Author Topic: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build  (Read 5819 times)

Rambo Penguin

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Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« on: March 13, 2018, 08:46:12 PM »
I wanted to start a build thread for my 2003 mitsubishi montero limited. I picked this one up for $3,500 with 146,000 miles on it. Only 2 owners before me, well maintained and documented, and it appears that it had never been taken off road.












I’m very excited about this build! I’ve been inspired by other forum members to make this rig awesome. This is actually my first time building up a truck and i’m excited to learn and grow along the way. My hope is that this thread will serve as its own share of inspiration for others as well as offer a little how-to knowledge. I’ll try to keep it interesting. I also will include prices for everything I do. I’m on a budget, my money is worth more than my time and this build will likely show it. Hopefully by the end i’ll have something I have a lot of time and love into and still have enough cash to pay for gas to get me lost in the mountains :)

I’ll start with goals and purpose. My goal is to build a very capable overlanding/camping rig for me and my wife. It needs to drive at 75 MPH on the highway for days at a time and then be able to jump into the dirt and light trails to take us to camping spots, sweet views and mountain tops. I want to put a drawer system in the back with storage for quick camping set up, lots of lights, and a sleeping platform so that we can camp inside. I’m not building a rock crawler. This is also going to be my daily driver for the foreseeable future, so it needs to be very streetable.

So now that I’ve got that out of the way.. Let’s start building!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 08:48:40 PM by Rambo Penguin »

Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 09:06:26 PM »
First steps

First thing I did after getting the truck was swap out the firestone destination street tires for some Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar A/Ts. Same size as stock 265/70 R16. I opted to get to stay stock on rims and tires because I want to get some miles under my belt before i start changing the dimensions (lift and tire sizes). The wranglers give me the performance edge I need off road as well as good streetability.





With the tires came a few extra things: Removed the spare tire cover, remove factory side steps, tinted the front two windows to match the rest and paint the stock rims black with plasti dip.







Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 09:09:44 PM »
Next up I added cross bars to the stock roof rack. I picked up some Thule adjustable cross bars and they fit perfectly. I added a BVG roof rack. Itís about 50Ē long by 40Ē wide and fits the roof space behind my sunroof. My plan is to add 3 sets of lights to the rack for camping and driving. More to come on that later.






Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 09:11:31 PM »
On to some cosmetic stuff. My least favorite part about the Gen 3 monteros is there front end. So I wanted to modify the grill to give it a more modern and simple look. Iíve always been a fan of the simple metal mesh grill. So i broke out the dremel and got to work removing the plastic. I cut the bigger pieces off with a hacksaw and then used the dremel to sand down rough edges. Next I spray painted the chrome trim black and also touched up the newly sanded edges. I also painted the factory mesh and emblem black. After everything dried i attached the mesh with the factory mounting points and some zip ties :) i used double sided tape and emblem glue to attach the triple diamond right in the center. Back on the truck it goes. And now itís looking more modern and less ugly!

Stock grill as it was..


Back side of the grill with the mesh. I will reuse the mesh



Mocked up


Cut and paint



And done!


The emblem is much more visible in real life. Hides nicely enough to give it a true mesh look but still show off the branding.

Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 09:34:49 PM »
Next big step is the stereo. Car audio was my first love when it came to building and modifying cars. Iíve had trunks filled with woofers, dual amplifiers, and installed tens of stereos in friends cars over the years. But for this build i wanted to keep it simple: no sub box to move in and out of the car, no amp racks taking up cargo space, no need to run sound dampener throughout the entire interior. I just wanted quality sound and easy interface.

Headunit: Pioneer NEX 1300
I chose this HU because I really wanted apple carplay. Iíve used it in the past and it makes interfacing with my phone and apps super simple.

In order to fit the double din unit i needed to relocate the climate controls to the lower slot of the center dash (where the 6 cd changer once lived). This is very easy to do and does not require anything more than unscrewing and rescrewing the unit into the different bay. After that was out of the way stereo install was pretty straight forward. I used the factory amp to power the front and rear speakers and attached a new set of RCAís for the aftermarket sub amp. One of my favorite things that I did was run the USB input cable into my top glove box. I drilled a hole in the rear of the box and covered the edges with a rubber ring to hide the hole and also keep the USB wire from falling behind the dash. Now, whenever i get into my car for a drive, i attach my phone to the USB cable, tuck it into my glove box, shut it and drive. I can do everything I need to from my HU. This means i wonít be looking at my phone at stop lights or even worseÖ when iím driving, and it will keep me and others safer on the roads. It also keeps my cockpit area very tity. Safe and functional is a win for me.



