The Mazhatsu Rotajet

Hi there!

A few days ago, I joined here with my 13B swapped Daihatsu Hijet. Thought it would be a good time to post its build thread. I bought this back in Nov/Dec of 2013 down in SoCal (living in the USA) after finding it on Craigslist there. It originally was to be bought as a backup to my 92 3000GT SL and quickly turned into something more. Took it to car shows and meets and took it to work.

Mid-2014 I moved out of San Diego and up to Lemoore, CA (mid California) for school (Navy guy here) and sold the SL and got a 91 VR4. Got the Hijet fresh paint. Also got the RX7 Toyo Koygo wheels re-bored on the inside to make more room for the hub and to be more aligned. The whole time they were resting on the 4 lug nuts and I had to tighten them up evenly to avoid the wheel becoming mis-aligned. Another thing I did was removing the 3 inch or so lift blocks it had just on the front. Also bought my Hello Special fender flares (which I later installed up in WA state). Another thing I did was add rhino liner… but it was a mistake as I failed to remove the fresh white paint and did the whole process backwards. So that later started bubbling off later years.

After school near the end of 2014, I moved up to Washington state. From there, I changed the registration and plates and all to WA state… and I sold the VR4 because why have 2 project cars when I can put all into one. For awhile I drove it as is. Then got into scootering with a Chinese knockoff of a Honda Ruckus called a Maddog to take up the backup vehicle job. I got new mirrors for that, and used the stock scooter mirrors to replace the floppy elephant ear Hijet mirrors. Gave it a nice classic feel.

I then got into driving to the mainland to go to other car meets and shows north of Seattle. My Hijet has been able to top out at 73mph and I have also had driven it once down the Pacific Coast Highway from Portland, OR to Lemoore, CA when I first went to school there. So yea, I met a friend at one of those meets who drove a JDM’d out RX7. Had the lights and everything and to top it off, the guy made his own decals. We decided to chill at his place and his car broke down on the way. I helped out. And later months I visited to help him out on car stuff. Like removing his RX7’s engine with tow hitch mounted crane I bought.

Later, I installed my fender flares, and later my roof rack I found on Rakuten. Then by stroke of luck found a Japanese company called Kei Zone that sold adjustable coil over kits for Kei trucks. The RX7 friend helped me install the rear half of it that included new leafs and adjustable coil overs in the rear as thanks for the engine help from before.

So all was fine and I also volunteered to watch cones for a Auto X event at Evergreen Speedway. Then my transmission locked up and I lost my 2nd gear on the way to that. I got there safely and after tinkering with it during the event on my times off, I decided to try it out on the track. It was ok… but I had to slam gears.

I decided then instead of replacing the transmission, to let it run its course and use that as an excuse to a engine swap I have been debating on the past years. I continued driving to car shows and stuff. The transmission refused to allow me to get into any gears by mid 2016. That was when I decided to swap a 13B rotary into it. Mostly influenced by my friendship to the RX7 owner. In return, he later bought a Sambar van hehe.

I was scheduled to go on a carrier deployment around January of 2017, so it was a perfect time to find a shop whiling to try the swap. Found one called J-Rod’s Garage and he was all for it. He got the motor out that Nov/Dec and before I left, he located a RX7 to use as the donor car for the engine and harness. And later to use for the whole subframe, brakes, and Rotiform wheels.


Most of my time out on deployment, the shop spent the time planning and experimenting… taking measurements. Halfway or 3/4 of my time into deployment and the 13B was in the truck. The rear of the cab having to be cut 4 or so inches so the oil pan of the engine would have reasonable clearance. In return, the seats were removed and a frame idea made so the seating would be raised up higher to account for the engine. Engine mounts were made to hold the long Mazda transmission too.

Later on, when I returned from deployment, the Hijet’s engine first cranked over and had spark. Later, they got the engine to first up… although having to jerry rig for gas, and the battery. And, not having a full exhaust yet… so it was insanely loud.

Other issues that were overcome was the stock brakes were not going to work with the extra power. So the RX7’s were used… and along with that everything else connected. The rear axle was removed and full independent suspension was introduced, along with insanely big Rotiform wheels.

Next, I went and bought dual Magnaflow exhausts. I bought one at night from Autozone, and picked up a second the following morning. After taking them over by help from a friend and his truck, we grabbed a lot of the old stock stuff to take home. We also got to hear how loud it was… imagine a 2-4 Kei trucks revving high idle with no exhausts installed. Our teeth vibrated. But after we left, the shop installed the exhausts and sent pictures back. She was still loud, but reasonably loud. Nothing a resonator can’t fix we guessed.

