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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

    Delco Western in Salt Lake is one of the ones on that list of 7. Try them, but it you want to go further north there is one in Bismarck, ND that has some trucks.
     
    dwh039 likes this.
  2. erixun

    erixun Bronze Supporting Member

    The only one that I know of is the one in brigham city, I got mine through minitruckdealer.com, and had it shipped to my house from LA. But I had specific needs/wants.
     
  3. TamiPaulus

    TamiPaulus Member

    That's a wonderful guide for people interested in buying mini trucks. The information is really useful and very nicely described and would certainly be useful to others in many ways. Thanks Steven for putting in your time to provide this information in the forum.
     
  4. Sellmy

    Sellmy New Member

    helpful!!thanks for sharing!!
    I wondering to buy suzuki carry truck 2003
    Does any common issues happened to this truck model?
    Already got one truck diagnostic tool, to do home diagnose.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  5. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member



    Awesome thread i really appreciate you taking the time to lay all this info out in such an orderly useful manner. About the clutch cable, ive been looking at a 96 Suzuki and i just printed out you little buyers guide and went to the truck, papers in hand to do some inspecting on my own. And it appears to me as though the clutch may be ready to go but i just want to be sure. I actually thought it felt pretty loose when i test drove it too. So when you say look at the end of the clutch cable to make sure theres still some thread left do you mean thread left behind the nut toward the backside of the truck or do you mean thread left on the front side of the nut toward the front end of the truck. THere is defenitely no thread left on the back side of that nut but i didnt even think to look on the front side of it until i had already driven away. Aaaaand if the clutch is ready to go how big of a problem is it to repalce the clutches and about how much would you expect it to cost i.e how much less could i ask the seller to drop from his asking price. Either way thanks again for the info!!
     
  6. ozarkman

    ozarkman Member

    Hello all, I'm a green-as-new-grass newbie to mini trucks. I'm so green that my truck isn't even here yet and I don't know the make or model. It will be arriving from Japan the middle of next month but won't be ready until early December. Thanks, Steve, for the great info; it's exactly what I need.

    My introduction to mini trucks was just three weeks ago when I test drove a well-used and dented 1990 Subaru Sambar from a private party. I liked it very much, but it wouldn't idle, had big cracks in the windshield, and was caked with mud underneath. I wondered how many unseen issues it had, so I passed on that one and started my search for information.

    I found this group today and joined. I'd like to know the most popular and useful modifications and upgrades for general purposes. So far I plan to have the dealer install a 4-inch lift kit and off-road tires and wheels. I'm still debating about choosing a carbureted or fuel-injected model. I live in a hilly rural area and plan to use the truck for work and play on my property, but also for trips to town (no license required on local roads.) Around here we get snow, *wickedly icy* roads, and temps down to 0º F.

    I appreciate any guidance, advice, and suggestions you may offer. Thanks!
     
  7. GR.mike

    GR.mike Gold Supporting Member

    First off welcome.....and if you can go fuel injected you should. On MO ice nothing is great, but a little weight in the back will help a lot. The only other tings that we get that are popular are rear hitches and front brush guards. Depending on how dusty or dirty your area is in the spring/summer you may want to look at a snorkel since the air filter pulls from below the truck and often gets very dirty.
     
  8. ozarkman

    ozarkman Member

    Thanks, GR.mike. I talked to Travis and my name on his list. Your next shipment can't come soon enough! Yes, I'd like FI, and a brush guard, rear hitch, and snorkel will be needed for sure. I need to be able to cross a creek and sometimes two or more creeks in spring. They're not too deep, but they sure are wet!
     
  9. funbard

    funbard New Member

    Thanks for the info. This is great help
     
  10. John Mc

    John Mc New Member

    what happened to the original post with the write up of recommendations? I'm not able to see it.
     
  11. ozarkman

    ozarkman Member

    @John Mc, I saved it and I'm reposting it here. I found it to be very helpful —

    What I look for when buying a Mini Truck
    By Steven Venglarcik

    Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Daihatsu and Subaru — I’ve sold these and will attempt to explain what I look for in a truck.

    Suzuki:
    Radiator in the front and susceptible to damage
    Spare tire is above a lowered fuel tank (susceptible to damage)
    Most popular truck I sell.
    A/C coil is up under the bed of truck and fairly well protected.

    Daihatsu:
    Radiator protected under drivers seat in front of engine.
    Has a bit more leg room that Suzuki in the early and mid 1990’s models
    Often has diff lock.
    My best accelerating truck was a Daihatsu.

    Mitsubishi:
    My favorite! Quick starting and great acceleration on all I’ve owned
    Spare tire is below a raised gas tank
    Radiator same as Daihatsu…under the seat and well protected.
    My wife and I have these as our daily driver “on the farm” trucks.
    Disadvantage: With A/C, the coil is under the front of the truck and susceptible to damage.

