"Yoshi" - 2005 Limited Build & Adventure Thread


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Wish i was coming up to Flagstaff soon, been busy lately. I'll work on getting up there to beat the heat and check out your new place. While I'm up there I'll have a look at the old beast.


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Still not a single person has actually checked the run-out at the wheels?


George Gergov
Could the metallic sound be the free wheel solenoids going bad and partially engaging the front diff ?

There are several threads on here how to replace that part. Aftermarket its about $20 on Amazon.


8/16/19 - Mystery Vibrations 2019 UPDATE - So with the new 100% certainty that it is not the wheels or tires, I took it back to the mechanics and they just spent 2 days looking it over and could not find anything wrong with it. They even had 3 techs drive it down the highway with 2 of them with their heads out the window staring at the tires and they said they could even see the vibration in the toe of the tires.

Not finding anything wrong with the joints, arms, or tierods they suggested it could be the rack and pinion because, well, basically what else could it be was their logic. That was a $1800 quote to replace the rack with a reman so I told them, look, if it needs a new rack that's one thing, and sometimes I'm all for throwing parts at things, but not when it's an $1800 guess. So I gave them a copy of the FSM's Power Steering section and they tested the entire power steering system per Mitsubishi's flow chart and found no problems with the rack other than a tiny bit of movement in the steering rack mount bushings but doubtful that it is enough movement to cause these vibrations.

So now my list of suspects looks like this:

My List of Suspects:

Wheel Bearing

Tie Rods
Ball Joints
Sway Bar
Control Arms
Camber Bolts
Brake Rotors
Steering Rack
Steering Rack Bushings

Next steps:

  1. Recheck Alignment to see if anything has moved since my alignment last month, maybe it will give me a clue as to what wheel to focus on.
  2. Remove Front Sway Bar (I don't really expect this to affect the vibrations but maybe it will remove the clunk in the front end I get when offroading)
  3. Research possibility of sourcing replacement steering rack bushings.
  4. Check brake rotor and hub runout.


Ok, these next 2 thinsg may or may not be related to the vibrations in the steering wheel but I have these metallic humming sound that kind of sounds like it is coming from the front passenger side of the vehicle but not 100% sure. Intake sucking, Exhaust leak, wheel bearing, Fron Diff Whine? Good guesses but here's the thing, the noise only happens on acceleration AND in 2wd.

So there goes every theory out the window. If it was an exhaust leak, why would it matter if the car was in 2wd? Same goes for an intake leak. And a wheel bearing wouldn't care if you were on the gas, if the wheel is turning it would keep humming.

My question is - Can you guys think of anything that only spins or could make contact with something in the front driveline when in 2wd?? So bizarre.

Also, I think I have a massive exhaust leak from the new muffler I just had installed. I noticed that my 2nd row floor mat was really hot, literally melting! So I looked underneath the truck and the undercoating was pealing off above the new muffler and the muffler has like vapor residue markings on it. I'm going to smoke test it this weekend but 99% sure it's got a hell of a leak. I'm kind of pulling my hair out over here and losing sleep with all of these snowballing problems.



Smoke tested Yoshi today (if you own a Gen3, I think a smoke machine is a required tool given all the vac leaks and cracked exhaust manifolds these things are prone to. I have this basic one; it's really simple and feels homemade but it gets the job done and cost less than paying a shop to do even one smoke test and I've now used it like 4 or 5 times.) - Confirmed that the new muffler leaks like crazy. Leaks in 3 spots as a result of bad manufacturing and not the muffler shop's welds. The first one that I got of these for my 2003 Montero also leaked and I had it replaced with another one of the same kind but I'm not rolling the dice on these crappy tin cans again. Stay away from WALKER mufflers or maybe any muffler with pressed seams instead of fully welded construction for that matter (though OEM mufflers seem to have no problems and they are just pressed together as well). The only reason I went with an oem style muffler as opposed to a fully welded one like Magnaflow or Flowmaster is because I did not want the noise to increase. I'll have to have a chat with some muffler companies and muffler shops to find a suitable replacement that gives me the clearance and quietness I'm looking for without leaking (is that too much to ask? haha).

Undercoating pealed off from heat above the muffler (could be from the escaping hot exhaust gases, or because it was moved up and is too close to the body of the truck and needs a heat shield now above it:


Leaks like crazy!

I checked the full exhaust system, not just the muffler and happily did not find any other leaks (stay strong exhaust manifolds!). Then when I was done smoke testing the exhaust, I plugged the smoke into the intake manifold and checked that system for good measure. This was my first time smoke testing it since discovering the leaking butterfly shaft and undergoing the butterfly delete so I was anxious to see if my mod was air tight. Good news - no leaks :)


Still not a single person has actually checked the run-out at the wheels?
Pretend we didn't speak on the phone today so I can fill other people in, haha.

