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2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport XLS (Stormtrooper Sport)

Last updated Nov 29, 2016  

Photo of a 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport XLS (Stormtrooper Sport)


Its full history with us if you care to dive in :)

My step daughter bought it as a $600 semi inop with 223,000 miles on the odometer from a family friend. Story was the transmission was bad, but it drove. The PO drove it home from vacation 100 miles with the transmission light on. Parked it and decided to sell it and get a new SUV.

A local transmission chain quoted $1500 for a rebuild. $2100 is exactly what my step daughter had saved. The P.O. said everything else was fine: new AC system, services up to date, it was driven in 4wd regularly with no issues. So my daughter bought it.

Then the fun starts.... lol

The tow driver put it in 4x4 and drove it up on the bed. All seemed to work well with the 4x4 system. It was towed to Mr Transmission, to diagnose the transmission. Well it turned out to be beyond repair. The tech said it appeared the P.O. never serviced it and cooked it by driving it damaged for too long. We called the owner she confirmed they had never ever served the transmission...

Ugh! So we got a junkyard one and had it serviced and installed and all was well. The shop said the transfer case was in good shape. All seals were replaced with new ones. Of course now my daughter $ was gone and we were in the hole $600.00 for the remainder of the repair.

So we took the SUV home and all seemed just fine. Truck drove good, but we noticed a smell of burning oil. Surprise! The PO failed to mention the serious oil leak. Grrrr. A few miles down the road and now a check engine light!? We had to pass emissions asap, so we worked on the codes: EGR and upstream O2s. We replaced the EGR & the EGR solenoid. One code down, now on to the O2s... rusty, muddy and stuck in place. Box end wrench and a few taps with a hammer got them replaced. Check engine light was off and we passed emissions. Whew!

Then another check engine light: now the downstream O2s. Grrr… Well they were so covered in mud & were seized in place. They were going to be impossible for me with just hand tools and no lift. I had to give up and let a shop handle it, but we wanted to address the oil leak anyway. I figured while it was there I would check and see what other maintenance was due. It should have just had a timing belt replacement, but I called the PO to be sure. The PO did not even know you had to service the timing belt. OMG 223,000 on the stock belt?! Holy crap! I prayed she was just dumb and her husband had handled it, but I was not going to chance it.

Well our oil leak was a serious mess, affecting both valve covers on the rear side as well as another seal below the valve cover on both sides. As for the O2s, all went well until one of the o2s could not be replaced. None of the parts stores had one that would fit. So he just cleaned the old stock one and reused it. He found something else. The P.O. had stripped the oil pan bolt and installed a push button spout in its place with JB Weld. It had failed.

We got it home and decided to drive it a bit to be sure nothing else would come up. That’s when the 4x4 light started flashing and the rig would slam into 4wd. This happened many times. We called the previous owner. This had never happened to her. I checked the 4x4 handle to see if it could change gears, but the handle was stiff seemingly jammed and I could not get it to work.

Well no one had touched the 4wd since Mr. Transmission. We thought good grief did the transmission shop bump something loose or pinch a wire, so we took it back. He said what we described CAN'T happen. He asked if we bumped the handle while driving and made it go into 4wd. We were in bumper to bumper traffic and no one touched the handle. Plus it's so stiff, it can't move around on its own either. He argued and argued. Said he would investigate, but our transfer case must be broken. I reminded him he checked it and it was fine.

So we researched our self. Found out about the vacuum controlled 4wd. That dirty or bad solenoids or bad vacuum lines caused this EXACT issue with lights and it shifting into 4wd by itself. I called and brought him the research. He said this was not true and what I described would not cause this, the transfer case is busted period. He can't find a used one, so take the SUV home. I'm furious. We get in the SUV and the whole 4x4 handle was just flopping about. WTF? I got out and confronted him and he said something inside the transfer case is broken making the handle flop and the light come on. He will find me one and call me back to the shop then. I say the handle and 4x4 function was fine when the tow truck dropped it off before you installed the transmission. The driver used it, so it works. He says it's impossible, it's broken.

