Author Topic: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide  (Read 10939 times)

Shovel

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Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« on: October 20, 2017, 08:39:19 AM »
You just bought a Gen 2 or Gen 2.5 Montero and want to take it from worn-out & stale to porn for the trail?   

Here are some proven steps to greatness.     Note that each part of this guide does not go into depth,  because that would take forever to read.    This gets you started,  then you can dig deeper.  Dig?

1.  Gears
  • Deeper axle gears compensate for some compromises made by Mitsu when they built your Montero and more importantly they compensate for the bigger tires we all know you're about to run.   Put your engine back in its sweet spot and make your Montero feel almost.. quick.  Pull hard up those mountain passes without killing your transmission.   Gears are a must-have shot in the ass for these vehicles.  Yes it's that good.
  • The easiest, lowest cost source for front gears will be 2002-2004 Montero Sports.  Pull the whole axle center section from any AWD Montero Sport that has 4.90 gears.   The donor must have AWD, not just part time 4wd.
  • When you install the AWD front axle in your Montero it will no longer disconnect in the middle when you're in 2wd mode. This eliminates a weak point and simplifies your truck a little.  You can remove those vacuum solenoids too.   But that also comes at a small cost, you really should buy unlockable hubs.   You will also want to do a little wiring so your 4x4 indicator lights work correctly. 
  • The easiest, lowest cost source for rear gears will be Montero Sports with the 3.5L engine. (I don't know if this applies to 3.0 Montero LS?  Anybody?) These mostly exist after 2000 through 2004 in the US.   Be careful that some 3.5L Sports have the smaller rear axle,  be sure to count the bolts holding your 3rd member to your axle and those on the donor to be sure it's the same size axle before you remove it.   You just need the 3rd member not the whole axle.
  • If you already have a locking differential,  you'll need an axle shop to swap the ring & pinion from your donor to your truck.  If you already know how to do this yourself that's cool too,  but there's no shame in paying a pro for this part.    If you don't already have a locking differential you can either look for one and do it at this time (easiest to bundle the jobs.. )  or when you're shopping for your rear 3rd member find one that has the Hybrid LSD in it already.   This just drops into your axle with no modifications and can be done casually in a couple hours by anybody who turns wrenches.    The hybrid LSD is excellent on sand, snow, and other low traction surfaces - it does go out of its element once you're actually rock crawling then it's time for a locker

Need help deciding which gears to run?
Stock tires through 31" :  4.27 (stock for Gen 2.5) or 4.63 (stock for Gen 2 SR)
31"-33" tires: 4.63 or 4.90
35"+ tires 4.90 or 5.29 




Pros of gears:
  • Puts your engine power to best use, especially if you have larger tires. Game Changer.
  • Cooler transmission temperatures (and almost certainly longer transmission life)
  • Can return speedometer & shift points to correct values if you have installed larger tires
  • If your gear upgrade includes a locking or hybrid limited slip, you've just nearly doubled your usable traction

Cons of gears:
  • If you go the easy route in front you'll need to manually lock/unlock hubs
  • If you don't choose to do the wiring fix your dash indicator lamps might flash at you while in 4wd.


2. Torque Distribution

The ability to get engine torque to the tires in contact with the ground can be a major safety upgrade or a major source of danger.    To summarize,  greater traction capability lets you choose the safest course through difficult segments of your route, instead of being forced to accept whatever line lets you keep wheels planted.  That can improve your safety.    But greater capability also means you can get yourself into more trouble, get deeper into wild terrain where getting yourself to safety or recovering your stuck or disabled vehicle becomes exponentially more expensive. 

I believe it is valuable for any driver to learn open differential driving techniques - a highly skilled driver with open differentials will usually be more capable overall than a careless driver with locking differentials. 

Gen 2 and 2.5 Monteros left the factory without any form of active traction control.  Torque is delivered on the basis of which component offers the least resistance,  checked only by the locked or viscous center differential (depending on shift lever position) and - if equipped - the locking rear differential.

So what configurations are possible?

Front differential:

  • From the factory all Montero front differentials are open.   This means that under essentially all circumstances both front wheels will receive the same torque as each other, including when one of them is receiving 0 torque due to being airborne.   This offers predictable handling, produces no noise, never fights the driver through the steering wheel and requires very little maintenance.   It also means you can have one front wheel planted on solid ground and still be stuck because the opposing wheel is off the ground.
  • Aftermarket ARB or TRE selectable locking differential.   Under most circumstances these behave as an open differential but can be selectively locked by the driver to deliver as much as 100% of engine torque to a single front wheel.   They require driver interaction (they're not idiot proof so you have to not be an idiot) and during engagement they massively affect handling and driver feedback.   This is the most serious high traction front differential for seriously rugged terrain
  • Aftermarket Russian helical LSD.   Nothing is really known in the US about the quality of these but they're available on ebay for around $800 delivered.  Unlike a selectable locker these do not fully lock up and can turn into effectively an open differential under some circumstances (wheel in the air) - but they do not require any special maintenance and driver interaction is not necessary for them to function.   Their function can be improved by careful pressure to the brake pedal in some circumstances.   Also unlike a selectable locker these will exhibit excellent road manners and can be the superior choice for snowy or muddy conditions, high speed AWD travel or any vehicle that has to be good at everything without compromises borne of specialization.
  • From the unicorn corral: Rear LSD from a Starion/Conquest.  If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the StarQuest LSD.   These are not easy to find anymore if they ever were,  but during the 1980s Mitsubishi imported rear wheel drive coupes which could be equipped with a limited slip differential.   That differential can be used in the front of our Monteros .  They are a clutch operated LSD which means they will deliver positive traction to both wheels and may feedback a little through the steering wheel under certain conditions.    These can be looked at like something between a selectable full locker and a helical geared LSD because they deliver torque to both wheels even if one is off the ground, but they don't require driver interaction.  It should be noted that due to the principle of operation for these differentials you are strongly advised to install manual disconnect hubs and unlock them when traveling in 2WD.  Another good choice for a vehicle that has to be good at everything under all conditions - but they're getting pretty hard to find these days.  Good luck!

