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Hijet Renovation & Upgrade Project

Discussion in 'Daihatsu Hi jet' started by Liberty4Ever, Sep 8, 2022.

  1. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    First, a huge thanks to those who own and moderate this forum, and to those who post all of the very useful information that has been so helpful to me in my quest to purchase a 4WD kei truck. I wouldn't have bought a truck without this support. I'm very grateful. This is my first post, and as I perform maintenance, repairs and upgrades, I'll post any new information that may be useful to others in an attempt to repay the community for the information that has been so helpful to me.

    I tried to buy a little Daihatsu Hijet 4WD (with HI/LO transfer case) pickup truck last week but was forced to give up after three hours trying to get my bank to issue a wire transfer or make a VISA debit card payment to Asia. They don't do international wire transfers (lame) and they swore the VISA transaction would work, and so did the VISA fraud detection people, but the transaction would never go through. Before placing a bid or making an online purchase, you might want to verify with your bank that they will send the money overseas.

    I transferred funds to PayPal and I was forced to wait a week before the funds were available. That happened this morning and I made the purchase online, easier than buying a flashlight on eBay. Here's the little Hijet truck that I bought.


    Kudos to Be Forward for providing adequate pictures and an inspection sheet to allow me to assess the general condition of the Hijet from the other side of the planet. I'm amazed at the auction sites that expect us to bid on a vehicle based on three low-res images.

    The truck cost $370! The total including the seller's warranty, a cleaning fee so it'll pass USDA inspection coming into the US, and ocean freight from Yokohoma was $2380. It's crazy to spend so much to ship something of relatively little declared value, but crazy as it sounds, it makes sense from my value perspective. The good news is, I avoid most of the outrageous 25% import tariff on light pickup trucks by purchasing such a cheap truck. I'll pay $92.50 to US Customs for the privilege of importing my truck into their country. There are several other stupid fees associated with getting the truck out of the port in Newport News Virginia, and thanks to this forum and a few YouTube videos, I'm mentally prepared for that. I'll spend $300 or more on gas, plus U Haul trailer rental plus a long day of driving round trip to get the little truck home.

    Liability insurance on a little Japanese truck is artificially high. GEICO wasn't interested but I have a quote from Hagerty that's more than insurance should cost for the little driving I do, but the annual premium is something I can tolerate. Insuring odd stuff is inherently more expensive because the risk for the insurer is more difficult to assess.

    Then there will be the hassle of registering the little truck and paying property taxes to get a license plate.

    There are plenty of hassles ahead, but the search and initial purchase is over. The process has begun.

    I think there was a glitch in the Japanese auto seller website that prevented this particular little Hijet pickup from appearing in searches. I stumbled upon it almost by accident and saved it as a favorite so I could locate it again later. I think potential buyers not being able to find the truck is what kept it from selling as the algorithm kept decreasing the sale price until I purchased it for 71% less than the original (probably fair) listing price. I also think the little truck being difficult to find allowed it to stay on the site for the additional week until the funds that I transferred to my PayPal account were available for me to buy the truck.

    I was looking for a Climber version in good condition with locking rear differential and air conditioning, but those aren't easy to find, particularly with the artificial regulatory restriction of importing a 25+ year old vehicle. I decided that I'm not doing any rock crawling or severe off road that would necessitate a locking diff, and a 25+ year old air conditioner may be on its last legs anyway, although the 25+ year old Daihatsu Hijet trucks were far more likely to have the air conditioner still functioning compared to other kei truck brands. I generally opted for the Keep It Simple Stupid approach, with less optional equipment to maintain and repair.

    After my Toyota Tacoma 4WD pickup (the only vehicle I ever purchased new) had the frame rust through at 91,000 miles due to a non-covered manufacturer's defect and I was forced to scrap it at 137,000 miles when the frame broke in half, I was VERY particular about frame rust on the Hijet. Frame corrosion is the one thing that's generally not cost effective to repair and results in a scrapped vehicle. Fortunately, the Japanese maintain vehicles well, typically don't drive as many miles as Americans, and apparently don't salt their roads. I bought a Hijet with essentially no frame rust, only superficial rust at wear areas in and around the bed (that I can correct before they become a problem) and only slight surface corrosion on the undercarriage. I'll cold water pressure wash the underside of the truck, let it dry, and spray it with Surface Shield, Fluid Film, or another lanolin based anti-corrosion treatment before driving on our salted roads this winter. I'll be sure to spray inside the frame, everywhere I can. Box frames usually rust from the inside out.

    I probably won't have much to post for a couple of months, during the long wait for shipping.

    I'll probably drive the little truck for a few months to establish the reliability and get a feel for it before I start to modify it, but my ultimate goal is to make a little zombie apocalypse truck with good off road capability that I'll use for trips to the post office, hauling a little bit of lumber from Lowe's, and getting groceries. The plan is a 2.5" coil over lift and some Tusk Terrabite 25X8R12 tires, and maybe paint the entire truck, inside and out, with Raptor bed liner. Add a modern Bluetooth Android stereo and some ham radio gear.

