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Mitsubishi Express

Mitsubishi Express

1986-2005 and 2006-2013
3.9 from 30 reviews

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Engine randomly stalling and occasional engine firing erratically.

Hi there, I have a 1989 Mitsubishi starwagon express 2 ltr carb engine. I was wondering if anybody has any idea what is going on. When driving along (mostly at higher speed 80-100km) the van will suddenly stall. It has happened whilst driving slowly more recently. I have changed the coil, the dizzy cap, the lead from coil to dizzy and the spark plugs. The battery is good and when testing the battery while running it shows that the alternator is good..... so im not sure it is a spark problem but more a fuel problem. I have put a new filter on. cleaned out the tank. thought it could have been water/crap in the tank. So I'm wondering before I go any further if anyone has had or heard of this issue and whether it is the fuel pump that is causing my problem? if so it is hard to change the fuel pump? It is the type that is on the side of the engine head and has a little pushrod or the like which operates the pump motion. It's an old van but the last owner had the engine reconditioned. It was driving fine up until a month ago then it just started happening.
Thanks in advance. Also if it is a hard job then is it possible to bypass it and install an electric one?

cheers Tim

Purchased in January 2019 for $4,000.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
TransmissionManual
BoughtUsed
Year1989
Performance
Acceleration / Power
Handling
Braking
Suspension
Gear Shifting
Fuel Efficiency
Design
Interior Design
Boot Size
Features
Comfort

Cost effective

Hi All bought my express in 04 paid $27000.00 ten years after my first express same price, have racked up 310,000 Kms finally died the other day, did all the service and oil changes myself, which was not as often as it should have been, van has a false floor for tools so comes in just under two tons, awesome vehicle, glad I bought two, other has only done 26000 Kms, ready for another ten years,

WheelbaseMedium
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedFeb 2004

Mitsubishi 2003 model express van

I love my little Mitzy. My brothercslls itnbits are missing instead of Mitsubihi, but he bought one foe his business and he loves it too! It does everything, carries building products and large purchases, takes dogs out, ferries me around effortlessly. My husband changes oil in it regularly and mechanically sound, no problems as yet, touch wood. It is a knockabout vehicle which never lets me down and has done c. 150,000. It had 42,000 when I bought it 11 years ago. I must admit I have pranged it quite a bit but ont mind that ad it has lots of character. I had the timing belt changed at just before 100,000 just to be on the safe side.

WheelbaseShort
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJul 2007

Some Minor Teething Problems As A Camper But Getting There

Fitted out my 2008 Mitsubishi L300 Express van as a camper to see if we like grey nomad'ing before spending too much on travelling kit. Used as guidance for the fit-out a You tube titled Mitsubishi Express Microcamper Campervan Conversion. Fitout and van all up cost me $13K - van was $8500K at 76000 km. With the fitout I went a bit chunky on the cabinetry, bed frame, the auxiliary battery, flooring and the Dometic fridge so the van ended up sitting a bit squat on the suspension - especially when loaded for a trip. Just worked out today that I can wind up the front suspension as it is a torsion bar system and thereby gained 25 - 30 mm of additional suspension travel up front. Wished I had realised this before our recent Lake Mungo and Flinders Ranges trip where we had to take it VERY easy over the roads through Brachina and Parachilna Gorges, the road out to Arkaroola and the Lake Mungo road. On these and any wavy sealed roads we frequently bottomed out the suspension. I realise the vehicle is not designed for off-road but I intend to do more 'dirt roading'. I intend to get the rear suspension raised with an extra leaf to even things up in order to tow a light motorbike trailer and possibly investigate if I can fit suspension lift front gas shocks. Just did 5000 km to the Flinders Ranges and back and didn't use any oil or water so no complaints. Also intend to to tweak the cooling system and ensure it is in tip-top condition as I lack confidence in the cooling system for any form of towing but think with a touch up it will be up to the job. Only using the van as an Autumn thru Spring season van - Summer is definitely out. Have added insulation to the walls and floor in the fitout and we sleep very warm in cold conditions even without heating - just use good doonas. Agree that passenger side rear view mirror adjustment awkward and the road noise is up there a bit but overall a workable van for economical grey nomad'ing. Have the usual Kings awning for outside living and cooking and a water pipe on top. The inability to stand upright in the van is a compromise we are happy to accept as we had a garage height constraint that limited vehicle height. Would like to improve the fuel consumption if possible (10.3L/100km) - van feels like it could do with an overdrive on the open road. Wondering if I could change the diff ratio??

