Last Updated on 3月 17, 2023 by Carusedjp
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If you’re a fan of Japanese car culture, you’re likely familiar with the classic Kei car. But do you know anything about Kei trucks? One of the best mini trucks ever produced is the Honda Acty, a small but sturdy and versatile truck made for country roads.
If you’re a fan of interesting cars or just Japanese imports in general, keep reading to find out more about the 2nd gen Acty and how you can get your hands on one.
What Is a Kei Truck?
If you’re unfamiliar, Kei trucks, sometimes referred to as mini trucks, are small vehicles that feature right-hand drive and are made to be both durable and versatile. Although they come in various sizes within this restriction, no Kei truck can be wider than 58 inches, longer than 134 inches, or taller than 79 inches. Which, for reference, is only a little longer than two rakes put end to end.
These have gained tremendous popularity in the import market over the years due to their compact designs, affordability, and options for both rear and four-wheel drive.
History of the Honda Acty Truck
Although mini trucks in Japan debuted in 1949, the Acty was unveiled in 1977 on July 27. They were made to take the place of Honda’s previous Kei trucks, the TN series.
With only 28 horsepower and 30 lb ft. of torque output from the 545 cc engine, these certainly weren’t going anywhere fast. But the first-gen sold well enough to last until 1988, with a van model based on the truck platform being manufactured starting from 1979.
The 2nd Gen Acty Truck
This generation took the helm in May 1988, with a brand new E05 SOHC 3-cylinder engine. As Kei class regulations changed, so did the Acty, keeping up with the times and new developments in the Japanese car industry. And in 1990 the 2nd Gen got a major upgrade with the E07A 656cc engine.
The 2nd gen also came with a few other improvements. This included an option for a radio, a 3-speed automatic transmission, and styling updates that changed the square headlights of the previous generation to rounded ones.
Some of the 2nd gen special trim levels were the Acty Attack and Acty Crawler. The Attack handled off-roading with ease, and it had a 4-speed manual and 4WD with locking differentials to prove it.
The Crawler was a limited edition model sold only in 1995. It came with six wheels as opposed to the traditional four and tracks that wrapped around the rear tires to assist in snow and mud.
The 3rd Gen Acty Truck
From 1999 to 2009, the 3rd gen was king. There were a few marked improvements such as increased power, power steering, and increased fuel efficiency. Safety laws passed by the Japanese government influenced the redesign of the Acty, as this was the first generation that had airbags for the driver as a standard inclusion, and there was an option for passenger airbags as well.
4th Gen Acty Truck
Even with how long the Acty was produced, Honda continued to develop and update the model until its discontinuation. The fourth generation in particular kept the exterior look as close as possible to the previous generations. It used the E072 engine with 44 hp and its wheelbase was shortened to 6.2 ft, the same as the 2nd gen, to increase cabin space.
What Is So Special About the 2nd Gen of Acty Mini Trucks?
So why should you consider buying a 2nd gen over the other generations of the Acty? Well, that mainly comes down to unique utility.
One of the star benefits of the 2nd gen is the option of an automatic transmission, making it more accessible for drivers who can’t drive a stick shift. But the advantages don’t stop there.
Honda is an innovative company, and that was the case back in the early days of the Acty as well. This generation was the first of the lineup to feature Real-time 4WD. And it had a number of trim levels for nearly any use, whether as a hauler, off-roader, or daily driver.
Another is that the models from 1993 and on are fuel injected, although these engines were only available on the Fox and Xi trims. And although it’s a small truck, the bed has plenty of space for most light to medium loads you may need to haul.
Plus the sides and back of the bed folding down rather than only the tailgate. And due to their age, you can get these unique trucks for around $2,000-$6,000 on average including delivery costs.
What to Know About Buying a Mini Truck Now
Like most older vehicles, buying a mini truck from over 20 years ago comes with some caveats. Since they’re designed to be workhorses, even with such small statures, they most likely have some significant wear and tear to contend with, along with any preventable damage caused by previous owners. But there are some other important aspects and warning signs to watch out for.
Although the Acty was ahead of its time in many regards, one of the main downsides to buying a car this old is the lack of safety features. With newer models this isn’t as much of a problem, however, 2nd gen Actys were made long before the requirement of airbags, seatbelts, and other vital safety equipment.
This means that even though they’re legal to drive in the states due to the U.S.’s 25-year rule on imports, you’ll need to understand the disadvantages of driving a truck like this. Because Actys are older and so small, they’re at an even greater risk of being damaged beyond repair in an accident.
This issue is somewhat reduced on city streets where you likely won’t be going faster than 45 mph, which the Acty can handle. But if you’re intending to take this on the highway, especially more than once in a blue moon, you’ll need to know what you’re getting into.
Kei trucks are, by design, compact, with engines made for the Japanese market. So in stock form, they aren’t meant to withstand the speeds that you may reach on an American highway, and because of their size, they’re much more susceptible to wind and air resistance.
Another major factor to consider is the issue of maintenance. Since these trucks are so popular, there’s a wealth of information surrounding how to take care of them, especially if you’re a particularly skilled mechanic. But these mini trucks still come with their own set of problems.
Some of these are well-known, such as weak timing belts, electrical issues, and passenger-side engine mount failures. Many cars across various manufacturers have problems with their timing belts, and the Honda Acty truck is no exception. It’s a noted problem with these trucks that the timing belts wear disproportionally and tend to fail long before they’re expected to.
This is a several thousand dollar repair waiting to happen. Once the timing belt breaks, everything it’s connected to will stop and run into one another, causing the entire engine to fail and be completely unable to run until it’s fixed.
Over time, the electrical system in an Acty decays and wears out, usually the ECU capacitors, which can leak, swell, and even explode. Repairing this is an annoying but not necessarily tough task, but it’s something to know about.
The engine, due to age and use, will eventually sag and press down on the mounts, particularly the passenger side. This can lead to disastrous effects if left unrepaired.
Finding parts can also be difficult for older cars, especially foreign ones. Although Actys weren’t discontinued until 2021, the parts you’ll need to properly upkeep a truck from, at minimum, 23 years ago may be difficult to find.
But those are only a couple of things to factor in when you’re debating whether to buy a mini truck. If you have the opportunity to inspect the truck you’re thinking about buying in person, there are several things you’ll want to pay attention to.
You should do your due diligence on inspecting the body and frame, which includes checking for rust in the undercarriage or anywhere in the bed, as well as bubbles that may indicate that rust is forming beneath the paint.
When checking the undercarriage, the normal used car checks still apply. You should watch for any leaks, loose junctions or fixtures, and check if the cv boots or other parts of the suspension are torn or otherwise damaged.
Another issue you should check for when inspecting the body is mismatched paneling, since this could signal that the truck had been previously totaled or severely damaged, and you likely won’t have any way to check if that damage was properly repaired or not.
Buy a Honda Acty of Your Own
Getting a Kei truck imported from Japan can be a bit of an undertaking, but the reward is a fantastic truck that, although it isn’t fast, can handle a hard day’s work.
If you’re ready to import a 2nd gen Acty, browse Carpaydiem’s catalog. We have plenty of used mini trucks for sale and a quality track record of over 10 years in the import business. And each truck we sell is professionally inspected, so you know when you buy from us, you’re not just getting quality service, but a certified quality truck as well.