Mitsubishi Outlander l

The first Outlander was supposed to be a hit, but something went wrong. Sufficiently successful car did not become the most popular Mitsubishi. But now on the secondary market it looks very attractive. Maybe, it is the second chance? 

Technically, the car differs little from the “eighth” Lancer: motors stand transversely in front (including, by the way, 4G63t), drive - constant full or front, both suspensions of McPherson type. Of course, there is a choice between automatic and automatic transmission.

The cars for the U.S. market can be equipped with a rear axle drive. Instead of interaxle differential inside the transfer case there is a viscous clutch. Externally, this variant is similar to the transfer case for the Japanese market, and you can distinguish them only by markings.

A good choice of motors was offered for Outlander. They started with a 126-horsepower two-liter 4G63, the Japanese market offered a 139-horsepower 2.4-liter GDI 4G64 motor, and at the top of the range was a two-liter supercharged 4G63t with 240 hp, which for European cars was de-fortified to 202 hp. Since 2003, a simpler and more powerful 160-horsepower motor 4G69 with a volume of 2.4 liters, with which left-hand drive Outlander is most often found under the hood.

Unfortunately, the interior of the car is dominated by “sporty” style, which gives off asceticism and cheapness.  Cheap plastics and white instrument scales may look good even now, but tactile sensations, squeaks on the move and noise level hardly pleased the owners of not the most budget car. Besides, Outlander's completions were rather poor. 

Mitsubishi products were not famous for special corrosion resistance from the beginning. And Outlander, unfortunately, usually has enough problems with a body.

Traditional places of corrosion appearance here are usual: rust can be in the bottom part of doors, on edges of a back door, on edge of a hood and a roof. It is usually not obvious to the eye, and even on the cheapest copies, the exterior panels are often almost undamaged. But the rear arches and the junction of the front fenders with the bumper - quite another matter. Corrosion is usually not hidden here, and if you can see traces of paint, it is almost certainly an attempt to eliminate the red scourge.

Unfortunately, the major corrosion issues with this car are not visible on exterior inspection. You have to look deeper. Under the hood you can find blown mudguard and suspension cup seams. In the front wheel arches all the spot weld points are rusted, the upper spar, the strut and the front part of the sill are rotten. The entire front panel is rusting. The lower part of the windshield frame is also often at risk.  

At the rear, rust is found in the cup seams at the top, on all welds, at the sill plug. There is also a fuel filler pipe in the rear arch, which gets dirt on it. It corrodes the main pipe, ventilation tube, their mounting brackets and the space behind them. The fuel tank is not lagging behind, especially in off-road vehicles. Dirt lying on top accumulates moisture, and the tank rots. The easiest way to assess its condition is through the access hatch to the fuel pump. A new plastic tank is expensive, and almost all “second-hand” are affected by corrosion to some extent. But there are good chances to find a similar tank from RVR II, but together with it you will have to change the pump: the tank is a little smaller in volume and lower. 

It is difficult to identify any problem area on the underbody. Almost the whole surface is usually corroded, and in the rear part you can find seriously corroded spars. The rear subframe sometimes simply rots to dust. So much so that over time it can “fold” at the mounting points. In the best case, its “ears” of suspension arm fasteners are torn off.

The majority of cars are still in quite running condition, but almost all of them need body works. Inspection of the first Outlander should be carried out on an elevator, meticulously, with inspection of every crevice and with special attention to the power elements of the body. Fortunately, there are still enough inexpensive and whole body elements from Airtek.  But there are a lot of neglected copies, and you will have to choose carefully.

The plastic of bumpers, for example, is weak. It breaks easily, and even tears in the front part: there are a lot of large complex elements.  They can be repaired, but it is better to take care of them. Headlights are easily scratched, but in general they do not present serious problems.

The wiper trapeze is weak, and on the right side the wiper blade stops going often. The good thing is that the system can be rebuilt with a repair kit from Kalina. At least the small bushings fit well.  True, in addition to the trapezium, the motor itself is also corroded. A similar situation is with front window elevators: the cable drive rusts, provoking a cable break, and the motor also corrodes. 

Door aperture seals wear out very badly. On the driver's door it is simply wiped, on other doors it usually ceases to fit properly and lets noise and dust into the cabin.


The interior itself holds up quite well. Mainly the age gives away the leather of the steering wheel, the cover and the gear lever and the driver's door lining. 

