Challenger or Hilux

Submitted: Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 19:31
ThreadID: 86628 Views:7202 Replies:5 FollowUps:20
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Hi all,
Just after someone elses opinion .....

I have a mitsubishi challenger 2002, automatic 3 ltr petrol. I bought the car in October of last year and had a two inch lift, courtesy of emu suspension, bull bar, lights and uhf steel wheels and a set of all terrain bridgestones fitted despite the car looking great, with good paintwork and no rust, its still not leaving me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Since having eveything fitted, i have had to have it in the garage at least 4 times, with a cost of over $3000 .....radiator, brakes, battery , twice had to have engine checked out to find out where the oil leak is coming from ( which hasnt stopped as as there is still oil on the floor under the engine on occassion),as well as a cpl of other things done......and still have a burnt oil smell when the engine is turned off.

and now to the question,

despite all the work i have done to it i am considering getting rid of it and looking at a diesel toyota hilux. because i had taken a loan for the mitsubishi , i wont be able to take another out for the hilux. that means i will be looking at a 1995 (ish) hilux. i realise that this is older than my challenger but from what i have heard they are pretty much indestructable.

i am hoping to head up to cape york next year with my family...and frankly i dont really have confidence in the challenger. secondly , with the hilux being older i assume that means that it should be easier to fix if it breaks down on the trip....after all , not many bush mechanics carry spare computer chips for the more modern cars.

so , what do you think....should i stick with the challenger and its high fuel consumption and hope that everything that was about to fail has now been fixed........or do i go for an older diesel hilux and hope that they really are as reliable as others have told me.



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Reply By: Madfisher - Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 19:52

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 19:52
You do not say how many ks your challenger has done, that will be the biggest factor. Also now that you have the challenger fixed up how do you know you will not have to do yhe same to the lux. My Jack has been far more reliasble then my old 4 runner.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 455822

Follow Up By: Taf68 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 20:18

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 20:18
Thanks Pete,

Challenger has done 170,334klms. I realise that I could end up with a hilux that needs work and have problems as well. I am just not sure how many more problems can happen with the challenger. Despite spending so much on it, it's costing me so much just to keep it running, that I can't afford to go away anyway. I just have a feeling that the car is a lemon and I may be better off starting again with a hilux. Despite the fact I have already spent money on the challenger.

FollowupID: 728758

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 21:13

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 21:13
Not a lot of Ks, but 3lt Mitsis often need head work at around 200000ks. Although that was with the 12v motors not sure about 24v. If you go for a diesel service history is everything. If you can find a 2.8 with less then 250000 with a good service history it would be hard to go past. Brother had a 2.8 same as Steve, sold it to buy a Navara BIG mistake. The old lux is still going strong where as the Navara has cost him heaps.
Good luck Pete
FollowupID: 728764

Reply By: Kimba10 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 20:56

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 20:56
Hi there Taf the challenger was known to be a bit thirsty for some reason, our friends had the same engine in there pajero no problems and not to bad on fuel the other had the challenger and was thirsty as ?? Really weird and no real explanation for it. The hilux's have their issues as well like most 4wd's. The front diffs on the IFS models were quit week, the leaf srping front end were better. I had a 2.8D in my dual cab and must admitt it was possibly the best 4wd I ever had in regards to no mechanical issues in 300thou and still going strong today,(believe its had a gear box overhaul) As far as towing goes forget it unless you are in no hurry what so ever, the slightest hill would have you hanging in the left lane and probably in 2nd gear at 30. I towed a camper behind ours a few times and was painfully slow, even on flat roads you had your foot flat doing 90k if you were lucky and that was without air on lol but fantsatic off road in the real rocky, steep stuff, was brilliant, In sand I hated it, ran out of puff even running correct pressures. Depending on your needs have you thought about a prado, similair size to challenger, they use around 15L per 100 round town oopen road you will get down to 11/12, Mine used 17 round town but was running bigger tyres, bullbar, water tank etc and was on their all the time. Towing camper with A/T tyres, bullbar, etc and loaded to the hilt would use 12.2L per 100 and with 159L of fuel standard on all of them except the 4 cylinder which had 90 litres but these 2.7L petrol motors are a great engine with fairly good low down torque for towing if you intend doing that ?? Some times you just get a fealing with some cars that just turns you off them totally, I had that with my old prado 3.0L turbo diesel, So far I have the later 120 prado in petrol and would have to be on the top of my list for best 4wd I have owned so far, heaps of power, quit, smooth etc but still have a soft spot for my old lux. If not happy sell it and count your loses, I personally dont like the petrol engines in the mitsi's but I love there diesel 3.2 DID motor, its a ripper. Good luck with your decision, some times its hard. Luckily I have a forgiving wife lol, she reckons we could have paid our house off by now if it wasnt for money spent on 4wd's. Regards Steve
AnswerID: 455828

