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Daihatsu Fourtrak - More welding than the Bismarck

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These old things really are a great workhorse, well worth a save as like the saying goes, they’ll never make another one like it.

This ones a funny car, above sill level the body is good. It’s only done 81k, and being a TDX, has luxuries not seen on any other tractor, such as electric windows, mirrors and stuff like central locking.

Naturally, every last thing on it worked properly. Despite being crustier than a stale baguette, I’d been using around the farm where it’s stored for the last couple of years, with a length of scaffold tube stuffed into the broken crossmember! The old beast pulled trailers like that, towed a car out the car park with three wheels jammed etc, truly a great thing. It deserves another chance in my opinion, and I reckon I’ll get it pretty tidy eventually. 

I do have a contact who can fix the tank. Unfortunately when I mentioned it was from a fourtrak, he turned a funny colour, so I think he’s done one before.

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There were two of these, more or less the same era as yours, for sale in a really crappy garage in Eardisley, Herefordshire in the summer - ironically the exact site was a Daihatsu dealer around 30 years ago.

They were both up for around £2.5k and didn’t look particularly presentable from a quick drive-by.  Asking if either example had a valid MoT would probably have been met with laughter.

They were sold within the week - these things do have hardcore fans.

There are still quite a few around the area. I think the last were registered in mid 2001 - I’ve seen X and Y plate ones but never a ‘51’. 

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I thought mine had silver arches as well but my memory let me down, they were body colour in blue. And mud.

Paintwork was unbelievably tough on it, got loads of bush / tree scratches on it yet a thorough machine polish a few times a year saw it gleaming


My mate had to go one better than me through that mud/water hole though. One of the better pictures I've ever taken, even if I did get showered in muddy water and chunks of ice...



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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress achieved:

Broke out the welder and grinder and got a good four hours in today.

- repaired n/s/r body mount

- repaired nearside rear boot floor, and the lower 4 inches of the inner arch. 

I reckon there’s about another 6 hours in the rear arch this side to do. Then it’s the floor, sills and inner sills. Before the same the other side! One step at a time, eh?

Will update with pictures.

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  • 2 weeks later...

More progress achieved:

This is the offside rear inner arch I fixed last time. The edge of the boot floor, and lower 3 inch of the inner arch welded in.


Next up was the top of the arch, this is where the factory roll cage! and seat belts mount, so was repaired with thicker steel and seam welded both sides.


This work completes the inner arch tub, so next it’s a look at wheel arch.










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Wheelarch diagnosis. Fucked036B8F1D-81BF-4816-B7A5-C29220F85CCF.thumb.jpeg.6de7a9e0d5ba92056ec1f0443127fca2.jpeg

6F888C2F-1EA5-477A-832E-055E2DCBBBF6.thumb.jpeg.3dab4867a27a440a3b1f1acbd681369a.jpegThis repair would be the right shape if the car was made from Lego blocks.


Not too sure you could accuse this of being either a repair, or welding.


DA6D359F-A542-4189-8B2B-E364E93CB365.thumb.jpeg.d6e1e0202270a906de7913f2e4cf422f.jpegobviously welded over rust and some of the canal silt elsewhere in this Japanese Range Rover.

If to stick your head in the wheelarch now and look forward, yhis is what you now see...

4F9A2A21-3062-4DA3-9125-1B7D686F53F3.thumb.jpeg.58d3b533521adb0a93079c4bef6b2130.jpegAll the way through to the dash!

More welding to come,..

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  • 2 weeks later...

More progress, on the offside rear arch. I’ve rebuilt the inside parts of the panel behind the rear bumper, and also repaired the outer piece.AAD9CA86-C7D0-4087-9702-45188204E09B.thumb.jpeg.edc2853b0478a02d0d3e5b4473ea17ef.jpeg

The repaired outer piece is clamped on above.

Before this can be welded the inner arch had to be rebuilt.

40DE92CD-08F2-43F3-B2AE-61C9B24649FC.thumb.jpeg.23c1f2f41c59d2049705023cc91156d3.jpegthere’s all manner of curved bits in here, as the body shape fits around the fuel tank pipes etc. All this I sort of made free hand, as there was little of use / original cut out to template from. 

