Category Archives: 2003 Mitsubishi Montero

Goodbye, Hello

The Montero got sold to my coworker John. He’s a younger dude. I think he’ll appreciate it.

Coincidentally, I also sold Van-uh White.

Jamie and I flew out to Arizona to see my brother and pickup my dads car trailer so I can pull the Colt from track to track. Flying out there is easy enough. Once we touched down, the trip really started. We needed to find a vehicle to pull the trailer back to Michigan, possibly with a car on it.

I found a bunch of older Chevy trucks, that I could probably flip when I got back here. But, they just didn’t seem like they’d get new back to Michigan.

Then, we met Leo.

Leo, a very interesting fella, had a very interesting vehicle for sale. A 1990 Ford F-350 custom. This is a 4 speed manual with overdrive, behind a 7.3L international diesel engine, to drive a 5.13 geared dually Dana axle. So the drivetrain is great, with 175k miles, only 75k on the motor, he had all the documentation. But the bed, or, back half, really caught my attention. With the tool boxes off the sides, the cap over the bed, the dual tail gates. It checks boxes I didn’t even know I had.

So I bought it. Moby Dick, the white whale. Leo was super cool, he’s a beekeeper, horticulturalist, engineer, chicken keeper, he lives in a wedge of land isolated in the middle of the city. He was a hunter, a farmer, a worker, a good ‘ol American boy. I couldn’t haggle his price, he was spot on for what I wanted to spend, and to me it was totally worth it.

Before I flew out, I had some stuff shipped to my brothers house for the drive back. Tent, sleeping bags, air mattress, trailer brake, wiring, a fair amount of stuff, not all needed, but just in case. All we really needed was the air mattress, which fits perfectly in the bed, with room all around it, and the sleeping bags. We picked up other stuff at goodwill, like pillows, and some quilts, cast iron skillet and pan. Just some stuff to keep us comfy.

We took the truck up to Tonto land bridge with my brothers mighty max on the trailer as the first test. The white whale didn’t skip a beat.

After some sight seeing, we parted ways with my brother and set off on the rest of our adventure.

After a lot of road, that pretty much looked the same, we hit our first rest spot. We planned to camp at a national forest in New Mexico, but the government shutdown meant, government ran parks, were shut down. So we camped in a casino parking lot. In 15°F weather. That was cold.

Through New Mexico, into Texas, Jamie made the decision that we have to stop at the Cadillac ranch, because she knew I’d love it.

She was right. It was awesome!

We camped in a Walmart parking lot for a few hours, then hit the road again.

Then after trekking through Oklahoma, and into Missouri, we stopped at Han the sushi man’s sushi bar, ate a ton of sushi, the took a hour nap in the parking lot. At this point, I’ve lost track of time.

Once I got my rest, we headed towards my sisters house in Illinois. Up to this point we pretty much stuck to route 66. Once we hit St Louis, we got onto the main highway. This truck loves going 55. Not 70. At 70, you can watch the fuel level go down. So, 55 in a 70 it is.

We made it to my sisters, no problem. Took a few hour nap, then got on the road to Jamie’s parents house in Laporte to see her family before they left town.

We made it, an hour early. 😂

So to recap;

Flew to Arizona on Monday.

Lined up a truck on Tuesday.

Bought the truck on Wednesday.

Left Mesa, AZ Thursday morning.

Got to Cadillac ranch on Friday.

Had sushi on Saturday.

Got back to Michigan on Sunday.

2,025 miles, tons of sun shine, bunches of smiles, lots of fun, it was a great trip!

It’s time to sell the Montero

It’s time to sell the Montero. Shes got 195k miles, runs and drives great, I just have too many cars. I’m looking for $3,500.00.
I’ve put a lot of work and parts into the thing. I don’t want to sell it, but it doesn’t cover what I’m wanting at the moment. The CR-Z gets around in the snow pretty well, and I just bought a 05 Ford E350 6.0L Powerstroke Diesel van for towing duty and threw some General Grabber AT² tires on it, so it scoots around in the snow and ice decently. It doesn’t compare to the Montero for winter driveability, but what does.

