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John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/21/17 9:42 p.m.

EDIT: This was the last thing I had written just before Photobucket Imploded. I have come back and added some photos via Berkit.

A new build thread for something in a completely different direction for me.
Pictures are good so lets start there:
(pics from the auction)

Alright, some background...
I have the Infiniti Q45. The seller experienced the unfortunate experience of hail damage during the time period that I was trying to buy it off of him. His insurance co (State Farm) totaled the Q45 and paid him out $5,025. If he wanted to keep the Q45 they were going to charge him $2,800 to keep it. That was too rich for The Challenge so the car went off to auction. The previous owner continued to kept me in the know about the Q45 like when the tow truck picked it up and where it went to. It went to an IAAI (Insurance Auto Auction Inc) yard to be sold off. I watched the IAAI website and like 3 months later the Q45 came up for auction. My high bid of $500 on the Q45 did not meet State Farm's undisclosed reserve. State Farm countered with $900 and I owned the Q45 on a bid of $900. That was my first experience with Insurance Auctions. I recently learned that IAA has a yard and auction about 20 minutes from my house. What IAA calls West Cleveland in Lorain, OH.

So, earlier this year I paid the $200 annual fee to be a "Public Member" of IAA. In Ohio, much of what is auctioned off is available to "Public Buyers". Not everything but a lot. My intentions for joining was that I was looking for another Prius to add to my business fleet but at a good price. The website list all the cars being auctioned in any given week and this location has about 500 cars per week. Monday is "inspection day" where you can look, feel and touch the cars but you can't really drive them. Tuesday is auction day or you can pre-bid on the website before the auction.

A few months back, I went on an Inspection day to see a Prius I was interested in. While inspecting the Prius with what looked like easy panel replacement damage, I could not get the car to start with a jump. It was stated to be a runner but this scared me off. Additionally, Pre-bidding went to a level higher than I was happy with. Alternately, there was a really nice '09 Pontiac Vibe there too. I put in a modestly strong pre-bid on the Vibe and sure enough ended up winning it and my total purchase price was $2,533 with taxes and fees. This Vibe was a repo so it was a clear and not salvage title. I thought of keeping it and then ultimately decided to sell it. I had $3,100 into it and sold it for $4,700 just a mere 8 days after pitting it on CL. I could have held out for much more but I was happy with the quick sale.
The '09 Vibe w/2.4L engine and auto at 81K miles.

I have gone to a couple of inspection days and bid low on a few other cars recently but nothing has gone my way. Or, to rephrase that, my cheap skate bids have not won anything recently.

This week, I was only slightly interesting in looking at this Montero. I was mostly drawn to its uniqueness. Upon actually looking at it and inspecting I became much more intrigued. Even for sitting in a dirt lot for months, this car was clean. Have I mentioned that it has 202k miles? You'd never believe it. Certainly not believe it for a 17 yr old car found in Cleveland, OH and 4x4 that would typically be taken out in every form of bad weather and subject to endless amounts of salt. Sure, there is some rust but more akin to a 5 yr old norther car.

Aside from noticing that the car has every factory vin tag on every body panel, these two stickers on the car are my favorites:

That's right, the car has a South Carolina history!

Speaking of history, I never researched the VIN. If anyone had access to those services, that would be great. If you have to email then jwelsh02...yahoo...

Where are we headed?
I have bought a car I don't really need. I think this could be a good daily driver for my wife who will like the high seat height. I will like the occasional use of the 5,000lb towing capacity. Neither of us will like the expected 15 mpg but my wife drives less than 8k miles per year living under 3 miles form the school she teaches at so I expect we will not notice the poor mpg that much.

Might keep it. Might flip it once the snow falls. This is a unique vehicle with a unique following.
Wife might hate it (but she likes it so far though has not driven it)
I might hate it.
It might have problems though it drove like a dream on the 20 minutes bringing it home.

Second goal of this build thread will be to chronicle what it will take to get an Ohio Salvage Title rebranded to an Ohio Rebuilt Title. So far I am going off this Ohio DMV Pamphlet on this process since I have never done it before.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/21/17 9:53 p.m.

A picture from tonight after having hit it with hose and sponge. Really just more of a rinse off than a wash and it looks great.