8FBAFA5A-1A23-4CF5-A235-9AA358904DEB.thumb.jpeg.18cb9128fa3326575d1c2c36292c4306.jpegthere’s one small bit here to finish at the rear edge, and then the outer panels can be repaired, and I can call this side arch done.

The peach paint is some retro rust primer from Hammerite, painted up the inner arch looks like this. 
A44980E9-FE38-4A8A-8241-D8CF1CCDE358.thumb.jpeg.f93e0a2cc177389d25cea290ea616fa6.jpegI must remember to take more pics as I keep getting wrapped up on the job and forgetting! will trim back the return edge of the inner arch, as it’s too wide, I remade it with a band of steel and it’s about twice as wide as it should be! 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Wheelarch update.

CBDF1323-E305-4DC8-BFAE-634D279536A5.thumb.jpeg.b202eb5c8080506f6f5145bb6395230c.jpegThese arches actually have a plastic cover over them. When removed, this was the initial scene.

B4059BB8-AB1F-4961-810C-979D6EB37569.thumb.jpeg.977d015f4672edd982e1d7b5ea6a32b2.jpegwith paint and loose flakes off, the arch looks slightly better. I begin repairs at the very bottom, careful to shape inner panels correctly to go round the fuel filler neck.

ABEF12B4-DC4B-43AA-80A6-D279E5FA08CE.thumb.jpeg.4ce265bc6a24642985cc02ebbcfe57df.jpegthe inner arch with about 90 percent of it repaired. I welded in a band as an arch lip, using the original profile as a template. Then joined my new band to the inner arch panels with pieces as necessary. Most of this I butt welded to keep the shapes. If you zoom in on the pics you’ll see the scars from this.DBA4614A-97B7-4638-9FA7-53448E741E0E.thumb.jpeg.cda05ffad140b2dd91247af7742b0b0f.jpegwith the inner arch repaired, I repaired and remade some sections of the outer piece, that sits below the bumper.

479C9E00-11FF-487D-90D8-AD2D1D14B0CC.thumb.jpeg.b62e1530ea010459461aee68f9355c00.jpegThe remade arch lip is too wide, but will be trimmed back later. I will use it to patch up the outer arch first.

B47369F5-D021-4F96-BFC6-AE691347E435.thumb.jpeg.4de4dcbaa83781b5f0126faa16598562.jpegthe lower bit inside, repaired and primed up. I had made and fitted the closing panel for the bottom of the inner arch here too.533A0135-BEF9-44C7-A7A9-5119ECDFE4E6.thumb.jpeg.cc9fefb39970b72c9307630732cd5e01.jpegready for outer arch fabrication!


2D7310ED-3753-4288-ACEF-045F602FA4B2.thumb.jpeg.5f7f1841749050f27fbb5e3e94dc0fbe.jpeg1D9551BB-7C57-4287-943C-050CD68B2318.thumb.jpeg.6433e679237890f0a393d19395228c56.jpegdidn’t stop to take too many pictures, as once I got cracking I got a bit absorbed.

i basic ally built the arch up from several bits of steel.  I used the repaired inner as a former, and tacked it together on the car. 

Even though it’ll be covered up with trims, I’d like it 98 percent right under it all. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still going on the crispy wonder.

7E24D49C-FF84-4F46-9AFC-DD23D9E9C68D.thumb.jpeg.4f4598e2b22e99bd22ecf8463434c2fc.jpegpart way through welding my patchwork outer arch on.

Where there is no weld in the pic here, basically needed to be cut out. This was all done in small sections to avoid distortion.

B2BDEE59-2648-4C0A-B165-ADF22D6853C1.thumb.jpeg.7bf0a45d6d5fb5ab028ff7ab1179048f.jpegtacked and ground back, These tacks were filled in to create a seam weld.

The black dust is a guide coat, I was checking the levels.

B7617E13-0519-4276-9DA4-EF725010D46B.thumb.jpeg.dc2b7f8562ccccdd028e17fe6c06df8c.jpegThe lower bit welded on, with a skim of p40 across the welds. This should reduce the amount of filler later.