WheelbaseShort
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedApr 2015

Cant get important parts for a mitsubishi express 2003 2L SJ Carby model

The driving is nice when the car actually runs. Its impossible to find Parts such as a Charcoal Canister or a thermostat housing cover.. or many other little things. Like harness clips. Its a bit of a joke if you ask me. Ive been off the road for over a month trying to find a replacement part. A simple thermostat housing??? Every other car its easy to just order a part and then install it.. This van is a headache to work on.. With thermostat on side of block in a ridiculous place.. especially behind the alternator.. Even more ridiculous is that the van is only an express in Australia which makes it next to impossible to search internationally for parts. Its second hand or wreckers or none at all..

WheelbaseMedium
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJan 2018

how can i adjust the power steering

Great handling with weight in the back,interior / exterior great but a bit thirsty on fuel and hard to get to things in the engine. Changing components in the engine is also difficult having to drop the motor to get to parts. I prefered the two litre carby model rather than the 2.4litre as performance is very similar and the 2Litre runs on less fuel.

WheelbaseMedium
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedMar 2015

cheap solid van

Agree with most comments about these express vans, very basic and not a lot of safety features, but easy to drive, easy to get in and out too. The 2.0 EFI engine seems fine - no need to burn it! -, surprisingly smooth and quiet, relatively economical, enough power through the hills. Tried to find a cheap hiace, but had no luck there, for the same money, <$4k, got a newer 2005 express with half the kms of the hiace vans - don't get me wrong, the hiace is very good, just hard to find and $$. Mitsy parts are cheap, so running costs are cheap, great for a young tradey starting out, more $ in the pocket. Drive these vans within their limitations and they do the job well, I guess that's why you still see them everywhere. Took the advice of a comment on "product review" and replaced PVC valve as it was stuck, runs better, no noticeable oil use. Timing belt at 90k intervals seems excessive, but you can buy the kit from Amazon for approx $125 delivered.

WheelbaseShort
Engine Size2.0L
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedOct 2017
1 comment
Bought a used power steering setup, $100 complete, bolted in, wheel aligned, easy.

