The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

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Vehicle: 1989 Pajero LWB
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The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:40 pm

We will try to post all the important info on the Gen1 Pajero.
There are not that many of them around in South Africa (due to the fact that the local ones are all imported).


The Mitsubishi Pajero (IPA: /p?'h?ro?, p?'x?ro?/) is a sport utility vehicle manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors. It was named after Leopardus Pajeros, the Pampas Cat which inhabits the Patagonian plateau region in southern Argentina.
Due to the fact that the name is Spanish a slang description for a less-pleasant person (details available on most anti-Pajero sites and forums!), alternative names have been adopted for certain overseas markets.

It is known as the
  • Mitsubishi Montero (meaning "mountain warrior") in Spain, India, and the Americas (except Brazil), and
  • Mitsubishi Shogun in the United Kingdom.
Thanks to their success, the Pajero, Montero and Shogun names were also applied to other, mechanically unrelated models, such as the Pajero Mini kei car, the Pajero Junior and Pajero iO/Pinin mini SUVs, and the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero/Shogun Sport.


(More information can be found here.)

The Company

The history of Mitsubishi as an automobile manufacturer dates back long before the Motor Vehicles Division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. was incorporated as Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in 1970. Mitsubishi's epoch making vehicle which rolled off the assembly line in 1917 was the Model-A, Japan's first series production passenger car. Always the innovator, the Mitsubishi Model-A was the pioneer of vehicles in Japan. In the early years, vehicles were produced by the ship and aircraft manufacturing arm of Mitsubishi. Therein lies the provenance of Mitsubishi Motors' engineering excellence and the resultant reputation for outstanding reliability and all around performance of its vehicles.

Today, Mitsubishi Motors ranks as one of the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, and one of the very few that can boast a vehicle lineup which extends from mini cars to heavy-duty trucks, buses and other specialized commercial vehicles.

The first Pajero prototype was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 1973. The Pajero II prototype followed in 1978, five years later. Mitsubishi’s aim was to create more of a recreational vehicle, not just an SUV

The Gen1 Pajero started the SUV explosion worldwide.
Prior to the Gen1 Pajero, the 4x4s were mostly military - like vehicles, not aimed at families, comfort or comfortable onroad use.
Independent front suspension was frowned upon, but the combination of on- and off-road ability made this innovation a blue print for many future SUVs from other manufacturers.
The Pajero, first launched in 1982, was quite different from anything seen before in the 4WD category. Here was an off-roader with real performance, real comfort and great looks.

The first generation was introduced on May 7, 1982 and manufactured until 1991.

The first generation made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1981, and was launched in May 1982. Initially, it was a three-door, short-wheelbase model available with a metal or canvas top and three different engines options:
  • 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol (2000/2.0)
  • 2.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol (Astron 2.6)
  • 2.3-litre naturally aspirated diesel (2300 D)
  • 2.3 liter turbocharged diesel (2300 TD/2.3 TD).

It was loaded with features that had previously not been seen on a Japanese four-wheel-drive car:
  • a turbocharged diesel engine,
  • a front double wishbone suspension with torsion bar springs,
  • power steering and
  • suspension seats.
This made the Pajero a four wheel drive vehicle which integrated all the amenities of a passenger car.

In January 1983, only a year following its launch, mildly tuned production Pajeros entered the world of motor sport.

The Pajero, however, failed to appeal to everyone. It was seen to be a commercial vehicle, and since it was only available in a short wheel base form, it didn’t really appeal to those with families.

Hence, in February 1983, Mitsubishi came out with a long wheel base, five door model, to serve the needs of a larger target market. The long wheel base model was available with a choice of two different engines;
  • 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol (badged as "2.0 Turbo" and "2000 Turbo" in some markets)
  • 2.3 liter turbocharged diesel (badged as 2.3 TD or 2300 TD).
The long wheelbase model also increased seating capacity to seven, with available third row seats, which could be folded to the sides for additional trunk space or combined with second row seats to form a bed.

The Pajero was further refined in June 1984. The turbo diesel engines now had higher power/torque ratings, whilst the long wheel base models got standard four wheel disc brakes and four way adjustable shock absorbers as standard equipment.

A new flagship model was then introduced in early 1987, with
  • a two-tone paintjob,
  • fifteen inch (38cm) light alloy wheels,
  • front seat heaters,
  • wool seat covers,
  • genuine leather headrests,
  • a three spoke steering wheel and
  • a sound system with radio/cassette.
Also at this time, a version of the Pajero/Montero was marketed to Dodge dealers as the Raider, which ran through 1989.

Finally in 1988, a 3.0-litre SOHC V6 engine was made available, alongside a 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine, with the first 4x4 intercooler. This translated to better acceleration in mid to high rev ranges. The long wheel base models got a coil link suspension system for better ride comfort and off-road ability.

The Gen I platform was later built under license by Hyundai Precision Products as the Hyundai Galloper from 1991 to 2003, and exported to Europe for a brief time. While it used first generation mechanicals, the Galloper's body was closer to the second generation Pajeros.


