Lancer Register Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey gang, lurker and prior Evo 8 owner here back in the game with an Evo 5 (@yellow5standingby IG)

Day 1 (circa 2018):

Car Automotive side marker light Vehicle Automotive parking light Wheel

But first, a bit of background. I’m from the US and bought my Blue By You 2004 Evo 8 back in 2007. It was nearly stock and I was enjoying it as such with a few tasteful cosmetic mods like JDM MR headlights, JDM VII taillights, MR BBS wheels, a carbon fiber front lip and Tanabe lowering springs.

Car Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle

It looked perfect to me and I didn’t plan on doing anything else. It was “done.” That is, until I dipped my toes into autoX and then got sucked into track days. I ended up turning the car into a compromise-mobile; a street legal HPDE track day car. I was still living in an apartment in my 20s so a truck and trailer wasn’t in the cards. I was just glad I had a garage to work on it but the car became more track-focused and miserable on the streets. Combined with a cold New England climate, I could realistically only use it for half the year, which meant a half dozen events per year. So, after going about as far as I reasonably could with an 8/10ths car I had to drive home from events, which didn’t always happen, and using it less and less each year, I eventually sold it.

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive tire

In the meantime, I met my (now) wife who was in the US for school at the time and when she was done, I moved back to Costa Rica with her. Being freed from the 25 year import law of the US, I could now get my hands on some forbidden fruit! But there’s a catch; Costa Rica banned RHD around 2012 with no grandfathers or exceptions. It will fail inspection. So the bad news is almost all JDM cars here have been converted to LHD at varying levels of quality.

Nevertheless, I stubbornly pressed on and found a yellow V. It was originally white but the allure of the yellow was strong and being my second Evo, I at least had experience working on them and a lot of forum knowledge and online resources. So I pulled the trigger with the plan of fixing it up to my liking, possibly as a life-long project car. No rush.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.
The first issue is that it obviously does not have a proper LHD Evo steering rack. It’s probably from a Colt or something and I measure about 3.5 turns lock to lock. It simply feels like garbage. The suspension is mismatched front (springs/struts) to rear (Tein coilovers) and feels like a box of rocks. The clutch pedal bites instantaneously with just some pressure being relieved, almost zero travel and the adjustment on the master cylinder is non-existent, having been blob-welded together for who knows what reason. The dash and panels up front are poorly put together with huge gaps around the center console and footwells with lots of exposed wiring and trim. Gauges are installed in broken vents and scattered around with DIY faux carbon panels and trim. The whole car is a case of “good enough”. But, generally speaking, anything that has been done can be undone. I’ve got the time and just enough experience to trick myself into thinking I know what I’m doing, so let’s get started.

Vehicle registration plate Vehicle Tire Grille Car

After replacing all of the fluids, taking it on a few drives, going through what’s what on the car and feeling it out, it was time to formulate a game plan. Big picture, the idea is a stock exterior (still yellow) with ~325-350hp and really good handling. Basically, nearly exactly the same as my HPDE 8 but without gutting the interior.

Exterior: The car is in good shape on the exterior. There is some visual panel misalignment on the front right fender from a prior accident but all in all, it’s pretty good for a nearly 25yr old car. Starting from front to rear, the first order of business was removing those splitters and getting some clear headlights and amber corners in. I still need to remove the fog HIDs and LED headlights as they’re unnecessary complications to me. 90s halogen life!

Vehicle registration plate Tire Vehicle Grille Automotive lighting

I have no idea why people drill their cars’ body panels to add these stupid quick release bumper latches, especially when there are still literally dozens of bolts and fasteners to undo to actually remove the front bumper. Seriously, what a PITA this bumper is to remove. Regardless, those trinkets and the damage they did had to go, so to the body shop it went.

Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle

Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Automotive side marker light Vehicle

The big “M” on the intercooler bugged me but thankfully that was resolved by simply flipping it 180*. I removed the Ralliart sticker from the front bumper and moved on to the hood. Because the car used to have an external dump exhaust up through the hood vent, both the vent underneath and hood mesh on top were hacked up. The top mesh piece was put back together with metal slats covered in faux carbon, so both the mesh on top and the vent underneath needed to be replaced. I hit them with some flat black and good to go. I also removed the DIY foil insulation from under the hood.