    I'm investigating lockable storage for tools, hand winch and other recovery tools, etc. My current options:
    1. Over sized ammo cans with added locks. bolted to the headache rack below the rear window
    2. 49"pickup bed tool box, raised above the bed and bolted to the headache rack
    3. Custom locking boxes below the bed, in front of the rear tires, with tilt out side doors, clamped to the truck frame
    4. Box across the front of the truck, between the headlights, attached to the truck frame and also functioning as a front bumper for occupant safety in a front end collision but reducing the attack angle and adding to the overall length
    5. A roof rack with some locking ammo cans laid flat and bolted in place, accessed from the sides
    The goal is to preserve the full size bed for hauling 4X8 sheet lumber and 8' or longer dimensioned lumber, with locking storage above that if needed, but I'd really like to preserve the entire bed volume for hauling machine shop tools, motorcycles, and all of the junk my wife buys that requires a pickup truck.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
    Slashaar likes this.
  2. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Well-Known Member

    if you’re handy you should be able to rig a switch to lock the rear differential. The 4wd uses the electric controlled vacuum servos to lock the front and rear axles. So, you should be able to just run a switch to the rear vacuum solenoid, and lock the rear axle without the 4wd engaged. The 4wd has a switches somewhere on the shifter to restrict it to first and second in high range. So, you might want to figure it out and go through it to the rear.

    I mounted a cross bed tool box to the side panels on my bed. It has about 6-inches left under it. So, I can cart enough plywood for most projects. And, if I were to buy enough lumber to frame out and build something, the yard will drop it at my place for free. I built a hard tonneau out of 3/4-plywood on mine, so I have somewhere to haul groceries and stuff from the hardware store which is out of the snow in winter.

    I mounted some Yakima rails to the top of the tonneau, and a pair of short rails on the tool box, so I can carry a couple of mountain bikes if I want, with a Yakima “BasketCase” between the bikes, and my short coolers under the tonneau.

    Did heavy duty variable rate springs, on the front. So, it doesn’t squat down on the snubbers when I mount my snow plow. Added a leaf to the rear, so it doesn’t squat down on that end when I add the ballast to counterbalance the plow.

    Added a good radio, the stock one is set up for the Japanese bands. You can buy adapters which convert US/Canada stations to the Japanese standards. But the translator is as expensive as a suitable radio. The radio space is the right width of a DIN mount, so long as it is one of the mechless units.

    I need to “double shock” the front. the struts have lost their dampening effect. But are still acting as good guide rods. Adding a seperate shock, will be considerably less than getting new struts. There is a fabricator who modded an S80 and double shocked the front, so I have a kind of guide in my efforts.

    Good luck and have fun.
    Liberty4Ever likes this.
  3. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    Thank you for your reply. I've benefited from your posts in other threads and was already familiar with some of the work and mods you'd done.

    I wondered about adding a diff lock and was going to look into that later, after the higher priority items on my Hijet To Do List. I figured I'd probably need to swap the rear axle for one with a locking differential and that would be more effort than it'd be worth for me, but if it's just some vacuum plumbing and logic, that might be a worthwhile upgrade.

    I'm in that long phase of waiting for shipping while I stare lovingly at the auction pictures, dream of the mods I want to do, and put stuff in my Amazon Saved For Later cart. I was up late last night looking at double DIN radios with backup cameras. I figured the depth would be on the short side with the Hijet so I haven't ordered anything. I'll yank out the Daihatsu branded AM radio and the cubby hole under it and measure the depth so I can order a radio that fits. I was already leaning toward a mechless unit and was even thinking of a marine rated stereo for the rough and tumble 4WD Hijet. I'm also considering mounting four speakers on the ceiling of the cab, in the corners, up out of harm's way. Whatever I decide, I'll probably make a video of the stereo install to share with others. I may create a separate YouTube channel for all of my Hijet mods, sort of the lamer version of MotoCheez. The little Hijet is my latest project.

    I'm also leaning toward the coil over lift kit with the heavy duty progressive springs from Harley Rose, as a better option than a spacer lift kit. I thought the price looked reasonable for what it is, although it'd almost triple the value of my $370 Hijet. :)

    I've decided a couple of locking fat 50 ammo cans mounted outboard on the headache rack would be the cheapest and easiest storage and would leave a couple of feet in the middle for big items like a lathe or motorcycle, but as I was driving around town today I saw large catering trailers with custom tilt out storage boxes mounted underneath. I like the idea of using that space underneath the Hijet, but custom isn't cheap and those boxes might be problematic off road, even if the bottoms were flush with the bottom of the truck frame. From the pictures, it looks like there might be space for a small air compressor and a tubeless tire patch kit in a small roll top waterproof bag under the seat, next to the scissor jack.

    I wished I had the Hijet today. I'm currently truckless so I borrowed my brother's truck with a camper top and had to make two trips to carry the two huge heavy duty medical filing cabinets that my wife bought surplus to store her craft stuff. I could have loaded them both in the little Hijet. It's such a handy around town and off road truck.

    Thanks again for the info, in your post above, and all over the forum.
  4. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

  5. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    My Hijet that I purchased on 8SEP22 was finally loaded onto the Opal Ace car hauling cargo ship on 29OCT22. Two days later, it's still moored in Yokohama but should be sailing soon, with an expected delivery in Newport News Virginia on or about 8DEC22, three months after I bought the truck. Importing a JDM vehicle is not for the impatient. There are links that allow cargo ships to be tracked. I'm currently watching my mini truck sitting in the port.

    I bought a pair of 20mm military surplus ammo cans to use as external lockable storage, mounted on the headache rack behind the cab, above the pickup bed rails, but below the rear window. I bought some locking hardware, hinges and locks. I'll do the fabricating after the truck arrives and I'll make a video.

    I bought a 20" LED light bar and OMG 42,000 lumens is bright.

    I also bought a pair of bright LED auxiliary lights that I'll use to illuminate the pickup bed when loading or unloading at night, or to discourage people tailgating me with their high beams blinding me. ;)

    I bought four 9 foot and four 20 foot NRS cam straps that every pickup owner needs. I'll probably design a method to store them behind the seats for easy access.

    I bought a 3500 pound hand crank boat winch and some straps.