Rear Differential:
  • Many Monteros had an open rear differential.
  • Some Monteros had a factory equipped selectable rear locker.  These feature an air compressor built into a cavity under the rear seat,  a small computer to reduce the potential for damage by a poorly chosen engagement, and a factory switch in the center console.   If your Montero was factory equipped with this locker there will be an orange sticker near the gas pedal on  your center console.    This locker can be added to a Montero which was not factory equipped but be aware that you will also need the left side axle shaft from a locking rear axle and if your Montero is equipped with ABS that donor will need to be from the same generation as your Montero,  as there were two different ABS tone rings which are incompatible with each other - and some Monteros were equipped with a rear locker and no ABS.    It is not easy (might not be possible) to swap your tone ring to a differing axle shaft.
  • ARB and TRE manufacture quality aftermarket selectable rear lockers.   These can be installed in Montero axles which were originally equipped with open differentials, as they utilize the longer left side axle shaft from an open-diff axle.   For that reason - and the fact you can simply order them and receive them instead of going on a unicorn hunt - these can be an excellent option.   The ARB is rumored to be stronger than the OEM locker and unlike OEM lockers, repair parts are still available for them (and will be indefinitely) .  These also allow the driver to engage them at any time so you have to not be a fool.
  • You can swap in a hybrid limited slip differential from a Montero Sport.  There are two different axle sizes depending which engine was equipped, so it will be necessary to obtain this differential from the same size donor axle as yours.  The Mitsubishi hybrid limited slip is a helical type geared LSD with an internal viscous biasing differential.    This is a very well behaved differential that requires no user input to work effectively.   This differential has reasonably abundant availability as of right now so the hunt isn't too intense,  it doesn't require the special short axle shaft like an OEM locker and in some cases it can be a drop in,  saturday afternoon upgrade if you find one with the gear ratio you're going to be running already (these could be found with 4.63 or 4.90 gears) .    Ideal for any high speed travel in any weather conditions but fall out of their element in rock crawling.
  • For 3.0L Gen 2 Monteros only,  I believe the clutched LSD from a V6 Gen 1 Montero can be swapped in - and once upon a time there were "Power Brute" brand aftermarket ones in existence.  Please confirm this elsewhere as I am not 100% confident on it.




3. Running Boards Delete

  • Well, you just kind of take them off.
  • On a Gen 2.5 you can use automotive trim plugs "christmas trees" to fill the three holes the front mudflaps leave

Pros of removing running boards:
  • More functional clearance for tight trails, the running boards were just gonna get crunched anyway
  • More athletic appearance
  • Less crap that's just along for the ride

Cons of removing running boards:

  • I guess if you have limited mobility and need the running boards to get in,  that's cool just don't remove them then.




Automotive trim plugs (also called "christmas trees") fill the three holes left from removing the running boards, for a cleaner and more deliberate appearance without going to the body shop.

« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 03:06:09 PM by Shovel »

Shovel

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 08:40:48 AM »
4.  Updated Audio

Breaking this into two sections.    If you had the factory premium sound (amplifier under the rear seat,  eight speakers) or no factory premium sound. 

Updated Audio For Non-Premium-Sound. 
  • Put an aftermarket head unit in the factory location.   Gen 2.5 can accept a 2DIN head unit.  Due to its low placement, touchscreen/nav/video type head units are not advised, they require you to take  your eyes off the road for a long time and they're useless for viewing stuff anyway down there.  Big 2DIN with knobs and buttons = fast and easy to use with your eyes on the road
  • Your rear speakers are 6x9" and to access them  you have to remove the whole rear lower interior panels, including the 3rd row seats if you still have those.   It's not that hard,  but my point is you can't remove the grilles or speakers from the "front" without breaking them.   Take the whole stuff out.   You'll need to unbolt the seat belts too but that's all easy - all of this is easy work it just has to be done right for a good result.  You can get just about any normal 6x9s or even use 6x9" subwoofers if you want to do it that way.   Just no MONSTER double-magnet things,  you have a lot of room but not infinite room.
  • If your lower dashboard has 4" speakers in it, remove them and throw them as far away as possible.   Alternate: you can hook them up to a communications radio if you want.  But don't use them for music it's added expense for worse sound quality.
  • Gen 2.5 front doors use 6.5" (or 6.75") speakers.  Earlier Gen 2 use 5.25" loudspeakers but I understand can be retrofit to use the Gen 2.5 holders.  I recommend component type speakers that have a separate woofer and tweeter.   You can mount these in the doors and run a new tweeter wire up to the sail panel.   
  • If your Montero didn't come with the sail panel tweeter pods,  these can still be bought from your local Mitsubishi dealer cheaper than you expect - or you can get them from a junkyard.   I don't know if this applies to early Gen2. 
  • For mounting component tweeters, either reuse your little metal brackets from the factory poly tweeters or if yours didn't come with those, get them from a junkyard donor.   Unscrew the factory tweeter, clean with solvent, use 3M VHB adhesive tape to permanently stick your component tweeter to it, enjoy.


Updated Audio For Factory Premium Sound.  (the above still mostly applies)

  • The factory premium sound head unit, amplifier and speakers are great as a set,  but they all are made to work together or not at all.   If you replace part of it the rest is going to suck.   So if you put an aftermarket head unit in there be prepared to pitch the factory amp in the recycle bin or ebay it or something.  It's just not any good with a new deck. There's more info on this elsewhere on the forum.
  • The factory amp has three sets of channels.   One set drives the rear 6x9 speakers (see above section),  one drives the door woofers (6.5"/6.75" see above) and one drives the lower dash & upper door speakers.  Great when all of that is OEM,  becomes not great with extreme quickness when any part of it is replaced.  See above section about what kind of speakers to get rid of and what kind to use.
  • For bypassing the factory amp, you'll need to do a little wiring.  There might be a bypass harness in the dash but I haven't found it so I just did manual wiring.   This allows me to keep the factory amp location wired up & ready for adding an aftermarket amp if I want.   Google nine conductor speaker wire,  it's a readily available product,  affordable and made for exactly this.    It has eight conductors for four channels of speaker output (from your aftermarket head unit) plus another conductor you can use for a grounding drain if you're pro tier or a remote turn on lead if you're doing it walmart style or reusing an old amp from your closet that can't do balanced input.
  • If you're bypassing the factory amp by running 9 conductor wire back to that amplifier's location,  you can either splice the wires (remind me to publish a diagram, at least for Gen2.5... )  or use a Euro style barrier strip.   Using a Euro barrier strip is less sexy but makes future expansion with an aftermarket amp easier.

