Author Topic: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build  (Read 3629 times)

Rambo Penguin

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2018, 04:18:35 PM »


Iíve taken the summer off from updating this build thread. I figure, why spend time on the computer when you can spend time on the trails? This was my first summer season with the montero and it was great to see all the hard work and time pay off! Here is how to Montero is currently sitting


As hinted about before, lift and tires are on. Iíve actually had them for about 5,000 miles and 2 months at this point. I went with a 285/75/16 BFG Ko2 all terrains, and I couldnít be happier! The are aggressive enough for all the trails i end up on and they handle the highway like a true street tire. The side way is much stronger than my previous Goodyear wranglers.

It seems that not matter how many times the topic is brought up, people still want to know about how the Gen 3 will handle 33ís (myself included). The short story is: it does awesome. You definitely feel the loss of power on the hwy. My speedo runs about 5mph lower than stock and i spend less time in the higher rpms (which is where the power band is on these 3.8L engines). Around town itís less noticeable. Acceleration feels just a touch sluggish but within a week I had completely adjusted to it. Braking time is increased and less effective, but not unbearable or unsafe. Off Road (dirt or gravel) in 2H, 4H or 4HCL it feels really sluggish. I'm pushing the accelerator nearly to the floor before it downshifts and gives the power I need to maintain normal driving speeds. 4LCL is a different story. 4LCL is still punchy, powerful and torquey. It still crawls up and down everything with ease. Iíve never been lacking for power in 4LCL. However, the different tire size does seem to confuse the transmission shift points. For example, the transmission likes to stay in 3rd gear at nearly any speed offroad in 4LCL.. Which is absurd. This puts the rpms down in the 1,500 -2,000 range which is barely above idle. I often downshift manually into 1st or 2nd off road and that fixes the problem.




What about Gas mileage? Well. If you bought a montero for the MGPs then you messed up haha. When mine was stock I saw close to window sticker numbers. Somewhere between 15 and 19 mpg with mixed driving conditions. Now that iím on a much heavier 33Ē tire iím seeing closer to 12-15 in normal driving and 10mpg offroad. Itís pretty bad. This isnít a huge problem for me because i live in a small town and bike to work. So I only really use the Montero for trips and adventures.. And thatís the price you pay to play with an offroad rig. 


Fitment:
Rumor has it that 285/75/16s can fit on a gen 3 with stock suspension with just a little bit of trimming of the plastic bumper. I bet this is true given how big the wheel wells are. However, I opted to do a cheap spacer lift to get me through this summer. Everything i do to this truck is on a tight budget, so while iíd like to just swipe my card and build it, i have to wait and time my mods and upgrades accordingly with my budget and time constraints. I will be making a separate post with details about spacer lift options and their different outcomes. It was a mess to get this the way i wanted, but in the end I ended up with something that works really well, is safe and cost effective.



The lift I ended up with is a 1.5Ē spacer lift front a rear. I used some rubber pucks for the rear and aluminum discs for the front. I got the rear ones from a fellow montero owner and have no idea where they came from. They are just ok. I will be replacing them over this upcoming winter for better weight support and a little more height. I will be going with OME medium duty springs without any spacers. The fronts were home made. I cut some aluminum discs 6Ē in diameter and ĹĒ thick. These slipped right on top of the stock strut mount. This safely lifted the front up 1.5 inches. The difference in spacer thickness and lift height is due to the geometry of the IFS. A little bit goes a long ways. With these spacers the CVs sit almost flat so angles were not an issue.







Wheels:
I did attempt to get a cheap set of steel wheels for the new tires. I want a 0 offset, but the brake calipers in the front make it hard to fit some kinds of cheap wheels. So i decided to hold off on wheels until i can spend the money and do it right. Hopefully that will happen soon because wow is this thing narrow and tippy offroad. At least it has amazing balance and a lower center of gravity.

With the lift on my next order of business was to handle the slider kick outs. I scored on some left over steel that was already bent to the perfect angle and size for my kick outs. This was kinda a quick and dirty job. I eyeballed the fitment, cut the ends down, tacked it, welded it and gave it a rattle can finish. Nothing pretty, but they did save my doors 2 or 3 times this summer. Before next season I will go back and put some additional supports in the middle for increased rigidity and hopefully the ability to use a Hi lift jack on them.







After spending a whole summer on the spacer lift i learned a lot about the handling and suspension upgrade needs. The weakest link is saggy springs and bouncy shocks in the rear (but I ended up doing all 4). On the highway it swayed a lot and likes to wonder after bumps. I already want to replace the springs, but figured i would start with shocks first for better performance sooner. I polled the montero community and decided on Bilstein 4600s. Fronts are Bilstein 24-062718 and rears are 24-062725.

I should have done this upgrade much sooner but didnít know how bad it really was. I have no record of the struts or shocks being changed in the history of the truck. Upon removing the rear shocks i discovered that they offered almost no dampening at all. I was able to compress one of them with one finger and it would not bounce back. This means I spent the summer wheeling around and road tripping with basically no shocks and just stock springs in the rear. Epic fail. Since the rears were so bad I bit the bullet and did the front ones too. They werenít as bad but definitely had seen some wear.