I had made no effort to clean the interior and it shows very clean. The greatest flaw is some delaminating of the vinyl portion that is is the side of the driver's seat near the fore/aft controls. The smooth black portion of the vinyl has come off leaving the white fuzzy backing of the vinyl exposed. Yeah, that's the worst thing. The ash tray looks like new. No one has ever smoked in this truck.

Toddler Approved!

Patrick MegaDork
6/21/17 10:07 p.m.

Biggest deal is receipts for major components. Bumper, etc. but the most important part is the receipts must contain vin number of vehicle the parts came from(if used parts) and if it is a private sale the receipt must be notarized.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/21/17 10:20 p.m.

In reply to Patrick:

Do you think it would pass by doing nothing? All the lights work, nothing rattles, nothing is falling off.

The bumper cover has two cracks.

Acme Lab Rat
Acme Lab Rat Reader
6/21/17 11:55 p.m.

I had a '92 that was absolutely the apple of my eye. Sold it to a now-ex-girlfriend, wonder if she'd sell it back...

Patrick MegaDork
6/22/17 7:25 a.m.

It should pass by doing nothing. I know several people who have done that, but it would be worth a call. Salvage inspection has nothing to do with quality of repairs or roadworthiness. It's all about making sure replacement parts are legal.

Wouldn't hurt to hit the cover with a heat gun and pull to see if you can pop it out. But ebay is showing new primered cover for $77 with free shipping, and crash structure for $61 shipped so you could be in it for under $150 before paint.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/22/17 7:30 a.m.

In reply to Patrick:

So, by that standard than I might be better off showing up with no repairs rather than run the risk of having undocumented parts like a missed receipt? I wonder; this is all new to me. There is a 800 number hotline on the brochure. I'll call.

wae Dork
6/22/17 7:32 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

What Pat said. It's all about checking for stolen parts. Some states (Kentucky for example) also have a basic roadworthiness box to check: headlights; brake lights; turn signals; horn; mirror; windshield. But they don't care how ugly it is, if the damage is actually fixed, or if the airbags are in there. Just bring receipts for any replaced "major parts". In your case, I'd just show up with the truck, the title, and fitty bucks.

Patrick MegaDork
6/22/17 7:36 a.m.

Ninja edit above on parts cost. They require receipts for major parts. Big body panels, frame, engine/trans/diff. They didn't even want to look at the receipts for radiator, ps pump, hoses. The only one they cared for was the front clip with vin from pull a part of the truck I pulled the body panels from.

I have spray guns if you get a quart of black and clear and buy a primered cover

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/22/17 7:45 a.m.

What I see from my initital inspections is that the bottom rusty collored part in this picture is a factory skid plate. That plate should be mostly not visible. The plate has been both pushed in and rolled up. It seems to me that this metal plate is what is forcing the plastic to remain deformed.

I am going to try to remove the plastic and then bend the metal back into a more proper shape. This should allow the plastic to go back to a more normal shape.

Both fog lights work. There is a missing trim from the passanger side fog lamp and that trim is cracked on the driver's side but oh well. Im not going for perfect I'm just going for legal.

wae Dork
6/22/17 8:50 a.m.

As long as you can zip-tie a license plate on there somewhere, it's legal as it sits. Yous just pays your moneys and yous gets your titles.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/22/17 2:53 p.m.

To those that have Mitsubishi experience:

Have a bought a problematic model?
Where is the right place on the internet for Montero support (forum)?

Any leads to an Online Owners Manual? (not in the glove box.)
Online Field Service Manual?

EvanB UltimaDork
6/22/17 2:56 p.m.

Yes, you have bought a very problematic model. I will take it off your hands for $400 and you won't have to worry about it.

Expedition Portal is probably the best forum for support.

slowkid New Reader
6/22/17 3:37 p.m.

This is very relevant for me as I've been stalking the iaai.com for Detroit and some surrounding areas. For Detroit they won't hand out keys, they said too many "lost" keys claiming unscrupulous bidders pocketing them in attempt to drive purchase price down.

I would be very interested in hearing tips, tricks, must do's when trying to buy from iaai.com.