Last word in reliability

If you bought a 2 litre mitsi, my advice is to burn it and get yourself a 2.4 litre van. They come with all the options - power steer, doors both sides, air con and fuel injection.
I purchased a 2.4 EFI SJ in '99. Guess what? it's still going having done some 850000 km.
It's on it's third rebuild but I don't use genuine Mitsi parts. Mitsi and Hyundai motors were made in the same factory. That's why they start tappet noise @ 100,000 and start blowing smoke. That smoke is caused by worn oil rings. Pay the $3,300 and get the engine reco'd with King engine parts and replace the clutch and radiator. All that is inclusive in the 3.3K rebuild.
You will then have a unit that will run silent and not smoke for another 350,000 By that time you may or may not repeat the process not because it needs it but because the engine lacks the sting of the scorpion that it had when it was new.
Someone said the rear brakes don't last? Really? Got 750,000 out of mine before the shoes were replaced. No machining required.
I had my spare van reco'd with the same formula (engine radiator and clutch for 3.3k) but had a bit of a problem with tyres after that. Would not stop spinning the back ones. And they were not those crappy Dunlop light truck SP/LT's that they come with. No. Maxxi passenger tyres. 215/65/14 )'s. I suspect the engine reco guys bored it to the second oversize (1 mm over) which brought ut up to its declared 2.4 litre capacity. Out of the factory they are about 2.350. That van is so torquey now I run falcon 16"wheels on it. If you want to make a highway runner out of one, change your 16 tyres to a 70 or 75% profile. At 90 ks indicated you will be doing 100.
Someone else said they ditched their mitsi for a Hyundai I load. Yep. 6 guys from work did that when the first diesel series hit the streets. Everyone of them blew up. One bloke spent $25,000 on his engine and turbos over a 12 month period. So good luck getting Hyundai to honor that 3yr warranty. It's not worth the paper it's written on.
I'm not saying the express vans are on par with Nissans and Toyotas. I've had them too and they do ride softer. But $200 spent at Pedders on the shocks with the most damping will take that mitsi bounce out of the vans - guaranteed. The other mod I recommend is to change that oversized steering wheel. I run a 300mm on my work van and it's ideal. Not too heavy and not too large. My wife runs a 250mm on hers because she says it looks 'sporty' but I find it a bit heavy for all day (12 hr) use.
Sure . They don't have air bags. Don't go around driving into telegraph poles and you'll be OK.
As far as reliability goes they are as every bit as reliable as a Toyota but easier to work on. You don't have to disassemble the entire car to get to something. I've done 850,000 on the same starter motor that does courier work.
And don't start me on tyres. I laugh when Vito owners lament over 18,500 klms out of front tyres. My run of the mill car tyres that out stop mazda 3's on a wet day get 90,000 - 100,000 on the front. (I've had two run up my towbar "crap. I didn't realize you could stop so quick"). And that's without tyre rotation.
Service costs? Certainly less than Vito which is every 25,000. I just paid $77 for rego inspection, wipers, a good grease (I have aftermarket ball joints top and bottom that are fitted with grease nipples, not sealed units) and blow out the air filter. No oil change as I had just done the oil myself.
Would I buy one again? I would if they wete still selling them!!

WheelbaseMedium
Engine Size2.4L
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedJul 1999

Start shaking

Hi, I bought a Mitsubishi express 2.0 - 1999 5 month ago.. ( 219 000 now ) Since yesterday when I turn on the van the engine shakes. When I drive all is alright but when The car stop the engine start again.. What's the problème ? Serious ? Do I have to go to the garage ? Thanks for your answer !

WheelbaseMedium
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedSep 2016

Love my Mitsy

I have owned 5 Mitsubishi Express Vans without any problems , only 1 gearbox in my 1993 Diesel mod which done 687000 klms with no breakdowns , i am now looking for a good 2013 swb ,i think they are the most reliable van out there and cheap to sevice ,its a shame they stopped making them

WheelbaseShort
Engine Size2.0L
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedMay 2007

Pretty decent, reliable, but still has design issues

Great car, reliable, seems tough. I use it as a camper. In the winter, this car is your best friend as a camper. The engine gets hot, and is under the front seats. Heats the whole van as it cools down.

In the summer, when I used it as a camper for 6 weeks, it was a struggle. Park early and allow 2 hours for it to cool down before settling in for the night. So it's a hot car.

HavIng said that the air con is great, so while it's running, it's fine. But turn the van off and that engine heat makes the van into a sauna.

Mine chews through engine oil, 2.5L since the roadtrip began 3 weeks ago, but isn't producing black smoke... i've read the mitsubishi express eats up engine oil. Not sure if that's the case, but mine certainly does.

Overall i'm happy with the van, but that said, I got a bargain second hand one for $1100, (radiator corrosion, pinhole leaks, ) but it runs well.

Yeah, it's a tough van, but not without quirks. Break lights go quickly too...

WheelbaseShort
Engine Size2.4L
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedOct 2016

You get what you pay for. V poor safety

Lot of engine noise coz ur sitting on top of engine. Poor safety. No Airbags. No crumple zone. No ABS. Had a few near miss and two actual accidents due to poor handling in wet conditions. Sold it after the second accident. Do yourself a favour and do a test drive on a rainy day. Mine was as thirsty for petrol and engine oil.
On a positive ( if you do consider) note it's cheap to buy and repair.

