Tuesday, 27 March 2012

My Pajero Mods

From April 2009 onwards:

Thought I'd post up about how my Pajero has grown over time. I purchased the unit in almost mint showroom condition in April 2009 with 73,000km's on the dial..Its a GLS 3.2L diesel manual with the full MATT package of traction control, stability control, ABS etc.  It was bog stock apart from a set of rhino bars. The basket above was a bargain purchase not long after but the cable tie mounting system to get it home was free :) The plan was to have a vehicle that could take myself and family into the outdoors to enjoy a bit of what life has to offer.

First Mod to do was to get some legal tint on the windows. At the same time from the same vendor, I also had spray on bitumenised rust preventive done to the underfloor. Took a few weeks for the smell of an Arab oil field to go away, but it slowly dissipated.

Coming from a locally produced station wagon, I found the storage space on the inside was lacking in depth. So one of the next things to do to improve this was to make my own rear storage. I didn't want a drawer set up and opted for crates. This provides almost the same space as drawers, costs less, is less work and is more flexible in its set up. I can remove the crates underneath as I wish according to varying loads and also gain access to a large underfloor well that houses the 3rd row of seating (now removed). I set the height of the storage to provide me with a flat raised floor (level with the rear seats when folded down). Although pictured below you see a cargo barrier, this didn't come till much later in the mod process. The unit was made solid as to cope with CSR corrugations. Its a fabricated angle iron frame, bolted to the floor with a 19mm form ply, carpeted top.

Below, you can see the advantages of fitting such a system when going away:

It was at about this time I decided I needed to fit a dual battery with power sources to the rear storage from the aux battery. This power source has changed a little over time. As you can see in the pic above, I have 2 x SB50 anderson outlets and 1 x marine type plug (that I use exclusively for led lights), I bit the bullet and paid a motza for a Nasa BM-1 battery monitor and added a LED hard strip light to the barrier (activated by the green toggle between the andersons). Unfortunately I'm limited to an N50 sized battery for the axillary. Some swap their main and aux battery's and run a smaller starter/larger aux. I'm of the opinion that I prefer my car to start over warm beer, so I left my starter as per standard. Disregard all the dust!

From there the opportunity of an alloy bar came to light. I am a fan of the ARB steel version for these, however at 3 times the cost of what I got this for, It'll have to do the job. I fitted it myself. The hardest part of such was the limited space in which to drill the chassis holes. A 90deg angle head would have been ideal. But I got there eventually.

At about this time, a work colleague and myself decided to do the Canning stock route in about 9 months time. So now I had lots more to do to get the vehicle prepped for such an adventure. As fate would have it, 3 months before we were to go, I secured a new job in which I could not get the time off. So that particular journey is now on the to do list. I fitted my old 175 lights to the bar and installed a uhf. To cope with the Canning I fitted Lovells 2" raised HD springs and Bilstein struts/shocks along with Polyair bags.

Under body protection was now required. I had an alloy sump guard made to replace the flimsy plastic piece of oem junk.

About this time I scored a new auxiliary fuel tank of ebay for a bargain. I couldn't justify the cost of RRP myself, but this has proven to be an invaluable investment. As an added bonus, It also greatly reduces the risk of removing your rear bumper. These are renowned for their sand scoop ability and 2nd hand rear bumpers are very hard to find. Probably cause everyone pulls theirs off when in sand!

Not long after, the oem inter cooler plate, and the alloy guard were replaced with steel after market units, along with sliders and transmission protection.

Then I got my sat nav set up. I purchased a 10" net book, ozi explorer, usb gps mouse  and a 10" LCD touch screen that I mounted on a flexible stalk.

At this time I also fitted a reverse camera. I have the option to use either the dedicated 5" LCD monitor I purchased for the camera, or if I wish I can just plug it into the 10" monitor.

At the 90,000km mark, it was time for me to perform a valve adjustment. I do not believe an "audible valve adjustment" as provided by the dealer is even remotely possible. What the hell are they thinking???? An audible adjustment? on a diesel?? and a very noisy one at that!!!!!

The 3.2L Di-D  has been mentioned many times around the globe of having timing chains let go. These seem to be failing onwards from the 150K mark, but there is no definitive benchmark as some have 400K+, never been looked at and still going strong.

