Long-term update: 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero
It has been a while since we last posted an update on our Mitsubishi Pajero, simply because there was nothing much to report about it. Apart from some minor repairs, all of which arose as a result of frequent off-roading excursions, absolutely nothing has gone wrong with the vehicle as it clocks over 30,000 km on the odometer.
During the 25,000 km servicing, which was done from a trusted garage in Umm Ramoul, Dubai, we had them eliminate an annoying creaking noise coming from the steering wheel every time we turned it. It appeared that the steering-wheel noise was due to the excessive desert sand that got collected in the steering coupling bush, which might have happened while we were attempting to recover our Pajero once when it was stuck in deep sand, with windows open. We also had them take a look into a minor rattle that came from the centre dash, which they attempted to solve by tightening the dashboard joint screws. There was a faint, but noticeable grinding noise that appeared to be coming in from the rear-left brakes, only with the application of parking brakes. The noise was heard while the parking brakes were being applied, and when one gets off the vehicle with parking brakes applied. The garage personnel just cleaned the brake calipers and other internal components, and once again got to remove truck loads of sand trapped inside these, which solved the issue. Along with the 5,000 km Mobil oil and filter replacement, the whole service cost us Dhs 325.
Ever since we bought the Mitsubishi Pajero, off-road excursions became a frequent thing – especially dune bashing. The Pajero also happened to be the back-up vehicle, for our off-road test of the all-new 2012 Toyota Land Cruiser 4.6-litre V8. While the Pajero is very capable in handling the loose stuff, the difference between Mitsubishi’s flexing unibody and Toyota’s rigid body-on-frame is very apparent. While ascending through a tricky part of a dune during another off-road event organized by a well-known off-road group based in Dubai, we hit a firm sand bump on the path and the Pajero had all its four wheels in the air for a brief moment, before landing hard on its skid plate. The metal skid-plate proved to be strong as it resisted the crash-landing well enough, but still got slightly pushed and bent inwards.
The plastic lip on the rear bumper protruding outwards is a common sight after almost every off-road session that we have with the Pajero, and we just push it back in place every time it happened. After several such occurrences, the two flimsy metal clips supporting the plastic lip finally gave up and broke off the metal plate that supports the rear-steps, during our most recent off-road session. Even the plastic brackets that held the plastic lip in place against the bumper, were damaged.
So for the 30,000 km service, we got the front skid-plate back in shape, and got the broken metal clips in the rear, welded back on to the metal plate supporting the rear-steps. The damaged plastic brackets were glued back, but it does not appear to hold the plastic lip in perfection anymore. A colleague’s child, who had accompanied us for a picnic, had successfully managed to pull out the rear a/c control module, damaging the locking clips and brackets in the process. The garage guys attempted to replace the clips and then fix the module back in place, but in vain as the controls were still loose, so they glued it back in place. The repair works, 10,000 km Mobil synthetic oil and replacement filters cost us Dhs 750 altogether.
Another discovery which we made is the increased rolling effect felt by the passengers in the second and third row seats, in comparison to the driver and front passenger, especially when the vehicle is driven in two-wheel-drive mode around the corners and in roundabouts. This phenomenon may be attributed to the body flex, typical of a unibody construction.
As a daily-runner, the Mitsubishi Pajero fares well enough. Average fuel-burn rate, as registered by the trip-computer, soars at an awful 15.9 litres / 100 kms, even though that includes our frequent off-road runs. But that said, we have seen relatively better fuel-efficiency numbers in a 4.0-litre Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. The air conditioner in the Mitsubishi Pajero has no issues coping up with the increasing outside temperature, even as the mercury soared to a high 43 degrees. Last but not least, we do intend to buy a rear bull-bar in order to avoid breaking the rear bumper components again in the future.
Original Mileage When Bought: 8,880 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 30,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 15.9 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 400
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 350
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 1,320