Pros of updating the audio system as described herein:
  • You can get cool stuff like Bluetooth, USB, HDRadio
  • You can use your rear 6x9" locations for 6x9 subwoofers (don't forget to use a lot of deadener, Noico is killin' right now for value/quality) which can give you legit bass without using any space at all
  • You can get a clean subwoofer out if you want to run an additional aftermarket subwoofer, ya damn bass junkie!
  • Done right this can net you much better audio quality and clarity than the factory premium system

Cons of updating the audio system as described herin:
  • Some aftermarket head units look pretty dorky.  Gotta either be careful with selection (remember most of the name brand ones do let you set illumination color to match your dash lights...) or put up with space alien appearance
  • Touchscreens down below waist level suck immeasurably in a car so.. just don't
  • Can sound bad if you don't know what you're doing and slap it in there amateur style
  • Even if you pay a shop to install it an alarming number of "professional" installers are really, really, really not qualified.  Nature of the business   :(   So... yeah there's a potential for this ending up being worse and I don't know how to help with that other than "Do it good, don't do it bad" .    :o

5.  Wheels & Tires

All right, the tire thing is where I have to throw a little tough love in.   If your objective is nothing more than maximum tire size for minimum dollars you have the wrong vehicle.   If you stumbled into your Montero because you really wanted a 4runner but "they're overpriced!"  I'm saying this from the bottom of my heart,  a 20 year old obscure-ass Japanese 4x4 isn't the right vehicle for you.   Go on and sell it,  save up a little more money and get you that 4runner.    Please understand I mean this in the warmest and most friendly possible way to help save you from some frustration and save your Montero from some half assed, half baked abuse at the end of an impact wrench. 

  • One of the most common, most frustratingly repeated phrases you'll find on any 4x4 discussion anywhere is "What's the biggest tire I can fit"  and I urge you to understand that not only is that question beat to death (just Google it already) but also it's not really the right question to ask.    Biggest tire isn't really going to necessarily produce the best results, you need to ask yourself what you want the vehicle to do and how far you're actually going to go with modifying the vehicle to get there.
  • You want the biggest tires, period,  so you can act like a tough guy?  You can reliably run 37" tires on a Gen2 Montero if you're willing to put the work into making it work.   To make it work, you need 17" wheels, big brake upgrade, 5.29:1 diff gears, 3.15:1 transfer case gears,  a 2" suspension liftupgraded idler kingpin, body lift and high clearance front and rear bumpers (or trimming).   That's a lot of shit right?   Well, yeah it is.  And it's pretty bad ass if you do it right.   But it's undrivable, unsafe rubbish if you cut corners. 
  • It's a whole lot easier to run 35's or even 33's.   You should still do some upgrades, even though 33's will pretty much just mount right up & work it's a whole lot better with gears, suspension lift, etc.
  • You might even find that you don't need to run 33's to have an extremely capable truck, remember that the Montero came out of the box a formidable, balanced machine and the whole reason we drive these instead of Cherokees or Wranglers is because of the unique refinement and force-of-nature balance inherent to a Montero.   If your first order of business is to work against that balance and refinement you might genuinely be better off just selling your Montero right now and buying a Wrangler or 4runner.
  • When you're shopping tires,  you should consider the other topics in this guide.   The factory wheels are 15" but if you move up to 16 or 17" wheels you can also upgrade your brakes to 314mm front discs.   There are a lot of great LT-rated tires available in 16 and 17" sizes so if you really know the profile you're after you can dial it in pretty nicely.   Donors for 16 and 17" wheels range from Montero Sports,  Infiniti QX4 and some Toyota 4wd vehicles; as well as many aftermarket choices

So what are some proven options?

  • To run 31x10.50-15 tires,  just have 'em installed.   Bam.  You're done.  This size works exceptionally well on stock underpinnings and comes with pretty close to zero compromises.  You probably won't be able to run Rubicon on this tire size but a stock Montero on 31's is no slouch and if major feature trails aren't  your bag anyway you can go exploring your whole life on 31's
  • To run 33x12.50-15 tires you CAN just pretty much install them and a body lift and they'll work.. particularly if you have a 1994-1996 "SR" model thanks to its factory gearing advantage.  But to make the most of 33's you really should consider the gear upgrade at the top of this guide and some upgraded shocks & steering improvements to handle the heavier tires
  • To run 35x12.50 tires you'll want a suspension lift, 2" body lift , upgraded idler kingpin , upgraded gears (4.90 or the wicked-ass 5.29s) and I'd strongly suggest you go completely through your drivetrain to make sure your lubricants are all flushed up to date, cooling system looks "good enough to drink, if it was kool aid", ensure you've got premium brake friction material..  big tires are heavy and have a big mechanical advantage against your truck so you can't just carelessly slap them on a barely running truck and expect it to work reliably

OK so what's the perfect tire combo?   This treads into opinion territory and it's going to come down to what you're doing with the vehicle.    If you want to be able to casually run Rubicon but still have a daily driveable truck,  aim for 35's.       If you want a truck where trails like Rubicon are still on the menu but you haven't made any highway compromises,  consider some 17" wheels and metric 33" equivalent (255/80R17, 285/70R17) .    If you want to just take your truck camping and don't want to tackle the formidable expense or work of changing gears and all that?  Get you some LT rated 31x10.5R15 all-terrains and you're in business!




LT265/70R17 (32x10.5) is working very well for me.



Toasty has found that 35x12.5-17 works for him.



