With the Montero safely parked in my driveway, it had to be cleaned before I could address any mechanical issues.
Judging by the mud covered chassis, the Montero had probably been up to the rockers in a mud hole, which had now dried to a mortar like substance.
I started by giving it a good exterior wash with a scrub brush. A good cleaner/degreaser is your best friend with a job like this. I sprayed it all over the engine compartment and as many places underneath as I could reach, then I just used a garden hose as best I could to remove all the crud. A pressure washer would have been ideal, but I don’t have one. Later on, it took several trips to the high pressure self service car wash bay and some highway driving in down pours to get most of the mud off the chassis. I’m still finding every time I work on the truck. I understand the truck will get used off road, it was mostly just for ease of working on it/preventing/minimizing rust over the winter.
Then it was time to work on the interior, which is what gave the Garbage Montero it’s nickname. This was after the prior owner cleaned the truck out. I ended up taking the interior apart, because it was so disgusting.
Not only was it filled with trash, it had mud splattered every where inside. I’ve never gone mudding in a truck before, but I assume unless you have a stripped down rig ready to be hosed out afterwards, that you leave the windows at least partially up.
So far this truck was living up to it’s reputation for simplicity. I unbolted all the seats with a 14mm socket and ratchet. After unscrewing the door sills, center console and removing them, then the seats, the front carpet lifted up from the floor. The rear carpet was easy, it simply unbuttoned from the floor. I carefully salvaged the insulation under the rear carpet so that I could reuse it.
I sprayed the carpets with degreaser and just started scrubbing, rinsing and scrubbing some more. I probably would have been wise to get a pressure washer, but whatever, some elbow grease did the trick. I’ve never seen so much sand wash out of a carpet, it was just never ending. I would let the carpets dry, shake them out and more sand would fall out. Scrub them again, let dry and more sand would shake out. I finally just settled and relinquished the fact it will never all come out.
I figured the Garbage Montero was a good a project as any to try out carpet dye. Long wheel base Montero carpets aren’t available in the aftermarket. So, I needed to do as best a restoration as could and this carpet dye fit the bill I think. It’s not perfect, but certainly brought some life back to those very tired carpets.
The rest of the interior was a lot of scrubbing, wiping and vacuuming. I then finished the interior up with some interior protectant and glass cleaner. To be quite honest, the transformation was pretty impressive.
After hours of cleaning the Montero, it was finally in a hospitable state and clean enough to actually work on without being distracted. I’ll start getting into the numerous mechanical repairs in the next installment.