Under-rated but over-achieving..
- When bought, it had a left rear window that would not go down. That was subsequently found to be the window regulator runner needing lubricating as well as the window being jammed into the channel. This still happens from time to time, especially when it's hot.
- When bought, the dashboard clock worked intermittently, a problem that I understand many Galants have. The problem was found to be cracked solder on the clock's circuit board. I fixed that by simply resoldering the contacts.
- When bought, the foglamps did not work. I found that the foglamp relay was missing. I replaced it and all is now well.
- Left outer, and right inner CV joint boots replaced. Both were already torn when I bought the car.
- The lateral control arm bushings and the ball joints were found to be bad. I replaced them shortly after I bought the car. Easy to replace with simple tools and the must-have service manual (which I downloaded online).
- Discovered, after buying the car, that the left front window would not roll down from that door's switch. I rectified that by disassembling the switch module and cleaning the burnt contacts.
- I have been having a hard time aligning the car. It constantly pulls to the left. I have taken it to 3 alignment shops with no results. I plan to get a fourth shop to have a look at it soon.
- I started noticing a slight overheating while going uphill. At first I thought it was a coolant issue, but after changing the coolant, the problem persisted.
It turned out to be the fan control module that was not cycling properly. This little device sits on top of the left fan shroud, just under the forward intake runner. It alternates between one of three voltage settings (off, low, high) and adjusts the speed of the fan as needed. The module was not cycling to high voltage and so when the car came under load (like going uphill) it started to run hot. It is not itself removable but is sold as part of the entire fan assembly, so it is an expensive repair. With the help of the repair manual I was able to diagnose and repair this myself without any fuss.
This is by far the most well-balanced car I have ever owned. It handles incredibly well, is easy on the fuel, and will hit 180km/h effortlessly.
My previous car was a 2002 Toyota Corolla, and in comparison the Galant, even though it's an older car, is light years ahead of the Corolla in terms of quality, not to mention performance.
The transmission is very smooth shifting as well and has a "hold" feature that gives some degree of manual control. I've found it to be really useless to be honest. It does not give truly manual control of the transmission as it should. If left in D the only thing it does is to start the car off in 2nd and shifts as usual up to 4th. With the "hold" feature activated it does not downshift automatically for engine braking as per the normal mode. That's about it. I say leave it in normal mode unless on loose gravel or you want to be miserly and save some fuel by starting off in 2nd.
The engine in my car is the mighty 4G63 2.0L SOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder. There are many different versions of this engine, from a very early 8 valve arrangement to the powerful twin cam turbocharged version found in all but the latest Lancer Evolutions. It has twin counter-rotating balance shafts that act to cancel out unwanted engine vibration. This really works and makes for an engine that is very smooth and quiet.
The downside is that the balance shafts add weight to the valvetrain. The rear balance shaft is driven from the crankshaft via a 65-tooth secondary timing belt. The front balance shaft is fixed to the oil pump and is driven by the main 122-tooth timing belt. The owners of these cars need to be vigilant when ordering timing belts because there are several different belts that fit. The best bet is to have a look at the markings on the old one and asking for that at the parts store. I called a well-known Mitsubishi parts dealer and they sold me a belt with 123 teeth, while my car has a 122-tooth belt. These engines are "interference" type which means if you break a timing belt the pistons will hit the valves and cause major damage. Caution with all valve and timing-related issues is a must.
The brakes have good pedal feel from the 4 wheel disc brakes. I have no ABS, but I don't suffer from premature lockup at all.
The interior is well laid out and the switchgear feel like quality pieces, With the sole exception of the steering wheel column stalks that seem frail by comparison. Frail they may feel and sound, but they are solidly put on.
Air conditioning is certainly up to the task of toasty Jamaican summer temperatures and I rarely call for anything above setting 1 on the blower. Quick A/C start-up is aided by the aforementioned fan control module intelligently utilising the high speed circuit when the car is just switched on to get the condenser up and at 'em in the shortest possible time.
The car came with a Pioneer tape deck that I quickly got rid of. I now have a VR3 CD/USB/SD-MP3/WMA player. It's not the best thing out there but it works well enough for my needs. The stock speakers sound well enough for me as well.
The seats are very comfortable and kept me ache free on several 200km journeys between Montego Bay and Kingston.
This is a really nice car that in most markets is under-rated and under-valued. The former condition renders it unattractive to thieves, while the latter makes them very affordable for second or third owners.
If anybody is thinking about buying one, go for it if it's in good condition and the price is right.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th August, 2008