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What exactly is a DSM?

Technically, a DSM is a car built by Diamond Star Motors, a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. More details about DSM are here.

For the purposes of the Talon Digest, the definition of a DSM has been extended somewhat; see below for details.

[Note: From time to time, debates on the definition of a 'DSM' emerge on the Digest. These debates usually center around a record-breaking car which, because it does or does not have a certain component or feature, 'should' or 'should not' be considered a 'DSM' in the 'true' sense of the word.

Such judgements are entirely subjective and cannot be resolved, except by arbitrary rules; resist the temptation to reopen any such debate on the Talon Digest, as the moderator (and membership) are tired of hearing about it. All race results that can reasonably be deemed related to DSMs are reported - whoever is king in your own mind is best kept to yourself.]

In further news, the now-merged DaimlerChrysler corporation purchased a 34% stake in the now-ailing Mitsubishi Motors corporation in April, 2000. This is not to be taken as a re-emergence of DSM, however - the DSM marque is now consigned to the pages of history.

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What happened to DSM?
What happened to Eagle?

Diamond-Star Motors was officially dissolved in 1993 after the design and production tooling for the 1994 and 1995 cars was complete. Mitsubishi Motors continues to operate the plant formerly responsible for DSM cars under sole ownership.

The "Eagle" brand name was originally created as a method of integrating AMC dealerships and products into Chrysler. It continued for some time as a marque, much as General Motors now continues to market under several brand names. It was eventually discontinued as Chrysler sought to improve their business operations. For more information, go to Eaglecars.com.

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What is a 1G?
What is a 2G?
What is a 3G?
What is a Y2K Eclipse?

These terms are acronyms for the 'generation' of car. 1Gs (first generation) were built in the model years 1990-1994, 2Gs in 1995-1999, and 3Gs in the year 2000 onward. The Y2K Eclipse is the year 2000 Eclipse.

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What is a Spyder?

A Spyder is a convertible Eclipse only sold by Mitsubishi. It was introduced for the model year 1996 with non-turbo 2.4L and turbo 2.0L engines available. These cars are FWD only - there is no AWD version. Production was continued through the 1999 model year.

Note that the name 'Spyder' was also used on the Mitsubishi 3000GT convertible.

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Are 2Gs (second generation, 1995+ cars) really DSMs?

[Note: this information applies only to the definition of a 'DSM' as used for the purposes of the Talon Digest, and does not reflect the personal opinion of any individual.]

2G cars are considered DSMs because they are direct descendants of the original DSM cars.  Although they were technically not built by Diamond Star Motors, their connection to the original line is unmistakable, as they share the name, trim levels and original intention of the 1G cars. 

Also, some early 95 cars have DSM labeling on them, leading many to believe that all 2Gs were built by Diamond Star Motors. This is not the case, as Diamond Star Motors officially ceased to exist in mid-1993, when Chrysler sold off all of its Mitsubishi holdings, technically making the 1994 cars the last of the DSMs. This type of hair-splitting is not important for Club purposes, however, and the Club has decided that 2Gers have as much right to be included as earlier owners.

The Galant VR-4 is something of an oddity in the club, but the VR-4 shares many important components with the 1G cars, including the unusual AWD drivetrain.  It can be argued that the Galant VR-4 is the "parent" of all DSMs: the original concept for the DSM in North America was a four-door. Also the VR-4 platform was originally concieved to be Mitsubishi's entry into the rally racing circuit before DSM existed.

A similar situation exists with the 2G Spyder convertible, but it's connection with the other 2G cars is unmistakable. Thus the Spyder and VR4 are included in the scope of the Talon Digest.

Other pseudo-related cars, such as the non-USA Lancer and Mirage, are not included in the Digest.

The Last Word: C'mon guys, we're all brothers by now.

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Are 3Gs (third generation, 1995+ cars) really DSMs?

[Note: this information applies only to the definition of a 'DSM' as used for the purposes of the Talon Digest, and does not reflect the personal opinion of any individual.]

