Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10 Turbo with 4B11 DOHC Mivec Turbo
Dummies Guide to Vehicle Modifications!
The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X came onto the market with its new generation engine and has certainly proven its worth. The Engine being a new all aluminium design, makes more power with a smaller turbo compared to its predecessor the EVO 9. The drive train on the vehicle came out with the two choices of a 6 Speed Manuel or the impressive SST Twin Clutch set-up. What is most disappointing was how Detuned these engines are from the factory for Australia. Literally the factory Mivec maps, which are really continuously variable inlet and exhaust timing, are essentially turned off with only a very minor effect on the motor. As a result of this the vehicle with tuning can make huge improvements not only in power, but torque and fuel economy.
It is not uncommon to hear complaints about laggy throttle response, fluctuating boost levels and surging under power. Despite all this, the factory set-up is still impressive and the sports mode driving in the SST models certainly has some punch with its ultra fast gear changes. The major issues found on these vehicles is the impressive list of CEL codes that appear with any reasonable level of modifications along with the SST Transmission clutches having a very definite horsepower limit.
Whilst all care is taken with the following information in this guide, we recommend you speak with your tuner / installer prior to performing any work on your vehicle. We also recommend performing the modifications in the order provided, in order to maximise your gains and minimise your expenses.
Recommended Modifications – for the Street Driven Vehicle to Heavy Track Work
The impressive thing about the EVO 10 is that you don’t have to have a long list of modifications added to it to get high levels of performance. The factory output of these vehicles is usually around the 220hp at all four wheels. With nothing more than basic mods and a retune they quite easily reach the 300 – 320hp without even trying.
Factory boost levels start at the 19 psi range and drop down to the 15 psi range. Alterations to the tuning brings boost in a lot earlier, and produces much better fuel economy figures. The Manuel models will produce usually an extra 10 – 15hp at the wheels in comparison to the SST models.
Basic First Modifications – these are good for up to 290 – 300hp at the wheels
- Air Intake System Upgrade – Air Cleaner
- Exhaust System Upgrade – Cat Back Exhaust System
- Boost Upgrade – 3 port Solenoid / Boost Pill
- Blow off valve upgrade
- Remap factory ECU
Recommended Secondary Modifications (For boost levels / higher engine loads) – these are good for up to 330hp at the wheels with smooth boost curve
- Air Intake System Upgrade – Air Intake Pipe
- Exhaust System Upgrade – Front Pipe Kit
- Fuel Pump Kit
- Inter-cooler Pipe Kit
- Waste gate Actuator replacement
- Injector upgrade
- Remap factory ECU
Additional Modifications for those that want to – these allow for in excess of 350hp at the wheels
- Front Mount Inter-cooler replacement
- Turbo Manifold replacement
- Exhaust Upgrade – Turbo outlet
- Camshaft upgrade
Air Intake System Upgrades
The stock air box on these vehicles are very effective in there own design. They don’t allow large heat soak to occur, have a large filtering area and get reasonable airflow. Our preference is to retain the stock air box and fit it with the K&N panel replacement filter which for the majority of customers, is all that you would ever require, even for high level modifications later down the track.
- K&N Panel Replacement Air Filter – increases air flow with less restrictive filter material.
- K&N Pod Filter Replacement – Increased heat soak but more capacity for air induction, suitable for those chasing very high horsepower level.
- Intake Pipe Kit – between the turbo and air box, the factory pipe is not smooth and it has been shown that replacing it with a smooth silicone hose has considerable improvements in air flow. As this feeds the air into the turbine unit itself, the results are quite dramatic and are very noticeable
Many people are still of opinion that fitment of an intake pipe kit with a exposed pod filter is better than the stock air box / panel filter set-up. There may be marginal improvements in horsepower for such a system, but the same gains will be found if the same intake pipe kit is fitted up to the stock air box.
Another thing to remember, is the MAF sensor on these vehicles are very sensitive to airflow, more so than earlier models, and changes to diameters of the air intake pipe work, air box setups has dramatic changes on the factory tune. It is not uncommon to see large changes in air fuel ratios with a simple air filter change.
Blow Off Valve Upgrade
The EVO vehicles came out with two types of blow off valves. Many came with the plastic units, the MR models came out with the metal unit. The plastic based units are renowned for boost leakage once you get above 17 – 18 psi, as well as being inconsistent. Replacement of these to the factory EVO MR Metal unit, improves boost response, can increase boost by no longer leaking off and has the ability to handle in excess of 25 psi without any issues.
We use after market units like GFB, Turbo smart where these units are direct fitment and most importantly, are fully legal with any police inspection. Use of VTA – Vent To Atmosphere after market units can create idling / stalling issues on gear changes as well as being illegal.
