Pajero reliability @ economy

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 20:52
ThreadID: 32526 Views:17230 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Could someone help me with some info.
I am considering purchasing a 1996 - 2000 manual 3.5 lt petrol Pajero GLS,could anyone provide me with information on the reliability and economy of these vehicles,I may consider fitting gas to vehicle if it can be fitted.
I will be using this vehicle as a commutor and to tow a 14ft van.
Any info will be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:07

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:07
Hi Peter,

I had a 96 DOHC 3.5 petrol Pajero auto. The gas setup is not advised (at the time I owned it) but the 97 SOHC model was (at the time) supposed to be OK on gas so this may narrow your choice if that's the way you want to go.
The car I had, towed almost continuosly for 2 years and travelled 160000km in that time (maybe 170K I forget exactly) and I found it to be very reliable and VERY powerful when towing. Naturally the downside to all this power was economy (or lack there of) which was ultimately one of the reasons for disposal of this otherwise good car. Mine drank up to 30lt per 100km but usually was more like 25lt per 100km. I am in no uncertain terms a confident tower and drive at or dare I say it above legal limits, not that I reccomend or advise others to follow suit. For this reason I am sure others would get slighty better fuel figures but don't expect too much better.
Be sure the timing belt has been changed if the vehicle has travelled more than 100000km or intervals of this, as it is an expensive job to fix if it breaks, still an expensive episode to replace when it's not broke but worse if it does. Otherwise a solid performer offroad as well, scaring my wife enough in this vehicle that she will never go offroad with me again.
True story.
Hope this helps
AnswerID: 164842

Reply By: Aandy(WA) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:08

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:08
Hello Peter. i think you'll find that any 4wd running on petrol is far from economical and particularly the pajero. My advice is to look for a diesel vehicle. Commuting in a petrol GLS don't expect better than 16l/100km and with a van expect to use 20l/100km. With say a diesel Prado (but the Prado is significantly more expensive than the PAjero) expect 11 and 15 instead of 16 and 20. One last opinion - don't even consider gas if you are going to tow or do any remote off road work.
AnswerID: 164844

Follow Up By: Aandy(WA) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:15

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:15
Oops - I've mislead you I think Peter. Trevor has direct experience with the vehicle so take his figures. Mine were based on a petrol Prado I used to have and towing a 16ft van at or above legal speeds! The Prado is obviously a much better proposition when it comes to economy. My only Pajero experience was with a 1988 4cyl petrol which was very reliable but extremely thirsty too!
FollowupID: 419741

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:28

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:28

My understanding, is that when Mits, went back to the SOHC in 97 they increased fuel economy marginally but went backwards in power (only by a couple of KW) and torque (by a fair bit off memory). If peter could afford the fuel bill I would definately go the 96 model over the 97. If Peter decided to go later than 97, he's getting around the model shape change (2000 model I think) and he should consider this also.

Regards Trevor.
FollowupID: 419750

Reply By: howesy - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:12

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:12
Go to this site dude.
Site Link

The 3.5 it is very important the timing belt be changed when due as there is no clearance with this engine and things get smashed. the 3.0 litre had clearance.
AS with any, weight is a huge factor so it will change depeding on SWB, LWB etc.
NRMA's original review on the 1997 wagon 3.5 had average fuel usage at
12.5 L/100km and you could drop about 1.5/100km off that for highway driving. They listed fuel economy as a major feature.
Hope this all helps.
AnswerID: 164845

Follow Up By: Aandy(WA) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:20

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:20
Howesy, I think I'd be guided by Trevor's "real world" figures. There's no way in the world that vehicle would use 11l/100km on the highway unles you cruised at 75-80kph!!!!
FollowupID: 419744

Follow Up By: howesy - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:25

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:25
Cant say for real world 3.5 but I got 3.0 and it average 11.3 and down to 9.8 on highway. But i am older and drive a little slower than most 100 to 110kph max. i try to not cruise on more than 3000 revs.
FollowupID: 419748

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:34

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:34

A friend also owned a 3.0 at same time as me and he too recorded much better fuel figures than me but the two motors are very different in their characteristics. The 3lt got the job done but the 3.5 I too could enjoy getting the job done as well as the engine, much more relaxed when towing on road. Obviously this is just my opinion an is not intended to rubbish or credit one engine over the other. Merely conversation.

