Daihatsu Rocky.....any good?

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 12:19
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Thinking about buying my first 4WD. I've got three kids but they are all still young (and short) so I was tending to lean towards something with reasonable fuel economy rather than physical size or load capacity. I understand the DAIHATSU ROCKY's have Toyota running gear (eg: "L" diesel motor as per Hilux). Would it be safe to assume that this makes them a reliable package? I've only just started looking, so if you think they are a bucket of cr@p, please say so, however a recommendation to another similar sized vehicle would be appreciated too. (Up to $15K including any mods that are required).

My needs are to just get off the beaten track a little. I'm getting sick of doing the same Flinders Ranges trips thru Parachilna and Glass's Gorges. Having said that, I'm a little far off attempting the Canning just yet! Something to get me to BIRDSVILLE (I hear the beer's cold there) and other similar places would be fine.

Please help to make my first 4WD experience a good one. I can't stand to hear my wife say "I told you so" when I'm on the side of the road with the bonnet up (knowing that she is right .......again!).
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Reply By: flappa - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 12:24

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 12:24
My old mans has had a TD Rocky for nearly 20 years . . still going strong.

That said though , they are NOT a touring machine . . . rough as all get up , and small fuel tank , 60l or so from memory.

For a tool around vehicle , they would be ok , as a Touring vehicle . . . I wouldn't like you to hear . . . "I told ya so"
AnswerID: 147769

Follow Up By: Fab - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 12:31

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 12:31
Cheers Flappa. This is exactlly the sort of info I'm after. One thing I forgot to mention is that the vehicle has to double as my everyday to and from work car as well (about 40km round trip daily through moderate traffic - Adelaide).
FollowupID: 401070

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 17:27

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 17:27
My old Rocky was great also... I just pushed too hard and destroyed an engine and then the gearbox... Parts for the box were nigh on impossible to obtain, odd sized bearings which had to be ordered in. I tried several places all over Melbourne and only one place in Melton was willing to touch it for this very reason... As for the small tank, at that time(about8 or 9 years ago) Long Ranger made a 100L tank which yielded about 950km with a little restraint on the right foot...
FollowupID: 401130

Reply By: Quilpiedive - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 13:32

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 13:32
If you are looking at touring...You should look at Mid range Soft roaders (CRV, Xtrail, Forester, ) and the like. Very capable off road, on beach, going to birdsville etc.
If you are wanting serious rock climbing and full on Winch extreme four wheel driving (EG Canning) then a Part-timer would have to be your pick (Patrol, or Land Cruiser).

Cheap and nasty fun without the safety and ride comfort ---Suzukis or the Daihatsu would be your pick.

I have Wife, 10 year old and 3 year old. Camp off the beaten track. Innaminka and Birdsville , beach ect. I want capability and comfort and a cheap running cost....Cant beat the X-Trail Ti ...with standard AT tyres.
116K and still drives as good on sand and anything else Ive driven and all with 10-11 Ll/ 100km...Never heard "I told you so"...from the missus....Just " Can I have a drive honey" or " Oh no ... not the black top again!!!"

Advice. Dont touch a Disco or Subaru. Great cars but thirsty and very expensive to fix.
AnswerID: 147780

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 14:25

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 14:25
That kind of thought pattern is exactly why it never took off in Aus and had to be scrapped. It was a very sad day...

I owned a 1994 Wide Track Rocky with a 2.8L Turbo Diesel Factory Intercooled engine. It had a Coil Rear end an IFS front and was a dream to drive on the road with power stear air con and factory sun roof. Built by toyota (as they own Daihatsu) it was as tough as nails and had a very reliable motor based on the Hilux 2.8L but with a stronger top and bottom end to handle the turbo. It was old school Mechanical fuel pump so you could run the bugger without any power from the alt or batt (I did once).
I reckon next to the 4.2 Patrols this thing had more staying power than any other 4by in it's time, you could be rawing through soft soft sand, wheels spinning engine at 1500rpms and black smoke bleep out the exaust without a worry in the world, as long as you kept your foot on the floor it just kept going. Unreal machines. Of course off the lights around town my 3.0L non intercooled surf would still leave it for dead but that's what all those electronic gizzmos do, but I still reckon the rocky had much better bottom end power, they were heavy as, dry tare factory weight of 2.1tonne. For a 3 door short wheelbase with a rezan top that's pretety bloated, but the milage was always 10L/100km no matter weather I was thrashing it round the burbs or we had everything we could fit in the bugger and were powering through the hills down at bridgtown on the highway.

I almost shed a tear when we sold it, but unfortunatally the ONLY downside to it was the fact that it was a 2 door... As our only car (the wife has a company car) and another baby planned (we already had a 6 year old at the time) it just was not practicle to keep the 2 door. Trying to get the bubs in and out of the car all the time with a 2 door 4by would have been a nightmare, plus we just wouldn't have had enough storage space as we barley have enough now.

So in short, and to finish off my dribble, just an absolute ripper of a vehicle, comfy, capable and economical, however even though the back seats have OOODLES of room (more than the surf by a long long way) I reckon for your family there just wouldn't be enough storage space. Maybe if you put some roof racks on (they can be hard to fit because of the odd shaped roof, but I have seen them done) it would be ok, but never under estimate the amount of space you're family is going to take up, especially if you are taking camping gear with you!