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 21:07

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 21:07
Your on the money I reckon Steve in regard to Mitsis. Had a bloke hire a 25 seat bus off us last week and asked if I would put his 3.2 paj in the yard ea night. It had 285000k, started first turn cold and I was surprised how grunty it was. Next door neighbour just spent $3000 on the top end of his 3lt. And I guess you know S P s blew up again.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 728763

Follow Up By: Kimba10 - Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 23:39

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 23:39
Hiya Pete, no I didnt know about his blowing up, he must be spewing 2nd time round, he got rid of his patrol because of the head issues, he does drive them pretty hard I have to admit lol, but shouldnt be that temperamental. 2nd gear also seems to be an issue with the mitsi's as well when they get a few klms on them, seems to be more 2nd gear syncro most of the time. Regards Steve
FollowupID: 728781

Follow Up By: S.A. Blaze - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 14:47

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 14:47
Hi Guys, the reason the Challenger is thirstier than the Pajero 3ltr, is that they are remapped with more power. more power usually means more fuel. The other possible reason is that the Challenger he is talking about is an auto and they are about 2k's worse per 100, but he doesnt have to worry about the 2nd gear syncro issue Steve...

Taf, most of the huys have filled you in, if you think the Challenger problems have cost you money, I hate to inform you that diesel parts are a tad bit dearer, you could go to the wreckers and get a full S/H 3ltr motor from a Magna for under $1500. try getting a decent diesel for that money... As for running costs, I spent all last weekend with a Diesel Mechanic who owns a 2009 Hilux and his statement was if you do the services yourself, the defference you spend on petrol for a petrol vehicle is offset by the costs of the services for the diesel, with the extra oil they take, cost of filters etc.

Guess you have some thinking to do. The oil appearing only every now and again is a worrying and puzzeling one though.
FollowupID: 728829

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:09

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:09
Funny thing Steve, in my younger days I was always replacing motors and g/boxs. Since I grew up I have not replaced either in a vehicle. Lets see now that would be about since 82.
Cheers pete
FollowupID: 728869

Reply By: kend88 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 11:10

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 11:10
My 2003 3.0L Auto Challenger has only done 105,000km, but touch wood, has been trouble free to date, except for a leaking cam seal (?), which I had replaced at about 100K when they did the timing belt. I get about 12L/100km around town, 9 L /100km on a trip not towing, and 16L/100km towing our 1700kg poptop.
Unless you had problems with the brakes and battery you can't really count them as repair costs, just normal replacement/maintenance, so you could reduce that $3000 by quite a bit. Would get them to check the cam seals for the leak.
If you go to the Pajero forum and look at the posts in the Challenger section, I think you will find that most people are very happy with their Challengers, as I am.