The relationship between the 1G, 2G and 3G cars can be summarized as follows:

For the above reasons, it is the opinion of the Talon Digest moderator that the 3G cars can not be properly supported on the Talon Digest. Because of this, general discussion of the 3Gs cars will not be part of the Digest.

Please note that the diference in external appearance between 1G/2G cars and 3G cars was not a factor in making this determination. The moderator simply feels that to introduce discussion of a largely different car into the Digest will result in a fragmented version of a list which has already expanded well past the most optimistic expectations. There is no denying that most of the past and present discussion on the Talon Digest will have little to do with 3G cars It also seems unreasonable to expect future discussion on 1G/2G cars to be of interest to 3G owners because their cars have different engines, upgrades, and problems than previous models.

Owners of 3G cars need not despair. Ryan Vaughn has started the 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse Performance Web Site, focused on modifying and maintaining the new model cars, with an associated Club 3G mailing list. Additionally, discussion on similar parts, upgrades or modifications will still be allowed on the Talon Digest, as they are with other cars such as the Colt, Mirage and Lancer, and a great deal of useful general performance information is contained in the many FAQ files. Also, speciality DSM vendors have already begun to support the 3G; this support will increase more and more in the years ahead.

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Are Sebrings and Avengers DSMs?

Aside from the fact that Sebring and Avenger cars are built in the same MMMA plant as the 2G cars, there is nothing to connect them to the DSM name.  They do not share heritage, appearance, upgrade paths or many parts with DSMs. For this reason, these two models are not considered DSMs, and discussion regarding these cars is not part of the Talon Digest or most UBB systems concentrating on DSMs.

Having said that, the Avenger enthusiasts are quick to point out that the Avenger/Sebring platform and the second-generation non-turbo DSM platform do share some similarities. They have similar interiors, bodies, and suspension, and several of the non-turbo upgrades for the NT DSMs work on the A/S cars, since some A/S cars have the same 420A Chrysler motor. Also, some A/S cars have a 2.5L NT similar to the 3.0L NT found in third-generation Eclipses. (Information provided by Tomas Ely.) It could be argued that the A/S cars are cousins to the DSMs - not the same, but similar.

Those looking for more information on the Avenger and Sebring would do well to visit the A/S Owner's Group (ASOG).

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What kind of engine is in my car?
How much horsepower does my [DSM] have in stock form?
What is the horsepower rating of a [DSM]?

That depends on which model you have.  All of these cars have inline 4-cylinder engines, but the displacement and intake systems differ.

Base and mid models have non-turbo (NT) engines, while upper and AWD models have turbo (T) motors. All are 2.0L, except the base model (1.8L) and the non-turbo Spyder (2.4L). Details on the various configurations are below.

More information can be found at http://pics.dsm.org in the original factory brochures section.

Table 1: 1990-1994 Talon/Eclipse/Laser/Galant
Specification
Base model
Mid model
Upper model (FWD)
Upper model (AWD)
Eclipse model names
GS
GS
GS/GST
GSX
Talon model names
DL
ES/ESi
TSi
TSi AWD
Laser model names
none/RS
RS
RS Turbo
RS Turbo AWD
Galant model names
-
-
-
VR-4
Engine
1.8L
2.0L
2.0L turbo
2.0L turbo
Horsepower
92
135
190 / 195 (M/T)
180 (A/T)
190 / 195 (M/T)
180 (A/T)
Valves
8v
16v
16v
16v
Cam type
SOHC
DOHC
DOHC
DOHC

Table 2: 1995-1999 Talon, Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder
Specification
Base model
Mid model
Upper model (FWD)
Upper model (AWD)
Eclipse model names
RS
GS
GS-T
GSX
Talon model names
-
ESi
TSi
TSi AWD
Engine type
2.0L
2.0L
2.0L turbo
2.0L turbo
Horsepower
140
140
210
210
Valves
16v
16v
16v
16v
Cam type
DOHC
DOHC
DOHC
DOHC

Table 3: 1996-1999 Eclipse Spyder
Specification
Mid model
Upper model (FWD)
Spyder model names
GS
GS-T
Engine
2.4L
2.0L turbo
Horsepower
141
210
Valves
16v
16v
Cam type
SOHC
DOHC

Astute readers (or longtime owners) will notice the 190/195 horsepower "split" in the 1G models. This difference arises in differences in the published factory specifications for the different marques through the 1990 and 1991 model years and not through any actual known changes in the cars themselves. Eventually all the turbo models were rated at 195 horsepower.

