Is the DSM dead? The 3rd-gen Eclipse with its girth and a weak-ass naturally aspirated V6 is no match for the 4G63 turbo four-cylinder models that made the DSM a force in the import scene. At the launch of the 3G, Mitsubishi said turbo models only made up roughly 15 percent of its sales. To that we fired back that turbo models make up 99 percent of the cars we feature in our magazine.
Mitsubishi only got wise after watching Subaru sweep through the scene like wildfire with its rally-inspired WRX. The big question is, will the EVO VIII breathe life into the DSM market or will it cause 4G63 enthusiasts to abandon the Talon and Eclipse for the EVO, which has a decade more refinement in, under and around it?
If Sean Ivey's Talon is any indication, the low entry price and high performance potential of the DSM should ensure the old battlewagon has a long and healthy shelf life.
Having an engineering background and a long-standing affinity for import racing, Jamaican-native Sean Ivey used to sit and watch the hopped-up turbo Corollas of the mid 1980's back home on the Island. This embedded in him an interest for highly modded cars and taking four-cylinder engines to the limit.
That interest has culminated in this well-sorted 1992 Eagle Talon. The car was built in stages when finances allowed, and eventually became what it is today; a hard-hitting quarter miler as the accompanying Race Record chart attests to.
Ivey's philosophy on tuning is simple, "You can't finish first if you can't finish." The results truly speak for themselves as Ivey's Talon has performed extremely reliably, and the joke of it all, it's built by the owner in his home garage. There is no huge team or funding behind the car's success; just solid engineering and smart choices. Ivey remarks, "too many people in the import scene get fixated on running a best time. John Shepherd showed a long time ago consistency is what wins races, and I tried to take a page out of his book."
The party starts with a 0.030-over block and a polished and lightened crank. The crank swings Pauter rods, which are beefy enough to stand up to repeated cycles of nitrous abuse. Ross custom pistons were the last addition to this stout bottom end built by Jack Merkel Performance in Kenilworth, New Jersey.
The cylinder head consists of a porting regime performed by RC Engine in Brooklyn, New York, a shop Ivey says has an excellent reputation in the Mitsubishi community. The 4G63's valve train consists of stainless Supertech valves, dual valve springs and titanium retainers. Valve actuation is handled by HKS bumpsticks working in conjunction with specially designed hydraulic lifters.
The head was flowed and tested and the numbers were excellent for such modest modification. "The Mitsubishi head flows efficiently from the factory, they just need valve train upgrades that can sustain the 10,000-rpm blasts it will see.
A 10,000-rpm ceiling means the motor will see full boost and then some for extended periods of time. Ivey's turbo setup starts with a VRP tuned-length exhaust manifold. "Switching from my prior SFP manifold to this one I picked up a lot. That has been a huge surprise." The manifold supplies a Turbonetics T66 ball-bearing turbo with enough energy to make the required 35 psi of boost. Boost relief is handled by a TiAL 44 mm V-band style wastegate. The gate dumps into a Buschur Racing 3.5-inch catback exhaust via a custom downpipe specially designed, and expertly TIG welded by Keith Loforte of Turbotrix. "The reliability of the turbo is great," says Ivey, "and Turbonetics really stands behind their products. I would like to thank Darryl Sampson of Turbonetics for this particular combo, it solved a lot of issues I was having with my previous setup. Darryl stepped up to the plate and it is nice when you can speak to real people on the phone and have issues worked out."
A Buschur Racing race-spec intercooler kit, complete with the three-inch upper pipe, handles charge air cooling. From the chiller the charge air is pushed through a Hogan's big-plenum 4G63 intake.
Engine management is key and the more load you put on the engine the more critical precise control becomes. Ivey went with a proven player in the DSM kingdom, Haltech. "The Haltech E11-V2 is hard to beat in terms of stability and reliability," explains Ivey. "Also, their customer support is second to none even though they are overseas. It is easier to get them on the phone than it is to get some of the ECU manufacturers based here in the U.S." Ivey, who has also tuned quite a few other fast and consistent DSMs, did all tuning and calibration. He jokes, "We have never blown one of these engines. People don't believe it but there is no reason to be blowing motors left and right like some of these other tuners."
The Haltech unit oversees a serious fuel system featuring two Bosch 850-hp motorsports-spec fuel pumps, large -10 lines, a Holley fuel rail and 1,685cc Bosch injectors. On the ignition side, spark signals are fed from the Haltech to an MSD DIS-4 high-output box. The MSD fires two Chevy Lumina coils fitted with Magnecor custom-length wires that lead to NGK BRP8ES plugs.
For added thrust a NOS Pro Fogger kit jetted to the tune of 100 horsepower allows this beast to make an estimated 800 whp. Exactly how much may never be known as Ivey refuses to dyno the car. "I don't run events strapped to the rollers so I like to test the car on the track, just like it is intended to compete."
The drivetrain, which can be a contentious issue for many DSM draggers, is mostly beefed up factory issue. He reports periodic rebuilds of his gearbox, which has been modified to race spec and sports many upgraded parts including a four-spider differential designed by Tony French of Turbotrix. "I really don't have any transmission or drivetrain issues," says Ivey. "Most of my problems center around the clutches which wear out very quickly at this hp/weight level." He notes Tilton's Carbon/Carbon unit has provided the highest level of flexibility, consistency and reliability so far.
Flexibility, consistency and reliability is what Ivey is all about and through diligence and a wealth of on-track experience he has crafted a masterpiece DSM that vividly illustrates what can happen when you wish upon the right Diamond Star.