Thursday, October 22, 2009

Daihatsu Charmant Community Gathering

I am a member of Daihatsu Charmant Community mailing list, an unofficial Daihatsu Charmant owners club in Indonesia. I joined not so long ago, about the same time i got my Charmant. Assuming my memory's not mixed up, this community is started by two brothers, Wanto and Zulner. Their father is a big fan of Daihatsu Charmant, owning a full original one. Seeing how cool their dad's Charmant was, Wanto and Zulner got interested also and got an idea to gather all Charmant owners in Indonesia. They started by joining Daihatsu Charade forum and befriended Okta and Gerry. Previously Okta and Gerry owned Charades but they got interested in Charmants too after hanging out with those two brothers and so Daihatsu Charmant Community was born..

Up to this day, there are 51 members of this mailing list. We use Indonesian language in the mailing list but i can assure you that should not stop you from joining. Ask and they'll do their best to help you.

Last Sunday afternoon, Oct 18th 2009, we agreed to make a little gathering in Senayan, South Jakarta. As far as i know, this is the second gathering since this Community was born. I am glad i was in Jakarta during that time. It was my first time seeing the guys in person!

Senayan is one hour drive from home. I had to drive my Toyota Soluna there since my Charmant is still "hospitalized". I was the first to arrive (yes i was that excited) and then not so much later Wahyu and his black Charmant. Short story shorter, five Charmants were finally present.. I won't bore you with details, let the pics do the talking..
How Wanto got these mud guards below is beyond me.. These are as rare as a hen's teeth!
A closer look at Wahyu's infamous head lamps..We had so much fun.. Mesmerized at each other's Charmants, asking where to get this and that, exchanging parts and joking around and teasing the whole time. Thanks guys for the gathering. Looking forward to see you again..

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Engine Research and Comparison

Being away from Jakarta where all of this project is being done, i can only imagine and assume things to help me answer some questions lurking inside my brain. So whenever i get a chance to be in Jakarta, i tried my best to spare some time to do a research in order to satisfy myself with answers derived from actual hands-on experience.

I had both of my engines, the old 4A-C and its replacement, a smallport 4A-GE, at home yesterday. I took this chance to do a comparison on these two. Here's some stuff i learned last weekend. I hope this would also help you if you're doing something similar.

Q: Can a pilot/spigot bearing from a 4A-C fit to a smallport 4A-GE?
A: Yes, effortlessly

As you may have known, being a FWD engine, originally a smallport 4A-GE is not equipped with a spigot/pilot bearing. A spigot bearing is required so that a RWD gearbox input shaft can match to this bearing and be kept spinning in place, thus avoid ruining your input shaft's oil seal and subsequently, avoid oil leaks. A 4A-C has this bearing on its flywheel. Now, if a pilot bearing from a 4A-C can be directly put inside a smallport 4A-GE, you'd save yourself from having to find out what size bearing fits the replacement engine. You simply bring your old bearing to a shop, get an identical-sized new one and slam it to your 4A-GE. See below comparison pic which shows you that both have same outer bearing circumference. By the way, what do you call that "slide ruler" i am holding in the pic? lol.
This pic also tells you that 4A-C flywheel will not fit a smallport 4A-GE crankshaft as the number of bolts holding the 4A-C flywheel is different compared to that of a smallport 4A-GE (6 bolts vs 8 bolts).
Bonus Pic! Here's a closeup of the pilot bearing on the 4A-C. You can see the bearing markings which would hopefully help you on the bearing identification.
You can see "6001 RS" marking there. A quick google will give you detailed info on the bearing. That is a 12x28x8 sealed ball bearing, meaning it has 12 mm inner diameter, 28 mm outer diameter and 8 mm thickness. Wow.. now I know that bearings and oil seals are identified in a similar manner! It's always inner diameter x outer diameter x thickness, in mm.

Let's move on to the next question.

Q: Can i use 4A-C sandwich plate and starter motor on a smallport 4A-GE?

A: Yes!

First off, why do we need to bother swapping the sandwich plate and starter motor? Well, a smallport 4A-GE's starter motor is positioned on the wrong side of the block which is on the intake side (well, mine at least.. i found out that Dereck's smallport has it on the correct side) so it won't match Charmant's gearbox bellhousing. Hence, you need to relocate it to the correct side: the exhaust side. More info on this, read my previous post on Daihatsu Charmant 4A-GE conversion guide.

Yesterday i compared the gear teeth spacing on both flywheels and luckily they have same spacing! This means a starter motor from a 4A-C can also spin a smallport's flywheel. Also the studs and holding bolts hole positions for the sandwich plates are the same. So, yes the sandwich plates are also interchangeable. Here's some pics though i am not sure these would explain my conclusion. First pic is a smallport flywheel and the second one is 4A-C's part.Next question..

Q: Can a 4A-C Clutch assembly (clutch plate & pressure plate housing) fit a smallport 4A-GE?
A: Yes

I took the 4A-C clutch assembly off the flywheel and successfully fit it to my smallport 4A-GE. As simple as that. Here's a pic of the 4A-C pressure plate housing installed on smallport's flywheel.
So now you know that you can get a 4A-C clutch set when doing a RWD smallport 4A-GE conversion.