    I bought some smaller than usual stainless shackles, better suited to a mini truck.

    While I was buying off road rescue stuff, I got an entrenching tool (little folding shovel) and a small saw.

    And I bought a LOT of tools to carry in the truck. It's bizarre that I couldn't find a decent quality metric tool kit small enough to carry in a truck, with most of these common tools bundled together.

    I'll supplement the tools with stainless safety wire, 18 and 50 pound cable ties (the Cobra cable ties with the low profile flat head that contains the clipped tail are my favorite), 12 AWG wire, fuses, electrical tape, duct tape, etc.

    An LED headlamp is very useful when working on a truck after dark.

    I bought a small compressor and tire patch kit.

    The medium sized Harbor Freight compressor is more capable, but larger.

    I later purchased an inexpensive but very well built tire inflator. It's much faster and quieter than other tire inflators I've owned. It's more like a compressor. I threw away the curly nylon hose and I replaced the 11 foot power cable with a heavier 25 foot cable with very nice battery clamps that were left over from a NOCO battery maintainer that I bought for my motorcycle. It uses an SAE connector so the primo clamps are now hardwired to the tire inflator so it doesn't blow a fuse trying to use a cigarette lighter socket.

    Every truck needs jumper cables.
    I'm going to modify the tire inflator to use the jumper cables as battery extension cables, rather than blowing the fuse on the cigarette lighter plug or overheating it.

    I bought a Fumoto oil drain valve in anticipation of the initial oil change. I think this will fit but don't take that as gospel because I haven't tried it yet. I should have waited until I had the truck so it could be returned if it didn't fit, but I accidentally ordered it early.

    I bought a universal lug wrench that's compact and very nice, but I'm already carrying a 3/8" breaker bar, extension and deep well socket so this was redundant and went in my 4Runner when I realized it had no lug wrench. Derp.

    I have a YouTube channel to chronicle the Hijet purchasing, importing, registering, insuring, repairing, and modifying. There's no content yet. I'll post a link when there's something to see, but the channel demonstrates my intent to share info.

    I'll definitely be using gray Monstaliner bed liner to paint the Hijet inside and out, but that won't be until spring.

    I'm still in the HiJet project imagineering phase, but I've almost run out of things to ponder with over five weeks to go while waiting on the truck to arrive. :( I might need to be productive and work on the other stuff that I need to do, instead of the Hijet project. It looks like the little truck will arrive as soon as the nasty winter weather arrives, making it unlikely I'll work on it outside until spring. I'll probably catch a decent winter day every now and then for brief projects.

    When I reupholster the seats which are in surprisingly good condition for cloth seats in a 26 year old truck, I'll add heated seats. Fancy!

    I see NO mini trucks here in central Kentucky so I'm starting to wonder if I've been misled about being able to register a 25+ year old mini truck as a street legal vehicle. That could be a big bureaucratic problem that wrecks my entire Hijet project.

    I'll definitely post part numbers for consumables and maintenance parts as I learn first hand what works on my 1996 TwinCam Hijet. There's great information on this site but it's difficult to know if an oil filter or spark plugs will work on a particular make and model. More info is more better.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
  6. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    My Hijet shipped from Yokohama on 1NOV22. It's currently off the west coast of Mexico and heading to the Panama Canal.


    Here's a big fat tip for anyone trying to import a JDM vehicle yourself: If you aren't an importer... DON'T. The process is very involved. I did a lot of research and still somehow missed the fact that I needed to file an ISF form with Customs and Border Patrol at least 24 hours before the cargo ship left the port of origin. The CBP can assess a fine of up to $5000 for late filing, delay releasing the cargo, and perform enhanced inspection. I filed a couple of weeks late but over three weeks before the estimated arrival date. I sent a mea culpa message to CBP to explain the tardy filing as a result of not knowing. Is that ever an acceptable excuse? I haven't had a reply. I'm hoping that no news is good news, but there also may be some customs nastiness awaiting me when I try to pick up the truck at the port of entry. Edit To Add: Customs replied after the truck was cleared for entry, telling me that there would be no fine for my late ISF form.

    I found an online company to help me file the import forms electronically. I'm not finished with the process so it's not a recommendation at this point, but so far, eezyimport.com has made the process about as simple as it can be. They charged $10 to file the ISF, and $65 to file everything else. My ISF has been accepted. I just completed the data needed for the entry forms tonight, including uploading a notorized power of attorney so they can electronically file the forms on my behalf.

    I called the county clerk to get a list of what I needed to register the truck and the clerk only provided general advice. "Make sure you get all of the required forms and get them signed or stamped if needed." Yeah, I knew that. Which forms? I emailed, hoping to get a written list, but found out they don't like mini trucks. The rules are weird and I'm going to need to navigate the county bureaucracy. I hate that sort of stuff.

    So here I sit with a pile of accessories for the Hijet, with three more weeks to go before making the 17 hour round trip to the port in Newport News, Virginia. No doubt there will be more drama, frustration and heartache. :-/
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
  7. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    I'm using the Eezyimport website to do the electronic filings of the import documents. The forms aren't difficult to complete, but for a first time importer it's nearly impossible to determine what forms need to be filed, and how to file them. It's much easier to be prompted for the needed information to electronically file the forms. Eezyimport is a bit like TurboTax. The service they sell is making it easier and less time wasting to file required government forms. It's an indictment of government that this is a viable business, but anyone who has been mired in frustrating and time wasting government bureaucracy would gladly pay to reduce this burden enough to accomplish the goal.

    The Eezyimport marketing version is simple online data entry with $10 charged for the ISF form and $65 for filing the entry forms. In the real world, it's more complicated and more expensive.

