Tortrons's 1981 Mitsi L200 Clubsport

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had a look at a few things today


namely none of the gauges work properly


tacho didnt work

speedo will work up until 90kph, then drop back to 0 every 2 seconds

fuel gauge reads past full always

temperature gauge doenst read



it has a poorly installed VN commodore instrument panel 


I figure the speedo is a speed sensor issue, will need to confirm what is currently in there and replace it


cleaned up all the contacts and got the tacho working


tested the fuel gauge and have narrowed it down to the sender having an issue (it may work now, its got a full tank, will watch it, otherwise pull it out when there's less fuel in there)


and found very little power getting to the temperature sender, maybe a dodgy wire, or the circuit on the dash is no good. not real sure on where the power comes from to that wire from the instrument panel, will need to find a decent wiring diagram


basically its just a clusterfuck of wiring with a mix of original mitsi, commodore, and aftermarket. awful. it has 4 fuse boxes plus a bunch of other bits that may or may not actually be connected.


also found the flasher relay is no good so have ordered one of those 

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Smooth sailing so far, it's quite nice to drive, not loud, power steering,auto, lovely cruiser.

Everyone wants to pass it on the road though, P.O. mentioned the speedo isn't true, will need to double check with GPS.

Took apart dash and resoldered the circuit board to rule out dodgy dry Holden soldering.

Fuel gauge now works, except that it's a Holden gauge on a Mitsubishi sender, so it's range is way out. Stays on full till half a tank, then starts moving till 1/4 tank which is more or less empty.

Will get an adjustable potentiometer inline so I can dial the range in closer.

Replaced the temperature sender so now that's working. Which is good piece of mind on a cranking hot day like today. Pretty sure it's a (new) standard l200 radiator, has a pusher fan on it just wired to a switch. Not a fan of that. Will monitor how the cooling goes and assess whether to bang in a couple of pull fans.

Haven't done anything about the speed sensor, might go to the wreckers tomorrow.

Have a gap under the dash where I though I might mount some cup holders (in-between dash and random centre console). However I have just noticed that there should be a good down arm rest/middle seat back, which has gone missing probably 20 years ago, so will look for one of those or make one. Gotta have a cup holder cos I'm going on a tour in a few weeks

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Drove from auckland, waitomo, whakapapa, taupo, rotorua, taneatua, opotiki, whakatane, tauranga, hamilton, auckland on about 120L of gas and unknown kms because the odo has now also stopped working


otherwise it goes nicely, hit some back roads and got it muddy, should have taken a photo on the old wooden bush bridges but it was raining. leak in passenger foot well, otherwise nice





also put a new LED compatible hazard flasher relay in and that has gotten them going again

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Hauled some junk around, tray is just a little too small to fit a queen bed widthwise, but length is spot on. better suited to loads of garden junk.

Odo stopped working just before the trip, was the typical broken odo gear that every single one of these speedos has, so a new one off ebay has gone in. However, the speed sensor has now totally died, and i am sort of surprised that it hasnt stopped the engine running as it feeds into the ecu, but whatever. will need a new one of them now too (have checked the speedo and wiring and its alright, also checked with a different speedo incase).

greased the sticky bonnet pull

Have delved into the horrors that are the electricals in this

- rebuilt the neutral switch. the contacts had worn down, so i cleaned it all out and reset them, should be good for another 100,000km, now it doesnt start in gear.

-rebuilt the wiper switch and rewired it. similar to above it was half worn inside, and for some reason the wires have been all changed around. probably the reservoir has been moved to fit the engine, it says made in japan so i assume its not the holden one. Background - there is an aftermarket intermittent speed unit wired in, and a toggle switch to run the washer pump.

Took a bit of looking, because i dont have an l200 wiring diagram, the wires are spliced with different colours, and they are all taped up, pluss there are extra wires not attached to anything, and im not sure which loom was used for half the stuff anyway. Anyway, the pump is supposed to be set up with a live wire and then the switch completes the circuit through a common earth. They had taken the live wire, and cut it, earthing one end to the floor, and the other left cut off an inch from the pump plug, another wire had then been added to the pump plug and earthed out to the engine bay (coupled with the switch wire earthing through the switch), so all that mess had been bypassed with a toggle switch.


Now it all works and has yet to catch on fire.


next i will figure out why the fan is on a toggle switch rather than ecu controlled, and maybe look at how well the alarm is installed

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i put a brand new speed sensor in and its still dropping to 0 and back up when over 80-90kph

noticed that the high beam dash lamp bulb was missing, so i put one in, its on all the time, even with key off, only turning off when the high beam is on. probably because the relay set up is different or something, however i just cut the high beam wire going into the dash and it didnt change anything.

i see the oil warning light has been cut, and a bunch of other horrid things



its horrible, going to have to basically pull the whole loom out i think and do it properly 

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So iv had an inkling what could be the speedo issue, i assumed that no one would put up with it for 20 years, so i left this till last.

