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dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/6/21 10:48 a.m.

As mentioned in my introduction post ( https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/new-to-grm-my-list-of-projects/183084/page1/ ) I bought this high-mileage Montero during the summer of '19 and proceeded to drive it home from Montana to WV. Since then, I've replaced control arms and a trailing arm bushing, got the a/c working, replaced the timing belt and water pump, and added air helper springs in the rear (eventually I'd like to haul my RM125 on a hitch carrier) as well as a set of JDM wheels that are probably too valuable to be crossing creeks and driving around in the woods, but that's what this thing is for.

Over the weekend, I drove some trails following my friend in his Discovery II, and I noticed that he was floating gently over obstacles that were really jarring the Montero. I know I have one trailing arm beginning to go bad again, and I just ordered KYB shocks for the rear in hopes that the ride quality will get better. When they arrive I'll also do the bushing. I haven't ordered shocks for the front yet, a pair of KYBs for up front are over $100, so I'm exploring my options. I'm open to suggestions on shocks that are a good value. Out on the trail with the Rover:

The trailing arms on this thing are massive compared to what I'm used to on my RX-7, here's one with a Lexus center cap for scale:

 

Other areas of concern I need to address:

I asked a shop to replace the valve guide seals, because one leaks so bad it fouls the plug over time. When they got into it they found that the guides have sunken too low in the head to properly seal, so I need to source reman heads sometime before winter, when I drive this often. It showed good numbers on a compression test, but I'm hoping new heads and clean plugs will help it feel less sluggish.

I also want to get the headlight washer pump working, more for my amusement than anything. 

This truck might be a good candidate for some sort of sound deadening mat, when you're shaped like a brick with wheels the wind noise is substantial at 65 mph.

I've looked into Mitsubishi diesel swaps, which are expensive and on paper don't add much power or fuel economy, and I've heard of people swapping in the later 4 cam 6G engines, but no one has done a thorough write up on what it takes. I'm leaning toward just getting the existing 3.0 up to snuff, in hopes that this becomes a capable and comfortable road trip vehicle. Of my three vehicles though, the dog seems to like this one best, I think because the seat bottoms are high enough that she can see out the windows well - also I never get tired of the blue interior and the tv static pattern on the door panels..

One of my goals this year is to drive this on the sand dunes in Michigan, and eventually I'd like to get it out to Moab when I have time, I really like the idea of camping out there if I can shove cot or something in the back. I'll update this thread soon with the shock installation, which I hope is easy. Part of the Haynes manual suggested procedure when I replaced the front control arms was to loosen the body mounts and jack the body away from the frame to make room for the arms to come off... :/ Not as involved as it seems but still strange when you're not used to body on frame stuff.

captainawesome
captainawesome Dork
5/6/21 11:58 a.m.

I still miss my 91 LS, mine was silver with blue interior as well so this one really tugs at my strings. They are such great trucks. Every time one of these threads pop up it makes me want to chase down a guy locally and beg him to sell to me.

I vote keep the 3.0 and skip the swap stuff. They always require more effort, money, and time than expected VS just refreshing what's there.

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/7/21 9:07 a.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

The blue interior was really the reason I was willing to go to Montana for this one versus waiting to see if one came up for sale nearby. I generally lean away from swaps but the diesel option looked briefly interesting. 

bigeyedfish
bigeyedfish Reader
5/7/21 9:40 a.m.

I love the look of these.  Got any more pictures?

The price is too big a pill for me, but a Cummins 2.8L would be perfect for this.

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/7/21 10:14 a.m.

In reply to bigeyedfish :

Parked outside with the RX-7:

15 x 8 SSR Auswuch

Center console with the little wooden personal box my dad made to take up the opening after I replaced the stereo when the tape deck failed:

Out in the Badlands on the way home from Montana:

Out on a trail near Chesapeake Bay (The truck's original owner bought it new in Anchorage Alaska, so I wanted to make sure it went coast to coast.)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/7/21 10:47 a.m.

