2004 Ralliart will not start, cranks hard, no spark on plugs - EvolutionM - Mitsubishi Lancer and Lancer Evolution Community



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2004 Ralliart will not start, cranks hard, no spark on plugs

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Old Jul 31, 2017, 02:41 PM   #1
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2004 Ralliart will not start, cranks hard, no spark on plugs

Well, my 2004 Lancer Ralliart, which was purchased new, has finally stopped running with just under 200k miles on the car. Auto trans, 2.4L, Timing belt was replaced after front end damage about 5 years ago. My GF has been driving this car exclusively for about a year since I got a new car (Focus RS) and her old Taurus broke down.

Here are the symptoms:

Driving fine, then would not start as it sat in my driveway one day. It was turning over hard but it would never start the engine (it would turn so hard I could feel the 200k miles on the engine mounts as the engine tried with all it's might). Never had any issues starting before.

Troubleshooting steps taken:

1) Pulled spark plugs -- spark plugs were covered in oil

2) Purchased new valve cover gasket and spark plug seal kit as well as new spark plugs-- cleaned out spark plug wells of any oil, installed new gasket and spark plugs. Still would not start

3) Rented a code reader -- car is not throwing a code for whatever reason so here I realized I was on my own in troubleshooting.

4) Tested to see if new spark plugs were even sparking, holding them to metal on the engine while the ignition was turned -- no spark from the spark plugs

5) Realized I have no idea what the next step I should take is and started typing this post.

My ideas for what the problem could be:

1. Crankshaft Position Sensor -- I've been looking through the forum and seen this part come up a number of times. When it goes bad it can cause issues similar to mine. The only problem is that part is $70 and if it isn't the right thing I've wasted a lot of money.

2. Coil Packs -- unsure on this, as the car has individual coil packs for each spark plug right? Doubtful all 4 coil packs failed at the same time.

3. Stop Trying to be a Shadetree Mechanic and Take it To a Shop -- I finally towed the car out of my driveway today to my office, as I have failed over and over trying to get this fixed on my own and my dad can help me if it's at my office much easier. Unfortunately, both of our expertise in cars lies in a specific vehicle (Fiat X1/9) and we're pretty pitiful working on anything else, as I am sure you've realized reading this. Worst comes to worst I can tow it to a qualified mechanic...

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas I would be happy to hear them. Ultimately, if there's confidence here it could be the CSP sensor I will purchase it and update everyone on how that goes.

Appreciate the help in advance, thank you for reading.

EDIT: Member since 2008, makes first post in 2017 hahaha, man has this car been reliable.

DOUBLE EDIT: Now I'm really sad seeing that I joined when I had my 2008 lancer rolled it and totaled it in 2009, it was a great car.
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Old Aug 17, 2017, 02:21 PM   #2
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Well, no response to my initial thread but alas, I was wrong anyways. After some further troubleshooting I got a bluetooth code reader and it threw P0340 (camshaft position sensor).

I saw another post on a forum that mentioned it threw this code when the timing belt lost it's teeth and the starter no longer turned the timing belt. The timing belt does not turn when the key turns the engine over -- I can see revs on the OBD2 reader, but the timing belt does not move.

I know this is a high interference engine. Is it likely that I've blown the top half of the engine in my dozen attempts to start the engine with essentially no timing belt? The car seemed to be driving fine and it hasn't been able to be driven since this problem started in my driveway.

Is there a high probability that if I go through with the timing belt/water pump change that I will likely have bent valves or scarred pistons from the attempts to start it?
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Old Aug 17, 2017, 02:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bjr990 View Post
Well, no response to my initial thread but alas, I was wrong anyways. After some further troubleshooting I got a bluetooth code reader and it threw P0340 (camshaft position sensor).

I saw another post on a forum that mentioned it threw this code when the timing belt lost it's teeth and the starter no longer turned the timing belt. The timing belt does not turn when the key turns the engine over -- I can see revs on the OBD2 reader, but the timing belt does not move.

I know this is a high interference engine. Is it likely that I've blown the top half of the engine in my dozen attempts to start the engine with essentially no timing belt? The car seemed to be driving fine and it hasn't been able to be driven since this problem started in my driveway.

Is there a high probability that if I go through with the timing belt/water pump change that I will likely have bent valves or scarred pistons from the attempts to start it?
how many miles on that belt? Typical failure...was it oem or aftermarket? Gates belts are known to fail prematurely...you might get lucky, I did...throw a new belt on and check the compression.
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Old Aug 17, 2017, 02:36 PM   #4
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how many miles on that belt? Typical failure...was it oem or aftermarket? Gates belts are known to fail prematurely...you might get lucky, I did...throw a new belt on and check the compression.
Thanks, all 190k are on the belt, OEM. Is there any really good instructions for the belt replacement?

I don't want to waste 10 hours changing the belt to find out I blew the top half of the engine...I know it shouldn't take that long but it will probably take me a while....
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Old Aug 21, 2017, 06:44 AM   #5
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Thanks, all 190k are on the belt, OEM. Is there any really good instructions for the belt replacement?

