MoveOn's Rocky

I did something out of impulse yesterday…I bought another Daihatsu, but this time not a Move. This time a 90’s Rocky.

Wait for my explanation why I bought a Rocky.

  1. Cheap 4x4
  2. It’s a Daihatsu, with a turbo
  3. Something for the weekends going to the beach or a camping runabout.

My acquired 1990 Rocky Sports Afield with a 2.8L Turbo Diesel.

Got electric windows, central locking, three stage dampers??, sunroof. Has more comfort features that my mates 2012 76 Cruiser. He laughed that my 28 year old car had a clock, while his one didn’t.

It has aged for a 28 year old - bonnet fade, tint bubbling, plastic cracking and other things I haven’t noticed yet.

One thing I did notice was that the 4WD light in the dash doesn’t light up when you press the button for 4H or shift the lever to 4L. When I press the button or shift the lever it I can hear a relay clicking, but the light does not come on. A mate has told me to lift the car up on stands and engage 4WD - one problem, the jack and the stands are too small. They were the perfect size for the Move tho :joy:

Also the door hinge on the drivers door shifts and doesn’t line up straight when you close the door. Also it vibrates at speed, which scared the crap out of me when it was going 100 on the Highway. The bolts to the door and the pillar are tight, just the pin in between.

Finally the steering wheel moves when you pull it toward you, not sure what it is, possibly a shackle?

What’s on the list?

  • Replace the M/Ts to A/Ts
  • 2" lift
  • UHF
  • Additional lighting
  • Roof rack
  • Drawers
  • Snorkel
  • Remove tint and possibly re-tint

What’s going to happen to the Move?
Nothing. Move project will still be moving along, I just wanted something that I can take around without worrying about the paint or dents when taking offroad. Don’t want to bugger up the daily Forester.

If you got any recommendations what I should/need to do for a vehicle this age, I’m happy to take feedback



Man that is cool. Josie from Tassie (handigirl?) has a rocky and I often see the pics and adventures it goes through on facbook. They look like a great fun. I test drove a feroza years ago and wasn’t a fan but they rocky always looked that bit better to me. They are pretty hard to find over this way it seems.


Cool looking ride mate. Glad your going to use it for what it’s intended purpose was.

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So today I thought I was going to have a simple day flushing out the coolant/radiator for new coolant as the old stuff was brown. All was going well, until I somehow lost the radiator drain plug :angry:

Bah. I had a spare one from the Move, pity it was too big. Need to go to the store to buy a replacement one, or miraculously I find the original one tomorrow!

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I have done this also with cars it is a right pain in the butt. haha

Wow. What a day today.
Went online and saw the “right” plug, said it was compatible with my Rocky and had M12 1.25 thread.

Cool, went to call the closest Autobarn, nope, none in stock. Called the second one and they had it in stock, drove a 40km round trip to get it to find out that it doesn’t fit. Manufacturer’s site said it was M12 1.25, but when I ran it through a M14 1.25 die, it told a different story.

Did another drive back and the sales guy was befuddled as I was, he went to the thread comparison chart and it stumped him. We found another plug which was smaller (which was also compatible with the Rocky) and it was a M12 1.25 thread on the comparison chart. So I drive back home from Autobarn for the second time and hallelujah it fits. 80km (2x40km round trips) for a $7 radiator drain plug.

In conclusion, don’t lose your radiator drain plug whilst flushing out the cooling system.


wow what a pain in the butt

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Alrighty, back again…was waiting for parts to arrive

After I did the coolant flush after getting the Rocky and adding new coolant I was noticing that the Rocky temp gauge will shoot towards the middle while driving 100kph and then drop when going 60kph. This was also the time where I’m noticing that the Rocky was using a bit of coolant after every drive as the coolant reservoir was showing less. I then notice a hairline crack between the core and the tank. I ordered a new radiator and waited.

During this time I decided to do a complete overhaul for the Rocky since the service history was questionable.
So I order and installed the following:

  • Timing belt kit (with seals and bearings)
  • Front rotors and pads
  • LED light bars
  • Thermostat (cross referenced with a Toyota thermo - cheaper than aftermarket thermo!)
  • Water pump
  • All cooling hoses
  • Drive belts

Alloy radiator - fits in original mounting points, a bit of tight fit. Works well.
Good thing I did get one because the original radiator was falling apart (fins were breaking away)

Water pump (Daihatsu part: 16100-B9090, Aftermarket: GWD-46A, WP3110)

Thermostat (Daihatsu part: 90048-33058, Toyota part: 90916-03102)

Coolant hoses (radiator hoses, bypass hoses, heater hoses and oil cooler hoses)

Timing belt installation - Gates belt and variety of bearings and seals

All the hoses connected, thermostat in housing, radiator installed and coolant filled up.

Light bars mounted, centre light bar has an option for amber lighting.

Today I had the “best” day changing the fluids in the Rocky.

Engine, gearbox, transfer and front diff oil was black. Rear diff on the other hand looked like the oil was changed recently as it was still “golden”.

Front rotors and pads were replaced as the original rotors were rusty and the pads have seen better days.
The left rotor and pad were easy to swap, when I got to the right one - the slider was seized.
Brake fluid was cycled out with new stuff. Bearings were cleaned and repacked with new grease.

I also took off the old bubbling tint as it made visibility really hard. I’ll get tint redone down the track.
I was able to get the UHF from the Forester and move it to the Rocky. Being a remote unit UHF, I was able to hide the base unit behind the glovebox and mount it to the “bazooka”. The handheld is mounted in the centre.

Started to play around with the vehicle electrics, removed the cigarette lighter and replaced it with a USB/volt gauge.

Hopefully doing some more auto electrics soon.


  • Tinting
  • Suspension lift
  • Drawers
  • Snorkel
  • Roof rack
  • A/Ts with steel rims


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Back again!

Rocky got some new suspension! 50mm lift.

Due to the ageing suspension (the original leaves were flat), the front raised 70mm and the rears were between 50-60mm.

Began working on the tint of the Rocky and I can understand why tint shops charge that much, one small mistake and the film goes in the bin.

Took the drawers out of the Forester and moved them into the Rocky. Since there is some width difference, some drawer panels had to be modified. Mounting the drawers were straight forward using the seatbelt and cargo mounts.


  • Tinting
  • Snorkel
  • Steel rims (the 0 offset rims and 30x9.5 M/T rub on the chassis and leaves when turning)
  • Roof rack
  • Rear wheel carrier including provision for jerry cans



the lift even makes it look better as well as more practical

nice looking rocky mate. great progress!!

I also impulse bought a 1986 F70 (in dp). My mate bought a F85 and its turned out to be a great little truck. Mine is still to be put on a hoist for inspection.

I can wait to get it on the road, but I have been hitting a brick wall with finding servicing manuals/information and limited parts availability.

It be great if you guys can provide any links or additional information on these little beasts.

I used to have an MQ patrol so working on a mechanically injected inline diesel in not unknown territory, just want to be sure on the details and specs before I do any work.