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Thread: 03-06 Montero or 06-09 forester

  1. #1
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    Default 03-06 Montero or 06-09 forester

    Hi All,

    (I posted this over in the “other vehicle” section, but figured I should post it here as well.)

    Looking into getting a vehicle to build over the next year or so and then ship to South America to travel with during the winters. Right now I am considering these two vehicles for their relative low cost to ability ratio, but would be up for other suggestions. Looking to spend roughly 5k for the vehicle though.

    The planned usage is to travel around South America with my wife and son. I would like something that has decent Offroad ability, mostly for gravel, poorly maintained, and rough roads. No rock crawling or mudding is in the cards.

    While I’m not in S.A. the car will be with my wife’s family in Guayaquil and used as a daily driver sparingly. Please let me know your thoughts!

  2. #2
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    Wow, two very different rides. I wonder about parts availability of the Suby? The Monty should have parts under the Pajero name. Also, I suspect the Monty would be way more capable on deeply rutted roads, deep dust, or deep mud.
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  3. #3
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    Definitely the montero. I wouldn’t trust even my own subaru off road. I believe the montero also is an actual 4wd as opposed to an awd.


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  4. #4
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    Nwoods: I know they are on different ends on the overlanding spectrum, but they are really the only two vehicles (that I could think of) that check all the boxes.
    -Around 5k
    -“modern”
    -AWD/4WD
    -sufficient room (reason I excluded a tracker/sidekick)
    -aftermarket support
    -active forums
    -reliable/durable

    I hadn’t thought of parts availability down here. Monteros definitely outnumber Subaru’s, so I would imagine the parts availability would favor the Montero.

    Astrormi: what makes you say that? It seems plenty of people Offroad their Subaru in the “other vehicles” forum. I would upgrade the forester with a small lift, 215/70r16 ATs, and skideplates before heading south. Has your Subaru been unreliable? I agree the Montero is the superior Offroad vehicle and overall a more HD unit, but the operating cost seems to favor the Subaru (mpg, aftermarket/factory parts cost, etc).

  5. #5
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    I lived in Ecuador for several years, Monteros everywhere. Great size and ability for traveling down in that area. Another thing you see a lot of are the Gran Vitaras (tracker/Sidekick) the 4 door versions are similar sized the Suby and everyone down there swears by them. In contrast I don't think I saw a more than 3-5 Subarus that were newer than 2000.

    Personally I'd take the Montero and enjoy a better driving experience and more peace of mind, and take the mpg hit.

  6. #6
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    Do Suby engines even last past 100K miles? I'm joking, I owned one years back. Not remotely comparable to a Montero.
    83 Mighty Max SPX - 2.0l 4 speed. ARB bumper, winch, OME 2" rear, Bilsteins, 4.90 rear locker, front LSD. 31x10.5R15
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  7. #7
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    Southofantarctice: I would agree with your assment if the amount of monteros vs Subaru’s. I also like the vitaras but I think to storage space I’m them is lacking compared to the other two rigs. I’ve been coming here for about the last ten years spending a total of a year and a half or so down here. Where did you live here?

    Plh: I would agree that a Montero is a more heavy duty vehicle, but looking through this forum I keep seeing random problems with the third gen and it kind of has me hesitant. I know Subaru’s are not without fault, but it seems their problems are consistent and within my abilities to address (thinking head gasket in particular). What issues would I expect to address with the monteros?

  8. #8
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    Hanzo: main mechanical issues common across Gen 2 and 3 petrol Monteros/Pajeros (6g72, 6g74 and 6g75 engines) are valve stem seals, valve guides and rear camshaft seals. The guides wear out after 100-150k and the valve stem seals dry out. Once the guides are worn, the seals don't seal properly also. This allows oil to get into the combustion chamber messing w/ fuel economy, ruining cat converters and producing blue smoke out the tail pipe. Replacing the guides and seals seems to be part of common baseline procedures for most folks here when buying Monteros above 120k or so. The rear camshaft seals also leak after 100k+, an updated part made of better material fixes that. Other gaskets also sometimes leak (valve cover gaskets, crankshaft seals), but less often.

    For the DOHC 6g74, there are butterfly valves that give little performance benefit but increase engine complexity and have bad failure modes (possible catastrophic failure), so most people remove them. Also there's an updated crankshaft bolt and washer for all engines in the 6g family that are supposed to be more resistant to shearing on disassembly (e.g. during timing belt work).

    Not much else, the 6g bottom ends, Montero transmissions and 4WD systems are considered bulletproof. The frame and body components are large, heavy and durable.

    Edit: 6g family is also known for valve tick. Folks fix that by cleaning/replacing the lash adjusters/valve lifters and using 5w20 oil instead of 5w30.
    Last edited by lev; 01-02-2018 at 12:54 AM. Reason: Added valve tick

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanzo View Post
    Southofantarctic: I would agree with your assessment if the amount of monteros vs Subaru’s. I also like the vitaras but I think to storage space I’m them is lacking compared to the other two rigs. I’ve been coming here for about the last ten years spending a total of a year and a half or so down here. Where did you live here?
    True, the vitaras are hurting in the storage side of things. Great little rigs once you find a way to work around that, they handle those roads down there without blinking an eye. I lived in Misahualli, near Tena, for just over two years. I also spent a fair amount of time in Manta and in the valleys around Quito. Loved the country and the people. I've had a soft spot for those Lada Nivas ever since...

  10. #10
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    Lev: So it sounds like working over the heads and seals would be good idea before I go. Any idea on parts cost? (I’d do the work myself at a friends shop). Also I assume the 03-06 3rd gens have the 6g75, am I correct in this assumption?

    Southofantarctica: MY MAN! I love me some Lada Niva, and if I were a single man I’d be driving one now. In my mind they’re like a 4wd vw bug. I’ve spent some time in Tena, Manta, and Quito but I mostly am hanging around the coast.

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