A comprehensive list for the 60k, 120k, 180k service and maintenance on the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4

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60,000 (60K / 120K / 180K etc) Service Maintenance:

Timing Belt and Tune up.

for the 3000GT VR-4





This is the maintenance and service list I developed and use for the tune-up of the 30000GT VR4.
It is due every 60,000 miles OR 5 years. Whichever comes first.

This is not a "how to" guide.
This is a list of parts needed, service points, and maintenance that a thorough and proper 60k should include as well as
things to look out for, be cognizant of, or not do.

There are some mechanic tips included here but it is assumed that the person doing the work has some basic mechanic skills as a minimum, proper tools, and has the Factory Service Manuals (FSM) to perform the work to factory specifications.

Notice that it is not just every 60,000 miles but "OR 5 years". Whichever comes first. This is because some items (such as rubber timing belts, etc) age just sitting. In fact many times sitting for long periods is worse on the car than any amount of miles. So if your can has sat for a while or you are buying a car with low mileage or one that sat: it needs service and gone over in great detail.

New Owners Take Note - many people sell their car right when the 60k is due or even past due. So unless the seller can provide you PROOF that the 60k service was done within the last 60,000 or 5 years then I would advise to treat the vehicle as if it has not had the service. You can use this to adjust your offer for the car accordingly. It is wise to figure a minimum of $2,000 for a thorough 60K service to be done.

You do not want to let this service go past 60K intervals . There's many a 3000 that did just that and their timing belt broke or water pump seized. If that happens you are in for a lot more work because these are interference engines. Meaning - you will bend valves when the belt jumps or breaks.

Also for new owners - if the tuneup service was done on the car you are buying/bought check the mileage on the service record. The service needs to be done at 60,000 increments. NOT just off the odometer. Meaning - if the 60k service was done on the car at, say, 53,000 miles then the next service is due at 113,000. Waiting until 120,000 will put you over the mileage limits by 7,000 miles.

So just make sure that you have your engine all up to speed on it's service and fluids. If planning a larger build then this can be done at the same time as putting in your new pistons/rods or other bottom-end components. Either way, the basics must be planned for. If planned right then you can save a lot of labor doing things at the same time and not repeating tear downs and new gasket purchases.

A note on quality components and OEM parts: There are some parts I highly recommend using OEM (Mitsubishi) only. MLS head gaskets is one. Oil pumps is another. Those two things I will only use OEM. Nothing else. Some people also recommend OEM only hydraulic tensioners and water pumps. I agree with those two to some degree but have also had very good luck with Airtex water pumps and ITM brand hydraulic tensioners. I do not hesitate to use those brands on my own car(s) for those. In summary - use OEM unless you know that the aftermarket item(s) has been proven to be the same, or better, quality.

In general stay away from eBay. There are some components there that are ok and even 1 or 2 that are good deals. But unless you are aware of the differences or have a good recommendation for the seller just be careful buying from there. There's a lot of junk being peddled there and it can cost you some real grief using them on your expensive engine. IOW - don't scrimp to save $100 on your soon to be $5,000 engine rebuild! Do it right the first time comes into play here.

I'm not going to get too in depth on parts and suppliers. They change all the time. But eBay - beware (as above), NAPA or places like that - be wary unless otherwise advised (like axles, they are good for that, or V belts, but be careful of PCV there because some brands are backwards or get the wrong part number for your VR4/TT, a common mistake that can wreak havoc for the new owner that is not aware of it and all the smoking it will cause on your car).

OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer , which means Mitsubishi. When you go somewhere like O'Reillys (or where-ever) and they claim or use the words OEM that DOES NOT mean they are really OEM parts. What they are trying to do is say the aftermarket parts are "to OEM specs". This is NOT the same thing. So anytime you see the term OEM used on this website it means FROM MITSUBISHI. Or in the case of Stealths - Dodge, but go Mitsubishi because you will likely pay less than a Dodge dealer price.

