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All about Mitsubishi mods and upgrades

My Pajero "Evolution" - Finding a Unicorn

My decision to begin a search for the rare and unique Pajero Evolution was fraught with peril. Being a limited production homologation model, with only 2500 ever produced, were there actually any parts that crossed over to the mass-market Pajero, beyond the obvious things like sheetmetal and glass? Beyond this pressing question, could I still find one in decent shape, 18 years on, that was ready for export? Finally, would I have to pay a king's ransom to actually ensnare the beast?

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My Pajero "Evolution"

I began my Mitsubishi 4x4 obsession in 1995 with a 4 cylinder, 1988 Dodge Raider (a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Montero SWB). This was after years of admiring its unique, boxy form, in a country (Canada) where they were a virtual unknown. Over the next 20 years I would own many variants of this theme: an 89 V6 Raider, followed by a long wheelbase Montero of the same year, and then two JDM import diesels. The first was a second generation SWB Pajero 2.5 diesel, and then a 93 2.8 LWB diesel. My sixth one took me upmarket to a North American 3rd generation Montero, which my wife promptly claimed as "her truck". Additionally, my satisfaction with Mitsubishi reliability lead me to branch out into cars as well, having six cars in this time.

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Retrofitting a Factory Air Locker into a Gen-II Montero/Pajero

Can I mount the complete Mitsubishi system?

Yes, but know that electric parts are different (or at least located in different places) from LWB/SWB, from '94 and earlier/'95 and later (depending on where they are sold). My electric parts came from a '95 SWB and fitted in my '97 LWB. However, do this simple check: remove the little plastic cover at the left of the electric plug (the one in the dash, under the radio bay) and you should find a little connector.

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Speedometer Gear Adjustment for big tires on a Montero

Speedometer Gear Adjustment for big tires on a GenI Montero/Raider

Many of us who enjoy our GenI Montero/Raider offroad have switched to a larger tire size other than stock. A problem with this that you may or may not have noticed is that the larger diameter tire sizes throw the speedometer off. The disparity between actual traveled speed and displayed speed grows in proportion to the larger diameter of the tire.

I first noticed this a few years ago when an officer issued me a ticket for a speed that was 3mph over what I thought I was doing. Even though I knew I was speeding, the speed written on the ticket bothered me as being inaccurate. Fast forward 2.5yrs later to my next speeding ticket and I was in disbelief at the speed the officer said he had clocked me doing. This caused me to take action and look for a possible solution that has plagued most of us larger tire users for some time.

Actually, I made the discovery quite by accident as I was looking for reasons my speedometer needle was bouncing (different tech story). I pulled off the speedometer drive gear assembly to learn how it works. It’s really pretty simple: a nylon gear is turned by a screw on the output shaft.

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Dual Transfer cases for your Gen2 Montero


Well, this whole crazy thing started when I started researching the similarities between the Jeep AW4 and the Mitsubishi V4AW3 transmissions. I kept my eyes open and found an NP231 from a 2001 Wrangler with a Slip Yoke Eliminator (SYE) already installed. I also found an AW4 tailhousing from an unknown year Cherokee.

My first steps were back in December when I tried mounting the AW4 tailhousing and np231 to the V4AW3. The tailhousing bolted up just fine and the splines ended up being the same size and count. This initial "test fit" did let me know that if I wanted this to work I would need a "short" input shaft for the NP231. Over the years NP231's have come with different input shafts varying in spline count and lenth. There are three lengths and two spline counts: 21 and 23 splines. The V4AW3 is a 23 spline tailshaft. I also used this opportunity to check the clearances with the floor, exhaust, crossmembers, and t-bars. I felt confident that the NP231 was a good fit and at the most would need minor clocking. After this wrenching session, I reinstalled the Active-trac t-case so I could continue driving the truck while I shopped around for more parts. I would recommend messing with the Active-trac t-case as little as possible! It is a heavy beast to bench press into place.

Since I first started dreaming of this mod, I knew that I wanted to make a dual transfer case setup. I felt that the dual case provided the following benefits:
1)Allowed for selectable ranges, ie:1:1, 2.72:1, & 7.4:1. With these options, even the middle speed is lower than the stock 1.90:1!
2)It was something I could piece together as time and money permitted.

I had three options to choose from in trying to create a dual NP231:
1)  Build the components myself. I didn't like this option simply because I knew it meant welding a mid-shaft together. I wasn't crazy out a welded shaft being in the heart of my drivetrain.
2)  A Mad Rooster Offroad crawlerbox
3)  Or a D.D.Machine "Box4rocks"

I decided on the D.D.Machine kit. I chose this kit because the guy that makes them seemed to really stand behind his product and know what he was doing. Also this kit had provisions for oil filling and draining. I was also less than thrilled with how the Mad Rooster guy handled himself when answering an email of mine.

I was lucky enough to find a Box4rocks 23 spline kit second-hand that had not yet been installed and came with all the parts that would be needed from a donor NP231 to make the doubler. I got even luckier when I found out that this doubler donor was a 23 spline short input shaft!
Here are some pics of the Box4rocks and doubler parts:
The doubler cut, welded, and guts assembled (you can see the midshaft poking out in the middle):

The plate that seals the rear of the doubler:

The clocking ring:

Once I had the doubler parts I wanted to start test fitting things to make sure everything would fit before I got too far into the project. I began by temporarily assembling the two cases. I soon found out that the assembly was almost too long and there was some interferance with the crossmember. Not only did I want the assembly to clear everything, but I knew that I would need some additional room for the drivetrain to "float" and enough clearance to reach the drain and fill plugs.

To clear the crossmember I did two things. The first was to remove this extra tab on the rear case housing:

It ended up looking like this:

Removing the tab helped the assembly to clear the crossmember, but it still didn't give me enough room to access the drain plug. My solution to this was to shorten the entire assembly 1/2" by removing the clocking ring. The clocking ring is a nice feature that is included in the kit, but unfortunately I could not afford the extra length that it caused. I experimented with various clocking positions and finally found one I was happy with. I settled on the final position because it was nicely tucked in above the t-bar without hitting the bottom of the floor.

To eliminate the clocking ring, I marked it's location and used the ring as a template to drill through the rear plate of the doubler case. Once these holes were drilled, I countersunk them so that bolt heads would clear the internals of the doubler case. The result looked like this:

I bolted the assembly together only to find out that once the clocking ring was removed that the rear case would no longer clear the bolt head that holds the rear part of the doubler shifter rail from floating around. I solved this problem by countersinking that bolt head as well:

Once that was completed, I assembled them again for another test fit and was happy with the results.

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