An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014


Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]


Archive for August, 2009

The New Ride: 1993 Alto Works RS-X

Posted By Dave on August 27th, 2009


After the Evo met an untimely death I decided it was time for something a little cheaper to run and maintain. A bit of looking around later, and a slight rush to become a non-pedestrian again (a $20 round trip to work each day when it was only a 15-20 minute drive was a joke) and I found what I was looking for.

All hail the 1993 Suzuki Alto Works RS-X. Although the RS-X is 2WD, it does have a DOHC engine which is a bit of a positive over the standard Alto Works. Picked it up from a garage close to me and it’s in a not too bad condition. Needs a bit of love and care in some areas (car windows definitely need some new film, and wheels aren’t going to win me any awards), but it’s a solid base. Paintwork isn’t showing too much rust through though and no big dents in the bodywork.

Open the hood and you’ll find the beating heart of a beast of an engine. These are words I would like to be able to say about the car! Unfortunately, you know that with a 660cc engine it’s a pretty far stretch of the imagination, even if it is turbocharged. Needs a clean in there and also an aftermarket air filter of some regard to open up the airflow, but other than that it seems in decent condition.

I have to say the car has been fun to drive over the past 24 hours. It’s a huge step down in power and handling from the Evo, but that’s a given. Already have my eyes on some upgrades though, and brakes are first on the cards. The brakes are pretty mushy and so am gonna get a set of Acre pads all round and some Dixcel front rotors. Rear rotors are actually in worse condition than the front, but aftermarket ones seem to be a little tough to find. The normal Alto Works I believe have rear drum brakes but this RS-X has disc brakes and I can’t find anyone supplying rotors for them.

Will then get a set of Advan Neovas which will come to about $280 for all 4 (one advantage of a small car with small wheels) and a cheap-ass bigger exhaust and I’ll be good to go. Might throw in my stock passenger Recaro from the Evo in there on the driver’s side. Only other current issue is that the horn doesn’t want to work but am going to the garage to pay the rest of the money tomorrow so will get them to look at it before money is handed over.

So pass me a wave when you inevitably overtake me on the roads!

Posted in Cars

Best Reaction so far to my Wreck

Posted By Dave on August 18th, 2009

Well, since managing to wreck my car on Sunday, I’ve had a bunch of supporting emails and comments on here and on other online forums, and I thank you all for that.  I am currently trying to organise a new set of wheels so I’m no longer a pedestrian, and hopefully I can do that very soon.  My Evo will be deregistered and in a junkyard tomorrow, still unfortunately with a bunch of nice parts still attached to it.  Unfortunately, I have neither the space nor time to pull them off.

I have had a few amusing responses, although none so much as the one I’m going to feature here, which comprised of just two pictures.  Hope they raise a smile with you as much as they did with me!

Photobucket Photobucket

Posted in Cars

Wrecked the Evo…

Posted By Dave on August 17th, 2009

Not a whole lot more to say about it really.  All the quick driving I do and I wreck the car going at normal road speed on a daily drive home.  Was close to my home on a normal drive.  Doing about 45 and approached a 90 degree turn going left turn.  the road was wet but not huge puddles or anything.  Dabbed the brakes and turned as normal and the wheels turned, but the car didn’t.  Slammed the brakes but car was already heading in a JDM-tyte style drift around the corner and into the other lane.  Unfortunately, a Pajero Mini was coming the other way and my drivers side front wheel area slammed into hers.

Before I went into shock (having taught first aid I could feel myself getting the symptoms of it), I dashed over to the other car.  She had painful ribs and I thought a couple of them were cracked or broken.  She went to hospital in an ambulance but it turns out she’s perfectly fine and was discharged a few hours ago.

Am pretty my car’s chassis has been compromised and bent though and wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a complete write-off.  The same for hers.  Luckily though she’s not hurt and I walked away from it fine.  Funny thing (if there is one here) is that when it got to the garage the flatbed truck guy got in my car, fired up the engine first time and then on 3 wheels drove the thing off the truck.

No excuses, I’ll put my hand up and I ‘fess up.  I’m big enough to accept responsibility and despite the road condition and the fact that there was no centreline at all in the road, it was my fault.  Wasn’t flying but just must have had too much momentum going into that turn.  Just kind of happy I’m here to tell the tale, as well as the other person.  Feel free to have jabs at my crap driving, although keep it down a little.  Am still a little fragile with some neck stiffness.

Went to insurance today and am pretty sure I have to shoulder 100% of the blame.  The good news is that even if I repair the car or buy another of the same make, my insurance would only go up $30!  I was expecting it to go up 10 times that.  Am thinking it might be a sign to get out of the game a little though and going for something a little slower and cheaper for a while.  As my old man said though: 2 minutes later and it could have been a truck coming the other way, which would have just plowed through my car and me.

Posted in Cars

The Evo I Suffers from Fuel Pressure Regulator Overrun

Posted By Dave on August 14th, 2009

Found this out very recently and thought it was pretty interesting information and might be relevant to one or two of you.  Have been doing some problem solving, trying to find out why my Evo was idling a little rich.  I worked my way back to my Sard fuel pressure regulator and checked it out.  Firstly, I made sure there were no cuts or tears in the vacuum lines going to the FPR but it looked fine.  I then pulled the top vacuum line off it, blocked it with my thumb and checked the pressure with the engine idling.  It was at 45psi so I went to take it down to the stock 43.5psi.  But no matter what I did I couldn’t get it to go any further.  I even had the top elbow unscrew completely but still pressure stayed there.