Inter cooler and piping Upgrades
The stock pipe work on the EVO X is probably the worst in design compared to earlier evo vehicles. There are several very long silicone type hoses to be found, especially the one over the top of the engine and the hosing for the blow off valve. These long hoses create a large amount of expansion when coming on boost and are one of the reasons for variations in boost curves. Replacing these with a hard pipe kit has dramatic improvements in boost control, airflow and the throttle response of the vehicle.
There are many brands out there but there are generally two kits
- Inter cooler Hard Pipe Kit – replaces all hoses from the turbo to inter cooler and from inter cooler to throttle body.
- Blow off valve hard pipe kit – replaces the very very long hose from the lower inter cooler pipe near the throttle body to the blow off valve mounted near the firewall.
The factory inter cooler on the EVO X is a nice large unit with fairly good airflow, but there been evidence that going to a better designed / larger unit can produce significant gains.
This has been shown on the dyno where the upgraded units produce more consistent power at higher boost levels in comparison to the stock unit.
Companies like PWR, Plazzaman etc have all released kits. We recommend staying with quality firms like this if you wish to go for an inter cooler upgrade.
Exhaust System Upgrade
Like all vehicles the factory systems are designed to keep noise levels at a very low level. There are four levels of improvements in the EVO Exhaust systems. These are
- Cat Back Exhaust System – self explanatory. From the cat converter back, fitment of an upgraded 3″ exhausts system. This will improve power, torque and allow the motor to breath better. Increased acceleration and eagerness to rev.
- Front Pipe / Cat Converter Upgrade – replacement of stock with a high flowing Metallic Cat Converter. Continues to focus on improving the breathing of the vehicle. The front pipe / cat converter are all included in the one design. 3” diameter of course for maximum benefits.
- Turbo Outlet – this housing off the back of the turbo is not terrible, but is very difficult to get access to. After market units with larger outlets have significant flow improvements over the stock design but is only required for those who are pusing the stock turbo to its maximum limits.
RPW utilises several brand systems like TurboXS, Xforce and other imported brands. The reason being they provide a true 3″ system from the front pipe to the rear, with a very high quality metallic cat converter, with mandrel bent stainless steel piping.
Other after market Japanese systems like Apexi, Greddy etc usually only come with 2 3/4″ diameter pipework and do not come with cat converters.
The turbo outlet housing has not shown to provide massive gains in horsepower. Unfortunately replacement of this unit is a very time consuming and expensive process, and for the majority of customers, will never really need to be replaced. Its location in the engine bay near the firewall, and general design usually means that the complete removal of the turbo in order to remove it. Due to the very integrated design and lack of room, this can cost significant sums of money.
Fuel Pump Upgrade
The EVO X system is completely different to all earlier Evo vehicles. The first major change is it is a slightly larger pump and is good for up to the 300hp range fairly comfortably. Its new design though, which includes the fuel filter surrounding it, means that the usual fitment of a pump is not so simple. New pumps are now available as direct fitment to the vehicle and are available in sizes of either 255 or 300lph. Larger pumps require modifications to be fitted and are not required for most normal street / light track vehicle.s
The second addition should be the fuel pump relay mounted in the main fuse box. There were issues with early relays failing and dropping voltage to the fuel pump. This resulted in bad idling and leaning out. There is an upgrade kit from Mitsubishi to replace this relay, or worst case, swap out the horn relay for a temporary fix. RPW stocks the upgrade fuel pump relay at all times and is a simple change over. All EVO X / RA Lancer owners should always replace this unit, from the black factory to the upgraded Green or Blue relay unit at first possible opportunity.
The stock fuel injectors on the EVO X lancers are fairly large to start with, being a 580cc unit. Once you reach the 300hp range at the wheels, the stock injectors with the fuel pump upgrade usually reaches 90% injector cycle. The standard upgrade is to go to at least some 650cc units, or larger 750cc if camshafts and other mods are to be added. For those considering moving to E85 fuels, 750 – 900cc units are recommended.
With the use of larger injectors retuning is absolutely required.
Boost Upgrade Options
The EVO X vehicle utilises a factory twin solenoid bleeder system onto the stock waste gate. A Restrictor pill restricts the volume of gases going to the waste gate, and is bled off by an electronically controlled solenoid to raise the boost level above the waste gate actuator spring tension (Usually set to 10 psi).
There are three methods of electronically controlling the boost on the EVO. The first two methods, utilise the Factory ECU. The third method replaces this with an after market unit.
- Factory Boost Pill Upgrade – the simplest, cheapest and for majority of customers, most effective method. Fitting a smaller boost pill allows the boost level to be upgraded at all rpm levels. Side effects of this method, is that because boost is always being fed to the waste gate actuator, it does bleed off slightly earlier than other methods, and does not peak as early. This system requires retuning of the factory ECU. This system is good for up to 25 psi with no side effects and is the perfect choice for daily driven vehicles for smooth power delivery. The twin relay option on the EVO X gives great levels of control and for the majority of customers, this is all you would ever need.
