Just Bought a 2002 Pajero -Already Acting Up. Need Advice.

Hi ladies and gents.

I just bought a Mistubishi Pajero 2002 a week ago from a particular, as I'm planning on doing a lap around Australia. First day was perfect, I was really happy with it even thought I almost sold a kidney in order to buy it.

On the second day, I wasn't happy anymore, as it started acting up, couldn't pass the fifth gear without loosing speed, forced to do 80km/h on the freeway, and I couldn't climb hills with it without being in first or second gear, doing 20-30km/h on the freeway as well.

I went to a friend's place who happens to be a mechanic, who told me it was maybe one or two of the cylinders which were causing troubles after he looked at it. I went to a second one to do a scan check, turns out it might be the air flow meter but he didn't had any used one to try. So he adviced me to go to other mechanics or second hand car's parts and try the same part to see if it fixes my problem, but no one wants to let me try, they all told me I have to buy it first.

I can't be bothered buying something that expensive knowing that I'm not even sure it will fix my problem and that I'm fairly broke at the moment.

So girls and guys, what choices do I have ? I'm kind of lost and really need to hear some good advices, not mechanic's ripoff BS.

P.S. : sorry for bad English, this isn't my main language.
P.S.2 : It's a Petrol and I have a picture of the scan tool I'll write down what it said :


Here is the picture:


  • +1 vote

    Compression test engine


      Thanks ! Looked it up, don't think that this is the issue, as the second mechanic tested them and told me they were fine…


        Do the basics yourself if u want to save money.

        Test spark on all cylinders, Air filter.

        Is the check engine light on? On startup do all dash Indicator lights turn on ?


    could be your MAF if it has one, could be compresison, could be your gear box.


      Second mechanic actually did a scan check, I have a picture of the scan tool but I don't know if I can post it so I'll just write down what it said :


    Mistubishi Pajero 2002

    turbo diesel? we had a sprinter that wouldn't do more than 60km/h on the motorway because the turbo wasn't kicking in. the same with an hiace. 40km/h uphill is painful when there are about 20 vehicles behind with drivers that wants to rip into you.


      Petrol ! So painful… I put my warnings on now, and people seems more understanding now but it still is very frustrating !


    you can upload a photo by clicking on this link and then hit the upload new photo button.

    after the photo is loaded then click on it. and then copy the address. and then paste the address in the description

  • +1 vote

    based on the photo of the scan tool it sounds like it could be "Limp Mode" which could be caused by-
    - faulty air solenoid valves (They are located just to the rear of the rocker cover on the top of the engine.There are 2 of them - one for vacuum control and one for ventilation control) - one of them could be stuffed, or the hose connecting it could be damaged/leaking. you can buy replacements off ebay from HK for AU$19 delivered

    here's a photo of what they look like on the engine - i think this is the same model motor as yours.


      Thanks ! I'll look it up tomorrow in the daylight ! If one (or two) is (are) stuffed, how can I clean it (them) ?

      • +1 vote

        if it is one of the two solenoids then they will need replacing. you could try a wrecker for used replacements if you need it quickly.

        or it could be the hoses connecting the solenoids.

        one way to test leaky hoses is to wipe a thick paste on the hoses. if there is a leak then you will see bubbles appear in the paste. make a paste/glue with flour and water - make it thick like clag/paste. apply it with your hands. start the car. have some one press the accelerator whilst you are looking at the hoses (with a torch for good light). watch for bubbles in the paste/clag.

        does the engine sound good/normal when you are in neutral and you press the accelerator?

        if you are thinking about replacing the solenoids then confirm the correct parts before buying the replacements.

  • +2 votes

    I don't have answers to your problem but when it comes to buying parts for your car there is no try before you buy. If the mechanic suggest you need something you gotta buy it and install and hope for the best.


    I know this doesn't help you now but it may in the long run.

    In the family we have had two a 1997 pajero exceed and 2000 pajero glx, both petrols. get rid of the car they are nothing but problems after 10 years. I can't speak for the diesel.