Rears





Front




So now I have new struts in the front and shocks in the rearÖ. And it rides like a dream! All the vagueness and body roll I was used to disappear and instead the truck is planted, smooth and stable. The highway is no longer a death trap and offroad it just eats up the bumps and rocks. This might be my favorite upgrade after the 33Ē KO2s

An interesting point on the rear Bilsteins. When I installed the new shocks I noticed that they were slightly (ĹĒ) shorter than the stock ones I was removing. I was nervous about having the shock be the limiting factor for my droop. I called Bilstein and they confirmed that I had the right part, and that it was the correct measurement from the factory. So I put my fears to rest since I figured they would know what they are doing and that they would know if it had resulted in major problems. Plus they are covered by Bilsteins lifetime warranty.



Sir_Monty

  • Member
  • Posts: 15
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • I'm new here!
    • View Profile
Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2018, 09:45:16 AM »
Very cool build. Reading this makes me excited to get a gen3. My gen2.5 is a little rough and is taking to much time and money to make it a good daily/overland truck.

Rambo Penguin

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2018, 08:19:28 PM »
I scored an inexpensive (but good quality) light bar recently so i decided to put it on. Itís a 24Ē Blazer spot/flood combo. Nothing special, but a good step above the cheap chinese stuff. Used some scrap aluminum that i had to make a bracket for it and cut the grill to match. I wired it to come on when I hit the high beams for simplicity. It is surprisingly bright with really good spread. Not exactly a pencil beam but it is great for trail work and night driving on dark back roads.







Rambo Penguin

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2018, 08:23:01 PM »
And if you were being observant in the last post you might have noticedÖ That I scored cheap wheels!! Finally, iíve been hunting for a wider stance since the second i bought this. I found some Eagle Alloy wheels (set of 5) for cheap and jumped on it. 4 came painted in bedliner and i sprayed the spare to match. The details: -11 offset, 8Ē x 16Ē Aluminum with a 108mm center bore. I was really hoping for 0 offset for fitment but another ĹĒ isn't too much and the price was right. Hereís a few things iíve learned about wide wheels on a Gen 3. They look amazing, fix that tippy feeling that makes you crap your pants and they absolutely require hub centric rings. A hub centric ring is used to center the wheel on the hub. Simple conical lugnuts is not enough for the sensitive Gen 3 front end. I got some plastic 67.1mm to 108mm rings and they eliminated any front end shake or vibration. These barely clear the front calipers (problem with the steel wheels from earlier) but they do in fact clear.




Hub centric rings




So how do the wheels compare? Track width was my primary goal here. Sure, they look mean, but I was far more worried about performance. The new wheels are 2.75? Wider per side than the stock wheels with the 33Ē tires. So iíve gained 5.5Ē of total track width which feels and looks massive! The back wheels are just about flush with the guards and the front wheels stick out about ĹĒ.




A few issues. The first is that wide wheels will rub on front and rear of the fenders in the front. I had already trimmed the front bumpers so i didnít need to do any more work there. I did however need to trim about 2Ē of the rear front fenders. There wasnít any science to this, I just cut until they fit. It wasnít much cutting, but now i need to figure out how to remount the fender guards to keep mud and dirt out of my body panels.






The other big issue is suspension travel. At slow flex the tires will not hit the fenders. However, add a little bit of speed and everything changes. I found this out when I took a dive into a muddle that was much deeper than expected. Smashed my front driver fender and passenger rear. Luckily it wasnít anything crazy.. But it did make me realize that i was going to have to fix the issue. Before considering more serious modifications i decided to extend the bump stops. After messing with some spacers and flexing the rig out a bit i decided to run Ĺ spacers in the rear and 1Ē in the front. I extended the bolts on the stock bump stops by cutting the original bolt, cutting up a different bot and welding them together. Seems to work well and allows for me to run spacers. If this becomes a more permanent fix i will order custom bump stops to replace these.





Longer term solutions involve getting a real lift, running different wheels, or cutting. Iíve decided to go with a true lift spring and run OME medium duty springs instead of my spacer lift. This should help dramatically since the stock suspension is soft and worn out. I will see if that fixes the issues before doing anything else.



Rambo Penguin

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2018, 08:25:49 PM »
The final drawback of the wide wheels was that my sliders also had to be cut down to accommodate the wider turning radius. I needed to take abou 1.5Ē off of them so while i had them off the car I decided to beef them up a bit. These siders did save my doors once this summer when i slipped off an obstacle and almost smashed my door. I wanted to re-enforce them so that they would hold up for more hits, and I also wanted to add some support so I could use them as a hi-lift point.

I used a hole saw to notch some tubing, cut it to size, smashed it in and welded it up. Very pleased with how they turned out! Now i will have a little more confidence using a hi-lift on them if i need to and they will take a beating without losing shape.









Lastly, I really wanted rock lights.. But the kind that all the posers have that just light up there suspension set ups in their wheel wells, I wanted to be able to see under the rig for night wheeling. I had saved the factory side step plugs and reused them to add some lights attached to the sliders. They are bright enough to light up the entire underside of the montero and they also come on when i unlock the car and open the doors, which is a cool touch. Later on I will install a switch so i can run them all time.




Rambo Penguin

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Rambo Penguin's Gen 3 Montero Build
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2018, 08:27:28 PM »
Another thing i did was shorten my hitch. That stupid thing would drag on everything. I cut 2Ē out of it, rewelded it and used the removed sections as scab plating. Should be just as strong as before and now it will spend less time dragging all over the trail