Daily Dave - The Blyatsu's underdog brother

I decided it’s time for Dave to have its own topic, for two reasons:

  • This way I can separate Dave from the Blyatsu, and keep that topic dedicated to just the Blyatsu
  • There’s no such thing as too much L2D content
  • I’ll be able to write a bit more as I’m not always able to do thing with the Blyatsu
  • I’ve finally reached the point where I can’t control myself and keep Dave stock

I’ll start by copying some of the content I already posted on my Blyatsu topic and update from there on.

DAVE
I don’t like doing daily commute-km’s with the Blyatsu (which I was doing a lot and still am), because it wasn’t built for that, so I started looking for a different way to do my daily commute. And I (sorta) found one! Meet Dave:


It says “Harley Davidson” on the bonnet, hence ‘Dave’

Quick speclist:

  • Prefacelift, EJDE
  • Marathon (special edition available in yellow or red)
  • RTi (top spec)
  • Electric sunroof

All second hand cars are expensive because the waiting list for new cars is so freaking long, which results in L7’s being around €1200 for most decent examples (what used to be around €800). I wasn’t going to spend that money, so I got this one for €400 instead. Obviously, that means it’s in need of attention (and an MOT), but I figured I could get it done. The CV boots were torn, brakes aren’t much, the alternator bracket was split into two pieces, there was a big hole in the rear frame/beam.

All fixed up by a mate!

1 Like

TIME FOR ANOTHER UPDAVE

I’ve had that pun in my head for quite some time now, so I figured I’d actually use it to talk you guys through the last month!

EVERYBODY LOVES RA-… DAVE
After last post, I went to the junkyard to get some stuff and then replaced both driveshafts on Dave. As I said before, the CV joints were torn, but since I had 2 axles laying around and I was too lazy to get new boots, I decided to just swap them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the right axle out of the hub, because it had seized and I didn’t have the proper tools. Luckily for me, I also had some spare knuckles with hubs laying around as well :upside_down_face: . After replacing those, I decided to just send it and go for an MOT. I knew Dave wouldn’t pass, but at least this way I knew what I had to do in order to get MOT. The list I got back wasn’t huge, but also not what I’d hoped for:

  • Wheel bearing LR shot
  • 60% brake difference on the rear axle
  • Indicator RF wasn’t orange
  • Fuel mixture too lean (high O2)
  • Both lower ball joint boots torn
  • 3RD brake light didn’t work (advisory)
  • Slight oil leakage (advisory)
  • Small exhaust leak (advisory)


Picture of the sunroof to keep it interesting

The indicator wasn’t an issue, neither were the wheel bearing and boots, but the brake difference and O2 were making me nervous. I’m no mechanic, so I don’t have a lot of experience in fixing problems (just creating them), but with the help of a few friends I knew I’d get there. I had to decide whether I would continue the project and save Dave (hehe), or abandon the project and make it a parts car. Since there was already quite a lot of time invested in the car, I decided to give it a shot.

I knew the exhaust had a small leak, and since I didn’t know what else it could be, I figured that that was the cause of the O2 being too high. A leak gives the opportunity for the mixture to gain more oxygen than it should have. We took off the exhaust and quickly found out that there was a major hole in the bend that goes over the rear axle. My friend welded it shut, so that was another thing off the list. We also cleaned the rear brakes and wiggled a few bits around, hoping it would fix the problem.


One of the reasons why I bought Dave, is because I’m close friends with the owner of the other yellow L7, and I thought it would be fun if we’d both have one :smiley: This picture was taken right after changing the drive shafts!

Then I took it to another friend to help me with the wheel bearing and torn boots. I was convinced the bearing had to be pressed in/out, but a decent tap with a hammer and socket did the trick as well. The new boots are held in place by some sort of window sealer, but it did the job. Remember: I’m turning this car into a challenge to drive it as cheaply as possible.


Very happy to have such helpful and passionate clubmembers!

ATTEMPT 2 AND 3

After paying attention to all the fails and advisory points, I tried getting an MOT again. It failed again, but this time only because of the rear brakes. That was a shame, but on the other hand I felt proud that I was able to fix the rest of it with my friends (who had more experience/tools). My friend spent another day thoroughly cleaning the rear brakes again, but it didn’t make a difference. We then flushed the system because the fluid was looking fairly dark (it had been sitting still for a year), but that didn’t help as well. Since everything on the rear brakes seemed to work fine, there was only one thing left: the distributor. There’s this metal block sitting against the firewall which distributes fluid to the front left (from memory) and rear brakes. There are springs inside the connectors to the rear brake lines, which basically determines the bias between the front and rear brakes. Bad explanation, but you get what I’m saying. These springs can get stuck or brake entirely, and if only one of them does, you will have a difference in brake force. I think that’s what happened because after replacing the distributor, it was almost spot on even in brake force.

