Car repair can go terribly wrong sometimes.
That simple job, a broken bolt, and it becomes a 3 day ordeal. All it takes is a momentary lapse of attention or too much eagerness and the job goes sideways.
In the short version of this story I too; own a late second generation, aka 2.5 gen Montero.
Just like GBXM founder Brian does. I’ve had the truck for a year now. And last year, while trying to diagnose a strange engine tick in an otherwise strong running truck, my dad and I, who I often wrench with, decided to replace the hydraulic lifters.
These are a common issue in 90s Mitsubishis and slightly complicated to replace in a V6. The intake and, of course, valve covers have to come off to swap these out among other things.
Since the truck had a recently had head work by the prior owner, the valve cover gaskets were brand new. During the lifter replacement I didn’t change them. Not a big deal, valve cover gaskets can last a year, maybe 2 or 3, if you’re lucky in an older car. With the conditions they live in, it’s a wonder they last that long. Regardless, it wasn’t an issue until early this year after the truck had sat for most of the winter.
The passenger side gasket had begun to leak onto the exhaust. [ That’s where mine was shot, too. – BD ] My only tipoff was the smell of burning oil. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have really noticed or cared so much. Sometimes these gaskets weep a little oil and it’s really not that big a deal. The big problem is when it’s hitting hot exhaust, there’s always the risk of the whole vehicle going up in flames. The gaskets needs to be changed.
I wish I wasn’t an expert on removing Mitsubishi V6 intakes, but I am. It comes with the territory.
During the original job, I know wasn’t rushing, my dad and I were taking our time it went well. The tick didn’t go away, but the engine ran fine so—whatever—I drove it. There was some drama when a cam sensor broke, which is a story for another time, but otherwise it had been trouble free until the valve cover began to leak.
With the parts on their way, I set myself up for a Saturday of wrenching. Brad, my co-host from Auto Off Topic, and our frequent guest and friend Jordan came by to give me a hand or two and keep me company as I worked away to get the intake and valve covers off.
After carefully removing the intake, I taped over the lower intake to avoid dropping any bolts into the engine. The valve covers came off, first with the passenger side. I pulled the cover, put it aside and to our shock and awe, there, stuck in between the valve springs, a common household paper towel my Dad and I had stuffed inside during the lifter replacement. This was to avoid dropping something in the head. Well, it must have soaked up the oil and camouflaged itself in, because that damn thing lived for a whole year inside that engine, probably 5,000-ish miles. Unbelievable; but shit happens and I got lucky.
After getting the valve covers back on with fresh gaskets, swapping spark plugs and wires, the job was complete, totally smooth. I had a bit of trouble getting the passenger side valve cover bolts started, but eventually did.
After starting the truck, all the leaked oil began to burn off the exhaust and it appeared to be all sealed up. Two days later, though, and I could still smell oil. “That’s interesting,” I thought, only faint, but enough to make me notice. It all should have burned off in that amount of time.
Well, even after being careful and aware to not pinch a valve cover gasket—I went ahead and pinched a valve cover gasket.
To be honest, I’d actually never pinched one before, because I’m typically very careful. Maybe I got distracted this time. Maybe I didn’t double check my work. [ Maybe it’s just a righteous pain in the ass getting the intake manifold off a 6G74. – BD ] But I thought for sure it stayed seated while I placed it on the engine. Clearly It didn’t, got pinched, and was leaking. So, now I get to take the intake off AGAIN.
I questioned myself for a while on this one, because it seemed sloppy—and I don’t do sloppy. Shit happens as they say.
Lesson learned, though. If you want to be a better mechanic, own your mistakes and learn from them. It will actually make you a better person.