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What does RS / GS / GST / GSX / TSi / ESi / ES / DL mean?

Explanations of the various vehicle suffixes can be found here and here, in posts by Keith Seldor and Aaron Larson. Note that these explanations may not be completely correct since they have cited no "official" verification from any source associated with the manufacturers.

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What is the top speed of my car?

Top speeds will obviously vary with the modifications to the vehicle.  However, the top speeds for stock vehicles are in the following neighborhood:
-  1G AWD:  around 140 MPH / 225 km/h
-  1G FWD:  140 MPH / 225 km/h
-  2G AWD:  somewhere around 130-140 MPH.
-  2G FWD:  some cars are speed limited to 130 MPH - see below for details

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Is there a rev limiter on my car?

As far as is known, the ECU will stop fuel delivery on all the DSM cars at 7500 RPM.

Some 2G FWD cars have a speed limiter which cuts off fuel at 130 MPH.  This is because the stock H-rated tires are only rated up to 130 MPH.  Replacing the tires and performing this procedure will eliminate it.  Warning: you do this procedure at your own risk. There is some information that this fix only works for 1995-1998 cars.

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What are the differences between a [model year] and a [model year]?

There are many differences, both major and minor, between various model years.  To date, no comprehensive list exists which details all of the changes; to list them all is beyond the scope of this FAQ.  A few of the high points are:

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000+

A photo gallery comprising 100+ images is also available.

Also, for those who are curious (or just nostalgic), Tim Tate has completed the process of immortalizing the original USA dealer brochures for every year, make and model of DSM. Check it out!

For more information on the different model years, it is best to either read the archives (for general information) or to research specific components, as described in 'Has anybody installed a [component] on a [DSM]?'.

There is a page here that has a discussion on the "best" model year of DSM. There is also a page which details the differences between the 1990 engine and the 1993 engine - See this Engine Upgrades page for more detail.

For those looking for ECU-specific information across the various years, please refer to the Technomotive's Sept. 8 issue of The Diagnostic Port.

The Last Word: OK, so not all 1990 ECUs had EPROMs. I got it correct in my other section, but not here. You can check the FAQ page at DSMlink.com for more info.

For whoever gave Thomas Dorris at ECM Tuning a hard time over this by using this section of my work as "evidence", I'd suggest you scoop out whatever is currently in your skull, install a brain, and fill it up with some maturity before you proceed any further in the game called life.

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What are the differences between a turbo car and a non-turbo car?

For 1Gs, there are several differences between T and NT cars of the same year, aside from (duh) the turbo (or lack thereof).

Generally, turbo cars can be identified by:

On 1G cars, there are two non-turbo engines: the SOHC 1.8L and the DOHC 2.0L. The 2.0L is based on the same 4G63 engine as the turbo models. It has higher compression pistons (9:1 vs 7.8:1) and no turbocharger or intercooler. The 1.8L is based on the 4G37 engine and also has 9:1 compression.

On 2G cars, there also also two non-turbo engines: the 2.0L and the 2.4L. The 2.0L is not based on the Mitsubishi 4G63 engine; rather it is based on the Chrysler 420A engine, which is why 2G NT owners share some parts, upgrades and procedures with other Chrysler products such as the Avenger/Sebring cars. The SOHC 2.4L is the Mitsubishi 4G64 engine, which is "sort-of" similar to the 4G63 engine used in the turbo models. The 4G64 was only offered in the Spyder convertible models.

