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What I look for when buying a Mini Truck!

Discussion in 'General Truck Info' started by MichTrucks, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. MichTrucks

    MichTrucks Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  2. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Steven! Excellent write up.

  3. andy_george

    andy_george Member

    Great advice for buying minis or any used vehicle!

    The point about most Japanese guys smoking seems to be right on. I think the guy who had my truck in Japan refused to shower, so I *wish* he had been a smoker to cover up the stank.

    In an unrelated plug for Yankee Candle, the pine scented "Jar in a Car" air fresheners are now only $1 !!!

  4. John Canfield

    John Canfield Member

    Most excellent! Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
  5. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    That's an excellent post. A lot to consider. If I may add something to a way of telling the mileage on those trucks that claim to have "15,000kms" and is a 1992. Since the older trucks only have 5 digits in their odometer, one way to tell if they are really under 100,000kms is to look at the accelerator rubber pad. As they are rubber, they'll easily show their wear. I've seen lots of "10,000kms" trucks with a very worn accelerator pad. That tells me the odometer has rolled.
  6. DAVID-O

    DAVID-O New Member

    Suzuki Tips

    Hey Steven,

    I wanted to add a tip about the ever popular Suzuki DD51T and DB51T.
    Its important to always make sure to check that the 4x4 shifter/cable is working and not stuck. It is a common problem in the Suzukis. Also, by looking at the end of the clutch cable (at the transmission end) and if you see no thread left that means that the clutch is gone and needs to be replaced.

    David Okamoto-manager
    Sales: 310-498-4465/310-210-8108
    Los Angeles, California
  7. MichTrucks

    MichTrucks Moderator Staff Member

    David and Steven,
    I added your tips to my post with credit to you both.

  8. oldsnowman

    oldsnowman Member

    Hi Steven
    i just read through your post...thanks a lot for taking the time:) from the things you have said in this information, now i know for sure the km's are the km's. i guy i bought it from told me right up front that he did not know if it had rolled over or not. i tryed to buy my truck local but when i could find what i wanted i had to go a ways, but like you, i bought from a good guy from a small town, and not once felt worried about the truck i bought and drove it 340km's back home.
    thanks for the info...this will help a lot of guy and girls looking for trucks:)
  9. DougGardens

    DougGardens New Member

    Thank you very much for your insight folks, especially Steven.
    I'm looking at all of my options right now and this really helps.
  10. I had a chance recently to look over this post and I thought buyers might want to add a couple of items to the most excellent check list that Steven has compiled.

    One: patches on the frame are not unusual right from the factory on even the brand new trucks. They make the frame rails for various configurations and I believe they patch to preserve the structural integrity. The thing that I would look for is “rust-proofing”. Most places that cut the frame will cover it by undercoating to make the seam undetectable to almost everyone but the most experienced buyer. You have to know what it should look like to be able to tell if it does not look like it should.

    Two: Check the radiator and the reservoir. The coolant should be a solid color. If it appears brackish, murky, and or oily to the touch, or if you see any sediments chances are you are looking at a future problem truck. The reason to look for sediments is to catch someone using something like “Bar’s Leak” which is some sort of metal particles that flow out to the leak and seal it for a time. The reason someone used Bar’s Leak is because they had a problem of loosing coolant either through the exhaust or into the motor. If it leaks through the exhaust the coolant will burn off as a white steam. If it leaks through the motor the oil will be diluted and eventually corrode internal engine parts. If you catch a head gasket breach soon enough the fix is not bad. The problem with buying a truck with this type of problem is that you do not know how long the problem existed so you really cannot tell if there are going to be other maintenance issues.

    I hope this adds to your list and helps make buyers make good purchases.

  11. que_sera_sera1102

    que_sera_sera1102 New Member

    thanks alot for the information
  12. EJprojects

    EJprojects New Member

    insurance cost

    anybody know what the cost is to insure minitrucks in BC canada as opposed to other trucks here
  13. EJprojects

    EJprojects New Member

    Is there a post where i can see engine photos to learn whats what
  14. john lippy

    john lippy New Member

    Hay guy, just looking to get one. Need help. 4 or 5 speed or auto. RT or LH steering. Does the AC pull down the rpm's. Will the radio play in english. Thanks John
  15. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member


    Here's a quick list of answers to your questions...

    • 4-spds are most commonly available - all depends on your planned uses. If you will be frequently driving at higher speeds, then having the extra gear will be beneficial.
    • The vast majority of trucks you will find are going to be RHD (the norm. on imported trucks). LHD trucks are typically government-owned trucks at one time in their history. A RHD truck will not provide you a problem as it takes most people about 5 minutes to get used to stick shift in the left hand (pedal layout is the same as North American-born vehicles).
    • AC will not dramatically affect the engine performance unless at higher speed.
    • The factory radios are pretty much junk AM radios. Yes, they will receive U.S. stations, but often have difficulty tuning them in. If you plan to want a radio, plan on purchasing a cheap FM radio to install with some decent speakers. There are many posts here to help with that small detail. The radio should not affect your buying decision on a specific truck if everything else is in order.

    As previously mentioned, work with a dealer that wants to help educate you and answer all of your questions to help fit you to the best truck for your needs (before you spend money). If a dealer does not seem to want to help you, they are most likely just after your money and there will be no long-term support.
  16. Preacherman

    Preacherman Guest


    what kind of mileage can I realistically expect if I buy one.
  17. MichTrucks

    MichTrucks Moderator Staff Member

    Mileage has been documented at mid 30's to low 40's.
  18. Preacherman

    Preacherman Guest

    thanks very much. I am going to pursue this avenue up here in Canada
  19. silverbee

    silverbee New Member

    Food for thought

    really liked your post. Im wanting to buy one of these minitrucks but am twisting in the wind as to WHAT to buy. I am in northern canada and there is really no one around with one of these that i can talk to. I am looking for a Lemon Guide for these trucks. Is there a year/model/make that is best, and is there one that is riddled with cancer that i want to steer clear of! Any tips?
  20. fujian

    fujian New Member

    Which import company did you end up buying your mini truck through?

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