Also, cool truck, what is the total buy in? Thanks in advance!

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/23/17 11:56 a.m.

EDIT: Pictures re added of the Avalon.


Here is some more story for SlowKid and others following...

The rest of the story is that I also put a bid on the same day for an Toyota Alvalon. I threw in a pre-bid of a low number and if it stuck, it stuck. As bidding on that unit ended it was with what they named a "call". This means the bid did not meet the sellers hidden reserve but the auction house will call them about it. The seller might counter offer or might accept. The auction was on Tuesday and I was prep'ing on Weds to go get the Montero when I got an email stating my bid had been accepted. I was in the kitchen, near my wife when I read the email and she heard me say, "uh-oh". "I guess we are going to get two cars."

'02 Avalon w/169k miles. Very dirty like it had been sitting quite some time. At least two tires low on air. Not flat but low. Muddy interior. These cars sit in a dirt lot and when it rains it become mud. Center console cover has ripped leather. Required a jump start but once running everything worked inside including the air. No codes. I also checked all electric windows; and all good. Outside has a broken grill (fixed with zip ties).

Aside from these issues, here is what really interested me.
1) the car was a Veterans Charity donation. Everything seems like an old guy died and the family (or no family) donated off the car.
2) tires look good and have manufacture date code of 2014. Not too old.
3) there is an oil change sticker suggesting next change on 8-16 or 171k. If this is 3mo/3k then the oil was last changed 5-16 at 168k. This leads me to believe that the car has not been driven in a year but the oil has 1k on it.
4) markings under the hood detailing services at 113k miles, etc!!!!!! Sure, that is 55k miles ago but these things add up to tell the story of a car that was cared for.

Photo diary:

Trans F-F (fluid and filter) 10-11, 113k
Battery 1-14

Cleaned engine with Purple Power degreaser. Was much dirtier.

Fender has been replaced and this mirror is black and the other is silver. I had not noticed these things at the yard but sure enough the factory vin tag is missing from this fender.

Cleaned up well but a little whiskey bump on that side.

Grille repair. This broken grill seems to be a victum of a design flaw. When you open the hood, the latch is under the grille so the natural inkling is to lift the whole heavy hood by the plastic which can not support the weight. There is no metal rim to the grille, just plastic connectors at the top of the grille.

The bad: I drove the car home about 20 miles with hyw. It is great at all speeds but the brakes are poor. Required pumping like a bad master cyl. The brake fluid reservoir was very low. This is a Cleveland car and could be a leaking/rusty line but I have not inspected yet. The car could need shocks.

I think I will keep this car for the business. If I put $500 into it it will be great. I put $1k into it it will be all new (tires, struts, brakes, etc)

Oh yeah, the winning bid was $375 or $508 with fees!

Some humor:
I started with the auctions looking for another Prius. I then passed on a Prius and bid on a Vibe. The Vibe was nice but in the 1k miles I drove it the 2.4L returned only 26 combined mpg (which is consistent with its rating). The 1.8L base engine gets better.
I was not comfortable with the car's seating and though it was a nice example, I just really didn't like the car much. So, I sold it.

Then on my quest of mpg, I bought a SUV with a rating of 13/15/18, ha!

The Avalon should rate about the same as the Vibe but a much more comfortable car.

Another downside:
This Avalon has a Salvage Title. It was listed as front damage (grille?) Since it is a Charity Donation vehicle I wonder if the Charity wanted to take no responsibility for the condition so they listed as Salvage. Who knows but either way, it will have to be "Inspected"
This too will be a "no parts" repair.
On top of that, I have to take the cars about an hour away to be inspected so my plan for that day is to rent a Uhaul tow dolly and use the Montero to tow the Avalon.

EvanB UltimaDork
6/23/17 12:11 p.m.


I haven't tried any of these but it looks like they have the 03 Montero FSM.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/23/17 12:30 p.m.

In reply to EvanB:

Worked great. Thanks!
Saved to Hard Drive! 165mb.

XLR99 Dork
6/23/17 3:16 p.m.

Wow, couple of cool purchases! I really like the Montero, and I had my wife more or less interested in one for her DD. She wants something that can be used as a bus if needed, but doesn't look like one. Couldn't find a Montero that wasn't flogged, so we ended up with the Sorento with a warranty for much more $$.

