Here's my Top 10 list of things to improve your Mitsubishi FTO

I'm sure that some may disagree and I may well look at this in a few weeks and think how did I miss that off but here it is, for now..

Service it

Look after your FTO and it will run better and may cost you less in the long run.

Service it on a regular basis and use quality oil, don't forget about replacing your coolant too and your brake fluid and don't mess about with cambelt changes - if it's due or you've just bought the car and don't know when it was last done get it booked in and have the water pump replaced while your at it.

 

01
02
Auto transmission oil

Tiptronic owners - replace the auto transmission oil with Amsoil or Redline ATF - they are very expensive compared to other brands but worth it in my opinion. If the gearbox oil hasn't been changed in a while then drop it and feel free to put some other brand Dexron 3 ATF in and run it for a couple of thousand then drop it again and put the good stuff in.

 

03
Auto transmission cooler

Tiptronic owners - fit a transmission cooler sooner rather than later.  

There is a common belief that the Mitsubishi FTO auto boxes are weak - I think that they can suffer if over heated and poorly maintained but if you invest in a transmission cooler and keep on top of fluid changes then they should last a long time.

My previous Tiptronic had over 200000 miles on the clock when I sold it and it was still strong, this was a Supercharged FTO that saw drag strip use several times a year and was my daily drive too - it had a small aftermarket transmission oil cooler and the oil was changed regularly - same as the engine oil.

You can fit a transmission oil cooler in a couple of hours and the parts cost less than a night out.  A small 11 or 13 row oil cooler will suffice, a 15 row may just fit but check the dimensions. Run it in-line with the existing cooler - gearbox to new oil cooler to stock oil cooler (part of the rad) back to gearbox.  

The fittings in/out of the gearbox are 8mm push/barbs so you will most likely need a reducer from the oil cooler as a lot of them are 10an which is almost 16mm.  

If you can get a cooler with smaller fittings on then you may find it easier/cheaper to convert to 8mm but If you can only get a cooler with 10an fittings on then you still have options, I used a 10an to 6an reducer and ran 6an hose to the gearbox and then a 6an to 8mm barb adapter.  You will also need about 2 metres of Auto Transmission hose not standard fuel hose, CPE type should be ok and if it says SAE-J1019 or SAE-J1532 you will be fine but you should check carefully what the hose is and what it's for.

Run both hoses from the cooler up to the gearbox near the filter and only disconnect the gearbox output.

Connect one of your cooler hoses to this newly disconnected hose (it will be going to the rad/standard oil cooler so it's now output from your cooler) and the other to the gearbox output fitting (so this is going from the gearbox into your cooler).

You will need to put a little more ATF fluid in.

04
Brakes

Brakes - at the very least fit good pads, if you have a GR upgrade to GPX brakes. Replacement braided hoses are also worth thinking about and if you use your FTO for track action then think about going for a big brake kit.  

You can get hoses and brake kits from freakyparts, camskill and viamoto to name but a few.

Forced Induction - Supercharger or Turbo

Fit a Supercharger or a Turbo to your FTO - ok not quite as simple as saying it but trust me the improvement eclipses any other modification that you will do.  Check out our FTO Supercharger installation kits if your interested in looking into supercharging your Mitsubishi FTO or have a read of Supercharger vs Turbo for a comparison and more general info.

 

05
Lights - you've got to see right?

The headlights have a laquer on them that often starts to peel and craze, there are a couple of guides over on the forums on how to fix this but it basically involves cutting paste and lots of elbow grease - I think some of the guides even mention fine sandpaper.  The factory lights aren't very good in my opinion so if you can fit HID's legally then go for it. Also those blue bulbs that you can get may look cool but don't always provide the best vision.

06
Induction - Air Filters

Induction kits / air filter pods / replacement panels - if you fit a quality induction kit like a HKS mushroom or ITG then you may get a few extra ponies but I would definately enclose the filter and run a cold air feed to it as sucking in hot air from the engine bay is going to hurt performance not improve it. Fitting an aftermarket panel filter won't give you tons more power but may give a tiny bit and provide good effective filtering of the incoming air.  The likes of HKS are generally washable so may prove cost effective in the long run.  Actually feeling any gains from whichever system you choose may just be a placebo effect so don't expect too much.

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08
Exhaust - Headers / Extractors / Manifold

Extractors/Headers - Hurricane and RPW extractors are supposed to provide a good improvement but I don't have any first hand experience of them.

09
Lower engine mounts - check and replace

Worn mounts may be robbing you of torque and can also cause a nasty clunking noise if they are fully shot. Check for signs of cracking and if they are on their way out get some new ones ordered.  If you've upped the power with a turbo or supercharger conversion or thinking of doing so then I would recommend fitting uprated rubber ones or get some poly ones made up.  If you're a tiptronic owner swap them for manual mounts at the very least (they do fit). You may notice a little increased in-cabin vibration but for me I could live with it to get the lost torque back. The poly mounts made a difference that I could feel in my first  supercharged FTO and i'm currently running uprated rubber ones for the manual on my Supercharged Tiptronic facelift (they are for the EVO and are in insert press in type)

10
Protect it

Chase down any signs of rust and treat them as soon as possible and underseal if you're in a harsh climate like the UK.  

Drive and enjoy it

There are many other modifications that you can do to a Mitsubishi FTO if you so desire, you may just want to keep it standard and enjoy it for the great car that Mitsubishi intended.

 

Other Performance mods:

  • Vernier cam gears - in a forced induction setup (turbo/supercharger) a few more horsepower can be gained by having vernier cam gears installed and setup correctly.

  • Engine swap - VR4 and EVO engines have been transplanted, even a 3S-GTE Toyota engine swap.

  • Dual feed fuel rail - if you've upped the power significantly you may want to look into this as the stock fuel rails are fed with the top one first and then a loop to the bottom one in a series fashion therefore by the time it hits the last cylinder the pressure may be reduced.

  • Suspension and handling - there are many options for improving the already good handling of the FTO, I would suggest checking the forums for recommendations specific to your requirements. However one often overlooked area is countering wheelhop and improving traction in straight line acceleration. There are anti-lift kits available from manufacturers such as Whiteline to address this very issue and if you've added boost to your setup I'd definitely suggest looking into one of these. There are kits available for many different makes and model car including the Mitsubishi FTO,  kits vary between facelift and pre-facelift. For even more effect you may also want to add 10mm spacers between the cradle and chassis. (KCA429 for facelift and KCA317X for pre-facelift, confirm with Whiteline if unsure)