- Fitting a 3 Port Boost Solenoid – again utilising the factory ECU for control of boost. The factory 2 port / boost pill setup is replaced with an after market 3 port solenoid. By using 3 ports, boost is held off the waste gate actuator until the last possible moment, allowing the boost level to reach the desired point as early as possible. This system requires significantly more tuning of boost with the factory ECU, but provides the same level of boost control as after market units. This provides a very aggressive boost and power curve, providing that typical kick or push on acceleration as it hits peak boost. This system can allow peak boost to also be created earlier, by as much as 250 – 500 rpm over the stock setup.
- After market Electronic Boost control – there is no doubt these work well and can be very quickly and easily setup on the vehicle. More advanced units allow up to four different boost levels, and depending upon the model, can be setup for a stable boost curve within 10 minutes. But they do take considerable time to set-up including wiring through the firewall and good value ones start around the $600 range plus fitment and tuning. For these our preference is the Greddy Profec B Spec units which don’t have complicated menu options.
- Waste gate Actuator Upgrade – no matter which method you choose, at some point the factory waste gate is going to creep off and not allow a boost level of usually around 15 psi, above 6000 rpm to be maintained. The logical choice is to replace the actuator with a 1.3 / 1.5 BAR unit. This allows all of the above boost methods to work more accurately, and allows the boost curve to remain as flat as possible in the higher rpm ranges. With 3 port solenoids, this also aids in stopping oscillations in the boost curve as the tuning over compensates when above 20 psi (Depending upon turbo and exhaust choices)
Our preference is to utilise the 1.5 BAR Actuator with the choice of the stock bleeder system or 3 port solenoid. For SST Models the factory system is the most recommend, for Manuel models the 3 Port Solenoid is the better choice for earlier boost levels.
Camshaft Package Upgrade
Camshafts for these new 4B11 engines are still relatively new and we are waiting for more solid data to appear before providing information on these. Certainly any camshaft change will result in serious alterations to the tuning of the vehicle. It is our opinion that for the majority of customers, this will be completely unnecessary, focus instead on a turbo upgrade first as the variable tuning on intake and exhaust separately, produces already great control and the ability to make power in excess of 350hp at the wheels. This is not to say that large gains cannot be produced from camshaft changes, but the gain V cost scenario is very high. This should certainly not be considered until all other modifications have been done first.
Turbo Manifold / Turbocharger Upgrade
There are upgrade turbo packages arriving on the market now for the EVO X vehicle. We will update on these once more data is available. Meanwhile upgrading to a new turbo manifold would provide some gains in horsepower and torque. Unfortunately these are still designed as stainless steel units and as such, are still renowned for there cracking issues over time, even the high level brands and especially Ebay items. This should be considered only after all other options have been eliminated first.
Retune Factory ECU
The EVO vehicles have the benefit of being able to reflash the factory ECU. This enables the fuel, ignition, boost and many other features of the ECU to be altered to virtually any levels of modifications. Larger injectors can be tuned in, modifications in air flow, speed limiters, boost limiters are no longer an issue.
This has the advantage of retaining all of the factory ecu features, smooth idle, air conditioning and thermo fan control etc.
It has been shown that even on fairly stock vehicles, tuning has huge improvements in virtually every facet of the vehicle. It is our sheer pleasure to see customers come in with a stock EVO X and leave, to get a phone call 10 minutes later with them commenting on how different the vehicle is to drive. Our focus is on the whole driving pleasure, not just the top end horsepower at 100% throttle. We have seen many of the tunes done by rival firms and they do not go anywhere near as detailed as our tunes do. Ask your tuner what he is modifying, and if it does not include fuel, ignition timing, Drive by wire maps, mivec maps, boost maps, CEL codes then you are not getting your monies worth.
There are also several key issues with the EVO X with fuel economy and long and short term fuel trims. Especially with fuel trims affecting the vehicle at high throttle loads. Part of the RPW Tune is to disable the long term fuel trims from affecting high engine loads. No one wants to see an engine being leaned out by 25% because of atmospheric conditions when cruising combined with a bad tune.
RPW specialises in the OpenEcu Tuning utilising a combination of EcuFlash and EvoScan. For more detailed information on this – check out our dedicated tuning section on the forum. We also have the ability to incorporate extra features like valet mode, flat shift changes (Depending upon models). We make one warning though – there are a lot of firms appearing these days claiming to be Evo Tuners using this software. Before getting your vehicle tuned, we recommend you find out how long and how many vehicles they have tuned.
But like everything, there are side effects. Tuning with these systems is done by data logging and then flashing. Once the vehicles reach a certain level of modifications, the cost to retune can become very expensive. The EVO X due to its additional controls of the SST Transmission and the drive by wire throttle body is not one left to amateurs.