2003 Montero Limited - Lawrence of Arizona

SONICMASD

Adventurer
12/30/18: Test Day #6

Time to wheel on some red rock...so my buddy and I drove up to Sedona and hit Broken Arrow trail. I've done this trail 3 times before in Gen2s: once in my old 1997 SR, the General Li, and twice in my 1998 LS, Black Betty. Seeing how the Gen3 do this trail was really interesting. Lawrence kicked ass, took names, and was admired by many a Jeeper and Yota guy. Despite the slightly worse departure angle between the Gen 3 vs 2, I found that I actually smacked my hitch less when coming off of rocks in Lawrence then in Betty because Lawrence's hitch is actually 1" higher so my actual (not stock) departure angle might actually be better.

The traction control again really impressed me. I was able to climb up stuff that I never would of thought a vehicle could without a real locker. For example, check out this decent. It's between 30-40degrees at certain spots:

OLHO3288 by Marco, on Flickr

Going down is no problem but for the first time, I decided to try going up it (no video cuz my freind was spotting me instead of filming) I planned my line out and the TC did the rest, no problem. Then a 4Runner came along and it was like a great comparison because he couldn't get up no matter how hard he tried because you can't get a running start obviously and without a locker or TC his wheels would just spin once one got up in the air which was unavoidable on this rock.

This rock step is actually pretty big, the photo doesn't do it justice. It rubs on the bottom of my buddy's ARB bumper on his Disco II that is on 33s but as you can see, it is no where even close to rubbing on Lawrence's bumper. The approach angle on this rig is insane at 45 degrees! Most Gen3s don't have anything close to that but the ARB that is on Lawrence is from an FJ Cruiser and it doesn't stick out nearly as far as Montero ARB bumpers. Then to help matters more, I think Eurosonic, cut off the bottom 3" of this bumper when he had it mounted to his Gen2.5.

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Another great day of wheeling in this Gen3. It impressed all around and knowing that it can handle this kind of stuff means that it will serve my needs just fine. Capability-wise, Gen3s can do what I need - those questions have been put to bed.

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SONICMASD

Adventurer
1/15/19: Knocked out a simple job today that has needed addressing since Ernest bought Lawrence from Marutuk. Marutuk had cut up the single din storage cubicle for his ham radio unit and since he sold it, it has been an empty cavern that if you make the mistake of putting anything into would disappear behind the dash forever haha. Luckily, no one made that mistake but I figured it was time to button it up just in case.

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I got a factory storage cubicle from the junk yard and proceeded to take apart the dash using this invaluable post: https://autofix.com.au/blog/pajero-heater-core-removal-and-replacement

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All done:
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While we're at it, let's talk about the wiring plug to nowhere. There is a female plug underneath the left switch blank and I'm wondering what it goes to? I'm guessing that it was for an option that USA trucks are wired for but did not get, maybe (please let it be this) R/D Lock or perhaps Radio Antenna Up/Down. Does anyone know what switch goes to the plug with royal blue trim?

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This is the wiring harness part number that all of the switch plugs come from:

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SONICMASD

Adventurer
1/4/19 - Last week I took the car into the muffler shop and showed them the smoke test leak photos around the new muffler. They said that it is rare but does happen every now and then since it manufactured with just pressed seams and not fully welded seams like the Magnaflow or Flomaster (I didn't originally go with either of those brands because they would be louder than a normal muffler). The shop went ahead and replaced the muffler for free.

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offthepath

Adventurer
1/15/19: Knocked out a simple job today that has needed addressing since Ernest bought Lawrence from Marutuk. Marutuk had cut up the single din storage cubicle for his ham radio unit and since he sold it, it has been an empty cavern that if you make the mistake of putting anything into would disappear behind the dash forever haha. Luckily, no one made that mistake but I figured it was time to button it up just in case.

IMG_0674
I got a factory storage cubicle from the junk yard and proceeded to take apart the dash using this invaluable post: https://autofix.com.au/blog/pajero-heater-core-removal-and-replacement

IMG_4007

All done:
IMG_4017


While we're at it, let's talk about the wiring plug to nowhere. There is a female plug underneath the left switch blank and I'm wondering what it goes to? I'm guessing that it was for an option that USA trucks are wired for but did not get, maybe (please let it be this) R/D Lock or perhaps Radio Antenna Up/Down. Does anyone know what switch goes to the plug with royal blue trim?

