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Messages - SONICMASD

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For Sale Automotive / WTS: 1998 Montero Gen 2.5 - Black Betty
« on: January 15, 2019, 12:22:29 AM »
Yes, I know I'll probably regret doing this but I'm selling my beloved 1998 to finance the Gen3 life.

My entire ownership, build, and adventure story with this awesome rig can be found here:

I know this is a lot more than we normally see Monteros go for but if you do the math you'll see this is a great deal that gets you one of the most cared for and loved Monteros in the country. Nowadays, IF you're able to find a clean, rust-free Gen2.5 it's going to cost around $3,500-$4k (and going to need at least $1,000 in maintenance to bring up to spec.) Just in 4x4 upgrade parts cost alone I've got over $6000 in this rig. So just those two things alone are worth the price I'm selling the rig for and when you factor in maintenance parts, labor, and the labor to install the upgrades, I've got over $13k into this beauty.

This rig is one of those Monteros that will run forever, don't let the mileage scare you. I would trust this vehicle to get me coast to coast before any of my other, much newer, vehicles. You can see by the build thread that I have always used good parts, OEM most of the time, and with a lot of attention to detail. Most of the work was either done by myself or by Arizona's foremost Montero ASE Master Tech & Enthusiast, Ernest Paddock​. He was also the previous owner of this vehicle so it's had a great ownership history for many years.

1998 Montero LS
216,000 Miles - 3.5L V6

4.90 Gears
Rear Air Locker from an SR - Able to be turned on in any transfer case setting.
OME Suspension: HD Rear Coils & Torsion Bars
Trail Gear Tacoma 67" Rock Sliders Professionally welded to frame
JAOS Brush Guard & Front Skid (Ladder will be going on my Gen3 and is not included)
Garvin Wilderness Roof Rack (Jeep Liberty model)
AISIN Manual Hubs
15x8 Alloy Wheels with 33/12.50R15 BFG KO2 tires with only 16,000 miles on them and lifetime road hazard warranty at Discount/America's Tire.
Spare tire is a Goodyear MTR with Kevlar with very good tread
ADD Kingpin Idler Arm Upgrade
ADD Transmission Skid Plate
Lightforce Striker 170 Offroad Lights
Custom Recovery Point on Rear Bumper
Custom Steering Damper
The best Gen2.5 Seats ever - Manual, Bouncy, Cloth, Heated
OEM Mitsubishi High Output Alternator
Custom Shade Screens made for all windows
Custom Magnetic Bug Screens made for rear sliding windows
Custom First Aid/Tool Bag mount - Also included is a 100% COMPLETE factory toolkit - very rare
Inclinometer and Roll Gauges
Interior Ceiling Basket
Custom Sleeping Platform which I've used a bunch of times, allows for a full size mattress and takes just seconds to fold out and set up. (I have the 3rd row seats as well and they will be included)
Class III Hitch with Trailer Brake controller installed
Rear Sway Bar is removed for more flex but is included with purchase
JVC stereo head unit with bluetooth and handsfree mic

Maintenance (too much to list here but here are the major items, I have a spreadsheet that has everything though)

Spark Plugs, Valve Covers, Cam Seals, Crank Seal, & Valve Stem Seals done around 160k-170k
Timing Belt Job, updated Crankbolt & Washer, OEM Radiator refreshed, and Coolant done at 207k, OEM Thermostat at 214k
All 3 drive belts at 207k
Transmission Fluid & Filter  at 200k
Fuel Filter at 200k
Whiteball 4x4 shifter at 200k
Tie Rods & Idler Arm at 200k
Radiator Hoses at 200k
Diff & Transfer Case Fluids at 202k
New Positive Battery Terminal & Group 27 Battery with 5 year warranty at 216k

- Rocker damage on passenger side from previous owner wheeling before sliders were installed.
- Front fenders have been hammered/rolled and front bumper cap cut a bit to clear 35s (by previous owner) but I'll include replacement fenders (just need to be painted before install because they are solid black instead of black sea green pearl).
- UCA bushings should be replaced
- Dents in rear bumper from offroading
- Rear brakes squeak sometimes, pads and rotors are good, calipers look good and have been greased - I think a dust shield is rubbing on the rotor a little.
- A serpentine belt squeals at start up sometimes

Happy to pick you up at the Phoenix airport if you want to do a fly in and drive home.


