1998 Mitsubishi Montero Winter Package

I bought this 2.5 with 121,234 miles on the odo. It had been sitting in the Southern Utah sun for at least two summers. The car came from City of Industry, California and was bought by the PO in St. George, Utah in 2004. So, no rust issues. It appears to have never left pavement.

The seller indicated that he bought the Monty from a shop eight months previous where the PO had them replace the timing belt, TB tensioner, valve stem guides, water pump, all related gaskets, hoses and belts. The PO then couldn’t pay the bill, so the shop liquidated the Monty after it sat there for several months. All the work appears legit upon inspection, lots of new parts under the hood, but I’d sure feel better with a piece of paper in my hand from the shop telling me so.

The interior needs a handful of tiny instrument panel lights, the power driver’s seat only moves vertically, the front Infinity speakers are finite, but outside of that it’s cherry. I was surprised to find that the middle row seats wor…

Rear Work Lamps

Rounding out the illumination modifications on the Nomad is a pair of three-inch, 12W LED work lamps mounted on the rear Surco roof rack stanchions.

Although the interior cargo lamp has been converted to LED, I needed more light on the food prep area along with a bit more illumination rearward, though the LED reverse light upgrade puts out great coverage. 

The work lamps are wired from the control panel I built into the platform. 

I pulled a hot lead with a ground from the Blue Sea Blade fuse block to the rear of the platform and wired the circuit through the voltmeter, to the 12V marine socket, to the USB, to the switch and terminated at the lamps.

Twelve watts is just right, not overpowering, spotting the work area and the storage drawer and when we're not cooking we can bounce them off the awning for a soft indirect light.

Auxiliary Lighting

With the roof rack finally where I want it to be, I pulled the trigger on new off-road combo lamps on the bull bar, and finally wired up the trail lights on the roof rack. 

It all begins with the addition of a Blue Sea Blade Fuse block and a 100 amp breaker. 
Blue Sea Systems make a variety of marine and automotive application 12v fuse blocks. The ST Blade box comes in 6 and 12 circuits with or without a negative bus. I won't be adding many accessories so I opted for the six circuit ST Blade with the negative bus to make grounding something I won't have to troubleshoot. 
Both the fuse block and the breaker are mounted atop the fuse box cover and the relays are mounted on the driver side fender wall. The Blue Sea circuit is wired with a jumper from the positive terminal of the battery to the breaker and then a second jumper to the positive terminal of the fuse block. The block is grounded to the rig. Two circuit relays are grounded at the same spot with positive leads connected to…

Roof Rack Hack 2.0

You might recall the roof rack hack on the Apex cargo basket where I cut some length out of the risers to lower the rack and hopefully reduce drag.

The mod worked well and supported our recovery and camp gear without issue.

But I wasn't ever pleased that the rack wasn't full length, leaving the last eighteen inches of the side awning unsupported and putting the off-road lights too far back on the roof just ahead of the sunroof opening, losing the bottom half of their beams and creating a lot of noise.

To remedy these issues I picked up another Apex rack to modify to fit in the space left by the existing rack after it's repositioned at the front of the Nomad's roofline.

With the original rack in place forward on the roof, I measured the distance from the end of the rack to the end of the roofline and came up with 29.5" of length. That meant cutting the new rack down from 62.5 inches. The rack ships in four pieces that, two halves of the bottom basket and two of th…

Blue Ridge Overland Gear

When sorting out the 2.5 I transferred some gear from the H3 build including this Blue Ridge Overland Gear. They're a company out of Virginia who make high quality MOLLE, hoop and loop, pouches and accessories for most any storage application in an adventure vehicle. Some of their stock is custom made to upgrade existing gear like fridges and store Goal Zero battery packs, and that's what caught my attention.

I have neither, but I could see how I could adapt their products to my needs and get things where they belong.
Blue Ridge makes an eight-inch headrest panel of loop material on the backside and a smooth, blank panel on the front. It creates a foundation to configure pouches for storage needs of items kept readily at hand.

I added their Goal Zero 10 Battery Charger pouch to hold handheld comms and a 4x8x1 Medium VELCRO front zip pouch to the headrest panel. They both take up most of the loop real estate but provide ample room for smaller adventure necessities.

Craftsmanship is…

Over Drive Switch Swap

One of the perils of not consulting the FSM on any job is taking a risk that might disable a perfectly good working function, like the over drive switch. When I replaced the transfer case shifter my initial thought was that the gear selector knob would have to come off in order to get the rest of the console below it out. That's what I had to do with my Gen III, so my reasoning was the same would apply with the 2.5. It doesn't. I discovered that when I removed the stock over drive switch which had little slack, and when exploring inside the housing for the switch for some kind of release screw, one of the soldered contacts snapped off the switch, disabling the Montero's ability to go into over drive. Damn.

The stock switch is embedded in a plastic housing through which the wires are soldered into a small circuit board. I tried to solder the broken red wire but lacked the finesse and tools for such a tiny connection.

I lived without OD for awhile during the summer, but get…

Roof Rack Hack

The Apex Roof Rack has served our adventures well, stowing cargo and being a platform upon which to mount two ARB awnings.

But the drag knocks a mile-per-gallon off the Monty's mileage. I drive 700 miles a week traversing the great State of Utah for my commute and need every MPG I can get.

And I've always had an issue with how high the rack rides on the stock roof rails (though I should note stability was never an issue) and with how tall the rack itself is. So on my last commute back to the Wasatch I came up with a plan. It's that damn tinker gene.

I started by reducing the height of the Apex Rack, knocking it down by and inch and a quarter.

I cut that much off each vertical upright keeping the necessary mounting dimensions I needs for both ARB awnings. I used a brass pipe cutter that worked as precisely as I needed.

Once cut, I deburred each upright, reassembled them with the stock Apex hardware and installed.

This gave me a platform to work with in mocking up a gutter …

ARB Awning 2000 and Awning Room

Completing the sleeping platform and rear ARB awning is a second ARB awning, this one the 2000 (6ft.) along with ARB's awning room. The room has two large mesh windows with zippered flaps and grommets for poles to provide additional shade while open. The main door is also mesh with a sturdy zippered flap. Inside is an additional door to access the vehicle's passenger door.

This room is 79" x 98" and has ample space for a dining area, a changing room, provides protection from the elements and a spot for our dogs to sleep while we sleep in the truck.

The awning and tent deploy in just a few minutes.

During our first week of ownership we were camping at Valley of the Gods when we were hit by a violent microburst that took out one of the rafters of the 2000 awning. I emailed ARB to order a new part and they replaced it under warranty and had it delivered within three days so we could continue our tour. Great product, outstanding customer service.

The awnings tuck into …