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Want to buy a kei, but I have some questions

Discussion in 'General Truck Info' started by EastoftheBay, Nov 1, 2022.

  1. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    I live in Queenstown, Maryland and I am looking to buy a Kei truck. My daily pickup broke a bed mount and is rusted out all over the bed. While I repair it and other things wrong with the truck I will need a new daily. I live on a farm and I go to college not too far from the farm. I also make trips across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Kent Narrows bridge. I have seen kei trucks cross the bridge so I know the kei trucks can do it. That all being said I wanted to know if a kei would be a good fit for me. I would need the Kei truck to haul things in the bed like feed bags, firewood, scrap metal and animals like goats and chickens. The kei truck would also occasionally pull a very small trailer 6'x4' single axle that holds tools nothing heavy. I dont see the need in owning a second pickup truck to daily drive. I like the mpg that these kei trucks get as well. I would also like to know which make and model kei truck is best for highway driving and towing small stuff. Also I should mention, I am 6'3" & 225lbs so I wanted to ask if I will fit in one lol. Thanks to anyone who responds to this post.
  2. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Well-Known Member

    You may not be able to license it for street use in Maryland, check before you buy one.

    One of the jumbo cabs would give you a bit more room, but you may not need it. Try to find one you can actually sit in.
  3. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    You can tag them as long as they are 25 years or older. So 1997 would be the newest truck and 1998 would be the newest truck next year. They must also be tagged as historic.
  4. OhDeer

    OhDeer Member Supporting Member

    You can 100% tag them in Maryland, I did it back in May. I didn't ask about regular plates because I wanted the Historic so I didn't have to fiddle with inspection or emissions.
  5. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    What kei truck do you have ? Do you like it ?
  6. OhDeer

    OhDeer Member Supporting Member

    I've got a 95 Sambar, exactly whats in my sig. I absolutely love it.

    As far as weight goes, it's 40hp, so it feels it. You can definitely tell when it's loaded. When it's just me in it starting in 2nd gear is easy, when I had a yard of mulch in it, I needed 1st. They are built to work though, so it's handles it fine. At 50 MPH it's a little over 5k rpm, so it's kind of screaming. I'm 6'2" and I fit, zero issues with headroom, I'd say you don't need the highroof version, at least in the Sambar.
  7. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    Are parts easy to get here in the US ? I see there is a supercharged version too. Whatever Kei truck I buy will have to be able to go 50-65mph, longest drive I have to make for the farm is 40-45 miles so it would have to be able to go that distance without blowing its top.
  8. OhDeer

    OhDeer Member Supporting Member

    65mph is pretty much redline. I try and stay between 50 and 55. There are definitely people that drive them at higher speeds, but I'm not comfortable with running at those speeds for long periods.

    Parts are available, but you have to order them. Not going to run down to Autozone and get much.
  9. t_g_farrell

    t_g_farrell Active Member

    If you want to go that fast get a 5 speed and 2WD. My van in 5th gear can do 65mph all day without much stress. Or at least don't get fulltime AWD (Hondas come to mind) but a 5th gear will be a must to reliably do 60+ mph continuously.
  10. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    4x4 is a must for me due to the farm it gets very muddy. Do I guess I should get a Suzuki or a Subaru then?
  11. Jigs-n-fixtures

    Jigs-n-fixtures Well-Known Member

    Personally, I prefer Daihatsu or Suzuki, because they are true mid engine and the weight distribution is better. My Hijet is 50/50, with me in the seat. Subies are rear engine, and Hondas have the engine about half way back in the bed.

    They all have the same issues getting factory parts, and you need to be mechanically inclined. Finding someone capable of actually working on them is challenging.

    When I put on the lift kit the local shops couldn’t align it because it wasn’t in the computer of their machine, and they had no way to manually enter thing. Luckily the 70-something Dad, who is selling the shop to the late forties son was at one of the shops. The son was telling me they couldn’t do it. Dad just looked at the two of us, and said, “The tools are upstairs, come on.”

    We went upstairs and got the old school turn tables, the magnetic gauges, and the toe rod. Dad then spent half an hour showing the son, and two mechanics how to do an alignment old school. The shop went to a laser system mid-eighties, and the younger guys had never seen the old tools.

    I noticed when we were in the storage loft, they had a hydraulic bender for the 60s and 70s Ford pickups with twin I-Beam suspensions.. Which may come in handy when I start working on my 69 F250 next year…
  12. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    If a Subaru gets rear ended would the engine be destroyed then ? I have been trying to decide between a Suzuki or a Subaru. My father used to have a Diahatsu and said it was terrible, it was a dumptruck 1994 year.
  13. OhDeer

    OhDeer Member Supporting Member

    If any of these trucks get rear ended the whole thing is destroyed. Make no mistakes, your knees are the crumple zone. From what I read, the Subaru is the best of them all on highway and has the most room in the cab. Thats what made my decision.

    It's shit simple to do a string alignment, I've done lots of them. Seems like all you'd really need on these trucks is to get the toe square or just a degree in for stability, and leave yourself a degree or two of negative camber and it would drive fine and wear the tires right.
    t_g_farrell likes this.
  14. Drain

    Drain Member Supporting Member

    I also have a Sambar and a lot of the parts are common with a Subaru Justy from the same year (oil filter, radio wiring harness, flasher relay, etc). I imagine there are cars like this for Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, etc.

    One drawback to the rear engine Sambar is it's a real hassle to put a tow hitch on it. People have done it but it's very hard to do well.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2022
  15. EastoftheBay

    EastoftheBay New Member

    Yea I definitely want to put a tow hitch on the kei that I get. I have to haul a small trailer quite frequently. I saw a Suzuki Carry the other day towing a 10ft long trailer that seems a bit too long for me as my two trailers are a 6x4 and a 5x7. Both single axles they haul small things like firewood, goats, empty barrels.

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