We're heading out to Rausch Creek tomorrow (sat.) If you feel like joining in with another Gen1 and hit aome green trails. 9am

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/7/21 10:57 a.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

That's a 5 hour drive from me, but after I get the shocks and bushings in I might like to check it out!

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/7/21 11:39 a.m.
dannyp84 said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

That's a 5 hour drive from me, but after I get the shocks and bushings in I might like to check it out!

Yeah it is a hike for me as well (prbably 4 in the Raider), But there are some great trails there.

JeremyJ
JeremyJ Reader
5/7/21 1:13 p.m.

I love the fact that it has SSRs on it. I didn't know they made 6-lug wheels. 

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/10/21 9:07 a.m.

In reply to JeremyJ :

They made a few! They had a 6 lug wheel they called the Interceptor which looks very similar to Longchamps, also these Randmasters: https://kyushashoes.com/product/speed-star-randmaster/

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/17/21 10:24 a.m.

Update: Shocks arrived last week and I spent Friday evening replacing those as well as the passenger side trailing arm bushings.

New rear shock vs the old ones, these actually still had some life left to them but not nearly the same rebound rate or stiffness as the new KYB, installation on these is pretty easy as long as you have a 22mm socket and some leverage..

^ Installed with the red helper springs inside the coils visible behind the shock, I put those on a couple years ago when I was excited about towing the RX7, before realizing the 3.0 just doesn't have enough grunt to tow the hills/mountains here at highway speed.

^ This was one of the original trailing arm bushings, the rubber doesn't seem to be too worn but I think what actually causes clunking noise is that the inside diameter eventually wears and is no longer snug on the arm. To get to this bushing you have to take the trailing arm completely off, and the rear mounting bolts are wildly tight. Last year when I did the driver side, I actually set the breaker bar against the ground, then started the truck and pulled forward a little to crack the bolt loose. This time I just used a jack handle as a cheater bar and got lucky. As you can see I'm working on a gravel parking pad, so all major projects involve crawling on the ground, holding your neck at strange angles that encourage early onset spinal issues, and disapproving glances from the neighbors who push strollers and walk dogs down my alley. 

^ New front shock next to the collapsed old one, the old shock was stamped "Mitsubishi KYB" so it could've maybe been original to the truck? After over 200k miles though I doubt it. to get these collapsed enough to fish between the control arms I shoved them down by hand then used packing tape to hold them till I got everything in place and bolted up - there's probably a smarter way to do this that involves less swearing and physical effort.

Now that everything is in place I could swear the front of the truck sits just a little taller, and even after a brief test drive it feels considerably less crashy over bumps, with less nose dive during braking. Unfortunately, I decided to rotate the tires when I got done and noticed some oil splashed out on the face of one of my rear wheels, and more oil pooled up where the center cap would be. I suspect an axle seal leak? My haynes manual claims that unlike my RX-7, you don't have to disassemble the drum brakes to pull the axles. Either way, it doesn't look like any fun, but the gear oil is probably due for replacement anyway. I haven't torn into that yet, I spent Saturday prepping the RX-7 for a quick skid pad event that happened yesterday. I haven't really driven the car hard since last year and wasn't sure what to expect, but everything seemed to be in good order when I bolt checked it, and what a happy car, it just seemed so eager to drive hard all day long. It only makes 102 hp on the dyno, but always feels like more. I'm not sure how to attach video so here's a link > https://www.instagram.com/p/CO-oKC3nrIs/?igshid=brazukf8buh8

No track events this coming weekend, so maybe i can tear into the axle seal issue Saturday, next weekend is my first Champcar race at Watkins Glen, and I haven't decided whether to drive the Montero or the Sportcross. Only the former has cruise control, and if I remember correctly, I86 in New York has some truly rough pavement..

 

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/20/21 1:32 p.m.

