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Things to consider when buying a Mitsubishi Pajero 1987 'Palathsabha'

Anjana Gunasekera


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First and foremost....check if the body and stuff have been swapped ! There are many Pajeros that have been "restored" by placing new bodies. For starters this needs to be done legally...if not...the ismatching chassis numbers, etc...are going to cause you issues.

Beyond that...it is more or less about checking if the car is in good condition. Which means proper maintenance, proper mechanical repairs, running well. You should check for rust on both the body and the ladder frame. Check the suspension, etc...Make sure that the 4WD system is working properly (and yes..check both low and high range modes).

Electricals can be twitchy on these old cars....so make sure that everything works (i.e. from lights to the radio to power windows..if it has them)


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Apart from what iRage emphasised you can be mindful of following.

Even if the chassis number is matching with what's in the book, you still need to validate whether it's engraved by someone or the original chassis number (unless re-engraved by government workshop legally). Best is to take the finalised one to a reputed valuation agent where they spot such tampered / locally illegally engraved chassis numbers. 

make sure all particulars are updated in the book especially engine number, engine capacity, wheel base (there are some short wheel to long wheel swaps), body colour and number of passengers. For a long wheel base, number of passengers should be 7. There are ones registered with mini coach category (61-) which has 9 passengers if i'm not mistaken. These ones have relatively less market value as the driver requires to have heavy vehicle license to drive one. 

Further, check throughly for corrosions, cracks in the chassis especially under front passenger area starting from the firewall. Check for body corrosions especially on the floor boards, body mounts, firewall around where wiper motor is fitted), A pillar as those are difficult to tinker. 

some parts are bit hard or expensive to find such as the master window switch on the driver's door, nickel covers on the roof gutters, interior plastic bits (if something is missing most probably you'll have to buy a whole interior set as importers are reluctant to sell pieces separately). 

good luck in hunting. Though it's 30 plus year old workhorse, it can outsmart many new vehicles on the road as well as off road. 





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On 11/29/2022 at 4:13 PM, Anjana Gunasekera said:


I am thinking of buying a 1987 Pajero - Palathsabha

I know it is 30+ years old and had a few thousand miles.

Can some one please guide me on what to check and how to do a proper check ?

Thank you.

1. Legality - The old SUV market is one of the dodgiest around. The others have already mentioned the details. Double check the engine and chassis numbers as well ast the vehicle type - most of the Palath-Sabha's run 32- plates but there could be ones registered as heavy vehicles which you cannot drive on your average CC1 license category. 

2. Corrosion and body condition - nowadays sorting out corrosion /painting etc is very costly - also pay good attention to the body condition. 40 years with our Sri Lankan's means there are good chances that the vehicles have met with multiple accidents and have been repaired so make sure those are properly done and no major structural damage is there. Also pay attention to leaks under beadings, from the firewall etc - those can be a nightmare when driving in the rain. 

3. Interior bits and electricals - this is the least we consider when buying a car but these can be annoying - from windows that get stuck half way up to headlights that suddenly come on, and wipers that suddenly stop working to incorrect fuel indicators these can make life super annoying. 

4. Drivetrain - well technically keep some cash in hand for repairs but this is a very common model in SL and despite it's age parts availability is better compared to contemporaries. It's the thing with old mitsu's from L300's to Lancers to Pajeros there is still decent parts availability as opposed to say a Toyota from the same era. And these engines are relatively bullet proof. 

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