Oil/Fluids: I use all Redline Synthetic. I think it is top of the line and second to none. There are other products that are good too but I lean towards Redline. I've used all the products for many years without fail. There's no shortage of discussions online about oils and whatnot. In the end - use quality oil and keep it changed. That's the important thing.

Here's the parts list with notes and then the actual labor recommendations. This is slightly above and beyond the original OEM recommendations but over the years many people have learned what needs checking or replacing and when. Parts in red are things to consider if doing certain upgrades or performance builds.

You really need the FSM (Factory Service Manual) for the specifications and
other information. Make the FSM your first required part. You can buy them at a few places
Or there are PDF versions available. If a NW3S member just go to our download area in the forum.
Either way - Get a FSM if you are doing your own work.

Description or notes on the part(s)
Timing Belt OEM is always a safe brand. SAGear is another or even the Gates brand is okay. The kevlar ones are very noisy and 99% of the time not needed (you are going to change them every 60k anyway so the non-kevlar last this long, save your money).
Tension Pulley
Idler Pulley
Hydraulic Tensioner

Some advise OEM only on the hydraulic tensioner and that is safe assumption. However, I've used ITM brand on dozens of cars with zero issues or failure so I am very comfortable using ITM myself and recommending to others.

Accessory Belts (P/S, Alternator, A/C)[2]

Make sure and get quality belts and replace them every 60K. Also make sure your covers are in good condition to prevent a broken accessory belt from getting caught in your timing belt. I've seen this happen on at least four occasions over the years. NAPA, Gates, etc. are all good quality belts. I use NAPA. Also make sure you get the right kind for your year as the early models (91) are different in their grooves than later years.

NAPA Part numbers: Alternator Belt 060455, PS Belt 040365
Water Pump OEM is a safe brand. Only other brand I can recommend is the USA made Airtex from Parts Dinosaur. I've installed dozens of Airtex with zero failures. UPDATE - I no longer recommend airtex water pumps as the company is now having them made elsewhere and the quality really suffered. Use OEM (Mitsubishi) only.
Air Cleaner OEM - replace, K&N (an upgrade) - clean and re-oil as needed - depends on your driving area as some may not need cleaning or re-oiling except every 120,000. Do NOT over-oil.
Engine Coolant I also recommend and use Redline Water Wetter. Our V6s can run on the hotter side in the summer so the Water Wetter does really help the efficiency of the coolant. Also - do not go over 50/50 mix. In fact if you are in a warmer climate you can go higher % on the water if you run into overheating problems. The AF is there for anti-freeze protection and boil over protection but the water is what does the cooling. I personally run 70% water and 30% Ethylene Glycol Antifreeze. And dispose of safely! Even a small amount of antifreeze can kill wildlife or pets!

Spark Plugs











Platinum is what is specified by OEM standards but since those were written we have iridium plugs which are even better and only slightly more money. They are both good for 60,000 and the iridiums are a little bit more efficient. Do not gap. If you must - be really careful as the tips can get damaged quite easily (which is why the mfg says to not gap, they are already pregapped at the factory). Stay within your heat range unless it is part of your UPGRADE PLANS. Which MIGHT require a COLDER plug.

I recommend NGK plugs. For stock or lightly modded, go with the Iridium IX.

Stock plugs (iridium): BKR6EIX-11 , if you are boosting over 10psi you can go a little colder to a BKR7EIX-11. Many people run heat range 7 in their VR4s. Don't go colder than 7 though without knowing how to select heat ranges and the consequences.

Don't overtorque them (see FSM).
Use clean and dry threads only.
Stock gap is .044 but be careful checking as the tip is fragile. They are pregapped from factory.
Some di-electric grease (silicone grease) on tip and/or inside boot is a good idea.

