Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

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Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by HighlyJetted on Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:47 pm

So you want to buy a Hijet?

Well read this, it's inside knowledge, people buy some right lemons - and they live to regret it with their wallet and satisfaction.

This has taken me a damn side longer to write than it will take you to read 3 times.

Do yourself a favour and read it properly. I'm about to save you an £800 repair bill for a head gasket job or a £400 welding bill - or even both.

Realistically you won't find a perfect mint van, they are getting on a bit now, and they have normally been used to work and as such pick up dents and faults. Read this carefully if you are looking at buying a hijet, it could save you a lot of heart ache and gives you the wisdom that has been acquired though the experiences of Hijet ownership. A wise buyer will be less likely a victim of a poor purchase.

Some faults are easy and cheap to fix. Stuff like window winders, door handles, sliding doors sticking, locks not working, touching up some minor marks on the body work. These are nice little fun things to mess with on a sunny afternoon or in your garage.

Coolant system - this is a biggie!! 95% of new Hijet owners get stung with overheating Hijets

This is a very important subject when it comes to hijets, the biggest cause of unhappy owner syndrome is overheating vans that suck up cash.
[*]Fan over ride switch on the dashboard - this is a van with problems. They won't admit it, but it's not in their interests.
[*]Make sure the van is cold when you view it so you can remove the metal pressure cap under the passenger seat - the system should be 100% full of coolant, any air pocket under this cap means trouble. Make sure the cap is in pretty good condition.
[*]Make sure the coolant is a nice almost transparent pink/red colour! If its brown, or just water, or its got stuff like copper flakes or scum in it then this van has problems. Look in the header tank and note the water level, it should be between the max and minimum line on the side of the bottle. Remember where the level is for after your test drive.
[*]Start the van, maybe take it for a little drive just up and down the street (check the brakes and gears etc while your at it) then leave it running while you watch the temperature gauge - it will take a while to warm up to where it naturally sits at the half way mark.
[*]After it sits there the gauge will creep up to about 3/4 across the gauge, and then the electric fan will kick in for about 15 seconds approx. It should do this forever. Anyone who wants you to turn it off is selling a lemon.
[*]Now have another look at the header tank, the coolant level will have risen a little bit, maybe 3/4 of an inch. If the tank is now really really full then its got problems.
[*]Have a look at the radiator behind the grill, make sure it looks pretty decent and not mashed up especially at the bottom.
[*]Check the underside of the seat/engine covers for big brown stains near the water filler cap and the pipes on the other side - brown water stains say its been losing water.
[*]Now the super important bit...... On the test drive batter it, I mean rag the pants off it, up hill if possible - scare the pants out of the seller - then park it up and keep it running. Watch it boil up and spew its coolant into the overflow tank - then walk away with your cash still in your pocket.


Bodywork/Chassis - Typicall rotten Hijet syndrome

Hijets rot - like most cars, but welding is a labour intensive repair, and as the hijets bodywork is so thin it isn't fun. So check:-
[*]The front arches rust right down the centre where there is a join in the metal, and this follows right under the footwells.
[*]If you look below the fuel cap on the inside of the van from underneath, there is a bit between the inner arch and a bulkhead, they rot here. This is an MOT failure due to being within 30cm seat belt mounting. They tend to rot on the passenger side in this place alot more than the driver side.
[*]Rear arches rot, especially in the front bottom corners, the sliding door end. Again its an MOT failure. Dig hard and deep down there, it will be full of mud/dirt - pull out the dirt then have a good stab at the metal with a key or something hard.
[*]Upper front suspension mounts under the seats/engine covers - the rot here and is an MOT failure.
[*]Along the sills under the sliding doors.
[*]Front wishbones rust in a few places and will fail the MOT if excessive.
[*]Look behind the back bumper for bends in the cross member - this means its been rammed by a car or something.
[*]Sunroofs leak - its standard - you can fix the seals.
[*]Keep in mind you can swap a door, tailgate, front corner wings, seats, etc with just a few bolts, other parts of the can't be swapped. You may find a replacement non-dented door in a standard colour - but you won't be able to buy one if its had a shoddy custom respray that is hiding all the rust that will reappear in 6 months.


Electrics
[*]Hijets have an orange engine warning light that lights up when you turn on the ignition, if it is missing this may be an intentional ploy to hide a fault by removing the bulb or disconnecting the light.
[*]Rear wipers often stop working.
[*]Check stuff like all the lights work, the windscreen wipers and washers work - the washers are prone to failing.
[*]Reversing light and fog light are prone to being faulty, usually connections in the back of the light
[*]Check the heaters work.
[*]They are very simple and sparse so pretty easy to check everything works.
[*]Fuel gauges often fail, and its normal for them to wobble about alot between under 1/2 full and almost empty.
[*]The speedo needle wobbles a bit, quite normal - if you lube up the cable they work better.
[*]Temp gauge - if it doesn't work then I'd be worried and would closely inspect the coolant system if the van is otherwise faultless.


