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DIFF LOCK AND AXLE LOCK
Recently a customer who bought a pre-1989 4WD Suzuki Carry to import to Australia asked us:
“What’s all this about Diff Lock” and “Axle Lock” on the Carry?” What do they do?
Since he’s not the only customer looking for a Japanese minitruck to ask us that question, we’ve decided to put the answer up here in this section of our website. (And we’ll put up other technical info as the questions come in from our customers and as time permits.)
So here’s the answer:
The diff lock acts on the rear differential and makes both left and right rear wheels turn together even if one wheel is not in contact with the ground and cannot find traction.
The axle lock button locks the front drive system to the transfer. It’s similar to a free-wheeling hub system that you lock and unlock using the axle lock button in the cab, rather than having to get out of the vehicle to turn the front hub locks manually (as you had to do on the old JA11 Jimnys).
If you put the truck in 4WD High but do not select axle lock to lock the front drive system to the transfer, you will still have only 2WD.
But in a minitruck with 4WD High and 4WD Low and an “axle lock” button, if you select 4WD Low, the front drive system is engaged automatically and you are in 4WD. You do not have to push the axle lock button to have 4WD in low range. If you select 4WD High, however, the front drive system is not engaged unless you have pushed the Axle Lock button.
Cheers, Japan Car Direct
IS A TURBO WORTH IT ON A MINITRUCK?
Recently a customer from Canada asked us if the turbo option on a minitruck is worth having. Does is give much of a useful power increase? Does it suck gas? Is it reliable?
We would say that, for minitrucks that will be primarily off road or on the farm, the N/A units are more than fine due to their low gearing. Town to town and for a dash on the highway, the turbo is good to have. Here is what we wrote to our customer:
On the turbo side: Yes, the upgrade is well worth it and you get quite a power boost. You’ll manage loaded hill climbs better and town to town and highway runs will not be times when you feel that you’ve got a small engine.
These Suzuki turbos are not too heavily boosted, so the engine still remains a service engine and not a performance oriented unit. (Although we would say that, in terms of strength and very long term reliability, the earlier, iron-block, F6A 660cc engine is better than the later K6A 660cc. But the K6A has the advantage that it uses a timing chain and not a timing belt, so replacement is kind of not necessary. The K6A in the Kei trucks in also higher output in stock form. It’s six of one and a half dozen of the other.)
Gas mileage is not much affected with a turbo; a bit, yes, but surprisingly little (measured in tenths of a km per liter, not whole kms per liter worse mileage).
Down sides are that you must give the engine time to warm up before driving off or asking it to do hard work. Same with cool down: after a hard run or hard pull, do not just shut it down, let it cool for a minute or two.
Change the oil after 5,000 to 6,000 kms and change the filter every second oil change. Do not run old oil in it. And used a decent quality of oil. Don’t worry that you have to use an expensive synthetic oil. Nope. Just a decent mineral oil, changed frequently, is all that is required.
If you do all these things, the turbo engine will give long life.
So there’s the lowdown on my experience with turbos. Yep, they are worth it. Just warm/cool/oil and you’re set.
Cheers, Japan Car Direct
DAIHATSU HIJET JUMBO OPTION. ANY GOOD?
Another good query from a Canadian who just bought a minitruck from us here in Japan: “What about the Jumbo cab option on the Daihatsu HiJet? I hear that hunters go for it.”
This is what we told him:
The Jumbo idea for the HiJet came out way back in 1983. Left to right is no bigger in a Jumbo. But the driver’s seat has 4cm more forward/backward slide that the passenger’s seat or the driver’s seat in a regular HiJet.
And, unlike in a regular HiJet, both seats recline backward a bit.
We think that the reason the hunters go for it (which they certainly do up in the mountains here in Japan where you will see a number of the Jumbos when the deer hunters get together) is that behind the seats you’ve got space for a rifle, coils of rope, radio tracker set for the dogs, and other items that you need to keep dry and cannot store in the load bed. In the non-jumbos, interior dry storage space for equipment is at a premium.
The load bed, front to rear, is smaller, though.
Here is a link from Daihatsu’s site that show you some pictures of the interior of a Jumbo, as well as other pics. http://www.daihatsu.co.jp/lineup/truck/detail.htm
Cheers, Japan Car Direct>With the addition of Electronic Fuel Injection to the Daihatsu 660cc motor you’ll get a boost up in power of about 5% over the carbureted unit. Gas mileage goes up a touch, too, but we don’t have any figures.
Both carb and EFI are reliable systems. Carb is easier to fix and tends to give early warning signs when it is starting to have trouble (rough idling, hesitation, etc.). Electronic fuel injection systems can suddenly cut out without warning or can suddenly rev up if a sensor goes wonky but such problems are amazingly rare on a Japanese-built EFI system built anytime after the early to mid 1980s. They are very reliable, but when the time for servicing comes, if it ever comes, you’ll need to ask a proper garage to help you. Home service of a carburetor is more possible as it is a less technology intensive system by its very nature. (Not less complex, though.)
Either of these two systems, carb or EFI, are fine.
The Twin Cam arrangement does not add any more power, interestingly enough, but I suspect it gives better top end power at the expense of a slight loss in low end torque. The Twin Cam engines have 4-valves per cylinder whereas the Single Over Head Cam engines have 2-valves per cylinder. Again, I don’t have solid figures, just going on basic principles of piston engines, 2-valve vs 4-valve systems.