Some other info from NGK HERE

NOTE: For many DIY's that tackle their own 60k - there is a split ring lockwasher on the studs for the upper intake plenum. This is easily missed and when the nut is removed the person lifts the plenum up and away resulting in a lockwasher falling down the lower intake. I've seen this happen to many DIY mechanics over the years with several resulting in severely damaged engines when they started the car up with a washer down in their engine. So watch for that. My advice is to remove that split lockwasher entirely and do not replace it. Use a little blue loctite 242 or 243 instead.

Before you toss your old plugs - READ THEM. They can tell you a lot about how your engine is running. For some basic info on reading spark plugs CLICK HERE.

A good supplier I'll recommend just for spark plugs is http://www.sparkplugs.com/ , they have great prices and ship fast.

Ignition Wires Inspect and replace as needed. The OEM wires are very good quality. However a higher quality set of 8.5mm or 10mm are part of some upgrades, especially if adding an ignition amplifier.
Fuel Filter OEM is your best bet here. Mitsubishi number MB658136. Much higher quality and fit than off the shelf ones. This is one item that I find hasn't been done to older cars (ie - over 120k) when it should have been. Some mechanics are lazy. Change it. Unless you are upgrading your fuel system to handle over 600HP at which time you will want to go aftermarket.
Transaxle Fluid change
Transfer Case Fluid change (VR4)
Differential Fluid change (VR4)

I use and recommend Redline MT85 for transmission (a GL4 gear oil) or Mitsubishi Diaqueen (OEM recommended). Redline Shockproof heavy or MTL for the transfer case. Redline 75-90 GL5 fear oil for the rear differential. Also inspect and replace as needed the drain plug and fill plug crush washers. Do not overtorque these plugs. Make sure you can get the fill plug(s) out before you open the drain plug(s).

Inspect and make sure there are no major leaks. Especially the transfer case. It only holds 1/3 quart when full so any leak can be very bad.

Oil Pump

This is not needed every 60K but recommended at either 120K or 180K. It depends on the car history, owner care, and oil pressure.

The thing that usually kills the oil pumps is over-rev'ing (breaks or distorts the gears in the pump) or poor service and oil changes (wear exceeds OEM specs). Only use OEM pumps. Nothing else will do. When ordering also note that the required gaskets are ordered in addition to the pump (they do not come with the pump).

The oil pump for a 2 bolt main block is not the same as for the newer 4 bolt mainblock. So make sure you get the right oil pump.

Also note that they do not come with a gasket. The case gasket is MD189778. But you ALSO need two others (that a lot of people discover in the middle of their job!). You need the oil strainer (pickup tube) gasket MD183239 and the Oil Filter Bracket/housing gasket MD189779. Plus - have some new copper crush washers for your banjo bolt. A lot of times you can reuse them but to do things properly you should replace them.

If you are going for a race build hold off on this and consider getting aftermarket gears that can handle higher RPMs. If that is a choice you make then you need not buy a new oil pump and instead just change out the gears.

Make sure your pickup tube/strainer is in good shape and the little piece on the screen slightly bowed out. This is important! ALSO - make sure your oil pan is not dented in by some idiot jacking the car up @ the oil pan. This is VERY important tohave NO DENT in the bottom of your oil pan. It has been cited as one of the possible causes of oil starvation/cavitation (which will result in engine damage, ie - spun bearing)

PCV Inspect and replace as needed. OEM is the way to go. If not make sure it is designed the proper direction. For whatever odd reason many aftermarket ones you might get at NAPA or O'Reillys will be backwards. You will then experience problems. This valve is very important to turbocharged cars.
Brake Fluid

Inspect. Clean? Many people choose to change their brake fluid by doing a good bleed every 60k. Most people do not bleed (change) their brake fluid often enough. It is very hygroscopic so it can get contaminated easy. It is important in these cars (they are both heavy AND fast!) so I recommend to spend the extra little bit to bleed and change it out. Same with the Clutch Hydraulic Assist system. Bleed it enough to replace all the old fluid. It's easy.

If doing a road race or road performance build you'll be changing brake pads here and maybe even calipers. Adjust accordingly for your build.