There are a few theories as to the cause of this catastrophic costly failure. Firstly, the complete chain guide assembly are said to be the culprit. The tensioner is also mentioned as a cause. Note that if the engine is turned backwards, this will over tension the chain due to the tensioner design being  a ratchet type mechanism. It can increase tension by extention, but it can not go backwards. Winding the engine backwards, creates slack on the tensioner side of the chain that under forward running is not present. However, from all the evidence presented, I believe its only the top chain guide at fault. The plastic becomes brittle with age and breaks off. The chain runs on the metal backing plate, eventually wearing it through. Then the top breaks off, wedges itself in the lower chain gear and you have a lock up. This breaks the chain, sending your valves into the pistons and a top end rebuild (at a minimum) is required. Its not uncommon to hear of 8-10K repair bills from this. Most cases, there is little warning before failure. If your mobile at the time, I suggest you probably wont hear it anyway. But if your stationary and you hear a loud unusual rattle (like a chain running on metal) stop immediately, open your oil filler and if you look hard enough, you may just see your top guide.

The broken top guide is the common denominator in these failures. Its a cheap fix, being a $20 part. Since the introduction of the 3.2L in 2000 or so, Mitsu have modified this part a little (more evidence of this part being the culprit or just conspiracy theory?) and the part number is 1140A026 for reference. So if your reading this blog, I suggest you head down to your local dealer every 90,000Km's and replace this part. Its relatively easy, but care does need to be taken and I'm not going to explain the procedure to do so.

A couple of pics I "borrowed" to show the part and some of the damage are below.

A failed and a new guide:

A failed guide insitu. This was a lucky escape:

Busted cam caps from a chain letting go:

I decided to wire up my rear dummy lights for better on road protection of being rear ended. Whilst in there, I modded the rear flaps to try to eliminate the dust these are prone to draw in. Unfortunately, experience has shown this didn't work. Now to work out another method of dust suppression. A word of note: These breathers are a large source of water entry into the cabin. be wary. Oh why they couldn't put the body breathers up high like most 4wd's has me beat.

I also added a drain to the crappy A/C outlet. Without this, condensate can run onto the bell housing, and into the clutch area, causing no manner of strife with clutch shudder. Bloody dual mass flywheels.....If and when it goes, it'll be single mass for me.

I replaced my main interior lights front and rear with LED replacement panels. Pardon the pun, but these are just brilliant. I eventually got around to replacing all my interior lighting to LED. The lighting is far better than incandescent and draws far less power too. LED's have to be the best thing they developed in a long time.

I then decided I needed better night time vision. So I sourced some Narva 225's for a good price along with a 35W digital ballast HID kit, reto fitted the HID's to the Narva's and put them on. They are very nice at night (until you come across any sign-age from a km or so away)

Another Achilles heel of the Paj is the popping companion shaft. By October of 2005 Mits obviously recognised an issue (it had been in production for 5 years by then) and released a modified version fitted to production stock. Under certain circumstances (risk factors seem to be high speed, towing and suspension mods), the companion shaft can pop slightly from the rear differential, dislodging the shaft journal from the seal and the rear of the vehicle and anything your towing gets covered in hot smelly oil. My thoughts on cause of the matter is that being IRS, any up travel of the suspension, exerts a longitudinal, outwards directing force on the shaft as it travels upwards. Hit a big enough bump in the road, and this force may over ride the retaining force of the c-clip. I always cringe when I hit whoops at speed.

Whilst covering your car in oil is only an inconvenience, the problem lies when your diff loses enough oil to write your diff off. You don't really notice the loss of oil until your stopped, by then it may be too late. Another costly venture by way of bad design IMO. The only thing holding this shaft in the diff is a c-clip. The redesigned shaft has a wider, therefore larger diameter clip. Being wider, you cant fit the new clip to the old shaft. This clip of larger diameter exerts a greater force to retain the shaft in its place in the diff. You don't have to change them, but if not I would advise to carry spare oil and a hammer to effect a roadside repair. Once they have popped, it seems common for this event to reoccur. Whilst I have not done mine, I have purchased the parts, ready to effect the repair should I either pop one or get bored one day.

