My Mitsubishi Chariot is a nightmare

Hallo Baraza,

I have a Mitsubishi Chariot which keeps the oil light on despite changing the oil filter, the sensing unit and the oil pump.

The car also has low fuel pressure according to a diagnosis report. As if that is not enough, the car vibrates when idling. What could be wrong?

Also, as a regular reader of your column, I suggest that, just like you wrote about the ugliest cars on our roads today, you also tell us which are the worst engines to have around (any engine can be a mess, but some are just too much).

For example, Mistubishi’s GDIs are not very well received here, and I have heard mechanics grumble about Toyota’s D4. For me, the Chariot is the worst car to have on these shores.



Hello Denis,

Sorry for the troubles, but consider the following: the oil pressure could be too high (that pressure warning light goes both ways, when the pressure is too low or too high), or your car could be leaking oil through one of several places; the valve train (cylinder head) typified by blue smoke from the exhaust; through the piston rings, also causing blue smoke; or there could be a leak in one of the channels through which the oil passes.
The low fuel pressure could be caused by fitting an incorrect fuel pump.

The shuddering during idle could mean bad or worn out engine mounts, or one of the plugs is not firing during low rev (engine speed) conditions. As for the worst engines to have around, we are on it.


Hi Baraza

I read your article on braking speed, and I wonder what difference it makes to have a car with brake pads on all wheels or drums on all (or two, usually rear). Does it affect the stopping distance and manoeuvrability? What strengths or weaknesses come with either option?


Hello Kanyi,

What you are actually referring to is disc brakes vs. drum brakes, and not pads as you are wont to call them, because all braking systems use pads (or shoes, as we sometimes call them).

Disc brakes are more efficient than drum brakes because of heat dissipation, but they tend to have slightly worse hill-holding abilities when the parking brake (what people call the hand brake) is applied, which is why most ordinary cars have the rear brakes being drums (the parking brake works on the rear wheels only).

Their sharpness is also the reason they are not used in heavy commercial vehicles. I will discuss this further in a future piece, so thanks for asking.



I have a problem with my Toyota GL Townace seven-seater van. One, it is very hard start in the morning, but okay during the day.

Two, if I step on it hard for quick acceleration, it produces a thick, black smoke.

Three, the engine ‘knocked’ and I replaced pistons, gaskets and changed the original fuel pump to a manual three-litre pump (the car is auto-diesel).

After that, its efficiency and speed reduced. What could be wrong with it?


Hello Isan,

The cold hard start could be brought about by the low temperatures in the morning. Maybe your car needs a glow-plug?

The thick, black smoke under hard acceleration could be one of two things: either you fuel in a kangaroo station (non-franchised) where the diesel is sometimes diluted with kerosene; or your car is not burning the diesel properly, which means either your injectors are having problems or you lack sufficient compression (installation of the new pistons may have been incorrect).

From your explanation that speed and efficiency have gone down — coupled with the hard start — I suspect the latter.


Dear Baraza,

I am having challenges with my Toyota Fielder. On long drives and at high speeds (100+) the engine warning light goes on.

When I stop it goes off but goes on again after covering some distance. No mechanic seems to figure out what exactly the problem with the engine is.

I have done a diagnostic test twice, and these have returned normal results. Is it the engine overheating or is there an electrical problem?

I previously owned a Nissan B15 which showed the same warning sign but I ignored it and ran for several kilometres before the car came to a stop somewhere near Narok town.

I had to push the car for three kilometres to find a garage. It turned out that some board under the dashboard (left side) with circuits had cracked.

I eventually sold that car after some ‘jua kali’ fixes. Is my fielder heading in that direction? Do you know of a garage that can fix this problem? Thanks


Hello HR,

I am not a computer, so I, too, cannot tell what your problem is from your tale of woe. However, your Fielder may have a similar problem to the B15.

I too underwent something of the sort, the only difference being that the ECU on my car (EP82 Starlet) was loose, and that was why the ‘check engine’ light kept coming on.

Look at the ECU for any defects, that is where the niggles could be coming from. If not, get a proper diagnosis and get back to me.


Hello Baraza,

I own a 4WD Nissan Cube. The 4WD light on the dashboard is on throughout, yet the alternator powering the motor is okay. What could be causing this problem?

Cyrus Boore


Hello Cyrus,

The light being on is not a problem, it simply means that your little Cube is in 4WD mode. Read your vehicle handbook to see how to put it back into 2WD… if that is what you want.

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