I love this truck. Of all the vehicles I’ve owned, I haven’t felt much of an emotional connection. I’ve enjoyed them, certainly, but when it’s time for one to shuffle off to a new owner, I’m okay with that. The Montero, however, is different. I’ve taken this one on adventures. My daughter has grown a lot during the time I’ve owned it. And it’s the vehicle I’ve owned the longest… and now it’s dead.
How did this happen?
On a drive to Arrowhead, in California, I’d just reached the bottom of a long climb courtesy of Route 330. But a mile or so into the twisting ribbon that reaches up into the San Bernardino Mountains, I heard a noise coming from the engine bay. Not a good noise, either. My wife noticed the noise too and said “That doesn’t sound good”. No, it did not, so I pulled into the first turnout I could find and killed the engine while a thousand-yard stare crept into my face.
Hopping out of the truck to assess the situation, I already sort of knew what had happened. Still, I went through the motions. Hood, open. Rag, in hand. Dipstick, checked… and it was bone dry.
My wife, daughter, and her friend hopped in an Uber and I waved bye as I waited for the tow truck to arrive and take me the hour and a half or so back to my driveway. There the truck sat for about a month before I could get it into a shop that’s known to be the shop for Mitsubishi owners, especially Monteros. Ozzy’s Automotive is clearly the right spot because I could see three Monteros outside as I arrived, and found another two on lifts when I went inside.
After a few days of waiting for the call, Ozzy rang me up to tell me the damage. I spun a bearing. But he also pressed me as to the origins of the motor in my Montero, as it’s not the correct 6G72 that should be in there. Confused, I asked what he meant. He informed me that someone had previously swapped this engine at some point in the truck’s life. And when they did they used the wrong 6G72. The one in my truck is designed to be bolted into the snouts of front-wheel-drive Dodge minivans. He showed me photos of the oil pickup point and talked about the bearing cradle itself.
Regardless of the type of mill in the Montero, it didn’t matter since this one is toast. And that hurts to hear. Emotionally and financially.
Still, I can’t just let this thing die. I was about to ask Ozzy to button up anything necessary and I’ll get a tow truck out there to bring it home and try to figure out how to rebuild this thing myself. Instead, I got a call that he’d found a motor in a yard in Northern California. He asked the seller to document it with a ton of photos and he believes it’s a solid recently rebuilt unit. We’re having it shipped to his shop, and we’re going to put some fresh parts on it.
The Montero is dead right now… but it’s not going to stay that way.