Good luck

AnswerID: 455874

Follow Up By: Taf68 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:03

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:03
Hi KenD
Am interested to know what modifications you have added to your challenger. I am getting 15/16l per 100 km on daily driving, and thats in the suburbs, not city driving.
FollowupID: 728815

Follow Up By: S.A. Blaze - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 14:52

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 14:52
Hi Taf

You may have seen my Challenger in 4wdaction. I also used to get about 12ltrs per 100 and am now up around 16, but the roof rack, and larger tyres 33" that I run are the cause of this. The gearing is totally wrong for a 4 speed auto to run larger tyres and roof racks etc. I am about to go down to 31" tyres that are still much larger than standard and I expect the fuel consuption to improve.. Mind you I run on LPG most of the time so it costs me less in dollars than a diesel to travel most places. Maybe save ure money and slap some LPG on it, before the goverment subsidy is removed...
FollowupID: 728831

Follow Up By: kend88 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 16:55

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 16:55
No modifications whatsoever (other than a transmission cooler) Taf.
Standard size wheels/ Yoko Geolander tyres at 40psi. I must admit I drive pretty conservatively, with fuel consumption and engine life in mind.
The LPG is probably a good option for a car up to a 2 or 3 yrs old Blaze, not sure if it is economically viable for one that has done near 200k.

FollowupID: 728850

Follow Up By: Kimba10 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 18:45

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 18:45
I had the prado converted to LPG worse thing I ever did and sold it for that exact reason, dangerous the way it was set up (leaking raw petrol on ground) legal by the RTA they didnt want to know about it. Was fitted by reputable company as well not some back yard mechanic. that was my experiance with it so has turned me off it for good BUT in saying that there are heaps of people who swear by it and you definately save in running costs no doubt but this is an issue with most 90 series prados on LPG unless modified after woods like a member on here has done and fixed the issue as he had the same problem but there were other things I didnt like about it, like losing the 90L tank (some thing I should have thought about prior to fitment) it would stall under heavy braking (no one could fix it) thank god I only really put it on to sell it as at the time petrol was $1.70 a litre and no one would even look at it, wacked it gas kept it 6 months got my fitment money back in fuel savings then sold it to first person to look at it. What Im really saying is if you decide to go prado and you want to go LPG then check out who is fitting it and try and find out what their reputation is like. Obviously doesnt seem to be an issue with the challengers running it. Regards Steve
FollowupID: 728864

Follow Up By: Kimba10 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 18:51

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 18:51
Hi there S.A. Blaze, I remember seeing your vehicle in the mag, great looking thing and must be nearly the only one around like it, seems very capable by your write up, great to see different vehicles in the mag instead of the usual patrol or cruiser. Regards Steve
FollowupID: 728866

Follow Up By: Taf68 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:17

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:17
dont suppose anyone has a link to , or a copy of the original atricle about blazes challenger...would be nice to see what the challenger is capable of doing and how well they can be set up,

FollowupID: 728871

Follow Up By: Kimba10 - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 20:03

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 20:03
I will have a look but I dont think I have it, I give all my books to the 2 little fellows next door to have a read and look at the pics but will check anyway. I would imagine Blaze would have kept a copy ?? Regards Steve
FollowupID: 728877

Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 14:06

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 14:06
This is the link that Blaze referred to.

Personally I'd go the Hilux stir stir

FollowupID: 728962

Follow Up By: Taf68 - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 14:18

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 14:18
Thanks for that dasher,

Thats a bloody good looking challenger would be interested in seeing any articles that have been written about it.

After reading the comments here I think I am leaning towards keeping the challenger. I just have to hope it doesnt have any more problems,

FollowupID: 728963

Follow Up By: Dasher Des - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 15:32

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 15:32
Taf, Blaze is a so called mate of mine. I think that you need to retract that statement about the looks of the challenged as it will only go to his head and as you can see, it's big enough anyway.
FollowupID: 728972

Reply By: Madfisher - Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:16

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:16
From the research I did about 4 years ago the 24 valve mitzi motor in the Challenger or Triton was the most fuel efficent v6 with many owners reporting 11/100. However as soon as you lift them, fit muddies etc that goes out the window. But a though tune up may help Taf.
I have always regarded the wifes auto Jack a thirsty beast, but after a major tune up we recorded 12.4 driving at the speed limit loaded up with four people and two mountain bikes on the back. On the f3 I was sitting on 110 so was surprised by this.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 455915

Reply By: JonoM - Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 at 01:50

Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 at 01:50
Hi Taf,

I've got a 2003 Challenger with 78,000km on it. Not really had any problems though it does have a rear main engine seal leak at the moment which is being fixed on Monday. Think it got damaged when the previous owner fitted a H/D clutch, but who really knows. The input shaft bearing on the manual gearbox is also a noisy bugger, so I'm replacing that while the gearbox is out for the RMS.