91C7103A-8E2F-4D7B-82CE-88E40E3D0C85.thumb.jpeg.c8c5e37a43a2eebe54f57492f16d3dcd.jpegarch welded and skimmed with p40.
DDF06CB9-DFCC-475A-9D23-FF03E18959E9.thumb.jpeg.489ada75d225f4dba606a1fb47c3a7fe.jpegInside view, there’s a nice gap between inner and outer arch here, so I can get some wax in later.


F898459F-1942-4883-8B3D-A823F8A87630.thumb.jpeg.2ebd180426ec80b77566260cf450abaf.jpegfiller time. Hadn’t used filler for about three years! Took ages to set in the cold.

then started on the other side.50232888-31E7-4C35-A734-D76059DAD6AE.thumb.jpeg.891c6aec8951bfbb59a1b81c080b0d78.jpegpassenger side arch looks better than the other. It’s a very low bar, granted.

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 Couple of other bits done too.

Few bits and bobs cleaned up and primed. 
Some rust treated with the awesome hydrate 80 stuff from bilt hamber.

also refitted the hardcore tow bar. Which weighs at least 12 tons.


D5D1BD08-BD24-4020-A6B7-41CA1D25A800.thumb.jpeg.dc43c1e47d3d0bbfbf8b88cf6de9a6ef.jpegActually refitted parts! And broke out the filler and sander. Progress in the air.

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  • rickvw72 changed the title to Daihatsu Fourtrak - At least the glass isn’t rusty
  • 2 months later...

Quick update.

Struggling with pics of late, as my phone battery is knackered, so cuts off if you use it as a camera!

But progress is being made.

8C87F72B-F732-433B-9A5C-B47EC79C262A.thumb.jpeg.8439716d33cf28fb626c68d56829741a.jpegDirty, deceased and not very structural. This was taken after I ground the worst flaky stuff off!625FB78C-0FD2-4434-86CB-EF9274853FE2.thumb.jpeg.50ad3c4eb091a9be054dbe0f7f4cab77.jpegE61CFDAB-BC87-4F8F-841E-DE11375D0A55.thumb.jpeg.2c14ea01665c7dc8f7f1f23ac2a7268c.jpeg

Of course, all of the panelwork under the bumper was missing. Can it technically be rotten, if it’s fell off?3311C549-C0EA-4D4A-A97D-F85AE19D953D.thumb.jpeg.0c5437e5e4db9cd6e5db25a89454ad0a.jpegWith the inner made up and welded on, I made up this panel above, and zapped it on.

A0817FB7-8AE0-47F8-A67F-01FA029D727C.thumb.jpeg.12d715a13c1864a98a34d24ccd9434a7.jpegTo celebrate more metal going in, I removed some more from the wheelarch.

6FADD3E9-C528-46C1-9ADF-358D49DE91E4.thumb.jpeg.ede563a257089415bfc45572fc03265d.jpegSince this pic, I’ve repaired the inner arch, primed it and made up a outer arch panel, using the inner as a former again.

No pics as phone battery went south. 
Do have new battery coming for phone monday though, so next week should generate more pics.

(unless I kill the iPhone during surgery. Should be similar to welding up a rotter though? )

Part way through this side I bought a bad ass MiG, so loving the welding at the minute!

DB82F2F4-5981-4862-90E5-B22FBC09FABF.thumb.jpeg.19dc18fd545b16e1b3ac188411faafcb.jpegCracking Murex MiG, from I beleive 1987. My new favourite toy.

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I can’t understand why these aren’t more popular? I’ve not been in one since I was a child but on first look, they seem to be just like a Defender 90 but much nicer. You’ll pay ridiculous sums of money for even a knackered Defender but these are comparative bargains. Am I missing something?

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I'd say leafers are a bit too agricultural compared even to a 90. They also have a turning circle of rather a lot.

The Independents are good - for proper off-roading, they're a little short of axle articulation and ground clearance but they can be modified to good effect. Really, the only big downside is the rot - as this thread neatly demonstrates! Still a good number of them in use in rural Wales.

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Prices seem to be rising on them, I paid £400 for this, 4 years or so ago. It was mot’d on arrival too, although it arrived on a trailer with a popped brake pipe. Welded up and re motd I thought it was worth a grand when I bought it, there’s several now 4 grand plus for sale.

