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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
Mathew at Japan Car Direct has been a HUGE help and continually went above and beyond with assisting me. It was my first time bidding on vehicles at auction and having them shipped to the US. He even helped me arrange a mechanic in Japan to do some work on the Hiace I purchased so that it would arrive in the US in tip top shape and be ready to hit the road. I look forward to doing more business with Mathew in the future and you should too!
I was totally clueless and was having a really hard time finding someone that I felt I could trust to help me with these auctions. A couple folks recommended Mathew over at JCD and I very reluctantly reached out. Yeah, I have trust issues. Dude put me at ease and really walked me through the whole process. After a couple months I didn’t end up buying a vehicle, but that’s on me. When I changed my direction, Mathew helped me wrap things up and wished me well. I have zero reservations about reaching out to these guys or recommending anyone else to do so. Very helpful, knowledgeable, prompt and everything I needed. You won’t be disappointed.
Ordered an Acty Van with these guys. five star service all the way. everything went perfect!!!. I was so afraid to import a car myself. JCD made it seamless. I would import wit them and only them again and again. Thanks guys!!
Discovered KEI vehicles about a year ago and spent many hours searching the internet in hopes of finding an affordable van state side, to no avail. That is until I sent a message to Mathew at JCD. He was quick to respond, answered way too many of my silly questions, and worked diligently to find the right van for me. He is thorough, clear, and timely. Made the process simple and enjoyable. I am more than excited to work with him again. I highly recommend the service these gentlemen provide.
Matt made importing a few mini trucks for our farm a breeze. Super easy to deal with and transparent with all the details involved in bidding and winning auctions, the import process, and everything in between.
My truck had been stolen and Matt was helping me bid on mini-trucks to replace it. Of course once we started bidding the truck was recovered, but Matt was upfront and very helpful both getting into and out of our auction based relationship. I would not hesitate to work with JCD again!
I worked with Mat and i believe i couldn't have done any better. This was my first time dealing with importing, Mat was so patient and helpful through this purchase. I also feel he got me the best deals, i have since the first purchase made two more and will continue to do business with Mat.
I purchased three vehicles from auction with Matt, he made it extremely easy and was available whenever I needed him throughout the entire importing process. This is not the last time I will be dealing with them. I plan to order more vehicles in the near future! If your looking for a trustworthy company to order vehicles through I highly recommend JCD!
Mathew was super helpful if helping me get more info and bid on cars I was interested in.
Mathew and the gang were great with helping me with the acquisition of my 1994 Subaru Sambar dump kei truck. I was so excited about getting a truck I was ready to buy just about anything. Matt put the breaks on that and used his experience and knowledge to weed out the potential problems. I use my truck almost daily around our farm moving things and as a work surface. It is great. Mathew and Japan Car Direct helped my sister get a kei truck as well and I have and will continue to recommend them to anyone who has expressed interest in my great little vehicle.
I purchased a 1994 4wd Suzuki Carry Kei truck through JCD. Yoshi helped me during the process and after nearly 3 months and over 100 emails back and forth between questions and translations of auction sheets I finally decided on a truck. I've now had it for nearly a month and couldn't be happier with the purchase. They are extremely promt with responses and answered all questions I had. Being completely new at the importing process I never felt uneasy with my decision. If I ever decide to import another vehicle I will definitely use them again.
Excellent service from beginning to end. I registered over the new year holidays and received an automatic out of office response and also still received personal response indicating when auctions resumed. The process takes doing your own due diligence to study the cars you want but the guys at JCD will assist where they can as well.
When I thought about importing a vehicle from Japan, I was a little apprehensive. I read some real horror stories. Once I got in contact with Yoshi, he put me at ease. The entire crew at Japan Car Direct made the process effortless. From translations, to inspections, to the auctions, I felt comfortable with the entire transaction. The hardest thing was waiting for the ship to arrive at port with my new truck. I highly recommend JCD to anyone considering a vehicle import from Japan.
The entire Team at Japan Car Direct has been incredible at making purchasing a vehicle from Japan quick and effortless. Matt and Yoshiro are extremely friendly, and have performed above and beyond my expectations from start to finish. No matter how many questions you may have, these guys will know all the right answers! If you’re looking for a vehicle from Japan then look no further than Japan Car Direct. 10/10 ⭐'s
After ordering my minivan from Mathew and the folks at JCD, I will definetely use them again. Took three months to get the van but I am on the other side of the world. Van arrived in better condition than I expected although battery was dead and gas was extremely low. Other than that, the documents were sent to me promptly and the process of registering was seamless with the supplied documents. Thank you Matt and team and I look forward to working with you in the future!