In the early 90s, Mitsubishi had a penchant for making performance-oriented cars that surprised the global automotive market. Vehicles like the Evo, Eclipse, and Galant have been widely known to make Subaru WRX STi owners cry as they see themselves getting gapped. However, this wouldn’t be entirely possible if it wasn’t for the remarkable power plant hiding under their hood: the 4G63T. Think of this engine as a local underdog that pisses on Lambos – yes, it was that great.
In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about the legendary 4G63T engine.
What Is the 4G63T Engine?
Car geeks would recognize the 4G63T as one of the legendary engines that Mitsubishi ever built. Inheriting the characteristics of its predecessor, the 4G63T was the turbocharged version of the 4G63. It came from a family of engines produced way back in the 70s and ended in 2013. The machine had made its name due to its success in the competitive racing scene, making it known as one of the most significant engines ever.
Source – Alibaba.com
The engine’s nomenclature is as follows: four stands for the number of cylinders, G stands for fuel type (gasoline), six is for the engine family, three is for the engine itself, and T stands for turbocharged. Before it was replaced by the naturally aspirated 4G64 and its turbocharged version, the 4G64T, it had quite a successful run in most of the racing competitions it has participated in.
With its bomb-proof architecture that favors fuel efficiency and high torque delivery,
Mitsubishi designed the 4G3T to race. The cars that first used the engine were the first-generation DSM cars, mainly the Eagle Talon, Plymouth Racer, and most notably, the Mitsubishi Eclipse. It was also the engine Tommi Mäkinen used to grab the four consecutive WRC championship trophies with his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Throughout the years and different Lancer EVO generations, the 4G63T was revised. It left the factory with an output of 210 horsepower. This number is not that big by today’s standards, but people in the 1980s respected the figure. While continuing their rally racing development, Mitsubishi eventually sold the 4G63T under the hood of the Mirage in the U.S. market right after they dropped the Galant V4 in 1993.
4G63T vs. 4G63: What’s the Difference?
At first glance, the two engine variants don’t seem to make much difference. But once you look deeper into the engines and their specifications, you’ll see that they’ve got many (but relatively small) differences.
Since the 4G63T was built with racing in mind, you should expect it was manufactured mainly for performance purposes. While the valvetrain of the 4G63 offers both a single overhead camshaft (2 and 4 valves per cylinder) and a dual overhead camshaft configuration, the 4G63T is only available in DOHC. It only makes sense since getting more horsepower is possible for a DOHC, while the SOHC leans more on reliability since it has lesser parts.
The turbocharged version can also carry a liter of engine oil more than the naturally aspirated version. The two engines also differ in their capacity to produce varying horsepower within specific rev ranges. While the 4G63 was reported to ramp from 109 HP to 144 HP within the 5,5000 RPM to 6,500 RPM, the 4G63T can go from 195 HP to 280 HP within the 6,000 RPM to 6,500 RPM.
Some subtle differences between the two engines make it difficult for those who want to swap parts from one another. For starters, the 4G63 has a higher compression ratio (9-10.5:1) than the 4G63T (7.8/8.5/9.5:1 – 1G, 8.8:1 – 2/3G), which makes sense for naturally aspirated reasons. There are also minor deviations between the two, such as the lack of the 4G63’s boost control solenoid, knock sensors on the 4G63T, fuel pressure regulators, pistons, connecting rods, interior and exterior manifolds, and many more.
Because of their use cases and how they operate, the two engines have several distinctions that make them unique.
What Is the Difference Between a 6-Bolt and 7-Bolt 4G63T?
The 4G63T engine has two different variants, distinguished by the number of bolts securing the flywheel to the crankshaft. The older 6-bolt version had thicker connecting rods and differed from the later version. This older engine was insanely strong and was present in the earlier versions of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser, and Eagle Talon. The only caveat with this engine was its weight – it was heavy and clunky.
Such a load is impractical if used on applications that prioritize speed and efficiency. While the 6-bolt 4G63T engine was designed to handle high-boost levels, it was underpowered and sluggish when out of boost. This is one reason why Mitsubishi decided to pull the trigger and make another engine variant, this time with 7-bolts.
Following the 6-bolt engine was the 7-bolt 4G63T. It was introduced on the Evolution versions in May 1992 up until 2006. The 7-bolt engine featured notable differences from its predecessor, including a big jump in the compression ratio of 8.5:1, improving the engine’s outburst power output immensely.
Mitsubishi employed changes to the 7-bolt engine to improve efficiency compared to the previous iteration. The piston rings can seal better, and the rods were slightly shrunk to reduce friction and rotational mass. They changed the main bearings from multiple paired caps to a single large cast iron bearing cap. The bottom end should be considerably more robust due to the adjustments to the main bearings.
