* Owner: Mitsubishi Motors
* Dynamometer Model: Dynojet Dynamometer
2009 Mitsubushi Eclipse GT
After missing the mark with the MK III Eclipse of '00-'05, Mitsu has redeemed itself with the release of the most current model. Power is up by 53 ponies over the previous generation's GTS trim, 0.8L of added displacement brings loads of low- and mid-range torque, and the available six-speed manual trans combines close-ratio First through Third gearing with a long Sixth to improve acceleration and maximize fuel economy. Chassis rigidity is up over past models, and the styling has definitely improved.
The Eclipse is a confused vehicle, with no clear-cut niche. It's powerful and torquey, but limited by its FF layout, 4,000-pound curb weight and front-heavy weight distribution. We fear sports car buyers may be lured to the Z for a few dollars more, and commuter car buyers to the Altima for a few dollars less. The '09 model remains largely unchanged from '06-'08 years, save for a few key areas that make finding performance parts a huge P.I.T.A. And with demand for, and production of the six-speed GT relatively small, we don't see that changing anytime soon.
Despite its drawbacks and limited representation in the mainstream tuning community, we like this car. It's comfortable as a daily, is fast on its own-it'll pull on a stock 350Z or 3-series without a problem, break traction at the top of First and chirp through Third-and offers impressive power gains with little help. Visit importuner.com for the expanded review, downloadable wallpapers . . . all the good stuff!
Fitment was perfect, installation tolerable, and power and torque gains were impressive and consistent from initial throttle to redline. And the all-out roar of the uncorked 3.8L 6G75 engine will give you a newfound respect for the sound suppression engineering that went into Mitsu's OE piece.
None. Though, the addition of a bypass valve of some kind, to safeguard against unforeseen hydro-locking scenarios, could be a definite plus.
Filter, intake, heat shield, inlet hoses, mounting hardware, instructions, stickers
10-, 12- and 14mm sockets, extension, ratchet, flat and Phillips screwdrivers
20 minutes, after cool-down.
Testing our Eclipse GT revealed just how much the car hates temperature fluctuations. Back-to-back runs consistently resulted in loss of power as temperatures climbed, yet testing the car below its standard operating temperature lost power as well. Our peak numbers were found after a long idle on the dyno, with the fans blowing-once the system established a consistent temperature.
Construction and fitment were top-notch. The straight-through design of the Aestus mufflers eliminated the restriction of the stock baffled units, bringing up power a little, and elevating the already aggressive exhaust note of the Eclipse into proper territory.
As axle-back units, power and torque gains weren't drastic. Like too many new cars, the Eclipse uses welded-in catalysts, meaning replacing the entire exhaust would necessitate replacement or removal of the cats. But the increased, 2.5-inch diameter of the Aestus units would make them formidable additions to any "mid-pipe customization" endeavors down the road . . .
Two mufflers with piping, gaskets, hardware, decals
14mm socket and ratchet, 14mm open-end wrench, exhaust hanger tool
5 minutes, after cool-down
One of the changes in the '09 Eclipse GT that differentiates it from previous model-years is the addition of the dual exhaust, which-Mitsu tells us-helps bump hp by three over the past years' single outlet. But its scarcity means that you'll have a tough time finding a mass-produced replacement dual exhaust on the market. Aestus Industries prototyped their axle-back unit on our car, and will be producing them on an order-by-order basis by the time you read this.
Again, fit and finish were perfect. Mandrel-bent stainless tubing, TIG-welded and laser-cut construction and the inclusion of flex pipe all suggest that these headers were built with durability and longevity in mind. Power gains were large across the board, and the exhaust note of the Eclipse suddenly became badass.
We've used phrasing similar to "installation is a bitch" at many times in the past . . . but installing headers on a fourth-generation Eclipse GT takes the proverbial cake. Accessing the stock front header's hardware is easy enough, but halfway through our removal of the rear, we began to doubt the existence of any combination of sockets, swivels and extensions that could do the job. And then the front crossmember had to be dropped so we could get the damned things off. It gets better: the RIPP headers reposition all four O2 sensors-a good thing, but it means a little frustration with wire, crimpers, connectors and shrink wrap. Lastly, they remove the cats, which can be a major problem for street car drivers of areas in which emissions legality is strongly enforced. Considering the Eclipse's welded-in catalyst design, there's just no way around this with proper aftermarket headers.
Header components (two primaries, one "S-pipe", one straight pipe), gaskets, hardware, O2 sensor adapters, wire, instructions
10-, 12-, 14-, and 16mm sockets, deep sockets and open-end wrenches, extensions, swivel, ratchet, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, wire cutters, connectors and crimper (or solder and iron), exhaust hanger tool, WD-40, patience
One full day
Almost any time OE catalysts are removed, a whole world of engine management problems opens up-anything from annoying check engine lights to ECU "safe modes" and all-out vehicle failure. Using the supplied O2 sensor adapters, we didn't experience any of these with the RIPP headers, but mid-range power and torque fluctuations from run to run were evidence of the ECU at work, trying to "correct" the increased power the headers brought. RIPP does offer a simple solution with their "BRAT" ECU plug-in, but we'll have to save that test for another day.
Outputting 290.5 whp and 284.1 lb-ft of torque, our Eclipse GT was transformed from a decently quick, aggressive-sounding commuter car into a tire-roasting, Z-killing, roaring beast, begging to be taken to the next level. We're not sure if any modification will continue to the car . . . but we're dying to drive a gutted one with sticky tires, a tuned suspension and a RIPP SDS supercharger!
|FUJITA COLD AIR INTAKE||$268.00|
|AESTUS INDUSTRIES DUAL EXHAUST||$599.00|
|RIPP MODS LONG TUBE HEADERs||$999.00|