The old 1999 build thread


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
It has been brought to my attention that my build thread recap has a bunch of X's where pictures should be. Yes i know typical but it's actually my fault because i've moved pictures around and never updated the links. I realized i don't have a build thread here so i figured i'd just revitalize my build thread and upload the pics to Exportal so they are here forever. I'm actually in the process of taking this build a step further so i'll just pick up where i left off. Enjoy

So i bought my '99 Montero back in '05ish completely stock and never been in 4WD, I purchased it from a dealer on a friday night then took it home and removed the running boards and slapped on my sticker. That following morning i hit the trail...

The trail hit back and i was left with a bent driveshaft and a crushed catalytic converter, I think maybe days later i got it up on some 33's and just rocked the bum drive shaft and cat for a while.

From there i went with a complete new exhaust from the manifold back (magnaflow cats and muffler) I also decide i should protect my investment with some new skid plates. At the time i went with 1/4" plate except the T-case which i did in 1/2" and the front skid in 3/8" because 1/4" can't hang in those places. Note: I've since moved on to thinner ballistic grade armor for fronts and centers to save weight, those can be made from 1/4" or probably even 3/16" (yes it's that awesome)




Somehow the 33" Dunlop M/Ts i bartered with a friend for popped before ever making it to the trail, so i opted for some new 35x13.5 Toyo M/Ts on 10" 3.5" BS wheels. I had to roll the fenders a bit and remove my bumper corners to make them fit without a lift. In the rear i just cut off the quarter panels and trashed the stock bumper, I made some cheesy sliders and rear bumper (another one of my early fabrication attempts as a teenager). It turned out that 4 wheeling was a rub fest without a lift so I invested in a 2" body lift and hit the trail again. If only i had done the body lift before the sliders and cheese bumper :(

Tired of running over my bumper ends i decided to build my own bumper, I had just graduated from shop helper to helper/welder so i had access to more tools and things. I made templates for all my bumper pieces out of cardboard and scanned them into the computer, the shop CAD drawer guy was nice enough to draft and cut the pieces out for me. From there i assembled and built the bumper myself, i also cut up and rebuilt my front frame section to be stronger and higher while maintaing the stock winch location just in case i get a winch one day. So finally no more rubbing, the bumper was the last thing, and it only rubbed when it got bent into the tire. Now i can stuff the tire fully and not hear a bunch of noises. Right around that same time i got the first Airtech snorkel in America... (anyone know how that played out?)

I needed to wrap up that front end so i built the front skid and finished the winch plate, I made some bumper hoops from an old Bronco rollbar and picked up a winch from a neighbor for $50. The front two winch bolts are countersunk to keep them from getting sheared off by rocks, this was a regular problem with my skid plates.






With all the extra weight i really needed some gears, I picked up a front axle assy from an AWD Montero Sport with 4.90 gears, got a smoking deal on a full Detroit locker and installed that and a new rear 4.90 gearset. Now the truck was locked front and rear with the correct gearing for my new tires, back on the trail it just wasn't enough and the truck still had to work extra hard to get where i wanted it to go and the more i made it work the hotter it ran. Ordered and installed Marks4wd 3.15 gears, they pretty much install themselves yeah there's a little grinding inside the case you need to do but it's very minor and a baby could do it. Either way it was too much for the average consumer to handle so Mark discontinued these gearsets and replaced them with the much easier to install 2.72 gears :(


Now with extra crawlability some things needed to change, i boatsided the rear quarter panels.


I capped the openings with 1/8" steel and ringed it with 1"x1/2" flat bar i then filled the space inside the panel with foam.


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
In 2007 My son was born and i lost some steam on the project and moved on to some little things, I scored a set of Gen 2 bouncy seats and installed those.


Then did the old battery upgrade (group 27 marine deep cycle) Note: ignore the Volvo electric fan, that came some years later...


I did the old gas tank lift one afternoon before work, not too bad of a job except it was kind of a stupid move considering there were no write ups at this point and the only reason i was motivated to do the job was that i was almost out of gas. Let's just say i barely made it into work on time



Somewhere around this moment in time i found a parts Montero in a back lot of a strip mall... Detour.