Thermostat Usually not necessary to change unless there has been overheating problems or long time to warm up issues (stuck open). So if no such history this is left out of most tune-ups. Some people want to be very thorough though and want it changed. In that case I only recommend OEM. Mitsubishi part number 1305A237.
Oil Cooler Bypass Valve (VR4) This is the same as Thermostat above. But if the car has 180K or more on it and has been driven hard sometimes it is a good idea to replace this in the oil pump housing when putting on the new pump. You must order from Mitsubishi.
Valve Cover Gaskets Not necessary unless you are changing your lifters or leaking camseals or need to change plug seals. Or unless you have leaks now. Do not overtorqe valve cover bolts (a common mistake). I like the rubber ones from parts dinosaur as they come with Spark Plug Seals.
Spark Plug seals Part of the valve cover gasket kits usually (see above). If old ones are all dried out or cracked then replace them. Which means the valve covers come off (see above).
Throttle Body Gasket Usually not necessary to do because you can just swing the plenum out of the way with the TB connected. But if you do need to remove the TB for whatever reason I recommend OEM gaskets only. Use ONLY the metal gaskets (they're only $4) and make sure they are oriented the right direction, this matters as they have vacuum grooves in them.
Upper Plenum Gasket OEM or ITM metal gaskets. I do not ever recommend reusing metal gaskets. Especially if they've been heated at all by the engine running. Get new ones.
EGR Gaskets See above. Sometimes you can reuse these metal ones but use good judgment.
Mitsubishi Gray OEM sealant (or equal) Right Stuff Gray is another option. I could write a whole section on sealants and choices there. But for this write up - get the OEM Gray or some Right Stuff Gray (not black). Do not use on metal gaskets.
Front Crank Seal (part of OEM oil pumps) Not needed if you are replacing the oil pump as they come with a new seal. But if not and yours leaks now is the time to replace the seal. This can be done with the oil pump still installed.
Engine Oil
Oil Filter

Good synthetic like Redline engine oil and quality filter. I prefer Purolator Pure One brand (part number PL14459). There are others too but beyond this write up. Fram is among the cheapest (ie - crap). If you are rebuilding the engine then do not use synthetic until the rings are seated (broke in). If you can't find the purolator PL14459 at your local store try amazon.com

Oil weight is beyond this write up but on a stock vehicle you will be fine with a 5-30 Redline. Some also like a 0-40 or 0-30. If you want oil weight or more in depth info then just email. Whatever you do, do not go heavier trying to remove lifter tick (ex: 20-50). You are reducing your oil flow by doing that and is not good for your engine.

Power Steering Fluid Change or flush as required. Inspect.
3mm Lifters 91-98 used hydraulic lifters that had 1mm oiler holes. In 1999 Mitsubishi changed to 3mm holes in their lifters to try and stop the dreaded ticking. Now realize - 3mm/99 lifters is NO GUARANTEE that you will not have some lifter tick. But it is an upgrade that many people do if they have lifter tick. Most buy ITM brand for approximately $5 each. OEM ones are about $25 each so you can see why people buy ITM! Don't be fooled by claims of "OEM-equivalent" when they are not true Mitsubishi brand.
That is it for the parts section on a typical 60K/120K/180K.
Below is the actual labor points.

R&R Timing Belt, Hydraulic Tensioner, Idler Pulley, Tension Pulley, set timing, change drive belts, water pump, inspect accessory pulleys, inspect Cam Seals.

NOTE: Make sure tensioner bolts are all within spec and replace as needed. (for more info on this see my write up on fasteners and OEM bolts + stretching by overtorquing - first few sections). This also goes for water pump and oil pump bolts as these are prone to stretching by improper torque by previous owner or mechanics. Use a torque wrench!

