How boring our lives are: Mitsubishi L200 V repair and maintenance

 

A bit of history

All carmakers of the world should throw in a hundred each and order from Mitsubishi some training “How to make the 134th restyling and not to be called a loser”. Mitsubishi are masters to make a restyling as a new model and sometimes – a new model not very different from the previous one. UAZ has such talent, but it is still far from Mitsubishi. For this reason, I will not start to tell here the whole history of L200 up to and including the fifth generation – there were many not only generations, but restyling as well, and change of motors and gearboxes and everything else was taking place constantly. Let’s just say a few words about our fifth generation.

It came out in 2015. Mitsubishi called it a bit strangely – “sport utility truck”. It sounds as an oxymoron, but if to look closely to the car, you can find something like that. There is some aggression in this pickup, but at the same time there is also cargo essence (where to get it from the rear axle on leaf springs). As a whole, this L200 looks nice: its face is serious, as it should be SUV, and a long cabin (the amount of space for passengers of the second row is the envy of many classmates) and successful side lines of the body make it even more harmonious. However, to describe five years old car is a thankless task. Let’s pass to the equipment.

Our car is equipped with 2,4 liters 154 hp diesel engine 4N15. Hardly it can be called a reworked 2.5-liter 4D56 from the previous generation. This engine is new. And it is quite successful. It has some weaknesses, but about them little bit later.

The transmission on our machine is automatic Aisin A750F and all-wheel drive. There is also a “chip” of L200 – a choice of modes of transmission Super Select 4WD-II. Using a washer behind the selector of automatic gearbox one can engage all-wheel drive, lock differential and even change downshift.

Such set of equipment with 70 thousand kilometres run we have driven to inspection in service. We shall see how it feels on this, frankly speaking, childish run.

The engine

When this diesel engine appeared, people were cautiously considering it: is it as good as the previous 4D56? That one was very good, the main thing is not to fill it with diesel fuel from a dirty bucket. Gradually, the stats on the new 4N15 began to accumulate and the fears began to go away. The engine has turned out to be successful, too, and there are almost no problems with it. Looking at it on our car.

The first thing we see is an even layer of dust and dirt on the engine and everything under the bonnet apart from it. That’s not good. And not so much in terms of temperature rise, but in terms of the effect of this road grime on the wiring and electrical connectors. And, of course, a layer of dirt on the battery is no good at all. It is not far away from self-discharge, and in winter it is absolutely unpleasant. Therefore, it is desirable to wash everything under a cowl, clean the battery and recharge it before cold weather. That’s why we have the Goodyear smart charger. Why is it smart? Because it has the ability to choose the operating voltage of 6 or 12 volts, it will indicate the battery state of charge, protect the battery from polarity reversal, short circuit and overheating. Besides, it has “winter mode”, which means that this charger can charge the battery at temperatures down to -10. In a word, even a graduate of Smolny Institute will be able to use it, and let alone an owner of a tough pickup truck. The main thing is to have it at hand. But New Year is coming soon, so here is an idea of a good New Year present for your beloved. No need to thank me.

When inspecting the motor, we found a small misting at the joint of the motor cover. Where did it come from? That’s how we were able to explain it. Of course, no one has ever removed the lid, so no oil could get there. Could it be an assembly fault? That’s very strange. Nothing critical, though. I just don’t know how it could have happened.

Choosing oil for a turbo diesel is a very complex issue. I won’t argue for one manufacturer or the other, but it’s important to remember the presence of a diesel particulate filter, which also affects the choice. You will need 8.4 litres and a filter for replacement. I have already said about the oil – there is a wide choice, and the cost can range from 4.5 to 11 thousand rubles. Everything is simpler with a filter: even an original one costs from 400 roubles, so it is not necessary to bother searching for analogues. The replacement itself costs 800 rubles.

