- Vehicle: Mitsubishi L200 (3rd Gen)
- Style: Off-road Build
- Owner: Justin Fielder
- Build Level: Advanced
- Budget: $$$
- Location: UK
When we stumbled across this lifted truck on Instagram, we were instantly intrigued. You’ll never see something like this on our streets because Mitsubishi hasn’t been offering this compact pickup on the U.S. market since 1996.
What we didn’t know is that this L200 is unique in lots of ways. Justin, the owner and creator of this fantastic beast lives in Aston on the outskirts of London, UK. His family has owned the truck since it came out from the production line, so Justin’s desire to breathe a new life into his father’s workhorse is very relatable.
L200/ Triton Off-Road Build (3rd Gen)
Growing up in the rural area where a good 4×4 truck is a necessity, the love for off-roading was instilled in Justin naturally. The top-spec Animal Edition of the 2005 Mitsubishi L200 became a great basis for his off-road build project. It has a strong sturdy chassis with old-fashion leaf springs at the back and a luxurious 4-door crew cabin featuring a car-like design, commanding driving position, and high enough ground clearance. The project involved fitting a bigger engine, transmission, transfer case, and making it work seamlessly. The end result is astonishing! Enjoy Justin’s story.
“The project involved fitting a 1UZ-FE Toyota V8, Pajero Super Select 5 speed manual gearbox, 4×4 transfer case, and making it work seamlessly.”
Matt Grabli: How did you become interested in off-roading?
Justin Fielder: I grew up in a Jeep household. My dad was a jeeper and had a 1980s Jeep Renegade when I grew up.
Matt Grabli: What inspired you to choose this modification style?
Justin Fielder: For the first 3 years every modification was born out of necessity. We would be offroad every weekend and bringing the truck back broken and modifying it to improve it. It was only when we decided to swap the slow diesel 2.5 4banger that I started to built the truck to be one part overlander and one part show truck.
Matt Grabli: What challenges did you face while putting it together?
Justin Fielder: Nobody really makes aftermarket parts for it. So all the bumpers and metal work had to be home made by friends.
Matt Grabli: What do you love about your vehicle?
Justin Fielder: The sound. The exhaust has 1 silencer and no cats so it absolutely sings at 6000RPM! Nobody expects something so big to move the way it does. Here in the UK everyone has a Land Rover and they are not particularly fast. So it takes a lot of people by surprise.
Matt Grabli: Is it your daily or a weekend ride?
Justin Fielder: I had a daily driver but as we are all working from home during lockdown I got rid of it so for now my truck is working as my daily.
Matt Grabli: Do you take it off road? If so, where and how often?
Justin Fielder: I don’t offroad as much as I used to but I try and get out at least once a month and all over the UK. Wales has the best trails in the country.
Mods & Upgrades – 2005 Mitsubishi L200
Engine specs, modifications
- A rebuilt Lexus 1UZ-FE engine swap
- Pajero Super Select 5 speed manual gearbox
- 4×4 transfer case
- custom manifolds, exhaust, intake
- Walbro fuel pump
Justin Fielder: The oil and water cooling systems took a hell of a lot of work to get the big V8 to work in an engine bay designed for a 4banger diesel. When we rebuilt the engine we put cosmic head gaskets and head studs in as well as deleted the EGR to try and make the motor as bulletproof as possible.
Lift height and suspension modifications
- 2.5″ body lift
- 2″ suspension lift
- Removed one leaf from the rear leafleting pack
- Terrafirma shocks all round
- 16×8 steel modulars with -32 offset
- 33″ Kumho mud tires
- Custom made front and rear bumpers
- Bash plate and frame sliders
- Custom spare wheel carrier in the rear
- Winchmax 13,000lbs winch with synthetic rope
- Custom graphics down the side
Justin Fielder: The truck was originally the Animal spec which is the top trim spec, I had the steering wheel retrimmed and had a company make leather gear gaters for both gear levers. The CB radio sits in the dash in one din slot to try and keep the factory look and I have aftermarket oil and water temp gauges, voltage gauge and rad temp gauges and fan controller. The rest of the work has been trying to keep the 15 year old Interior looking new.
Justin Fielder: Here is the interesting bit: we are the only people to do this chassis, gearbox and engine combo. So custom engine and gearbox mounts had to be fabricated all round. We had to outsource the job of CNCing an output shaft adaptor and flywheel to get the gearbox and engine to talk to each other. Once in we had to fabricate the exhaust manifolds and exhaust to go round the mounts and gearbox, then have custom prop shafts built front and rear.
The wiring loom took a lot of work to get the Mitsi ECU and Toyota ECUs to work together as well.
Matt Grabli: What are your future plans about this L200?
Justin Fielder: We gave an Eaton M112 supercharger to go on and we are making our own ECU using some open source ECU software and our own PCB. The plan is to convert the spark to coil over plug using Honda coils and run about 6psi of boost through the engine for a conservative 350hp. Then run nitrous for when we want to party!
Matt Grabli: Anything else you would like to share about your vehicle or about the off-roading in general?
Justin Fielder: I love offroading and I encourage everyone to do it. Just get out and enjoy the trails!
Having built my fair share of L200s over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the simple ruggedness and modification potential of these trucks. While they can suffer common issues like leaf spring cracks and overheating problems, addressing repairs and maintenance early on ensures you start with a solid base.
When sourcing an L200 for your project, expect to spend $5,000 to $16,000 for a clean, accident-free example with average mileage depending on model year and specs. As with any used vehicle purchase, minor problems should be expected. The key is avoiding trucks with signs of abuse, flood damage or major mechanical issues.
Once repairs are complete, it’s a good idea to upgrade common failure items to higher-quality aftermarket alternatives better suited to off-road use. This helps minimize repeat repairs down the road. ARB lockers are available for these trucks, which skyrockets their 4×4 capabilities.
- Heavy duty suspension components like adjustable coilover shocks, upgraded control arms and steering stabilizers
- All-terrain tire and wheel packages in a larger diameter for increased ground clearance
- Added skid plates and guards to protect vital mechanical parts from impacts
- Upgraded intercooler, transmission cooler and oil cooler to cope with demanding operation
- Auxiliary battery system for supporting onboard electrical accessories
The next steps would be determining the intended type of off-road travel and terrain for the truck. This helps narrow down suitable lift heights, differential gear ratios, suspension enhancements and other upgrades.
From there, the options for customization to suit different off-road activities are wide open. The appropriate lift height, shocks, tire size and chassis reinforcements really come down to your intended wheeling style.
Watch the progress and find out more about this Mitsubishi L200 project by visiting the Instagram profile of the owner: @l200_v8_adventure!
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Matt is a professional mechanic, experienced off-roader, writer and founder of Offroadium. With over 15 years immersed in the off-road community and 100,000+ miles logged on rugged trails across the Americas, Grabli shares extensive real-world knowledge. He previously worked as an automotive technician before shifting focus to specialty off-road projects. His passion is prepping capable rigs for off-roading and helping others to build the 4x4s of their dreams.