each other. I was cleaning out my garage, and came across some parts from my 1990 Vanwagon that I no longer need. You are welcome to them if you want. So far I found an old valve cover, rocker arm assembly, brand new water pump, and gasket, cam shaft, fan guard/shroud thing, misc gaskets(new), timing belt, and balance shaft belt, and maybe a ew other small things. If you're interested I live on the South Shore in Carver, MA 02330. Let me know. If you don't want them maybe IdahoDoug, or another Vanwagon owner wants this stuff.
Chris

89 P25W L300 Aero GLX
74 Mazda REPU
78 Mazda RX-7 GS

originalkwyjibo
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Re: A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby originalkwyjibo » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:27 pm

I would be interested if teamtestbot is not. I could use a few of those parts for one of my vans. In particular the camshaft , belts, and water pump. We'd just have to figure out shipping to Tacoma, Wa. You can PM me with your prices. Thanks

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teamtestbot
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Vehicle: 1989 Mitsubishi Van/Wagon
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby teamtestbot » Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:05 pm

Unrelated but somewhat exciting news, my van now has a playmate...

Image

1986 Centurion Cruiser III, a "half E350, half F350" Ford conversion van-truck and a testament to the excesses and gluttony of the 1980s.
It's phenomenally massive... they are parked rear bumpers aligned in that photo. I am still comprehending the magnitude. It needs scant little work compared to my Mitsubishi adventures, but the work that is needed is required by Massachusetts law to pass inspection, and includes fender repair, replacing some of the exhaust system, and repairing the turn signals.

IdahoDoug
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby IdahoDoug » Fri Dec 09, 2016 6:44 pm

Man, what does that thing weigh? My empty (no rear seats at all) Mitsubishi weighs 3400lbs with me aboard.

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teamtestbot
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby teamtestbot » Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:52 am

Hah, I'm actually not sure. I passed through a truck scale on the way back home with it but it was not operational at the time. Based on internet haunting, 6,300lb curb. The door sticker shows 9,500 GVW.

Through a different truck scale trip, my van which has all seats and additionally had some tools onboard such as a 3 ton floorjack and fluids (so figure 100+lb) weighed 3,650. It's supposed to be 3,300 curb weight, so this is not unreasonable.

This means I can put the whole van in the back of the truck and it would seemingly be fine...

IdahoDoug
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby IdahoDoug » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:58 am

Would be a fun picture. Bet the Mitsu is narrow enough. I often squeeze it between cars and amuse people with how skinny and flat sided it is.

ELPATO
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby ELPATO » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:05 pm

Hi All!
New to forum and new to the Mitsu Vanwagons....Excited to dig into this site a bit more...I've got a 1989 Vanwagon with 184,000 miles on it. No maintenance records on the van...but it did pass SMOG here in California without any issues. Just changed the oil and the van runs great! I was curious if anyone has swapped our gas engines for a diesel engine that they run in Delica's? Also curious on crossover parts for these Vans? Do body parts from Delica's apply to our Vanwagons? Thanks for the help! I look forward to reading up a bit!

~EL PATO
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teamtestbot
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby teamtestbot » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:56 am

Awesome! Yours looks like it's in better body condition than mine - which lived in PA for most of its life, and it continues to be a constant cat-and-mouse game with road salt here in New England.

Many Delica 3rd generation parts cross over without modification. I got a new taillight module off eBay from Taiwan, for example. However, given that most Delica sales were in RHD countries, interior parts tend to be "mirrored" and do not cross over, with the exception of dashboard parts such as the gauge cluster, HVAC control panel, and dashboard switches. Body panels wise, the US spec is the short wheelbase one, and I have considered trying to find a high roof and having a body shop append it on.

My understanding is that many things from the engine compartment forward, including the engine mounts, bumper assembly, and suspension crossmembers, were modified specifically for the US market Van & Wagon and are not interchangeable. The US-spec front has a much larger snout that contains reinforced bumper steel, and the frame is also modified in that region and most Delica parts like the bullbars do not fit (which make me sad).

ELPATO
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A 1989 Vanwagon for your amusement

Postby ELPATO » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:18 pm

Thanks for the info! I believe mine spent most of its life in So Cal and somehow made its way up here. It appears to have been painted..but pretty rust free for the most part.
Interesting that these vans were modified for a market that never really took off! :) Thats too bad about the Bullbar...that was on my list of mods! Any chance you have a picture of the front seat area with both seats removed? It appears my van is missing the cover sheet metal for the battery area...would be great to get a picture of what the stock setup was like...and hopefully get a metal shop to fab something up for me. Very odd that this piece is missing but it is an old van. I do like the high roof concept for camping...we are planning out our camping interior right now...been really impressed with this rig:
http://www.dinoevo.de
Thanks again for chiming in! Have you had your van long? Any mods? Do you know if anyone has converted the petrol van wagon over to the diesel engines run in the Delica's?
Spotted this van the other day...I assume another Starwagon...couldn't figure out the LS..
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