While it’s true that the 4G63T’s transition from 6-bolt to 7-bolt paved the way for a more efficient engine, it also made it slightly weaker. There’s also the crankwalk issue most 7-bolt engines were notorious for. Whenever the crankshaft moves back and forth too much, it puts an excessive uneven load on the bearings, resulting in thrust bearing wear and, eventually, a broken crank position center which could shut the engine off.
What Makes the 4G63T So Special?
Source – WRCWings.com
Many car enthusiasts admire the greatness of the 4G63T for its ability to handle high boost, but what makes this engine so special is its architecture and the materials Mitsubishi used to create some of its materials.
The bottom end of the 4G63T was meant to be extremely tough and endure insanely high figures – and it did just those with finesse. This feat is possible because Mitsubishi made all the 4G63s (including the turbocharged version) to have a bore and stroke of 85mm x 85 mm, with a slightly undersquare design that supports high torque delivery and fuel efficiency.
While the engine block was made using a basic and low-tech design, it’s made out of robust cast iron and features suitable materials in the perfect places. To put it simply, the 4G63T’s engine block was unbreakable.
Source – Top Gear Philippines
As mentioned earlier, the early generations of cars that used the 4G63T engine featured six bolts that fixed the flywheel to the crankshaft. The large and thick connecting rods, very wide and robust rod, main caps, absurdly low 7.8:1 compression ratio, and forged steel nitrided crankshaft are some of the most notable features of the 6-bolt engines.
The engine’s pistons may be cast, but it sported a needlessly sturdy design partnered with low and wide rings for additional strength. It also had a forged steel camshaft made from nitride to ensure surface hardness and incur less friction. Aside from the features we’ve just mentioned, the 4G63T also had piston oil squirters, two balancer shafts, and paired main caps.
To say that the 4G63T was explicitly built for performance-level driving is a massive understatement.
What Cars Have a 4G63T Engine?
Mitsubishi used the turbocharged 4G63 engine on many cars too long to be listed in this article, so we’ll focus more on the most noteworthy applications: the ones used in the World Rally Championship for years.
Lancer EX 2000 Turbo (1981–1987)
Source – Scalemates.com
The Lancer EX 2000 Turbo cemented Mitsubishi’s name in the World Rally Championship, and it’s arguably one of the top reasons why the public now has the EVO lineup, which evolved from the Lancer. Released from 1981 to 1987, this car debuted the legendary 4G63 engine and has been one of the most popular Lancers in Mitsubishi’s history.
The car was offered as the namesake of the Lancer EX (JDM) with a turbocharged 2.0L SOHC engine, and reached a maximum power output of 168hp and achieved a respectable top speed of 124mph. A rally version was made for the Group 4 and Group B homologation and spewed out an impressive 276hp. The sales of the turbo model in Japan were too low because of the imposed emission regulations during that time.
Galant VR-4 (1980–2003)
Source – CarThrottle.com
Another iconic beholder of the 4G63T was the Galant VR-4, Mitusbishi’s first high-performance four-wheel-drive, which had a peak power of 202-237hp at 6000 rpm and peak torque of 217-224lb-ft at 3500 pm. It had a four-wheel steering system, independent suspension, ABS, and a differential-type full-time 4WD system.
To satisfy Group A’s regulation of a mandatory minimum sales of 5,000 units, Mitsubishi successfully sold said units across different countries, with 3,000 units reaching the United States shores.
Lancer Evolution (1992–2007)
Source – Autoweek.com
The Lancer Evolution had the 4G63T engine from 1992 up until 2007 until the 4B11T engine replaced it in October 2007. The turbocharged 4G63 was present inside these cars starting from the EVO 1 up to the EVO IX and has made rounds in the rally scene as well as the hearts of avid Lancer EVO enthusiasts.
Car fans have known the Lancer Evolution to be one of the best competitive race cars that Mitsubishi has ever produced. It served as their performance workhorse in the world rally scene for quite a while, and it was famous for putting other sports cars in its rearview mirror, much to its fans’ delight.
Source – Flickr.com
The Lancer Evolution lineup was only available for selected markets, so Mitsubishi rebadged it as the Carisma GT. The Mitsubishi Carisma was derived from a large family sedan manufactured for the European market from 1995 to 2004.
The Mitsubishi Carisma GT confuses many people since it has a unique name, yet it looks like it was built on the Lancer platform but is slightly bigger. Despite their common badging, it has virtually nothing in common with the base model Carisma.