It was after I returned from my trip (see Northern loop blog) that I decided I needed to get some efficiency gains in power and fuel. So I had a chip manufacturer do some development work on the car. I had a chip, manual boost control, map over ride and egt controller installed. Its been in quite a while now and the gains to date don't feel that impressive on the seat dyno. However, I need this to be properly tuned on a wheel dyno. I suspect I will get some appreciable gains once I get around to do this. Since the chip install, I had a custom 3" mandrel bend exhaust fitted. Over Easter 2012, I hope to be able to both fix my axillary tank leak and bore some holes in the fender to fit a snorkel. Once I fit the snorkel, I'll see about getting a final tune done.

I lived without a fridge slide for a few years. I found that to gain access to the fridge, just removing the lid was enough. But you do have to poke your head in to see what you are after. I really liked the versatility of having a flat raised floor.  However, I've since relented and bought slide rails off ebay and made my own fridge slide. Its really only big enough for the 2 fridges I use in the car, namely the old banger 40L Engel and the 25L Waeco. I do find that when there is no weight on it, it does rattle. I usually place a couple of hard plastic wedges in the slides when not in use. I bolted the slider to the ply using tee nuts from underneath. This means I can unscrew the slide relatively easily with 4 bolts should I require that flat floor space once again. I'm currently thinking about making a segmented frame for the top section. This again will help with loading for trips away. At this point in time its a "watch this space" concept.

I had no tyre issues on all that rough stuff I travelled in July/August. However once back, I've staked 2 of my new D694's. The annoying bit was I wanted to replace the fronts (they were getting a bit long in the tooth) but I kept staking the new rears. I finally had enough and after much deliberation, I went the whole hog, changed to 75 profile and put more aggressive Cooper ST MAXX on. And would you believe it, within a week, I picked up a screw and now have a nice plug that is resident in one of my expensive new bits of rubber. I guess I pissed a tyre god off at some stage in the past.

Seat covers: another gripe of mine. If you have an NP with side air bags, forget it, unless you want something cheap and nasty. Then try to find a cheap and nasty set for the 2nd row..... There is a plethora of full covers to suit the NS onwards but nothing to cover an NP with side air bags that I can find. I have never been able to determine with any accuracy if there is seat changes between the NP and the NS. Many a time I almost bit the bullet and purchased an NS set on a gamble, but I did well and persisted the temptation. I really wanted canvas, but they are expensive and non side air bag compatible. However, I was on gumtree and saw a full set (front + rear) for the NM. I made enquiries, looked at the product and brought them home. They are a bit well used, but they are "black ducks" and I did save over $600 on buying new. I knew the rear was different, but took the gamble that the fronts were the same. I had some modification ideas at the time of purchase and put them into practice when I had both the covers and car at home.

 I cut a substantial hole for air bag deployment in the side of the seat canvas, copying the hole and a bit more from my existing air bag compatible cheap set. That hurt a bit, putting scissors into well made canvas. The rears were a bigger issue. The NM only had a lap seatbelt where the NP had a lap/sash belt. The smaller seat was no issue. On the larger seat, I had to slice all the way up the middle where the belt sits on both the back and seat parts. I also had to cut an access hole in the top of the back where the seat belt retracts from. So now I have a split rear seat cover and 2 big gaping holes in the fronts. So a quick trip to a haberdashery and I broke out the other half's Janome ( I knew there was a reason I bought her a sewing machine for xmas all those years ago. Its made insulated fridge bags, canvas tool bags, abseil gear, lead shot weight belts and I think she may have used it sometime too! ). I fitted a top stitch needle to be able to punch through the canvas, added my special hi strength polyester thread and began to sew. I stitched 25mm webbing, folded in half, around the large hole in the fronts.

When finished, it looked like a bought one. Then I sewed the same webbing and velcro to both parts of the split I made in the upper and seat parts of the rear. It now fits together like a glove, the rear doesn't split now unless you disconnect the velcro and it too almost looks like a bought one. I can now get rid of that crappy old blue bed sheet I had covering the rear seats and have air bag compatible canvas covers at a fraction of the price of a new set (even if they are well used). Sometimes if your prepared to think laterally and do a bit of work yourself, you can have a win :)

 Easter 2012:

I decided to stay home and perform some maintenance rather than fight the masses in overcrowded camp sites. I have 2 weeks off just after Easter to get some camping in anyhow.

