My Montero Sport - Part 6 ... mid 2003
Updated July 1, 2003 Well, it's summer again. I've just reached 180,000 on my Montero Sport. We've done Chinaman Gulch, Wheeler Lake, Iron Chest, and dozens of other trails since the solid axle swap. It's STILL the best thing I've ever done to my Sport. I've had to replace the two tie-rod ends on the drag link and the Heim Joint on the track bar for a grand total of less then $100 and about 1 hour of my time. Cost to do this if the parts were still Mitsubishi? You don't wanna know. I did run into one other problem. I was having wierd electrical problems since just before the axle swap that I was never able to figure out. Finally my Sport just quit. Wouldn't start. Everyone figured it was the fuel pump so I dropped the gas tank enough to start taking off hoses and stuff only to find that the wiring to the fuel pump had been mis-routed at the factory OVER the pressure differential hose instead of UNDER it and the wire had rubbed through on the chassis and shorted. An easy fix. Splice the wire and correctly route it under the hose and off we went. All, in all I can't complain. Almost 200,000 miles and it still runs great. Not one squeak, knock or rattle and I'm still getting 19 miles to the gallon combined highway/city driving.
One part that was just installed is an air pipe to replace the factory rubber intake hose. I'd replaced the stock air box some years ago. The factory air intake box is great for protecting the air intake from dirt, dust, bugs and sucking water, but the actual air flow is appalling. Anyway, after a year of dinking around and half hearted hunting for JUST the tube I stumbled across a Spectre intake tube for the Honda Accord. With a little trimming with a hacksaw it fit perfectly. Its been several weeks since I installed it and its been well worth the $45. My gas mileage hasn't gone up appreciably, but it ALSO hasn't gone down. The biggest - and most advantageous - improvement is definitely in low end torque. From off idle to 3000 RPM I've seen a rather significant improvement. Its most noticeable in stop and go traffic where I shift about half as much as I used to.
Alcan Spring in Grand Junction Colorado was very helpful earlier this spring when my rear leaf springs finally decided they'd had enough. I can't complain much since these springs have about 100,000 miles on them and they've been abused on and off the trail. After a couple phone calls to Alcan and a few hours taking measurements per their instructions we were ready to go. I got some of the perks like the military wrap on the eye (something Mitsubishi springs already come with) and U style leaf retainers. I also had them build with springs to fit the Toyota FJ40/FJ60 1981-89 bushings. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport front eye bushings are molded into the eye so they're "non-removeable" (also not available from the dealership without buying an entire leaf spring) and Alcan couldn't find aftermarket ones to fit the stock Mitsubishi dimensions. The Toyota bushings seemed to be the closest. The only difference is that the Toyota uses an 18mm diameter bolt where the Mitsubishi Montero Sport uses a 16mm bolt. Also, easily fixed. 4x4 Extreme Sports prototyped and built a set of greaseable front spring eye bolts for the new Alcan Spring Mitsubishi Montero Sport springs to fit the - readily available - Toyota bushings. Two thumbs up to Alcan!!! These springs are WAY nicer then the stock ones. The ride is much smoother, stability is greatly improved on the highway AND off road, the load carry capacity is higher and nothing is given up to articulation. They do flex!My RTI is now 810. A HUGE improvement over the old springs.
Another significant change I made lately was to relocate the steering stabilizer off the bottom of the tie-rod/axle to way up next to the oil pan. High Country Performance 4x4 here in Denver was kind enough to take care of that for me. After replacing four or five crushed stabilizers this was long overdue. For some reason the stabilizer seems to work much better running from the chassis mount to the drag link then it did running from the tie-rod to the axle. I'm sure its a geometry thing but it works so I'm happy.
Currently working on transfer case gears. Of all the things on the Montero and Montero Sport that is the most limiting. Hopefully soon this won't be an issue! Stay tuned!!!