      I owned a 2002 Pajero Exceed. Didnt give me one issue and I drove it daily. I still regret selling it. Loved getting away in the Pajero. Its all about how you look after the car (always serviced at the dealer).
      If it wasn't for the money i would recommend you to go to Mitsubishi direct. They would give you proper diagnosis. By guessing and trialing you could end up spending more than what the issue might be.


    Try to find somewhere that specialises in Mitsubishi's or the Pajero.

    Maybe call a dealer and ask them for advice, can't hurt.

    Unfortunately when a part fails, the car can throw error codes totally unrelated to the faulty part.

    The worst type of fault on a car is one that can't be easily diagnosed.


    is it running rough or just low on power? If running rough (misfiring) it could be a specific cylinder or two or the spark system. If running smooth, but no power, it'll most likely be fuel or air.

    Unfortunately it will be a bit trial and error to find the problem especially when there are multiple codes thrown. Maybe check on some Pajero forums for common faults for that model.

    We had a car that was misfiring and carrying on, eventually would not start. It had some warranty work carried out on the heads and afterwards would not run well. Spend a couple of hundred outside warranty to not fix the problem and it ended up being an earth lead that was not reconnected properly. The car was throwing lots of codes which made diagnosing difficult.


    I can only echo what addo wrote: Petrol Pajeros, in my experience, are dogs. I'm on my fourth diesel Pajero and really happy with them, onselling each of them with around 240,000 km on the clock. So far two of my old vehicles have gone to fellow members of the 4wd club I belong to and there have been no complaints. The great unkowns when buying a used vehicle are driver behavior/history and service history. Of course you can look at the stamps in the log book but even they don't always tell the full story. Mine have all had log book services and intermediate oil changes at midpoint betweetn each service. I also run a prefilter on the fuel system. This is important when travelling away from the cities, which I do quite often,it is amazing how much gunk and water is recovered from the prefilter.

    Since I've only owned the one petrol Pajero back in 1999 my information about them will not be timely but there have been some good suggestions on what to chase in solving the problem and it will be pretty much all of them. I would probably start with checking the earth lead first, then work through the spark plugs and leads and distributor. In particular look for moisture in the distributor cap. If the engine and engine bay is clean, clean, clean then water ingress into the electrics is a very real possibility.

    Hope you can solve the problem and enjoy your trip around Australia.


    The numbers next to the errors are actually error codes.


    12/13/25 I've had from forgetting to plug back in the MAF sensor before, so check if its plugged in. Its the thing on the air box. You can also try MAF/MAP cleaner. $13 from supercheap. If that doesn't help grab one from a wrecker car, clean and replace. I would start here first.

    21 is self explanatory. Leave this one till last

    53 is something to do with ignition coil, doesn't necessarily mean ignition coil is bad. But their easy to replace.

    What happens with pajeros over time is, the spark plug tube seals dry which causes oil to go into the spark plug tubes. Which can cause misfires. Rocker cover gasket, cam seals, crank seal all do the same. But happens with every car. The only problem with doing the seals is labor time gets pricey. Mitsubishi didn't design the easiest motors to work on.

    Wouldnt recommend doing a rocker cover gasket if your not mechanically inclined. I know qualified mechanics of 30+ years that hate doing them on pajeros. I would try cleaning the MAF sensor first, replace if faulty, Switch over coil packs to see if the code 53 changes (44 - cyl. 1&4, 52 - cyl. 2&5, 53 - cyl. 1&3). If it changes its a bad coil (replace), if the same its a misfire specific to whichever cyl. that coil pack fires.

    Which can be caused by spark plug tube seals, spark plug or lead. Worse case headgasket.

    Are you loosing coolant ?


    Did u fix it?


    Wow guys thanks for the help you're all amazing !!! Sorry for the late response it's been a crazy couple days for me, I got offered a crazy job opportunity in the bush I couldn't refuse, so I just took my Pajero to the mechanic because I'm out of time and need it fixed quickly ! Hopefully I'll get it back on Friday and keep you guys posted with what the issue was exactly. I'm kind of happy to make it someone else's problem considering everything you guys said it could be, as I'm no mechanic and don't even fully understand some of your technical words… Anyways thanks again you're a great community, keep it up !

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