Do you have to come out to Seville for the inspections, or is there someplace closer to you?

chandlerGTi PowerDork
6/23/17 5:36 p.m.

That's a cool truck John! I like the feel of this thread as well.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
6/23/17 9:11 p.m.

In reply to XLR99:

Closest to me for inspection locations are:

W140 St, Cleveland - 55 minutes.

Bucyrus, OH - 65 minutes.

I'll probably choose the Bucyrus location because it is mostly just a straight shot down Rt4 from my house.

I have not set my appt yet. Someone else told me these locations are both 3 weeks out for appts. I can not get the appt until I first get to the DMV and pay the $50 each. I'll get to that on Monday.

Chandler: thanks for the follow.

stylngle2003 New Reader
6/24/17 1:41 p.m.

I've got an '02 Avalon as well. It was my grandmother's....nobody in my family wanted it after she passed, so at 68K miles (10/12), she was mine for the cost of shipping from Dallas to VA ($765). I've put tires on a few times, changed the fluids and filters, and it's been a wonderful, comfortable, efficient DD ever since. Now at 120K, I realize that I'm a few (30) thousand miles behind on TBelt service, so that needs to happen. But otherwise it has been amazingly reliable. Mine also needs new struts.

I get 23mpg daily (mix of city/highway) and about 28mpg on long runs at 75mph.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
8/8/17 2:58 p.m.

When we last left this story I had set my appt to have both cars inspected by The State for the same day. As was my plan, I rented a tow dolly from Uhaul and used the Montero to tow the Avalon.

The Montero towed good. This is generally an underpowered vehicle and thought it has a 5k# tow rating I was near the top end of that. The internet tells me that an Avalon weighs about 3,400 pounds and Uhaul's site says that an empty tow dolly is 750#. Total about 4,150#.

I chose the Bucyrus, OH inspection station because it is all flat 2 lane roads with 55mph speed limits (or less) to get there. I found it best to keep the 5 spd trans in 4th. If it would get to 5th, even the slightest application of power would require a kick down to 4th anyway...and on super flat ground.

Easy there, easy back. Never felt unsafe or uncapable.

This "Inspection" was the easiest thing in the world. Both vehicles had ABSOLUTELY ZERO REPAIRS. Wham, bam, thank you Officer and I was back on my way.

I was done about 1:00 and hungry. Not a lot of choices for lunch in this small town but I do know of a pizza buffet there in the "downtown" district and would you belive that I managed to find two "onstreet" parking spaces.

onemanarmy New Reader
8/8/17 3:15 p.m.

Those Monteros have a serious cult following. Unique looking, overbuilt, and the last of Mitsubishi bringing over decent vehicles into the US. Hope it works out for you.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
8/8/17 3:34 p.m.

Another side story about this Montero...

When I bought it at auction the title shows both the current owner (State Farm) and the previous owner (his full name and address in Parma, OH - suburb of Cleveland). Some quick googling relieved a nice Middle to Upper Middle house overlooking the Metropark and a guy of about 59 yrs old. I figured that he might not appreciate being cyber stalked as I chose another route; something I thought might better appeal to a more "traditional" gentleman. Using My computer, a printer, a piece of paper, an envelope and a stamp I wrote a letter to the previous owner.

My letter told the story of having bought this truck with no history but it being very evident that it had been cared for. I expressed my desire to continue that good care, etc. I also commented that some things did not come with the truck and wonder if he still had those items. I would be willing to buy them (spare tire cover, 3rd row headrests, tool kit from rear door, cargo cover shade, owners manual, etc.)

Sure enough, about a week later, he called me after receiving the letter. A week after that he called me back and I drove the Montero about an hour to his house to pick up all the items I wanted and he still had! Best part of this was that I then also got the back story and some history.

I would describe the owner as "attentive but not capable". He had everything fixed the truck ever needed but he did none of these things himself. As such he did not have a lot of knowledge about what had been serviced and he did not have a lot of documentation of service but rather statement like, "just a couple of months ago we spent about $2k in service to fix some leaking." He really did not know what was leaking but I can assure you that now it does not leak at all.