They live in the shadow of the defender, like other Far East off-roaders, and a lot of 4x4 types appear to only appreciate Land Rover only.

Mines got 5 link rear suspension, LSD, twin wishbones at the front, heated electric mirrors, windows the works, all still working at 19years old. I personally think there better than a defender in every way, but it’s realistically more modern than the 40s designed Land Rover, which was originally designed to be a type of powered wheelbarrow.

I had a 3.1 Trooper before this, and that was great too. The heavy Japanese 4x4 of this era are very capable. The Fourtrak is a hard bastard though. There’s a few farm truck ones I know of, the treatment they get, mixed with the state their in, no vehicle could cope with.

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5 hours ago, Ian_Fearn said:

I can’t understand why these aren’t more popular? I’ve not been in one since I was a child but on first look, they seem to be just like a Defender 90 but much nicer. You’ll pay ridiculous sums of money for even a knackered Defender but these are comparative bargains. Am I missing something?

They rust for sport; good solid workhorses though.

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Finished the passenger arch of this eve, road testing my new 3 phase welder.0751E679-EDC6-475C-8A3C-1ABD4FBEC947.thumb.jpeg.676d92d5d010d4090ef14c11a16d6991.jpegtacked on my home made arch panel first.

EB4A535E-6E96-4A0B-980A-8F85891C33CD.thumb.jpeg.3d063665af050edc089523a2883db90d.jpegNew welder is on it. Much awesomeness. My first time out with 0.6mm wire too.

A1750B6A-0D4C-49D4-8925-5CB4C6AC4307.thumb.jpeg.5b02283dd5cc956031a3d48b6beffd9e.jpegFully seam welded, and the other holes filled.

D8B7D255-AFD3-4900-BBDE-93521E3BC77B.thumb.jpeg.b7e7b4316fd93ecda5b71bb46ac91712.jpegwelds ground back. Grinding stone to start, flappy disc to finish.

B48AA1C1-E782-418B-96F4-C7DC389E3504.thumb.jpeg.38869d06cc37f19458cb41eeb07494fe.jpegCoat of fibre glass filler to be a foundation for filler.

EF469E44-8728-426C-B90E-F35694A8435D.thumb.jpeg.286f0fb2f39c56e6678f3b8d04cb5883.jpegFiller work near finished on the other arch. Magnets stick all over, as the filler is thinner than it looks, which is cool.

A fourtrack with metal wheelarches! There’s a rare thing.

Perversely, none of this work is seen. The plastic arches cover the metal arches, like this...


Bits at the bottom rear covered by the bumpers too.

None the less, this is what I started with as wheelarches 



There’s now a bit of inner arch repair finishing needed, and I’m on to rebuilding the floors under the back seat. There’s a large chunk of this missing one side, and the other side don’t really look very attached. Then the box section sills bodged on are coming off, as the inner sills are ruined.

Should go a bit faster too, as the bits will be easier to make up than inner and outer arch sections.

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  • rickvw72 changed the title to Daihatsu Fourtrak - Wheelarches of steel

Phenomenal work.

Here's a random question. I know welding an existing crossmember is frowned upon by Mr MOT (not that it matters if hidden) but what's the situation with a fabricating a new one from scratch?  I only ask as I've considered doing that myself.

The rear crossmember looks excellent btw.

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Can’t see any issues with crossmember welding, so long as it was strong. It’s no different to welding a section into a chassis really. 
For the Fourtrak, it only holds the anti tramp arms, and supports handbrake cables, exhaust hangers and a couple of fuel pipes. 

Interesting rear steer effect when it snaps though! 

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Bit more done today, I really, really love my new welder. A bit of an investment but so worth it!

F7863293-C654-40C9-AB3B-43B77B1CBD28.thumb.jpeg.cc9413eb0a090abc18aebd810aa4f5f4.jpegPlug welded the arch return edge, to my remade inner arch lip. 
Finished the rear under bumper area too.

F515A652-F604-4D1E-A697-BE43DA712F57.thumb.jpeg.f18cc1a3c789663bb66358b874a249a3.jpegKnocked back last weeks P40 smear, and lobbed some clag on.


FE214A84-6352-41DD-9C2E-129C7973D4AD.thumb.jpeg.e10fdd9beb8e0ab72d89094883045664.jpegFingers crossed this side needs a bit less, this side wasn’t as badly crumbled.