Q: Do i need to make a fuel return line if i am going to do fuel injection on my Charmant?
A: That depends..

In an EFI system, fuel is pressurized to a constant value so that the ECU can calculate precisely how long to open the injectors in order to supply certain amount of fuel to each cylinder. With constant pressure, the longer the injector opens, there's always more fuel injected. The fuel pump must always supply more than the injected fuel to keep the pressure constant. This means that there should be a return line to the tank to channel back any excess fuel. Hence there should be at least two fuel lines between the tank and EFI engine, the supply and return lines.

Being a n00b that i am, i thought carb'd cars don't have such return line (only supply line only, single fuel line between the tank and carb'd engine). Discussing about this with Dereck and seeing my engine bay myself, i now know i was wrong. Our 4A-C engines have cam-driven fuel pumps which would pump more fuel with increasing RPM. This way, there's no way to shut down the pump when too much fuel is supplied. Hence, there should also be a fuel line to channel back any excess fuel to the tank! See a pic of 4A-C fuel pump below..
From the pic above, the line connected to "R" is the return line. This confirms that there's already two lines going between the engine and fuel tank. So if you're going to install an EFI system (or like me, swap the engine with a full EFI smallport 4A-GE), you don't have to fabricate a new fuel line.

.. or do you?

There might be a problem in using the original fuel lines when swapping to higher output EFI engines. The lines might not be big enough to supply more fuel for higher horsepower engines. If i am not mistaken (yet another thing i need to check myself when in Jakarta next time!), the supply line in our Charmant is 8 mm while the return is 6 mm. I am not sure if 8 mm is enough to supply fuel to my smallport 4A-GE. This is why the decision to fabricate new fuel lines depends on your application.

Anyway, new fuel lines or not, don't forget that you need to replace any flexible hose along the lines with the ones specified for fuel injection. EFI exerts higher fuel pressure to the lines and keeping the original flexible hoses is just asking for trouble. You might as well throw Molotov cocktails to your car, less trouble same result.

I have more pics on my hard drive so if you need any more related to this topic, just inform me and i'll check.

Trinidad Auto Life

As promised earlier, here are shots of Trinidad's auto frenzy sent by Dereck.. I can't say much about these pics but you can still enjoy the good photo angles as they are taken by a professional photographer who's actually a friend of Dereck. More pics can be found on his website. I think this is some kind of auto festival where many kinds of motorsport activities jumbled into one spot. At least there's drag racing and drifting as you can see shortly.

First stop is a 4A-GTE converted AE86 SR5 owned by a dude named Kerry, one of the best and respected local drifters in Trinidad. Other than the cool stuff you see here, there's also HKS F-con Pro piggyback lurking inside, a set of adjustable coilovers and rear disk brake setup. Perhaps the owner took a complete set of GTS diff. Mechanically, SR5 is identical to our beloved Daihatsu Charmant.. I discussed about this with Dereck and the similarities starting from the 4A-C engine, rear axle, T50 gearbox, suspension system and even up to seat mounting holes position and wheel base just led us to agree more that indeed Charmants are four-door SR5s.
.Here's more pics that i can't say anything about them more than you do. A Corvette-styled Datsun 240Z.. sexy! I wet my pants just from seeing the paint job.
more random pics..
and for the grand finale, a turbocharged dragster Charmant!
It sure looks there's much fun in Trinidad with all those motorsport freaks putting their pedal to the metal on such a sunny and beautiful island. Thanks for sharing these pics Dereck!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bucket Seat Hunt

It's good to be home! Flew back to Jakarta yesterday evening and went to do some work on the project today. First i went to check The Dog's bodywork progress. I won't focus on it cause honestly it's getting boring.. They are working on the front windshield frame now..
F*ck knows when they'll finish the work! Starting to get pissed off with how slow they are. Sorry guys if it's kinda boring. Promise you a more exciting progress when the bodywork's done.

Anyway, after checking on the bodywork progress, me and dad want to this small street in Jakarta called Kebon Sirih where car seat makers gather in one area. There's quite a few makers there but dad told me there used to be more. Guess the recession got to these guys also.. Anyway, i was looking for a bucket seat (or a pair, depending on the price) for The Dog. As i am planning to drift The Dog, a good one for me is one that has tall side supports so as to keep me in place when doing sideways. Now the problem is that i couldn't decide on taking the fixed or reclining type. I know that bucket seats are a pain in the back on long drives so the reclining type could be better but today i tried a fixed one and it was so comfortable that i doubt it'll be that painful. A shop called Maju Jaya had it on display. Here's the seat i tried..
and here's some more seats on display in Maju Jaya.
Not quite the designs i was looking for. I am more into classic looking bucket seats. Pretty much like the ones you can find in below.
Then it struck me, why not make a custom one? Thankfully they take custom orders (with extra pay of course.. ) and so i got the owner's email address. That way i can send him the design i want. Now it's off to the net to find me a good design to copy. Got any suggestions?

