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Is a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant engine an interference or non-interference engine?

My son drove the car at about 40 MPH and the timing belt broke. I am trying to decide whether to scrap her or not.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Which engine is in the Galant? Is it a DOHC or SOHC 4-cyl or 6-cyl? There are basically four different engines it might be, which makes a difference as far as whether they are interference or not. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 30 at 1:06
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It depends on which engine you have. The 2003 Mitsubishi Gallant appears to have been offered with both a 4 Cylinder 2.4L Engine, the 4G64, which had three variants:

Dual Overhead Cam 16 valve, Single Overhead Cam 16 valve, and Single Overhead Cam 8 valve.

The 16 valve engines are interference, but the 8 valve engine is not. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Sirius_engine#4G64

The V6 3.0L engine offered in the gallant appears to have been an interference engine as well.

As Paulster2 said, it's impossible to tell based off of just vehicle model if your engine was interference or not.

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I believe Japanese car manufacturers use interference engine design as a rule if memory serves me correctly. If I am right the engine has major valve and piston damage. I'd scrap the car personally.

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    many manufacturers use the interference design - one way of improving the basic efficiency of the engine - all about the squish volume. – Solar Mike Jan 30 at 10:11
  • Gates (the manufacturer of timing belts) used to produce a publication that listed whether each engine was an interference design - presumably to scare people into regular replacement of belts. That seems to have disappeared, but in any case, as I remember, pretty much every engine designed within the last 30 years in an interference design. None of the lists that article links to are remotely complete. – Phil G Jan 30 at 15:02
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You can try turning the engine by hand (with a long enough lever on the camshaft or Cerankshaft wheel), if it turns: fine! If Not. Sorry.

But very few engines are not interfering...

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As the others have said, it's almost impossible to tell the condition of the engine unless you can visually inspect the valves/pistons. However, I wanted to chime in because I used to own a 2001 Eclipse which used the same 4 cylinder engine as your Galant and had the same thing happen. To answer your question before my anecdotal story - yes it is an interference engine.

My timing belt disintegrated at 115,000 miles, the dash lit up and the car turned off. I pushed it to the side of the road and saw the remnants of the belt in the road. Took it to the shop and they simply slid another belt on and started it up and it was perfectly fine. This isn't to say that you may not have problems, but there are situations where an interference engine can survive that.

So long story short, get it checked out - you may get lucky like I did.

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    I'm wondering what engine you had which has the timing belt on the outside? I've seen user built specific engines which have the timing belt showing, but never something from the factory. I'm wondering if you lost your serpentine belt, which would have done exactly as you described if lost during operation. Losing a serpentine belt would also cause no damage to the engine (as long as the engine was shut down in short order). Losing a timing belt on "today's" engines is about 90+% probability of engine damage of some kind. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 30 at 22:33
  • It was 10 years ago, but I remember the bill from the mechanic and the line items on it. It was the 2.4, I believe the same engine from the PT Cruiser of the time. I was sitting in traffic inching slowly forward when it occurred which may have been what saved it. I only kept the car for a month longer after it was fixed as well because that incident made me miss a show (Radiohead, ugh it still pisses me off). So if more damage did occur down the road, I can't confirm. – MikeWRX Jan 31 at 14:17

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