Here’s what I’ve done to it.
Rebuilt cylinder heads, fresh valve job
Timing belt w/tensioner and pulleys, water pump, head gaskets, head bolts, revised crank bolt
replaced coolant hoses, connected rear heater, new OEM thermostat
Electric 2 speed fan from a Taurus with 180° and 220° switches
Drilled and slotted rotors, ceramic pads, new General Grabber AT² Tires on stock rims
replaced driver side axle spindle, replaced fuel tank, new front shocks
winch plate, 9k lbs winch, light bar wired to fog light switch, New Marine Interstate Battery, installed hold down bracket
bluetooth stereo, 1500w amp, 1.7f Cap, 2x 15″ Rockford Fosgate DVC subs, remote start, roof rack
7 pin trailer connector, Trailer brake
eliminated cats, installed rear oxygen sensor simulator, 2.5″ exhaust to Hooker Aerochamber muffler, 3″ exhaust over the axle to chrome tip
replaced a hand full of worn or missing interior pieces
Changed the oil every 3k miles with Rotella 10w30. I bought it with 188k on it.
It was supposed to be a winter beater, but I wound up enjoying it for a summer and decided to start upgrading/repairing stuff.

Montero solutions

So the Montero went into 2wd mode only. There’s no option for that on the transfer case. So in Awd, it just wouldn’t go, and made a gear on gear grinding noise. In 4wd, I got the rear wheels powered. So my catastrophizing brain “knows” the transfer case or front differential broke. The grinding is probably the chain in the transfer case, right?

So I bought a parts truck with a good tcase and front diff. It had a front impact, so it wasn’t suitable to put my good parts on it, so it got dismantled and the body got scraped. Plus the frame was rotted through.

Come to find out, the front driver side wheel hub was stripped….

Luckily! The parts truck has two of these! Yay!

In the mean time, I installed a 2 speed electric fan from a Ford Taurus and replaced my leaky coolant hoses. Now the heat works!

Low and high speed temperature sensors installed, with an oem thermostat. I absolutely love having a TIG welder and being able to use it. I also replaced the fuel tank because the high pressure fuel line was full of pin holes, thus my 11mpg.

I have a small hand full of things to finish on it, like the exhaust, but it’s back on the road and ready for adventure!

The new power plant

The Arrows crank got beat out of round, so instead on having the machine work done to get the stock motor back in it, I decided on a motor swap. The plan was to go 4G63T 2.0L DOHC Turbo engine. But, as they say, you can make plans, but not plan the outcome. So I traded Dibari a stroked 4g63 for a stocker, or so I thought. After I got it all unloaded and thrown on the stand, it looked, off. After some inspection, come to find out, it’s a 4G61T. The DOHC Turbo 1.6L from the mirage/colt. How fitting for an Arrow.

So, now having this basically stock 1.6L bottom end, it’s time to check it out.

New bearings ✔

all new gaskets ✔

hks 272 cams ✔

Evo 8 intake manifold ✔

Evo 3 big 16g ✔

2g head and head studs ✔

So far everything is coming together smoothly. From the specs of this combination, it should be ~250HP. Which is right where I want to be.

One difference is the deck height of the block is shorter, so I had to clearance the timing belt tensioner bracket, and slot the top hole for it. Also, the water pump is different than a 4g63. It’s shorter as well.

Everything is lined up, the cams are degreed, they were about 4 degrees off. I got the crank trigger mounted, I just welded a bar on and drilled and tapped some holes in it. I welded a couple beads on to keep it centered.

The crz got some love this weekend too. I took the roof rack off the Montero and cut it down to 42″ then took the mostly destroyed plastic off and used gaffing tape as a traction material/color.

Then added the basket.

I also did some kayaking with my girlfriend Jamie last weekend after wandering around the shore of Lake Michigan.


