1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max 2.0 from North America


Great workhorse that never dies


I bought it from a garage that was selling it for the work they had done on it. It had previously been owned by a cabinet company that used it for deliveries. It is a five speed manual transmission, and had 220,000 miles when I bought it.

At about 265,000 miles I dropped a used Japanese engine in it because it always kept getting an oil leak at the rear engine seal. I keep watching the odometer and can't believe how well it keeps on running.

At 330,000 miles I was still getting 28 MPG and decided to give it a pat on the shoulders and change out all the old rotting vacuum hoses, thinking a professional garage would ensure everything routed correctly. Now it runs perfectly fine, but now gets 2 MPG. What to do and what is wrong?

It has needed a bench seat ever since I first bought it, and is so much worse now, but I'm not giving up on it. Anybody know where I can find a seat?

Other than that, the only expense I've ever had with it is I replaced the water pump at about 290,000 miles and the radiator at about 320,000 miles.

It never wants to die. I see so many on the road, and never find 'em in the salvage yard.

General Comments:

Can anyone advise me on the mileage problem or locating a bench seat?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th April, 2013

18th Oct 2014, 02:45

My husband purchased our used 1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max, and it has been old faithful. He also dropped a low mileage engine in it. It also leaked at the rear seal. We found a Dodge Colt with the same engine at Pick a Part.

When servicing it, he has added Lucas oil with the new oil. The other advice is don't get cheap spark plugs, change the fuel filter, and check the timing.

And recently my husband was reminded of the product Sea Foam, which he added to the fuel tank, following the instructions. It now picks up speed without hesitation.

And one last note, check the gap on your spark plug, and check for fouling out of your plugs. Hope you still have your truck.

21st Nov 2018, 19:14

There was a vacuum hose schematic online that might helped you solve your hose problem. When you find it, try tracing the hoses. You'll probably solve your fuel economy problem that way. Some shops can get them mixed up. Check for broken water temp. vacuum sensor (underneath the thermostat housing water jacket). Sometimes there is a sticker on the bottom of the hood that has some information on it. Every 50,000 miles you have to change the timing, balance belts and tensioners. Hope this helps.

P.S. Mine had 205,000 on it when it went through a flood. I drained the engine, transmission, diff., and put a new clutch in it (didn't really need it, but the pilot bearing was bad). Greased everything. I get 25 MPG all around town. Very reliable. Got 207,000 and runs great. I'm never getting rid if it. Too good of a vehicle to let go!

1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max Bare bones basic model 2.0L from North America


A reliable, easy keeper, that will work hard for you if you keep it up


At about 200,000 I started having trouble with a loss of power and fuel economy, that got progressively worse. Right now it barely makes it off the property on its own. I had to have it towed home to make it up the hill. I am really not OK with this, because this little old truck means a lot to me.

The trouble seems to be in the fuel system. I've replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump. I took out the EGR valve and cleaned it out. None of these things helped. I now have the carb out of the truck, and am having a friend of mine, who's a wrench, have a look. I've bought another carb out of an old junked 1988. I hope we can put together a good unit using parts from two bad ones. I have the Haynes manual and am currently taking the thing apart cleaning it as I go. I want to get down to the needle and ball valve, and clean them up. The thing blows blue smoke and stumbles on acceleration.

General Comments:

A great little work horse of a truck. I've hung onto it for so long because of its economy to operate and compact size. Its low deck is perfect for loading heavy or otherwise hard to load cargo.

It has been lovingly maintained, and am willing to put at least another thousand into getting it running well again. I'm willing to assist fixing it too, as I want to know more about its mechanical operation.

Under ideal circumstances, mileage in the high 20s was the norm, and on highway only driving, it would sometimes see 32 or 33.

I've also had problems with mice trying to move in and chewing the wires. I've declared a war on those little effers, and won't stop until the last one is run into the ground. I want my little blue truck back.

It's fun to drive, and does so much for me. I want at least another 230,000 miles out of it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st November, 2010

24th Jan 2015, 06:47

These tips are for anyone having bad gas mileage.

Have you checked the pistons and piston rings? If it has a catalytic converter, I would check/replace it. Check your fuel line to see if it's leaking and check your fuel filter. Check the air cleaner and replace if needed. How did you check your MPG? Maybe your odometer is off.

Hope some of this helps.