    Eezyimport is the online automated version of a customs broker but it's not entirely automated. The initial data is input to the website (you do all of the data entry for them) and images are uploaded for the commercial invoice, bill of lading, etc. Paper copies of these documents should have been sent to you by the overseas seller.

    Then you download their power of attorney form (apparently an English as a Second Language document), complete it and have it witnessed and notorized, scan it and upload it to Eezyimport to give them the legal capacity to file documents on your behalf.

    Then an overseas import broker looks at the data you input for the entry summary, has you upload the export certificate (English and Japanese versions) and makes recommendations. For me, they suggested that the HS tariff number and item description that I supplied from my commercial invoice

    1996 Daihatsu Hijet Truck V-S110P​

    be replaced with

    VEHICLE:GVW<=2.5MT;SPARK I - with 25% of value​

    Eezyimport is apparently the more consumer oriented website front end for galaxyfrt.com.

    From my perspective, Eezyimport is the website front end for an Indian customs broker.

    So far, it's been a hassle but MUCH better than trying to import a vehicle by dealing directly with the relevant government agencies. I can't imagine that any human has that much fortitude.

    I have paid Eezyimport $10 to file the ISF, $65 to file entry documents such as the Customs & Border Patrol form 7501 and presumably all other required forms, and I will be paying an additional $40 to file a PGA form required by the DOT. That wasn't mentioned in the Eezyimport marketing but it is disclosed on their website it you read the fine print.


    The FWS form mentioned on their site is a Fish & Wildlife Services form that's not needed for a truck, but if your truck sold for more than $2500 you will need a bond. Apparently there's an ISF bond and a single entry bond, and the latter is calculated based on three times the value of the truck. More info on that here:


    It looks like my importing costs will be:

    Already Paid:
    Filing ISF form - $10
    Notarized and witnessed POA - $22.69
    Filing entry forms - $65​

    To Be Paid:
    Filing PGA form for DOT - $40
    25% import tariff on light truck (chicken tax) - $66.25
    Miscellaneous import and port fees - $???​

    I believe the import tariff and most of the fees are paid in advance via Eezyimport, but there will probably be costs at the port as well.

    Note that for a more expensive truck, the 25% chicken tax import tariff and the cost of the ISF bond and entry bond would add substantially to these costs.

    My current concern is that I'm paying Eezyimport to file the minimum forms needed to import the truck, but they aren't filing all of the forms that I'll need to register the truck. I need to resolve that issue ASAP.
    JMM likes this.
  8. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    I rented a 6X12 trailer with a ramp from U-Haul for $91 for two days and $5000 worth of insurance. I drove 11 hours, mostly in the dark with dense fog on the curvy and steep West Virginia Turnpike, slept 1.5 hours in my 4Runner until the port opened in the morning, loaded the Hijet onto the trailer and drove 11 hours home, mostly in the rain.

    I expected to be able to drive the 4WD Hijet onto the trailer using the low range transfer case for more precise control, which is needed because there is maybe 3/4" of clearance between the sides of the Hijet and the inside of the trailer's loading gate. Nope. The clutch didn't engage until the last inch of travel and as soon as the Hijet rolled forward and touched the lip of the trailer ramp, the clutch would slip. I could rev the engine and launch it up the ramp but that's a recipe for disaster with the tight tolerances on the sides of the trailer.

    I had a 3500 pound boat winch (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LCJ3HVG) that I was able to use to winch the Hijet into the trailer. Once home, after sleeping eleven hours, I unloaded the Hijet from the trailer. It was much easier to unload with gravity helping, although the clutch was still not working correctly. I took it for a test drive and the clutch is definitely slipping badly. The Hijet doesn't want to climb even a shallow hill, so now I'm shopping for a clutch for my new Hijet (full description in my signature below). It'd be great if there was one in the US so I don't need to wait on shipping from Japan. Suggestions appreciated!

    I learned that JRinTX had exactly the same problem trying to load his new Hijet with a bad clutch onto a trailer.


    One lesson might be to pay for someone in Japan to test drive and inspect your mini truck if that's an option. Another lesson might be to have a winch or come along when picking up your mini truck at the port.

    Shameless Plug For A Veteran Who Helped Me - I hired Kurt from Crown TWIC Escort Services to get me onto the NNMT port terminal and walk me through the process. He wasn't just there to ensure that I didn't violate their security procedures. He seemed to know everyone at the port and they all liked him. He provided a ton of great advice and guidance to get me in and out as fast as possible, with the least hassle. He seems to delight in helping people. I can't recommend him highly enough. There were three ports almost the same distance from me. I picked Newport News because I thought it was a smaller port and I might have fewer hassles there, and the people might be nicer. The port employees were all very nice, but I really lucked out with Kurt. If I ever import another vehicle, I'll select Newport News just to get Kurt as my TWIC escort.
  9. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    Before I bought my truck three months ago, I called GEICO to inquire about adding it to my policy. I have a 4Runner, RAV4 and a motorcycle insured with GEICO. I was told that they don't insure gray market vehicles, which was odd because I'd read that other people have insured their JDM vehicles, including the Hijet.

    I got a quote from Hagerty that seemed a bit high but better than no insurance. After buying and taking delivery of the Hijet, I called Hagerty for an updated quote and it was significantly higher than three months ago. $420 a year for comprehensive coverage and they don't offer liability coverage.

    State Farm didn't contact me as requested and simply emailed a very high quote for the 4Runner and RAV4.

    I read that Grundy insures Hijets but I called and was told that they only insure collectible show vehicles and not personal use vehicles, even though I guaranteed that I'd drive the Hijet less than 1000 miles per year.