I came home Saturday morning to a nice warm 37°F. I figured it’s warm enough to tackle a project outside. Instead of fixing my gutter, I chose to work on the montero. The plan was, install a winch plate from We were unsure if it was going to fit the 03 montero sport, since it’s designed to fit the regular montero. Well, it’s a inch or so too narrow. So I took a scraped jeep project winch plate, and got to modifying.

You can see the Midwest showing in this picture.

Since the Montero already had some damage to the front bumper cover, I had no problem cutting a hole in the front of it. The overall fitment is pretty good, and the added light bar more than makes up for the busted foglights.

I’ve owned this winch for almost two years, and finally installed it on a vehicle. Some day I’ll use it.

The montero is on the road

The montero is on the road and rippin’ again. It took a bit of work, but it’s going. The valves were all gummed up with some nasty carbon build up. I cleaned those and reseated them, and installed new stem seals. A new timing belt and tensioner was in order, along with a new crank bolt. The water pump for replaced, even though it looked fairly new. I wanted to eliminate the cats, but I’ll take care of that when I do the rest of the exhaust. I installed some new General Grabber AT2 tires also.

There’s some before pictures. I didn’t take any after pics, but everything got a good cleaning. You could tell it had 188k on it and it was babied.

Here she is getting her new shoes. The front bumper has some battle damage, but that’ll be addressed soon enough.

Today I bought a new vehicle

Let’s start at the beginning….

About a week ago, I was checking on Craigslist for another deal. I usually stumble into deals on there. I decided to change from browsing to searching. I knew I want a Montero to mess with, so I plugged Montero into my search. A few results in I find a 2003 Mitsubishi Montero Sport. But it’s only $800. The ad says it overheats and probably has a bad Headgasket. So I contact the seller, arrange a time to meet, and go check it out. I met up with Shannon on a Sunday afternoon in New Buffalo. She talked about how great of a vehicle it’s been, and she doesn’t want to sell it. She noticed the tattoo on my ankle of a Mitsubishi symbol and commented on it. I told her how passionate I am for the brand, and it seemed to brighten her mood. Then I ask about the title…. oh no, she lost it in one of her moves. I’m thinking, great, another no title car. But then she told me she applied for a lost title already and it should be coming any day now. So we decided on $100 down to hold it and take it off Craigslist. So I waited patiently…..

Just before Labor Day weekend I get a text from Shannon, that the title came in! But, she’s heading for Colorado on Tuesday, and my weekend is already looking to be a busy one. Well, I’ll have to try and get a trailer by Monday. So I message atom, and get no response. Monday morning comes, so I figure I’m not out anything to swing by atom’s place first thing.

I show up there and the trailer looks ready to go. I knock on the door, atom comes out, fresh outta bed, and says he didn’t get any messages from me. He pulls out his phone, it’s makes some beeping noises, and he says oh, these messages from Saturday that just came in?. Yep… those… thanks sprint.

So we hook up the trailer, have a chat, then I’m on my way.

I get there and meet up with Shannon and Eric and we get the battery charging so I can crawl it onto the trailer. Two tires were flat and the battery was dead, and the bad Headgasket. That’s all that’s wrong with it.

Once loaded up, money and title exchanged, I was on my way. Shannon had that look of a mother when her kids going to college, sad, but everything will be alright.

The Jeep could tell it had some extra weight behind it. It struggled to climb some hills, and the brakes started to smell as I got closer to the house from stop and go. But we made it.

Once home, I started diagnostics. Yep, bad headgasket. Puking coolant on revs, but the temp never got high. Threw in a battery I had around and put the original on the charger, which seems to be good now. Looks like I know what I’m getting into.

Now it’s time for surgery.

Everything seems to come apart pretty easy, nothing is heavily oxidized or rusted that I’ve found yet. The timing belt may be original, with 188k miles on it now. When I pushed on it, it jumped 3 teeth. That’s not good! It’s a good thing it didn’t do that when it was running. That picture is as far as I got today, I’ll follow up with my progress as I go. But so far, I think it’ll be a good little investment. Thanks again Shannon and Eric.