WheelbaseMedium
Engine Size2.0L
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedOct 2005

breaks lights don't work

I have a Mitsu expressvan and breaks lights don't work at all. Allready changed both of them but still not working. Have checked all fuses and all working.
Do you know how can i canfix it??
Does anybody have the fuse box manual? If you don't mind could you send me a picture please?
Thank you very much

WheelbaseShort
Engine Size2.4L
TransmissionAutomatic

The best van

I brought my Express second hand and i use it as a Courier vehicle.

It is 2006 Manual lwb widowed all round 2.0L engine thats done over 400,000ks and still the original engine. It runs LPG and Petrol. When i brought the van it had 220,000ks on it a few years ago. Every botton works so dose AC thats still original just regassed and power sterring. Only thing iv changed is a brake comp valve due to over loading and clutch.

In the last 3 years i spent $2100 in Mantanance and if you do your own Servicing it will cost about $80 for full Synthetic oil with flush and ryco oil Filter.

Few people complaine about the seat belt well un bolt the 1 bold that every car has to hold the belt in place and spray sylicon spray into it. Mine retracts better than alot of my co workers and thay have the New Sprinters and Hiaces.

I use it Mon to Fri and and for at lest 13hr a day of driving and stop start. Mine never has never missed a beat never ever broken down on me while driving

I have driven the Sprinters and the Transits and Traffics and non compar to the L300.

People on hear say no bull bar? I see them all the time and mine has a chrome front and rear bars.

If Mitsubishi were to bring it back to Australia i would be there to get the new model there the best van any Courier, Trades man, camper van.

Only fult I can say about them is that there no longer brought into the Country.

WheelbaseMedium
Engine Size2.0L
TransmissionManual

I just love it!

I purchased my van new and purely love it! As compared to the VW Caddy is way better as visibility and even driving position ! The engine is very good 2.4 petrol , I find to be getting a good mileage out of a fuel of tank considering the bulk of the van itself. Not a performance vehicle, yet great to drive around having my hobby stuff and travelling without fear of loosing thousand bucks , insurance etc. if this is not your only car then great! Great for blokes setting up own stuff without fears of huge costs . I care for my van , good vehicle to keep me out of trouble. Humble and steady so get ready...to enjoy it.
The price is right, good brand and excellent product if looked after.
Ignition key can turn off if accidentally the knee cap pushes against the ignition key,... When reached to open the passenger window!

Engine Size2.4L
TransmissionManual

You get what you pay for

First thing remember the price!
A pretty bad van but reliable. Good engine. Needs timing chain done every 90,000km, I run gas. All under seat engines are hard to service. Noisy as hell. Needs a tacho as I have often been driving down the highway in 4th gear. Doors leak air. I can see daylight through the seals. Cheap windscreens. Easy to get parts at wreckers. Fuel economy okay. The 2.4 is fuel injected. Good carrying and towing capacity. Cheap tyres 8 ply. Okay headlights. Absolutely ratshit safety. Also seat belts don't retract. Seat covering wears quickly. Air cond works good. Mirrors okay. Central locking would be good but at least it has cabin controlled rear and side door locking. They are cheap and nasty but good value. I drive mine on rough roads and highways as well as around town. Good vis. Have driven worse vans that cost more. A lot of companies turn these over at 70,000 km. A good buy but be prepared to spend $1000 on a timing chain at 90,000. Also, the oil filter is under the sump bash plate so hard to get at. Up under the alternator.
Price. A good buy second hand. Running costs. good air cond. Reliable. Second parts easy to find.
Resale value.Poor safety. No tacho. Noisy.

Engine Size2.4L
6 comments
Be aware, timing belt every 90k. 4 hours work. Crank angle sensor. 4 hours work. Small battery. Don't leave parking lights on.What's crank angle sensor?Now done 165000 km. Original brakes, exhaust, suspension. Battery too small. It is big enough when in top condition but after a couple of years, starts to struggle a bit. The engine heat doesn't help. I have extended the battery cables to the cargo bay behind the driver's seat and installed a decent sized battery. Seat belts don't retract but that is normal from near new. Main cluster bearing in manual gearbox wears and allows excessive play which wears out the syncro rings. I am having slight issues with changing up into third sometimes. Still think it is a good reliable van for the price. I do a lot of highway driving.