Staff Photographer with JBFP Industries J.B. is rolling 33x12.50-15" tires on his SR

Each of us have made a number of other modifications to our Monteros to not only fit the tires but also produce a high performance, safe and reliable machine for both the trail and for the highway between home and the trailhead.


Let's dig into pro's and cons of wheel size (the metal wheel, not the tire on it)

15" Wheel Pro's

  • You probably already have these so they're free.  That doesn't suck.
  • If mud, snow, or granite-and-sandstone type driving is major on your list, having the maximum amount of sidewall and flotation can be an asset
  • Pretty wide assortment of tire choices in classic flotation sizes (31,33,35)

15" Wheel Cons
  • Can't upgrade to big brakes
  • Balloon sidewalls become a liability in terrain with a lot of sharp rocks
  • In larger tire sizes a small wheel diameter can lead to a more vague highway feel and greater sensitivity to tire pressures
  • While many excellent tire brands & models are available for 15" wheels,  some size options are very limited or non-existent - for example the proven pizza cutter format popular with distance adventure drivers for their balanced performance and efficiency.  Far more options in 16 and 17" wheels

16" and 17" Wheel Pro's (grouped together because for the most part, the same applies)
  • Can run big brakes
  • Whole universe of metric LT sizes available
  • Can be more fuel efficient than equivalent diameter tire on smaller wheel
  • Improved road/highway performance for larger tire diameters


16" and 17" Wheel Cons

  • You probably have to.. you know, buy them.    16" donors include later Montero Sports (great looking wheels),  Infiniti QX4 (polarizing looks..),  some Landcruisers (watch your offset..) and of course the aftermarket has you covered for 16"+ wheels
  • Less sidewall can mean less flotation and terrain conforming traction on extreme surfaces/muck

18"+ Wheel Pro's

  • Unknown at this time (that's a sincere answer) - There are a lot of ~35" tires available for 20" wheels that could offer a sporty-yet-capable result if built with proper forethought
  • Can be a style if your personal visual aesthetic demands it but for the purposes of this guide I'm leaning heavily on function driven modifications

18"+ Wheel Cons
  • Decreasing options for functional, tough LT rated off-pavement tires.  Thanks to the fullsize pickup market there are now some pretty good tire choices for 20" wheels,  hasn't been done much on a Montero yet but you could be the guy!
  • Reduced sidewall may be beyond the threshold for benefit.   In other words a tire with only 4" of sidewall probably won't provide any handling benefits over one with 6" of sidewall in this application but the reduced ability to conform to uneven surfaces may hinder such a tire off-pavement
  • Metal tends to be heavier than air & rubber,  so huge wheels can come with a significant weight penalty

Always keep in mind that tires have minimum and maximum wheel width ratings and reputable tire shops will not mount a tire on an incompatible wheel.   Shop accordingly.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 10:17:03 AM by Shovel »

Shovel

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 08:41:01 AM »
6. Shock Absorbers,  Suspension & Chassis

Aside from unique looks, what makes the Mitsubishi Montero a unique machine is the level of strength and balance built into these things.     Get behind the wheel of a well maintained,  carefully built Montero and you'll be blown away by how controlled and confident the machine feels on and off the road.   

To a lot of drivers what makes a Montero, a Montero is this poise and shibumi; without this it's just a sluggish and thirsty - if handsome - people mover. 

To put it plainly it's a waste of your time and money to put up with the work and expense of owning a 20+ year old orphaned truck if you're not going to sustain its greatest feature. 

  • The taut, parallel arm front suspension,  heavy chassis and elephantine rear axle demand better than just whatever cheap ass shocks are on sale.    This isn't just so you can enjoy a nicer ride,  I mean that basic twin tube shocks with little pistons are going to just eat themselves up in a matter of months and be right back to sloppy crap before you know it.   These trucks had factory monotubes for a reason.
  • The factory idler arm has little plastic bushings that wear out and when they do, your steering becomes vague and sloppy.  That's not just dangerous it's also fatiguing on long drives.  Fighting your truck hour after hour after hour on the highway is a good way to end up grumpy and exhausted when you should be enjoying the drive.   You can replace the bushings with factory replacements, you can replace the whole idler assembly with an aftermarket assembly (that also has plastic bushings), or Adventure Driven Design offers replacement bushings and a ridiculously overbuilt kingpin upgrade that's the final word on this subject.   Any choice you make for your budget is a good one as long as you don't just live with shitty worn out sloppy steering
  • Sway bars are for more than just slalom courses.  Some people remove their sway bars entirely and live with the increased lean around corners & occasional rear axle hysteresis.   I do not personally advocate sway bar removal on these trucks (or any coil sprung solid axle) but if you choose to remove yours I do urge that you pay particular attention to spring and shock absorber selection to maximize your safety and that of your passengers
  • There is no real way to quick disconnect the sway bars (front or rear) on these trucks.  Seriously many great minds have tried many solutions to this,  working with the stock bars it just can't happen.  Some talk exists of integrating a "Currie Anti-Rock" style bar into a gas tank skidplate for high performance non-binding rear axle sway control and if I had all the money in the world I'd probably dive straight into that project.
  • The stock sway bars do not limit dynamic suspension travel on a stock height Montero,  but removing them can offer some comfort and traction benefits off-pavement.    Monteros with long travel rear suspension will suffer sway bar bind at the extents of travel;  this is not harmful but does prevent taking the fullest advantage of the long travel suspension modifications.  If you're wondering, my own Montero has both front and rear sway bars installed and staying that way.
  • Some Monteros came with fancy driver selectable shock absorber firmness using a switch in the cab.   These are great,  but at this point replacements are pretty much impossible to obtain.   I think the last time somebody found them they were over $800 per shock (you need four) .  Thankfully you have some really excellent choices for replacement,  they just aren't adjustable

What are your shock options? 