Wood Gas Font Electric blue Rectangle

Light Wood Automotive exterior Gas Tints and shades

Grille Automotive lighting Hood Motor vehicle Automotive design

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Exterior cont'd

Moving down to the side, the Brembos had been painted gold so of course they had to go back to red. I also added the smaller splash guards behind the rear wheels.

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Fluid Fender

Wheel Tire Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle

Sports gear Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle

Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber Motor vehicle Bumper

The B pillar trim on the outside was wrapped with some material, I’m not sure but it came off and was repainted black at the body shop. Also, the sticker on the rear door bothered me greatly and had to be replaced. Those with keen eyes for fonts might notice the replacement is very close to OEM but not exact.

Bus Tire Wheel Hood Automotive lighting

The rear was a bit of a mess. The bumper had a black strip painted across the lower section where a backup camera was sitting hidden. I have no need for that and it’s not stock-looking, so out it went and in to paint went the bumper. There was some weird black electrical tape or something above the 3rd brake light for some reason, so that got removed. The paint on the spoiler wasn’t looking very well done, either, so the whole rear end got painted. I also added the rear garnish reflectors just because I prefer that look. And of course, I updated all of the rear badges with new originals when everything was back from the body shop.

Automotive parking light Car Vehicle registration plate Vehicle Automotive tail & brake light

So that’s pretty much it for the exterior. To finish it off, I have a set of clean OEM OZ F1 wheels waiting back in the US.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Locking hubs Vehicle

It still has the OEM rain guards, which I dig. I have ordered some fresh fender liners and yellow fender molding pads but those are finishing details. But I’m pretty much ready to say the exterior is done. Really, this time I mean it!

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The interior is currently my next frontier. Everything will get a full detail at the end to top it off, but before that can happen, I’d like to tidy everything up and fix the issues I find along the way. At the moment, the carpet and seats are out and I am starting on the dash removal.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Gas Bumper

The seats have some expected wear but nothing too egregious. There’s some fading, particularly on the top of the back seats. Again, minor stuff. They’ll get cleaned up but I don’t think I’ll have to do much in the way of repairs. This isn’t a museum piece, after all.

Vehicle Automotive design Car Hood Personal luxury car

The carpet is pretty haggard and worn through at this point so I have found a local vendor who can create a replacement. I might get the trunk liners redone at the same time, just to get everything consistent and fitted properly. We’ll see once I get back there, as the battery is in the trunk.

But the big issue, surprise, is the LHD dash. I’m actually really glad the Evo is a Mirage/Lancer because it makes sourcing these generic compatible parts much easier. I scored a complete dash and center console with metal mounting brackets on FB Marketplace and my plan is to remove mine, see what horrors lie beneath, and then eventually put it back together with the cleanest pieces in the best condition.

Motor vehicle Gas Auto part Trunk Automotive exterior

Vehicle Car Speedometer Motor vehicle Steering part

Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Car Vehicle audio

One item that is not so easily interchangeable is the climate control panel. Because the Evo has the digital unit rather than round dials like the RS, some cutting had to take place. However, some remnants of the round dials remain. Finding a LHD CP9A GSR panel is quite difficult so I may see if I can find a local vendor who could fix it up and look factory. I have an unmolested panel from the new dash that they could start with, or just use the one that’s already in there. We’ll see. It’s just trimmings/details but I’d still like it looking as original as possible, albeit mirrored. And I’ll replace the bulbs on the actual climate control unit while it’s out.

Vehicle Automotive design Plant Camera accessory Personal luxury car

Speaking of hacked up pieces, there are a few gauges scattered about the cockpit and all have damaged the OEM dash underneath in some way. The 2 center vents have been removed and some poorly fitting, hideous faux carbon panels with gauges in them have been inserted in their place. On the left side, a faux carbon pod has been stuck on top of the vent with more cutting underneath. It currently has boost, AFR and oil pressure gauges. But it’s the 2020s so I'm considering breaking from the OEM-ness and going with an ECUMaster ADU 7” digital dash. This will consolidate everything into one modern unit rather than run a half dozen individual gauges that all need their own mounts and senders. Not to mention gauge pods for LHD are harder to come by and I don’t want to drill holes everywhere. A few vendors sell a dash cluster for digital displays that replaces the OEM cluster, which I’m a little bummed to lose (and will probably hang onto for completeness), but I think that’s the cleanest, most comprehensive solution going forward for this car. But I'm not sold on it yet, considering this won't be a track car or have more than basic bolt ons. TBD

Hood Light Automotive tire Black Speedometer

The steering wheel is pretty rough. The trimming has been removed and replaced with some weird wrap that looks pretty amateur. But more worrying is the airbag unit that is bulging out. That’s not too important for a garage queen project car, so I decided to go with a proper alcantara-wrapped OMP wheel, which will go nicely with the yellow exterior.