I don't want to waste 10 hours changing the belt to find out I blew the top half of the engine...I know it shouldn't take that long but it will probably take me a while....
well to change the belt, you have to be in there anyway...so just take the old belt off, put a new one on real quick make sure the area is clean as oil and coolant will ruin the belt. And set the timing and tension it and check compression...if it's bad take the belt off and pull the head, have it decked and new valves in, get a automotive machine shop to do all the work, it cost me $280 Canadian, years ago. Mind you I did not have to replace any valves, machine shop sentbit back with the same valves they just did a valve job on it. I have a spare head lying around, which can be found cheap, there's a wrecker here where if you pick it yourself, an engine is like $150...find one with a blown bottom end or something, or even better one that was in a collision. these cars are aging, the value is not worth enough to pay someone to do a $1200 timing belt job, and new oem valves are pretty expensive if they're even still available. If compression good, replace water pump, pulleys and tensioners, balance shaft belt as well and reassemble. Pm me, I can provide detailed instructions on how to do the job, I'm not typing it out.

Last edited by CrAnSwIcK; Aug 21, 2017 at 07:11 AM.
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Old Aug 22, 2017, 09:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by CrAnSwIcK View Post
well to change the belt, you have to be in there anyway...so just take the old belt off, put a new one on real quick make sure the area is clean as oil and coolant will ruin the belt. And set the timing and tension it and check compression...if it's bad take the belt off and pull the head, have it decked and new valves in, get a automotive machine shop to do all the work, it cost me $280 Canadian, years ago. Mind you I did not have to replace any valves, machine shop sentbit back with the same valves they just did a valve job on it. I have a spare head lying around, which can be found cheap, there's a wrecker here where if you pick it yourself, an engine is like $150...find one with a blown bottom end or something, or even better one that was in a collision. these cars are aging, the value is not worth enough to pay someone to do a $1200 timing belt job, and new oem valves are pretty expensive if they're even still available. If compression good, replace water pump, pulleys and tensioners, balance shaft belt as well and reassemble. Pm me, I can provide detailed instructions on how to do the job, I'm not typing it out.
We cut the timing belt and we did a little test someone on another forum suggested of setting all 4 pistons even (clear of the valves) and then checking to see if the valves will still move freely. The valves did move freely for 1/4 rotation each time with the same exact amount of effort, so I am hopeful it might be alright.

We are proceeding the the timing belt/waterpump/pully changes. Here are questions my dad had before proceeding if you wouldn't mind answering them:

Can we turn the cam between valve closings and than turn the crank to top dead center safely?

Looking at the cam with the valve cover off, how to tell if 1 or 4 is closed at top dead center?

I had another question -- the engine mount that is right by the timing belt -- I'm going to need to remove that to do all this right? I tried to get it removed yesterday but it seems as though the three upwards studs that come off the block and into the mount are holding the mount locked in place, even with all the hardware removed. Should I try and get a floor jack under the side of the engine, lift the engine some to relieve the tension, and then will I be able to remove the engine mount?

Thanks again for the help thus far.
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Old Aug 22, 2017, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjr990 View Post
We cut the timing belt and we did a little test someone on another forum suggested of setting all 4 pistons even (clear of the valves) and then checking to see if the valves will still move freely. The valves did move freely for 1/4 rotation each time with the same exact amount of effort, so I am hopeful it might be alright.

We are proceeding the the timing belt/waterpump/pully changes. Here are questions my dad had before proceeding if you wouldn't mind answering them:

Can we turn the cam between valve closings and than turn the crank to top dead center safely?

Looking at the cam with the valve cover off, how to tell if 1 or 4 is closed at top dead center?

I had another question -- the engine mount that is right by the timing belt -- I'm going to need to remove that to do all this right? I tried to get it removed yesterday but it seems as though the three upwards studs that come off the block and into the mount are holding the mount locked in place, even with all the hardware removed. Should I try and get a floor jack under the side of the engine, lift the engine some to relieve the tension, and then will I be able to remove the engine mount?

Thanks again for the help thus far.
you can take that engine mount off, the engine won't move much....valve movement doesn't mean they're seating/sealing correctly...with the pistons all half way up, you should be able to turn the camshaft freely...to find tdc line up all timing marks. If you would like to verify 1 and 4 are at tdc you can either look down the spark plug tube with the plug out, or stick something down there that won't fall in or break...with the timing marks aligned 1 should be at tdc. I have the service manual if you would like to see it...make sure you replace the balance shaft belt as well as the auto tensioner...DO NOT use a gates belt...use oem only.
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Old Aug 28, 2017, 08:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by CrAnSwIcK View Post
you can take that engine mount off, the engine won't move much....valve movement doesn't mean they're seating/sealing correctly...with the pistons all half way up, you should be able to turn the camshaft freely...to find tdc line up all timing marks. If you would like to verify 1 and 4 are at tdc you can either look down the spark plug tube with the plug out, or stick something down there that won't fall in or break...with the timing marks aligned 1 should be at tdc. I have the service manual if you would like to see it...make sure you replace the balance shaft belt as well as the auto tensioner...DO NOT use a gates belt...use oem only.
Thanks again for the follow-up. The service manual would be great. My email is the same as my user name @gmail.com
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Old Sep 27, 2017, 03:14 PM   #9
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I'm back and reading about this and I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your RA. Mine died as well and is sitting on my driveway until today. I'm not planning on letting go of it but time and money is a big factor right now. But you know what, I'm glad to hear that you're doing your best to save your RA. That's the right way to go. These cars are gems. I love them to death and I wish I could go back in time and repair my RA. Cheers to you my friend. If you need anything, we're all here willing to help and this is the best place to get that Grade A support that you need and want...
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