After i got home today, i took some pics of my 4A-C and 4A-GE and did a research to answer some questions i had in mind for some time like "Can a pilot bearing from a 4A-C fit to a smallport 4A-GE?" Well, answer to that is on another post along with other valuable stuff i learned today. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dereck's Rough Diamond

One of the best things about having a blog is gaining new friends from around the globe who share common interests. Other than stuff about Charmants and autos in general, you get stories on different cultures, lifestyles, languages and of course.. girls! lol..

This week i got an email from Dereck Sealey from Trinidad. First thing he said on his email was, in his own words, "doubt you would know where that is lol". Hahaha right on mate.. Never knew where it was until Dereck emailed me and forced myself to look it up on Google Map. Hey it's on the Carribean Islands! AARRRRrr... First thing that came to my mind other than Johnny Depp wearing eyeliner was tanned girls in bikini sunbathing on a beach. Hahaha.. later i found out i was wrong. Dereck told me girls in Trinidad aren't like that. The girls are more like pale-skinned Venezuelan than, in the quiet words of the Virgin Mary, "hawt" tanned Brazilian. He's kind enough to give me a sampler..
Oooo.. me very very likey.. lol. As Dereck told me, Trinidad is like a bag o' skittles, they also have Asian girls, Guyanan, Indians and others that i can't remember. Gosh.. i know where i am going for my vacation!

Okay, let's get back to business. Dereck also has a Charmant and is planning to convert the engine to a smallport 4A-GE also and retain the injection system. Sweet, finally someone who's gonna do a similar project. Other than that bikini-clad eye-candy above, he sent me some pics of his Charmant and other sweet-looking classic Japs in Trinidad (it's actually Republic of Trinidad and Tobago). This is his Charmant..
I noticed that his steering wheel is different from mine. It has got the horn buttons on the handles while mine is on the center. Hmmm.. maybe different version? For now, his Charmant is still packing the old 4A-C engine. Dereck drives it daily for work and can't afford having it stay too long in a workshop. So he's gonna gather all the needed parts first and then do the work in a weekend. He already got the smallport 4A-GE and a bigport intake manifold but still missing some stuff like the MAP sensor. His plans are, as taken from his email: try and restore the car to its former glory body wise, first order the adapter for the intake, change the worn bushings with a complete kit from Prothane, add various braces like these,, the rusted parts on my car i would like to have cut and new bits welded on, i plan on buying a shell next year to do just that so that the car remains as original as it can that's going to cost me $800TTD, afterward i will buy the 4 doors... $3200TTD, then from there i would like to have my car painted metallic blue =D, blue is my favorite color, then have the engine installed and wired, boost power to the electrical systems as needed, change the standard headlights to HID, then from there work on the interior and I'm finished =D... i think lol, I'm sure there are stuff that i have not mentioned.

Right now my engine is in the garage and i unbolted all the bolt on components, the alternator, compressor and other bits have been removed the second day i had the engine... don't mind that i was sick and had a fever i was still out in the rain taking stuff off, all for the love, i plan on spray painting the block flat black and the cam covers gloss blue, repaint the pulleys black, the alternator gloss black =D lol, and change out the vacuum hoses to new red ones =), performance wise it will take me a long while before i can add any new things but i really want to do ITBs, cams, exhaust, lightened water pump pulley and probably a HALTECH E6 to seal the deal.

Love your plan, Dereck. I bet it's gonna be one hell of a Charmant once you finish. I also found out that he's not gonna use coilovers. I haven't decided yet on coilovers but i do admit that i am also inclined towards not using them. I'll also be using polyurethane bushings just like Dereck's plan and might just get lowered springs and stiffer shocks.

Soon a friend of Dereck's gonna be swapping engine in a Charmant also. Dereck's gonna watch the whole process and take notes. I am waiting eagerly on his story on this as i also got some questions up my sleeves on some Charmant engine conversion details.

There's more pics on Trinidad's automobile frenzy sent by Dereck but i'll share them on other post.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Charmant Coupe?!

Found this on facebook.. I just added the owner as my friend so details about this Charmant will have to wait until i can talk to him. Anyway, of course there never was a factory-standard coupe Charmant. The owner moved the B-pillars back a few inches, lengthen the front doors and maybe shorten the rear doors so that he can weld them to the body. Add a bigport 4A-GE, convert to dual barrel carbs, slap on some rally rims and tires, throw few gallons of red paint and you got yourself an uber-cool Charmant!
Nice headlamps, huh? If i am not mistaken, the owner uses this as a speed-rally car so if you're wondering whether Charmants are any good on rough driving, now you know!

***update Oct 13th 2009***
Wahyu, a friend of mine in Daihatsu Charmant club sent me these pics of the same car. These were taken back in 2007. You can see it still has the original 4A-C *plus* 17-inch rims! Wahyu also has similar looking headlamps on his Charmant. A bit of story regarding these headlamps as shared by Wahyu, they're taken from a local Toyota van called Kijang Super, the exact same chassis as my previous pickup truck (but i replaced the headlights with newer version). It takes some minor welding and cutting to make the brackets but as you can see, these headlamps surely give fresher looks.