  • Whatever like cheap Sachs or Monroe "Factory Replacement" ..  they're not factory replacement.   The factory shocks were monotubes so a Sachs twin tube is a downgrade and will simply not last.  Look I have nothing against Monroes in your daily driver Corolla they're fine but they're just going to get beat up and die on a truck chassis like your Montero.
  • Gabriel Ultra Truck Shocks.   These are low cost large displacement twin tube shocks that represent a middle ground between bare minimum shocks (like Sachs) and anything that could be called high performance shocks.  Credit where it's due these have come a long way since the old days - they used to be private labeled to auto parts stores as "BRUISER" which only applied when they were cold.   Recent experience with the current iteration has been more impressive with regard to ride quality, but longevity is still a big question - I've had to change out a couple of these on another application with only a year and a half on them.   When are these the right choice?   If your budget allows no more than these, and you want a softer shock without going all the way to 5100's and you're willing to take a chance on longevity.  Save your warranty card.
  • OME Nitro Charger / Nitro Charger Sport - I have no first hand with these but spent a bit of time researching what others have to say in addition to their own marketing materials.  Based on OME's reputation I would speculate these are resilient to heavy use and probably valved progressively - that is to say mild on washboards and stiff on the hard hits.    ARB's comment on the Nitro Charger Sport is that compared to the antecedent Nitro Charger the Sport has a more modern & complex valve mechanism (perhaps more stages of progression?), better seals and they've optimized weight distribution with fewer ounces of material just along for the ride. 
  • KYB Gas-A-Just .    These are the lowest cost monotubes available,  a very popular choice for years and years.   They are NOT immortal despite some peoples' claims,  but they are very long lived, reliable dampers.    According to KYB they are 25% stiffer than the OEM shocks,  which my and other drivers' experience tends to agree with.  Actual valving unknown.
  • KYB Monomax.   These are a larger piston size monotube from KYB and probably provide greater consistency of control and heat management.   Now that I've had experience with them I feel they are a big step up in ride quality from the Gas-A-Just.   To my butt-o-meter they seem to have fairly linear valving that's never quite sporty but doesn't feel sloppy or overly compliant.  If Bilstein HD's didn't exist I'd consider these.
  • Bilstein HD.  - The blue and yellow ones!  These are premium tier monotubes valved by Bilstein specifically for this application (as in Bilstein put a Montero on a track at some point in history and their engineers valved and specified these shocks for this vehicle and only this vehicle) .   At stock height or with a mild lift these shocks provide tight, planted handling on the road and forgiving, controlled handling on uneven surfaces - also known as a digressive damping curve.   Ideal for a Montero you're going to daily drive and expect to do everything well.
  • A.D.D. Exclusive Bilstein 5100 in standard or a mid-travel rear suspension upgrade.   These shocks have the same 46mm piston size as the Bilstein HD's but feature a custom specification developed by Adventure Driven Design to work with the Montero's unique suspension geometry & improve rear travel without compromising safety, and to provide a more supple ride on rough surfaces.   These will feel softer or milder than the Bilstein HD's on and off the road but offer the same absolute damping control, just different rates of delivery for greater comfort on the trail.  If you want to ride on a cloud of tits this is your ticket - but be aware that these are valved for the rock crawler not the heavily laden expedition truck.   If you're bearing weight you'll want the firmness of the Bilstein HD's
  • A.D.D. Exclusive Bilstein 5100 remote reservoir mid-travel rear suspension upgrade.    Primary difference with these vs. the not-remote-reservoir version is almost double the surface area, almost double the hydraulic volume so they're ready to spend all day and all night eating washboards.
  • King Off Road Racing Shocks.   Price of admission to these is a bit high,  but since they're full race shocks they can be rebuilt and tuned to do exactly what you need or want them to do.   I am not aware of anybody who actually has these on a Montero but they're available if you've done really well financially and want the absolute best.   So how do I know they're better than Bilsteins?  There's no replacement for displacement and Kings are simply available larger, with more fluid volume and with available bypasses and multi stage tuning.   Like I said, if you've done really well financially and you want the absolute best,  you can hire a suspension engineer and spec some Kings to do exactly what you want for your exact running weight and tire combo.   I'm not in that bracket,  love me some Bilsteins..  ;)   


What are your lift options?

One popular option is body lifts.   Since Gen 1,2 and 2.5 Monteros are body-on-frame this means you can install a body lift to gain more tire clearance and then the larger tires can net you more ground clearance. 

  • Body lifts over about 2" are not advised because they make pretty significant problems for your transfer case shift lever, engine cooling/radiator situation, fuel and heater and electrical connections, etc.    Commercially available lifts of 1.5 to 1.75" are considered just about right for added tire clearance without problems elsewhere
  • Because the frame cross section is not massive on these vehicles, a small body lift isn't going to give you a naked frame or a see-through gap under the rear body.   It's not hokey like that.
  • Body lifts are easy to install, inexpensive and preserve factory ride characteristics
  • A body lift is something you should at least consider for running tires over 33" and may even be necessary for running 35" tires trouble free since the front suspension is difficult to lift more than a couple inches
  • DOHC equipped 94-96 Monteros had a small factory body lift to accommodate the larger engine intake/heads.   You may still add an aftermarket body lift because the factory reposition isn't affected.
  • A body lift will result in a small gap above your bumpers if you don't relocate your bumpers or fabricate custom bumpers.

Suspension lifts grant you improved approach and departure angles, breakover angle and running ground clearance and can provide room for larger than stock tires,  but cannot really increase front suspension travel due to the limitations of the steering and CV axle hardware as well as available shock absorbers for that application.   