1st bit of maintenance: remove the auxiliary, find the leak I've been sporting since August last year, rectify and refit. This is a big job, primarily due to the fact I have to remove all my rear storage to get to the tanks mounting bolts. I find the very small leak and determine a weld fix is just too hard to perform. Being good Friday, nothing is open so I have to make use of the tools on hand. So I seal the seam with a sika type marine adhesive/sealant. So far, so good but only time will tell how this fix performs. I sure hope it works as it took me a day and a half to complete the job.

Easter Sunday I get into the fitting of my snorkel I've had in the shed for a month or so. I check the template, even double, triple check. The major problem being, I cant check the main bore for location until I bore the hole. I adjust a couple of the mount holes to match the snorkel.

Oh well then, here goes nothing. Spotting the 4 holes with a 4mm step drill

So I have a decision to make.....bore the hole or not? Well with the guard now full of holes anyway, there is only one way to find out. Boring the hole was a bit of a pain, as I'm not drilling into a flat surface and the holesaw has a tendency to grab when it hits the uncut section of metel. But I persevere and get there in the end.

Then I open up the mounting holes with the step drill. Once I'm happy with the fit, I seal the exposed metal with cold galv. I mark out the pillar mounts. They supply rivets for the purpose. I'm not happy with rivets so I use galvanised roofing tek screws I have on hand. I seal these holes with goldgalv.

Now onto what turned out to be the hardest part of the job. Boring the inner guard. I have to remove a bit to get access....air box, headlight, washer bottle etc. There is just enough room to fit the drill and hole-saw in. I screw the guide to the existing hole and start to bore.

If the outer guard was difficult, the inner was a right bastard. Due to the profile I was cutting through (all manner of shaped angles, hills and valleys), the boring of this was a challenge. Hole-saw's work well in flat materials, not so on irregular surfaces. But again I persevere, having to remove and cool the drill with compressed air a few times as it was getting very hot. Eventually I'm through. I trial fit the snorkel, and find the connecting tube fits too. However, there is a bit of mismatch (the tube isn't central to the inner guard hole).  Lucky I used a 102mm holesaw instead of the 95mm as suggested in the instructions.

So I apply sealant to all the components, final fix the snorkel to the guard, re plumb the air box and put it all back together. I do a seal test, but back off when the air box's eyes were starting to bulge. I also didn't want to adversley affect the unset sealant. So I'm happy with the job. By this stage, I'm running out of light, so I decide to Finish off tomorrow. But in essence, job done. Not for the faint hearted, but a good sense of accomplishment now its over.

Well for now, that's about where I'm at with the vehicle. I'll add to the blog as things happen......Watch this space.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

How to: Fit an Auxillary Fuel Tank

December 2009:

Today I fitted my Aux fuel tank to the NP and thought I’d share what’s involved. This guide is for the “long ranger” 60L NM/NP tank. First of all, I had to strip my interior, including my rear storage, which wasn’t designed to be removed easily. Once this was done, I had to remove the rear carpet (there’s a couple of screws on the outside of where the well cover sits. Peel the carpet back. Then remove the rear seat well liner. There are 2 screws each side that mate with the side panel trims. Lift out the carpeted sections around the rear seat belts to reveal these. Then there are 6-7 screws holding the rear of the tub in place (revealed once you pull the carpet back). Then pop the 3 plugs holding the trim nearest the rear door and pull up. With a bit of shagging around manoeuvring things out the way, the tub should now come out.

