My (failed) project to build Trophy-raid Pajero 4/NS

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endr4
Country: Latvia
Vehicle: Pajero Gen4 SWB 3.2 MT
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:35 pm

My (failed) project to build Trophy-raid Pajero 4/NS

Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:07 am

I have used this forum a lot as source of information about Pajero and their faults and capabilities, so I decided to share my story about my off-road specific Pajero project. Maybe will contain some information for future readers. I have had or used several (4 or 5) Gen3 Pajero's for several years as daily drivers and had always been super satisfied with them, my previous pajero 3/NP in three years had few oil changes, overhaul of all braking components (twice :)) and maybe one other repair. I have always liked off-roading, but since I live in Northern Europe, the off-roading is less camping, more daily courses, since any place is my country in at most 50km from hotel/motel, we do not camp, go on expeditions, but drive on forest roads that provide challanges to our vehicles and driving skills with water, mud, swamps, peat bogs and trees.I was looking at a Pajero 3 for couple of years to build for such weekend acitivities, but didn't find many good options with manual gearbox and difflock, and was afraid of the fuel pump problem, so when I found one for sale at 6650 EUR, I immediatly decided to buy it. My problem was that although it was only 10 years old (most of the off road specific 4x4s are more than 12 years old here) it had 342k km on the clock, which I wasn't too afraid off (mistake), as the car had good service history, didn 't have rust or any issues with engine, transmission, drivetrain, 4wd system. So I bought it, thinking it has resource of 500k, and as I planned to use it only on weekend (8k km per year) I thought I would be the last owner for it anyway, but would use it for three or more years. So here my project began, this is the first picture with everything stock.

Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/oxAiiqRd5tyaOF613

My investments after this were:
1) Dragon Winch 10000lbs (You can fit easily a winch on Pajero 4, both manual and automatic). Worked, but slow and required quite some servicing, better choose Runva or SuperWinch.
2) Intercooler, engine and transfer case protection (6mm aluminium plates, custom made to protect the intercooler, which is in a ridiculous place, just above the front crossmember, directly where any rock or branch would hit, and the stock tinplate shield can not protect it. The fuel tank needs protection as well, I didn't do it, but if someone want's to use it off road - it's necessary.
3) 275/70R17 Maxxis Bighorn tyres 32". This is an easily fittable tyre on Pajero 4, I used rims with ET25, but you can easily use stock rims with 32" tyres, minor trimming of completly usleless plastic was necessary, but no harm done to the car. 275/70R17 also fits in the rear spare wheel holder without any trimming. I have seen 33" tyres on Pajero 4 and Pajero 3, but those are actually 32" tyres, as BfGoodrich has one inch smaller actual measurements, so 33x12.5 are actually 32" tyres, same with 285/70R17 Mud-Terrain KM2, they are actually 32" tyres. I checked Yokohama geolandar MT and they run true to the size also, like MAXXIS. I have also once seem Pajero 3 with 34" (actual measurement) tyres, but I do not understand how that car can drive for more than 3 km without braking CVs and HSs. Also do weigh the tyres, as some are heavier than other, and you want to put as little extra weight on the axles as possible, I threfore chose maxxis over cooper stt pro. The Bighorns were ok, but I did not feel any superb feeling with them, would choose yokohama or simex or interco next time.
4) Lovell's gas legend shocks and lovells extra heavy duty springs - way to go, superb Aussie product. Tried using spacers, but the suspension would sag after 2 outings, so you really need to go with good springs. 32" tires with lovells suspension gave me 30cm ground clearence below front crossmember and the 6mm bashplate. This is maximum you can get from pajero if you do not do suspension drop. Always go with the EHD springs with Diesel.
5) Lokka front locker - works, and very useful, since pajero has super heavy front end, but unusable due to steering interference. It pulls the car randomly to sides when locking/unlocking, unsafe. Either fit ARB air locker or don't bother.
6) Bravo snorkel - really good product, fits also with the xenon lamps I had.
7) 90cm led light bar (Chinese) - does it's job off road, gives flood light as high beam all around.
8) Lenovo tablet for OziExplorer - Android is complete crap, buy Windows tablet that can run PC version of OZi, not the broken Android one, it crashes 10 times per hour.
On this I spent around 3250 EUR, with installation, and was quite happy with this on paper.