(Detailed information for the different models can be found here.)

Since the beginning of production this model had body types SUV&Offroad. (help)

Year, month Frame
  • 1989, June
    • L149GW,
    • L149GWG,
    • L146GW,
    • L044GV,
    • L049GV,
    • L144G,
    • L141G,
    • L144GW,
    • L141GW,
    • L144GWG

Body type SUV&Offroad
Drive PART 4WD
Transmission OD attaching 4 speed full automatic
Displacement, cc 2972
Frame E-L146GW-MRP
Price of new car, thousands yen (Tokyo area) 3225 (~$26800)


Exterior dimensions (LxWxH), mm 4590 x 1680 x 1875
Interior dimensions (LxWxH), mm 2460 x 1400 x 1315
Wheel base, mm 2695
Treads (F/R), mm 1400 / 1415
Ground clearance, mm 190
Curb vehicle weight, kg 1880
Gross vehicle weight, kg
Seating capacity, persons 7
Doors number 5
Min.turning radius, m 5.9
Fuel tank capacity, l 92

Displacement, cc 2972
Engine model 6G72
Max.power (Net), kw(PS)/rpm 150 ps (110.33 kw) / 5000 rpm
Max.torque(Net), N*m(kg*m)/rpm 23.5 kg*m (230.46 N*m) / 2500 rpm
Power density 12.53
Engine type V type 6 cylinder OHC
Engine information
Fuel system ECI-MULTI (electrically controlled gasoline injection)
Turbocharger No
Fuel type Unleaded regular gasoline
LEV system (Low emission vehicle) No
Compression ratio 8.9
Bore, mm 91.1
Stroke, mm 76
Final gear ratio
Fuel consumption at 10-15 modes, l/100km 14.7
Fuel consumption at 60 km/h, l/100km

Power steering In addition
Tires size, front 215SR15
Tires size rear 215SR15
Braking system, front Ventilated disk
Braking system, rear Disk
Suspension system, front Double wishbone type torsion bar spring type independent suspension
Suspension system, rear 3 links coil spring type axle suspension

Sunroof / Moonroof Single
Front fog lamp o
Rear wiper y
LSD (Limited slip differential) o
Aluminium wheel 15 inch standard

Air conditioner Dual air conditioner
Wood panel o
Cruise control y
Centralized door lock y
Power window y
Steering wheel tilt y
Leather steering wheel y
Leather seats o
Folding down type rear seat y
Audio deck AM/FM radio equipped cassette player

y - present
o - option


(Comprehensive information can be found here.)

Incredibly, in the 1983 Paris-Dakar Paris Rally, the world's greatest adventure rally, Gen1 Pajeros won
  • the Unmodified 4WD Production Class,
  • the Marathon Class and
  • Best Team Award.
In 1985, a Gen1 Pajero won the Dakar outright.

Later generation Pajeros became the standard by which Dakar competitors were measured.
Poster's LWB (slightly modified)
Modified LWB
Near standard SWB
Country: South Africa
Vehicle: 1991 2.5 td Pajero
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

Sun May 13, 2012 11:13 am

Good day
I have just purchased a gen 1 Pajero 2.5td SWB and need some advice as i cant seem to find a owners manual dont know how to operate the winch and the dealer i bought it from doesnt have a clue :?
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Country: South Africa
Vehicle: 2015 Pajero Sport
Location: Cape Town, RSA
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Re: The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

Sun May 13, 2012 12:20 pm

deon1127 wrote:Good day
I have just purchased a gen 1 Pajero 2.5td SWB and need some advice as i cant seem to find a owners manual dont know how to operate the winch and the dealer i bought it from doesnt have a clue :?
The owners manual wont have any details on the winch. You'll hev to try the winch manufacturer for that.
Simon Bloomer
Pajero Sport 2.5
Country: Zimbabwe
Vehicle: Shogun. L149G. 1988. 2.5 tdi
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:43 am

Re: The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

Sun May 05, 2013 11:47 am

deon1127. Contact the "Pajero Owners Club UK" for the Gen 1 1985 - 1990 hand book, where you'll find 10 pages on the winch operation and maintenance. Internet POCUK

Country: Zimbabwe
Vehicle: Pajero 3.2did swb
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:57 pm

Re: The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:40 pm

Thanks for the interesting article - Im a new Pajero owner and have a 2003 SWB 3.2 DID. I note all the reference to GEN 1,2 &3 vehicles - can you advise what separates the different generation vehicles please? I assume its year of manufacture - what GEN would my vehicle be?


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Vehicle: 1989 Pajero LWB
Location: East London
Posts: 1347
Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: The Gen1 Pajero - where it all started

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:27 am

Yours will be a Gen3.

Read here (mostly about the earlier models).


PS Someone needs to update that thread!
Gerhard Fourie
If you want to shoot somebody, make sure you aim at his head, not your own foot.

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