So my former boss — the one who kept trying to buy my pickup — bought a Mighty Max. Whislt talking about it a few weeks later, he seemed just a tad down on his purchase. I told him, “Let me look it. Buy [these parts], and I’ll slap them on myself.”

Let’s start with the positives though. The body of this truck is effectively perfect. There is zero rust atop and underneath. The interior is solid. The factory decals are sex.

His primary concerns were the clutch being harsh, the power feeling absent, and the valves ticking. Well, it has 275k miles, and it’s got one HELL of a valve tick. But the oil pressure is good andd there’s no knock. He’s not going to drive it more than 3k miles a year. So valve tick, schmalve tick. Old beater.

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The power was an interesting thing. I had him drive it and attempt to replicate the problem. Then I drove it myself. It’s true that it’s an absolute dog of a motor, but no more winded than my dad’s old Mazda B2200i 4x4. I also noticed he kept short shifting the thing. He lives in a very hilly area. “Listen, this thing is old and slow. You need to get it to 3500, 4000 before shifting or you’ll lose all momentum.” When I drove it, I showd him what I meant. He was relieved, and explained that he was so used to short shifting his ‘96 Civic and that he was a little scared of pushing the motor on the Mighty Max. Now, to his credit there were extenuating circumstances.

Which brings us to the shifting. The “gaits” on this thing are not at all like a Honda, Audi, or Toyota. If you don’t throw EXACTLY where the little gait is for the gear, it will not go in, period. With most cars, you just shift nearby and you’ll slide right in. Not this Mitsubishi. So, if you miss your first attempt, you’ve basically lost all your power and momentum by the time you go for a second attempt. That’s just the learning curve on this vehicle. He’ll eventually get used to it, and he feels the same.

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But there’s more. The clutch pedal is the heaviest one I’ve ever operated. Not only that, but it’s long, AND it only engages on the damn floor. He said it was brutal to drive for any period of time, and I felt the same when I got behind the wheel. So, I adjusted his pedal.

Now the length is super short compared to before and it’s more like, “tap, shift, release” instead of, “lift your leg all the way up, stomp and hope it engages, fail, cry.” Feels crisp now.

I also replaced his spark plugs, wires, and distributor cap. Anything we could do to get even one more horsepower was well worth it. Pretty easy job on a desmogged engine bay.

His plugs were old as shit, but no signs of oil fouling, or misfires. I wished the plugs I took of the Tercel looked that good.

I was compensated with energy drinks, stouts, and cinnamon rolls.

Also, Luna made a new friend.

Wore her out good, too.

Thanks for reading.