    I called GEICO again and got a better agent and she quoted me $137 for six months for liability insurance, and $169 for six months for a $250K comprehensive policy. That seems like a lot considering how few miles I'll be driving but that was the best quote I received so I opted for the liability coverage.

    Insurance Lessons: If you don't get the answer you want, wait and call again. Insurance companies apparently change their business practices often so last year's online info may not apply. Not all insurance companies operate in all states. Some of the happiest insurance customers have coverage from a company that doesn't have a gecko (GEICO) or an annoying woman (Progressive) or a kindly grandpa (Farmers) or an emu (Liberty Mutual). Their advertising must be working. I don't watch TV and I still manage to see the billions of dollars in insurance commercials.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
  10. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member


    I've kept a detailed spreadsheet of the costs that I incurred to purchase, ship, import, transport home, and title, register and license my 1996 Daihatsu Hijet. Here are the aggregate costs by category to give others a sense of what they might be paying.

    $2,380.00 - Online Purchase Price, Including Shipping – Be Forward
    $117.61 - Online Customs Broker - Form Filing Fees (Customs, EPA, DOT)
    $29.51 - Notarizing & Witnessing Power Of Attorney For Customs Broker
    $68.62 - Customs Duty & Fees - Paid Via Customs Broker
    $230.85 - Port Expenses - Port Fee, TWIC Escort, Safety Vest
    $372.65 - Transportation Home From Port - U-Haul Trailer, Gas, Tolls, Food
    $61.90 - State Title, Registration, Property Tax & License Plate

    $3,261.14 - Total

    The costs above do not include the surprise clutch replacement (maybe $600 if I'm lucky), nor does it include almost $275 per year for liability insurance. Most people are paying $1000 to $2000 for a decent 25+ year old 4WD mini truck instead of the $265 that I spent, but they probably won't need to pay for a new clutch. The cost of ocean shipping has risen a lot lately and will probably increase a lot more. Your state registration, taxes and licensing costs may vary greatly from mine. I drove 1135 miles round trip to trailer the Hijet home from the port, and the cost will vary considerably with the distance you need to drive to and from the nearest port, or you may opt to pay someone to pick up the truck at the port and deliver it to you.

    I've already spent a lot on accessories while waiting on the Hijet to arrive. I have the records but haven't entered them into the spreadsheet yet. I'll probably spend another $2,000 on upgrades such as minor body repair, painting it inside and out, a Harley Rose coil over lift kit, new larger mud and snow tires, a nice double DIN stereo with a backup camera, etc.

    Call me crazy, but when I reupholster the seats, I'm going to add heated seats, because everyone deserves that luxury and it's actually a cheap upgrade when I buy the generic parts on Amazon and do the work myself.
    Slashaar likes this.
  11. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    Clutch Update #1

    Recap: The clutch was slipping badly when I picked up the Hijet at the marine terminal. I winched it onto the trailer, and drove it off the trailer after bringing it home.

    I adjusted the clutch cable but it was already adjusted for maximum clutch engagement. My options were no clutch engagement at all, or the clutch half engaging at the very top of the pedal and slipping. It'll barely drive up a shallow hill and the clutch slips under even moderate acceleration on flat ground.

    I called a local mechanic with a good reputation, Mike at Fuji Imports in Lexington KY. He agreed to replace the clutch, but he's a good mechanic so he's busy. It'll be a couple of weeks before he can get to it. I asked him to schedule me as soon as possible. I waited three months after buying my Hijet before it arrived at the US port, and now it looks like I'll be waiting another month to drive it.

    I ordered the Aisin clutch kit (clutch disk, pressure plate and throw out bearing) on Amazon for $240 with delivery in a few days. Aisin is a Toyota subsidiary and OEM supplier. I could have paid as little as $230 delivered on eBay for an Exedy clutch kit from Japan, but that would take 2-3 weeks. Any suggestions on the best place to buy a rear main seal and pilot bearing?

    According to the Amazon seller (who sells mini truck parts) all of the S110P Hijets use the same clutch, so my weird EF-GS TwinCam 12V engine shouldn't be a problem.

    Here's a view of what I found while tinkering with the clutch, viewed from the left side of the vehicle. The engine is to the left, toward the front of the Hijet.


    I've replaced clutches on VW bugs and buses in the 1980s. They're a bit easier than the Hijet, which is a little easier than most cars and trucks. The VW clutches took me 2-3 hours as a driveway home gamer. I was hoping that a professional mechanic could replace a clutch in around the same time on the slightly more difficult Hijet, but the mechanic quoted the job as probably taking 5-6 hours at $100 per hour. This will probably be a $900 clutch job on my $265 truck. :-/

    On the plus side, I'll have a new clutch and a new rear main seal.

    I'll continue many of my upgrades while I'm waiting for the clutch to be replaced. Next up is an engine flush and oil change, and new windshield wipers. I'm working outdoors so the bigger upgrades will probably wait until warmer spring weather but I have a lot of piddly little projects for this winter and they all need to be done eventually.

    I have a Hijet Hijinks YouTube channel to document the entire Hijet experience - shopping online, purchasing, waiting, importing, repairs, title/registration/licensing and lots of upgrades. No content yet, but soon.
    Slashaar and SAITCHO like this.
  12. dasfrogger

    dasfrogger New Member

    following - congrats on your truck!
    Liberty4Ever likes this.
  13. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    Clutch Update #2

    The Aisin clutch kit that I ordered on Amazon arrived today. The seller assured me that it works for all S110P trucks, but looking online last night it looks like the S110P clutch parts changed after December of 1996. Some of the clutch parts listed below may or may not work for 1997 and later Hijets.