Next step is to drill the front mounting holes. Using the (a bit shabby but effective) drilling jig supplied, place this over the rear seat hold down bolts and drill 3 x 8.5mm holes. Debur and rust proof (I used gold galv)

Fit the sender and breather lines to the tank and foam tape to the underside of the seat well.. Then its a matter of man-hauling the tank into place. I used a trolley jack approximately center of the tank. The tank isn’t flat, so when the front was near position I used a bottle jack to get the front into place. The sizing was tight, I found it was hitting the rear of the outside seat well, so dropped the front a bit, started the rear of the seat well  bit first then jacked the front into position. Bolt the front when the tank is in position (jack not removed). Getting to the nuts underneath will chew your arms and hands to bits. I used a 500 long extension bar with a uni-joint on the end. You’ll need another person to hold the bolts whilst your underneath tensioning the nylocs. Now, you can use the tank as a jig to drill the 4 x 8.5mm rear mounting holes. I had no issue with towbar clearance but I did have issues with the bumper bar being in the way. It is flexible, so you can bend it to clear your drill. Once again, debur and rust proof your holes. I also used a sikaflex type compound to goo the holes before fitting the mounting bolts. They are quite low and you really don’t want to get water in your seat well. (the same for the transfer pump a bit later on). Then fit your bolts and tension. Your tank is now fitted in place and you can remove your jacks and anything else underneath.

Now the scary bit. You have to cut your oem filler and breather tubes. I did mine insitu. You could remove this tube, but make sure you've got little fuel in your tank as I’ll explain latter. The fitting instructions are pretty good in respect of where to cut everything dimensionally, I wont go into the detail here, but I can email the instruction sheet out if requested. 

The breather tube is too small, but to stop swarf from entering the filler, I pushed a rag down with some wire, just past the cut line. Anyway, a lot of shagging around and I had the tubes cut. Then you can unbolt your oem filler and remove. I wouldn’t recommend cutting these insitu with petrol in case of either static of friction sparks being created.

This is where I made my biggest mistake. My bad, your gain. I thought I’d hook the vac up to the breather and suck the swarf out. I think it worked?? Then to remove the rag from the filler....OMG where is it? Surely It didn’t get sucked down whilst I had the vac on the breather???? A longer piece of wire down the filler to try to “feel” the rag...no good. Damn, I hope it hasn’t made the tank. Oh well if vac sucked it down, maybe positive pressure might push it up? Blowing compressed air down the breather yielded no result but diesel on the concrete. Damn, now I’m going to have to remove the hose assembly.  Popping the pipe out of the flex hose near the tank had an eruption of diesel going everywhere...Shit, get it back in. Now the floor in the garage looks and smells like your local Caltex, I gather some rags to try to mop up the mess. Bugger, now what do I do. Well, I have to go in, so I go looking for a drain in the fuel tank. I find a screw that looks the goods, find a bucket and crack it. Success...you’ve no idea how long it takes to pour 40L of fuel through an 8mm hole! Every 10 or so litres, its put the plug back in (diesel pouring down your arm) decant the fuel into a jerry and repeat. I didn’t want to completely drain the tank so I stopped at 40 and took the risk of removing the tube again. No firehose of diesel this time.  There is an anti-syphon valve at the bottom of this tube, which luckily stopped my rag from making the tank. So by the time everything was back to where I started this chapter, I guess 3 hours had gone by...

Now back to the topic. Fit the dual filler and make sure you use some type of thread goo on the bolts (again I found this by mistake after testing the transfer pump). I wont go into all the detail but now you hook up all your hoses. Its a bit like spaghetti under there.

Then its a matter of finding a spot for your transfer pump, drilling the holes and mounting it. I thought I’d mounted mine like in the pic, but in hindsight, it was probably too low. I couldn’t get the hose to fit the pump without a kink. By now its about 8pm, I haven’t had anything to eat all day and im starting to get over it. So I used a bit of the good old nylex for testing purposes. The 40L I drained from the main, I put into the Aux and ran a wire with a positive voltage to it. Bang, Bang, Bang it goes running dry. Then all of a sudden, presto, it goes (relatively) quiet and fuel starts to transfer. Good chance to grab a beer.... A beer or so later (wasn’t timing it, maybe 20 minutes) the pump starts bang, bang, banging away intermittently. I look at the filter and you can see air coming through, so we must be near bottom. I let it run like this for a bit then considered my testing complete. I did find some leaks at this stage (hoses and the dual filler) so I gooed the threads on the filler and put some more tension on the hose clamps, now all seems ok so far. You can put your interior back together now (bearing in mind you need to route the electrics somewhere??)