So I take the SUV and decide on a second opinion. I took it back to my non transmission mechanic to get his take on the transmissions shops answer to the shifter handle. He noticed one of the seals at the transmission is leaking.
He says it's the transmission to transfer case seal. Something they did must have unseated, so it take it back under warranty. He thinks the guy has broken the assembly when they took things apart, aka the now leaking seal. Or else they yanked on it till it broke. He says in his opinion it should be under warranty. Take it to another MR Transmission.

I did just that. I explained the whole story and give the guy all the research on the solenoids. He says they can see what the issue is, if I leave it with him. They take things apart and say the shifter assembly is shot all the nylon bushings are broken and that is why it's floppy and going into 4wd by itself. I say it did this BEFORE the shifter assembly bushings were broken by the other shop. He said bushings just fail with age; it might not have been the shops fault. He says the bushings can't be replaced that you must replace the whole assembly. Now he says the assembly is around $465 for the 4x4 shifter, plus $300 to diagnose and fix the leak at the back of the transmission. I'm like what??? I paid to have all the seals replaced. The other guy pulled things part and made it leak. They finally fixed the seal, but we left with the broken assembly.

A member on another forum helped rig the assembly to work till I could find a good one in a junk yard. He got rid of the flop and now it shifts into 4wd just fine. He checked the vacuum system, but could not find it amiss. He said it was safe to drive this way. No more random shifts, but still a flashing light. UGH! But it was now safe for my daughter to drive. She drove it for a year. In that time, I did the brake pads all around. We also had to do spark plugs and coils. It was even getting 21 MPG on the interstate. :)

Then my daughter got the bright idea to let the x-boyfriend go mud bogging. Not good for a stock vehicle on bald tires. They got it stuck and it had to be towed out. We told her she had to clean it or things could be ruined. In typical teen fashion she never did it. In time, the mud seized the pulley on the AC. We fixed that and then she decided she no longer wanted the SUV.

We tried to see what we could sell this beast for and realized there was no market for them. There was no way to get our $ back out of it, so we decided we were better off to hang onto it.

So once we decided to keep it, we needed to get it running right. Tires were also needed. So we charged the battery from sitting and got the rig to the shop. First we needed a new battery. Next, we had a check engine light and flashing 4x4 lights. Well the mud also locked up the 4WD solenoids... aka 4x4 light. Then it turns out the mud messed up the TPS.... our cel. We replaced them only to then get another CEL. Now the EGR solenoid had again failed. Mud again. That and a EGR port cleaning sorted that light. In the process, I asked the mechanic to timesert our oil pan to fix the mess the PO left us with. The light stayed off long enough for us to pass emissions.

I decided I wanted bigger tires. The size I wanted required a body lift. So I sourced lift body blocks thru Summit racing and grade 8 bolts thru HomeDepot. I performed the lift myself. I sourced some tires, but the deal fell through.

In the interum the CEL was back. Now it was the drivers side precat. Both drivers side O2s were replaced first. No light for 100 miles, but then it was back. So I have to get a new drivers pre-cat. Ugh.... during all this.... the transmission started leaking horribly. First diagnosis was the transmission pan seal. We paid for a trans service with the seal replacement. Well that was NOT the issue. As the mechanic filled the trans it was refusing to take the fluid. Once it was in, it kept puking fluid back up the dipstick. After much research, we looked to the transmission vent. It was clogged. Once cleared... so far, so good.

I swapped out my factory running boards for the lighter older factory tube side step version. We got it a new set of tires. Mickey Thompson ATZ P3'S in 285/75 r16s (33ish) The finishing touch was painting the OEM rims the same satin black with a white gloss lip.

Next up was fixing the trim on the Windows. It was oxidizing and peeling. After sanding it down I repainted it, the side mirrors, roof rack, and side steps with satin black paint. I followed this course of action on to all the graphite paint that was oxidizing on the nose, and flares. The flares and rear bumper as well as the graphite side trim all got painted satin black.

The nose got a bit more attention as it was damaged heavily. I sanded it down and it got a custom combo of factory matched white and satin black. The old peeling chrome grille and headlight bezels all got swapped for a junkyard freshly revialized satin black set.