    Subaru:
    Rear engine with 4 cylinders
    Smoothest running truck I ever owned.
    Quietest running and has the best off-road traction due to the rear engine.
    Sold before I was able to grab it for myself.

    Now, what I look for when buying a Mini Truck!

    Frame, Chassis and underbody:
    All mini trucks from Japan and China are built and delivered with a white painted frame and under body (in most cases, anyway.)

    Repainting:
    Look for signs of cover-up…repainted new white or undercoated black. As this is not standard it is the first sign of possible cover-up. Look for welded patches or other signs of repair. While I won’t eliminate one of these trucks, one should be aware and understand the reason for the cover-up.

    Rusting:
    Minis will show slight rusting over time along areas of unibody and frame component joints, etc. While this is quite normal and is not a concern like one would expect in the US or Canada, it can be used as an indicator of usage and mileage of the vehicle.
    Look under the front quarter panels for signs of rust and rust through. This is where you will find the first signs of any serious rusting on your mini truck. A very good indicator of mileage and usage will be there.

    Rubbing and Wear give usage and age indications:
    Looking at the area below the driver’s window will show seat belt dings and certainly that truck with very low mileage will also show the fewest seat belt dings.
    The driver’s side will also show the paint wear from sliding in and out of the truck. The wheel well and lower door panel shows this and is often repainted for two purposes: One to cover the usage indicator and the other is to allow for a better, cleaner-appearing truck. I feel this is not a negative indicator but rather a gauge of usage.

    Underbody Steering and Axles:
    I crawl under every truck and inspect the CV boots and the steering linkage and arms for signs of damage or replacement. Seldom is there a problem in this area other than torn CV boots.

    Clutch and shifter cables:
    I wanted to add a tip about the ever-popular Suzuki DD51T and DB51T.
    It’s 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. Thanks David@ Yamagin for this added comment!

    Determining the Mileage:
    I may add something to a way of telling the mileage on those trucks that claim to have "15,000 kms" and is a 1992. Since the older trucks only have 5 digits in their odometer, one way to tell if they are really under 100,000 kms is to look at the accelerator rubber pad. As they are rubber, they'll easily show their wear. I've seen lots of "10,000 kms" trucks with a very worn accelerator pad. That tells me the odometer has rolled over. Thanks Steven Smith@ SASTRAD for this added comment.

    Interior of Cab:
    It seems most Japanese are smokers, as indicated by the number of dirty trucks I’ve seen. A clean, well cared-for interior is a sign the truck was well cared for.

    Exterior of Truck:
    A lot of these trucks were sold through auction houses and that meant two photos and a description of features is all that one saw, unless the buyer actually had someone to view it prior to bidding. So many slight body imperfections are given a quick, “cheap” paint spray. The idea here was to bring a better price, of course, but as you are able to see your potential purchase firsthand, you will be able to determine the degree of imperfections you are willing to accept. While the cleaner the truck, the higher the cost, it shouldn’t be your primary concern.

    Engine, Steering, Running:
    I start a truck and let it idle until it warms to temperature. This lets me see if the thermostat or radiator has any issues to be addressed. A rev test will let you know if there is anything loose or wrong within the engine.
    Driving the truck will allow you to check the steering, acceleration, and braking.
    Problems here are good reasons to go to the next truck on your list of candidates!

    Price: (What’s that truck worth?)
    This is the big issue. Are you looking for the most for your dollar or the best for your dollar? Those are often two different things.
    With the EPA preventing importation at the current time you will no longer be seeing the cheap mini trucks on Ebay.
    Those lower-quality trucks just went up in price, which makes this posting more valuable to anyone looking to buy a mini truck.
    Sure, when you buy a truck from a dealer, you are paying for advertising and operating costs as part of your purchase. The Ebay seller supports no one after the sale. We are the ones you can turn to for answers and parts.

    Where to begin your search:
    Being from a small town I have always believed in buying locally, keep your money in your community, and support your neighbors. Only after a thorough search in my area will I look outward.

    I hope you find this guide informative and useful.

    Regards,

    Steven Venglarcik
    MichTrucks, LLC
    South Eastern Michigan
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
    Hijet99, Jaredk253 and again_dejavu like this.
  12. ozarkman

    ozarkman Member

    About the list above, I bought a '99 Mitsubishi with A/C. Since the A/C condenser is just behind the grille, a brush guard can provide good protection. If more protection from punctures is desired, a panel of expanded steel mesh can be added to the brush guard.
     
  13. juliet

    juliet New Member

  14. NSF

    NSF New Member

    ozarkman, thanks for the repost!
     

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