Some mods:
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/2nvxXer0TJtjldFh2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/e41YnMZIZXBnttmq2

Some pictures in action:
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/0KWfmLseI53eXRNu2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/haZ3JRurBhoaalGL2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/buX7RWAZCo8dSBTf2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/tRgDqCCLw0UBfJnA3
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/UneRw0dhFcH8Q5B63
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/OVtcnb4W8hAroKWp1
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/cVW7bLuc8F0aybi12
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/omHNCc3PrGRlIDUr2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/8YJZIVUaqdt2JfSn1
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/2ogR8lS7x2yWhMFv2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/Pe4Auu39ibWhOMEv2

Now comes the reason why I consider it a failed project - the pajero just can't get through tough offroad, loose ground. It does not "float", it's too heavy, the 4wd drive is crap and where land cruisers (70/80), patrols (y60/y61), g-wagon (w463) and jimny go easily, pajero just can't, it gets stuck any time the wheels can not reach solid ground within the 30cm of ground clearance, even with the triple lockers. Something is wrong with the independant suspension, wheelspin and power delivery and most definately weight. It's in the same loser league as jeeps, landrovers, vitaras etc.

The other major issue is Pajero can not handle tough offroad, its fragile. It has too many too weak parts. I changed 3 wheel bearings (no improvements over Pajero 3), one halfshaft with CV joint, and probably two other were broken as well by the time I sold it, all seals at diffs and CV boots, 3 ABS sensors, steering pinion, rear differential (it just internally destroyed itself), clutch, 3 times parking brake mechanism, fuel tank, and twenty other small parts in drivetrain. I paid around 4750EUR for these repairs in one year. The parts are 3 times more expensive than for Mercedes G-wagon and 2 times more expensive than for Toyota Land Cruiser.

Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/0ydiJWXbXIiAlRzO2
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/ysF9Uj7shoFNuSYl1

So I sold the car after 14 months in parts and I can only suggest to avoid Pajero for real, tough off road. I would still consider a 2010 and above pajero with milage less than 225k km for driving on gravel or solid country roads, but not for real adventures. Thanks for all the knowledge in this forum, and hope this helps someone avoid the same mistake I did.


Last picture with bighorns
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/qjjzlK4Fl6gVfnI62
Last picture with winter studded tyres
Imagehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/hjxyEuCaevEySFmU2
User avatar
Renegade
Country: South Africa
Vehicle: 2001 Pajero 3.5 5 door manual, 2000 SWB blister
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:21 am

Re: My (failed) project to build Trophy-raid Pajero 4/NS

Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:22 pm

Thank you for the article.

Looking at the photos and also watching videos on U Tube from time to time, what you are expecting of the vehicle is way beyond what any normal production vehicle is built for.

Remember you have also added lockers, which are not standard items, changed several key components on the vehicles drive train and then used it as a competition styled vehicle.

Your photos are stunning and interesting, but as with any standard factory built vehicle you cannot expect extreme off road performance, hence in competition events, there are several categories that different vehicle compete in.

If i could show you what i have put my extremely heavy 5 door Pajero through, quiet frankly anything the vehicle cannot handle, I don't want to do as it is pushing past the limits of safety and vehicle destruction.

Just two weekends ago I was on a Mitsubishi outing, where there were new and old, long and short wheel base vehicles and I have done extensive over-landing, and was more than impressed with the performance of all the vehicles. Pajeros Tritons, old and brand new.

There were several really challenging sections with escape routes, and not one vehicle did not complete the route without using the escape route.

Even stock standard vehicles went through, and more importantly, without any damage to any vehicle.

I think it is very important to know what you want to do with a vehicle and if it is as extreme as you want to go, then a special vehicle must be built.

Over body plating from any factory is not at all good. Weight is a big factor, so the factory plates are more for show than anything else. My complete vehicle is plated underneath, but then loaded for three weeks in Botswana , carrying 300 litres of fuel and 200 litres of water plus supplies it weighs in at a fraction below 4 tonnes, a lot over weight but it goes through anything I put it through.

Never broken a side shaft, diff or gearbox and it has 264 000 kms on the clock. Just running in. 3500 V6 5 door manual.