  • The easiest, and first place most Monteros go for lifting their vehicle is the front torsion bars.   It is important that you lubricate the threads/bolts on the torsion bar adjusters before cranking, and never fully remove the jam nut because if the torsion bar unloads spontaneously from sheared threads it can seriously injure you or kill you
  • Adjusting the torsion bars does not change the range of motion available for your front suspension it only changes the position in which the body rides relative to the wheels.   You gain "up travel" but lose "down travel".     While it is possible to crank the torsion bars all the way to the top of their range for absolute maximum lift this will result in very unpleasant and unsafe ride characteristics on and off the road,  with your vehicle "diving" off speed bumps, potholes and any other surface irregularities.    Leave yourself some additional travel.
  • After you have lifted your Montero you'll need to get it aligned.    See elsewhere in the A.D.D. forums for a DIY guide to front end alignment and maybe save yourself a bit of money.
  • Lifting the rear of your Montero comes with a few more options;  for the most part they consist of coil spring spacers (no change to ride or load handling capacity),  lift coils (which may offer other features like progressive rate winding or added load capacity), and extended travel rear suspension that adds more "down travel" in addition to the ride height increase to provide more control and traction on extreme terrain.
  • Currently suspension lifts can be purchased from Adventure Driven Design or via reputable Old Man Emu distributors or Rocky Road Outfitters - you'll find good reasons to shop any of them.
  • To get more than about 2" of suspension lift on a Montero you'll need to look East,  there are some mysterious Thailand-market suspension drop lifts that exist but there's not a lot known about them in the Western world and since you can go as big as 37" tires without 'em,  few people have bothered to take the leap.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 10:03:30 AM by Shovel »

Shovel

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 08:41:16 AM »
7.  Brakes

Brakes are one of the most critical go-hard upgrades you can make to any vehicle unless it's a modern sports car already.    Factory Montero brakes are not exactly excellent on factory sized tires;  when you put larger tires on and then increase your driving confidence with some premium shocks the next thing you're going to do is discover the limits of your brakes - which is not a fun thing to discover at the wrong time. 

  • Premium friction material really does make a difference - plus premium brake pads will have better noise reduction shims too so that doesn't suck.   I can recommend Powerstop Z23 pads for premium class behavior in any temperature,  they're "street" pads so they don't need to be hot to work well - critical for those first stops after coasting down a hill.    For "Available Everywhere" pads the Duralast MAX at Autozone have the nicer noise shims on the pads and in other (non-Montero) applications I've found them to be very effective so they're probably good here too.
  • You can go "BIG BRAKES" with junkyard parts!!   Just pick up a set of front brake discs for a 2000+ Montero Sport (314mm) and the caliper brackets for a Montero Sport with the 16" wheels,  get the brake dust shields as well.    Your front brake hoses are just barely, barely long enough but this would be a really good time to get a set of braided steel brake hoses made with an extra 15mm of length on 'em just to be in good shape.
  • Installing new brake discs in front requires disassembling your front hub assembly.   It's not really that hard but it can be messy, this is a good time to repack your front bearings too.

8.  Speed

Inevitably everyone wants more power right?    Notice how I put this section after the brake upgrades?

Since this is a quick start guide I'm going to start off by saying that at this stage do not immediately look for more power out of your engine.  Do the gears (very top of this guide) first and then come back here.  I'm not saying that the gears are going to magically give you 1000 horsepower but the effect on driveability is significant.  That is the number one bang for the buck way to make your Montero feel more powerful and the only reason you should do horsepower mods instead of gears is if you're going big with an engine swap or forced induction. 

  • Don't fool around with intake stuff.   Your airbox and intake tubing are not bottlenecks on this engine, the only thing you're going to do is get more induction noise and if you're doing an exposed cone intake you'll get more dust and garbage in your engine.  You can expect to get exactly 0.0000 horsepower or less from an aftermarket intake on this vehicle.
  • There might be some horsepower available from a more performance oriented exhaust.   Mitsu put a pretty quiet exhaust system on these trucks - I'd speculate a straight through muffler has a bit to offer if done right.
  • Shift kits are available for your transmission.   What's a shift kit?  It's a set of springs and valves that retune your transmission for cleaner, shorter shift overlap.   Not tire-barking slam shifts just a subtle extension in how long each gear is held and how quickly the next gear taps in.  These make a major difference in how quick your Montero feels and have essentially no drawbacks.   When you can budget for a shift kit you should get one, period.
  • On the topic of transmissions,  your transmission kickdown (the connection between your gas pedal and your transmission so it knows to downshift when you mash gas) is mechanical, a cable connected to the throttle body.   This can fall out of adjustment over time for a number of reasons and if your throttle cable or transmission kickdown cable are out of adjustment your transmission and your truck will feel much more sluggish than it really needs to be (and this can make your transmission run hotter too).. so.. fix that shit.   (if somebody knows of an online guide I can link, I'll link it here)
  • If you want to do big horsepower stuff..  engine swaps, etc.    Yes it's possible, yes it's been done - and in many cases very awesome results too but that's a bit outside the scope of this guide.    The easiest route to a meaningful (modest but very real) gain in power is a 3.8L swap from a Mitsubishi Endeavor.   It's as close to a bolt-in as you're gonna find and they're affordable on the junkyard market and will deliver around 20 ft-lbs of torque across the rev range without appreciable compromises

« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 10:05:13 AM by Shovel »

Shovel

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 08:41:33 AM »
9.  Maintaining your investment

All the stuff above is cool but it's all an investment of money - the return on that investment isn't more money,  it's a strong and reliable tool to accomplish the things you want to do with your life like see the hidden parts of the world,  enjoy the ride when you need to relocate your carcass from one spot to another,   bring experiences to your family - even just remain mobile when winter weather puts 2wd vehicles out of commission.   

Why even bother upgrading if you're just going to let the engine die a month later?