    I stayed up all night searching websites trying to find the Daihatsu part numbers. I can enter the Daihatsu part numbers into the Impex Japan site and it'll find the original OEM parts and aftermarket parts.


    I placed an Impex order last night for the clutch disc, pressure plate, throw out bearing, throw out bearing retention spring clip, pilot bearing and the engine rear main oil seal - all genuine Daihatsu replacement parts. Here are the Daihatsu numbers to hopefully save others from a long night of online research. I also included the Daihatsu part numbers for the flywheel and clutch cable if anyone needs those, and the Aisin numbers for their aftermarket clutch disc and pressure plate (aka "clutch cover").

    31250-87560-000 DAIHATSU CLUTCH DISC
    90043-11323 (previously 90043-11283-000) DAIHATSU CRANK REAR OIL SEAL

    13405-87227-000 DAIHATSU FLYWHEEL
    31340-87D31-000 DAIHATSU CLUTCH CABLE


    While I was already paying for international shipping, I also ordered a dome light translucent white plastic cover that was missing on my truck.

    87834-87502-000 DAIHATSU DOME LIGHT LENS

    If any of these parts don't work in my 1996 4WD Hijet, I'll update the above list.

    After the Daihatsu clutch parts are installed, I'll probably sell the Aisin clutch kit that I bought from Amazon.

    The disadvantages of Impex Japan is that it'll take them 5-8 days to purchase the parts for me after I pay for them, then they'll charge me over $30 to ship them by the slowest FedEx method which is another 5-8 days. I'm still saving money over buying the quality aftermarket parts in the US, and the mechanic can't get to my job for a couple of weeks anyway. Until then, I'll be plugging away on my Hijet punch list of minor repairs and upgrades.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2022
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  14. JMM

    JMM Member

    FWIW, the clutch job on my S83P was not bad at all. About 3.5 hours (OK, I'm very rusty) and some busted knuckles, but done just for the cost of the kit and afterward, I knew my truck better.
    Slashaar, Liberty4Ever and Shink like this.
  15. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    Spark Plugs

    Huge thanks to fupabox for the Daihatsu spark plug chart.


    I just decoded the Daihatsu spark plug chart enough to find their recommendations of spark plugs for my EF-GS engine. That required 40 minutes of Japanese to English translation and decyphering the Japanese calendar which is based on the reign of the Japanese emperors.

    Translating Japanese to English:


    If you encounter Japanese date codes, H3.8 for example, this site may help:


    I spent another couple of hours decoding the entire Hijet section (Hijet, Hijet Atrai, Hijet Climber, Hijet Jumbo) of the Daihatsu spark plug chart so anyone with a Hijet can find spark plugs without translating Japanese or converting the Japanese calendar.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2022
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  16. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    My First Oil Change On My 4WD 1996 S110P Hijet

    I keep meticulous records on my vehicles. It's an anally retentive engineer thing. Here is today's Hijet entry.

    Engine flush and oil change. Used 2/3 quart of Motor Medic engine flush (Amazon ASIN: B00BGSFMTE) in the crankcase and idled at 2000 RPM for 5 minutes to reduce varnish and sludge in the old engine. Drained the old oil and solvent and installed Fumoto F-133 oil drain valve, (Amazon ASIN: B085RBL4KW). Installed NAPA Gold 1394 oil filter (Amazon ASIN: B07N6MY6V5). Added 3.3 quarts of Amazon Basics full synthetic 10W30 oil (Amazon ASIN: B07C5X1ZHP). Tested for leaks. The oil drain plug had been dripping because there was no crush washer and the attempted solution to the drip was to tighten the drain plug some more which mostly stripped the M12X1.25 threads on the drain plug. Fortunately, the drain valve threaded in properly and the fiber washer fixed the slow leak.
    73019 km​

    The oil drain valve will make future annual oil changes quick and easy, and it'll save wear on the worn oil pan drain threads.

    I made a video recording with the intention of documenting the entire Hijet experience on my Hijet Hijinks YouTube channel. I'll probably get around to editing and uploading videos when it's too cold to work outside this winter, although it was a bit nipply today.

    I had my first Hijet conversation since bringing the truck home from the port. A neighbor I didn't know stopped while I was finishing the oil change and asked, "Is that a three speed?" I told him, "No, it's a five speed, but it's a three cylinder." We had a nice guy chat for a few minutes. I'm an introvert so maybe the Hijet will help me meet more of my neighbors.

    My Hijet spark plugs and LED brake lights just arrived from... you guessed it, Amazon, so that'll be another Hijet project for another day.

    Still trying to get Impex Japan to send my parts for the clutch replacement. Every day they update the status to SUSPENDED because a Daihatsu part is no longer available, and I ask them to substitute an Aisin or comparable part. Hopefully they'll ship the parts in a few days. Nobody said the little Hijet would be easy, but I'm still loving this little truck. I'm sure I'll love it more when I can actually drive it.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2022
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  17. fmartin_gila

    fmartin_gila Well-Known Member

    Might give megazip a try & cancel impex. When I broke my engine oil pan (cast aluminum) on my Carryvan while fording a river some years ago, the only online supplier who had it available for immediate shipment was megazip. I have done several parts buys from them over the years and very satisfied with services rendered.

    About 2 years ago, I replaced the clutch on the same vehicle. Went to my FLAPS with parts in hand and they did manage to match for me, and at quite a savings compared to megazip. Note that I am in the Philippines so can't guess what your situation might be.