Some trawling through commodore wiring diagrams and forums gives 3 main reasons why the speedo would get above 80, then bounce back to 0 every few seconds.

The first is that the speed sensor is no good

so i replaced that with a new one, and its still doing it (i did however check the original one and it was on its way out, the new one actually improved it)

the other 2 options are 2. bad earth straps, mine are a little undersized but fine

the last, tho one of the most common issues is that fuse No.12 has blown. this controls the reverse lamps, something else, and the earth from the speed sensor. If this is blown the sensor is able to sort of earth out through the cluster and work enough to get by, but does the bouncing


Hmmm, the commodore fuse box has fuse 12 cut off..... Surely they looked at the wiring diagram and have connected this up, surely in 5 years of ownership the builder would have investigated, surely in 20 years of ownership the owner would have investigated this, surely it would have been picked up by a tester or mechanic at some point and told to repair?




they cut the fuse box down, and left the wire taped up and wrapped up in the electrical taped loom


In order to find this i had to strip most of the electrical tape off, its a horrible sticky mess, and has shown more than a few poorly joined wires that i will cut out, solder, and heat shrink.

one less thing on the list eh

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so theres "some" rust, typical of an 80's Mitsubishi

in the windscreen cowel/heater box area in the firewall where every car with this set up rusts out. right in the centre of the firewall, the hoop on the inside is pretty much gone too so will need to make a bigger hole and put one back in.

its not a major at this stage and is pretty centralised at that one point

it was still full of leaves


I also imagine the drains at each side are blocked too because ol mate has bogged up some rust where the inner fender meets the firewall and I get some water coming into the cab from somewhere near there.

theres a bubble on the inside of the drivers door frame, and a streak of rust coming out from behind where the visor is mounted


it also appears that a few unneeded brackets have been chiselled off from the engine bay and some lovely jagged holes left behind

some of the bedliner has failed and is getting rust behind it, so il clean that up


the rest of the thing seems to be ok, I checked out the inside of the doors and they are very nice, needs to have the underside redone, and il be waxoiling the chassis





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1. track down a genuine mitsubishi patch repair panel



Dig out your stash Od3FKAi.jpg


3. wonder where the rest of your panel beating hammers have gone



i will end up cutting probably that entire patch worth out so i can get access to the heater box, which is that dark hole where everything has rusted out and replacing it, but will wait on cutting the truck up totally until i get some argon

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Picked up another set of 5 chrome rims from a toyota surf.



2 of the hankooks are totally stuffed, and the others are starting to show some cracks, so i guess they are pretty old. Might get a few miles out of the 2 decent ones. but thats not why i got them, the 5th spare is a dunlop similar to the ones i have on there now, and i needed it because i noticed this the last time i was under it




woops, someone left an original 14" under there

the bronze colour isnt half bad, but i like the psudo 4wd look and clearance for driving over curbs.

The cert plate does sat standard rims, but i cant imagine anyone would bring it up

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some general crustiness going on in a few spots









for some reason the photo didn't save *insert PA10 primer shot



and covered with some satin black


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So over easter weekend i cracked into the firewall rust






































Gave her a bit of the ol razzle dazzle and filled everything up with rust converter and coated with PA10. banged seam sealer in all the seams. there wasnt any so they were filling with water everytime it rained. Ol mate had jammed some jb weld in the rust holes to stop water getting in the cab and covered almost all of it in black silicone. pulled all that awful crap out and did it right. the firewall had pretty much separated from the A pillar/guard area so was just kind of flapping about, and there is pretty much no original floor left so some of the previous fixes were a bit rough but i got it sorted well enough.

coated what needed it with underseal, everything else left in primer till i can spray some top coat/never because il want to take the engine out.

Also adjusted the steering stops so the tyres wont rub on the sway bar and steering box on hard turns

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After having no luck with the jaycar speedo correctors (both units never even fired up or anything at all) i ordered a yellow box from aussie. Spliced it into the 3 speed sensor wires and im away, ran a few test modes to see how the speedo would react then set it to read 25% less than it had been since 1991. left the lead long and coiled it up under the shifter console so i can fiddle with it again if i change something, it also has top speed replay.

About a week later i was just about to leave my first day of work and no start. starter cranked over fine, but no dash lights came up. it was by now dark and i was in no mood to try get it going with no torch or tools so got aaplus to take it back to papakura. AA bloke was really unpleased at the wiring and seemed to think it was my fault some how, he tapped the relays with the back of his screwdriver and tapped the fuses a little, demanded to see my ID, then told me it would cost me to get it towed. dunno what he was thinking there, but i got it towed back to papakura covered by AAplus, and with the same towie that last picked up my minor.

