Recently, the Pajero Club of the Philippines had a general membership meeting at The Fort in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. It has been a while since I attended a meeting of the club. What made this meet special was most of the founding members were able to attend. Life finally caught up with the founding members and most of the older members. It was a sign we are getting old. For those who are clueless to what a bunch of “little boys” do at an event like this, we talk about cars, mainly Pajero’s technical questions, where to buy parts, and what shop could we go to have our rides serviced. These are things we could not talk about to anybody in our homes. Don’t worry ladies, we also have female members who are also well versed with their Pajeros.
While going around looking at the Pajeros that were present (around 23), I found out one our member’s ride had an accident some time ago. It was so bad that his mags in front broke from the center hub and twisted the mountings where the upper and lower arms are mounted in the chassis. Our member was contemplating on what to do with his ride. One of his options is to have the chassis realigned. This is possible if the amount twist is not too severe, and if the mountings for the suspension arms are still okay. Another option, if the damage is too severe, is to look for a donor chassis. This option is more based on a safety issue.
A collision repair shop can always tell you that they can always realign the chassis back to as factory specs as close as possible. But considering the age of his Pajero, which is 20-plus years old, then that complicates things. When a piece of metal is bent beyond its working strength, then its reliability is in question. The point where it bent is not as strong as it was. It possible, that when you bend it back to its original shape you might notice ripple or folds. To add another wrench into the equation, the amount of corrosion that may be present can weaken the metal. Another thing to consider is when you try and align the steering, it may not track straight anymore.
The bottom line there is to strip the car down to the bare chassis and have it looked at properly. If the car was a rare one, it would make sense to try and keep it as original as much as possible. Returning it to factory specs can cost an arm and a leg. But it can be done. I may sound like I am sentencing his car to the junkyard.… maybe I am. But when safety is an issue, you can never be too careful. I have seen lots of cars rebuilt from a total wreck. Yes it looks beautiful. Nice paint job. But from an engineering stand point, how safe is it?
For now, he will strip down the car and I am calling some friends to help guide us to a shop that can assess the actual damage and see what are his options. I hate to see another first-gen Pajero off the road permanently.