    FLAPS - Friendly Local Auto Parts Store

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  18. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    Thanks Fred. I took a look and Megazip didn't list Daihatsu as a manufacturer but when I searched for the updated part number for the rear main oil seal, 90043-11323, they had it in stock for under $10 as a cross for the Toyota Duet, formerly the Daihatsu Storia. I searched for the other part on the critical path for my clutch replacement, the pilot bearing, part number 90043-87002-000, and no joy with that.

    Megazip lists the Suzuki Carry as a vehicle they support but not the Daihatsu Hijet, so you'll probably have better luck finding parts than I will, but another source of parts is never a bad thing. Thanks again!
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  19. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Well-Known Member

    I went to NGK Europe and found a chart in English which explained the numbering system for NGK plugs in Europe and Asia. The “correct” NGK 2-electrode plug isn’t available in the US, but I found a single electrode, with the same threads, reach and resistance, and bought a six-pac of them, on sale a NAPA. They have worked just fine.

    A lesson I had to learn many years ago, is some parts are vehicle independent, and can cross from manufacturer to manufacturer. And, things on American market cars can generally work as replacements for hard to source foreign market parts.

    The link is: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/17923346/4/#zoom=true

    Stock plugs are NGK BCPR5E-KD
    BC = 14-mm thread, 5/8-hex, JIC special type
    PR = Projecting tip, Resistor
    5. = the heat range
    E. = 19-mm reach
    KD = 2-electrode double fine high ignition.

    The manual says to gap them at .9 to 1.0-mm

    this breaks down to NGK BPR5ES-11 same thread and hex, same projections tip resistor, same heat range, same 19.0-mm reach, and a slightly larger 1.1-mm gap, which helps compensate for the single electrode. Which happens to be the correct plug for the American Market Daihatsu Charades.
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  20. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    I received my Champion 9801 iridium spark plugs yesterday ($6.42 each, Amazon ASIN: B00AZXBB14). I haven't installed them yet, but I took measurements and compared to your NGK BPR5ES-11, and all looks good. I wasn't completely sure about the reach specification but I checked online and it's basically the length of the threaded portion, or the thickness of the cylinder head and does not include the protruding electrode. I'll double check the dimensions against the plugs that I remove as well, just to be safe. This is one of those items where it may be difficult to find a part in the US or some number may have been transcribed incorrectly, and a small mistake could have very serious consequences.

    I was pleasantly surprised that a quality iridium Champion spark plug was only $6.42, and I was very pleased to find Hijet parts that I can conveniently order on Amazon, and probably find in most auto parts stores.

    I would have liked more than one electrode, but this single electrode iridium plug should do well enough. Based on the funny name on the oil filter that I replaced yesterday, the Champion spark plug will probably be a major improvement on what's in there now. :)
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2022
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  21. jblueridge

    jblueridge Member Supporting Member

    I just spent some time reading your thread, very informative.
    I have the same model engine in my Hijet.
    I also went through the import experience at Newport News as you did.
    I have a JDM Land Cruiser and get parts from https://jp-carparts.com/ as well as megazip.

    If you run across any carb tuning info, please post.
    Mine is running very rich and I am not sure how to tune properly.
  22. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    I couldn't find Daihatsu parts at jp-parts but it looked good for Toyota, Subaru, etc.

    It looks like you have the EF-NS engine. I have the TwinCam EF-GS engine. It also looks like you got one of the blue Hijets... with air conditioning. Very cool.

    I recently watched a video that showed how to adjust the carburetor on an older Hijet but it's probably similar for the S110P.

  23. jblueridge

    jblueridge Member Supporting Member

    Actually it has the EF-GS like yours, or at least that's what is stamped on the name plate under the driver's seat.
    It's twin cam, 12 valve.
    It is still shown as for sale in Japan. https://www.shineiinternational.co.jp/5744-japan-used-daihatsu-hijet+truck-1996-mini+truck.html

    I recently read a review of the James Danko repair manual and the review stated that the book had little or no info for the EF-GS.
    My fuel mileage is poor and exhaust pipe deposits are soot black.
  24. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    I saw your very nice looking Hijet when I was looking for one to buy.

    Your signature line says "EF-NS" so I thought that was the engine in your Hijet.

    If it wasn't for protectionist regulations, Americans would be able to import and drive modern kei trucks with electronic fuel injection and electronic ignition. It's infuriating that we're forced to contend with carburetors and distributor caps. The protectionist regulations that are ostensibly for our safety and the environment result is us driving less safe and more polluting vehicles.
  25. jblueridge

    jblueridge Member Supporting Member

    Oh yeah.
    I fixed my Signature.

    I am going to try to find a carb rebuild kit.
    not sure where yet.
  26. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    We have twins! Yours is blue and mine is white, changing to gray bed liner in the spring when the weather is amenable to outdoor painting.

    Here are my notes so far on places to buy repair parts for my Hijet. Good luck!

  27. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    LED Bulb Upgrades & Many Little Tasks

    I'm still waiting on the clutch parts from Japan. Apparently their winter holiday lasts from before Christmas until the 5th of January this year. While waiting for the parts, I did a lot of little things to the Hijet today.

    I measured the vacuum lines at 4mm ID, 8mm OD, and at least 20 feet total, maybe 30+ feet with the longer runs. There are LOTS of vacuum lines.


    The vacuum lines are apparently the original lines. The exterior is a bit oxidized but they aren't dry rotted and cracked. I'll replace them with silicone vacuum lines to prevent future vacuum leaks. I ordered 15 feet of blue silicone vacuum line to make it easier to see which of the original black rubber vacuum lines I've replaced.


    I measured the door lock knobs - 8mm OD shaft, 25mm long. Add another 10mm if the flared knob on top is replaced with a theft-proof straight knurled shaft. I tried my thread gages but wasn't able to determine the pitch of the female threads. The threaded shaft protruding from the door has deep thin coarse threads to self tap into plastic - 3.2mm valleys and 4.5mm peaks. The passenger door lock knob was broken at the base and a large chunk was missing inside the door.


