It finally happened. On the way home from the last autocross event (actually, about two miles from the event site), the Eclipse developed a condition known fondly to DSM owners as crankwalk. Just to make a record of what happened: there were no obvious signs leading up to this. I had just completed a rather spirited day of autocross (beating my previous best time by almost a full second, although to be fair, that previous time was in the Laser), with none of the usual "indicators", such as the car dying at idle with the clutch depressed, or hard left turns causing the clutch pedal to remain on the floor. On the drive home, I made a left turn, and heard a loud ticking from the engine bay when I released the clutch. The ticking turned out to be RPM-dependant, increasing and decreasing with engine speed. About a quarter of a mile down the road, the car stalled, at which point I pulled into a parking lot and noticed that my CEL (check-engine light) was on. I tried to turn over the car, but it wouldn't fire. I pulled up DSMlink to see what error code had been thrown, and it was a "crankshaft sensor malfunction", which means the ticking noise was actually my crank angle sensor being ground into dust because of the excessive crankshaft endplay. This was confirmed later (after one very expensive tow home on a flatbed) by holding a prybar against the crank pulley, and having Erica press the clutch; you could see the crank move visibly.
Next steps: I'm speaking with Mitch Rusu over at
Engintecs about building up a 2.4L
g4cs/g64b as a replacement. I can probably sell off a good number of the
components off the crankwalked 2.0L 4g63 block, along with the complete head,
front case (which is practically new), water pump, oil filter housing, etc.,
which should make a dent in the cost. I'll probably keep the pistons for
Erica's Laser (which would take her from 7.8:1 compression up to 8.5:1),
and we'll probably scavenge other useful components from the Eclipse for her
car as necessary, since the Eclipse will probably be down until next spring.