Good luck with your purchase, always exciting getting a new bus!
FollowupID: 401099

Reply By: Browser - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 13:52

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 13:52
Hi Fab,

AnswerID: 147783

Follow Up By: Browser - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 14:02

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 14:02

What I was about to say was that the Diahatsu Rocky wasn't a bad 4WD for its time and what it was designed to do but I tend to agree with Quilpiediver and would opt for one of the more recent models like the Honda CRV or Nissan X Trail. You'll get all the modern comforts of air cond., CD player, etc to keep you, the wife, and the kids happy and still have a car that can comfortably be used to commute.

You should find something that is say 6 to 7 years old that fits into your price range. Redbook has the 1998 CRV) within your budget limits.


FollowupID: 401095

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 14:27

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 14:27
Browser as I said in my above reply, I don't know what you know about the 90's model rocky's but by the sounds of it not alot. They came with an excellent air con, it was actually thermostatically controlled (like a manual climate control) and had power steering and sun roof's as standard. They were a very nice vehicle and would take his family a million miles further than any POS CRV would. But as I said, the only downside is the 2 door limitation.
FollowupID: 401100

Follow Up By: Exploder - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 19:21

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 19:21
A mate brought a 88 diesel tray back rocky as his First car> they him his Old man and some other people took it a 80S Cruiser and a Patrol up to Randall River Nat park and surrounding Arias for a trip, the rocky preformed perfectly and on the way home towed the 80Series into Meekatharra after it broke down.

This was in 2001.
FollowupID: 401154

Reply By: Big Woody - Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 23:26

Wednesday, Jan 11, 2006 at 23:26
Hi Fab,

I just brought my son his first car about 3 weeks ago.
You guessed it, a Daihatsu Rocky.

If you are after one of the small 4by's then the Rocky is the way to go.
As my best mate and I used to say when he had one years ago - "they are tough little buckets".

Mate they are built like tanks underneath. Tough gearbox, transfer, and diffs. Watch out you don't get a rusty one and that's about it.
Petrol or diesel it's your choice. The 2.8 T/D is strong and torquey and the 3Y petrol is nippy and reliable. Either way you can't go wrong.

A lot of negative advise above but only you know what size and what price bracket will suit you so if you like the Rocky's. Go for it. You won't be disappointed.

Probably your only comment that would make me hesitate is your 3 kids. As I also have 3 kids I have had a 2 door 4Runner as well as a Deisel Troopcarrier and even in the big troopy with heaps of room, 2 doors was frustrating at times with kids.

Good luck with your decision.

80 Series T/D
AnswerID: 147921

Reply By: Member - Alanc - Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 at 01:26

Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 at 01:26

I owned a 92 T/Diesel model for 6 yrs, sold it just on 12 mths ago, if they made a four door model I would probably have purchased another one. It had 85 ks on the clock when I got it, and sold with 300ks . During that time it took us (two of us) all over the southwest of WA and in 2003 up through the kimberley area (Broome, Cape Levegue, GRR Bungles etc towing a camper without any problems. It was serviced on aregular basis and I never encountered any major mechanical problems.
I think models after 92 came with independent coil suspension and a slightly wider track which is something I would go for, the ride in our leaf suspensions bus was a little harsh at times.We had a roof rack mounted over the cab which carried some of our gear when on longer trips. With only the two of us i removed the back seat for long trips , made up a simple shelf for the rear and it was amazing how much gear you could put in it. I would have to agree with previous comment though, with three kids you may be a little cramped gear wise, but you could always tow a trailer ??
It was not a speed machine but I found it reliable and it suited our needs
AnswerID: 147940

Reply By: Fab - Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 at 11:04

Thursday, Jan 12, 2006 at 11:04
Thank you, thank you, thank you! To all of you who replied to my question. I was over whelmed by the response. What a great web site and comradarship that exsists amoungst you four wheelers.
I have taken all your constructive comments on board and thrown them into the mix to see what comes out. This is how it pans out.
I am an (ex) Toyota trainned mechanic so the Tojo running gear is right up my alley. The lack of gizmos suits me fine as the short wheel base will no doubt lend to a shakey ride that many electrical components don't like, eg: CD player. The two door thing is a bit of a concern, however, my kids are all at the age where they can get in and buckle themselves up by themselves, yet small enough where they think my wife's 318 BMW has lots of leg room (?), so I figure if I can get a couple of years or 200K out of a Rocky, then hopefully I can justify spending a little more on an upgrade or something bigger/newer.
I can pick up a Rocky for around $10K (low 100,000Km, turbo diesel, wide track mid 90s thingy) which will leave me enough to get some spare wheels/tyres, turbo timer, cargo barrier....a must with kids, bull bar, UHF, lights, roof racks, towbar etc etc etc if it doesn't already come with this stuff, and some basic recovery equipment.
The Rocky comes with a low range which many other soft roaders don't. And some other light weight 4bys are only 4 seaters eg: Rocky's smaller cousin the "Feroza" (is that a swear word on this site?).
At this stage my needs are simple, A/C, steer, radio, decent ground clearance, enough grunt to pull a small stump out the ground, and reliability.
I once spent 4 hours in the scourcing heat of summer on the Ooanadata Track fixing a hole in the sump of a V8 statesman. (not driven by me but one of my city born and bread work collegues who couldn't grasp the concept of not riding the brakes through creek crossings, turned the front of the car into a plough). Not fun by any account and definatley the sort of thing I want to avoid. Hence I tend to drive a wee bit conservatively so my 4X4 purchase need not be a bullet proof tank.
Anyway, thanks for the replys once again. I'll let you all know how I get on and what I eventually buy. Either that, or we'll catch up for a beer somewhere up the track or where ever the wind takes me. I assume you guys are easily identifiable by the ExploOz stickers, right?
AnswerID: 147995

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