Although inexpensive plastic rattles, if you clean it well, it looks good. Only painted steering wheel and center console covers can rub through, and then only a film or repainting will save. Silver covers are especially guilty of this trouble

Fabric seats are strong enough. At mileage over 100-150 thousand the cushion sags, but the frame usually does not fail.  If you do dry cleaning, then the appearance can be restored. 

If the interior of the car from the factory is covered with “leather”, then its appearance will not please: the factory material is strongly wiped on the bends, the cushion sags and crumples, on the ledge of the driver's seat back and at the junction of the central and front parts of the cushion seams are easily torn. The sidewall is torn at the adjustment wheel.  

The interior of this Outlander visibly squeaks. Door cards play, the front panel squeaks with plastic connections, the attachment points to the front panel booster tube, the steering column and many other elements squeak. This is especially noticeable in winter or off-road.  

The majority of cars have manual adjustment of modes of the climate system, and the mechanism of drive of the directional flap is unsuccessful and often breaks. Automatic “climate” has turned out here even more reliable than manual.

The fan of the climate system usually works out its 200+ thousand years easily, but the air conditioning system has a very heavy radiator and not very well installed compressor. A lot of dirt gets on the clutch, and air conditioner pipes are laid in such a way that they start to leak over time.

Electrics and electronics

Electricity of the car is not complicated, and seriously something breaks there rarely. Practically all problems are small and easily eliminated. Corrugations of the driver's door and trunk door often become the reason of buttons failure on the driver's door. The wiring harness in the engine compartment fails occasionally: broken wires are not uncommon in cars after “bathing” or serious engine repairs. After two hundred thousand mileage the ignition switch contact group wears out, but it is easy to change.

Brakes, suspension and steering

Calipers do not like dirt, and the rotors of disks are somewhat overloaded, because of which they often overheat and begin to “beat”. Yes, and the life of caliper seals is less than the “hospital average”.  The resource of disks in cars with 2.4-liter engines is usually within 60-80 thousand kilometers.

Rear drum brakes work quite normally, you should not be afraid of them. The difference with disk brakes is noticeable only at frequent braking with full load.

ABS is quite reliable, but serious problems due to corrosion of brake pipes and wear of hoses are common. Hoses are often wiped by rusting springs, which, in theory, should protect them. Well, brake pipe corrosion in the rear of the body and in the front arches is on almost all cars where they have not yet been replaced with new copper ones.

Suspension of the car was simple and quite reliable: native components could pass more than a hundred thousand kilometers, and repair was limited to replacement of bushings and stabilizer struts. But, unfortunately, the years take their toll.

Original front suspension arms are not only very expensive, but also simply rot. The steel of the lever literally evaporates from the area around the ball bearing, and then the lever has to be replaced. The company even changed the arms to one-piece arms with a non-removable ball bearing, but it didn't help much.

The rear suspension has the same problem with the levers, but the subframe is rotting there as well. As a result, cars with original suspension are no longer found, and there are not so many quality non-original components for it. With cheap non-original parts, the resource drops noticeably, and even after a complete reassembly of the chassis replacement of silent blocks and strut supports every 30-40 thousand becomes the norm. 

In the case of using large-diameter wheels with low-profile tires, hub bearings suffer. Often the resource of the original ones was less than a hundred thousand kilometers, and non-original ones serve even less. If the owner puts products Koyo or SKF, it is quite possible that the problems will be the same or less than with the original. But, unfortunately, more often choose the cheapest Chinese bearings.

You can get rid of the rack knocking by tightening it a couple of times. At mileage up to 200 thousand it usually saves, but there are less and less cars with such mileage. And if the knock progresses, it is better not to wait for leaks, and replace the bushings or give the rack for minor repairs. 


Funnily enough, the same transfer case can have a visco clutch installed in it. And they put it literally instead of the differential block. Externally, this “forgery” is not noticeable. Even if you partially disassemble the transfer case, the changes can not see, is inside the casing of a large pinion angular gear differential or visco-muff, and without full disassembly to determine the type of transmission can only be determined by the behavior of the shafts or markings of the transfer case. Front-wheel drive cars are also available: all-wheel drive was an option for two-liter cars. And yet there are very few of them.

Another interesting detail is connected with the transfer case. In the European version of Outlander, the cooling of transfer case is liquid - there is a small heat exchanger inside it. But the Japanese Airtrek has air cooling of the case.

If to follow the covers and sometimes to change the lubrication of ball joints, their resource can exceed 400 thousand kilometers. The main gear in the rear axle is also reliable, and here it is necessary only to change oil occasionally and to watch out for fogging and its fastening to the subframe.