The back story... Wife rear ended another car. It leaked fluid at the scene. They had it towed to a body shop. The number from the auction jived with what he told me. State Farm said it had $2,800 in damage and values the truck at $3,800. He could keep the truck and still get $2,000. He figured then that he would have a ton of hassle getting it fixed and be stuck with a "salvage title" (which he was scared of since he did not know what this meant.)
As I mentioned above, he was "attentive but not capable" or generally not handy or mechanically inclined.
So, they decided to let the Montero go. Took the cash and dropped that on leasing a small Kia SUV.

The guy seemed very unhappy about now having a car payment. He seemed a bit bitter at his wife for having wrecked the otherwise good Montero. He stated he had hoped to take it to 300k.
Note: State Farm offered to let him keep it for $1,800. I bought it at auction for $1,300 and then plus fees made it $1,700. I sort of had to dance around and not really grid in to the guy that if he had taken the truck from State Farm he would still have it and have $2k in his pocket!

I have fixed NOTHING on the truck. As for the leaking at the scene of the accident that statement made me realize that it was probably washer fluid. I have noticed that when I fill the washer fluid bottle (front passenger corner underhood) that it leaks out before it overflows from the top. My guess is that the bottle has a crack up high. It holds a lot of fluid and works as it should otherwise, just doesn't hold as much as it could. Bottle is not really visible. Just the filler neck is visible so I do not know where the crack is.

This guy bought the Montero out of Charleston, SC about 3 years ago from the original owner. This info jives with my assumption that the car has been North for less than 5 years.

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
8/8/17 4:17 p.m.

Here's what currently resides in my "driveway" ...

Infiniti Q45: 75k miles. Challenge 2015 car (fun car)
Prius: 95k miles. My daily and work car good for 46 mpg w/o trying.
Mazda5: 53k miles. Wife's daily which might get sold off soon if she DD's the Montero or Quest.
Avalon: 169k miles. Newly acquired to use in the business.
Quest: 135k miles. From Challenge 2016 recently repaired and running well again.
Montero: 202k miles. Recently acquired.

We had a week planned for vacation in Northern, MI. What to take? For space we were planning to take the van.
When I met with the previous owner, I had one key question, "I just bought a 200k mile SUV that I know nothing about, would I be crazy to take it on a 1,000+ mile trip with my wife and toddler?"
His answer was that he would take it for sure and it will be fine. Sure enough, 1,400 miles later the Montero was a complete champ!

We are in the potty training stage this summer. It has been going well but we did not want the travel to disrupt this activity. Equally, we were not looking forward to a week of public restrooms with a toddler who wants to touch everything! The Montero allowed for us to bring The Bumper Dumper!
That's right, with some strategic parking and a wide swinging door we were able to create a little privacy whenever needed (of course I am now ruining that privacy here.) A couple of milk jugs filled with water in the back and we could rinse out the pan and toss it into the grass just like where the dog pees. I can't tell you how much this saved the whole week!

Another part of my goal for the week was to take the Montero onto some Michigan Off Road Vehicle - ORV Routes. These are a combination of dirt roads, logging road and snow mobile trails allowed by licensed vehicles. The Montero was a beast on these. It was fun to put the transfer case into what I called "everything" which is 4LLC or 4 low locking center and slowly and steady power up some rutted and stony steep hills. By no means was this Rubicon. For much of it a 2wd pickup would be fine for but in other parts 2wd would have not been enough.
The transfer choices are 2H, 4H. 4HLC and then 4LLC.

I have some pics but did not get any of the toughest stuff. Was busy thinking and driving rather than taking pictures. Not shown is lots of sand, lots of deep mud and steep hills.

I regret that I have added some scrapes (what offroaders call pin striping) to the side paint of the Montero where I scrapped the wide Montero against some branches on the narrow trails.

The baby loves riding in the Montero because she can see out of it better than anything else we have given the high back seat and spacious low windows. She thought riding in the woods was great.

To tie some stories together, sure enough, while deep in the wood nowhere near anything the baby said, "I've got to go potty." We literally stopped mid-trail and fired up the bumper dumper right there with only nature around us!

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