New balanced driveshaft next to a BMW E30 length one.

Fender flares were next on the list. Lots of thinking was put into this… as the stock ones weren’t going to work anymore.

A metal frame for ideas and inner support I believe (think it is still there).

Paper ideas over.

Sheetmetal for the front… it turns and no rubs!

Also, if people ding my door with theirs, would hurt if I returned the favor.

Rear paper ideas.

Final turnout with sheetmetal and suspension lowered all the way.

Full picture. Yes, the sides still go down and fenders can support them. Also are still removeable.

She has hips now. She’s loud. And she likes to party. Completely different from being a quiet, timid, little thing from before.

Recent picture. Has a radiator. No room under the cab anymore. Gas tank will be in a new location, and the oil cooler will be jdm style on the front bumper.

Hope you folks enjoyed the history. I’ll be sure to update here as stuff happens.


dang, this thing is mad, Eager to see what more will follow

Thank you! Yes, same here. Its one thing to imagine it, but so much better when you have it in front of you!

She spits flames too last I’ve seen her reving

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This is soo awesome man Thankyou for detailing a build thread.

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No problem! She is almost near the end of the build. Lots of anticipation from the wait.

Rotajet update. Shop installed the new gas tank, did a quick spray of the fenders, a new decal was put on the rear bumper by me, and a show by Hot Wheels was attended!


Awesome truck and scooter. Did you post the scooter build on TotalRuckus back in the day?

Thank you! Yes I did. I had two threads in the knockoffs hall of shame section being that my scooters are Chinese.

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This is awesome!!

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Love this!

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Thank you!!

No real updates so far. Appologise for not being as responsive. J-Rod’s Garage, the shop that has been doing the swap, was moving locations. They were temporarily in a smaller 2 car garage that had no room for Rotajet. But a few days ago he finally got to move into the bigger garage (4-5 car) and has been fixing it up the last 2 days. Soon Rotajet will be there and updates starting again. Hopefully there will be videos of all that here. …feel free to subscribe, I am sure he would like that.

I think one of the big kicks in our ass for this build has been Hoonigan, a California shop that builds crazy stuff for people like the drifter Ken Block. Their new build has been a Suzuki Carry that some Swedish drifters used as a pit truck at events and they wanted a 13B in it.

Rotajet can’t be a stepping stone for them and hopefully, they decide to use their own ideas.

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Stuff happened last Monday! Stay tuned!! I think a lot of the updates might be videos from his youtube account… might have some videos from others posted here.


man that is super cool. I love this thing. Just liked and subscribed on youtube btw :slight_smile:

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Nice! Thank you! Jared would appreciate that! His april/june forcast surprised me. Super excited to drive it :smiley:

Very Cool project. I cant believe that those mudguards dont rub on the tyres. I guess its not 4WD drive any more?

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Thank you! Yes, it is just 2wd now. The coilovers are all on their lowest setting but might be risen a tad more for when i start driving on the road when she’s finished.

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Been a good minute since I put an update up.

She has seats again! J-Rod’s Garage has been on and off with Rotajet and has dealt with having to move shops about twice which had included a falling out with another shop that was supposed to help out. Now she is at his new shop that has car lifts and is amazing.

He had to backtrack with the whole engine and lower it back to make room so the seats and a seat frame and fit better. With it before if you added any seating, your head would be close to the roof. Which in the long run would make helmets hard. Before, if you guys recall, the engine was raised as with the stock suspension (or at least when it was the Kei-Zone coilovers) the oil pan would be within 3 inches from the ground. What we all never thought of was when it got the RX7 coilover suspension and subframe, it raised everything back up. So he was able to lower it back 4 or so inches. With that he had room for the seat frame and seats while also having room to later add a heatshield. The plan is with the whole setup being removable by disconnecting the latches and unhooking the shift linkage (which she can shift now too!). That would give me a removable seat to relax on during car shows where the engine would be exposed.

The new bucket seats… I was able to fall asleep in one having it in my living room floor watching a movie on the TV hahaha

Seat frame

Frame and seats test fitted. You can see how much it hugs the top of the 13B and see the corners of the bottom of the bucket seats.

Side view. Steering wheel would be angled up more to not be in the driver’s lap.

Without the seats and sheet metal covers.

His custom engine mounts with forward subframe.