what to look for when buying 2nd hand fourtrak


Hello All,

I would appreciate if you could give me some pointers what to check for i.e. typical weaknesses, when looking to buy an F78. my brother in law is after one, he has around £3500 to £4000 to spend. i already have one but i was very lucky, the 1st one i saw i bought but has been great! just want the same for him.
cheers, nige.

buying a fourtrak

check gearbox:
make sure it goes into 4h and 4l.see how easy it is to change gear,cluch could be going.theyre hard to select a gear in the cold too, especially second gear.

check steering:
use full lock each way and drive to see if the joints are worn,they'll need to be replaced if they are.also see how easy it is to move the steering wheel,if it jumps or what,or if the power steering pump
growls,this will tell u the condition of the pump.

check to see if theres oil in the engine,water in raditor,that kind of stuff,check to see if theres excess oil on engine and around exhaust manifolde

check emissions,
if very smokey or blue,the engine hasn't long to go.

if shes lwb,check the back around the seal to remove the roof,check to see if water is leaking in,if so the roof hasnt sealed right and you cant take it off without major risk.

check for wearing of tyres,tracking might be off

this is a major fourtrak problem.lift the carpet in the back and front to see what way the floor is.the rust eats up that way,throught the arches and into the floor.YOU MUST DO THIS,IT IS SO IMPORTANT.dont buy it even if the floor was replaced,it will give trouble again.get under the body and look.if u dont u might regret it.

check to see how easy it is so close the doors,they might be strained and would rattle at speed,drove me mad.

ask him did the engine ever loose power before.if is dont buy it,engine is gone.

check brake lights,they give problems,not much but be aware of it.

check electric windows,if it has any.make sure they more freely up and down.if now,window motor is going.

check back windows to see if moss is growing on the runners.if so theyre probably jammed and leak.

these are the problems i cam across in my fourtrak and other fourtraks that i saw.i know what im talkin about ,trust me!

i think thats about it.if i come up with anything else ill let u know.
there is one more thing left but im not sure wheither it tells u that the engine is gone or not,but ill find out and let u know


Wow :O, thanks for the very detailed list bashir! Just what I was after, but if anyone else has any other comments/experiences they would be greatfully received.

Also check freewheeling hubs

Also check freewheeling hubs are engaging/disengaging properly, auto ones are prone to breaking...ensure 4wd definately works! Wink

*** '96 Fourtrak Forester ***


Thanks for all the replies gents! Loads of info/advise given, cheers,

what to look for when buying a 2nd hand fourtrak

Hi Nigel - For that kind of price you are probably looking at a 95 to 97 registration Fourtrak, with mileages 80-100000 I guess.

You need to check the service history. Fourtrak need frequent servicing if they are to last, and it needs to be done properly. Dealer parts used to be more expensive than they are now, and some people, especially those who go in for DIY can have fitted parts that are less substantial than Daihatsu equivalent ones.

Make sure that timing belts have been changed on time and with Daihatsu replacements to be on the safe side. This is every 6 years or 60000 miles whichever is sooner. If you have it done at a dealer it will cost about £190. Many people recommend doing this anyway regardless of age and mileage when you have bought a new vehicle just to be safe. A broken belt costs big money in engine repairs. If a dealer does it you know that the work should be guaranteed

The clutch is an obvious wear area. A replacement clutch system with cable and all branded parts and labour will cost about £480 to £500 at a dealership, but will then be guaranteed for two or three years, and should last a lot longer

Look at the tow ball. If it is old and shows little or no sign of wear then the vehicle has probably done very little towing, but with a high mileage you should expect the clutch to go sometime in the future. If you plan for it and it doesn’t happen, you have not lost anything and have money towards your next vehicle.

The brakes are often a neglected area, particularly the distribution valve in the engine bay. It’s on the drivers side bulkhead. These should be replaced periodically as a safety measure service item. They cost about £100, so tend to be missed. If it is old and rusty it probably is getting ready for replacement.

Put on the old clothes and have a good rummage underneath.

Look for oil leaks on the diffs, and brake fluid wet patches on the brakes pointing to leaking seals. Look at all the hoses for signs of damage. Check at the exhaust for leaks or patching up. Some surface rust on chassis and underbody is inevitable, and nothing much to worry about if cleaned off and properly treated with something like waxoil, but check that it does not go through bodywork.

Retaining bolts often corrode onto the captive nuts on the chassis and then break off when anyone tries to undo them. This is an inconvenience rather than a problem. Some drill them out, others just leave them and don’t put in a bolt. I use a little drill with a metal cutting blade to grind into the edge weld on the captive nut, and then chisel them off. That way only the problem nut is removed and access using a non captive nut is seldom a problem.

I don’t know if you do your own servicing and repairs, but the Fourtrak is OK to work on and the dealer parts now cheap enough to use. Workshop manual CD's don't cost much and give a good idea of how difficult a job is to do.