Mitsubishi Pajero In-Depth Review
I purchased the NT VRX Pajero brand new in mid-2010. I bought the turbo diesel automatic as my NSW Police Forensic wagon was one and I loved driving it. So upon retiring I bought the silver Pajero VRX.
I bought it with the following options: A 3 tonne rated Hayman Reece towing pack which included an upgraded transmission cooler, a genuine Mitsubishi part nudge bar (airbag compatible), factory fitted car mats front and back (they clip on so they don't slip), and a set of Hella Driving lights (I would like an LED bar when I can afford one).
As part of the deal, and I negotiate hard, we also got darker window tint (slightly tinted on the two front doors) and a lot darker tint on the rear doors and tailgate which kept the car legal in NSW.
When I say I got the best deal possible without a trade-in: I sent an email to just about every Mitsubishi Dealership in NSW stating that the above is what I wanted and what was their best price drive away registered with all of the above extras. Lancaster Mitsubishi answered the call with a great price, about $2000 cheaper than the next competitor - it was in the low $60,000.
Then the bombshell. That price was for a late 2009 plate and I wanted a 2010 compliance plate as I don't care what you are told if you buy with last years compliance plate it is last years model and that is how you are treated all the way through and your trade-in price, later on, is dealt with as a 2009 model. So they told me that the 2010 plates would be three months away so I put a substantial deposit on it and sealed the price and options.
I bought the VRX Model as it had part leather seats, a DVD player in the rear for the kids, two pairs of headphones and a remote control so they were happy. The 6 stack stereo was an upgrade it also got stronger headlights and a pair of fog lamps, roof racks ( only really good to look at), and a set of 5 mag wheels. The vehicle is a 7-seater and the back two seats very cleverly hide where you would expect to find a spare wheel well. The 7 seats have been very handy as I have two teenage daughters who always seem to want them and their friends taken somewhere every weekend. The spare wheel is hung on the back sideways opening door side steps come standard on the VRX. I also fitted Bush Skinz underbody protection plates. They cover the engine sump and the gearbox and transfer case just a bit of added insurance they were $400 for the set of two plates.
The next few paragraphs are very important read and follow my recommendations when the time comes please.
Whilst your car is still under capped price servicing go back to your Dealership for services which is every 10,000kms. The motor runs on an expensive but good Fully Synthetic oil which I swear by. A tip: I am a diesel and petrol mechanic by trade but are semi-retired now so I can offer good advice on the mechanical side of things. Note: When you get up to a service that says check and adjust the valve clearances, which I think is about 30-40,000km service make sure you get confirmation that they are going to manually adjust the valve clearances put new seals on the ends of the injector and the must also clean out the exhaust gas return (EGR) valve and the intake manifold.
The Dealerships Service Manager and Mechanics get their back up about this job. The reason they get a bit upset about doing the above job in the capped price servicing period as it is not a nice job to do it takes several hours and a lot of covers and pipes have to be removed and as the Pajero is common rail diesel the injection pipes are very delicate and if they bend one it is a throw away job. The Service Manager will tell you that they can do a aural assessment and that is all it needs which is a lot of crap. If the valves are too tight they will not be making any audible clicking noises, they will be very quiet. In fact the problem here is if one or more of the 16 valves are too tight there will be no clicking sound at all from them but they will quite quickly burn out your valves and valve seats in the cylinder head. I would estimate this will cost someone, more than likely you the customer, somewhere around $2600 to $3100 to fix whilst your car is off the road for a few days probably a week and you keep arguing too and fro with Mitsubishi Motors customer service people and your local Mitsubishi Service Manager. I have been told third-hand that the Mitsubishi Dealership may offer to pay half of the cost which at the time sounds good, don't accept this they caused the problem and it is up to them to fix it.
A better way is to make sure that when the capped service comes up for "check valve clearances" you have the discussion with the Service Manager that you want the engine stripped down, the injection pipes and the top cover taken off and the valve clearances checked manually, and the EGR, intake and exhaust manifolds cleaned out. If this job is done once properly the engine will perform quietly the way it should. This is a major good tip. I have towed a dual axle 2,600kg caravan to Townsville and back with no issues - the Pajero loves towing and loves the sand. Buyer beware: The first set of tyres only lasted me 26,000km they were a mainly road tyre say 80% road and 20% off-road use. I put new Cooper Tyres on with a 80% road 20% sand they have done 50,000km and still look as if they are only a bit worn out. I love Cooper Tyres I wouldn't buy anything else they are great on and off road though my off-road is taking the kids for a ride on the sand. Tyre pressures down to 16 PSI at Stockton Beach. Pajero diesel autos are fantastic on the sand.
About 80,000km ago I had the old shocks and springs taken off and replaced with long travel Bilstein Shocks and Lovells 30-40mm lift also had Polyair shocks installed at the same time, wheel alignment for all for wheels. This results in a great ride and a bit more height for the beach and when towing. It cost about $2,300 well spent just make sure you replace the bottom rear shock bolts with a high tensile bolt and nylon locknuts that just fit snuggly into the hole of the new lower shock, if you use the original bolts they have about a 1/4 inch freeplay that drives you nuts it sounds like the back is going to drop out of the car.
Not much more I can add other than we are very happy with our Pajero! I buy Donaldson servicing kits off eBay - they have fuel, oil and air filters delivered for $90, they are a bargain. Then another $90 for 10 litres of the best Turbo Diesel fully synthetic oil you can buy; Nulon or Penrite, I think 5W-30W, best check though. I do the oil change and filters myself now about every 10,000km. Some say go to 15,000km, I don't think there is anything wrong with stretching it to 15,000km I am just a bit particular.
Nearly forgot, everyone asks this question, "How much diesel does it use?". Well 10 litres per 100km around town on average, on motorways set on the cruise control about 9 litres per 100km and if I have control driving carefully at no more than 100kph I can get it down to a consistent 8 litres per 100km. When towing, anything between 14 and 18 litres per 100km. If I go to 110kph it goes up to about 17.5 litres per 100km. Don't tow with the overdrive on or you will overheat your transmission, 95kph is a good speed in say one gear back from the final drive.
If you buy a Pajero you will be buying a good vehicle that will go the distance and give you a good run for your money. Only buy the turbo diesel auto with the 4M41 motor.