No, no one has checked the wheel run-out with a dial but I feel confident eliminating that as a possibility since I had the original OEM wheels with a set of 30" tires installed on the rig at Discount Tire last week and the vibrations are still there. I'll get a dial instrument from Harbor freight and check the hub and brake rotors ASAP.

Could the metallic sound be the free wheel solenoids going bad and partially engaging the front diff ?

There are several threads on here how to replace that part. Aftermarket its about $20 on Amazon.

Brilliant idea, I hadn't thought of that! I had obviously thought about what could be the difference with the front diff in 2wd vs Awd and so I did a visual inspection of the free wheel bellows/actuator but I can't believe I didn't think of the solenoids given that every high mileage Gen3 will have those go out at some point. It's such a known/common problem that I always keep a spare part in the vehicle because of not wanting to be stranded without 4x4 in the middle of nowhere on one of my adventures. So I went out to the truck today and switched in the new China aftermarket one and went for a test drive. THE NOISE IS GONE! No impact on the vibrations unfortunately but hey, any time you can check a problem off the list is a good day! Thanks so much, if you're ever in Flagstaff hit me up and the beers are on me.

Bye bye original solenoids!

Ok so plan going forward - Thursday I have an appt to have the alignment checked to see if anything has moved in the last 2 months, could help me zone in on the issue. And I'll try and get a dial indicator this week and check the hub and rotors. Lastly, once the alignment is done I'll be taking off the front sway bar to see how that affects things.
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Glad to hear you found a cure for that grinding noise! I've been having the exact same problem word for word, so I'm gonna hop right to it and see if it works for me too.


8/22/19: Another day, another attempt at fixing these steering wheel vibrations.

Back to PepBoys for an alignment check to see if that gives us any clues.

Here is what the initial alignment was like after installing the lift, diff bushings, new camber bolt, etc. on 7/3/19:


And here is today's alignment:


I don't know much about alignments so the only thing I take away from this is that the vibration problem is almost certainly in the front end of the vehicle as the rear stayed aligned nicely. As to why things were out of alignement? Could be from endless mechanics prying on things trying to discover what was causing the vibrations, could be because I've gone offroading 5 times in the last 6 weeks, or could be because some component(s) are worn and letting things go.

So what do you guys think, anything telling in these numbers? Thx!


Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
My guess is they forgot to tighten down the jam nuts and cam bolts, it's not uncommon. I retorque everything myself after an alignment and torque stripe the hardware. Most mechanics don't believe in proper torque, I've worked in a lot of good shops and I'm usually the only guy who uses torque specs every time.


8/25/19: Last night I tore into the rig and began testing the runout.

Bought a cheap dial gauge from harbor freight with magnetic arm (note - if you find yourself needing to do this, don't get the magnetic arm version because it sucks, get the vice grip flexible arm version at HF instead).

I started off by measuring the runout on the back bead of the wheel which according to Toasty is measuring both the wheel and any inconsistencies in the hub. I got between 10-12 thousands of an inch which is like .3mm of variance = not an issue.


Next, I moved onto the front brake rotors and measured them to see if they were warped at all. Perfectly even.


Lastly, I put the dial on the hubs themselves and again, 0 variance - perfect runout.


Damn, I really thought I was going to find something here and am bummed that I didn't because now I'm back to square 1 with zero idea as to what is causing the steering wheel vibrations.

I ended the night by taking off the front sway bar. I doubt that that will have any affect on the vibrations but it might be the clunk in the front end I'm hearing when offroading. Will test that soon.

Other than that though, I'm out of ideas at this point. The only other thing I can think of is to start throwing parts at it - UCAs, UBJs, Tie rods, etc. to see if something makes a difference. Could be as simple as a ball joint or control arm feels tight but under load it is actually experiencing more movement than it shows on a lift. But at the same time, I don't want to just blindly throw money at it. I think I'm going to give up on the steering wheel vibrations for now and drive the rig back to Phoenix soon to see if the local AZ Montero experts can find anything others have missed.

List of suspects
Wheels - Removed from vehicle, OME wheels installed with different tires, problem remains.
Tires - Removed from vehicle, different tires installed on OEM wheels, problem remains.
Wheel Bearing / Hub - Mechanic cleared, No noise from bearings, run out checks out.
Tie Rods - Mechanic cleared by 4 different mechanics
Ball Joints - Mechanic cleared by 3 different mechanics
Sway Bar- Mechanic cleared by 3 different mechanics, front removed to test (will update)
Control Arms - Mechanic cleared by 3 different mechanics
Alignment- 3 alignments performed in 2 months, all measurements in the green, problem remains
Brake Rotors - Mechanic cleared, run out checks out.
Steering Rack - Mechanic tested per FSM and cleared


My guess is they forgot to tighten down the jam nuts and cam bolts, it's not uncommon. I retorque everything myself after an alignment and torque stripe the hardware. Most mechanics don't believe in proper torque, I've worked in a lot of good shops and I'm usually the only guy who uses torque specs every time.

