Well, on my way to work today my Mirage finally threw a check engine light. I was hoping to make it to 200,000 without one! The car had been down on power for the last week or so, but had not thrown a light until today.
I happened to have my scan tool in my car because a coworker was having trouble with a Corolla he just bought, so when I got there I hooked it up. It gave me code P0010.
This code indicates a short or open circuit in the oil control valve for the MIVEC system. I reset the code to see if it would come back, and it did within a minute or two the next time I drove it. Figured I was due for a new one. The part number for the valve is 1028A104, which is over $200 if you buy it from Mitsubishi! There may be a Spectra replacement, which is part number VTS1168. Some sites say it interchanges, others say it doesn't. I popped the hood to find out where exactly the valve was and what it was going to take to change it. It is right on the front of the engine below the passenger end of the fuel rail. On further inspection, I found this...
I guess six years and 175,000 miles of the engine rocking back and forth like a 3-cylinder finally caused enough fatigue in the wires that they snapped. Well, one snapped...but the other was hanging on literally by a strand or two. My guess is that the valve wasn't working properly for quite a while, but the code was not thrown until the last strand broke and there was a complete open circuit.
As you can see, the wires are snapped off flush with the connector making splicing the wires difficult. I checked a couple of local parts stores to see if they had a pigtail that matched this one, but no luck. (Fun Fact: The pigtail for the parking light bulb is the same as this one.) When I got home, I decided to see if I could do anything with the old connector. I was able to use a small screwdriver to disengage the tabs that held the metal contacts inside the plastic connector and back them out. Then I took a short section of wire and wrapped it tightly around what remained of the wire. I reassembled them, which left me with this...
I then spliced it into the harness. I was out of butt connectors, so I had to ghetto-wrap it with electrical tape. This will do until I get some time to fix it right.
Reset the code again, took a test drive, and the CEL is gone.
If you are getting up there in mileage you might consider some kind of reinforcement for these two wires. Maybe wrap them with some tape or something.