1.8L SOHC Laser/Eclipse/Talon - Fuelly Forums

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Old 01-02-2008, 12:38 PM   #1
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1.8L SOHC Laser/Eclipse/Talon

What do you all think about this car/engine combo?

I had a '91 Plymouth Laser 1.8L SOHC 5-speed for about a year, turned out the dealer sold it to me w/ a salvage title and it took that whole year for them to buy the car back from me before I took them to court!

I really loved the car though. I've been looking and looking and can't find the 1.8L cars ANYWHERE! Everything is the DOHC 2.0L DSM block which is known for being problematic. The transmissions in these cars are weak as hell, but for a small 2-door commuter car, I'd trade my Saturn for one of these in a heartbeat!

Anyone have info on them or stories to tell? Go ahead, post it up!
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Old 01-02-2008, 03:57 PM   #2
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Oh, this only interests me because I'm thinking of buying a second vehicle for my MPG quest.

I averaged 27 mpg in my '91 Laser while beating on it pretty hard. If I drove sensibly and added a few MPG friendly mods, I think 35mpg could easily be obtained.

I like that it's a 2-door as opposed to my 4-door Saturn. SC2's are an option for Saturn enthusiasts seeking 2 doors and sport appeal, but I think the styling is over the top of the weak 124hp engine... just too much flash, not enough dash.

Is there anyone here driving a DSM?
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:06 PM   #3
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Like most anything I've ever mentioned here at gassavers... I stay true to my word; like the Ninja 250 discussion that went 2+ years before I bought one.

I'm going to look at a '90 1.8L 5sp Laser today in about an hour!

Wish me luck!

If I buy it, it might end up being my g/f's car to commute back and forth to school/work in for a while instead of racking up more miles on her '04 Grand Prix, or I might put her in the '96 Saturn since I've got the A/C working now and I'll drive this Laser.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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Good luck with your purchase!
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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I had a '93 turbo Eagle Talon, with the 4G63t engine. The engine actually has a reputation for bulletproof reliability. To make a long story short, I invested more money in that lemon repairing it than buying it in the first place.

It was leaking water when I bought it, so I got it at a good price. Figured if it was a blown head gasket (likely), I'd be way ahead, and if it was a cracked head, I'd come out even. Nope, it had a cracked block. My car eventually came down to having every known defect in the 1G Eclipse/Talon/Laser problem list, and there are a lot. I warped the head, had sticking brakes, got the driveshaft bushing shakes, and then the main bearings started rattling.

I'll never buy another Mitsubishi automobile. That said, I have friends who've gotten great service out of the less-stressed Mitsus. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
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Why does she want to avoid racking up miles on the Grand Prix?
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:30 AM   #7
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Thanks Jay.

Sentra - I had a '91 1.8L as well, same car essentially. This one has a few more options like center console + lid, cruise control, 4 wheel disc brakes. What I read/heard while doing all my DSM research is that basically there are two desireable models. The AWD 2.0L turbo's, which are very very finnicky (problematic in almost all aspects, like yours...) and the 1.8L for commuting. What I remember reading is that the non turbo 2.0L was a POS and should be avoided at all costs. The 1.8L cars are sorta rare or harder to find, and the 1.8L engine is said to be the bulletproof one of the two.

cow - It's only her second car ever and she paid $14k for it. I met her 3 years ago the car had 50k on it and now it's at 105k and counting. She drives A LOT and the car only manages 28mpg highway. Soon she will be going to school 40 miles away to the south from where she lives, and she's seeing me, who lives 40 miles north of where she lives and she works up around me too. So she'll be (hopefully, all things going well of course...) driving a lot more here soon. Her Grand Prix is fully loaded; leather, heated seats, 6 disc, sunroof, ABS, traction control, etc. and she wants to keep it as a "sunday driver" I think. I offered to buy the Laser and basically trade on and off with her so she could keep miles off her Grand Prix and get better gas mileage. Plus I miss mine, I always liked the interior of the 1st gen DSM's. When I say trade, I won't be driving her Grand Prix, but still driving my Saturns. Her 1st car was a Saturn SC2 5sp, so this is basically a lot like that car and she always talks about missing her little 5sp sporty car, so I think she'll love this thing once I paint it.