I think it is a matter of horses for courses, and you can't expect a mass produced vehicle to be a competition weekend off road vehicle that stops at nothing. No mass produced vehicle was ever built to do that.

It is something that will be discussed around a camp fire until the end of time as to which is the best 4x4 vehicle. It comes down to what the driver actually knows about 4x4 driving, how he uses the vehicle in a difficult situation and how the vehicle is set up to do what is asked of it. With that I mean tyres and their pressure, firmer suspension, how to actually get through and obstacle, not just foot flat and hope for the best.

Rather as slow as possible, but fast enough to get you through, and feather the throttle, revs don't get you out of s***t, clever driving does do the trick. Something as simple as a manual gearbox over an auto in real bush conditions has many advantages. Rocking a VEHICLE OUT OF MUD OR THICK SAND, A MANUAL IS STREETS AHEAD OF ANY AUTO BOX. as you can't do that movement in a auto. But people do sometimes prefer an auto box. Mine is manual, and they are hard to find but that is why I will not change mine. I do not want an auto. Towing if you do have a break down is also a problem with an auto. Not a manual. A manual can be towed, no hassle.

Having had my say, you have some very nice photos of your Pajero and thank you for the article.










Wheels were at time 1.5 meters off the ground and diff locks whwere
Renegade.

I specialise in buying and selling Mitsubishi products. Pajero, Colt and Triton vehicles country wide.

Wayne

082 494 3782.
endr4
Country: Latvia
Vehicle: Pajero Gen4 SWB 3.2 MT
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:35 pm

Re: My (failed) project to build Trophy-raid Pajero 4/NS

Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:00 am

I agree with most of what you said, and having been to e.g .Namibia, I would also consider Pajero for sand or hardpack driving, just where other vehicles modified with the same upgrades as mine continued to drive, when the ground gets loose and wet, Pajero digs itself down and gets stuck. Also with the underbody plates - you still cannot protect independent suspension parts. Even with 3 lockers will not be a match for beam axle 4x4's due to independent suspension. I also bought the manual thinking about rocking, but it's not that often it helps, you can still rock the AT with accelerator input, but AT won't stall, won't roll backwards and both your hands and feet are free for accelerator brake and steering input. About the fact manual can be towed - yes, but not so relevant for me, as any place in our country is maximum 50km from a town, different from South Africa or other African countries, for me the distances are smaller, help and evacuation is always available. And with Manual you can get the clutch and dual mass flywheel, which are also expensive parts.

As for the post, I just wanted to consolidate for future experiments, which I am sure will be done and information will be searched online, that:
1) You can fit winch and you should take Runva 9500 or better for Pajero, go with synthetic rope, it's nicer look :).
2) You should protect the underside, especially the intercooler and also fuel tank, because the original protection is not reasonable
3) 32" (actual measurement) is the biggest tyre I recommend for pajero, the weight of the mud tyre being the biggest factor, and 32" (275/70r17) also fits the rear spare carrier. 33" tyre can be installed on the car, but on the rear door 33" wont fit in the original setup. Also, the rear carrier can take only the oem wheels, with ET36, Aftermarket wheels with smaller offset will cause real issues with the spare wheel holder for Pajero 4.
4) Lovells +2"lift with springs CFR-90EHD is way to go for the diesel in front, the actual lift is 6.1cm, and together with 32" tyres it gives 306mm ground clearence below the front crossmember. Suspension spacers I do not recommned, as if you put them on top of old springs, the suspension will sag further anyway, and if you are putting new springs - just put Lovells or likewise and you will get better ride and lift at the same time. Lovells shocks are great ride quality, but they are so thick, that they touch and rub slightly with front halfshafts, don't know if this has any adverse effect, but you can see the marks on the halfshaft, where it duing driving touches the wider shock.
5) LOKKA & other "unlocking" front lockers are not recommended as they change steering behaviour, and I feel it to be unsafe and can cause violent veer to sides. Go with ARB air in front.

And be ready to repair the Pajero if put to stress and pay more for the parts than for similiar cars (at least in Europe).

Otherwise enjoy your Pajeros, I have had 4 great years with Pajero 3 and my wifes sister still drives one for 12 years already, perfect car if you don't ask it to do what it can't :)

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