    I used 3D CAD to create custom replacement coat hanger resistant straight cylindrical door lock knobs and I 3D printed them on my MSLA resin 3D printer using smoky black translucent resin. They look like injection molded parts and I think they look more modern than the original door lock knobs.

    HijetDoorLockKnob-CAD.png HijetDoorLockKnob-Old&New-800.jpg

    I cleaned the black spray paint off the windshield with a razor blade. This was the result of me getting in a hurry a couple of weeks ago and spray painting the wiper arms at dusk, with only half of the windshield covered to prevent overspray. Doh.

    I cleaned and lubricated the heater flap cable and linkage under the dash, to the right of the glove box, which I removed for better access.


    I replaced the front and rear turn signal and brake light bulbs with LED bulbs. Here's a comparison of the 1156 turn signal LED bulb and the original incandescent bulb.


    The brake light uses the bayonet base with the two offset locking pins, and I somehow bought the 1142 bulbs with the opposed pins, so I need to replace those with the correct 1157 LED bulbs which I ordered tonight. The old bulb sockets were dry and crufty from the oxidation. I used dialectric grease when installing the new LEDs and I shot some polymer safe lube behind the bases to free the spring tensioned contacts. As expected, the LED bulbs caused the dreaded hyper flash. I ordered an electronic flasher to replace the original flasher to prevent the fast flashing. It's a bit larger and won't fit into the recess in the fuse block so I'll need to make three quick disconnect jumpers to mount it next to the fuse block. I cleaned the dust from inside the lamp fixtures and washed the inside of the colored lenses to increase the light reflection and transmission. The insides of the light fixtures had a significant amount of fine dust. The LED bulbs seemed a little brighter, but I mostly upgraded for brake lights that illuminate more quickly. The difference is obvious when the emergency flasher is operating with one turn signal incandescent and the other LED. The LED bulb lights almost instantly and the incandescent bulb ramps up the luminosity over approximately 0.2 seconds. That doesn't sound like much difference, but it can result in the car behind you stopping 13 feet sooner if traveling at 45 MPH. That can be the difference between a rear end collision and no collision, or between a bad rear end accident with injuries and a low energy rear end fender bender.


    There are some 7443 bulbs under the amber lenses outboard of the headlights. I haven't replaced them yet but I believe these will work.


    I installed a small fire extinguisher between the seat backs on the back wall of the cab, with the base of the fire extinguisher wedged between the seat belt cables and the top secured to the back wall with two stacked magnets in lieu of a mounting bracket.



    I have a significant punch list of Hijet things to do. I'm adding to the list faster than I'm crossing items off the list. This is looking like an exercise in turd polishing, but the little truck is just so darn cute that the effort to upgrade it and make it mine seems worthwhile. My little $265 truck is probably going to cost me over $5000 when it's finished, but it'll be SO worth it. I just wish the winter weather would relent enough to make a bit more headway.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2023
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  28. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    Fixing The LED Turn Signal Hyper Flash

    There are two common fixes for LED hyper flash.


    The left are power resistors (Amazon ASIN: B00L4V9ECY) that can be placed in parallel to the LED bulbs to draw the same current as incandescent bulbs so the original flasher will operate properly by heating a bimetallic strip that breaks contact and then cools to make contact. I didn't like that option because I didn't want crimp on insulation displacement connectors on the wiring under the truck where they'd be subjected to water splashing, vibration and being poked by sticks or rocks when off road. I also didn't like the power consumption. One of the reasons I bought LED lights was to lower the electrical requirements. I opted for the option shown on the right in the above image, which is an electronic flasher (Amazon ASIN: B0811GTVH2) that has internal electronic timing that doesn't depend on the bulb current.

    Here is where the flasher plugs into the socket on the top right of the fuse block, under the dash, just to the left of the steering column.


    The problem is, the well where the flasher plugs into the fuse block is a bit too small for the larger electronic flasher, so I needed to add extension legs on the three contacts so the body of the electronic flasher is above the flasher well. I bought some .25" quick disconnect piggyback adapters (Amazon ASIN: B0195V03H4, Molex #19043-0010) that I could modify.


    I trimmed off the second male terminal...


    ...to make the leg extensions that I needed.


    I pushed the extensions onto the electronic flasher.


    This made it tall enough to fit in the flasher socket.


    I turned on the emergency flashers and everything worked as it should. The electronic flasher even makes the familiar blinker sound to make it easier to realize that I've been driving the last three miles with the left turn signal flashing.

    I turned the little knob on top of the electronic flasher until the flash rate was one blink per second. There is a non-adjustable electronic flasher for $1 less but the body was the same size. If it was small enough to fit I'd have definitely bought that version.
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  29. jblueridge

    jblueridge Member Supporting Member

    This is great stuff!
    I have an electronic flasher in my Land Cruiser but it does not make the clicking sound: I may switch to the one you bought.

    I often buy connectors from Eastern Beaver. I can then make things that plug right into the Toyota factory wiring.
    Perhaps Daihatsu also buys from Yazaki and Sumitomo.

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  30. Liberty4Ever

    Liberty4Ever Active Member

    That Eastern Beaver link is great, not just for mini trucks but also for my 4Runner, my wife's RAV4 and my BMW motorcycle. Thanks. When I encounter a weird automotive connector, I usually surrender and work around the problem in less than optimal shade tree mechanic ways... replacing the connector with my own connector, crimping insulation displacement connector splices to wires, etc.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2023

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