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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 we gave to him:
The diff lock acts on the rear differential and makes both left and right rear axles turn together even if one wheel is not in contact with the ground and cannot find traction.
The axle lock button locks the front wheels to the front axle. It’s basically 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).
So, if you put the truck in 4WD but do not select axle lock to lock the front hubs, you will still have only 2WD.
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
Mathew was great to work with and made what could be a scary daunting experience very easy. I am super happy with my car and am sure I will be importing with them again!
Working with Mathew and his team was an absolute pleasure. I went from never knowing you could import your own vehicle to owning my own Suzuki Cara within 6 months. Mathew was so helpful and completely transparent with me during the entire process. We spoke on the phone and via email and he helped me pick the perfect car exactly within my requirements. He dealt with my excitement and inexperience with patience and understanding. I couldn't be happier with my experience and will absolutely use Japan Car Direct again when it's time for another project. I highly recommend Mathew and Japan Car Direct.
Just purchased my second car through Japan Car Direct. Could not be more pleased with their customer service. Matt went above and beyond to help me find the right car. Translating countless auction sheets, messaging sellers, requesting vehicle inspections, putting up with me and my requests well after his time in the office, etc. I can happily and honestly say that I would recommend this company to anyone looking to purchase a car from Japan and that you will not be dissappinted. Very kind, helpful and professional. Can’t wait for vehicle number 3.
Mathew and the team are amazing. Bought my first Porsche in Japan and they have helped me all the way through. They are competent and honest people, will definitely be doing more business with them. Thanks guys!
Mat is is the best he was right on target and video descriptions are perfect. Shipping was alot faster than I thought it would be, as JCD didn't mess around. My van was at port and ready to go. I will be using JCD again soon, got my van now I want a car.
I hunted the internet for a broker I could trust with my money. JDC won and I am so happy I went with them. Matt and Yoshi are great. Matt puts up with a very demanding customer in me, I can certainly take up time. Matt sends me cars from the list I sent him, when I don't have time to check the auction. It is scary how accurate Matt is when I ask him to predict a selling price. He is always very close which sometimes is not fun but he really does know pricing. They have walked we through buying two cars now and have held my hand on both. I really apricate all the time and knowledge. After purchase they have also held my hand through the whole import process which can be daunting for a first timer. I am a dealer and Matt is great at suggesting other cars to import as well. I am very satisfied with my choice
What can I say? The service was friendly and good, and I got my car, which ended up being in a better condition than expected. Sure, there were couple of unforeseen snags that no-one had anticipated, but overall, it was an extremely positive experience. Hommat meni hyvin, auto tuli Suomeen eikä noiden pyytämä hintakaan ollut mikään mahdottoman paha.
I bought a 1993 RX7 FD from these guys they are great! Communication was very good, and prompt! Iv has my car now for 6 months and have been loving it! I would recommend emailing them and looking into the options! They are upfront about price and will steer you into the right direction on what the car will take to own! I’m working with Yoshiro to buy another car now! I’m very pleased with the service I received. It can be scary sending lots of money to a person you don’t know for a car you have never seen, but they will come through with everything they tell you they will do!
They've somehow made what was expected to be complicated, so simple. I got all the info I needed and imported my first JDM car without a single problem. Matthew was super fast to respond and always had an answer.
A must for exporting cars from Japan. I've exported various models with these guys now and they have been exactly how we wanted them with no underlying issues or surprises when they arrive. Very pleased and will continue to use these guys in the future!
This was my first time importing a vehicle for my personal use and naturally I was leary about who to go through. After looking through a few other places and after getting in touch with a longtime customer of theirs I decided to try these guys out. I can say without a doubt I'm glad I did. They are definitely professional and know their craft when it comes to getting you your dream car. Everything from getting cars inspected and bidding was completely transparent and went smoothly. I couldn't be happier with the car I bought and I hope down the line I'll be able to purchase another using these guys!! Thanks for all you guys do!!!
I have already purchased 3 cars from this company and have a 4th on the way. They are very nice, extremely helpful, and work around your budget. I worked with Yoshi. He is very nice and made me a lot more comfortable with the wire transfers (after purchasing the vehicle), because let’s be honest, it is nerve racking to send money to a foreign country and have to wait several weeks for your vehicle to arrive. However, everything has gone smoothly, and they make it very easy to import the car of your dreams. I will continue to go with Japan Car Direct for all my japan car needs 😀
Amazing people to work with. Answered any question I could think of and never left me hanging in during the entire process. I was always kept in the loop. Matt and his team are superb in every way. From picking my car out at auction to picking it up at port they were always there and now I have great little cappuccino to drive around now! I will be using them again to bring in another car in the near future that's for sure.