We get asked a lot of questions about our fleet of JDM (Japenese Domestic Market) vehicles. But the one that gets asked the most is how to find parts.
Sometimes it can be a daunting task to find that hard-to-get piece for your JDM vehicle, but there are ways to find parts for your Delica, Pajero, Hiace, Hilux, or pretty much any other JDM truck, van, SUV, or car. Follow along as I detail how to find parts for JDM vehicles.
Before we start, I want to say this: I can’t tell you how many times I hear of people buying 25+ year-old foreign-market vehicles, only to realize they have made a big mistake and have gotten in over their heads. Remember: A 1989 Toyota Hilux is not going to be the same as owning a 2019 Toyota Tacoma. Older vehicles require more maintenance, more upkeep, and more parts (and money!) than a newer rig. So before you dive head-first into your old JDM or Euro-market dream car, know that older JDM cars take patience, work, and money!
Important Import Parts Websites
There are a few sites out there that specialize in finding exactly what you need for your Delica, Pajero, or pretty much any other (JDM) vehicle. The three websites I use most often are Parts Souq, Megazip, and Amayama. The sites may seem complicated at first, but they will become invaluable tools to get the parts you need, whether you buy from them or not.
All the sites work essentially the same way. You plug in your VIN or chassis code, and the site spits out a bunch of exploded-view diagrams with a plethora of parts to choose from. By clicking those diagrams, a pop-up menu will open displaying the part number and how many parts are available.
Often, these sites will show you the OE (original equipment) part number along with cross-referenced aftermarket substitutions. For example, the thermostat for our 1992 Mitsubishi Pajero with the 2.5-liter 4D56, part MD165630, is out of stock. However, there are two options for substitutions. One is from Tama, the other from HKT. Additionally, both are less expensive than the unavailable OE part.
Here’s my pro-tip: Shop around. Not all of the sites have the same prices. But don’t just stop at the price of the part itself. Be sure to head to your cart once you’re done shopping because shipping is where some of the big expenses can come in. Also, be sure to look at shipping times. I’ve had some parts that take multiple weeks to ship from one retailer, while another could ship me the part in only a few days.
With today’s shipping—even during the COVID-19 pandemic—parts can still get to you extremely fast. I ordered two air filters, some plastic clips, and a coolant expansion tank from Part Souq and they arrived from warehouses in the UK and the UAE in just four days. I can’t send my mother a postcard from Oregon to Wisconsin in four days!
It’s no secret that automakers often use the same parts on different vehicles. From simple screws to entire transmissions, sometimes you might be surprised to learn that your JDM SUV uses some of the same components as its USDM cousin.
There’s no problem just buying directly from one of the import parts websites. They’re an invaluable resource—so long as you can wait a few days to get the parts. But if you’re in a pinch and need to get your rig back on the road quickly, crossreferencing the OE part with local auto parts stores or parts sources based in your home country may allow you to get that part faster.
Here’s how I do it. Let’s use the front brake rotors on our ‘92 Mitsubishi Pajero XR-II for this example.
In one browser window, open up your exploded view diagram. Enter the vehicle’s chassis code on the site and locate the diagram for the front brakes. In this instance, we find the OE part number is MB407038. Copy that part number.
In another browser window, open up another auto parts store’s site. For this example, we’ll head over to NAPA’s website. In their search area, paste in MB407038. Low and behold, we’ve got results. NAPA’s site, like many others, automatically cross-references the part for you. And it turns out NAPA’s part number, NB 4885926, is a match.
Does that mean NAPA is carrying Pajero brake rotors? How’s that possible?
Parts Bin Parts
The answer is no and yes. See, the original MB407038 was also used on the 1989–1991 Montero sold in the U.S., as well as the 1987–1995 Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup. In this case, the rotors are what we call a parts-bin item or a part that was used on a host of other vehicles in the Mitsubishi lineup.
And how did I find that out? With a bit more cross-referencing. U.S.-based Mitsubishi parts sites, such as Mitsubishi Parts Warehouse, can also be an extremely valuable resource when cross-referencing parts. You can even use it as a sort of double-verifications when auto parts shops, such as NAPA, say they have the right parts in stock.
Again, you don’t have to use the specific parts sites we used, but those are my first stops.
Another Pro Tip: Say you’ve tried all of this to no avail. Head over to Amazon or eBay and plug in that part number. Sometimes they’ll have the parts available and get them to you very quickly and with free shipping.
One other option, especially for those in the U.S., is to look to the Canadian market. As you may know, the U.S. has a 25-year import law. Meaning if a vehicle was never officially sold here and federalized, you must wait 25 years before it can be imported. Canada has a similar law, but the wait time is only 15 years. Because of this, there are some specialized parts shops that cater to imported vehicles. One of my favorites is Coombs County Autos on Vancouver Island. This shop stocks a host of parts from glow plugs for your diesel engine, to the rear door latch for your Delica. There are a host of others out there, too.
So before you decide on a Delica, hop to a Hiace, prance over to a Pajero, or slide over to a Subaru Sambar, know how to find JDM parts for your truck, van, SUV, or car. It’ll save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress when you need to fix your JDM import.