2/27/18: Staying on the whole safety and mounting stuff thing. I mounted a fire extinguisher onto the rear pillar on the driver side using 3 self tapping metal screws. I just used the cheap plastic mount/bracket the extinguisher came with. I hope it holds up on bumpy dirt roads. If not, I drilled 3 holes in the vehicle that I'll then probably have to cover up and redo haha.

I picked this spot because I think it is probably the most out of the way place I could put the extinguisher while still being easily accessible.

Oh PS - The whole molle velcro thing got me thinking, you could mount more pouches here if you want:

2/27/18: I've been working on this mod for a bit now and just finished it up today. Despite having a complete factory tool kit, I've never used it because I carry a much bigger box of tools. So I started thinking about other uses for that area. A first aid kit was a must and I didn't know what else I could do with the space but I figured I get started and see where the road led. I thought about about how I could mount something in that space for awhile and at first I was thinking of trying to build some sort of box with an open face that would mount with the 4 existing tool kit area bolts.

I can't remember whose Montero this is but it was definitely an inspiration.

I couldn't quite figure out what material to use or how to make the box. I thought about kydex, steel, wood, etc. One day, I spied an extra road sign in the garage and I just said screw it, build the back and play it by ear. I normally don't do that when building stuff. I normally plan out every detail and have a clear vision of how the project is going to go before I start, but not this time.

Step 1: Measure the tool kit area and cut out the sign.

Step 2: Grind, test fit, grind, test fit

Step 3: Bend the last 1cm of each end quite steep, test fit, bend, test fit, etc. To bend the steel, I improvised: I used C-Clamps and plywood up against my work bench leaving the area to be bent exposed. Then bashed it with a hammer.

Step 4: Bend about another inch inwards. You can get a good of idea of the bending process by comparing the steel plate to the back of the tool kit.


Step 5: Drill the 4 bolt holes in the steel plate. This was actually one of the harder parts and I messed up a couple holes. I think the easiest way to do this: measure one bolt hole location from the vehicle, drill it on the plate and hope you got it right. Test fit and it it's good, then put the plate on the tool kit and mark the 3 remaining bolt holes from inside the tool kit. This is where I messed up: I stupidly had the tool kit facing the opposite way when I marked the holes. So I ended up with 2 extra unnecessary holes.


Step 6: Once bolted in, you can then use a small hammer and shaped the plate a little more to fill the unusual shape of the tool kit area.

Step 7: Carpet time. I had left over carpet from the bed platform build so I used adhesive spay glue to attached it to the plate and then trimmed off the excess. This part took some thinking too, I was thinking of only using the steel backing plate to protect the plastic rain barrier inside the door and for strength when mounting to the door. Then I was thinking of mounting some sort of rigid Molle panel to the steel plate to then attached some bags. Rigid Molle panels are expensive so I was looking at expanded steel instead. But then I realized that a lot of Molle patches have velcro rip away backings. And then I also realized that the carpet I used for the bed platform has big loops, big loops like the loop in "hook and loop"! You need to test the carpet you're planning on using to make sure the loop ("pile") is big enough to have a good bond with the pouches you buy.


Here is a link to the molle rip away pouch I bought on Amazon. It's a good buy for the money and 2 fit perfectly in the space.

Step 8: Build an awesome IFAK or tool kit or whatever you want and stick it to your new carpet panel! I built an IFAK to replace the rinky dink Walmart first aid kit and then I ordered another of the exact same Molle bag since it fit so perfectly. I decided to use the second one to hold frequently used items: ratcheting tie downs, carabiners, cam straps, bungees, and other hold down items.


2/17/18: When I first got Betty I did the Thermostat, Radiator Hoses, and Coolant but I didn't know the importance of using the OEM thermostat on Monteros. I installed a Stant fail-safe thermostat and it worked OK but despite replacing almost every cooling component the system was still giving me some trouble on long climbs / hot temps. So I switched that out for the much beefier OEM unit. Don't forget to put the wiggle valve on the top. The really nice thing about doing the thermostat job is that it seals up with an o-ring instead of the much messier and more time consuming process of gasket + rtv like most vehicles.



A few weeks ago, I'm not sure on which wheeling trip, but I bashed the transfer case skid pretty good. I had a couple extra junk yard donor skids around to I freshened one up and installed it.


Build Threads / Re: 1996 Montero SR - Project Arroyo
« on: February 26, 2018, 12:32:01 PM »
Regarding the Crank Sensor during a timing belt job - I would do it while you're in there. Mine threw a code when I went through a big mud hole at speed so I replaced mine during the next timing belt job.

Also - I can't help much with your engine items but if your seats won't tumble forward, check out my build thread for pics and instructions on how to fix that.


