After getting the mod bug I soon learnt that the car I used as a base was probably the most difficult to mod easily. There is little love for Sportbacks in general and as it is a MY12 there were several revisions in the chassis that made older bolt on parts no longer viable. None of this info is particularly new, most of it can probably be found in other ClubCJ posts.
I enjoyed the challenge of it but I'll elaborate on some of the hurdles.
Starting with MY12 the exhaust system was moved from a central outlet to a side outlet. This meant that a lot of older bolt on mod systems just wouldn't fit (Manufactures have now caught up). Also due to the revision the muffler was now mounted longitudinally as opposed to the older lateral design.
This removed a hanging point on the left of the car as well as all the heat shielding under the boot area. Dual outlet exhausts were now no longer an easy option.
Also being a Sportsback the boot area acts like a giant resonance chamber which amplifies loud exhausts to annoying levels and the CVT makes exhausts sound weird which limits the viability of cannon type exhausts, I've since gone back to stock muffler due to drone etc.
Of course a professional custom system will eliminate the DIY issues.
From the factory the ES is designed for comfort and the stock setup worked to that effect. For either weight or monetary reasons on MY12 and later cars Mitsubishi decided not to put in a rear sway bar. As such the lower suspension arms are different and do not have the end link perches.
There are two options to add a rear sway bar, source arms and hardware from an earlier donor car or add perches to current arms. I choose to get all parts from the wreckers, which worked well as all holes and threads exists for an easy bolt in fit.
Under the bonnet:
The engine hasn't changed too much so thankfully any exhaust or intake bolt on mods will fit. What has changed though is the timing cover such that fitting any currently available lightened crank pulleys can't be done without grinding down a small part.
Also the forward fender mounts have been deleted. This affects the ability to fit a lot of aftermarket bonnet dampers. To fit mine I had to drill though the fender and frame and bolt in an M8 hexagonal coupler to reinforce the mounting point.
As the ES has no side skirt the area behind the rear doors is subject to significant chipping as debris are flung up by the front wheels. Initially I put 3M stripping there cut out to make a spat, but it was only slightly effective.
The only good option is to fit Rally Armor mud flaps but unfortunately there is no dedicated Sportsback option. The rear flaps can be made to fit but the holes don't line up quite right making it difficult to hang them straight.
Thankfully the rest of the car is easily modified. Brake lines, rotors and calipers can easily be modified. Interior plug and play parts will work (paddle shifters and tweeters). Suspension struts and springs can be improved. And tyres and wheels of course can be changed.
I'm happy with how the car has progressed but in reality the car is going more towards an up-spec than an upgrade and would have been far cheaper, but less enjoyable to start with a higher spec.
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