IMG_4010
IMG_4009
IMG_4011

This is the wiring harness part number that all of the switch plugs come from:

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My 03 has the same empty plug....hmmmm

Any more wheeling trips?
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
I've 99% confirmed the extra plug is for the Antenna Switch which can raise and lower the antenna. I'm going to order one from overseas and test it out.

As for wheeling, nothing since that last Sedona trip but stay tuned - big news coming.
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
I've 99% confirmed the extra plug is for the Antenna Switch which can raise and lower the antenna. I'm going to order one from overseas and test it out.

As for wheeling, nothing since that last Sedona trip but stay tuned - big news coming.

Just updating this thread to let you guys know that ordering the antenna switch from overseas does not work. It does plug right in, but doesn't do anything. Turns out there is an extra relay that plugs in somewhere behind the radio that is also needed but I'm not going to mess with it further. I'll swap in a regular non-power mast antenna from a 2001-2002 XLS when one pops up in the junkyard.
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
2/11/19: TEST CONCLUSIONS

After taking Lawrence up to Sedona and running Broken Arrow I reviewed all of my experiences and tests in this Gen2.5 vs Gen3 battle royale and came to a lot of conclusions. It was an awesome learning experience and so much fun to test these two generations out head to head to see their different strengths and how Mitsu changed them. Over the last 8 months (I know! I thought this process would take like a month or two.) I've become really familiar with the Gen3 and its differences to the previous generation even on tiny details, like how a Gen2 requires opening up a brake line to replace the Upper Control Arm but the Gen3 doesn't. It's been really cool, a lot of fun, but also a lot of time & money and it probably wasn't the best time for me to undertake this project a month before my first child was born haha.

As some of you might have already seen, I decided that I'm going to roll the dice and switch over to the Gen3 life. I'll post up what will be the most in-depth Gen2 vs Gen3 write up ever done, over 4,000 words and counting, with my thoughts comparing almost every aspect of both vehicles. But in the meantime, to boil my opinion down into a few sentences that we all probably already knew:

The Gen3 is the better vehicle for overlanding and moderate 4x4 trails. It's handling, power, and comfort provide huge upgrades for the kind of family adventures I'll now mostly be doing in the future. I was always impressed/surprised by the Gen3's offroad prowess and it is certainly capable of doing difficult trails as several members have demonstrated on the Rubicon- but that's not what it does best. Similarly, the Gen2 is a good driving, handling, and moderately comfortable rig but what it's best at: durability (taking a beating on the trail without components breaking), longevity (300,000 miles + is common on original engines/transmissions), and reliability (Do your preventative maintenance and she won't leave you stranded) and of course: 4x4 capability. This is all an experiment though and a decision I hope to not regret one day becasue all those extra Gen3 gizmos and electronics come at the cost of some reliability and longevity. With only about 1,000 in the seat of Gen3s, I don't fully trust them yet even though I've seen plenty of them with 250,000miles + out there. I need to experience it for myself and that adventure starts now.

Black Betty is now sold, she's currently on her way to her new home with Cosmos99 in Boulder, CO. If you see them out and about, be sure to say hi. It is bittersweet but I'm excited to see him take that rig to the next level and rock out to Ram Jam when starting a trail as was my family's custom.


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SONICMASD

Adventurer
This is probably going to be my last major update to this thread.

6 months ago I was lucky enough to get an out of the blue phone call from Toasty, offering me his super clean, low mileage, near stock 2005 Gen3 and I just couldn't pass it up even though it meant owning 5 vehicles and having no use for 3 Monteros. So after having 3 Montoros for a few months, I finished the Gen3 vs Gen2.5 testing that you've been reading about in this thread and decided to sell my beloved Gen2.5.

Then I spent 3 months trying to justify having 4 cars, two of which are Gen3s. After failing to convince my wife to daily drive the 2005, I began thinking of ways to keep it but then realized I could only keep one. So I spent tons of time trying to decide on which Gen3 to keep: the built one or the stock one. Ultimately, I've decided to start over yet again for the 3rd time and build my 4th Montero but my first Gen3 build from the ground up with a focus on experimentation. It's the perfect excuse to import Pajero parts from around the world and test them out in the USA. That's right: after all of that sweat, money, time, and more money - Lawrence is up for sale.

