Montero Update: In a good place, but let’s make it even better

It’s been sometime since I gave you an update on my 1991 Mitsubishi Montero. Let’s fix that, shall we?

The truck has been running well for the last few months. I’ve had a few hiccups though, and I’m working on fixing them. My idle speed is mostly consistent. Occasionally, it will drop and run a bit low. The problem is obviously exacerbated if I’m using the air-conditioning system. I believe I need to clean or replace my idle air controller. I’ve cleaned the throttle body but the issue is still popping up.

Next, I need to figure out what’s going on with my steering. When I turn full lock to the right, I can get a bit of tire rub with my current setup. It’s only at full lock though, which is good. Turning to the left, I …can’t get to full lock. I’m stopped before I get there, and I don’t know why. That issue has been there since I purchased the truck, and I haven’t worried enough to try and fix it yet.

There’s still a very minor drip happening at the transfer case. It’s not enough to cause my any worry yet, but I would like to get this rig running cleaner. I want to get to a place of NO DRIPS.

Finally, I’ve placed the order for some updated suspension. The current shocks and springs are a bit tired. So I’m swapping in a complete setup from Fox. This means that the front shock towers will need to be altered, but there’s a team out there that already has the dimensions needed to make this work on a Montero. Once those are changed, I can then swap in the new bouncy bits.

And then I’ll just keep fixing minor things that pop up. I’m still loving this Montero, and I look forward to taking it on some more adventurous drives in the not-too-distant future.

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18 responses to “Montero Update: In a good place, but let’s make it even better”

  1. Zentropy Avatar

    Could the pitman arm have been removed and replaced on the wrong spline? If your wheels are aligned with the steering box off-center (and the difference made up in the tie rods), then you could have more turn on one side than the other.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      it was like that before I replaced the pitman, and is still like that.

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        I didn’t know you replaced the pitman arm, but if it was off-spline before you owned it, then it would still be off after you changed it. You can never really know what someone has jacked up before your ownership. The problem is that if the steering box isn’t on-center before an alignment is done, then you could end up with good, straight tracking– and even a straight steering wheel, if it was adjusted too– but one shortened and one lengthened tie rod. The arm would be able to turn more degrees in one direction than the other, because it’s starting center point would not be “straight”, even though the wheels are.
        I had this problem on an old Mercury that I bought, and the only reason I suspected it was wrong was because while the steering wheel had been straightened to compensate, only one turn signal would automatically reset while the other would stay on. Once the steering box / pitman was re-centered and the steering wheel was realigned, I was able to adjust the tie rods approximately so I could drive it to the shop for legitimate alignment. Of note, not many shops can align old cars anymore.

        1. 0A5599 Avatar

          4×4 steering hitting a bind before going full lock in one direction but not the other is sometimes caused by an aftermarket steering stabilizer installed by eyeball rather than actual measurements. Temporarily pull the stabilizer off and see if the range of motion increased.

          Funny that you mentioned alignment of old cars. I went in for one Friday. The sign said “most cars $39.99”. I pulled in. Serviceguy said I didn’t have a “most” and would be 60 or 80 depending on the style. Didn’t matter, after he put it on the alignment rack, it turned out that their equipment wouldn’t fit my wheelwells.

          I took it to another place. I asked if their equipment would work. Nope. They suggested someplace across town. I called that place but the guy suggested bringing it in at 8am and he would try to get to it same day. I haven’t had the free time for that yet.

          1. Zentropy Avatar

            That’s a good point regarding the steering stabilizer, and a much easier thing to check first.

            As for alignment, for one of my classics I finally ended up at some independent shop where an old dude– long past retirement– was still clocking hours just to stave off boredom. He didn’t use lasers and couldn’t have turned on a computer if you showed him the power switch, but he could damn well align an old Ford. The young techs are great at reading codes and doing what the computer directs them to do, but some of them can’t find their own ass when the situation requires an understanding of basic geometry and purely mechanical solutions. The art has been largely upstaged by technology.

  2. danleym Avatar

    NO DRIPS? Is that a real thing? Do people really get there?

    My K10 is the opposite. All of the drips.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      I find that if I eliminate all of the drips, then something catastrophic happens. I like to maintain at least one drip to ward off major mechanical failures.

      1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        automotive tradition akin to the Persian Flaw

        Legend says that Persian rug makers, being deeply religious, believed that only God could make something perfect. To demonstrate humility before their deity, these carpet crafters deliberately incorporated a small error into each rug. This “Persian Flaw” revealed the craftsman’s devotion to the Supreme Being.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          It is considered a sin by most people and deities to use such a “flawed” rug to catch drippings from a “flawed” car.

        2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
          Jeff Glucker

          This is fantastic

        3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

          For the same reason, most of the sculptures on medieval cathedrals have a deliberate chisel or hammer strike marring them somewhere.

          1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
            dead_elvis, inc.


            Entirely OT, do you have any idea if the Honda Pacific Coast was ever offered with an automatic transmission? My firsthand experience & research says no, but I’ve been challenged on that recently. (Of course, the other party provided no support whatsoever for their claim, so I’m not putting a ton of effort into disproving them.)

          2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

            No, I am quite positive there was never an automatic Pacific Coast.

    2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      That’s how you know there’s still some oil in there. Worry when it stops leaking!

  3. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
    dead_elvis, inc.

    Jeff, I think we need you & Andrew Collins to do some sort of Montero weekend adventure/buddy comedy/comparo with your rigs. I’d love to see it here, of course, but maybe it could be a joint HoonLopnik thing.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      We’ve definitely talked about it.
      I was invited on that mega Baja run he just did but couldn’t break away for a full week

  4. Rob Avatar

    Interested to see this Fox suspension setup you are cooking up.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I agree! Haha

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