The cardan shaft is very resourceful: the first repairs usually follow after 200-250 thousand mileage, and this despite the constant load of torque. The weak point is the transfer case itself. As I have already told, it differs a little from the Airtrek box, but is interchangeable with it. Transfer cases from Lancer/RVR have other gear ratios, but often they can be used as “donors”, because the gears of angular gear do not suffer much at the main breakdowns of the transfer case. And there are a lot of such breakdowns.

First, it is oil leaks. And the transfer case has a common oil bath with the gearbox, so that the transfer case leaks will lead to the death of the gearbox. Secondly, the inevitable wear of bearings damages the housing and sometimes the shafts. At the same time suffers and the inner bushing of the differential housing, although often this happens in the case of a strong oil leak, in which the flow of oil from the box does not keep up with its leakage from the transfer case.

In the cars of racing enthusiasts, a part of the input shaft or drive shaft of the left front wheel may break off. The inter-axle differential itself is difficult to break, but often on cars with mileage over 300 thousand the locking mechanism breaks. In this case, the car characteristically “jams” in turns, and shocks from the transmission are transmitted to the body. Usually it does not pass without a trace for other elements of the transmission.

Despite the elegance and simplicity of the design, there can be unexpectedly many breakdowns. It is necessary to make sure in serviceability of transmission, especially taking into account that its parts are somewhat scarce: Outlander/Airtrek is a popular donor of transfer case for all-wheel drive Lancer, on which both transmission and engine are repaired very often.

There are no big problems with manual transmissions on Outlander. There is an old good ICP W5M42, made with a considerable reserve of durability. If there are any breakdowns, they are mostly pennies. With age the cable drive begins to jam a little, at mileage over 300-350 thousand at fans of chasing already usually require replacement of synchronizers and bearings, but everything is repaired well. If you are absolutely pressed, there are enough contract boxes, and the price of Legnum/Airtrek units is ridiculous.

The automatic transmission is also good. Depending on the market and engine, two boxes can be used - four-speed W4A51 or five-speed W5A51. Their front-wheel drive versions are designated F4A51/F5A51. Automatic transmissions are similar to the Hyundai A5HF1 and all its variants, and often the model is designated the same way.

The box is very reliable, and in most cases its breakdowns are a consequence of prolonged use without oil change, with overheating or in emergency mode due to electronic failures. The caring owner can drive 300 and more thousand kilometers, and even a “racer” to finish it is quite difficult.

The weak points of automatic transmission include planetary series Overdrive. In it, at high loads, the needle roller bearing is pitted out, which damages other elements of the design. Basically - planetary series Output, which is quite expensive in consequences, so if there are vibrations and noises, it is better not to delay with repair.

Due to contamination of the filter and hydroblock, the bushings are usually damaged, and the Overdrive package is usually the first to fail. Hydroblock is prone to contamination, so the box is sensitive to oil cleanliness. The seals between the hydroblock and the housing do not like overheating, and simply due to age they get stale and start to lose pressure.

When the mileage exceeds 300,000, a characteristic “trolleybus” sound appears. This is a sign of wear of planetary gear satellite axles. The planetary gear may fall apart under maximum load, which is usually fatal for the unit. Also these automatic transmissions have relatively weak speed sensors, which provide the bulk of failures.

Mitsubishi boxes have no external filter on the body, so it is very desirable to put an external filter in the cooling line and change oil at least once in 50 thousand kilometers.

The five-speed box W5A51 is even somewhat more reliable than the four-speed box, although structurally they are very similar and are made in similar cases. A slightly higher load on the oil pump noticeably reduces its life compared to the four-speed box. And it is extremely sensitive to contamination.

Planetary gears are also heavily loaded and the problem with the “trolleybus” sound appears earlier and more severely. Worn satellite axles are often the cause of repairs even when there are no other signs of problems. Welding is a poor method of repair. A quality repair requires replacement of the spacer bushings.

The Overdrive bearing dies in the same way. It is the same here, but its life is complicated by the fact that the five-speed gearbox was put mainly with the most powerful engines 4G63t and 4G69. 

This box has a variant W5A51-3-E6B with an external filter, which was put on Legnum/Galant VR-4. Such a box is much more survivable than the regular box. But they didn't have them on the Outlander.

Other features are absolutely the same as in the previous automatic. Contamination of the internal filter and hydroblock occurs quite easily and entails a lot of additional problems, overheating and age affect the work of seals in the junction of the hydroblock. It is true that on the W5A51 the brake belt life is much shorter.

The five-speed box withstands more torque, but since it is more often found with the most powerful motors, it often shows problems of non-resource character. In other words, it is simply “turned off”.