Tireless workhorse

My Express 2 litre is now 23 years old, I can only praise the reliability of this vehicle I looked at a new one but the same little things that bug me on mime are stil there

1 No tacho

2 the left side mirror is a real bummer really needs power mirrors and windows

3 the accelerator pedal is too high off the floor ( i modified mine )

4 needs central locking needed on all doors ( fitted a cheap kit a few years ago and what a difference)

it is now just getting rusty really impressed considering it has lived outside for its entire life
just did a a 2500 trip interstate and my old girl retuned me 9.8 litres per hundred kls
i thought that absolutely marvellous
Economical to run, and repair very very relaible

Engine Size2.0L

What you see is what you get

You buy a Mitsubishi Express, it is a basic van for what I believe an acceptable price. My 05 2.0L SWB now has 213,000ks on it. I occasionally get crabby with it driving it empty on rough roads (have a couple of hundred kgs over the back axle and it drives like a different van) and decide I am going to sell it, then I have a reality check and remind myself that it is a commercial designed to serve a purpose and it doesnt drive like my car, but then a pallet of stock doesnt fit in the boot of my car.

I do deliveries and carry tools to service equipment out of it. Some weeks away in it I can do 2,000ks in a week and I have grown to love driving it. The standard kit is basic, I added an air curtain to the cargo barrier (makes the aircon much better and the road noice Way quieter), some spotlights (headlights are rubbish for long distance night driving) new cd player with bluetooth and better speakers and some good quality lambswool seatcovers actually make the seats quite comfortable.

There is no third seat, but the cup holders and tray in the centre are awesome for storage. Aircon is good, but kiss goodbye half your power if you have it on, it doesnt really matter if your cruising on the highway but, it still copes. If I need to overtake or something, i just flick it off for the few seconds I need the extra power.

Was burning a bit of oil, Mitsubishi said this was standard. But at 110,000ks a mechanic friend recommended I use a different oil (to Castrol Magnatec) I am now using a Gulf Western 10W40 oil and it burns none (or very very little) and does not even require topping up over the 10,000ks between changes (even with over 200,000ks). I regularly load 1000kgs on the back and it gets very slow, but you know it will always make it.

The fuel tank would be amazing if it was an extra 20 litres, I can still get a notch over 400ks in town on one 55ltr tank and on the highway (on 105) i can get 450 - 500 with a load. Transmission is clunky, but easy to use when you get to know it. I have just done the standard servicing myself since owning the van, with more complicated stuff going to the mechanic (mind you it has only needed to go 3 times, 2 x timing belts and the clutch). Never let me down, it is a classic example of keep it simple, every day it starts.

I would not be afraid to jump in it and drive 1,000ks tomorrow. It gets below zero in winter where I live and it starts first crack every morning. No issues long distance driving at night, however driving on 110 with a full load and aircon on in the summer with 40+degree days and the beaming sun the engine can get a bit hot (just have to keep your eye on it and sacrafice the aircon or drop back to 90 should she get a bit too hot) Have replaced the clutch at 170,000ks for $550, chuffed with that when I read some euro vans can be $1500 for a clutch.

Other than a couple of batteries and new ignition leads at 160,000ks ($90) nothing else has missed a beat.. If I ever kill this one I will definitely buy another.. You spend a bit more on fuel than other makes, but everything else is soo much cheaper I did my sums and the express is the best option for me.
Reliability & Simplicity. Cheap maintenance costs!
Isn't the most comfortable on rough roads. Small fuel tank. But these are small compromises considering all the good things.

