Help Me Identify This Part

It’s never a good thing when the cops come knocking on your door at 5 am.

Turns out, some SOB plowed into my ‘88 Mitsubishi Starion (and then left the scene of course).

The cop said there’d be an investigation, but he didn’t exactly sound confident.

Messed up my steering/suspension, and obviously, lots of body damage. Hopefully, as long as the frame is good, I’ll get it going again.

Here’s the thing for you guys though- there was this part laying in the road next to my car. …now I’m pretty familiar with my baby, as I’ve been workin’ on her for years now, and I don’t remember ever seeing this thing before. Additionally, I’ve consulted with some of the more knowledgeable online mechanics who specialize in Starions/Conquests, and they can’t place it either.

Only other option is that this part came from the perp’s car- in which case, it’s evidence.

I’m curious if anybody here might recognize it. It’s really pretty ambiguous. Just an empty black plastic box w/ a vac tube sticking out of it. …the only marking on it is what looks like the Chrysler 5 point star, and some random serial numbers.

If anybody’s got any theories, please share.

Links to pictures are below:





sorry, that first link won’t work for you.
Here’s another:




Try Googling the “serial numbers”. One of them might turn out to be a part number and part numbers sometimes get hits on manuals or messages that are useful. Or, as Dannyboy suggests, try the parts desk at a Chrysler dealer.

Must be a small world you live in wherein a car part falls out of a pickup bed…in the middle of the night…right next to the only car in the street that’s involved in an accident…that very same night.

You’re right that the two mounting holes at the base are intact. But there are (were) two mounting points stemming from that middle lip (you can see where they were in the pic) that are broken.

I’ve tried googling the serial numbers- no luck. I even tried googling its description “vacuum box” and “chrysler”, and it does seem like there’s a part that goes by that name, as there are references to it in other forums- though nothing substantial enough to be very helpful.

I suppose the parts desk at a Chrysler dealer is going to be my best option. I’ll do that. …as soon as I work out the bus schedule.

Try fuel Evaporative canister. usually they have more than one vacuum hose???

Your situation reminds me of an old weekly radio sitcom, “Fibber McGee and Molly” that was aired in the 1940’s through the mid 1955’s. In one episode that I listened to in the early 1950’s on the radio, Molly was driving the car with a friend when they heard a terrible clunk. They stopped the car and found a part that they thought had dropped off the car. With great difficultly, Molly and her friend loaded the part into the car and found that the car would still operate. Molly told her friend that there wouldn’t be a problem. “McGee can fix anything”, she said. At any rate, when she gets the car home and McGee looks at the part, he thinks its the flywheel. Molly isn’t so sure. “I didn’t see any flies in the car, so the flywheel must be working”, she said. Well, McGee takes the car apart, can’t figure out where the part that Molly and her friend picked up would go, and can’t figure out how to put the car together. At the very end of the program, a policeman arrives and demands that McGee give the city back its manhole cover.

At any rate, be sure you identify the part before you take your Mitsubishi apart to find where the part goes.

Did you cut the vacuum hose, or did you find it on the ground that way? Make sure whether the hose is cut or torn. If cut and you didn’t do it, that’s not your part.

Actually, it doesn’t really look like it was cut OR torn. Looks like the end of it is where it plugged into something else.

I’m now 99% sure it’s not from my car, as nobody else on the Starion/Conquest forum recognizes it.

Still, it’d be nice to know what it is, and where it might go in whatever it goes on, as it could conceivably help narrow down just what/who hit me.

It could have been a spare part. My neighbors car got trashed, luckily there was a witness to the vehicle accident to account for vehicle type. The guy happened to get pulled over 20 miles away or so for erratic driving, and they ended up matching paint transfers and convicting the guy.if you can get any idea of the color and see if any other vehicles of the same color were pulled over or found abandoned that night it could be a start. That piece looks like a car that lost it would be undriveable, along with the clean cut of the hose or cable.

I’ll bet of you took it to a Chrysler parts department they’d recognize it. You might even see one by looking under the hoods of Chryslers at their used car lot.

Something that has been bothering me ever since you posted your message. This here “vacuum box” thing. The only connection to it is a vacuum hose? No other connections? No electrical connector?

What on Earth could it do? It can’t be a sensor. There’s no way to get data out of it. It can’t be a valve or switch. There’s apparently no way to connect anything for it to modulate/toggle/switch/improve/degrade. The only function I can think of for a box with just a vacuum hose is to “store” some vacuum or maybe slow down the rate of increase in vacuum.

I’m hardly a genius auto technician, but I’ve never encountered anything like that on a car. Maybe someone else around here knows what it does.

My best guess is the box is a vacuum reservoir.

Vacuum reservoirs used to be very common on cars. I have seen many with them.

A vacuum reservoir stores a volume of high vacuum air. This is needed for times when the throttle is opened up wide and the manifold vacuum goes down. Accessories like the air blend doors use vacuum air to operate them so if the vacuum goes low the doors can change positions. The reservoir supplies the higher vacuum to the lines when the manifold vacuum is too low to operate the accessories.

OK Let us say it is the vacuum resivour. The real question is what condition would a car be in if able to loose one of those, Could it possibly be from the car that hit him?

Yes, it is from the car that hit me.

Took the thing to the Chrysler parts dept today. Dude behind the counter was really very cool and seemed to get into his role in this little CSI mystery.

He used a magnifying glass to make out the serial numbers, and looked it up.

…That part was only used on one car model, for one year- it’s a vac reservoir for the cruise control on a 2000 Dodge Neon. It mounts right near the front of the passenger side fender.

Called the PD Investigation dept that’s handling my case and let them know I had this bit of evidence/info. Turns out, they had already “taken note” of a 2000 Neon w/ damage parked a few blocks from me. They’re gonna come get the box in a day or two and try and make a match I guess.

Not nice of them to whack your vehicle but nice of them to leave a piece of incriminating evidence.

Good luck. Keep us up to date ok?

Leaving incriminating evidence behind reminds me of an episode of “COPS” where there was a hit-and-run. I don’t remember ALL of the details, but I think the guy that GOT rear-ended fled the scene minus… his rear bumper, TAG and all.

Of course, cops are there, cameras are rolling and sure enough in the background the guy is sitting across the intersection, possibly devising a plan to get his bumper back before they run the plates. Someone actually spotted him and got him. From what I remember all the cops got a good chuckle out of that.

Too bad your luck wasn’t quite like that, getting a plate left behind, but an ABSOLUTE KUDOS on tracking down all this!! I’ll be anything the other guy(girl) is gonna be a little po’d when they realized you tracked them down.

You should absolutely go to them (don’t tell them who you are yet) and offer to sell that vacuum cannister at a price to fix a Mitsubishi! Toby Keith put it well, “How do ya like me now?!”

Sorry about your luck, but great detective work!


This all could be made to fit pretty good into a script for a show like CSI. You may be on to something here. Please keep us updated on the investgation and hope they find the Perp.