1990 Daihatsu Rocky SE


Tough little truck, lots of guts, no pretense


Transmission failed in 1996. It was a spring that broke inside case.

Overhead Cam seized in 1998. Oil flow stopped because of stuck oil pressure regulator. My fault - I ignored the light because it was full of oil.

Alternator gave out in 2002.

Not a bad record for 8 years.

General Comments:

Love/hate the vehicle. It rides hard, gets great mileage, looks funny, turns very wide which is a good safety feature, but makes it hell to parallel park. The engine compartment is very well organized and a pleasure to work in compared to US cars of the same era. Beware of 4WD on icy streets. Over 30mph you WILL eventually go out of control and spin helplessly. In 8 years living in Maine, I've only seen 1 other Rocky.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th November, 2002

7th Mar 2003, 18:49

I live in Puerto Rico and parts are not easy to find. This is my second comment about the accident. I've seen at least 20 in the whole island. Any body knows about a place over the INTERNET to buy parts?

John Betancourt.

20th Nov 2003, 22:19

About the 4WD on icy streets: It's because it uses a part-time type 4WD which works well at lower speed and/or rugged terrain (bad roads, mud, sand). Because the nature of a part-time 4WD is having the same speed between the front axle and rear axle, you'll get trouble when driving it at high speed because naturally front axle runs faster than rear when turning/cornering where it's impossible to do with a part-time 4WD active.


1. Drive at lower speed and carefully when comes to icy streets.

2. If you have more money, try to install/modify the transfer case with a full-time 4WD which have a center differential so you can use 4WD mode at higher speed on icy roads. Make sure that it's lockable because an unlockable full-time 4WD will give much trouble on muddy, sandy, and rough road.

Desianto F. W., Indonesia.

1992 Daihatsu Rocky SE Hard Top 1.6 gas


A city styled car, that can take an off-road beating


Entire ignition system died.

Timing belt completely fell apart.

Clutch is going out.

General Comments:

This car is great! I love it, and would only replace it with an older model Bronco.

It has gotten me out of a few tight spots in the mud, but also can take on a highway drive no problem.

The seats are a little uncomfortable, and parts are somewhat hard to find here in the States.

Would love to put in one of the 2.8l Turbo Diesels, but can't find one here.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2002

7th Mar 2003, 18:46

I have a Rocky from 1990. Great 4x4. Gotten me through floods, rain and dirt roads. I love it. I had a accident recently and messed up the left front side from the bumper to my door. I was involved in a hit and run. I was pretty destroyed because I love it. Now when I turn right, and the front end goes into a hole while turning, the tires scrape the bumper.

The problems that it has is the Power Steering Hose, and the back window on the door is Le xan.

I would keep it until it passes away.

1990 Daihatsu Rocky SE 1.6 gas


Excellent economy SUV


I have a front hub problem about every 2 years, I have it again.

Had intermittent starting problems, the Toyota dealer fixed it after 5 attempts.

Standard 10 year old stuff, brakes, radiator, plug wires twice?

Other than that, it is a great vehicle.

General Comments:

I would buy another.

I like it, it's not fast, gets OK gas mileage - about 20 or a little better.

It's noisy, bouncy, but it gets out of trouble 4 wheeling and runs great.

Hard top comes off, back seats fold down, versatile.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd January, 2001

14th Nov 2003, 21:15

I thought the review was very good, but have a couple of questions!

The Daihatsu had intermittent starting problems. I'm curious what the problems were and how were they corrected.

I have a 1992 Daihatsu Rocky 1.6L engine. We may go out to eat and come out approx... 1 hour later and it won't start. It cranks, but won't start. If you wait approx.. 5 minutes you can crank it over and it will take off.

I'm also curious what type of problems did they have with the hubs?




2nd Aug 2005, 23:56

I have the same intermittent starting problem with my 92 Rocky, I wait as long as it takes to drink a coke and then it starts, I was going to try the fuel filter and air filter to see if that solves the problem. This little thing has get up and go. I have no problem hitting 95 on the highway with this 1.6 liter engine.

18th Dec 2005, 15:16

I was wanting to know what the Toyota dealer found wrong with your starting system and what they did to fix it. I've had the same problem with my 1991 Rocky. I finally realized that the starting problem was occurring after it rained. I found my windshield seal was leaking. I silicon-ed around it and haven't had the problem since. Thought this might be helpful to someone. Mark.

17th Oct 2009, 12:04

My Daihatsu Sportrak, excellent though it is, occasionally won't start. First time in the morning, no problem, but after a short run it gets moody. As your correspondents say, it starts again after leaving it for ten minutes but if I am towing my boat out of the river on a rising tide, I get worried.

Does nobody know what causes this?


18th Apr 2015, 16:16

Hi, I have the same problem with my Daihatsu starting. If you could tell what was causing it, that would be great.

Thanks, Ethan.


2nd Jun 2016, 16:18

You must be going down the hill.

17th Jun 2016, 06:38

I had the same starting problems on my 92 Rocky. I put in new leads and plugs, rotor and dizzy cap... but it was the new coil that fixed the problem.