Running gear
[*]Hijets have a little bit of diff wine when you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal, it's quite normal.
[*]They are prone to prop shaft failure, get underneath and shake it about to see if there is excess play.
[*]Shake all the wheels about hard to check for any play in wheel bearings.
[*]Drive the van, make sure the brakes stop it in a straight line without pulling to either side.
[*]It is common for the rear LSPV brake valve above the axle to stop working - if you push the arm against the valve and press the brake pedal, a working one will push the arm back a little bit. If the valve doesn't work the van will most likely fail the MOT on a lack of rear brake efficiency
[*]Check all the tyres, the fronts wear on the inside edge first.
[*]Back tyres - if the drivers side rear tyre is very warn someone has been hammering it round roundabouts and spinning the inside tyre.
[*]Steering - often there is some play in the steering wheel - and the steering will be heavy if the front tyres are old.
[*]Alloy wheels - this is a dodgy subject, most vans have PCD108 wheels forced onto them, the hijet is PCD110 - and most people are too stupid to know the difference and will swear they fit. This will cause wobbling steering and vibration at speed, bends the wheel studs and is dangerous. If it has alloy wheels, I would recommend taking a wheel off to inspect the workmanship. Poorly fitted wheels could be the cause of a fatal incident.
[*]Check the leaf springs for snaps and cracks. Over loaded vans break leaf springs.
[*]The fuel tanks rot pretty bad being behind the front drivers side wheel. Have a good look.
[*]Exhausts rot and break just after the Cat converter before the silencer - and exhaust are quite hard to find.


Engine and gearbox
[*]On the whole, they have a hardy engine and gearbox,
[*]Dip the oil and see how grim it is, use a white tissue to wipe the dipstick and check the oil condition. It should not be black like tar, dark brown is as bad as it
[*]should ever get. If its below the minimum line obviously the seller is a bad keeper!
[*]Check for oil leaks from the bottom of the rocker cover from underneath the van, near the oil filter housing, and round the sump.
[*]Check for blue smoke when starting the van, and when you rev it. This is a worn engine.
[*]Although they sound a little bit tappety/ticky, they should not be really noisy
[*]You do get a bit of whine from the alternator/belts on startup, its sort of normal
[*]Make sure all the gears work, they cables go a bit crap on heavily used vans.
[*]Biggest concern is the coolant system which needs fully inspecting in another section.


Interior/Exterior
[*]Sliding door handles break inside and out - this is caused by...
[*]Sliding door runners should slide nicely, if they are stiff the bearings have failed, this makes people rip the handles off.
[*]The external mirrors go sloppy so they lose their adjustment.
[*]The carpet pretty much always wears out where the heel of your right foot goes. Very common even on low milage vans.
[*]Rear door rattles due to the locking mechanism needs servicing - some take a few slams to close, this bends the door in the end. Easy fix. Very common.
[*]Drivers seat shows wear quicker than the others, ends up a bit saggy where your bum goes.
[*]Window winders are prone to breaking, wind the drivers side up and down a few times to make sure it works.
[*]Test all the locks, they are very common to stop working, normally WD40 will fix it.
[*]Drivers door handle brakes because the door hinges wear out, open the door and lift it up and down to check for hinge wear.


Last edited by HighlyJetted on Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:15 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by leopard_pagan on Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:14 am

Exhausts: I have found 1ltr & 1.3 cats & back boxes easy enough... Not seen the front headers (what do car people call this bit?) though.

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by PFM on Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:42 pm

The part that connects to the exhaust manifold is usually called the 'down pipe' or 'front pipe' on cars. Then you might have a front box, or midsection, or tailpipe, or rear box depending on the system. Seem to recall the whole lot being in one piece on old Mini's - but back then they made so many exhausts for them they were dirt cheap.

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by happy camper on Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:42 pm

Thank y0u, this is all very, very helpfull. cheers

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by Brungle on Fri May 03, 2013 9:00 am

wow HighlyJetted brilliant guide, thanks for taking the time to post this! much appreciated.

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by Guest on Sat May 04, 2013 6:12 am

Strewth Matt. That is some guide. Thank you. How the heck do you find time to put all your helpful comments on the site AND FIND THE TIME TO EARN A LIVING TOO ??

It's beyond my comprehension ( or ability ) I must say. Question

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by HighlyJetted on Sat May 04, 2013 8:51 am

I don't go out drinking, nor do I watch any TV! And I certain don't go to the bookies Mad

Making a living, that's about how much you spend. We have nothing on credit (except the mortgage), our mortgage is pretty low, we run very cheap cars (why I have a hijet), we shop carefully for everything from food to insurance. I never pay anyone to fix my car, or house. Tend to get paid to fix someone elses car or house!