  • All 3.5L Montero engines are interference and have timing belts.    An interference engine means that there are parts of the engine that occupy the same space as each other but at different times because of the aptly named Timing Belt.  If the belt breaks while the engine is running, inertia will bring those interfering parts into the same place they're both trying to occupy at the same time and it summarily ends the life of that engine.    Timing belt maintenance is crucial!!   If the belt goes, the whole engine goes and then you're parting out another Montero on craigslist and there's one less in the world.
  • If you just got a Montero assume the timing belt was not replaced even if the seller says it was.   This is too important to take chances on.    Just service it anyway with a new water pump and a new tensioner and a new crank bolt/washer.   Seriously just cough up the funds and do it.
  • The crankshaft end bolt that came from the factory on your truck is a flawed design and can crack, which sucks an awful lot to fix.   When you're doing the timing belt service you can install an updated crank bolt and washer.    These are available from your local dealer for not much money or Adventure Driven Design can supply them for a little more as a convenience.   Please be assured that this is something you do not want to neglect.
  • Hoses are a "wear item" that deteriorates over time and your Montero has a bunch of coolant hoses that are definitely dead or dying by now if they're original.   Any of them can leak and end your vehicle's life.    When replacing the coolant hose on your throttle body,  it's possible to add a little extra length to that hose and install a fuel filter inline.    Why a fuel filter?   This is a bypass channel for coolant so a filter installed here won't have a negative effect on engine cooling but can capture all sorts of gack that's being carried around your coolant system,  improving cooling performance and extending the life of your water pump and radiator.
  • The heater core in these vehicles sucks to replace and aftermarket plastic tank radiators suck.    Preserve the life of your delicate parts by only running fresh coolant with distilled water (or 50/50 pre mixed) - no tap water - so that the corrosion inhibitors can work correctly.    Coolant should be flushed every 2 years per the owners' manual.  Don't forget to clean and flush your overflow tank.
  • Brake fluid is about a 5 year juice... people usually neglect it but ideally you should be flushing that every 5 years or so.    It can be gravity bled,  just pick up a couple feet of tubing at the hardware store, put the right size box-end wrench on the bleed screw, put one end of the tube over the bleed screw and the other end in a container that can catch brake fluid.   Clean around your brake master cylinder reservoir as much as you can and then open the lid,  crack open the bleed screw on your first caliper and let it start gravity draining.  Keep checking on the reservoir and never let it go empty, top it up with fresh fluid.   Repeat for all four calipers until you're certain that you've got all fresh fluid in the system.    Bleed air if necessary (probably won't be unless you let the master cylinder go dry) & don't forget there's a 5th bleed screw on the proportioning valve ahead of the rear axle.
  • Cleanliness is king,  a clean ride is easiest to diagnose problems, easiest to find leaks, easiest to repair... oh yeah and a clean ride just feels great and makes you want to maintain it more.    Keep your rig clean inside and out, clean underneath it with a pressure washer, keep the engine bay clean even in the crevasses.    This is a price you pay for owning a 20+ year old vehicle you have to actually take care of it or it won't take care of you.     Brand new cars shouldn't be neglected but older cars can't be neglected.
  • Additives..   you know all those bottles of magic juice they sell at Autozone?    That's like the medicine aisle at Walgreens.    Would  you just randomly start eating over the counter medicine if you had nothing wrong with you?    Would  you take a Claritin for a toothache?    That would be dumb, right?     Same goes for additives.    If you have a reason to suspect a specific problem then maybe a targeted additive can help - but without problems to solve you're not really going to see a benefit.    There's probably no harm in occasionally running a fuel or top end cleaner through just to prevent varnish or gack build-up, but most branded gasolines (Chevron, Shell..) have some kind of cleaner additive in them anyway.
  • Maintenance Schedules:  in your owners' manual or the factory service manual.   Don't have either?   You can download the factory service manuals for many years at Mitsubishilinks.com  .    The super secret top secret method for making your investment last is to just follow the maintenance schedule,  do the service recommended at the intervals recommended,  and fix things as they break.    That's it.   Turning up the stereo isn't the right way to fix a weird engine noise,  and electrical tape over the check engine light is not how you fix that either.
  • Please take exhaust leaks seriously.   Carbon monoxide poisoning from extended exposure to exhaust fumes can absolutely ruin your life, it's more than simply a nuisance smell

Lighting


The optics in your Montero depend on which generation  you have.  Although most of this guide was written with a focus on Gen 2 and Gen 2.5 Monteros but I'll try to cover bases here.   These are the biggest bang for your dollar in lighting and I urge you to get into these before worrying about aux lighting. 

  • If you have a Gen 1 Montero your first stop for upgrading your lighting should be modern reflectors in the stock locations.  These drop-in retrofits make a massive difference and they're pretty easy on the wallet - they're even upgradeable further if you want to stuff SilverstarsNightguides or PIAA Night Tech bulbs in there. 
  • If you have a Sport, or a Gen 3 Montero your first step is probably to get those lenses cleared up!  Spend five or ten minutes per side with Power Plastic - it's by far the best one-step I've used - or if your headlamps are extra crusty the excellent NuLens kit lets you dig deep to find clear material and polish it
  • If you have a Gen 2 Montero you'll want to dig up a set of Gen 2.5 headlamp housings.   Physically they fit right where yours go but they do require different bulbs and therefore different lamp wiring pigtails. Plug and play pigtails are available cheaply.   Note that these are high tech reflectors and they're "handed" for left hand drive countries vs. right hand driving countries.   Make sure your donor/aftermarket lamp assemblies are made for the side of the road you drive on.    If you're curious, Gen 2.5 headlamps use a sculpted reflector to direct lighting instead of using fluted glass lens elements like your Gen 2 lamps do.   This results in more of the light ending up where it's useful to you and less glare wasting lumens blinding oncoming traffic and lighting up your own bumper & raindrops 20 feet above the road. 
  • If you have a Gen 2.5 Montero and your headlamps are already in pretty bitchin' shape,  all you need is to ensure you have premium bulbs in your housings & your charging system is working properly.   My recommendations for bulbs are Silverstars for daylight white,  Philips Nightguide for reduced eye fatigue in rain/snow/fog or PIAA Night Tech for best of both worlds performance.

Got those taken care of and want more, or specialty lighting? 

I'm going to start with Driving lamps and update with other special purpose lighting as I have time.    Just so we're clear when I refer to Driving lamps this means supplements to your headlights with a priority on returning useful information about the road ahead under any incidental weather conditions.