I tracked down the owner (The Arizona Soccer Club of all people) and bought it for the hefty sum of $200, they told me they had blown up the motor a few years ago and there it sat and somebody tagged it. Once i got it home i gave it an inspection, T-belt was good and everything looked in order. Slapped in a battery and it turned out the starter was no good, replaced that and it fired right up and ran pretty good. My wife fell in love with it so i dumped some cash into it and made it a reliable DD for her to drive our new baby around in.

Picture 044.jpg

Picture 040.jpg

Nothing crazy just a stock '94 SR with 35's 2" BL and a front bumper with sway bars for safety. Now that momma loves her new truck back to my project.

I decided i needed to rework my sliders, this is something i started and never went on to finish to this day and i have the tubing and the bender just sitting there...


It'll get there, i've built a few sets of sliders since then but just haven't touched mine. They work but they don't protect from the side yet, so now i've got a little extra body damage and a crushed door. My fault

I relocated my center gauge cluster to run both styles of Montero gauge packages.


Note: I has really bad ADD, things have gone on and off this truck like crazy these first 5 years or so. Throughout this build and pictorial there has been probably 6-7 different combinations of shocks, springs and random everything else so don't punch holes in my story as in the above "where's your winch?" I'm not exactly sure on my timeline either. Let me try again...

Somewhere around this point i went through several cooling system changes as well so i'll just make a list in order and rate it's performance.

#1 was a custom 3 row radiator. It worked better than stock but still wasn't quite enough
#2 was that same 3 row plus a fixed fan. This worked slightly better but still not enough
#3 I went to a stock 2 row and a monster Volvo fan that pretty much cooled everything from front to back. it was a tight fit and was a huge amperage draw. It took a golf cart 100% duty cycle solenoid to do the job. As great as that worked I didn't like the idea that it was an extra electronic thing that could fail plus it used a lot of power.
#4 i had a high performance all aluminum core made, 2 row dual pass rated for up to 450 HP and went back to a stock fan and new clutch. This has been by far the best thing ever.
#5 I repurposed the old wiring and thermal switch by making it override the stock auxiliary A/C fan for that extra line of defense against overheating

I'm finally happy with my cooling setup

Over the years of suspension changing i learned a lot of things like how to break shocks and how to over extend the IFS into breaking tierods and CV's.
This led me to learn about suspension geometry, first off cut bumpstops are bad... In Arizona there is a massive grave of exploded CV's and TRE's. I learned the IFS should keep it's stock range, max lift and no sway bars is fine but beyond that you'll get into trouble with big tires and big rocks. The rear however is a different story... Once i had this geometry thing figured out i had figured out how to stuff massive shocks into the Montero without running into issues, i can now fully flex and stuff to the stock bumpstop without any issues. Rubber stops the cycle up and down with shock to spare, this is ideal. I went back to stock springs since i'm only running 35's and the shocks are 9" remote reservior nitrogen charged adjustable Ranchos.
I must say that the truck performs really well with a ton of rear suspension travel, It's great. Really.

I made some taller eyelet style towers continuing the same angle as stock, I have a measurement on the angle somewhere. Before this i had 4" lift springs and i learned if you just add taller shocks with taller springs you will break shocks unless you limit your up travel YAY! Lesson learned the hard way...

Up next, extreme ADD strikes again.... TBC.
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Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
That's a cool truck. Handles like ******** on high speed freeway turns though ;-)
OH YEAH! I hate driving it around with the little tires on, feels unstable but it's not bad on the wide tires. It's off the road now though and i'll get to that :coffeedrink:

Jay Ayala

I'm sure that's just scratching the surface of what you have done to this thing. LOL.

1989 Dodge Raider 3.0L
1997 Mitsubishi Montero 3.5L


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Yup that's just the tip, i'll get into the more recent stuff on Monday or something.


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...

I somehow managed to build a bunch of different trucks during the course of this build, I don't plan these things i just fall into them. Throughout the course of this build there have been 8 builds behind the scenes not to mention my friends builds that i've helped with.