So I thought “what the hell” and thought I’d live with 45psi, but then when I put the vacuum line back on the top nipple the fuel pressure didn’t change at all.  I know it should drop a few psi so I’m thinking my FPR has possibly died on me.  But then I did a little research and found that the 2G AWD DSMs suffer from the exact same problem: fuel pressure regulator overrun.

What usually happens in this situation is that the fuel return line isn’t wide enough to take back enough fuel, and so the pressure stays high.  But this wasn’t the case in the situation of the Evo I.  What I think is causing it is the design of the fuel tank itself.  Because of the driveshaft, the fuel tank is basically in 2 separate parts, with a siphon between them that draws fuel from one side of the tank to the other.  This is the restriction in the Evo I system and not the fuel pressure regulator.  I might be wrong, but I am pretty sure the Evo II and III have a different design of fuel tank (Mitsubishi have it listed with a different part number anyway) with a bigger siphon.

Now there are a number of solutions, the main one being to enlarge the siphon between the fuel tanks, but there is an easier one you can do with your tuning software and is the one that I adopted.  I upped the fuel pressure at the FPR to 55psi, and then told my tuning software that my injectors were 840cc and not 750cc ones.  Problem is then solved!

Hope this is helpful to someone out there, and is something to think about if you’re idling rich.  Note that this problem does not occur when at full throttle; only at idle and light cruising.

Posted in Cars

Installing ECMLink for early Evos

Posted By Dave on August 8th, 2009


So you’ve heard about ECMLink for the early Evos and really want to try it out?  Well one of the things to note with the early Evo version is that installation is slightly different from what you might initially expect.  Not necessarily more difficult but just with an added step than normal.

The package will come with a EPROM chip that goes into your ECU, but you will need to do 2 small modifications to your existing ECU if it’s completely stock.  The first one will be to remove the existing main chip on the ECU and install a socket in its place.  If you have modified the ECU with chips before then it will most likely already be fitted with a socket, but if the ECU is completely stock then the modification will need carrying out.  Anyone with electrical knowledge, steady hands and a soldering iron should be able to carry this out, but if you have any doubts then take it to a professional to have modified.  The chip you need to remove will be at the bottom right if you open up the ECU and position it so that the connector is at the top.  Below you can see the ECMLink chip installed in my ECU and the socket socket that it’s installed in.

Now if you look to the left of the chip on the image above you’ll see a “J1” and “J2” with a bit of makeshift soldering work.  That is the second modification that is required for running ECMLink on early Evos.  The ECU is normally made to handle 32k chips, but the amount of information held on the ECMLink system means that this is not enough, and a 64k chip is needed.  From here there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that Mitsubishi decided to make it possible to switch from 32k chip support to 64k chip support with the changing of a single jumper.  The bad news is that they decided to solder the jumper to the board!

Once again, someone with steady hands and a soldering iron or 2 should be able to move this jumper with almost no problems.  Even without flux, my buddy managed to move this jumper in about 5-10 minutes.  You can a close-up of the switched jumper position below.

Once that jumper is switched you’re ready to drop the ECMlink chip in and perform final checks before firing the engine up into life.  More information about this modification is given here on the ECMLink Wiki.  I’ll be reporting much more on my experiences using ECMLink in the very near future so stay tuned and let me know if you have any questions about the setup.

Posted in Cars

DSMLink/ECMLink for Early Evos

Posted By Dave on August 5th, 2009

Life has been crazily hectic over the past few weeks so I sincerely apologize for the lack of updates.  Ending one job, starting another and a few other personal bits going on so I haven’t had the time and energy to sit down and write on here, despite having plenty to talk about.  But I have a few minutes now and an update that some of you might have an interest in.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a Mr Thomas Dorris of ECMTuning.  ECMTuning is a company well known in the US within the DSM community.  Their flagship product DSMLink (now ECMLink) is THE tuning solution for 1G and 2G DSMs if you don’t want to go all out on a standalone engine management system.  The system uses the stock ECU and sensors, but replaces the main ECU chip with one of its own, and allows you to manipulate almost every part engine management, whether you’re just using the car as a daily driver, or running it into low 10s passes for the 1/4 mile and beyond, this syetm can handle it.

Anyway, as one of the few members on the DSM Forums site who actually owns an early Evo rather than a DSM, I had attracted his attention.  This was in addition to the fact that I’d sent him an early Evo ECU through a friend a while ago for them to do testing on.  He had read a few of my tuning threads and was enquiring as to whether I would be interested in beta testing the latest version of ECMLink for them, which would be the first version to support the early Evos.  I didn’t need asking twice.  I’d looked a few times before at DSMLink and had wished it was available for my Evo so I could compare it to the Ostrich chip emulator and Tunerpro RT software combination that I currently use.  Now I had the chance to be involved in the testing of a full engine management and logging system.

I replied, giving my address here in Japan as well as a few details about my car and barely a day later a package was sent out to me in the mail.  In future updates I’m going to explain more about ECMLink, its main features and how I have gone on with installation and testing.  My car hasn’t blown up (yet) so I can report that early testing is going pretty well, and it’s actually fun for me learning a new system and having a hand in its development and, no pun intended, evolution.  A new entry into the market for early Evo engine management is definitely a welcome sight though, and especially one with such a strong community support base behind it.

Finally, I want to note that even though I will be involved in the testing of this product and will be reporting back on it here, I’m going to call things as I see them.  If I find a feature that’s great then I’ll go on about it; similarly, if there’s something I really don’t like about the software or hardware then it will get mentioned here in the interests of fairness and equality.  Want to try and give people as unbiased a view on this setup as possible.

Posted in Cars
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