^ This is what the end of the axle looked like during the shock replacement. I've put maybe 30 miles on the truck since, and haven't noticed any additional oil/leaking. I would assume that if my diff fluid level was really low I'd be hearing some whining noises? Will the spinning axle wick away all the fluid from the diff if left alone? 

 

 

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/21/21 3:40 p.m.

Montero looks great. I had an 89 with the 3.0 with bad valve stem seals as a DD for quite a while and loved it. Great wheel choice on the Montero and Rx7 as well (SSR fan here too). How long ago did it leave Anchorage? It looks pretty familiar. 

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
5/24/21 12:50 p.m.

In reply to crankwalk (Forum Supporter) :

It was in Oregon/Montana by 2003, and in SoCal before that. The original owner's name in Anchorage was Milford Knutson, I tried messaging him when I still had facebook to give him an update on his old truck, but he never accepted the message request. I think he's in his 80s and probably isn't too active online. 

jfryjfry (FS)
jfryjfry (FS) Dork
5/24/21 1:07 p.m.

If you've been leaking gear oil, check the level!   Or just replace the seals and oil at the same time

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
7/13/21 2:25 p.m.

No major updates, other than a starter failure: For a few days, the starter would turn over slowly/weak sometimes, other times normally. I checked battery voltage and that was good, but even trying to jump start from another car nothing happens. I then pulled the starter off and couldn't get it to work using the jumper cable test, though I might've been doing it wrong. Yesterday I took the starter to Advance to be tested, they got it to spin but said the bendix (sp?) wasn't engaging to push the gear drive forward where it would engage the flywheel. I found it interesting that it would spin on their machine, but I couldn't hear it spin when installed in the truck. That area of the block/bellhousing gets the majority of grime from a valve cover oil leak, so I might have to do some serious cleaning before I can assess whether any wiring is damaged. Electronic issues are never my area of expertise, but hopefully it's something simple. 

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
8/3/21 8:58 a.m.

the montero is back on the road, thanks to just cleaning up all the electrical connections for the starter. Next I need to decide between ordering reman cylinder heads, or having the valve guides replaced in my existing heads, which I'm told requires machine work, anyone on the forum savvy with that sort of thing? 
In the meantime, I've been driving it on the weekends and to my Champcar races, and enjoying the frosty a/c system. A couple of weeks ago I drove it to Pittsburgh vintage Grand Prix and found some cool stuff in the pits:

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
9/2/21 8:44 a.m.

So now that the smoking during cold start has become really excessive and the oil consumption is pretty ridiculous, it's time to order cylinder heads. Does anyone have experience with Clearwater Cylinder Head Inc. ? Also, with reman heads is there anything I should look at closely before installation?

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
9/14/21 2:25 p.m.

Cylinder heads are on the way! Last week I began tearing into the motor to get the heads off, so far the upper and lower intake manifold is off, the radiator and fan are out of the way as well as some accessory stuff, and everything is just grimy with oil, dirt and age. I really need to get some of this stuff into a parts cleaner before it goes back on. I know the heads can be replaced with the engine in the truck, but I'm wondering if I'd have an easier time of it by pulling the engine? The Mitsubishi engineers really loved throwing brackets on this engine, and where 4 bolts would've been fine they used 6 or 8. Filthy engine bay pictures on the way soon!

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago UltraDork
9/14/21 3:24 p.m.

You could look into new bumpstops for better ride quality too. I like the Super Bumps sold by Wheelers Offroad. They're marketed to Toyotas, but it's just a round bumpstop with a bolt through it. They're nice and progressive so bottoming out the suspension is smooooooth. I ran them on my 99 4runner and need to figure out how to adapt them to my F150.

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
9/14/21 8:39 p.m.