I wonder if Gen2 cam bolts are different than Gen3 ones because I don't see any jam nuts or anything in the FSM's alignment section that has any torque specs or refers to jam nuts. It just says to turn the cam bolts to achieve alignment.

Here's what they look like from front and back. I think the bolts below the cam bolts are what hold the lower control arm in place, but I don't think they mess with those right during an alignment? Just want to confirm before I go hit the rocks so I don't knock things out of alignment easily. Only jam nut I can think of is the one holding on the outer TRE, is that the one you're thinking of?




Looking for that thing i just had in my hand...
Bummed, you couldn't find much variance. Let me know when you plan to be down.


Bummed, you couldn't find much variance. Let me know when you plan to be down.
Ya, it was 2 thousands of an inch (aka 5% of a mm) on the hubs which is basically 0 when you factor in the accuracy of the tool and dirt on the surface of the hubs. My wife's MDX has been at Acura of Tempe for the last 3 weeks getting it's engine rebuilt (leaking control rings) and whenever they're done with it I'll head down and stay for a few days to sort out Montero issues. Got to visit you and Ernest, get some SP3 from the dealer so I can do a trans service and replace the trans mount bushings to see if that helps the vibrations, and have the dealer reset the TPMS system. :)


8/27/19: Since i had to take the front calipers off anyways to do the runout check on the hubs, I went ahead and serviced the brakes. Pads and rotors are great but some of the caliper pin boots were torn so I replaced all of them, fresh grease, cleaned everything up, and fresh grease for the caliper pistons too.

Next, I went ahead and checked the camber bolts and sure enough as Toasty predicted, PepBoys didn't torque them to spec. It's supposed to be 91 ft lbs, my torque wrench only goes to 80 ft lbs and I was still able to move some of them quite a bit. I'm guessing they were around 60ish. I checked that the tie rod jam nuts were good as well and then hit everything with Torque Seal for easy visual checks in the future to make sure things are not loosening up.

I also checked the steering rack bushing bolts and found one of them to be a little loose so I torqued that to spec as well.

Now, I don't think these bolts getting tightened up or removing the front sway bar is going to affect anything regarding the front end vibrations but we'll see. I've got a few more things to button up in the coming days and then the beast will be back out shakin on the trails.


8/28/19: Muffler Update

Ok, so I've learned a lot about mufflers since I last posted about my melting floormats.

I went to a muffler shop and told them about my leaking muffler and melting floormats. They listened to the muffler with a stethoscope and couldn't hear any leaks but I told them about the smoke test and they were like hrmm, ok. I also told them about the extreme heat entering the cabin and they were like hrmm, ok. The guy had the personality of a moth. So he recommends that I switch to a Dynomax muffler for $220. It's made by the same parent company as the one I have, Walker, but it's a better product allegedly. I was a bit leary of giving the same manufacturer more money after I've already had 2 mufflers from them leak and this one he is recommending is not fully welded either, just rolled seams like the others I've had. I asked him about building a heatshield for the muffler and he wasn't too enthused about that (or life in general) and said not to worry about it because the Dynomax muffler he wants to sell me has a layer of fiberglass around the outside that should solve the heat issue. I was uneasy about the whole experience and went home and did some research.

Here's what I learned:

1. All mufflers leak smoke. I called Walker's tech support and told them about the situation. They informed me that mufflers have drain holes built into them on the inside for condensation relief and that the location of my leaks matched up perfectly with the muffler schematics he was looking at. The holes are internal and not something you can see from the outside as they are hidden behind the rolled seam. Secondly, he told me that the Dynomax muffler the shop recommended wouldn't help with the heat issues. Even though it does have a layer of fiberglass mat it is thin and mostly to absorb noise and he said that muffler runs just as hot as the one I have now but will be a bit louder.

2. Muffler shops don't know anything about mufflers. This is a common theme that I experience pretty much every week of my life - Professionals are actually consummate amateurs who make a living off people who know even less than they do about the subjet based on the assumption that the professional is actually a professional.

So this guy who owns a muffler shop, works with mufflers every day, knows less about their construction than me, a guy who made one phone call. He didn't know about the drains holes or the fact that both mufflers would run just as hot. Either that or he just wanted to make a sale, customer needs be damned. But wait, there's more. This isn't an isolated incident.