Front speakers: Focal is165
Rear speakers: Focal ic165
These speakers are 6 ĺĒ which is larger than the 5 ĹĒ stock speakers. I have pictures for comparison. The focals fit the opening just find and only required a little tweaking to get them to fit. I was only able to use 3 screws to mount them but it should be fine. I liner the speaker hole with a single sheet of sound dampener just for good measure and called it good.

All the components lined up. Old on the top, new on the bottom



An interesting note: Initially I had installed the component speakers in the traditional and recommended wiring order: stock speaker wire into the back of the woofer, then the tweeter wire feeds off of the woofer terminals, runs through a small crossover and up to the tweeter. When I first installed the speakers I was getting little to no sound out of the tweeters and the front speakers were noticeably less crisp than the rears. I went back and disconnected the tweeters from the focal woofer, and instead wired them directly up to the factor lines that were used by the original stock tweeters. This brought the tweeters to life and the sound clarity, quality and volume went way up. Apparently there is a factory crossover somewhere in the factory amplifier that only sends lower frequency notes to the woofer and higher frequencies to the tweeter. When the tweeters were attached to the focal woofers they were trying to play high frequencies that were already being filtered out by the factory amp (hence the lack of sound and quality). This is actually a very smart system and iím pleased with how it turned out, but I had never encountered it before and found it quite puzzling at first.

Here is how i initially had it hooked up, with the woofer part of the speaker connected to the tweeter using the component speakers crossover..


And here is how it is now, with the tweeters plugged directly into the factory tweeter wires. Sound it crips and clear. Although I do get a little bit of annoying white noise out of the tweeters.

Subwoofer: JL 8W3V3-4
Sub amp JL lx250/1
My original intentions were actually to leave the factory sub alone.. But after just a few days of having the aftermarket HU installed i blew the stock sub to smithereens. So i figured, if iím going to do all the work to replace it, i might as well make it better. I have had JL subs and amps in the past and think they are the best bang for buck out there. Some things I read on the interwebs said that removing the rear panel was a pain, but i found it to be quiet manageable. Itís mostly plastic snaps with a few screws here and there. Chances are if you are pulling on something and it doesnít budge, there is a screw holding it down somewhere. Once inside the panel I went a little nuts. The stock sub is just open in the body panel, which has lots of holes in it. This is not good for quality as an aftermarket sub is going to like a specific size and internal dimensions. I knew I wasnít going to be able to get it perfect because i was working with pre existing space. So I started by lining the whole area with sound dampener and trying my best to seal up all of the holes in the body panels. After a long battle with the side panel, clearance issues, cutting and modding, I finally gave up. I wasnít getting the sound quality, power, volume, or really anything good out of the sub. It rattled like crazy, wasnít timed correctly, and was too quiet to even tell i had it on sometimes. So i threw it back in the factory box (which i should have tried first) and it blew me away. Amazing quality, power, hits every note well, boomy and punchy. And itís small enough that i can pack gear and stuff around it or take it out with one hand if i need. So now i have a very well dampened void with some perminate panel cuts in the side of my truckÖ but fear not! I think it will make an awesome auxiliary power panel later on down the road :)

Stock ďsubĒ next to the new JL 8Ē


My best attempt to fit the speaker involved a ĹĒ spacer i made from MDF. Even with this spacer the sub magnet hit the back wall of the opening and stuck out so much that I had to cut the plastic panel






And finally gave up and put it back in here. Itís better this way


Nothing special for the amp. Itís really small so i tucked it up under the passenger side seat. Hides under there well and still gives me access to the amp controls.


Alright enough nerding out about stereo stuff, on the the rest of the build!

Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 09:41:27 PM »
I added a hitch. I want to tow small stuff like a motorcycle or snowmobile trailer someday. I also wanted a rear recovery point. Nothing special about this curt hitch. There are about a billion bolts holding the original vehicle tie downs that you need to remove to install it, but i have an impact driver so it wasnít too bad. Bolted up just fine, but it sits really low, much more than iíd like. Iím worried about it snagging on rocks on the trail.. But iíll need to wheel it to find out. Might search for a factory hitch instead, or cut and flip this one, but letís see if itís actually a problem first.





Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 09:56:21 PM »
I know some of you are going to blow out your O-ring when you read this post.. But I added wheel spacers! Take a breath, i’m not dead. Did my research and found some quality ones on E-bay (oh no there they go again!!! Get your poop in a group and keep reading). T6061 Aluminum, solid bilet, high quality bolts and lots of solid reviews. I went for it. 1.25” thick and lug centric.

Mounted up. Torqued down to mitsubishi spec for lug nuts with a drop of red loctite for safety. The observant viewer will notice that the stock studs are not fully covered by the spacer nuts, however they are above minimum thread engagement and therefore just as strong as they would be if they were completely covered.


