Author Topic: Mountain Montero Build, Gen 3  (Read 1055 times)


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Mountain Montero Build, Gen 3
« on: May 01, 2018, 02:55:48 PM »
Hi Guys,

New member here and new Mitsubishi owner in general. Just a quick rundown, I moved up into the mountains above Boulder almost 3 years ago after spending 10 in Dallas, I'm just under 8500 feet. Since then our 06 Trailblazer that we moved up here with hit 235k miles and we purchased a 2011 Forester. The Trailblazer has cost about $1800 in repairs since moving up here and we didn't want to keep putting money into it so when it died a few times driving down to work, we parked it and it hasn't moved since.

My wife sent me a text one day with a picture of $3200 loan she was taking out on her 401k and told me to start shopping. At first, it was XJ's, Toyota's and older Foresters that I was looking at with the idea to build a rig for taking me on week long camping trips all over this state and some of the neighboring states. After a couple of days of looking through CL and all the other online places to find used cars I came across a 01 XLS with 175k on it and loved the look. The only thing I know about Montero's is how much I liked the Gen 3's when they first came. So I did some research, found this page, read all I could on them and then decided that this was the direction I wanted to go for a build. I needed something reliable, capable, durable and of course it had to fit in my budget and these things are great for budgets, lets hope everyone stays as ignorant of them as I was.

Soon after I found 2002 Limited with 135k on it. The maintenance isn't the best but carfax shows the first owner kept it up until he sold it at 95k. The PO to me bought it then and says the dealer he bought it from replaced the belt, pump, and spark plugs and wires before he purchased it from them as well as rebuilt the tranny. It did spend that first 95k in Illinois though so there is plenty rust on the bolts underneath.

So after a week of impatiently waiting for the check to arrive, I finally to go to check it out and take it for a test drive. It drove good, the interior is in very good shape, the outside is 16 years old, but nothing major. I was able to shift through all 4wheel drive modes without any problems. He told me the issues he's had with it and then I went home and did my research.

The first was the EGR valve, he'd replaced it but it still gave him the same code when the check engine light came on. It was off at the time as he had reset it and it didn't come on during our test drive. I've read that this can be caused by aftermarket valves and also if you don't clean out near the valve it will continue to come on.

The second issue he had and was very noticeable looking was that the inside back tires were wearing and the driver's side was so bad it was through the rubber and down to threads. He'd been driving it like this for 20k miles. He said it took it to get aligned and they told him the rear ball joints are worn and need to be replaced. So I came home and searched into this as well and found plenty of others with the same issue and most led back to rusted on camber bolts that the shops didn't want to work on. Sure enough, when I went back and looked again the bolts were very rusted.

The last issue he was having was coolant leak but he said it only happened after he drove over 200 miles or more and then parked it uphill as he would in his driveway at home. If he backed in he said it didn't leak and if he was just driving back and forth to work it didn't leak. Not for sure what this is. The coolant looked nice and clean and the radiator was full, the oil looked good as well, no mixing of the two has occurred unless he had just replaced both before I came for a test drive.

My wife and I talked it over and decided to offer him $2400, $900 less then he was asking. He said he would take $2500, so we went over the next day. He also had a brand new set of Blizzaks he offered to sell me, but I told him I'd have to wait to see how much I had left after doing these repairs and if he still had them I'd hit him up. He and his wife invited us in for tea (they're from India), he was surprised I knew what a Pajero was and his he and wife liked me and my wife enough that she pulled him into the kitchen and had him throw in the extra tires for free.

I drove it home without issue, I was worried about that tire so I didn't drive to fast. I would have changed it but the jack was missing from the car. Stopped and picked up some cleaning supplies and PB blaster on the way to start soaking those bolts. I did notice that the temp gauge was all over the place on the way home and have found that it's an issue in these and found the soldering fix for it.

I left it at home next day while I went and registered it and got my temp tags. The 2nd day I drove it down to a gorgeous sunrise, took some pictures and headed to work. After work I went and picked up a jack and some stands along with a few tools so I could start on those back camber bolts.

BUT on the way home I had a couple of deer run out in front of me and I jerked the wheel enough to hit a large stump right on the edge of the road. It blasted through the passenger side bumper and hit right inside the right tire. Took a bit to get it towed up from where it was as it was teetering on rolling and if it would have it wouldn't have stopped anytime soon (the fun part of living in the mountains).

I've had a shop look at it and they say the steering rack needs replaced (boot is leaking on one side, torn on the other) and the passenger side control arm needs to be replaced. So now I have that added to my rear suspension issue, YAY me.

That was Friday, I drove it home and parked it. Saturday I removed the skid plate and sideboards to be able to see better and get underneath it easier. That's where I am currently at. Unfortunately, my plans for building it up have to wait until repairs are done. I haven't worked on anything since the 90's when I had a '74 Bronco in college, so this is going to be a hell of a challenge but at least when I'm done I'll know what's what and not be out all of my money just for labor charges. Any advice or tips greatly appreciated, such as where best to source parts? I've found a steering rack on eBay from a wrecked 2001 with 170k miles and I'm going to look in the Pull and Pay in Denver at the one they have this weekend. For the control arms, should I stick with OEM or are there any others worth replacing it with? MOOG? Or should I also source these from Pull and Pay if it's there? While I'll have to eventually do the back camber bolts, I'm going to start with the front first.