The pile of parts to be cleaned:

 

 

Grimy old head:

 

Pistons with some carbon buildup:

 

I need to make a list of all the gaskets and seals I want to replace, and get the other cylinder head off hopefully tomorrow. It looks like the alternator bracket is captured by the cam gear so that's annoying. Judging by how cruddy the valves and ports are, I'm wondering if I'll experience a noticeable gain in power with the new heads, hopefully enough to tow my RX7 to the track.. I've never pulled heads before so I'm kind of figuring it out as I go, reassembly will have to be a lot more methodical and by the book than the tear down.

buenavides1
buenavides1 New Reader
9/14/21 10:48 p.m.
dannyp84 said:

As mentioned in my introduction post ( https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/new-to-grm-my-list-of-projects/183084/page1/ ) I bought this high-mileage Montero during the summer of '19 and proceeded to drive it home from Montana to WV. Since then, I've replaced control arms and a trailing arm bushing, got the a/c working, replaced the timing belt and water pump, and added air helper springs in the rear (eventually I'd like to haul my RM125 on a hitch carrier) as well as a set of JDM wheels that are probably too valuable to be crossing creeks and driving around in the woods, but that's what this thing is for.

Over the weekend, I drove some trails following my friend in his Discovery II, and I noticed that he was floating gently over obstacles that were really jarring the Montero. I know I have one trailing arm beginning to go bad again, and I just ordered KYB shocks for the rear in hopes that the ride quality will get better. When they arrive I'll also do the bushing. I haven't ordered shocks for the front yet, a pair of KYBs for up front are over $100, so I'm exploring my options. I'm open to suggestions on shocks that are a good value. Out on the trail with the Rover:

The trailing arms on this thing are massive compared to what I'm used to on my RX-7, here's one with a Lexus center cap for scale:

 

Other areas of concern I need to address:

I asked a shop to replace the valve guide seals, because one leaks so bad it fouls the plug over time. When they got into it they found that the guides have sunken too low in the head to properly seal, so I need to source reman heads sometime before winter, when I drive this often. It showed good numbers on a compression test, but I'm hoping new heads and clean plugs will help it feel less sluggish.

I also want to get the headlight washer pump working, more for my amusement than anything. 

This truck might be a good candidate for some sort of sound deadening mat, when you're shaped like a brick with wheels the wind noise is substantial at 65 mph.

I've looked into Mitsubishi diesel swaps, which are expensive and on paper don't add much power or fuel economy, and I've heard of people swapping in the later 4 cam 6G engines, but no one has done a thorough write up on what it takes. I'm leaning toward just getting the existing 3.0 up to snuff, in hopes that this becomes a capable and comfortable road trip vehicle. Of my three vehicles though, the dog seems to like this one best, I think because the seat bottoms are high enough that she can see out the windows well - also I never get tired of the blue interior and the tv static pattern on the door panels..

One of my goals this year is to drive this on the sand dunes in Michigan, and eventually I'd like to get it out to Moab when I have time, I really like the idea of camping out there if I can shove cot or something in the back. I'll update this thread soon with the shock installation, which I hope is easy. Part of the Haynes manual suggested procedure when I replaced the front control arms was to loosen the body mounts and jack the body away from the frame to make room for the arms to come off... :/ Not as involved as it seems but still strange when you're not used to body on frame stuff.

You have an adorable fur baby on board. It seems like she had a great time as a passenger. 

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
9/15/21 8:37 a.m.

In reply to buenavides1 :

That's Momo! I think of my 3 vehicles she likes the Montero best, simply because the seats are the right height for her to see well even when she's not on someone's lap. 

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/15/21 9:27 a.m.

You should be able to tow the rx7 with the 3.0 since have a have a stick. I wouldn't recommend it in that automatic. Mine didn't slip but couldn't figure out what gear it wanted to be in for the power band.

dannyp84
dannyp84 New Reader
9/15/21 9:37 a.m.

In reply to crankwalk (Forum Supporter) :

The car with the trailer I ordered should be just about 3700 lbs total, so I don't expect to go 70 mph uphill but hopefully I can just sit tight in the slow lane and get to the track. What did you tow with yours?

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