Mitsubishi engines of this generation are considered to be one of the best “constructors” for creating powerful tuning projects. And they are very good in stock condition, although they have some disadvantages. For example, they have relatively weak radiators, exhaust systems and attachments.

The basic two-liter 4G63 engine of the Sirius family is not so common. The Outlander has a DOHC, non-supercharged, 16-valve version. Recall that the motor has a belt-driven timing, the balancers are also belt-driven, and the block is cast iron. Absolutely classic design, which has one really weak point.

The upper balancer shaft is driven by a separate rather thin belt, while the lower one is made on the oil pump axle and driven by the timing belt. It is possible to simply remove the balancer belt, but if the balancer bushings are worn, the oil pressure will still drop. In addition, there will be an unpleasant vibration due to the rotation of one of the shafts. Proper removal requires more hassle: the upper balancer shaft must be removed, plugs must be put in place of its bushings, or the bushings must be turned to block the oil channel. The oil pump will have to be removed, and the balancer shaft will have to be either cut or replaced with part MD098626 from 4G61 (short oil pump pinion axle), and the second bushing will have to be plugged. In this form, the reliability of the timing is significantly improved.

The problem is not even so much the weakness of the auxiliary belt, but rather the wear of the balancer shaft bushings and the multiples of the load on the balancer drive as rpm increases. All of this, along with the loss of oil pressure, leads to either belt failure or engine problems due to reduced oil pressure. And what is interesting: no one has been able to feel the difference in the work of the motor with and without balancers in terms of vibration load. That is, it is simply not noticeable.

Minor problems include a small resource of hydrocompensators (about 60-100 thousand kilometers) and their sensitivity to oil. The timing tensioner often loses the stopper and even with normal oil pressure does not pull the belt. I will also note primitive system of crankcase ventilation, prone to leaks at the slightest increase in the volume of crankcase gases, and leaky intake. Yes, you can find quite a lot of small problems in different modifications, but service masters have already got used to most of them, and they do not cause any special difficulties.

The more common 2.4-liter motors are mostly from the 4G69 series of the same Sirius family. Much rarer are the 2.4 4G64 GDI motors, more typical of the Airtrek. The 4G69 unit copies the 4G63 in many respects, but it has a SOHC cylinder head, with a single camshaft in the head, but also with four valves per cylinder and MIVEC valve height control.

The timing is the same with the same balancer shaft drive, but the timing belt itself is slightly different: it has a different length and width. At speeds up to 3,500 per minute, the valves are not bent when it breaks - thanks to MIVEC and increased height of the block. In general, the problems are the same, but here the damage of timing usually does not lead to fatal consequences, which noticeably improves the impression of the motor. And it is much more tractable and powerful. 

4G64 motor is just a variant of 4G63 with a working volume of 2.4, but with GDI - direct injection. It has a different cylinder head, intake, catalytic converters and control system. A lot of “flattering” words are said about GDI. This injection is even a bit more complicated than modern systems. The thing is capricious, and the price of injectors and fuel injectors turned out to be high. However, these motors have never been popular on Outlander.

Supercharged 2.0 4G63t - this is the same good old 4G63, but supercharged to 240 hp (or 202 hp in stock form). A delightful unit for those who know what it's for. And a nightmare for anyone who just wanted a bigger engine. With it Outlander turns into a slipper, especially if the engine is “accelerated” to 300+ hp, and the gearbox is manual.

However, with the automatic transmission it turns out to be very brisk. In any case, until it does not die, because rarely anyone stops tuning of this motor in time, and its limit is far beyond a thousand forces. True, with the replacement of the block and crankshaft with tuning ones, which is not quite fair.

Problems? What problems! This is an engine for those who know exactly what they are buying. Like any other supercharged motors, it is capricious in age, it can die from one careless pressing on the gas. There can be many preconditions for this: a faulty control system, lack of oil pressure, bad gasoline, cooling problems. Or something else. But for a meticulous tuning fanatic, with 500 hp, it can run 402 meters between commutes for years. Outlander with such a motor is rare, but it is cheaper than Evo twice.


If it weren't for the rotting bodywork, the car would be just fine. Outlander very successfully combines handling, passability, volume and appearance. Well, and fans of comfort and solidity should not look at the first Outlander. For them there was the second generation XL, which differed by sizes and even solidity at very quiet character. And the first one will be suitable for those, to whom wife and mother-in-law forbade to buy Lancer Evo, and who really want to have fun, and a little passability, and universality.