SONICMASD's 97 Montero Build Thread: The General Li

SONICMASD

Adventurer
12/27/15 - While researching the costs of turning a stock Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ into an awesome overland vehicle I Googled "Vehicles that came with a locker stock" and discovered the Montero SR. After some more searching I found Eurosonic's build thread and spent the next few hours reading as much of it as possible.

12/28/15 - My mind is made up, I want a Montero! Rear Locker = $1200 to add to a Jeep WJ, 33" tires = $600-$1,000 suspension lift needed for Jeep WJ, Spare Tire = no where to put it except on the roof or take up all your cargo space in the WJ. Montero solves all of these problems stock! The Cons: No V8 option, no solid front axle, and not as much support (used vehicles for parts or aftermarket).

So I start searching Craigslist and don't find any contenders in all of Arizona. I expand the search to outlying cities and find an SR in San Diego and it has a bunch of goodies on it! I contacted the seller and he is your typical craigslist flake - knows very little about the vehicle, is impossible to get a hold of, and his life is pretty much in a constant state of chaos. But I've purchased hundreds of things off Craigslist and know how to handle this type of person, you just have to treat them like children. Be super nice to them, don't assume anything, and stay on top of them frequently.

1/17/16 - After 3 weeks of continuous texting and phone calls and several attempts to drive out to San Deigo and having the seller cancel because he was too busy to sell the car I finally got him to agree to a meeting this weekend. I got a one-way rental car, drove out to SD with a buddy, and got to his house 10 minutes early. We knock on the door and some girl in her 20s answers, I say "Hi, I'm here for the Montero." "Uhhh, I don't even know what that means. Hold on, I don't live here.", Then another chick comes to the door and we explain why we are there and she also has no idea what we are talking about. She invites us in and there is a small party going on, and everyone we talk to is too high to really understand who we're looking for and why we're there. Eventually this one guy realizes that it is one of his roommate's trucks that we're after and he entertains us until the roommate gets back home with the Montero.
We inspected it, took it on a thorough test drive, and completed the deal!

1/18/16 - After spending the night in San Diego we woke up, had breakfast, got a quart of oil and a new air filter at O'reilly and then drove 400 miles home without a problem. I'm super excited to start building this truck and am so looking forward to all of the great trips that are just around the corner!

Presenting: The General Li

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I didn't know what the hell this spoiler/wing was on the hood and neither did the guy I bought the truck from (2nd owner). I found the original owner's phone number and info on a Discount Tire receipt in the glovebox and called him on the drive home and found out that it is a fancy bug deflector. I'm going to remove it, any interested buyers?

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The Good:
  • Only 2 Owners - The first owner had the vehicle from 97 until 2014 and took great care of it.
  • 159,000 miles
  • Timing Belt, Water Pump, hoses, coolant, etc replaced at 120k
  • New within past year: Rear brake pads, tires, stereo sytem, and alternator.
  • Has been run on Full Synthetic Oil all of its life.
  • JAOS bull bar, skid plate, and ladder

The Bad:
  • Needs Front brake service
  • Leaking and/or using oil
  • Ripped leather seats
  • Very dirty on the inside
  • Fuel gauge is not very accurate. Original owner told me it needs a new sensor installed.
  • 2 doors do not open from the outside and one window does not work.
  • Hold button and cigarette lighter do not work
  • Exterior paint
  • Washer fluid reservoir is broken
  • Front speakers are blown
  • Has 4.2 gears, I thought 97s were supposed to have 4.6?

My initial action item list:
  • Oil Change
  • Diff Oil Change
  • Transfer Fluid Change
  • Coolant and Tstat
  • Front Brakes
  • 33" Tires
  • Diagnose Oil Leak/Usage
 
Last edited:

Schitzangiggles

King of Macastan
Looks like you have everything you need laid out and a plan to bring it into being. Good detective work on getting the backstory and history on your rig.
 

miloe79

Observer
Congrats! You have in your hands one of the best 4x4 rigs out there! They are hard to come by and even harder to let go of..

Sent from my LGLS770 using Tapatalk
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
Hey Guys,

What are your oil recommendations?

I see the specs are as follows but there are several brand and weight options for each. I live in Phoenix so sub zero weather is a non factor.

Axle, Front API Class GL-5 (1.3 qt)
>-10 deg F SAE 90, 85W-90, 80W-90

Axle, Rear API Class GL-5 (3.3 qt)
>-10 deg F SAE 90, 85W-90, 80W-90

Transfer Case API Class GL-4 (2.6 qt)
SAE 75W-90 or 75W-85W
 

BEG

Adventurer
Hey Guys,

What are your oil recommendations?

I see the specs are as follows but there are several brand and weight options for each. I live in Phoenix so sub zero weather is a non factor.

Axle, Front API Class GL-5 (1.3 qt)
>-10 deg F SAE 90, 85W-90, 80W-90

Axle, Rear API Class GL-5 (3.3 qt)
>-10 deg F SAE 90, 85W-90, 80W-90

Transfer Case API Class GL-4 (2.6 qt)
SAE 75W-90 or 75W-85W
I use Amsoil GL-5 80W-90 for the diffs and Amsoil GL-4 75W-90 for the t-case.

Congrats on the SR. BTW :)
 

loremordred

Observer
I agree, I used Amsoil for all my fluids, trans, dif, axle.

I noticed a difference from the spent fluids the previous owner had. Runs smother.

Sent from my LG-H901 using Tapatalk
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
Well, i havent had much time this week but i got a few tiny things done.