Along with the paint repairs... I tackled the milky headlights. I sanded with 800 grit, 1000, and finally 2000. Then polished with a 4 step 3M paint buffing compounds and glaze. The reuslts looked like BRAND NEW headlights! While I was at it I baked them open and painted the grey insides satin black and removed the yellow reflector. Now they look like a custom black set.

These low buck body repairs really revialized and set the truck off. its now something we can be proud to ride around in!


3.0L V6 SOHC 24V (6G72)
4 speed automatic

Factory Options

4.900:1 Axle ratio
Wide Body option
2 tone exterior (White & Charcoal)
W19A75 Grey cloth interior
Power locks and mirrors


We will be getting a grill guard/push bar.
Foglights and some push bar lights.
Tail light guards and a rear bumper guard.
A rear spoiler/ air deflector.

New custom black emblems (sign shop is working on these)

Some interior touch ups soon to come:
I want to do some interior trim overlays in white 3d carbon fiber.

New speakers as all 4 are blown (have a set of 4 infinitys from the junk yard for it). When I swap them I will sound proof the doors.

The stock head unit has a bad volume button, so I pulled one from a junkyard car. Form the same car I got a stock 3 disk changer. If I can get the code sorted out... in it will go!

I also have a spare sub and box that might do the trick. Trunk has already been sound proofed. :) Just have to rig a quick disconnect so the trunk is still fully usable!

We will be addressing the headliner that has not been stained by a soda explosion

We also may pull the seats and do some heavy cleaning on the carpet. At that time I will also sound proof the floor. I have a whoshing noise that might be a bad boot surround on the transfer case... console has to come out to check this...

Maintenance and mileage:

Purchased it in late 2011
2001 Montero Sport XLS 3.0L 4WD 222,000 miles
Automatic Transmission INOP
New used transmission from LKQ (fully serviced at install by Mr Transmission)
(They destroyed the 4x4 shifter assembly nylon bushings- still working on fixing this)
(Came home with flashing 4x4 light)
7/5/11 Check engine light (P0401 EGR system)
NAPA New EGR (code off then back on)
NAPA EGR Solenoid (code off)
Advance Auto Air Filter
**8/13/11: Repair order #2279: $56.39
Oil change & New Vehicle Inspection
Timing belt
Excessive Oil leaks (bad oil pan plug)
**9/11/11: Repair order # 2282: $699.14
Timing Belt (po did not know if ever done)
Dayco belt: $41 (60,000 mile)
Motor city Cam Shaft seals: (2) $5 ea
Water Pump: $100.00
Valve Cover leak
Perma Dry molded rubber w/ spark plug tube seals: $50
Felpro intake gaskets (upper/lower): $19
**10/1/11: Check engine light: O2 sensors DIY 2 from Advance
**10/1/11: Repair Order #:2503: $140.00 labor
O2 change on the ones we could not do
Rear cam seals RTV
*235,000: 2012
DIY Brake pads all 4 corners (high end)

My Daughter let her boyfriend take it for the swim in 3 feet of mud. :(
Here is the mud incident my daughter caught on film: lol

**9/29/12: Repair Order #: 3876: $447.17 (running bad & CEL)
Oil Change
Spark plugs (6) $5ea
Wires $53.00
PCV $7
Upstream O2: $94
A/C pulley repaired & belt (seized up due to mud): $50
*239,000: 2013
*Check engine light: transmission code (SUV parked) (P0740?)

*239,000: 2014
**12/10/14: Repair Order #: 7484: $654.20 (CEL)
TPS (thank you mud!): $200
Clean off mud to check vac sys $140.00
4x4 solenoid valves (thank you mud!) (2): $128 & $52
**12/12/14: Repair Order #: 7485: $131
timesert repair on leaky oil pan $105.00
Oil Change
**12/17/14: Repair Order #: 7504: $140.00
EGR tract cleaned (P0401)
EGR Solenoid replaced
**12/30/14 Repair Order #:7574: $147.00
Dead battery $137.00
New used Tailights
239,000: 2015
January 5: 2 inch body lift under $100.00
grade 8 bolts at the local stores (Lowes & Home Depot)
Summit parts: 6 of the 3inch diameter to go under the cab (A, B & C-Pillers)
BB02 (2 H x3 OD) @ $9.97 www.summitrac...arts/pra-bb02
4 of the 2 inch diameter for the nose and tail mounts.
MB02 (2 H x2 OD) @ $7.97 www.summitrac...arts/pra-mb02