Left it in the garage till the weekend when i could take a look. After probing a few things with my multimeter and hotwiring it to start, i chased the problem back to the fuse box. one of the fuses had blown, but even in the light of day it was very difficult to see where it had broken, and was only found by testing for voltage.

It looks like when i was washing down the windscreen cowl to see if my patches were water proof i had gotten water into the fuse box. This happened because the Holden loom has been put through the firewall, through the cowl and not sealed up. this means that under the right conditions the water can run down the loom, and because of where the fuse box was hanging the water went right into it. The last owner mentioned that the drivers side footwell only leaked when parked on a hill, and this is why. i remounted the fuse box in a higher position, where any water coming in will drip off before getting into the fuses, il probably gob some seam sealant on the cut holes and hope it helps.


I have since been dailying it and its going pretty well, other than having to top up the fuel every second day, tho i do usually drive around 200km in it a day. I swapped cars with my partner for something more economic (i get paid mileage, but can profit with her car haha) so she has been driving it around auckland, with the seat all the way forward and a pillow to prop her up. It blows barries minds.

I took it back this week so i could put it through a wof.

The instrument panel is playing up because of the crusty printed circuit degrading, and being damaged from being taken in and out, so just this week i had to get some LED lamps to replace the indicator and highbeam idiot lights because the copper tracks have broken. I have a second cluster at home, but its also damaged, less so and can be fixed with some conductive paint. However im going to live with the hacked up one for now because im eventually going to make a new instrument loom and swap all the gauges etc into an original l200 cluster so it has a more finished look rather than a cluster sort of half shoved in there.


Had it die on me out at a farm, this time i had some tools and my multi meter with me, so i found that it was getting spark and the fuel pump/filter was fine, so that had me a bit stumped, so i started checking connectors as the engine check light wouldnt come on. after reseating a few it came right and started right up. I figure it was a connector that controls the injector pulses (cos if it was carbed it would have started). going to get some nice waterproof connectors and tidy the loom up.


Took it for a wof today and it failed, i knew it would because i saw the brake machine dials

failed on.

-left rear brake lens and reflector faded

rear brakes imbalance

park brake imbalance

right front outer tie rod play

steering box leak


not too major, glad the rust was sorted (well he didnt notice another patch that i found the other day). have ordered a new pair of tail lights (the other side is cracked as well so may as well), picked up the tie rod and il have to open up the brakes this weekend to see whats up. it failed on this last time too according to the sheet i found behind the seats, so i bet they never fixed it and conned a wof pass. also need to measure the shoes to check if they are the slightly larger later brakes or the 200mm originals.

Steering box is the only real pain because its not original and is stated as a galant box on the cert, but it seems that they had rack and pinion, but is probably a sigma/later l200/ pajero unit


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This is how close the vn instrument cluster is to the l200 cluster



Obviously the gauge bodies won't fit without cutting the housing. I could adapt the l200 glass to the vn body. You would have to cut off the idiot light section and make some mounts.

I'm going to put the vn gauges in the l200 body mainly because I have to remake the pcb as a loom because they are old and cracked and not worth fixing and no repos available. This suits me because actual wire and some proper connectors will be much more reliable than thin copper traces on floppy plastic, and more forgiving when removing the plugs as I've damaged the current one by having it in and out too many times.

Also, either way I will have to remove the idiot lamps to fit it in. Couple that with being able to get rid of half of them because I won't need them (and most Commodores never used them anyway). It looks like I can use the l200 indicator lamps on the top either side of the speedo but the rest (oil, battery, check engine, parking brake, fog lamps, and high beam and low beam) are going to be a challenge. Either I make a strip up from the vn cluster and install it on or in the dash someplace, or I could use small LED's embedded in the gauges much smaller than the originals and either remember the colours or gave some stickers made up.

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She tows hard for what she is


Got my pick of an 83 going to scrap






Better dash, just 2  cracks rather than it being all split, plus it's a lovely tan

Owners manuals

Complete gen 1 tray, a "little" rusty but within the realm of me repairing it. Bottom of the tailgate is the worst and a few patches around the well side bodyline seam. Might be best to get it acid dipped. Also a bunch of plastic trim and a step end tow bar/bumper.

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Parts pile continues to grow


4.22 LSD 2nd gen diff and spindles/brakes from the same truck.

Spindles let me run vented risks and I have more scope to upgrade the brakes further, rear brakes should also be ever so slightly better which this truck really needs. No way was this thing towing anything heavy.

Should also do a mean skid, but I mainly wanted it for the better handling and brakes...........


Also got a auto shifter surround from a VP which IV hacked up and will fit to the centre console so it looks more finished

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