||10/26/2007 - If I could roll back the time and return to that day when I decided to sign the paper on my new Eclipse, now I would speed away from the dealership in my boring Honda with a big smile on my face thinking that I'd rather ride a Vespa than let someone steal my $20,000.
But what's done is done, and there is no way to roll the time back, so all I can do now is warn the others, or at least let others know what they are about to get themselves into. Things that would stop me from buying another Eclipse:
- Difficulties with the service: good dealerships are hard to find, so technically you might have to drive far to get away from runarounds. Dealer services tend to do everything to avoid fixing your car. I ran into it and heard many others complaining. Almost every visit to dealer is like standing a trial where you try to prove that your car is not ok and the dealer tries to prove that you are an idiot. Benefit of the doubt does not exist in Mitsubishi land.
- Very poor quality of components, brakes, clutches, cheap fluids, rattling interior plastics. Not to mention Eclipse sheet metal that rusts even in salt free states like Florida. Some Eclipses are still equipped by notorious 10 spoke alloy rims that are too soft, tend to bend easily and develop cracks.
- Very flaky assembly: even though I realize that the DSM assembly plant in Normal, IL is state of the art, both of my doors stick out of door jams, my paint has run on one of the doors since day one, my interior rattles. I found some duct tape used under my front bumper as gasket. The car has no rust proofing on it whatsoever, as if it was disposable after 2, or 3 years, I assume by the rate my car is rusting. Take a look under an inexpensive Volkswagen built in Brazil or Mexico and compare how it is rust protected in comparison to Eclipse.
- Reliability is the most important reason why I would stay away from another Eclipse. This car is by no means well put together, it is not finished / complete. If I could compare this car to software, I would say that it is functional beta, but not a release. It requires constant maintenance, as you can see by my work orders since the beginning of its days. The sad part is that when you think that it is all fixed now and finally it is going to operate like the new car should, something else goes out.
- Value depreciation is another very important reason why Eclipse is not a good way to spend your money. After the immediate depreciation Eclipse keep loosing value for so long that even if you want to trade it in 2 years later you are still going to be upside down (owe more than the car is worth).
Eclipse might be right for you...
- If you like to work on your car and enjoy it no matter what you have to fix.
- If you are a hardcore Eclipse tuner, owned one before, know of all the problems you might run into and ready to deal with them.
- If you plan to use Eclipse body as a shell on top of your custom built racing chassis (make sure to rust proof your shell before it rusts out in 2 years).
- If you know of all the problems people are having with their cars, but love the looks of this car and simply do not care.
- If you deserve to be punished for being MMSA executive!
||10/26/2007 - Most common problems with 2000+ Eclipse:
- Front brake rotors become warped and cause steering wheel pulsation when brake is applied at freeway and at lower speeds. This is very often the case, on my car it happened from the factory, so I assume that poor quality parts are to blame here. Rotors must be resurfaced in order to eliminate this problem, but if rotors are faulty pulsation is going to come back after ~10000 miles.
- Shifting problems with 5 speed manual transmissions are very often seen on GT models. I was also lucky to run into it and even had my clutch replaced and later transmission rebuilt. For some reason shifting into second gear on some GT cars requires a lot of effort, specially when car is cold. I was told by an ASE certified technician that this issue is transmission design flaw, because blocking rings, which are supposed to slow down gears before the up shift are not doing their job well, maybe because Mitsubishi makes them out of paper, unlike other manufacturers that tend to use more expensive material. As a result excessive wear of synchronizers leads to very expensive transmission rebuild. Sometimes rough shifting can be partially avoided by adjusting clutch pedal to push deeper. See Tips to make your Eclipse perform properly and last longer on how to adjust your clutch pedal.
- Clutch vibration on takeoff. My first clutch assembly had this problem already when I bought my car and I heard other Eclipse online club members complain about having the same problem. There is no easy fix for it, most likely your flywheel is warped and has to be resurfaced, or replaced, but it might also be the pressure plate of the clutch. In any case transmission has to come out and the sooner you notify Mitsubishi dealership of this problem the greater chance that they will cover it under warranty.
- So called: "Throw Out Bearing rattle" problem is very common and even though it is not the Throw-Out-Bearing that rattles, but the clutch disk it does make driving annoying. Ticking noise will be heard from the driver's front wheel well when car idles and it would go away, or change tone when clutch pedal is depressed. Cause of this problem is the clutch disk springs, they tend to loosen up and rattle. Eventually this might lead to the clutch failure. Curing this problem is especially difficult since dealerships tend to treat clutch components as "wear and tear" item and try to charge clients for servicing those. There is another type clutch disk available from Mitsubishi, this one is quiet and supposedly fixes the problem, but Mitsubishi dealership services and regional service managers tend to keep it under wraps to keep the cost down and avoid expensive warranty repair.
NOTE: Service Bulletin 8121 has just been issues by Mitsubishi, so if you have slight rattling noise from transmission side of your engine bay, please stop by and have your car serviced by your local Mitsubishi dealer.
- Bent rims, this is very well known issue among second and third generation Eclipse owners. Please see our Links to read more about it. Some 2000+ Eclipses came with so called GSX style rims that bend and crack so easily that you don't even have to hit them much, or even damage your tire before the rim bends. Please see attached picture for a typical example of classic 10 spoke GSX rim all bent up, but the original tire is in good shape.