I was well and truly over it by this stage, so I haven’t bothered to route the electrics or install the gauge/switch yet.  A job for today, after lunch. I fuelled both tanks this morning and I tell you what, you sure can notice the extra weight from the 60L on the back. Also, the Aux fills so nicely, but the main is now hard to fill (maybe I had a fast pump, will have to watch this and investigate). Interestingly, it looks like my standard suspension has compressed by only about 10mm with this extra weight. But I’ve ordered a lovells/bilstein/polyair lift and will install sometime in the new year, .  I think you really need to consider some suspension work if you get one of these. At about $1800 RRP fitted, there not a cheap investment. Everyone that has fitted one has said to me that its the best single investment they’ve made to their Paj. Well, I’m building an outback tourer, but personally I don’t think I would have spent the money on one. I was lucky, I saved about 1K on mine by fitting myself,  so I’ll put up with the Caltex theme in my garage and my aches and pains I noticed when I woke up today. I hope this how-to helps someone in the future and gives someone a laugh today.

Fridge fan mod

Edited May 2015:

Thought I'd share a little mod I had been trying and it worked ok so I made it more permanent. Noticed a distinct temp differential between the upper and lower sections of the fridge. So I got myself a 40mm puter fan, made it fit some pvc pipe ducting and powered it from the fridge light. Success. More even temps, even the dairy section gets cold now and best of all its drawing 100mA, bugger all. As it seemed successful, I have re-wired it into a dc plug. The mating plug is in the main power lead and I've fused this as well. It would be nice to not have the cable going under the lid, but that will take a lot more surgery that I may perform at a later date. Best of all, the whole system is removable if required. I have now ordered some 75 x 25mm blower fans as pictured above and will be modding both my evakool and engel at some stage with these.


May 2015:

Well its been a while since I've been here. I ended up chucking the round PVC out due to space constraints. The picture above is a 25L fridge, so every bit of space is valuable. Every fridge I own has been fitted with a blower fan and the results have been great. The dairy section (on those with one fitted) have been at the same temp as the fridge and I find the fridge as a whole has a generally more even temperature distribution. The original post was back in 2012 and I've been on the lookout (half heartedly) for some plastic duct of the right size. But alas it never came to me. Until today......

Somewhere, somehow, I was searching for ducting. I found something suitable available from Clipsal so I had a thought. Why not check out the big green shed (aka Bunnings).

I came out with a 4M length of 50 x 25mm trunking for $20. Perfect for the task

50 x 25 trunking

And I fitted it to all my fridges on my return home. Being rectangular, it will consume less space than 40mm round PVC tube and ducts the air to the lid for spill over to both the dairy sections and general fridge contents more efficiently. As its a 4m length and I have used 3 pieces no bigger than 200mm in length, I have a fair bit of surplus. So if you are local and want to try this mod, sing out and I'll cut you a piece of duct.

Engel 40 mod:

Waeco CF25 mod:

Waeco CFX50 mod:

A link for the blower fan below:

7525 blower fan

If and when that link fails, then see the link below. Choose your vendor. They are readily available:

7530 blower fan

At 0.18A current draw, this will add about 5Ah to your fridges power consumption over a 24H period. That is bugger all. So in summing up, if you find your fridge is not cooling evenly, I highly suggest you look into the above mod. To me, its been worth its weight in gold.

By the way, you might ask about the wine cask cartons.....I have found these to be perfect for sub dividing the fridge. The cardboard these are made from are resilient to a bit of wetness, perfect for inside a fridge. Meats in one, other stuff in the others..even cans of drink (you can fit 8 cans, double stacked in a 4L cask), what ever takes your fancy. No need to pull out all the contents to find that bit you've buried in the bottom of the fridge.  Just lift the carton you want out. It fits 20 cm vac seal bags brilliantly.

And a final tip. I have found over time these fridges tend to collect water in the bottom if used for a considerable amount of time. Worse in humid conditions due to condensation. If you have containers that don't like being wet, then the combination of that and vibrations can tend to rupture the container. Long life milk containers for example. Ask me how I know.....

But since fitting a soft mat to the bottom of the basket, I have found it lifts the container above the water level and provides a softer floor than the wire basket. Since doing this to all my fridges, long life milk is never a problem when out in the rough. I am still to work out if the green mat in the engel is supposed to be under or on top of the basket.