1. So Cal Biker stickers removed


A razor blade and a few squirts of LPS1 and they were gone.


2. Seat rips taped - this will do until I find the world's finest-cheapest seat covers


3. Fancy Japanese bug wing removed. It works great but I'm not into the look.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Bobby.B

New member
If you are looking for cheap seat covers, I picked up a set of these to cover my seats that the previous owner had duct taped. The fit is ok, play with them for a few minutes and you can get them to fit snug.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281154050714

I've had them for 4 months and they are holding up well. For $65, you get front and rear covers, floor mats and a steering wheel cover. Can't beat that. Worked for what I needed, thought I would pass it along.
 

Swift_45a

Observer
Nice find, pretty cool story to go along with it and I would have soaked up the experience a bit if it were me, it had all the building blocks of a good story to tell around a camp fire; I see it has the SoCal sun burn, too. My rig has almost no clear coat left either on the roof, hood and front fenders because its lived all its life in SoCal.

I'd keep an eye on the tail pipe, if its never had it done you can almost guarantee those valve stem seals are going to need to be replaced soon.

Let me know if you find an ABS sensor for the Left Rear for a gen 2 when you go to the wreckers in AZ, I came up empty on my search as they were either worse than my severed sensor (blown tire carcass falling apart on the trail) or simply missing.

I know there are some seat covers I saw you can buy by section reviewed here before... I'll have to look on my PC when I get back home with my saved links.
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
Let me know if you find an ABS sensor for the Left Rear for a gen 2 when you go to the wreckers in AZ, I came up empty on my search as they were either worse than my severed sensor (blown tire carcass falling apart on the trail) or simply missing.
I went to the junk yard because one near me had a 95 but its ABS sensor was gone. I'm going to go check out another yard with 3 more Monteros and will keep an eye out for you.
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
If you are looking for cheap seat covers, I picked up a set of these to cover my seats that the previous owner had duct taped. The fit is ok, play with them for a few minutes and you can get them to fit snug.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/281154050714

I've had them for 4 months and they are holding up well. For $65, you get front and rear covers, floor mats and a steering wheel cover. Can't beat that. Worked for what I needed, thought I would pass it along.
Good price - thanks for the tip. I'm holding out hope that I can find a replacement driver's side armrest and then buy sideless seat covers so I can utilize the armrests.
 

SONICMASD

Adventurer
A few updates

1. I took the running boards off last weekend - wow what a difference! 17" of clearance on the sides now!

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2. Went to a junk yard near me that had a 95 SR and scored the following:

• Gen 2 center gauge cluster (compass, inclinometer, altimeter)
• Power Mirror Switch
• Rear cargo door handle bracket
• Headlight Washer Fluid Reservoir Spout
• Passenger Rear Window Motor and Regulator

3. Today I set out to do a few things but everything spiraled out of control (one of those car days). First I went to take off the front passenger fender to inspect the headlight washer fluid reservoir and pump before installing the new spout. So I tied up the dogs for company. One immediately peed on the tire right where I was about to work. The other wouldn't stop trying to chew through her leash whenever I wasn't looking. And they both barked at anyone or anything that passed by for the next 2 hours...dog problems.

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I removed a bunch of bolts from the fender and it wouldn't budge. So after 20 minutes of messing with it I decided to just button it back up, install the spout, and then look up the proper way to remove the fender in the FSM some other time. With the new spout installed I filled up the reservoir but no fluid is coming out still. I hear the pump motor going but nothing is coming out of the nozzles so I need to investigate and look for a blockage some other time.

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Next up, I replaced the Power Mirror Switch. I now have power mirrors! The bad news is that I can't get the knee guard piece of the dash to fit back in place. Again, I need to consult the FSM but if anyone knows how the heck to get this piece back in please let me know. It has to go under the trim piece above it but for that to happen looks like I need to take the whole damn driver's side of the dash apart. One step forward, two steps back.

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Getting frustrated now, I decide to do something easy. "I'll take off the door panels and grease all of the handles and window regulator tracks". I take the first two panels off (Passenger and Driver rear) and grease everything up. Reassemble and go to test the rear passenger regulator and nothing...no windows work. Last weekend I noted that if you have multiple door panels off and don't reconnect all of them, no windows will work. Has anyone run into this? Just like last weekend, I plugged the other side back in but this time still nothing. nada.

Hrm, better check the fuse - nope, fuse is good (32 years and I'm still waiting for an automotive issue to "just be a fuse").

Maybe I accidentally disconnected some wire under the dash while trying to re-install the knee guard trim piece? I feel around down there and then the whole car goes dark. Great, now the car won't even start. Dogs still barking at everyone. Time to take apart the steering covers. Underneath I notice the main Ignition wire harness has a broken lock tab so the whole thing can just unplug by pulling on the wires. I plugged it back in and the car is back to normal but I'll need to come up with a solution to that. I've never replaced the head of a wire harness before so it should be a learning experience...and if that fails, I'll just tape or zip tie it up so it can't fall out as easily again.

Needing a victory, I installed a new bulb in the overhead light and took apart the driver's side vanity mirrors and fixed the lights in those.

Yeah, just one of those days.

If anyone has any info on putting the knee guard part of the dash back together or why all the window switches are dead please help! All other accessories have power and are working. I still need to check the power window relays and will do that this weekend. Also, I found a few wires that are unplugged under the dash but couldn't find any info on them in the FSM so I'll post pics of those soon for identification by you Montero experts.)

PS - Oh almost forgot, I ordered front brake pieces from Rock Auto and they arrived today...but they shipped me the wrong front rotors. :)

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