Ok, i know I sassed you guys about freaking out over spacers, but the concern is not lost on me. I wont talk about the age old debate about if spacer are good or bad. I did do my research. Safety is a top priority, So i made sure to dot my i's and cross my T's when choosing and installing them.

I had two goals with spacers: 1) make the truck wider. This thing is tall and narrow. I would like as much width as i can reasonably pull off. And 2) figure how what rim off-set i could fit if i swap out the wheels in the future. This is a temporary solution. When my tires run out (or i do an OME 2” lift and run 33’s” i will likely go to a 17” rim and run a wider offset and these will come off the truck.

So the question is, how do they fit? Here is a picture of the wheel well without spacers


Lots of room to stuff..

Here is a shot of it after, looks much better.



Took it on a dirt road and flexed it out a bit. Wheels stuffed fine for normal off road use and it looks like they could go full tuck without getting into the fenders



Now that i’ve driven it around i’ll go back, check my torque settings again and ride on!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 10:00:45 PM by Rambo Penguin »

TOASTY

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 04:23:24 PM »
 Nice rig man!

Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 08:17:21 PM »
The last step for the initial upgrades is HID headlights. I have always loved HIDs and find they to be far superior to halogens. They also look awesome. I ordered DDM tuning 8000k bulbs for the highs/lows and fogs. The High/low H1 bulbs are 55w and the fog 9006 bulbs are just 35w. DDM wiring was easy and straightforward I retrofitted the headlights with 2.5Ē projectors (cheap ones from amazon). This required me to put the headlight in the oven and head up the adhesive, separate the headlight housing and install the projectors. While i was in there i decided to paint the chrome trim a gloss black. The 01 and 02 monteros come like this and I like that look better. It helps distinguish the headlight from the turn signals and markers. After that I reassembled the housing, buffed it out with a 3m headlight kit, and the results were outstanding.

Here are some before and after pictures.











Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 09:00:34 PM »
Finally on to some camping Mods! Enough of this mall crawler build letís get some dirt on the tires. Like Iíve said before iím building an overlanding rig. First thing i did was build a cool fold-out table for the rear door.  Itís really easy to access and use and very helpful. Made out of t6061 aluminum, rubber top sheet, hinges, and some cable. Bolts right into the metal trim on the door and uses the factory cargo net tie downs for support. Itís 25Ēx12Ē, pretty strong and still gives me some storage! I lined the back (the side facing out when itís closed) with Velcro for quick attachment of first aid, extra parts and other fun things. :) Tightened up the cargo net behind it and Iím ready to rock!







Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2018, 09:06:50 PM »
The last thing i did to the door (for now) was change out the stock grab handle for some Quick fits for holding a snow shovel or ax. Works pretty well. Also the table perfectly fit my camping stove! I was really hoping it would but didnít take the time to actually measure to find out.



PajEvo

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2018, 03:13:10 PM »
Brian this is looking awesome! I'm a tad jealous. You've moved ahead of me with your white rig, while I've been doing much more mundane things with my white rig.

I'm seriously contemplating spacers for the first time myself. I've got three sets of the early gen3 wheels and this would make them all fit properly. I have a question though, since I was contemplating the loc-tite as well, but... if you loc-tite, doesn't that throw off subsequent torque readings?

Still love the grille. Looks way more like a certain other grille that I happen to like.. ;)

Table is cool, and is like a molle mounting place all on its own eh?

Keep it up. I'll maybe catch up eventually, once I get mine on the road?

TOASTY

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 04:39:17 PM »
 Digging this dude!

MrGalantguy

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 08:49:07 AM »
Details on your fire extinguisher setup and the brackets that hold your shovel and/or axe?

Nice build so far man!!
-1998 Montero (Winter package & Adjustable suspension)
-2002 Montero Limited
-1991 Galant VR4 1948/2000
-1996 Galant 4G64t 5spd
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Rambo Penguin

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Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2018, 03:43:15 PM »
I'm seriously contemplating spacers for the first time myself. I've got three sets of the early gen3 wheels and this would make them all fit properly. I have a question though, since I was contemplating the loc-tite as well, but... if you loc-tite, doesn't that throw off subsequent torque readings?

So here's the thing i've learned. These spacers fit really well and make the wheels and tires look amazing. 1.25" in just about perfect. However, you really need HUB Centric spacers for the gen 3 montero. Some cars can get away with lug centric, but the Montero cannot. I was getting a lot of steering wheel shake at higher speeds, did a lot of diagnosis and finally just pulled the spacers out of the front and the problem stopped. The rears seem to be fine, no issues there so i've left them on. So i'm either going to hunt for hub centric, or just wait until i can do new wheels.