Kitaro - 2004 Daihatsu Copen


Well here we go again... :devil:
Been wanting a little side project for a while as the daily commute is incredibly mundane and I want a little fun for the weekends.
I was looking at Cinq's pretty heavily but after being messed around by 2 sellers I started looking more broadly.
Had a keen interest in Japanese kei cars for a while, find the concept fascinating and so here we are :rolleyes:
2 weeks ago I scooped up this

It reminds me of my 92 Panda in some ways, so small and narrow makes UK roads suddenly feel open and wide, no issue having to squeeze past mums in their LR Discovery on the school run.

Being a kei car it is a 660cc turbo as required by the Japanese regulations although it makes an extra 4hp compared to the Japanese sold models due to not having the 64hp cap kei cars adhere to in Japan, so the ignition doesn't retard quite as much to keep the power under that 64hp limit.
It revs out to 8000rpm and has a twin-scroll turbo so boost is pretty even throughout the range :D
It's got some rust starting to appear but its last MOT was clean sheet, 1 owner from new, serviced annually and covered just 32k miles.

Oh and the roof folds down. I keep forgetting that and have only driven it once with it actually folded back :cool:

Latest updates

A fairly uninteresting update but I've finally fitted a much needed new battery, the old one still cranked the engine over fine but with any significant electrical load at idle the voltage would plummet and cause the alternator belt to slip. I had let it run completely flat twice so its not a huge surprise it's lost a fair bit of capacity and it was only rated 33Ah from new...
New Yuasa fitted, 40Ah, seems to be the largest capacity in this size. (Excuse my rusty battery clamp, much like the rest of the car it too rusts for fun)


What a world of difference its made though, no more belt squeal, holds its voltage much better.
I'm about 700 miles past its service oops.... I've got the filters and oil so will aim to get it done at the weekend.
Also got some gearbox oil to go in, its due at 6 years or 50k miles, not there yet for mileage but I don't know if its been done in the last 6 years, no harm in doing it again anyway
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Well the Daihatsu has been doing ok until I noticed with a lot of electrical load at idle the belt will squeal when pulling away. I'm not sure if duff alternator, battery or just the belt is too loose. It looks tight... I'm suspect of alternator or the battery itself as charging voltage is low at idle (13.8v no load, 13.2v under load), I can mitigate the squealing by holding it at about 1000rpm whilst idling which keeps a 14.2v charge. The belt doesn't have a tensioner and is merely under tension by the placement of the alternator.

He did pretty well in the snow given he's on summer tyres. Low weight + skinny tyres in snow is always a decent combo only coming unstuck when trying to set off from a standing start up a gradient, even then I managed with plenty of revs to scrabble up any incline I tackled.


Poor thing is absolutely filthy now...
Have been piling on the mileage of recent and all has been going well, in the region of 45mpg, the small tank is only good for about 300miles though so trips to the petrol station are more frequent...

Until last Monday when....

The first time he's ever left me stranded, hopefully the last as it was not pleasant in the cold & fog on the hard shoulder (fortunately a retro motorway which still has one).
Red battery light popped on, never a good sign, about 500 yards later the temp gauge rapidly started climbing so I coasted onto the shoulder. Aux belt completely shredded, nothing I could do about it then and there so the AA came to my rescue. Quite keen to get me off the motorway I was flat towed on a bar which was most unpleasant at 50mph with lorries passing... 20 miles of terrifying towing later and deposited at a local garage. Fast forward a week and all 3 belts replaced, front bumper was removed for access as there really is next to no space in the engine bay. I've only driven him a few miles since but here's hoping all back to normal.

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