  • For absolute top quality driving lamps to cut deep into the distance and return crisp information about the road ahead I strongly endorse PIAA 520's.    That's why I recommended ADD carry them;  they're built to go the distance and their pattern quality is Goldilocks just right for medium to high speed driving on and off the highway.   
    Even the wiring  harness and included relay are a class act. 
  • Coming in at a budget price,  Hella 500FF and 550FF produce clean and controlled lighting similar to PIAA 520'S but with a few concessions made on build quality and wiring harness grade.     They're good for the money and that's why they're being endorsed here.
  • The Big 'uns.   Hella Jumbo 320 Xenon produce an enormous amount of broadband, continuous spectrum white light.. and some IR.   I would advise being cautious about cooling - that these may cause considerable obstruction to your engine cooling if mounted directly ahead of the grille - they may be best suited to mid-bumper or roof basket mounting positions.   
So what about LEDs?    Because of technological limitations in how white LEDs operate I cannot endorse any direct radiating white LED product as a driving lamp.    Some of the new indirect/reflected units are getting there but I believe this tech is as yet unrefined.   

(still to come: other aux lighting)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 03:54:04 PM by Shovel »

concealer404

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 08:44:35 AM »
C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER
1998 Montero Winter Package (Mine)
2003 20th Anniversary Montero (Wife's)

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 07:21:20 PM »
I did my 95's stereo in just about every way of wrong, and here's how:

I used an old Sony head unit with an honest-to-goodness CD TRAY that ejects the WHOLE TRAY, if you can believe the cave man technology. The concept was that instead of using a read-ahead buffer, the mechanical tray "clamps" the CD to the inner suspension along with the laser. Anyway, it doesn't skip, and it's really old, but still plays MP3 CD's. I like that it has both low-pass and high-pass filters, so I can tell it not to send low frequency signals to my six, that's right SIX stock speaker locations. I can cut it at either 75 Hz or 125 Hz, and right now I'm using 125. I can change the colors of the display, too. I use red at night and something I can actually see during the day. It has RCA outs for a subwoofer, and I ain't no rapper, but I gots to have me some bass. It also has pre-amp outputs for external amplification, which I do not use, because this head unit does the basic -above 125 Hz rockin' for me. It has other doo-dads, too, like a built-in seven band EQ with presets (for the amateurs) or a customizable and storable one that I set up. It also has loudness for those quiet camp nights where bass and treble are boosted, and some space-age setting that makes the sound more "high in the cabin" sounding-like, which I find completely annoying and leave off. It also has an aux input that connects with RCA jacks on the back that I use to leave a mini jack laying around to connect a phone or laptop or whatever gadgets you kids are using to orbit the sun with these days. It has a remote; very limited usefulness. It cost a lot of money over ten years ago and that's why I still have it. You can blow it away, feature-wise by spending $99 today, so go for it, Junior.

I'm using all six of my stock speaker locations. The Gen 2's don't have those fancy sail panel tweeters, and the hell if I care, my hearing's going, probably. Too many shotgun blasts and concerts. I can't even remember what brand the speakers are, whatever Crutchfield had for cheap, like Kicker or JBL or something. They're not Altec-Lansing Voice Of The Highway-level stuff. As if that's still a thing. Sound deadening? The only thing around "In My Day" was DynaMat, and the HELL if I'm spending that kind of money; let them sounds bounce off the metal and shit.

I spent $99, again with Crutchfield, and got me a nifty 8" self-powered bandpass sub box. I can set the gain level, cut-off and phase, but I just set and forget it and control the level with that old, fancy head unit of mine. I have the head unit set to 125 Hz for the low-pass on the RCA-outs to the sub, then set the cut-off on the sub to slightly higher than that. Is that a good way to do it? You should know by this point I'm not the person to ask. I point the open end of the sub into the back corner of the cargo area, again, just because I want to. The thing takes up some room, but not like a dual 12" cabinet, not even close. It makes my Devo Easy Listening Disc sound just right. That's not true, I can't stand that one.

Do I know what I'm doing? Sort of. Not really. But whose stereo did we listen to on night 5 of the Utah trip? Mine. Why? Because I'm just a dick like that and pretty much made it the option you shouldn't say no to. At least nobody did, for long, when I could hear them, which I probably can't anyway.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 2 sets of tires rotting in the sun, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, no action
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

IncorpoRatedX

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2017, 08:42:32 PM »
New owners opening this thread:




Kudos Eric, great write up, I'm still digesting it. Thank you for the contribution of knowledge and experience.

JohnnyBfromPeoria

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2017, 09:01:07 PM »
He'd write more, but he wanted to keep it simple, you know, like he did. He is a great resource, and I'm glad he got back into Monteros after the decade-long time away.

Getting back to something technical, I run 78% Nitrogen in my tires, by volume. Why 78%? Because that's what the atmosphere is made of. Don't "fall for the hype." Instead, listen to Shovel. And shop smart, shop S-Mart.

John B.
AZ Crew/East Sider/Former 14th St Crew
95 SR, 2 sets of tires rotting in the sun, 2" BL, stuff cut off, stuff welded on, lights, sound, no action
87 Raider, There's a turbo 2.6 under its hood, really
83 "Dodge" Power Ram 50, a bit lifted, way slow and gets more comments from random people than the other two put together
'95 Montero SR. Pretty much stock, Trail Gear Sliders, ADD skid plates, Stereo by Shovel, Timing maintenance by Pa_Jero

TOASTY

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 06:49:31 PM »
 Damn, this is a KILLER thread.

 Well done dude.

dieselrider

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 11:06:32 PM »
this is great thanks!   How 'bout engine interchangeability?

reversecaoboy

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2018, 03:37:25 PM »

that_guy_eric

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2018, 11:25:12 PM »
Maybe add this link to the Brake section.

http://msport97.proboards.com/thread/9180/replace-rotors-calipers-wheel-bearings

Holy cow that is a great write-up, good to see the process involved for those who want to do the bigger brakes.

TOASTY

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 08:36:14 PM »
 I think I did a write up somewhere too. I need to redo it, and need to work on the Wiki. Lots on my plate these days.

Se7en62

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Re: Gen 2 Quick Start Guide
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 02:21:50 PM »
Excellent thread! I'm pretty far into it already and realized this thread existed. Thanks to the input of the community, I've pretty much followed this guide verbatim, parts, philosophy, and all. Thanks for the great write-up!
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1999 Montero "Winter Package" Overland - X3 / ADD / ADHD / ARB / AVN / OME / Bilstein / CVT / DFG / Dometic