Loving this! The coverage of Moab just makes me want to go back. I had my gen2 LWB diesel the last time I wheeled there, along with about a hundred Nissans (GONE Moab event). I so wanted to do Hell's Gate, but there was something about open diffs and a long drive back to Calgary afterward that made me just watch. But it sure is fun even without that obstacle, eh? Did you ever try Kane Creek? It beat the crap out of me, but we got through it (the next morning I bought two new tires LOL).

The sunshades look great too! Nice work.

Unfortunately, Hell's Revenge was the only trail I was able to run on this trip because we had limited time with spending a whole day exploring Arches NP. Also, I wasn't with offroaders and my family members were pretty worn out after Hell's Revenge. Next time though, next time :-)

Oh, I also removed the car alarm mini megaphone from the truck. Now I have so much more room for activities.


2/11/18: For some reason, after Moab and the pit of doom incident my steering was back pulsing. I've had belt sequel since the timing belt and drive belt change done a few thousand miles ago and decided to address these issues. The PS reservoir was really really low. I haven't noticed any leaks under my truck so I'm not sure what is going on but Toasty gave me a bottle of Lucas PS fluid/additive/thick molases stuff and I topped off the reservoir. Shudders/back pressure is significantly better. I also tightened the PS belt and that sorted out the squeal on startup but I'm still getting a squeal when turning slowly at full lock - I'll need to keep investigating but my guess is that the centerlink or some other suspension component is allowing the wheels to turn too much. Maybe the metal bump stops need to be adjusted in?

I also decided to do some cosmetic work. The end caps/centers of the rear axle have been fuggly for awhile now so I painted them with bedliner spray.


1/20/18: I got the new ADD Transmission Skid. It's a beautiful and strong piece of armor.

To install, you use the existing rear mounts of the front diff skid plate and the rear of the tranny skid bolts on the passenger side to two existing mounts on the cross member. Then you have the option of drilling 2 more holes on the driver's side of the crossmember to further secure it in place. I opted to drill on the far driver side hole and it is plenty secure.

It's funny my skid plates are so random, they go: Front Jaos (Stainless), Factory Front Diff (Black), ADD Tranny (Stainless), Factory Transfer Case (Black), Factory Gas Tank (Black).

It's really hard to get good pics but I hope these help:


1/18/18: I've been working on this mod off and on for awhile now and finally finished it up. My friend had a bunch of reflective bubble insulation scraps that he was going to throw out but that stuff is expensive! So I took it and by joining a few pieces together with hvac foil tape I was able to make a full set of window shades for Betty.

It's already starting to heat up in Phoenix so I figured it would be handy to be able to block the sun out of every window to help protect the interior of the car when it is parked outside for long periods of time without use. Also, I might take these camping sometime and use them to block out the windows when I go to sleep in the truck so I can sleep in without the sun light waking me up (not that it ever does, cuz I sleep like a rock - but it's a nice theory).

I didn't do the front windshield because a standard store bought sun shade works just fine for that.


11/25/18: Today's Agenda: Wheelin.

I had a bunch of trails that I wanted to hit and really only one day to do them in. My plan was to do Hell's Revenge first and then a second one in the afternoon.

It was a full car load; aside from my wife who is pretty used to 4x4ing, I had 3 family members in the backseat who had never really done it before. This trail was definitely a hell of a first 4x4 experience for them.


VIDEO of a smaller hill climb, as you can see traction is never a problem:


It was not a very technical trail but it was pretty white knuckled and scary because of the cliffs and steep, long climbs and descents. I did not do any of the optional obstacles like escalator, hell's gate, or hot tubs because I was alone and didn't have a spotter I trusted. Plus I had a car load of 3 terrified women. So instead, we just got out and watched some jeeps and utvs tackle them. The red XJ in the photo above got some body damage on Hell's Gate because of some terrible spotting. The big K5 (I think that's what it was) in Devil's Hot Tub failed to get out on it's own (no surprise there) and almost flipped over backwards a couple times. Never a dull moment.

The most challenging part of the trail was actually the last 1/4 mile once you get off the sandstone and are returning to the main road. There are some pretty big ruts and off camber obstacles and I watched a JK barrel through them without even inspecting the obstacle first and he gave himself a surprise when both of his rear wheels jumped off the ground as he nosed forward off the steps but luckily, his momentum carried his nose through fast enough to avoid stopping and his rear tumbling forward overhead.