The Distributor Less Ignition (DLI), is a fully electronic ignition system. Similar to EFI in its use of higher technology, it will be less easy to service yourself with just a screwdriver and wrench, but it is also more reliable, gives better gas mileage, and has a longer service life.
Really, it’s a matter of choice as to do you want simple, old school stuff, carbs and distributors and a minimum number of cam shafts, or do you want the more high tech stuff. Of course, the simple type of engines are not being made by many (or any) makers today, so at some point in the far future parts will not be available. Of course the same could happen to high tech systems that get superseded by other, newer high tech systems. But whichever way you go, these minitrucks are all solid characters and will last well and do their job for you fully and we won’t be facing parts issues for years and years yet.
Cheers, Japan Car Direct
I can't recommend JCD enough. Mathew was a fantastic person to work with. As a newbie to the Japanese auctions, I was quite naïve and had far too many questions. Mathew was kind, knowledgeable, and patient through the entire process. My Minicab arrived last week and I am quite pleased. I would not hesitate to work with Japan Car Direct again in the future. Thank you Mathew!! Jay A.
I purchased a suzuki carry from here.. They made the whole process so easy..fantastic communication,and I got what I wanted.. highly recommend using this company for your next purchase. 5 stars
IF YOU ARE OVERLY CAUTIOUS READ THIS I am over the top and I am aware of it. Matthew probably should get an award for dealing with me. I dig into everything and am used to fighting for fairness at auto auctions here in the USA - we own a small dealership. Early into my fist purchase (of many) Matthew earned my trust. He’s a rare breed: a true professional and exceptional at what he does. The world NEEDS more like him in every industry. Matthew is one of our most valued partners now, as we strive to bring JDM to Rochester and the Great Lakes. I’m a tough case, I openly admit, but he worked through my caution and I’m now very happy to purchase through him. Call me if you want, I’ll recommend Matthew to anyone. Drew
IF YOU ARE OVERLY CAUTIOUS READ THIS I am over the top and I am aware of it. Matthew probably should get an award for dealing with me. I dig into everything and am used to fighting not to get taken at local auctions (I own a dealership and believe strongly in integrity). Early into my fist purchase (of many) Matthew earned my trust. He’s a rare breed: a true professional and exceptional at what he does. The world NEEDS more like him in every industry. Matthew is one of our most valued partners now, as we strive to bring JDM to Rochester and the Great Lakes. I’m a tough case, I openly admit. Find me and call me if you want, I’ll recommend Matthew to anyone. Drew
I always wanted a Land Cruiser ! Mathew helped me find 2 beautiful trucks from the Japanese auction. Had them delivered to Freeport, TX last week. He was amazing to work with. Fast response time on bids, super easy to work with, he has a lot of experience and answered all questions promptly. Will be working with JCD more in the future to purchase more vehicles !
Very pleased with my experience with JCD. Mat helped me with my purchase of a Honda Beat and its shipping to the port of Baltimore. Everything was seamless and I would (and already have) recommended this company to several friends.
Thanks to JapanCarDirect for the opportunity, Yoshi took well care of my requests with a incomparable patience and fast follow up. Will definitely pass the word around !!! 👌🇨🇦🇯🇵
Fantastic service, helped me through the process of importing my JZX100 to the UK, Everything was clear and fees were low, worth every penny though, fantastic and couldn't have asked for more!
I just picked up my dream campervan from port and have to say that Japan car direct was with me the entire way. I felt so supported all my questions were answered and I could not imagine doing something like this without them. I highly recommend the whole team, trust them and would encourage anyone to use there services.
Mathew and all stuff JCD are best. I ordered 4 cars to UA. Support was 24H. The team did its best to solve my problems. They are really good. Now I can recommend them. Unique condition of the car. P.S. sorry but the photo was taken immediately upon arrival. Thank you again!
I just wanna thank Matthew and the whole team at Japan Car Direct, they always went above and beyond in making sure their clients are always happy and informed about the vehicles they are purchasing. I am still in the buying process but so far 5/5 definitely. I’ll keep everyone posted when I do find a car!
Do yourself a favor, call Mathew at Japan Car Direct. Let him take the worry about doing business over seas off your plate. Not knowing anything about importing vehicles from Japan, I spent countless hours studying and trying to figure it all out. The headaches were too much! After Mathew walked me through the process it was a piece of cake. We've already bought a couple and are now buying more with complete confidence. Thanks guys, much much appreciated.
Can not recommend these guys enough. I dealt with Matt, who was extremely helpful and patient with all of my stupid questions. The way they have the whole process is so convenient, especially with the live video translations of the auction sheets. I will absolutely be returning to them in the future.
Trustworthy group here! They made it easy from point a to b. So glad this was the first group I tried as I have heard horror stories about the import process. Highly recommended.
Yoshi and team were patient in helping me find the right car (green 2016 Prius 4WD) and get me through the process. Flawless service, prompt response to communications, on delivery the car was better than expected, very close to new looking. Their recommended partners for shipping and entry into NZ were on the ball too. Highly recommended! Pro tip: don't mess around; decide exactly what you want, then bid to win.