Details - I like bragging (about my POS's lol)

1990 Laser 1.8L 5sp
130k clean title
4 wheel disc
A/C works, power windows, cruise, tilt

Previous owner put:
new ECU
new battery
new alternator
new downpipe/flex pipe
Pioneer head unit and tweeters

Car needs:
brake pads all around and pass. front caliper is leaking.
PS line leaking somewhere needs replaced
head unit installed
paint (stay tuned for Wagner Power Painter + rustoleum experiment and no, I'm not joking!)

I went and drove the car yesterday using the e-brake to stop, lol. Very safe of course. It drives decently, I'd say exceptionally well for a $550 car. Shifts smooth, no typical DSM 2nd gear grinding going on. Didn't overheat or blow smoke from tailpipe... both good things.

Purchasing it and driving it home today. Will probably fix the brakes tomorrow and drive it around Thursday a little. I've wanted a manual transmission car to try to hypermile since there are so many unique ways to drive a manual car for FE compared to an automatic.

The Plan:
grill block, underbelly, synthetic fluids. Aim for consistant highway MPG of 35+ while the g/f drives it which is 7 or 8mpg better than her Grand Prix, and maybe 40ish when I'm behind the wheel. At $550 purchase price, if I get 10k miles out of it I'm happy.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:57 AM   #8
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I see. It's a common arrangement but I never quite understand the logic...you pay all the costs of having a nice car but drive something lame instead, just so you can save up the car, but it's not going to be worth much when you sell it either way.

28mpg is decent for an average driver in a Grand Prix...and I don't think I could tolerate letting my favorite car be a sunday driver while I spend hours every day in something where I'm not so comfortable and safe.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:21 AM   #9
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Don't bother 'saving' the grand prix. unless it's a supercharged model it's worth squat for trade in or private party and it's only going down. the drivetrain will last forever but the interiors squeak and fall apart about at the mileage it's at.

also, unless it's a SC model (which I've never had and can't speak for) it should be capable of over 30 mpg hwy easily. I've gotten 34 out of an 02 lesabre (basically the same car as a grand prix) with 2 other ppl and a trunk full of stuff for visiting family for a week at xmas
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:17 AM   #10
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Her car, her decision... I'm just trying to provide a source if she so chooses to not rack up more miles on her nice car. In doing so, I want her to get the most MPG possible out of it which is why I'm here. It's why I've always been here.

She's not planning to get rid of the car... ever. Trade-in or private party value is meaningless to her. So to extend it's life she's wanting to not put so many miles on it. I completely understand. It's also paid for, so she's not underwater on it or anything.

Also, to be sexist for about half a second here... on the safety topic:

What's more safe? A driver in a bigger car with newer crash protection vs. older car w/o.... depends on how you look at it. She likes "gadgets" so tinkering with the radio, clicking through her on board display or changing climate control settings is basically going on the whole time she's driving. If she drives a '90 Laser w/o all that junk, she'll do just that... drive. It might actually be "safer" in that aspect. More attention to the road instead of the toys inside the car. Afterall, she lost her Saturn SC2 in a ROLL-OVER on the interstate because of playing w/ her iPod. No joke.

Side note: The interior has been apart twice by me to fix the HUD system and I can assure you, it isn't squeaking or falling apart. It's quite tight.

Also, IDK why her car doesn't get great mileage. My parents had an '92 Bonneville w/ the earlier version of the 3.8L which routinely got 36-37 mpg while on the interstate with about 8 check engine codes on and at 250k miles on the original engine/trans.... her nice new 3.8L w/o any check codes only eeks out 28-30 at best on our weekend trips. It is what it is.
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