I called Scottsdale Muffler, who originally installed the muffler a few months back, and told them about the issues and they were just like "ya, that happens a lot with mufflers that aren't fully welded, it's just bad manufacturing." and I was gonna get a refund from them. So again, a muffler guy who doesn't know they have drain holes...and also who didn't know that putting a metal box, that gets up to 500 degrees, 5" from the floor would cause heat issues in the cabin even though I specifically asked him that before approving the project.

Ok, so now I was able to come up with a new plan - There's nothing wrong with the muffler, the melting floormat is a result of having it too close to the body. I need a heat shield.

I went to the junkyard and looked under about 20 vehicles. First I pulled a heat shield off of an old Trooper because the muffler was already gone so it was easy to get to. But it was small and would only cover the center section of my muffler so I kept looking. I culled that shield when I pulled the shield off of a Discovery 2 that was bigger and a step in the right direction. Then I found the perfect shield - a 2005 GMC Envoy has the biggest exhaust shield system I've ever seen. It's like 5 feet long and instead of being a regular sheet of metal it is like this extruded sheet metal sandwich with a layer of fiberglass in between. It was a huge pain to remove because the muffler was still in the truck so getting to the bolts holding on the shield was a real challenge. If you go this route, be sure to bring a battery powered reciprocating saw with you to the junk yard and that will make quick work of getting the muffler out of the way.

Back home, I took this giant shield and held it up by the muffler and eye balled it. It looked like it would work so I cut off a piece because it was too long to fit. Then I tried it again, still to long. Cut out off another bit, tried again x repeat. You have to manipulate the shield, bend it, straighten it, etc to get it to roll around the muffler and then up into place but eventually I got it to the maximum size it could be and still fit without having to remove the muffler.

Here you can see the evolution of cuts to get it down to the final size:


Then I sealed off the exposed fiberglass on the cut end by taking a scrap piece of the shield and folding it over the edge and pinching it in place and also adding some jb weld. In retrospect, this was stupidly complicated on my part, I should have just folded the last 1" over itself and it would have been done.


Now the fun part - figuring out how to attach it to the underside of the body. Turns out there are a bunch of extra bolts, threaded into the undercarriage that don't hold anything. It's like those extra buttons that are attached to the bottom of dress shirts, they're there in case you need them. haha, I dunno, probably there are some other components that bolt on there in other markets and not in the USA.

I was able to use 2 of these pre-threaded bolt locations to attached the shield and best part is one of them even matched up with an existing hole in the shield. That left 3 other existing holes in the shield. One of them I found could be used to attached the back end of the shield to the car If I ran a metal strap down from a bolt being used to hold up some part of the rear axle. That left 2 unused pre-existing holes in the shield and I didn't want them to be an easy place for heat to escape like a concentrated jet stream so I jb welded some aluminum blanks to them to seal them up.

Final product:


Rear mount - I used an extra nut to trap a metal strap in between the existing nut on this giant rear suspension bolt. Allowing me to use the strap as a hanger for the shield:



Passenger side mount - used preexisting bolt hole location in body by drilling a new hole in the shield.


Front Mount - Overlapped the new shield and the existing catalytic converter shield and bolted them together. You can also see the pre-existing bolt location I used for the Driver side mount location in this pic.


Driver side mount - used existing unused bolt location in body and existing hole in shield. As you can see, I'm using lock washers and fender washers on all of these bolts because I don't want anything coming loose or rattling.


All done :)


Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how this turned out given my rudimentary fab skills and I believe it's probably better than what the muffler shop would have done. They probably would have just driven some sheet metal screws randomly into the floor to hold up a piece of sheet metal. Yes, I know you can buy muffler heat wrap and shields that strap on the muffler but those are like $40-60 whereas this was $15 and I wanted a more OEM like set up with an air gap, then shield to reflect the heat away rather than a wrap that just insulates and traps all that heat in the muffler.

Tested it out yesterday and am super happy - instead of 130 degrees on the floormat, it is now reading at only 88 after a long drive :)

Also, went wheeling and the clunk in the front suspension is gone so I've confirmed it was the front sway bar.

4 problems a week ago and now 3 are solved. Only the biggest one remains.

Steering Wheel Vibrations - Open - All local diag options exhausted, gonna have Toasty and Ernest check it out to see if it can stump two Montero experts.
Humming Noise from pass front wheel - Solved - freewheel clutch solenoid replaced
Melting floormats / leaky exhaust - Solved - Added muffler heat shield and leaks turned out to be normal from drain holes.
Clunk in front suspension offroad - Solved - Deleted front sway bar (needs new bushings and endlinks)


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