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What are the differences between a automatic tranny car and a manual tranny car?

For 1Gs, there are several differences between manual and auto cars of the same year, aside from (duh) the transmission.

Auto 1G cars have
-  smaller turbochargers
-  smaller injectors (390cc)
-  a 'power/economy' switch located next to the shift lever
-  ECUs designed for the smaller injectors
-  cams designed to produce more low-end torque [1G only]

Manual 1G cars have:
-  bigger turbochargers
-  larger injectors (450cc)
-  a nifty little coin holder next to the shift lever, a fave place to put electronic widgets of one sort or another.
-  ECUs designed for the larger injectors
-  ECUs designed to produce less low-end torque [1G only]

2G owners rejoice, as their auto and manual cars have identical engines - assuming, of course, you are comparing apples to apples. Aside from the presence/absence of the 'power/economy' switch, there are no other obvious differences. There still may be additional differences for both 1G and 2G cars.

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What are the differences between an Eclipse and a Talon?

Aside from badging, logos and some stickers, there are usually no differences between the 1G Eclipse and the Talon of the same model year.  Some 1G Talons and Eclipses had different rear ends; the Eclipse is more like the Laser than the Talon.

It has also been reported that 2G Talons have a different ODBII port than same-year Eclipses, and are not wired to accept a CD changer unless the changer was included as a factory option with the car. Eclipses apparantly have the harness installed even if the CD changer is missing.

Also, Eagle is a dead marque; there will be no more Talons. The Eclipse nameplate is continued on in the 3G Eclipse.

Those interested in the differences between cars will find the original dealer brochures an excellent resource.

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What are the differences between an Eclipse and a Laser?

The only differences between an Eclipse and a Laser have to do with the exterior body styling of the car, and some logos/badging.  Some Eclipses may have different rear ends than Lasers. Also, there apparantly was never a spoiler on the Laser until 1992. From Feb. 1992 on, turbo model Lasers included a spoiler, but some non-turbo models apparantly did not.  The side panels and front end are also different, with badging located in different spots than either the Eclipse or the Talon.  Mesh-style wheels were standard, rather than alloy-style wheels.

The interior, engine, transmission, driveline and all other major components of the Laser are the same as the Eclipse.  Note that Lasers were built until 1994 only, so there are no 2G Lasers. Also, AWD Lasers were not available until the 1992 model year.

Those interested in the differences between cars will find the original dealer brochures an excellent resource.

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What are the differences between U.S. spec cars and Canadian spec cars?

There are not many differences. Canadian cars never had the automatic seatbelts ("mouse belts") present in earlier USA DSMs. Also, U.S. cars lack the daylight running light (DRL) system of the Canadian cars. Canadian cars also have metric instrumentation, including km/hr (speedometer), km (odometer) and kg/m3 ('boost' gauge). Canadian cars also have a 90A alternator, as opposed to the U.S. spec 75A.

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What are the differences between Federal cars and California (CA) cars?

CA cars have more stringent emissions requirements than Federal cars, so they have a couple of extra pieces of equipment. An exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) solenoid valve is installed on CA cars next to the fuel pressure solenoid valve, while Federal cars have a empty space there. 1G CA ECUs are programmed slightly differently than Federal ECUs, making it problematic to switch ECUs from car to car without getting error codes.

To add to the confusion, all 1994 USA DSMs had California emissions, meaning there are technically no Federal 1994 cars. This prevents 1994 owners from installing an EGR blockoff plate, as the CA-style ECU is smart enough to notice and flag an error code. This requires the substitution of a 92-93 Federal ECU for the original CA ECU.

[Other changes to be added.]

Other than that, there are no differences between Federal and CA cars.

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What are the differences between a M/T turbo and an A/T turbo?
What are the differences between a [turbo] and a [different turbo]?