I then searched online and found a cheaper price. Summit will price match BTW. had them
(bb02) @ $4.99
(mb02) @ $3.99
= $45.90 plus $14.70 SH to my door.
Total $60.60

So Summit did the price match (factored in the shipping as if I ordered from Truckpro). The final price was $59.00 plus local taxes.
January 13: code P0431 disappeared and returned
**1/13/15: Repair Order #: 7629: $174.86 (Bad Transmission Leak)
Transmission service $70
Mitsu fluid: $45
Mitsu Filter: $53
Trans puking fluid at fill has to slow fill overnight
**1/17/15: Repair Order #: 7629-1
Driverside O2: up and down stream
Code P0431 returned:
**1/12/15: Estimate Cat replacement: $466.92 part $305.53
Installed tube style running boards
tailgate key INOP Applied PB Blaster
**2/4/15: Repair Order #: 7735: $71.00
Tire Mount: 285/75 r16 for now. Roughly 33s : $36
Bumper tweak: $35.00
**2/6/15: Transmission puking out dipstick vent line clogged $0.00
Satin black paint wipers, window surrounds, side steps
Cargo area soundproofed
Satin black roof rack
Scrubbed engine bay
Mud hosed off undercarriage & suspension (Squeaks but Handled better)
Painted wheels and wheel wells
*239,588: 2/5/15 ?
*239,652: 2/7/15 ?
HVAC INOP lights fixed
INOP Power Mirror switch replaced with Junkyard one
*240,001: 2/20/15
Polished Headlights
Painted Headlight Bezels (used bulbs)
Painted Satin Junkyard grille and headlight surrounds
*240,312: 3/6/15: CEL off
Painted Nose white and black
Satin Flares, lower body and flares
Windshield Wiper blades
3/15/15: visual oil leak driver side (fill truck)
*240,674: 3/20/15: CEL off
**4/23/15: Repair order # 8404 : $252.38 P&L
O-ring Seal behind water pump failed new water pump (15,000 miles failure)
Valve cover oil leak discovered per Richie(15,000 mile failure)
Towed Chad in 4wd
Transmission tunnel heat detected
July: check engine light on and off 2x
*243,050: 7/2/15: CEL off
7/20/15: roofing nail in front tire (superficial)
Harmonic Balancer loosened James repaired
bolt backed out
cleaned spline
fixed housing (ball pein hammer timng cover)
made new woodruff key as Key way ruined
8/2/15: New battery post mount installed positive side: CEL off
*244017: 8/15/15: CEL on
fixed Exhaust rattle… random loose washer on exhaust tip hanger
**9/12/15: Repair Order #: 9248: $231.39
Complaint for Timing Tensioner Pulley wearing through plastic timing cover causing clatter noise. Shop fired tech for rushing and not tightening bolts during water pump replacement 3,000 miles ago. Upon breakdown it was discovered the tech did not tighten any bolts under the timing covers after WP install. Tensioner shifted with mileage into the timing cover and wore a hole thru cover. Serpentine belts (3) were found to be dry rotted and due for replacement. No labor due. Mitsu updated crank pulley bolt design, so Cust suggested crank pulley and bolt be upgraded to new for safety sake.
Tire wear uneven in front. Tire test showed bad front bearings. Also suggested shock replacement in front. Sway bar bushings also old & cracked, could allow excess side to side motion. Customer to replace sway.
Front Bearing R&R: $40 P / $126.00 L
3 Serpentine belts: (AC: $18 / Fan: $20 / P.S.: $22)
Lower timing cover & CP bolt (comp.)
Crank pulley ($107) & CP washer ($6)

12/13/15: oil change with restore
SeaFoam intake & gas tank
PCV replaced
*252,333 (768 miles)
12/26/15: one quart low... topped it off...

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