- Many people complained to Mitsubishi and tried to get those rims replaced under warranty, but very few got lucky. Most of the time the answer is, ‘it is your fault’. If you follow my links you will see that many Eclipse owners are participating in class action law suit to get this issue resolved: Poor quality rims were also an issue with 95-99 Eclipse, but apparently Mitsubishi learned nothing: http://www.rbdesigns.net/mitsubishi/
- Power sunroof failures are rather common, sunroof starts to stick and after while locks in closed position, or needs help to move forward and back. Dealerships keep replacing rail guides, but after while sticking comes back.
- Rust, this is probably the most upsetting problem with Eclipses. If you live in any state where salt is used, even occasionally like in our state your car is bound to rust very quickly. Just like on pictures on my Eclipse, or another white one in Complaints, rust starts developing from inside the seams and around spot welds. The reason for it is very poor rust proofing, or merely absence of such on the top of poor body assembly. If you look at this picture you will see that wheel wells have holes that were not sealed with the sealer during the body assembly, on my car there is no sealer in those seams at all, so water and gets blown through those openings from the wheel well right into the engine bay and causes rust to form almost immediately, on a brand new car.
Please see Tips to make your Eclipse perform properly and last longer on how to rust proof your car. Rust starts coming from inside the seams and therefore is not repairable, it can only be temporarily stopped until it comes out again. This is picture of rust forming on my garage kept, 16 months old Eclipse and I do not live in Chicago. Please see other rust stories in Opinions..
- Dashboard and interior rattles are very common, I too have a few gerbils living under my dashboard, recently I think at least one cricket got under my panels as well. Even though this problem does not affect drivability of the vehicle, it does make owning it very disappointing.
- Struts can go out at very low mileage I heard few complaints myself from other Eclipse owners. My right front strut has some oily fluid on the outside of it, but it still functions properly, so until it leaks out and my car get bouncy I can’t complain.
- Rough shifting is the most common and uncomfortable problem with 2000+ Eclipse GT. There are different opinions on why Eclipse shifts roughly cold and sometimes fully warmed up, I heard some owners attribute it to bad throw out bearing, some say it is transmission flaw, but I think it is bad clutch quality / design. I drove one 2000 Eclipse which had smooth shifting into second gear, so I assume that most of GT clutches are simply faulty, but there are few owners that got lucky. To my opinion GT clutches must be recalled, but this is very unlikely that MMSA is going to spend an extra buck to satisfy people that already gave them the money. To be honest owning Eclipse does feel like someone grabbed my wallet in the dark alley and ran, but let's get back to the topic.
To improve shifting and stop slow destruction of your synchronizers every time transmission "barks" and "jerks" when shifted out of the first gear into second you can increase clutch pedal travel. If connecting rod between the clutch pedal and clutch master cylinder adjusted to be longer your clutch will disengage better and therefore shifting is bound to be smoother (almost like on a normal new cars). Please see the following image, this is exactly what your clutch pedal is like from the underneath.
Don't get scared, this procedure is fairly simple and if you can change your own oil you can do it.
1. 14MM side wrench
2. 12MM side wrench
Step 1. Bend away starter switch bracket to gain easier access to the connecting rod (like it is shown on the picture).
Step 2. Just like it is shown on the image below using 14mm and 12mm wrenches unlock counter locked nuts enough to make sure that 12 mm nut can be spun with your fingers.
Step 3. Shake clutch pedal up and down with your left hand while turning connecting rod couple of times CCW (counter clock wise) to expand its length. When there is very little free play left in the clutch pedal you can spin 12mm nut back against the 14mm and lock them against each other.
Step 4. Bend starter safety switch bracket back making sure that depressed clutch pedal pushes the button.
Note: The friction point in your clutch is going to move up, so it will take you few minutes to get used to your "new clutch", but after few days of driving you will no longer feel the difference.
EVEN THOUGH THIS IS VERY SIMPLE PROCEDURE AND WHEN PERFORMED CORRECTLY IT CAN'T CAUSE ANY HARM TO YOUR CAR, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE PERFORMING IT AT YOUR OWN RISK.
- Rust proofing is another less critical, but very beneficial suggestion. If I knew that my car was going to start rusting like a cheap trailer hitch almost immediately after its first snow exposure I would have rust proofed it. Unfortunately I hoped that such trivial things like rust protection are taken care of in modern cars since the days of early Nissan Z and Fiat, but obviously Eclipse is another exception. Eclipse owners from Arizona and other sunny states that never see snow can do without rust proofing as well as short term Eclipse leasers, but if you plan to own this car for a while rust protection is a must.
On the picture below you can see holes (arrows) in the wheel well that lead into the engine bay. Water, salt and particles are getting inside the spot welds, which for some reason are not sealed at all during the body assembly. You can also see that the top of the wheel well is not covered by any rust proofing, only the paint and now plastic shielding.
On the next picture you can see the other side of the above leakage and early rust formations. This rust is coming from the inside and can not be fixed, it can only be slowed down and cosmetically hidden.
In order to apply rust proofing best to use is the Rubberized Undercoat spray by 3M (picture below), or you can always have it done professionally by places like Ziebart and such. Make sure that wheel wells are clean and dry the rest of instructions see on the 3M can.