Got sidetracked with this '93 from Puerto Rico, just the typical lockers, gears and armor build. Then i threw in a motor swap, long travel rear suspension and a little body modification. This one might be a little familiar.




And then this other one with all my favorite parts: MS 9.5" locking rear axle, rock sliders, Marks 2.85:1 transfer case, dual suspension seats and another motor swap (4D55). I recently sold this one to Dolomiti and before it went to him i upgraded the front axle to the V6 diff and CV's including a Starion LSD. This was a fun side project that nearly consumed me, it put everything else on the back burner and i had to let it go before my other Montero's murdered me in my sleep. It's in better hands now.


I picked up a Hilux from a friend who was nearly killed in a rollover, all he asked is that i fix it and take him out in it one last time. This truck was already built but needed some reconstruction. It's nearly finished as of now, next summer it will likely get a new body. Of course i swapped in a locking rear axle out of a Montero, I mean why have a yota 8" rear with a detroit and drums when i've got a 9.5" Mitsu rear with an air locker and discs?
Day 1



Then for no reason i bought this a few weeks ago, It was front ended but nothing i can't fix. Runs and drives like a champ, it's been doing DD duties lately. I've got another set of J-Top headlamps coming, i think they'll go nice with the blister fenders. A good deal for $900 delivered

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Shortly after that my lovely wife and IncorporatedX peer pressured me into picking up this 1978 Lancer GT, I had decided not to buy it after i took delivery of the new '98 Montero. What's another classic Mitsu in the stable right? It hasn't been on the road since '96 and the PO could never get it running after a motor swap. Well in the weeks i've had it i've gotten it to run and drive, it's got some bugs to work out but it mostly seems like a pretty solid little car. Needs a few cosmetic things...
Note: Another '98 Montero i've been helping with, recognize those tires and the lockers?

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How it's sitting after today's first drive in a very long time, I put some Supra wheels on this hog too! (not sure why it doesn't like being horizontal)


Enough ADD for now, i need to update this thread with what happened to the old blue '99 Montero during all this...
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sneakyninja said:
And then this other one with all my favorite parts: MS 9.5" locking rear axle, rock sliders, Marks 2.85:1 transfer case, dual suspension seats and another motor swap (4D55). I recently sold this one to Dolomiti and before it went to him i upgraded the front axle to the V6 diff and CV's including a Starion LSD. This was a fun side project that nearly consumed me, it put everything else on the back burner and i had to let it go before my other Montero's murdered me in my sleep. It's in better hands now.

View attachment 247247
Yes, it's great.



You're a beast my all the Mitsu projects. Sneaky, I've been really interested in converting to the j-top headlights also, I'd like to know what your source for them is and what's involved in fitting them. Plus, are they really going for $900? :Wow1:
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Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Yeah Dolomiti's the right guy for that truck, glad it went to a good home.

Anyway, back to the build. This past spring i had replaced a CV that had grenaded for basically no good reason, we went out four wheeling and it was an easy trail I wheeled all day without issue until i made the mistake of thinking i could make a full lock turn with low profile bumpstops, 35's and a front locker.

3 out of 4 CVs turned into this


On the plus side with CVs in pieces you can drop your front axle assembly without removing your tires or steering.


and without 4 wheel drive i thought why burn up good rubber, the stock tires go back on for the first time in a long time.


The narrow track makes the truck not so much fun to drive, like Dolomiti said "handles like ******** on freeway turns" and it may actually be worse than that. On the plus side the other trucks are roadworthy and the car's coming up so i don't need to drive it and i can soon start moving along with the build again.

The new front axle, I have most of the parts to make it complete. I try to buy another piece or pieces every month, it's coming along nicely so far. The plan is radius arms, this will be a strong reliable setup and perfect for the type of driving/wheeling i do.

new axle.jpg

Hopefully in the mean time i will be able to finish the sliders and build a new rear bumper. Actually since the diesel Paj has been gone i have been super motivated, Dolomiti got me into the habit of going out every morning and working on trucks before work. It's not a bad racket and everything that i own has gotten some serious work done since that truck has been gone.