Mitsubishi Shogun & Pajero buyers guide by micrabits

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This guide is for Mitsubishi shogun and Pajero models from 1999 onwards. The current and previous model. It has been written to highlight some common problems with these cars. I did not write it to put anyone off; I wrote it so you do not end up with a money pit rather than a decent 4x4.

I will not go into too much detail about model differences, imports etc. as there are loads of imports over here and there isn’t a great deal of differences between the Shogun and Pajero. For trivia buffs, the Pajero was renamed Shogun for European and South American markets because ‘Pajero’ in Spanish means er… I cannot say here but it rhymes with Merchant banker! Not so good for sales!

EGR cooler. Earlier models have poorly designed EGR coolers. It is a large silver box on the driver’s side under the plastic engine cover on 3.2 diesel models. It looks like a large sardine tin with two pipes. The side of this ‘tin’ should have a ribbed appearance. This is the modified type. If it has smooth flat sides visit your dealer and have the new one fitted (Recall warranty covers all ages!)  If the old one is still fitted it can cause your car to overheat. Not good as when the cylinder head gasket blows on this engine very little can safely be skimmed off the cylinder head. If the head is too distorted you need a new one. Mitsubishi parts are never cheap, larger items (like this) can cost thousands.

Hidden fuel filter. V6 petrol models have a small gauze filter in the fuel metering unit. If the car has been driven and allowed to run ot of fuel this filter can become clogged with deboris from the tank. When this happens the car may run rough, not rev up or if you are really unlucky, not start. The filter is about 5mm long by 4mm diameter. You remove it by letting the pressure off the fuel system (Slacken the hoses going into the unit) then remove the blanking bolt (17mm I think) inside you will see the top of the small filter. To remove it, carefully screw a large self tapping screw in intil it has a good grip of it then pull it out with pliers. There are 2 finters on each car. 

Oil leaks at front. Oil leaks take a while to show up on the Shogun as the engine under tray disguises the problem until it is too late, so make sure you keep an eye on the level. By far the most common cause of oil leaks on the diesel models is a leaking oil pressure switch. The switch is just above the oil filter and is usually misdiagnosed as a faulty oil filter. The switch is accessible with a 27mm deep socket and short wobble extension. You need to remove the oil filter too. Not an easy or pleasant job but as I already mentioned, due to the price of parts for these cars you must attend to any problem as soon as they appear.

Oil leaks at rear. More common on LWB models. The tail shaft seal leaks. Due to the weight of these cars the differential will wear rapidly and partially seize in no time. Always keep the oil level topped up and replace seals as soon as possible.

Coolant leaks at rear. On earlier LWB models the rear heater pipes are steel. If the car has spent most its life caked in mud or the anti freeze has been neglected the pipes rust and eventually burst. Replacements from Mitsubishi are only available as Aluminium now. Not a difficult job to change providing you are willing to carefully bend then reshapes the pipes. To bleed the cooling system it helps if you jack the front of the car up reasonably high and set front and rear heaters to maximum heat before refilling the cooling system.

Slow seat belts. Seems to happen most on SWB models. For no reason he seatbelts begin to retract slowly usually on the driver’s side. As this does not affect the locking, function or legality of the belts you just have to get used to it or pay your dealer loads for a new one! Do not be tempted to try lubricating it as this attracts dirt and causes it to get worse and do not take it apart to try and fix it as these are designed so that if they are dismantled they can’t be re-assembled.

Flashing centre diff light. There are four sensors on top of the gearbox, accessible if you remove the transfer box cross member. The sensors stop working if the copper or aluminium seal washers corrode. Remove them, clean the gearbox and sensor mating surfaces and fit shiny new washers. The gearbox earth strap fitted to some models either snaps or corrodes too. Can be replaced by some thick single core cable.
Another thing that can happen is the front diff actuator vacuum system can fill with water. Disconnecting the vacuum pipe at the actuator on the axle, disconnect the other end (drivers side inner wing) and blow it out with some WD40 or similar.

Sticky brakes. Pads often stick in the callipers, front and rear, all models. If you are lucky, you can push the pads back with the piston and pump them back out with the pedal but more often you have to remove the pads, clean the corrosion off the edges of them and clean the mating slides on the calliper carriers. You do not need any special tools to push the rear callipers back but after you have had the back brakes in bits you need to pump the footbrake 100 times with the ignition on and engine off to recalibrate the control unit.

Rear brakes will not bleed. You do not pump the pedal to bleed the rear brakes. All you have to do is slacken the bleed screw and turn the ignition on. The ABS ECU will pump the fluid out. When you are done simply tighten the bleed screw back up. You bleed the front in the conventional manner.
Don’t try to pressure bleed the rear brakes or you will confuse the ABS ECU.

Adjusting real wheel alignment. More often than not when you see a Shogun in the street the rear wheels seem to have noticeable negative camber. The reason for this is unless the car is almost new the rear wheel alignment is a bitch to adjust. Camber and caster is adjusted with offset bolts however these bolts rust onto the bushes. You cannot heat them up or you will burn the bush out. When I worked with Mitsubishi, I had to sort this out on three Shoguns. The only remedy is to cut the head off the bolt up the side of the bush. Using a Bluepoint air saw this takes roughly 2 hours per bolt. There are six bolts that need to be cut out. The moral is, if the car is a few years old and the rear wheels have noticeable negative camber or uneven rear tyre wear walk, no run away!

Remote locking only works when you are standing next to the car. A design fault here. On earlier models Mitsubishi didn’t make the aerial long enough. At one time a longer aerial was available through dealers but we used to use spare parking sensor wires run up the drivers windscreen pillar.   

Aircon not working. If your aircon does not work, switch it off and start the car. Have an assistant switch the aircon on and off while you look at the pulleys on the front of the engine. The aircon compressor should spin when it is switched on. If it does not check the small thin blue wire to the side of the compressor. This is the live feed for the compressor clutch. If the wire breaks (which it usually does) then you will not have any aircon. Repair as necessary. If your aircon doesnt work after that check the connection on the sensor on the pipe that runs into the bulkhead on the passenger side (green plug I think) The terminals rust.

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