I meet alot of people who hate their 40 hours of work per week, yet they waste so much money. If having Sky HD TV, an iPhone and a lease car makes some one happy then go for it, I just see it as £35 + £35 + £200 every month... that's a whole weeks pay packet, then buying clothes, going out drinking. Spending £4 every day at costa coffee, shopping at Tesco or Sainsburys,

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by waz on Sat May 04, 2013 3:43 pm

HighlyJetted wrote:I don't go out drinking, nor do I watch any TV! And I certain don't go to the bookies Mad

Making a living, that's about how much you spend. We have nothing on credit (except the mortgage), our mortgage is pretty low, we run very cheap cars (why I have a hijet), we shop carefully for everything from food to insurance. I never pay anyone to fix my car, or house. Tend to get paid to fix someone elses car or house!

I meet alot of people who hate their 40 hours of work per week, yet they waste so much money. If having Sky HD TV, an iPhone and a lease car makes some one happy then go for it, I just see it as £35 + £35 + £200 every month... that's a whole weeks pay packet, then buying clothes, going out drinking. Spending £4 every day at costa coffee, shopping at Tesco or Sainsburys,

How right you are HJ, I 'retired' 4 year ago and watched my mate doing 40 + hours a week just to stay afloat with sky tv, ipad, latest mobile phone, new car every 2 years ect. I am better of than all of them and can do what I want to do and when I want to do it.
,

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by Guest on Sat May 04, 2013 10:04 pm

Like you I dont have anything on the knock. Dont have Sky. Had never had a credit card till last year when my " Barclays Personal Business Advisor " suggested I have a Visa card as it covers tools I buy on line being lost or whatever. Every month the Card bill is paid without fail.

Anything else if I cant afford it -- I dont buy it. Like you I have a diamond of a wife who is so frugal its unreal.
I work damn hard every day and as long as I can pay the bills every month then I am very happy.

I pick and choose what jobs I want to do and If it means higher blood pressure, I dont do it.

The thought of a regular 9 to 5 is horrendous. Just love what I do and the freedom to pick and choose is priceless. I feel I am a very fortunate person
having reasonable health and a job I love and two great kids and and 5 grandchildren. Just wonderful.

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by clwydian on Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:29 pm

Hi.  Im thinking hard about a micro camper - the last vehicle I bought was a 21y old motorcycle off ebay and that has cost a fortune to keep running (so far) but I lack basic skills such as which way you turn a hammer etc...

Here's the thing - Im going to look at a 2004 hijet petrol/gas camper on saturday - and I have no idea what I'm doing.  This section looks interesting although probably a bit more complex than I will manage on the day.  Im not insured to drive the beast so thats out but should manage being a passenger.

Its done 70k miles which is highish for a camper (but perhaps not for a van or car) but it seems key is whether its rusting.   There is a spot of rear damage on it apparently base of door but the photo doesnt show much. Image is at tiny url dot com /nuhd47u -- but I cant paste this in my message in case its spam (which it isnt)

My guess is minor damage suggests no 'covering up?'..maybe..?  Smile

Anything to worry about the 'gas' bit?

Hey - one of you guys might own it Smile

Wish me luck...

Carl

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by scotia on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:56 am

why dont you take somebody along who does have some car skills ?  

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by clwydian on Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:47 pm

Smile well anyway the radiator level was well down and the header over full. The brake pipes were corroding. The front seat wasn't bolted down. And the owner who loved hijets and did them up for a hobby didn't know where the dipstick was.....

But my significant other can reach the pedals and I'm definately in the market now Smile

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by HighlyJetted on Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:03 pm

Tee Hee Hee! Sound pretty typical seller Smile

Glad you knew what to look for, good luck - you will find a pretty good one.

And its worth buying the right one as buying one of the rough ones will tarnish your relationship.

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:24 pm

And drain your pocket significantly especially if you take it to a garage that aren't conversant with Hi-Jets and their foibles and quirks.
ALWAYS ASK ON THE FORUM FIRST. Laughing  Laughing

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by Logi on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:14 am

Also, was it a camper or a minibus + plywood + cushions.....

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

Post by Ryan 95 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:43 pm

what a brilliant write up, thank you Smile

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a little information

Post by PeteW on Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:21 pm

Thanks for this information wish I had seem this before.

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Copper Flakes

Post by Ednorris1 on Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:41 pm

Noticed this on my Jet. What would the problem be and is it fixable?


"or its got stuff like copper flakes or scum in it then this van has problems."

Thanks

Ed

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Re: Daihatsu Hijet buyers guide - a little information for getting a good one

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