Virtually all aspects of turbo design can change from model to model.  Try the Turbo Questions page for information on a lot of Mitsubishi turbos that have appeared over the years.  For the really technical, Turbonetics has compressor maps available for a lot of the Garrett turbos.

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I want a [DSM]! What year/make/model should I buy?

This is generally an impossible question for anybody other than yourself to answer. Only you can determine which features you prefer in a vehicle.

1G cars of the same model type (non-turbo, turbo, AWD turbo) are all similar in performance potential regardless of marque. 1993 and 1994 cars have the newest transmissions and big brakes installed, and will generally be in better condition than older cars. 1990-1992 cars will be cheaper and have the same performance potential as the newer versions. Some models may not be available in your market.

The same general rules apply for 2G cars - condition is directy proportional to price, but the upgrade potential is very similar across similar models of different brand. All Galant VR-4s are essentially the same as well.

Which model you will end up with will be determined by your plans for the vehicle, your personal capabilities and your budget. If you desire a make or model not available in your local market, you will have more difficulties maintaining the car since parts will be less available.

There is a page here that has a discussion on the "best" model year of DSM. There is also a page which details the differences between the 1990 engine and the 1993 engine - See this Engine Upgrades page for more detail.

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I want a [year/make/model/type] [DSM].  How much should I pay?
What is a good buying/selling price for a [year/make/model/type] [DSM]?

This is far too subjective a question to answer.  As with any automobile purchase, the buyer/seller must weigh such factors as options, condition, mileage, warranty, upgrades/repairs, market value and financial need in setting a 'fair' price.

Fortunately, there are several guides to automobile buying available online. The Kelley Blue Book is now available on the net, and lets you check the ever-elusive 'blue book price'.Edmund's offers free information and advice, including the ever-elusive dealer price (what they really pay) and negotiating tips.  Check Yahoo! for at least 40 other sources of car purchasing information.  Research your local market by checking out what used vehicles are selling for - you can also check out prices online.

David Gawlowski posted some good tips on how to obtain new vehicles at better-than-average prices from a dealership fleet manager, rather than a salesman. See here for details.

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I want a [DSM].  Can anybody tell me what problems to look out for?
I just purchased a [DSM].  Can anybody tell me what problems to look out for?

It is extremely important for new owners to read the "Vital recall and safety information" section of this FAQ, so as to avoid serious difficulties. Also read the "Common problems & fixes" section for a list of lesser yet common problems.

Another place to look might be Fedworld, which apparantly has some automotive databases available.

For those wanting some idea as to what problems a 'typical' owner has had to deal with, Johnathan Stanley posted a comprehensive service history of his Talon. This post details all the problems and solutions he has encountered on his particular car over the past eight years.

The various problems have also been extensively discussed in the past - read the archives for more information. It is simply the best way to become familiar with the DSM cars.

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It seems like there are a lot of problems with DSMs.  Is this true?
Why are there so many problems with DSMs?

Newcomers to the DSM world, through reading the Talon Digest, may fall under the impression that DSMs are unreliable cars and are plagued with all sorts of problems.  This is not true.  DSMs do not have any more problems than the next car, and are quite reliable in many key areas.

The reasons why far more problems than 'normal' are reported on the Talon Digest are as follows:

Many vehicles have problems which are easily more widespread and/or more severe than DSMs, but members of the public usually do not hear about them unless they are an owner of an affected vehicle.  DSM owners have the advantage of drawing from the accumulated knowledge of a large experienced group that covers all of North America, through resources like the Talon Digest and this FAQ page.

Aside from some 'lemon' cars, DSMers are usually quite happy with their vehicles.  There are a few disappointed owners who have had bad luck, which is true of ANY car make.

To give a single example of how other cars also have problems, take a look at the Problems & Repairs section of the Integra Performance Page. Similar pages exist for most types of automobiles.

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Last edited 03/16/03

Maintained by Sean Costall. Changes and suggestions are welcomed!  If you have any information on the answers to any of these questions or wish additional questions, please mail me.

This page is an extension of Club DSM .