R&R Oil pump (see notes above, usually only 120 or 180k)
Oil Bypass Valve - inspect and/or replace only as needed (also see above notes)

Inspect Rod and Main Bearings (pan is already off if changing oil pump so it's a good time to inspect them). This is if you are replacing the oil pump. It is an extra step but depending on the engine you will want to inspect the engine bearings. Again this is not a by-the-book 120k (not needed for 60) but if at 180 or higher then I'd say definitely inspect / change them out if indicated. This is best decided by talking to your mechanic/person doing the work. If doing yourself then you should already know enough to make that call. )ie - plastiguage and check runout). 90% of the time you will just replace them anyway (since you are right there). If you are changing rod and main bearings don't forget the thrust bearings (washers).

Note: if you are doing a rebuild or performance build that involves changing pistons, rods, crank or such bottom end parts then the above is moot. Your machine shop can take care of all that for you with new bearings. NOTE: OEM bearings are pretty much no longer available for direct replacement. So you will have to go with Clevite or King bearings. They are both good and will be fine for most all uses and upgrades. ACL are also good if you can find them.

Spark Plugs - change (accordingly based upon stock heat range or colder if you are doing certain upgrades)
Coolant - flush and change (every 120)
MAF - Inspect and Clean if needed
Thermostat - (change if indicated; see notes above)
Air filter - change or clean (see notes above)
Fuel Filter - change and inspect entire fuel system
Oil Fill Cap - check for leaking, install OEM Oil Filler Cap Rubber Gasket if needed

Change transaxle, transfer case and differential fluid. Inspect for leaks.

Brake system flush, bleed, inspection of calipers, lines, pads. Make sure all calipers are operating (not binding).

Clutch hydraulics - flush & bleed, inspect vac assist parts & adjustments

Power Steering system inspection, flush or fill as needed

Inspect turbos for leaking, shaft play, blowby
Inspect battery and all connections, including alternator charge wire and connections (check for corrosion)
Inspect starter solenoid plug for corrosion, clean and regrease as needed.
Inspect output shafts, drive boots, steering linkage, ball joints, exhaust system, R&R as needed.

Inspect motor mounts. Replace if any are found to be cracked (which is likely after 120k on many VR4s). Bad motor mounts can cause serious problems for your engine and car health. If going for a race build or certain high performance builds you might want non-OEM solid mounts. So this is something to keep in mind here. But do not skip these if they are cracked or damaged. You'll cause worse damage.

Inspect oil pan. As noted in the notes on oil pump replacement: make sure there are no dents in the bottom where the pickup tube is. Many cars have dents there from idiots jacking up the car there. This can cause serious engine problems from oil starvation at the oil pickup tube. Enough that you can spin a bearing from lubrication failure. No need to replace if dented but it must come off and the dent(s) removed.

Pressure test the turbo system (intercooler pipes, Y pipe, etc).
Inspect vacuum lines
, check for leaks.

Inspect the body for loose panels or missing panels or splash guards. replace as needed. Lubricate doors, locks, and nader pins, hood latch, rear hatch lock, antenna mast (a light oil like WD40 or gun oil works well too).

If your car has active exhaust, inspect operation and cable, lubricate as needed.

Inspect active aero components and operation.

Inspect driveshaft and carrier bearings.

Check tire pressures and that lugnuts are all within torque (90-100 ft. lbs)

Some other common problems seen in higher mileage cars and inspection might be warranted:

- Radiator fan operation (both)
- ISC operation (idle steps up properly)
- Power Steering pressure switch (idle step up here also)
- Clutch pedal adjustment
- Shifter cable adjustment
- Set idle and BISS (properly, not with just turning the BISS but using the proper factory method)
- Alternator and AC belt idler pulley (these wear out and start squeaking, so easiest to change out when the timing belt is being changed)
- Check front exhaust manifold for cracking (prone to and need a quick weld repair)
- Check O2 sensors - these are critical sensors to your cruising (closed loop) fuel map control. O2 sensors do not last forever so it is a consideration on a higher mileage vehicle to put in new ones.