Engine Size2.0L
WheelbaseShort
4 comments
Comprehensive and informative review - thanks Bucko! Any ideas on whether the current model is as bullet proof? Cheers!14Yes the current model is the same as the old one, it has been the same since 2002. The only change was in 06 they went from a 2.0L to a 2.4L to have a bit more power. The 2.4L would be much better, I have the 2.0L

Great for the Price

There are a lot of vans out there of various models. The Mitsubishi Express line is value for money. You get what you pay for in this world but this is a quality machine for the price, especially second hand purchases. Other makes from other companies are at least $15,000 more. The Express has barely changed in 15-20 yrs except from 2006 to 2007 the engine went from 2.0 lt to a 2.4 lt. These machines were made for couriers to zip around the city and suburbia stopping and starting. No they are not great on the open highways going from city to city at 120 km per/hr because that is not their intended use, but they get there using appropriate speed limits like any other vehicle.
If you want compatible safety aspects like other makes then go ahead and pay the much bigger purchase prices. That is your option but don't complain after an event when no one forced you to purchase the vehicle.
Do your homework before buying any vehicle. Of course you are sitting on or slightly next to an engine, just like other makes but you know this before buying. You can see that just by looking at the van.
Is it noisy? Yes, I believe to be a little noisier then other vans but with a cargo barrier and a good thick piece of plastic from the hardware store (its cheap) you have put in place a noise reduction technique and keeps your fuel costs down regarding air conditioning as you are now only keeping the cockpit cooler.
Do your homework, ask around, read the reviews, there is good and bad in everything and of course drive safely people, there are too many idiots out there on the roads.
I know a handful of people driving these vans and they love them. They get to take home more money in their pockets for their families because they haven't had to pay out at least $15,000 more on another make.
Value for money, especially 2nd hand vans. Don't go older then 2007 model as this is where I believe changed up to 2.4 lt. Very zippy van, easy parking and has been around for years. Can get good priced re-conditioned engines when the time comes.
Central locking should work for all doors from cabin button. No central locking device on key ring, this is especially annoying. Concave (I think that's correct) side mirrors for those blind spots should be standard.

1 comment
Great info in your review RP - valuable to me as I'm in the market for a courier van. Pity Mitsubishi don't offer them new at the moment. Cheers!

Bad

Very basic work horse, despite superficial attempts to preety it up. Maybe for the right price it could be of benefit to somebody but i wouldnt pay a lot of money for one.
In 2005 I bought a 2003, medium wheel base,5 sp,2.4 EFI, Mitsubishi van. I had previously owned a L300 mitsubishi van but was disappointed with the new model. Although it had a bigger engine,better roadholding, streamlined shape,more space and single seats it was a poor substitute for the old L300 because the new features didnt come together to produce a better vehicle.
The front suspension had been changed from coils to a cross member spring and in my view it transferred a lot of road noise to the body. Also, the full chassis was done away with. The gear mechanism was changed from rod linkage to bowden cable making the gear change slow and stiff. The engine was designed for more expensive high octane fuel so it would ping and go weak when standard fuel was used. The seats were made to look comfortable by leaning them back but there was insufficient adjustment and short people struggled with the heavy clutch and could get back pain because the front of the seat was too high to get proper leg movement The air conditioner would weaken the motor. In general the vehicle had a lot of sharp edges to cut and bruise hands when working on it.

WheelbaseMedium
Engine Size2.4L
TransmissionManual

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Questions & Answers

98 l300 carburetor engine. fuel pump location. Any help, advise be much apprectiated
1 answer
Captain Kirk, Fuel tank. Scotty.

hi, I am after a vacuum booster for my mitzi express van. where can I buy one from? What is the price? Thank you cheryl
1 answer
compatible replacement brake master cyl for SJ series is $90 online. Brand new and del'y inc. Boosters are a rare commodity as wreckers would go broke relying on sales. They seldom fail. The cost is in the labour. They built the car around it! Mitsi spares 1300854858. $25 delivery surcharge with Couriers Pls. No idea what he charges but price for a Triton is about $70 - 90.

Hey guys - Mitsubishi Express 2005 question Had the timing belt and head replaced, since then she's been going down hill with burning oil, rattles when gearing up, misfires in idle, blows white smoke and spits black dusty liquid from the exhaust. I'm suspecting the timing could be out or the coolant is turning to steam and there's a leak causing it to blow from the exhaust. Do you have any other theories? Is this an expensive total engine replacement or quick fix? Keep in mind I have been driving her like this for months, so I'm quite worried that others parts could now be affected...
4 answers
Add on: She's beginning to sputter when starting every now and then2 litre?Yeah mate

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