Lancer WRC04 (2004)
Source – ConceptCarz.com
Mitsubishi returned to the World Rally Championship in 2004 with the Lancer WRC04, still using the trusty 4G63T engine. While it didn’t perform as expected during the year’s WRC, it had some excellent moments. Many would argue that the Lancer WRC04 seemed more promising after Mitsubishi decided to continue testing and developing it outside the realm of the WRC.
The Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04’s engine was mounted on a 5-speed semi-automatic transmission and a new AWD system developed by the partnership between Mitsubishi Motors Motorsports (MMSP) and Ricardo Consulting Engineers. The car had front brakes equipped with 8-piston calipers, and the car’s bodywork was subjected to extensive aerodynamic testing, which made it possible for some of its upgrades like new front air dams and wheel arches to happen.
|Manufacturer||Mitsubishi Motors Engine Manufacturing Co Ltd, Kyoto engine plant Diamond-Star Motors, Normal, Illinois|
|Production Years||1987 – 2007|
|Cylinder Block Material||Cast Iron|
|Cylinder Head Material||Aluminum|
|Valvetrain||4 cylinder, DOHC|
|Weight lbs (kg)||350 (160)|
|Bore mm (in)||85 (3.19)|
|Stroke mm (in)||88 (3.50)|
|Displacement, cc (in3)||1,997 cc (121.9)|
|Type of Internal Combustion Engine||Four-stroke, turbocharged|
|Compression Ratio||1G – 7.8/8.5/9.5:1 2/3G – 8.8:1|
|Power Output (hp)||1G – 200-270 hp @6250 rpm 2G – 280 hp @6,500 rpm 3G – 265-280 hp @6,500 rpm|
|Torque Output (lb-ft)||1G – 203-228 lb-ft @3,000 rpm 2G – 360-375 lb-ft @2,750-3,000 rpm 3G – 253-300 lb-ft @2,750-3,000 rpm|
|Fuel Consumption L/100km (mpg)||City – 14.6 (32) Highway – 8.2(39) Combined – 10.6 (35)|
|Max HP (on Tuning)||400+|
How Much HP can a Stock 4G63T Handle?
A stock 4G63T engine on a Mitsubishi Evolution 9 could handle up to 1000 hp, given the proper performance modifications. To do this, the engine must be in good condition. This tuning can be complex if the car has been passed down to multiple owners. The same can be said if you have an Evolution 4 up to Evolution because the engine rods of these models are too weak, forcing you to either replace them with Evolution 9 rods or forged rods.
We won’t get into detail about the tuning steps you need to go through to achieve a whopping 1000 hp from a stock 4G63T. However, we’ll give you an idea of the performance modifications you can use to drastically improve a stock 4G63T’s power output up to 500 hp.
|Step 1 (400 HP)||Performance exhaust system (3.0”) Fuel injectors (750 cc) Fuel pump (255 lph)|
|Step 2 (420 HP)||Performance cold air intake system Radiator Intercooler and pipes (3.0”)|
|Step 3 (430 HP to 450 HP)|
Throttle body (68mm) Intake manifold Balance shaft delete kit
|Step 4 (440 HP to 460 HP)||Camshafts (Kelford 272 or Tomei 270) Cam gears (adjustable) Fuel injectors (1,000cc) Fuel Rail Fuel Pressure Regulator Fuel Pump|
|Step 5 (500 HP)||Head porting Intake valves (35mm) Exhaust valves (31.5mm) Valve guides (bronze) Water/methanol injection|
Is the 4G63T Reliable?
Many of those who’ve managed to own a 4G63T engine understand how reliable and robust this engine can be, which is quite surprising considering how old it is. Despite its age, it still has pretty solid aftermarket support where you can get many parts. But looking for a fresh 4G63T can be quite challenging. It was an ideal engine for tuning and racing, and we wouldn’t be surprised if people with a new 4G63T would sell it for an astonishing price.
The bottom line is that the 4G63T had outstanding reliability considering its performance.
All Sirius engines have similar issues, whether naturally aspirated or turbocharged. As for the 4G63T engine, the oil system requires a bit more TLC because you’ll have to use high-quality oil and replace it regularly. The hydraulic valve filters are one of the engine’s weakest points, which explains why you take care of bad oil as often as you should. There’s also the tendency for damaged bearings to cause jammed shafts, eventually resulting in breaks in the timing belt.
Respectively powerful and highly reliable even in its stock form, the 4G63T has fascinated gearheads and car enthusiasts, even up to this day. Since the aftermarket support for the cars holding this engine is enormous, it was also no surprise how it became one of the best engines to tune, and for 350 hp to 450 hp, Evos became a norm. There is no doubt that the once rally-restricted but now a public race engine is one of Mitsubishi’s best attempts in making performance-oriented power plants.