Steering part Motor vehicle Vehicle Car Steering wheel

Eye Audio equipment Gadget Wood Font

I need to swap the trunk and gas cap levers from the right side to the left. No idea why that wasn’t done with the LHD conversion other than the “good enough” standards they had, I guess. Maybe a more modern head unit, who knows. New shifter bushings are going in and a bunch more details and cleanup (and issues to discover) along the way, undoubtedly.

· Registered
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Now on to the mechanical fun stuff.

Brakes: I have pretty much completed the brakes. As I said, the calipers were gold when I bought it but are back to red as well as having a piston seal rebuild. I popped on some new rotors and pads and did a bleed. It currently has some old ProjectU braided lines that I’m going to swap out for a new set of AMS lines but that’s about it.

Automotive tire Vehicle brake Wheel Alloy wheel Tire

Suspension: Here’s where things start getting spicy again. As I mentioned, the car has a mish-mash of spring/struts and coilovers. While this won’t be a track car (write it again Bart)

Green Organism Grass Font Adaptation

I have decided to ‘do it once, do it right’ and after many months of COVID delays, a nice set of Ohlins DFVs arrived. Same as I ran on my VIII and they were oh, so sweet. Surely overkill but do it once, do it right. ¯\(ツ)

Since the car is roughly a quarter century old and certainly hasn’t been pampered, I decided to follow my prior HPDE build blueprints and replace all of the suspension bushings throughout. Tighten and freshen everything up above and beyond the call of duty.

Steering: My arch nemesis. It didn’t take too long after buying the car to start looking for OEM LHD CP9A steering racks. Unsurprisingly, they are very hard to come by and quite pricey. While not particularly cheap, I was delighted to find an aftermarket source of LHD CP9A quick racks from PRS Quick Steering out of Poland. They specialize in Subarus but offer a LHD Evo 4-6 quick rack that is a crazy 1.8 turns lock to lock, cutting the current 3.5 turns in half! I hope it’s a simple, direct replacement but we’ll see what we run into. To finish it off, I picked up a full steering rack service kit (new tie rods and ends) as well as axle seals, new OEM wheel studs and lugs nuts as well as axle castle nuts, washers and cotter pins. I suppose I should probably do wheel bearings “When in Rome”?

Nickel Gas Auto part Bicycle part Metal

Engine/ECU: And finally, what’s an Evo without some power mods. The quick and short of it:
  • Stock block
  • Rebuilt head; GSC S1 cams with beehive springs & titanium retainers
  • Evo IX turbo
  • Standard bolt-ons; speed density intake, IC & pipes, full exhaust (Invidia O2 housing, DTS custom fabricated downpipe, catless 3" exhaust with Blitz NurSpec muffler), Walbro 255, etc
  • Full maintenance overhaul: New OEM timing belt and balance shaft, OEM head gasket & ARP studs, all new OEM exhaust nuts/studs/gaskets, OEM water pump, spark plugs, etc.
  • ECU Master Black dyno tuned by DTS Performance on Dynocom @ 346hp/307lbft
I strongly and repeatedly emphasized reliability with no target horsepower number.

Font Parallel Rectangle Pattern Paper

Automotive tire Tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exhaust

Oh, and some general engine bay cleanup and originality. I sense more to come on this front…

Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Hood Automotive design

Motor vehicle Car Vehicle Automotive design Yellow

Drivetrain: The clutch has been replaced with an Exedy twin disk HD, same as I ran on my 8. ARP flywheel bolts, throw out bearing and gaskets while it was apart. Other than that, I don't plan on changing any mechanical bits (tranny, transfer case, AYC rear diff) unless need be. Until then, it will just be bushings and cleanings along the way.

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Locking hubs Alloy wheel

· Premium Member
493 Posts
gut!!! i like evo 5 and a project to restore it in better conditions similar to original.let us know about that new steeering wheel altternative.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts