Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My (Cheap?) Sparco Steering and Pedal Set

On my hunt for The Dog, i regularly visit this Indonesian car mod forum: modifikasi.com. You can discuss anything related to car mod there, any types of car. What i visit more is the buy, sell and trade forum. Sometimes i found interesting stuff there. There is also where i do my hunt for the 4A-GE, still no success so far..

Today i found these:
Sparco Monza steering and Reflex pedal in used condition offered by some guy. Actually he's selling three things there: the pedal, steering wheel and the hub adapter kit. Unfortunately, the hub adapter was for Corollas. He's selling the Monza for around USD90 and the pedal for USD20. I don't know whether this is a good price or not but peeking some websites, they're being sold for around USD290 new. Judging from the pics, i think the condition's not so bad. Long story short, they are mine now!

Oh yeah, other than those two, i also bought one of these from the forum for 8 bucks. This would go nicely on the Charmant when i got the 4A-GE installed. They say it's for KE70 Corollas but who cares..
Now, if only i can find some wide Bilbo or Enkei rims there..

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hipari Tires

Got something for you to see:
Nice? Or just simply retarded? Well if you chose the second, feel free to look elsewhere. Now, for those into drifting or jap-styled ride, i am sure you're familiar with this kind of tire setup. This is called Hipari or "stretched" tire. From www.driftjapan.com, Hipari refers to to a tire style that is achieved by stretching a narrow tire over a wider wheel. You know that numbers on tire sidewalls? Something like 195/45 R15 etc? Yeah, 195 is the tire width in mm, sidewall-to-sidewall when the tire is installed on its intended rim width. And what is the intended rim width for that tire? A good ballpark figure is 90% of the tire width in inch. So:

Ideal Rim Width in inch = (Tire Width in mm/25.4) * 90%

For that particular tire, 195 mm, the ideal rim width would be 7 inch. Anything over that, you'd have a Hipari tire. If you want to save some time (and money, probably) figuring out how a particular tire/rim combination would look, head over here. There you'll see how much stretch you'll get from your combination. It also features a great tire calculator.

Why Hipari? Usually when something's stretch, it'll also be more rigid.. *slap* Stop thinking nasty thoughts! (Btw, more rigid or rigider?) Well anyway, same thing goes to tires. This is the advantage that drifters are usually after. Going sideways would require rigid tires for better post-drift control. By doing Hipari, you'll get a more rigid tire since the sidewalls are stretched. You can also get a more rigid sidewalls on expensive tire so herein lies another advantage of Hipari, narrow tires are cheaper than the wide ones. You can get the same rigidity with less cost.

But admit it, some of us do it for the look. There's nothing wrong with that. Just don't overdo it. There is such thing as too much stretch..
Now THERE'S something for those who say Hipari isn't dangerous!

My rule of thumb on Hipari, which can be wrong as i haven't finished building my car, is to add an inch and a half from the intended rim width. So with that 195/45 R15 tire, the max i would go is an 8.5 inch rim. Below is how it would look like:
Now, should i or should i not go Hipari with The Dog?
Here are some pics to inspire you..

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wahyu's Black Charmant

One more reference if you're looking for ideas to mod your Charmant. Below is owned by Wahyu. I met him in multiply from a Daihatsu Charmant mailing lits, if my memory serves me well. His blog has some info on this beautiful car. Most interesting is this Charmant final resting place. I'd like to go there when i am in Jakarta.

Below is Wahyu's awe inspiring Charmant. More on his blog so make sure you take a visit. Just enjoy the pics if you don't understand Indonesian language..
I don't mind getting those headlamps :) Is that optional headlamps for Charmant? I don't think so ...

Looking forward for your update, mas Wahyu!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Update 24 March 2009, Engine's Out!

These pictures were taken just this morning, still fresh. You can see now the engine has been taken out and you can get a slight glimpse at how the T50 transmission looks like.

Look Ma! No engine!

Below is the T50 bellhousing closeup. This is one of the reason i chose Charmant. They come with T50 as default, easy 4A-GE swap.

You can see the exhaust runs to the driver's side. With a 4A-GE however, it will have to go on the passenger's side. This somewhat poses a risk to the slave clutch cylinder. It will be exposed to the heat coming from the exhaust since it is now on the same side with the exhaust. There is a risk of boiling the hydraulic fluid this way.

The best way to overcome this problem is to use a different bell housing version, coming from an AE86 GTS. Mine is the same version with AE86 SR5, since they come with 4A-C engine also.

I am too lazy and cheap so looking for the correct bellhousing is not on my list. I will have to find another way to reduce this risk. Maybe i'll wrap the exhaust or put cover plate to help reduce the heat.

Dude, what are you doing?! Stop burning my car!
Man, i wish i have the time and tools to work on The Dog by myself..

Hey! That's my dad there. The one with the glasses. Behind him is the KE30 shown on my previous 18 March 2009 update.

Below is the 4A-C. I still haven't decided on what to do with it. Turbocharge it? Nah, the 4A-GE is better for any forced induction, almost the same cost with more HP gain. I surely won't have to buy any ECU piggybacks to get 4A-C turboed but i might have to get a 2 barrel weber carb to make a good draw-through setup. So you can see the cost will almost be the same. Sell it? Hmmm.. Maybe if i can get a good price for it. Just to help me pay the 4A-GE i am getting.

I might have to use the old waterpump, water temp sensor for gauge, alternator, etc. It all depends on how complete the 4A-GE i will get.

More pics...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Smell Stan's Burnt Tires from Malaysia

Stanley Carter, a mate from Malaysia apparently shares the same interest with me. I came upon his blog when i was looking for ideas for The Dog. Here's his beautiful Charmant:
I definitely dig the hood. That's exactly what i want to do with mine. Except maybe i'll use matte black or a carbon fiber-look sticker under a clear coat, just to protect it. Stanley abuses his Charmant regularly, making eights and donuts drifting while burning holes in his wallet from replacing tires all the time. Poor Charmant ... What did you do to deserve such treatment ... ^ ^

Stan's quite lucky, look at his engine..
Yup. That's a 16 valve 4A-GE, fuel injected. No hassling with air mixture there, eh Stan? But get it cleaned, will you?! I want to do the same thing but unfortunately finding a 16v with its EFI bits complete is not easy here. Most prolly i'll resort to a Silvertop 4A-GE.

I'll be visiting Stan's pages regularly just to check for an update. Make sure you do too. I'll also be throwing tons of questions at him (bear with me Stan!) since he's done doing what i am going to exactly do..

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'll update this list each time i need something for The Dog. Would be great if you can help me get it..

1. Daihatsu Charmant bits and accessories. Name it and let's see if The Dog wiggles its tail begging for it. I know she needs new door chrome strips.

2. 4A-GE Smallport Engine sensors.. MAP and Air Temp sensor at least..

3. Bride ERGO II seat. I chose this because it's bucket enough to keep me seated on high speed drifting while still being reclinable. This seat is expensive so i am looking for used one.
Shoot me an email to edgaraja@yahoo.com if you got info.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Update 18 March 2009

Again, with help from my sis, i am able to upload these update pictures ...

My nephew, Devan "Drift King" Didong

Fellow patient, a neat KE30

Monday, March 16, 2009

Which 4A-GE to choose?

As you may have known, 4A-GEs come in various versions. I won't go into details in explaining 4A-GE variants but as the condition here dictates, the best option for me is to get a rear wheel drive small port 4A-GE, the so-called Red Top engine, and maintain the EFI. I don't know if this 4A-GE version available or not. I know AE86s use big port TVIS 4A-GEs so even if they are available on import engine sellers, they would still not be ideal. (edit 22-Mar-09: apparently there was never a small port RWD! So if i insisted on getting a small port, i'd have to do all the mods to get it on The Dog ...)

RWD 4A-GEs are lesser PITA to implant into Daihatsu Charmants. No mods on the cooling system, alternator mounts, spigot bearing, etc needs to be done. From what i know, Charmants are basically 4 doors version of AE86 SR5 Corollas. They use T50 gearboxes which bolt easily to any 4A-GE (except maybe 4A-GZE, something to do with too large flywheels). Articles on converting an AE86 SR5 to GTS are basically my bible in this project. So getting a RWD 4A-GE is ideal, less headache. Although i won't be doing the conversion, it's nice to know that no major changes are done when doing it. I'd have a near factory setup.

The only 4A-GE equipped local car here is an AE92. I believe they use the small port non-TVIS 4A-GEs. If i can get the same type of 4A-GE, i would not have to be worried about spare part availability. Especially on engine overhauls, i know that i won't have to get my timing belts, engine gaskets, valves or small-end bearings from an exotic parts seller. 20 valves 4A-GE use different timing belt with the 16 valves. Big ports use different con-rod diameters. So you can see why my best deal would be a small port, Red Tops if you please.

Deciding between converting to carburetor or stay with the EFI wasn't hard, EFI all the way. Getting it, however, is a different thing. Up to now, i can't find anyone selling a small port 4A-GE with its EFI system still intact. Most them are already converted to carbs. I have nothing against carbs but i like to keep my options open. If i want to set up a turbo, EFIs are easier. If i want to implement Megasquirt DIY ECUs, i'd already have a working EFI system so i don't have to worry about missing sensors, injectors, etc. With EFI, i don't have to worry about carb jetting.

The case in Indonesia currently, full EFI system setups are easier to find on 20v 4AGEs, especially silver tops. As i said, i haven't been able to get a 16v with its EFI wiring, ECU, hardwares still intact. Now i just have to set my priorities. Do i prefer easier conversion and better spare part availability or more option in the long run? For the first one, i can easily get a RWD 16v carburetted 4A-GE but for the second one, i would have to opt to a full injection set 20v silver top. Which one do you think is best?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blessing in Disguise - Towed on Highway

Previously i mentioned about something that happened just minutes after i own The Dog. This is the story.

So with a quick visit to the ATM, transferred USD700 to the previous owner, The Dog is mine. I was so excited and couldn't wait to get her back home, get the VIN papers made on my behalf and send her to the body shop.

30 minutes of being a new owner of a Daihatsu Charmant, i had to go via highway to reach home. 1 km after the toll booth, The Dog started coughing ... What the ... ?! I just filled up the tank a few minutes ago so it's impossible i am running out of gas. Coughing continued and ended with a stall.. I pulled up and tried cranking the engine. It would start but then stalled again. Three failed attempts, my dad was already pulling up behind me (i drove The Dog and dad and mom drove the car we rode before). He went out of the car and asked me why i stopped. He noticed right away that i was having trouble starting the car. My mom took a picture of me from dad's car..
It was strange. It was driving nicely when i took it out for a test but now it won't start at all! Gas is there, ignition coil was sparking. Only one thing left to check, fuel delivery.. After much fiddling, we found out the carb was not squirting any gas at all.. Damn ... Covering the carb intake did get the engine to start but then stalled again. Definitely not enough fuel was delivered to the carb. That explained the price i paid for her ...

20 minutes of cranking, the battery gave up.. An emergency tow patrol had already pulled up in front of us, offering us a tow. There was no choice, we had to get it towed. Actually the emergency tow was free of charge but it'll only take you to the nearest highway exit. We decided to tow the car to the body workshop and pay for the extra charge, a mere 15 bucks.. Haha so it was a blessing in disguise after all. Maybe The Dog couldn't wait to get herself resprayed so i think that's her way of speeding things up a bit. Had The Dog ran well all the way home, maybe she would still be waiting until i got all the papers out to drive her legally to the body shop.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Finally, some photos of The Dog

I got a help from my sister to take pictures of The Dog just in time before she got her old paint scraped. Ain't she a beauty? Look at how straight she is. There wasn't much room for my sister to move to take the photos, but i think these pictures are great. Thanks sis!

The engine bay's a mess. I can't wait to see a 4A-GE in there..

Hopefully i can upload pictures as often as possible..

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Daihatsu Charmant?

I chose Daihatsu Charmant from a very short list of options. Below are the main reasons as to why i chose Charmant:

1. Rear Wheel Drive
I think of RWDs as versatile rides. Many applications are better if we use RWDs compare to FWDs. (4WDs are out of the question as i can't find anything that fits my budget). Both RWD and FWD can be used to make laps in racetracks. Both are also great for daily use. But what about drag racing? I have limited knowledge but as far as i know, RWDs give you better launch traction in drag races. What about the latest trend, drifting? Toyota Supras, Nissan Skylines, Corolla AE86 are RWDs. Indeed you can drift using FWDs by e-braking, but can you shift lock with FWDs? Clutch Kick? Power over? Those techniques require loss of rear wheel traction. Again i may be wrong on the drifting side, i haven't done any ... yet ... *blinks at The Dog*. Basically, i am playing safe by chosing RWDs.
Corolla AE92 GTi is eliminated because of this. Why did i consider AE92 GTi before? For the legendary engine it has: 4A-GE.

2. Cheap
Honestly, this should be number one reason. Many cars were eliminated because of this. Actually, I can afford newer and more expensive cars than the Charmant. My project would at least cost me USD5k-6k and you can get newer (not better ...) used cars with that budget. But then i wouldn't have enough budget to tune the car.. I will just be buying a car and use it. Where's the fun in that? As a friend always says "better built than bought". I too share the same idea.
Again, Corolla AE92 GTI (approx USD4k) is also eliminated because of this, as well as BMW E30s (approx USD3.5k).

3. Ease of Engine Swapping
I want to have a car that runs fast on daily use, with the option of tuning it for race apps. Cheap comes with its consequence: old technology engines: pushrods, 2 valves per cylinder, non-cross flow head, carb, etc. Indeed you can get enough power output from a heavily built Toyota K-series engine but what about driveability? I don't think K-series tuned to get similar horsepower to stock 4A-GEs, SR20DEs, would idle as smooth. It's difficult to find a car having a 16 valve DOHC EFI engine costing around the budget for the Charmant. Hence, swapping to newer engines is mandatory.

Charmants in Indonesia run on 4A-C engines. Guess what other newer engine bolts-on easily to the bay? Yes, 4A-GEs. No engine mounting mod required. No reversing crossmember and steering drag-link bending necessary (Hello SR20DET equipped Datsun 510s!). Most probably i can even use the stock gearbox and bellhousing!

I avoid difficult engine swappings because i believe no work should be done to engine mountings (safety reason) and also to minimize conversion costs.
If only putting SR20DEs to old Datsuns is as easy as 4A-GEs into Charmants, i would choose Datsun 510 or 160J over Charmant anytime but sadly it's not. So, goodbye to Datsuns. KE70s were also eliminated because of their 4K engines as i can't find better engine to the 4K that bolts easily.

4. Nostalgic Looks
Nissan Cefiro A31s don't have it. It was very difficult choosing between Cefiro and Charmant. Cefiros don't look that bad either. I am just not sure how easy it is to put SR20s into Cefiro but i am sure the easier swapping RB25s were too expensive for my budget, that's if i can find one.

Those four reasons narrowed down my options to Daihatsu Charmants. I see Charmants as a Corolla AE86 SR5 in disguise. Only minor mods required to have myself a "poor man's Hachiroku".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Dog's Specs

I haven't been able to upload any pics of The Dog yet but i have some pics of similar car to her. Hopefully this would give you an idea on what she looks like.

None of the pictures here belong to me. So if you own a pic here and object the idea of sharing for the sake of knowledge, do let me know.

This is a similar car to The Dog:This is a pic of also an Indonesian Daihatsu Charmant. She's owned by Wahyu. You can find his Multiply pages here. This is also how The Dog looks like, more less, with a bit more weight on the "less" side. The Dog is black and has similar stock rims as above.

The "boxy" look may remind you of the Toyota KE70. Indeed, the Charmant was its closest non-Toyota relative. Even the stock engine is from Toyota. Here are some specs to Daihatsu Charmant that i know of, do correct me if i am wrong:

1. Only a four-door sedan version is available. This fact actually tickled me to make a 2 door conversion. Unfortunately, i wish also for The Dog to be able to participate in the Retro Car Touring Champs here and they don't allow any body conversions on the participants. I am a bit sketchy on whether or not this is correct. Thus, if you have better info, pls inform me.

2. Two stock engine options: 4K (1300cc) and 4A-C (1600cc).
The 4K is a carburetted pushrod 8 valve 4 cylinder engine type. This K-series engine is also common on KE chassis Toyota Corollas. Fortunately for me, we don't have this option in Indonesia. We only have the 4A-C engine. A carburetted SOHC 8 valve 4 cylinder 1600cc. Why fortunate you may ask? Because this means a 4A-GE will bolt-on straight away to the engine mountings and transmission bellhousing, since they both are 4th gen A engines. 4A-C seen below.

3. Rear Wheel Drive
The way cars should be. This is why i ruled out the AE92 4A-GE Corolla from my options. Just like bicycles, only babies use front wheel drives. Haha, just kidding.

4. Front Disk, Rear Drum Brakes
I think if i can find an AE86 rear diff, i can have rear-wheel disk brake with very little sweat involved in the conversion.

5. T50 5-speed Gearbox
Paired with a tuned 4A-GE, 200 kph is easy. This is why it's not easy finding a junkyard Charmant with it's gearbox still intact.6. AC, Power Steering, Halogen Headlamps and many minor Specs
You can see some below:
Sadly no burglar alarm ...