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The Fruits Of Labour

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture is popular in many countries, such as America, Australia, Norway, etc. The appeal of DIY comes from the profound sense of satisfaction and achievement you get at the end of a project that you completed with your own two hands. The additional benefit comes from the money saved from the hefty service fees incurred by workshops, which are usually a substantial amount in most countries.

In Malaysia, the DIY movement is beginning to catch on as more people begin to take interest and get their hands dirty. The Internet also plays a pivotal role in the global DIY movement with greater access to instructions and step-by-step guides, especially on sites like YouTube. You don’t even need a toolbox set to get engaged in DIY. It can be as simple as buying and assembling your own store-bought IKEA furniture.

Enter Johnson Lam, the owner of this Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. From the get-go his aim was to modify his own car without the aid of any performance or tuner shops. He was fortunate enough to score a rare Japan-spec GSR Premium version which came loaded with all the good stuff: Bilstein suspensions, leather Recaros, Brembo brakes, etc. Even better that this one came pre-owned with some Varis body parts and a HKS Legamax Premium exhaust system.


The success of any project can be attributed to the 5 Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Johnson definitely wouldn’t have gotten to this stage if he hadn’t done his homework properly; the long nights and countless hours spent online for research via forums and tech discussions with fellow Evo X gurus. Owning a 2008 Lancer is a big help too since both cars share about 70% of the wiring, parts and ECU software, and eases the trial and error process. Johnson also spends his free time scouting for parts on Yahoo! Japan, which has helped him to reduce as much as 80% of his total costs!

The upgrades to the engine are fairly minimal with the DIY focused at other aspects, such as the custom test pipe (de cat), braided turbo piping, wastegate pressure regulator (Boost Pill), intercooler spray, custom HKS SSQV4 piping, and oil catch tank.

The main work for this build is in the ECU tuning, and yes, all DIY by Johnson himself. He runs 2 sets of ECUs; ECU #1 has been remapped with Hi and Lo octane fuel map, MIVEC intake, MIVEC exhaust, ignition timing, wastegate duty, boost pressure limiter, SST clutch pressure, SST shift points, and throttle map tuning (via a throttle controller). ECU #2 has the same settings as ECU #1, but has been reflashed to run race fuels and hi octane fuels with both sets of tuning maps triggered by cruise control button. Put it simply, ECU #1 is for daily duties and ECU #2 is the hardcore race setup.


The rest of the car is kept relatively stock with some additional pats for performance enhancement. The chassis is benefited with a an Ultra Racing rear anti-roll bar, JIC Magic front tower bar, and a Ralliart rear tower bar. The stock Brembo brakes are complimented with NiBK race grade brake pads (800 degrees).

The Evo currently pushes 335hp and 350Nm of torque, boosting 1.8bar with the peak of 2.0bar, on stock engine internals and turbo parts, but this machine is the opposite of high horsepower and big budgets. The experience gained, the bond between man and machine, the joy of accomplishment is priceless, and all Johnson needs for a good time is to slip on his Falken RT615K tyres and give his hand-built Evo a good ol’ throw down at the race track. Now that’s something money can’t buy!

Car: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X

Engine: 4B11T 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder turbocharged, stock turbocharger, intercooler and turbo pipings, Ralliart drop-in air filter, HKS SSQV4 blow-off valve, Kakimoto downpipe, HKS Legamax Premium exhaust system, DIY custom test pipe (de cat), DIY braided turbo piping, DIY wastegate pressure regulator (Boost Pill), DIY intercooler spray, DIY custom HKS SSQV4 piping, DIY oil catch tank, Ralliart engine oil cap

Electronics: Innovate WideBand, Defi Boost Meter, Pivot Volt Meter + Stabilizer , DVD in Motion Hack, Battery Voltage Stabilizer, DIY – Reverse Camera on MMCS, DIY – OBDII Bluetooth Scanner + Android Phone, DIY – Grounding, DIY – ETACS control reflash

ECU Tuning:
ECU#1: Hi and Lo Octane Fuel Map, MIVEC Intake, MIVEC Exhaust, Ignition Timing, Wastegate Duty, Boost Pressure Limiter, SST Clutch Pressure, SST Shift points, Throttle Map Tuning (Throttle Controller)
ECU#2: Formatted Dual Map ECU (Using a JDM Lancer 2009 ECU), capable to run 2 sets of tuning maps triggered by cruise control button, knock sum detect and custom dash display. Tuned for Race fuels and Hi Octane fuels with all the Ecu1 settings
Transmission: 6-speed Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST)

Chassis & Handling: Ultra Racing rear anti-roll bar, JIC Magic front tower bar, Ralliart rear tower bar

Brakes: Stock Brembo brakes, NiBK race grade brake pads (800 degrees)

Wheels & Tyres: Stock 18 inch BBS wheels, ICS 2mm spacers, Falken RT615K (track), Neuton NT8000 (daily drive)

Interior: Carbon fiber gear knob, Ralliart hand brake

Exterior: Varis carbon fiber Evo X snout, Varis carbon fiber front lip, Ralliart side mirrors

Words: Sean Eu
Photo: Kenny Yeoh

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