This was hard work, so I thought I’d have a sit inside, enjoy the opulence.

opulence fail.

FC38CD88-AEEE-49DC-8B3F-B9F690FEA3F7.thumb.jpeg.8a10c11c6369302f958980aec19da54a.jpegfloor under seat total fail.

Welder work out to continue then!

Really happy with how the repaired arch’s have come out. 

The view from inside

BE55F40A-3F9C-473D-9396-EE00F613A6E8.thumb.jpeg.28a7952190966f74fdec7adb5c7791c2.jpegThere’s a nice gap between the inner and outer arch, this will be most useful to inject some wax into later.

Lovely day to, took the Mk2 to the unit today. A 16 mile, all back roads through countryside, commute.


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More welding occured on planet Fourtrak today.

F01CD20A-65F4-4F28-BC05-E26231278492.thumb.jpeg.ad235c03d5db10dcaaebd8ca04f7f1ac.jpegThis is inside the rear inner arch, passenger side.

2A85B571-214D-46EE-91FD-FAC7C901288E.thumb.jpeg.a73ed67a382a23d4f50bd59b4781d020.jpegAlso in here is the middle body mount, and the boot floor edge. Right in the miflddle you can see one of the boot floor strentheners.

533D3139-74D3-4C08-BAFD-EA685EC7562E.thumb.jpeg.b902a4713db879aa590ca0ea8c860358.jpegThis is the rear body mount, behind the strengthening panel that is a touch crumbly.

C9EA6F60-22FA-49CA-AC20-0E0D82FE9D77.thumb.jpeg.517a9026eadc1bab2ced8faa9f016709.jpegwizzed out with the noisy spanner.

Deconstructing the rotten old shite, various patches and some ultra flammable sealer took over an hour.

0C4D55F8-0043-4C25-87F7-A0B96C47704F.thumb.jpeg.6c36699ed7fbc930b3f3e649dddcfc7f.jpegChopped out, you can see the body mount. This was repaired, primed and welded up.

Then it was on to the arch lip, and also the boot floor edge. 

2BB2CE33-3DC8-46DC-A7F1-1A3ACC6389CD.thumb.jpeg.a9105fbd359b7df59eddc9c99064191a.jpegLooking better!

0278190A-C74D-437E-BDE2-B8FA811C079C.thumb.jpeg.fbedc7cea644bbe58f301605bd9e0df7.jpegWelded it from inside. 

Nice to not have blobs dropping in your ears! 

Did tidy up and prime these bits too.

Next time it’s onto the drivers side floor and under seat bit! Theoretically the tank, fuel pipes, rear suspension etc could be put on and it would be drivable.

Unfortunately im too sadistic for that, so stay tuned! 

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  • rickvw72 changed the title to Daihatsu Fourtrak - More welding than the Bismarck

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      Yes, it's got the usual rusty wings...Hoping that will be resolved in the next couple of months.


      Next, a proper old Saab. One of the very last 8 valve cars apparently, and all the better for it. I've driven two 16v autos and they were horrible - the auto box works sooooo much better with the torque curve of the 8 valve engine. Just wish it had an overdrive for motorway cruising...

      Next up a *real* Skoda...back when they put the engine where it belongs, right out the back. In the best possible colour of course...eye-searingly bright orange.

      Seat covers have been added since that photo was taken as it suffers from the usual rotting seat cloth problem that affects virtually all Estelles.

      Then we have possibly the world's scruffiest Sinclair C5...

      Realised when looking for this that I really need to get some more photos of the thing...I use it often enough after all! We have a dog who's half husky, so this is a really good way of getting him some exercise.

      Finally - again, I really need to take more photos of - we have the little Pug 107.

      Included for the sake of variety even if it's a bit mainstream! First (and probably to be the only) new car I've bought, and has been a cracking little motor and has asked for very little in return for putting up with nearly three years of Oxford-Milton Keynes commuter traffic, before finally escaping that fate when my housemate moved to a new job. Now it doesn't do many miles and is my default car for "when I've managed to break everything else."

      I'll fill in some more details tomorrow - I warn you though that I do tend to ramble...
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