There are no spark plugs on the diesel engine, therefore it is not necessary to change them either. There is no timing belt either, there is a chain. There is no regulation for its replacement, from the experience of mechanics it serves up to 200 thousand. Set for replacement costs 18 to 22.5 thousand, replacement at service – 14 thousand. Against this background the cost of replacement set for belt of additional units (1100-1600 р) and its replacement (1200 р) looks in general as cheap enterprise.

Of course, one can change the air filter himself – the cover of the housing is on clicks, there is nothing complicated. But the original filter itself costs 3100 roubles, which seems a bit cheeky. Prices for analogues start at 350 roubles, so it is better to look for something cheaper. But there is one “but” – the replacement schedule. The service maintenance schedule at Mitsubishi is traditionally too optimistic – every 15 thousand kilometres, and it is better to reduce it to 10 thousand, of course. As for an air filter, the regulation suggests changing it every second service – once in 30 thousand. It is quite cruel towards the automobile, especially if it drives in dust and dirt (and what for do you still need four-wheel drive pickup?) Certainly, it is better to reduce this interval also to the same 10 thousand.

Every 15 thousand they also suggest changing the fuel filter (as you know, this procedure is necessary and very important for a diesel engine).

And now let’s move on to the faults of the engine. There is only one problem, and the name is EGR. Its service life depends on quality of fuel. Some people are lucky to drive 150,000 km, someone cleans it at least at run up to 80,000 km. But in general, it is advised to turn it off beforehand, without waiting for any problems with it. I understand, that jamming of EGR is a topic for the toughest disputes, therefore I shall not insist on removal of it. But I shall say, disconnecting it programmatically costs 8000, and mechanically – another four thousand. If you want, you can also chip this motor, because the oldest one has 180 hp. – It is the same 4N15 with another firmware. It is possible to receive approximately 190-195 hp with help of chip tuning, even from our version with 154 hp. But again, it’s a matter of taste.

Transmission

Here the L200 has no problems. Even with automatic transmission and Super Select 4WD.

It goes without saying that the Aisin A750F needs periodic oil changes. And if you drive on bad roads and directions, it’s better to change it more often. When driving on good roads, they recommend to change it every 100 thou km, and on bad roads, every 80 thou km. Frankly speaking, I would reduce these intervals still a little, but it is rather because of desire to be reinsured. The safety margin of the automatic transmission is good.

The cost of oil change consumables can range from 5,000 to 13,000 roubles, depending on the choice of oil and how it is changed.

The oil in the transfer case and gearboxes needs to be changed every 45,000 kilometres. It is possible to buy oil for 1.5 or 4 thousand – it depends what you like. The rates for work are more specific: 800 roubles – in the transfer gearbox, 1600 – in reducers.

Despite of the general reliability of the transmission, we have found one unpleasant thing. The rear cross of the propeller shaft rusted badly. To replace or repair it at the first service is not a good idea. It’s better to get it done at a professional service and get the driveshaft balanced right away. It’s hard to say anything about prices – prices vary all over the place. In our case, the approximate cost is about six thousand rubles.

The L200 with the previous generation automatic had one problem with the slanted wiring to the automatic. The wires were frayed and the gearbox would go into emergency mode or simply work inadequately. It was easy to repair it: either by repairing the braid or replacing it. Our generation doesn’t have such a problem.

And if we look the car from below, we can see one more little “scrape” – a very rusty flange connection on the exhaust. There is nothing bad in it – everything is firmly riveted here and does not fall apart. But if it is necessary to change something (for example, a muffler), the connection will have to be simply cut off: it will not be possible to disassemble it any more. This is a typical age sore of not only L200, but almost every car living in Moscow and St. Petersburg – reagents on roads relentlessly treat the issue.

Chassis and brakes

There are even fewer questions here than the transmission. The only thing we’ve found is the front calipers are stiff. Well, it happens. But I want to say one more time: when you change pads, calipers should be serviced. They are expensive new, so it’s better to take care of their service life beforehand. By the way, the choice of pads and discs should be mentioned separately.