Regards Trevor.
FollowupID: 419752

Follow Up By: howesy - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:42

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:42
No offense taken at all. The major factor with most cars seem to be weight. Tyres can also play a part.
I did a search through the Pajero site and the average 3.5 towing an average 1400-1500kg caravan is returning give or take just on or over 15L/100km on highway. Mines used as a bush hack and the worst weight it has had is a trailer with motorbike. It is always going to vary especially with the amount of gear you load up.
FollowupID: 419753

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:48

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 21:48
I have to agree howesy, but that also reminds me of another good point of the Mits I owned. The bump stops at the back were like a three tower bump stop and in effect acted as helper to reduce rear end sag under load (which mine had plenty of both...loads and sag). Also a factor in my fuel figures.
FollowupID: 419758

Reply By: allanmac856 - Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 23:52

Tuesday, Apr 04, 2006 at 23:52
I have a NL GLS auto & find it a great vehicle. Fuel economy is pretty good; about 14 ltrs per 100klm on highway & about 16 per 100 around town. When I tow by ski boat, this climbs to around 20 ltrs per 100klm, which is still not bad IMO. My mates Pootrol uses about 30 lts per 100 when towing his boat.

Yes kw has dropped from 153 with dohc to 141 in the sohc, but torque figures are better with the sohc. Have driven both & whilst the dohc is a little nippier, it is all at higher revs. Power band is much broader on the sohc.

One question; why a manual?

AnswerID: 164894

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 at 08:06

Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 at 08:06
Seen some bad figures above, best figure I have heard is my friend with a 1999 3.5l manual.
12 to 13l/100k around the suburbs, and 11 to 12 on the highway lightly loaded sitting on the speed limit.
About the same economy around town as his EB ford, not so good on the highway.

Now this bloke is exceptional at getting good economy. Doesn't go over 2000 rpm too often, and uses the torque up the hills, backing off as he goes.
His brother driving the same car gets about 1 to 2l/100k worse.
AnswerID: 164926

Reply By: Bobdate - Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 at 10:07

Wednesday, Apr 05, 2006 at 10:07
This is the first time I have replied to a posting and I hope it goes through OK.
I have a 2000 NL manual Pajero and find it A1. It had gas fitted virtually from new and now has 154000 km on the clock, 95000 of those towing a 16 ft pop-top caravan. A few comments:

1 I have had no major troubles with this car at all. I replaced the timing belt at 100000 km (lousy job), and have done oil changes every 5000 to 7500 km, with filter every second change. It is greased every second oil change.

2 The car has heaps of grunt when towing our van and has no trouble in keeping up with the traffic. I generally tow the van at 90 km/hr but keep a sharp eye on the mirrors and move over whenever possible to minimise hassles with the traffic behind. In heavy traffic, I go at the soeed everyone else is doing.

3 Fuel consumption is not as good as I would have liked, but overall is better than most people I read about on the forums. Without the caravan I get 15 L/100 km on gas, and about 13 on petrol, country driving at the legal limits. With the caravan, it is 20.5L/100 km on gas and about 18 on petrol, driving generally at 90 km/hr. If I push it harder with the van consumption increases to 25L/100 km. I don't drive hard, but I do drive consistently and economically.

4 The petrol consumptions are a bit vague because 99% of the time it runs on gas. The 3.5 engine is fully gas compatible, and the only time it runs on petrol is way out back when (rarely) gas was not available. I am aware that petrol goes off when not used, but I still don’t use it very much. You need to keep at least 1/4 tank of petrol to prevent the pump from running dry on steep hills. I have set the car up so that the petrol pump does not operate when on gas. This way, I can run on petrol in the bush, and keep the gas tank full as a reserve. If I then run on gas, with an empty petrol tank, I don’t burn out the pump motor.

5 In 2005, we went round the block including the Kimberlies, Pilbara midwest WA, Nullabor etc and used only about 2 tankfuls of petrol. Gas was available in most places - you had to look hard for it. We live in Cooma NSW. On our trips, we tend to park the van in one place and explore from there, using 4WD where necessary. I really would like more ground clearance, but the beast gets me most places without too much scraping underneath. We did take the van when it was new out to Tiboorburra and Innaminca and all that area, and it had no real problems, but the van is not really meant for rough roads eg the Gibb River Rd, so we stay off them with the van but poke around without it.

6 I read lots about the economics of gas conversions. The economy is there: Petrol costs $1.40/L, gas averages these days about $0.60/L, but don’t get me started on that! Outback, we paid $0.95/L in a few places, and that hurt, especially around the Pilbara, where they bring it ashore and sell it to the Japs and Chinese for virtually zero. Back to the point - over 25000 km, you will use about 3250L of petrol @ $1.40 = $4550. On gas, you will use 3750L @ $0.60/L = $2250. Savings = $2300 in 25000 km. Gas is even cheaper in the cities. Towing a caravan 25000 km with petrol is 4500L @ $ 1.40/L = $6300, and on gas is 5125l @$0.60/L = $3075. The cost of the gas conversion was $2600, so I am well in front.

7 Diesel powered vehicles are much more economical. Comparing gas to diesel, I generally use a 2:1 ratio - if gas is less than twice the cost of diesel, my overall fuel costs are cheaper than diesel.

If you have any questions concerning my Pajero or the gas, please contact me on

Hope this is not too long and the it helps you decision making processes.
AnswerID: 164950

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