2 Years with the Pajero

Somewhere in the mountains of North Luzon

I've been driving my Pajero for more than two years now. Time for a little summary about how our journey went so far.

It's been 30.000km so far, and we've been all over Luzon, Samar, Mindoro and Catanduanes. With very few exceptions the Paj brought us, sometimes heavily loaded with 5 people, a dog in the trunk and luggage on the roof, where we wanted to go. It also handled the occasional rough road really well.

All in all I'm still pretty happy with it, but a couple things are not so great to the point that I would probably decide differently if I were to buy it again.


Due to the conversion from right to left hand drive the existing automatic aircon was reduced to cold or not cold and 3 levels of fan speed. Also air is only coming in through the 4 vents in the dash, making for hot feet and a foggy wind screen when it's raining. The car originally even had separate controls for the rear area which, needless to say, don't work anymore either.

Leaking Sun Roof

In the Manila area it's common to rain for days in a row during rainy season. At these times the car turned into an aquarium, with water collecting under the carpets at both the driver and passenger side. I only noticed that after more than a year, previously I had covered parking and this wasn't a problem. You can see this car was designed with rough conditions in mind when you remove the carpets - there are 4 rubber plugs, in front and back on each side, which can be removed so any collected water can flow through the resulting holes in the floor out of the car. Still - not funny. Besides the sun roof, I suspect it's also the rubber around the wind screen that is not water tight anymore due to it's age.

Other Problems

This looks like a long list but for a 25 year old car that hasn't been maintained properly for a long time I would say it's still OK.

  • 11/2013 Dead battery couple days after buying. Unsure if I left any light on or it simply was bound to happen. Replaced it just to be on the safe side.
  • 11/2013 Aircon stopped working. The responsible fuse had been replaced with a solid wire which got loose. Replaced with a proper fuse.
  • 12/2013 Brakes slowly stop working while driving in heavy traffic, brake warning light goes on. Repair at the next gas station cost PHP 500, some connecting piece between the rear wheels was heavily leaking brake fluid. I was coming directly from my repair shop, unclear if they messed up or it was just a coincidence.
  • 01/2014 In Naga City the big fan in front of the engine nearly took off. Again this happened just after a visit to my repair shop where they changed the cam belt. Cause: two of the four screws that hold the fan were broken. Luckily happened directly after starting the engine and not at full speed. The roadside repair for PHP 3.000 took a couple of hours but it lasted. This time I decided to finally find another garage.
Roadside Repair
Parts in the grass
  • 09/2014 I was out of the country and didn't drive for 5 months. After a couple of days when I was back the aircon compressor decided to give up. With PHP 16.000 for the replacement this was the only really expensive repair.
  • 09/2015 By chance I noticed that the temperature sensor that triggers the intercooler fan was melting away. Probably didn't work for a while and due to the fan not running things got a bit hot. The replacement part should cost a whopping PHP 3.000. Instead I let them place a switch in the dash so I can manually turn on the fan when I think it's necessary.
  • The whole year of 2015 there were occasions when the car would refuse to start. The battery was good, there was also power, just the starter motor didn't even try to turn the engine over. Usually wiggling the connecting cables and cleaning the contacts would help. In the end an old mechanic in Quezon City found the solution - a corroded connection in the separate power cable going to the starter relay, that was totally covered in electrical tape. That was replaced and all problems were gone.

The starter problems were actually the worst since it was not deterministic and the car would fail to start out of the blue from time to time, most often not at home but somewhere else.

So yeah, by now I had to invest a considerable amount of money in that car for repairs and replacement of consumables like tires and shocks (new shocks were the second best investment I did right after the stereo though - a huge improvement in handling). However until now I never had to turn around because of road conditions, and this is worth it in my opinion.