I messed up a little on one of the last obstacles and my driver side tire fell into a hole that cause it to turn outwards (left) farther than what I thought was even possible. When I got back on asphalt my steering wheel was a good 20 degrees off center. I've had several people look at the suspension since getting home, including Toasty, and no one can definitively find the issue. Toasty thinks my center link might be slightly bent now so I'll find a junkyard replacement and find out for sure when I get it off Betty. For now, we "fixed" it by pulling the steering wheel out of the u-joint thingy before the steering box and moving it over a couple splines so the wheel is straight with the wheels.

So after Hell's Revenge I explored around the area a bit more, went into town for something or other, but didn't get to do any more trails. Everyone was wiped out after 5 or so hours on Hell's Revenge and no one wanted to go with me on another adventure. Plus, I was slightly concerned about the front suspension with the alignment being so off and not knowing if I broke something. With every alignment shop closed that day and the next I decided to call it a day considering I still had to jam home with the 52 year old camper made of glass the next day.

But then we started talking about the long 9 hour drive home the next day and my wife and I decided to get on the road early and leave that same night at around 7pm. We drove a couple hours back to Valley of the Gods and returned to our favorite camp spot.


The next morning we drove back to PHX and solved a Silver Alert on the way. I saw a sign when passing through Flagstaff with the make and model of the car and then spotted it a few hours later outside of Black Canyon City. We called it in and I trailed him on the I-17 until AZ DPS intercepted. All in a day's work.

Betty did great, no issues other than the steering wheel being cock-eyed. I wish I could say the same for the camper. This old aluminum box never ceases to amaze and bewilder me. So we drive for like 5 hours and get into Flagstaff. Everything is going fine and I stop at my buddies house to say hi and hang out for a bit. After 30 minutes-1 hour of hanging out, we get back in the Montero and start to drive away but only make it about 10 feet, something is definitely wrong with the camper's wheels. I get out and see that somehow one of my tire is flat. Okay, so I got a flat tire while parked?

Then I get closer and am even more confused: The tire has come off the wheel because the rim is bent and there is a giant 6-8" crack on the inside of it!


I did not hit anything with the camper. Again, I did not hit anything.

It drove beautifully for 5 hours and then I parked it, came back out, and this was the scene. To crack a steel wheel that bad you would have to hit a rock or something so hard that I think the rest of the camper would be destroyed in the process.

I dunno what happened. My best guess is that the wheel was damaged a long time ago from a previous owner and the area continued to be stressed over my repeated use (3,000 mile summer trip through CO for example) and then the washboard roads of Valley of the Gods was the final nail in the coffin for it and it just decided to crack/split after it had a chance to cool down from the 5 hour trip during our break in Flagstaff. That's my best guess. Or maybe the shorter leaf springs I put in really did bounce/shake the wheels apart (they certainly couldn't have helped the situation if the wheel was already weakened).

Anyways, the camper pissed me off a bit past the edge on this trip so I sold it as soon as we got back :-)

I'll definitely be back to Moab and next time it will be on a dedicated 4x4 trip with buddies and their rigs as opposed to an impromptu family Thanksgiving. Fins and Things and the Moab Rim Trail are at the top of my list for next time.

How was towing the camper on washboards?

Pretty bad, a 52 year old camper is not the way to go when it comes to long dirt roads. The propane tanks and a couple interior doors fell off on the Valley of the Gods road, and then later on the trip a steel wheel split so bad that it pissed me off beyond repair.  I sold the camper as soon as we got home.

Thatís a great park. Looks like you beat the long lines.

We were hoping it would be quieter over Thanksgiving but Moab was actually pretty busy. The sand flats rec area was totally full but you're right,  it wasn't too bad at all in Arches NP.

11/24/17: Spent the day in Arches NP, hiking and exploring :-)


11/22/17: We left PHX for Moab and made it up to Valley of the Gods for the night. I was tired and anxious to get into camp and was driving faster than I should have. Right as we were pulling into a camp spot, the propane tanks flew off the camper tongue, broke off, and got pinned under the camper's frame. So we had to jack up the camper, pull the tanks out and jerry rig them back on the next morning.


11/23/17 Thanksgiving: After breakfast, I reattached the propane tanks with the help of a ratchet strap. Unfortunately, the regulator broke in half when the tanks fell so that rendered our camper's kitchen useless for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We stopped at about 5 stores in between Valley of the Gods and Moab but all hardware stores were closed for the holiday. That's okay, we met up with our family members in Moab who came in from Denver and Salt Lake, found a great camp spot, and between the 7 of us there were 7 portable propane burners available.

All in all, best Thanksgiving ever.


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