- Timing cover condition and gaskets: Make sure your timing covers are in good condition. They serve a very important purpose which is to keep any foreign material away from your timing belt and components. The covers normally also have a whlle bunch of little "gaskets" which help really button it up. As the car ages these can get hard and brittle and break off (and can actually cause a real problem if they get in your timing belt/gear(s)!!). You can order and replace them (and note: new covers come with all the gaskets in place) or if they are hard and brittle many remove them and put covers on without them. For a stock vehicle I recommend them but at the same time have not heard of problems without them. But if your car is a DD (daily driver) and you want to keep out as much as possible - replcae the covers when worn out or at least the small gaskets.

- Silicone hoses: Silicone hose is great for your vaccum lines, coolant drain line, and even as a cover for other lines. However, DO NOT use silicone hose for any application that will have oil or fuel contact. It sill destroy the silicone in a hurry. Silicone hose cannot withstand oil or fuels of any kind. Do NOT use it for things like your PCV hose or valve cover breather line, etc. Also note that there are different grades of silicone hose. You get what you pay for applies here. Do not buy the really cheap stuff. Buy from a respectable retailer. Here's a few I find reputable: turbohoses.com/siliconehose.htm, www.boostcontroller.com/ (these guys also carry 'magnum' which is extra thick walled and nice for race applications like your wastegates, etc), hosetechniques.com/ (been around a long time), sporthoses.com/parts/vacuum_tubing/, and hiperformancestore.com/ which offers hose by the foot and although a smaller company they offer vacuum lines in a LOT of different colors.

- Dress up kits with aftermarket bolts: Before replacing your factory bolts for something shiny like a SS socket cap screw you should understand the drawbacks of using stainless steel (SS) into aluminum threads (i.e. - galling, it will strip your AL threads). Also the problem with using a bolt/screw that is not the same grade and therefore has different torque specs than factory. While not a big deal for some locations like your headlight brackets or something benign like that, be very careful on any fastener that could cause an accident, engine or other physical damage or any other problems if a failure occurs. More details are at the fastener overview page.

- Clean your injectors?: Unless there is a problem this isn't a normal part of a 60K service. Most quality fuels keep your injectors clean and if you look at just about EVERY service list for any Fuel Injection car (meaning any brand or mfg, import, GM, whatever) this will not be on the list of things to do. The reason is it is overkill. Usually someone that says this 'always needs to be done' is looking to make some money off of people. Will it hurt anything? No, but is is like changing your oil every 500 miles to say it is needed for every 60K. For more details Click and Read Here

- Clean your MAF?: Be careful about cleaning your MAF. There are several MAF cleaners on the market and not all of them are good. They can actually mess up your MAF. If you do not have any problems with your MAF I would advise most of the time to leave it alone. Many times people have "cleaned it" and severely messed it up (and your car will not run worth a crap). So be careful here because they can be very picky if cleaned wrong or with improper sprays.


Although not part of a 60k,
something to consider at this time is your wheel alignment.

You want to make sure that the shop doing the alignment knows how to do a VR4. Not all of them do (although they may tell you they do). Tires are expensive, at least the ones you should have on your VR4, so protect them with keeping your cars wheels in proper alignment. If it's been a while then consider adding this to your 60k list.


OK, so as you can see a 60K or 120K tune up is more than just change the oil and a timing belt. The list might seem long but keep these things in mind when doing or paying for a TRUE and THOROUGH 60K:

1 - You only have to do this every 60,000 or 5 years!

2 - This is a car that can go very high speeds very easily. Keep in mind that some of these service points could be critical to your safety the next time you drop it in 6th gear and run up to 140 or more. Or really whatever. The point is that this is a fast sports car and it can be dangerous to have failures in something like a wheel or brake system or many other things. Something to keep in mind!

Mitsubishi Owner Service Book Copies - If you want to print out copies of the service book that came with your VR4 from the factory I have scanned some of those images here for you. Just save the images or print from the page.


©cjbyron.com 2012
please ask permission for any reprinting

Other links that might interest you (AND CAN APPLY TO THE ABOVE INFORMATION TOO!)
Performance Build Guide
Which references this page

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