Since updating this thread I've made a couple changes:

  1. The BFG KO2s have been replaced with Nitto Terra Grappler G2s with 75% tread.
  2. The tow hitch has been replaced with the factory recovery points but the wiring/plug remains.
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Yes, it’s true, one of the most identifiable and storied Gen3s is up for sale! I’ve had it for the last 10 months and didn’t think my ownership would be so short but unexpectedly I got the opportunity to pick up a friend’s super clean/near stock 2005 Gen3 that I just couldn’t pass up. I definitely wouldn’t have rebuilt the front end (especially with $$$ OEM parts), insulated the rear 1/3 of the vehicle, and done a whole lot of other work if I had seen this coming but oh well, I learned a lot about Gen3s in the process.

This is an awesome Montero that runs and drives great, wheels with the best of them, is super comfortable, and turns heads everywhere. I put it in an in depth head to head shoot out against my beloved 1998 Gen2.5 and it was this rig that convinced me to switch Gens and join the Gen3 Squad. That’s how good the traction control and handling of this thing is, I was impressed every time I took it out.

For more info, check out the following build threads:

https://www.expeditionportal.com/…/imnosaints-gen-iii-buil…/
https://www.expeditionportal.com/…/marutuks-gen-iii-build.…/
https://www.expeditionportal.com/…/2003-montero-limited-la…/

Major Upgrades
• ARB Bumper
• OME HD Coils and Nitrocharger Sport Shocks
• 4.90 Gears
• ADD Front Diff Stainless Steel Skid Plate4
• AGM Battery, 4/2016
• Trail Gear Rock Sliders
• High Clearance Muffler
• Nitto Terra Grapplers with 75% Tread, 33s (285/70R17) on Toyota 5th Gen 4runner wheels painted black with Rustoleum Bedliner Spray
• Snorkel
• 20” LED Light Bar
• Well Window Visors

Maintenance
• Timing Belt – 180k
• Spark Plugs & Wires – 180k
• Rear Brakes – 180k
• Diff Oil & Tcase Oil – 180k
• Brake Accumulator – 180k
• Exhaust Manifold – Driver Side – 180k
• Radiator Hoses, Thermostat, Coolant – 185k
• Catalytic Converter Y-pipe and all O2 Sensors – 195k
• Intake Manifold & Gaskets – 195k
• Transmission Replaced with low mileage (117k) donor – 200k
• Crankshaft Bearings, Oil Pump, Motor Mounts, Passenger Rear Cam Seal – 200k
• 2nd Row Seat Tumbling Cables – 203k
• Driver Seat Base Swap – 203k
• Transfer Case Fluid – 204k
• Front Suspension: OEM Inner & Out Tie Rods, Siberian UCA bushings, OEM UBJs, Steering Rack Boots, and Lifetime Alignment at PepBoys – 204k
• Passenger Side Valve Cover Gasket, Intake Manifold Gaskets, Drive Belt, Crank Bolt, Butterfly Assembly Inspected – 204k
• Exhaust Manifold & 1 O2 Sensor – Passenger Side – 204k

*Note - Tow hitch is not included, it has been switched back to the factory recovery hooks but the wiring and plug is still there.

The Still To Be Resolved:

• Previous owner rolled the front fenders up by about ½” to help clear 35s. But it wasn’t quite enough and the tires ripped the fender liners out. Good news is that this truck can run 34s now. I have an extra set of fenders and liners from a 2001 that are included.
• Instrument Cluster – Temp gauge scale is off by about ¼ low. I had the R10 & R12 resistors soldered but maybe it needs to be done again or something is physically preventing the needle from rising up higher.
• Snorkel – The pipe connecting the snorkel to the airbox inside the fender has become detached a little, allowing some air in at a much lower point than the snorkel head. Needs to be resealed or if you decide to replace the fenders altogether to fix the first problem, I’ve got the original piping needed to delete the snorkel and go back to the stock intake if preferred.
• Rear Suspension – Cannot be aligned all the way because the adjustment bolts are seized. They need to be cut off, punched out, and replaced before the rear alignment can be done. Truck drives nicely though considering. I purchased the lifetime alignment at Pep Boys.
• Cosmetics - Plenty of pinstriping from 4x4ing tight AZ trails, Bedliner and Hood Paint job are looking faded, need to be redone.
• Sunroof is disconnected. Probably just needs a new motor or switch. I have both parts but just haven't had time to investigate/install them.

This rig is very similar in terms of upgrades and money invested as my Gen2.5 which I just sold and the price is similar: $8500. Located in Phoenix, AZ and I’m happy to pick you up at the airport if you want to fly in and drive it home.
 
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