Unfortunately, in their case, Mitsubishi have decided to go in for robbery and robbery. It is understandable: OEM spare parts, even consumables, are always expensive. For example, back pads (back brakes are drum here) will cost 5 thousand. And to hell with it, but there are not so many analogues, and even the most accessible ones cost at least 3.5 thousand. Front original pads – up to 10 thousand, analogues – from 5 thousand. And that is if you really look for them. With front brake disks the situation is similar. The original ones can cost well over a dozen, and the analogue ones start at 3k. But the choice of analogue is again very, very poor.

The situation with the running gear parts is no less grim. Theoretically there are no weak points here too, but the cost of some elements is upsetting, and the quantity of analogues makes you cry with diesel. Let`s take, for example, a front suspension lower transversal lever. The original one costs 18 thou, and some desperate shops ask up to 30 thou for it. Analogues theoretically exist, but they are not on sale. There are no analogs for some other details of suspension. Fortunately, something is broken seldom, and, for example, the same ball bearing can be replaced separately (it costs from 1 to 3,8 thousand – oddly enough, there are analogs). The work will cost 1900 roubles. By the way, if you need to change the levers as a complete set, you will have to guided at the amount from 4.5 thousand (prices in the regions may vary).

Anyway, it’s a good thing that the suspensions (both front and rear) on the L200 are reliable. Otherwise it would be very difficult.

Body and interior

L200 of this generation is too young to rust much. The paintwork on our truck is also good, although it is from the early generation and is used properly. So, there are only two problems – running boards and a coachwork.

The situation with legs is following: at one time engineers have made a very strange thing, having attached their brackets to the body with rivets. Naturally, rivets began to fall off with times, and the whole construction began to hang out. Mitsubishi has reacted quickly and carried out recall campaign, during which these rivets have been replaced with bolts. True, the owner of our car did not wait for this good deed and installed bolts himself. But at the first service visit the masters of dealer centre have noticed it and have changed bolts once again. This time for original bolts. If you come across L200 with dangling running boards, don’t worry – there is a solution. True, the chrome will still peel off and they will slowly rust.

The case is a little different with the body. Our car is fitted with a rather popular Carryboy body. And it just sucks. The door handle is broken in a frost and the brake light on top greedily absorbed water and rotted away. Good thing it has nothing to do with Mitsubishi and the car itself looks much better.

And one more detail, peculiar to all pickups: it is easier to carry some things (in particular – purchases from shops) in a saloon than in a cargo compartment. If something flew to the front wall, it would be inconvenient to climb on a body. There is a solution: to install some organizers, which are on sale in plenty. With them it will be easier to get in time a tow rope or something else so useful, which you may need off-road or even in a city. And a little more discreet advertising: you can put a good compressor in the same luggage compartment. Those who drive on dirt know how useful it is sometimes to deflate the pressure in tyres and then re-inflate the wheels. And that is where a compressor comes in handy. It is desirable – such reliable and productive, because it will be necessary to pump not the tape on a tyre of blacked-out Civic, but a decent tyre of behemoth car.

The interior shows virtually no signs of wear and tear at 70,000 kilometres. The only thing it could ever use is cleaning. There’s no need for regular dry-cleaning. You can give it a good wash with a quality interior cleaner. And then the L200 will be as good as new.

What’s the bottom line?

The L200 is unequivocally a good car. But only for someone who understands why he needs a pick-up. If there is no such understanding you hardly need it at all. There is comfort on the second row of seats, but it is rather conditional; steerability is good, but only within the limits of class; the interior is pleasant, but only for a pickup. The aftermarket cost isn’t for everyone either, and some parts prices might upset even Trump Jr. But if it’s a pick-up you’re after, the L200 is highly recommendable. Especially if you don’t like the Toyota Hilux for some reason.

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