I'm heading to the cape in... 24 days! Gear I've got is a 2" lift, slightly larger than stock A/T tyres, LPG tank, spare wheel carrier (since the LPG tank took the spare location), snorkel, front diff lokka, nudge bar, light force spotties, rola roof racks and roof basket and a cargo barrier and of course, the UHF. I reckon that'll do me for the Cape.

I know what you mean by losing confidence in a car though. I don't think anybody doubts that the Hilux is a great vehicle. I considered getting myself a diesel prado for the Cape trip, but I really want to give the Challenger a go. It'll be something individual up there amongst the thousand hiluxes, cruisers and patrols.


AnswerID: 456119

Follow Up By: Taf68 - Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 at 08:57

Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 at 08:57
Hi Jono,

Firstly good luck on the trip to the cape. I am jealous as hell. It sounds like you have your challenger set up exactly how i want mine. Any chance I can see some pictures.
Would you mind answering a few questions about the set up?.

1. I hadn't considered having the LPG conversion done ( was yours on the car when you bought it or did you have it converted afterwards). has it affected the cars performance.
2. Where did you get your snorkel done, I keep getting told that older challengers dont have compatible snorkels.
3. Did you get rated recovery points fitted.
4. Are you going to be writing a blog that we can follow while your on your trip.

I have loads more questions but figure i would start off easy before hitting you with a big list of questions to give advice on me setting up my challenger.

FollowupID: 729118

Follow Up By: JonoM - Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 19:59

Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 19:59
Hi Taf,

Thanks Mate. Hopefully everything goes well. I'll be taking it pretty easy as I really don't want to do any serious damage to the car. I will be taking bypasses when I feel the risk is too high, that's for sure.

I'll definitely post some pictures up for you once I get the car back. It's at the mechanics getting the rear main seal done as I said. For the record, got told not to bother with the input shaft bearing. Apparently I can pay $1000 to get it changed if I want, and it will sound exactly the same in no time. It's just the nature of these boxes apparently.

1. My LPG was already installed when I bought the car. I have to say, it's a life saver for me as I'm a Uni student and petrol is getting pretty damn pricey. Been paying 64.9c/L for fuel, which I've calculated (for my fuel usage) to be equivalent to running an 7-8L/100km petrol vehicle.

2. The snorkel is a self install (actually still doing it). It's a TJM Airtec Snorkel for an MK Triton I think. I bought the petrol snorkel, but I'd recommend buying the diesel one instead. The difference that I can see between the Challenger and the Triton is that the Challenger has a wrap-around indicator. I did not realise this when I bought the snorkel... consequently, we had to cut and weld the intermediate tube to make it fit, and are now using PVC pipe to run a line to the airbox. The diesel snorkel is shorter from factory, so you wouldn't need to do the cut and weld like we did, but you'd still need some custom plumbing under the bonnet. I'll post some pics once I've finished it all up.

3. I've not had rated points fitted. From what I've read online, the front hook on the Challenger is very strong. It looks strong. It's not a tie-down point like some people say - that is the hole on the drivers side. The car manual actually refers to the hook as a tow point (some person online said it referred to it as a recovery point, but I haven't seen that). Regardless, I don't think it will be a big issue. I've got a rear recovery point with the rear towbar (using the towbar pin). I might buy one of the recovery hitches/hooks for the towbar before I go.

4. I might write a blog as I go. Haven't really thought about it. I'd definitely write up something when I got back, along with pictures. Just not sure if I'll do that "as I go".

Fire me any questions you like. Glad to help out.

FollowupID: 729696

Follow Up By: Taf68 - Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 21:33

Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 21:33
Hi Jono,

Rather than tie up the forum i guess it would be easier to email. If your happy with that then my email is Email me there and i will contact you back.

Cheers Mate.

FollowupID: 729722

Follow Up By: JonoM - Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 11:58

Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 11:58

Sent you an email mate.

FollowupID: 730076

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