I then raced to the MOT station and got it back with a fresh MOT. Happy days!

Dave has served as a daily for 2 weeks now, and he has done an excellent job. He will do 20km/liter, and (so far) doesn’t use any oil. After the MOT I gave Dave a service, so he’s basically good to go for another year. My only complaint so far is that the steering wheel is shaking quite badly above 100km/h. I know that’s probably a matter of balancing the wheels, but I’ve got a few things I want to try before I’ll get to that. The car is actually that good, that I was considering maybe selling it after a year, instead of parting it out. But, there’s a reason why I don’t want to sell it.


yeah…

For those of you that don’t know: that’s the left chassisrail/crashbar, whatever you want to call it. The point is: it’s fucked. I knew it had been in some sort of accident because I already saw a few things that were bent, but I found this one quite shocking. The car performs just fine, it doesn’t ‘drive crooked’ or anything, but I’m just not comfortable with selling a car knowing it has this amount of damage. And even if someone knew and would be okay with it, they’d still probably use it as an excuse to take something off the price. And it may sound childish, but out of principle, I’d rather do a partout than being low balled by someone who probably doesn’t notice anything or is going to fix something he/she does want a price reduction for.

FUTURE DAVE PLANS

Both posts above this one tell the story about how I got Dave and what I went through to get it back on the road. However, there’s nothing more to catch up on, because I haven’t changed anything since I got it on the road! Quite unusual for me, and I’m kinda proud of that. Sure, I switched the stock seats for Sirion M1 seats, but I already had those from the Blyatsu, so it didn’t cost me any money. Apart from petrol/tax/insurance, no more money was spent on Dave.
Until now.

FROM A TO B, AND INTERNSHIP

I’m in my last year of school, which means I’m searching for a place to do my internship, and graduate from college. The way things are going right now, it seems like I’m going to be driving a lot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if I’m going to have to drive a lot, I want to do so in a car I feel safe/comfortable in. One could argue that that’ll never be the case in an L7, but… you know… like… uhm… well actually it’s not that ba-… shut up. Whether or not the L7 is a safe car in general, I know Dave isn’t the safest. That’s because of two major issues:

  • Tires
  • Steering

And now you’re probably wondering: *"but what’s wrong with the tires and suspension?? Please Daniël just tell me what’s wrong with it :sob: "

Glad you asked.

The tires in the front are 11 year old Nankangs, the tires in the back are 12 year old Pirelli’s. Now, I don’t have a problem with any of those brands, but because of the age they’re just not what they used to be, to put it lightely. I’ve never had oversteer with any of my L7’s, but with Dave I’ve done many skids already. Some intentional, some because I was pushing it, but some definitely unintentional. That needs to be fixed.

In terms of steering, stock Cuores can feel a bit vague, that’s not a weird thing. However, the other day I was going over a twisty road, doing about 60km/h, and let go of the throttle when I went through a left corner. Suddenly, instead of following the corner, I was heading towards the side of the road, without me changing my steering input. When I put my foot back on the throttle, the car kind of pulled itself back into the corner. These “symptoms” pointed quite strongly to some kind of play in the suspension on the front right side. I later tried to pivot the wheel…

Pivot-friends GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

and well, there seems to be quite severe play on one of the ball joints. I’m pretty sure it’s the tie rod end, because those boots were torn when I got the car and a lot of filth got in. I’m guessing that filth damaged the ball joint (I mean there’s a reason why those things have boots). Anyway, that needs fixing as well.

So there’s that. I don’t want to spend any money on Dave, but I also don’t want do drive a car with MEGA unpredictable handling. I didn’t want to spend money on Dave because I’m not sure how long I’ll keep him and because the chassis isn’t great. Overall, I don’t think it’s worth the money. So, I was looking at a Sirion 2 (M3), which is a bit more ‘car’ as well. Could have one with A/C, quite a bit more room, comfortable, modern etc. However, I’d have to spend around €3k for an example that would meet my requirements. Way more than I’d have to spend on Dave to fix him. Also, I already have Dave, so I don’t have to deal with purchasing, insurance etc. again. Plus, apart from said issues, Dave is a remarkably solid car, so it would be waste of a good L7.

So, I decided to just spend a bit of money on Dave and keep him as a nice daily.

UPGRADES

But, maybe Dave deserves a bit more (down the rabbit hole we go…). You might remember I bought a set of Billstein dampers for the Blyatsu a while back, along with a pair of lowering springs for just the rear. Well, I ditched the Billsteins, put back the BC springs and fitted Copen shocks. I also got the front springs back to make the set of lowering springs complete again. Sooooooo why waste a good set of lowering springs? Once the ball joint issue gets taken care of, Dave probably needs an alignment anyways, so might as well fit the springs.

Also, I went to the junkyard the other day and I stumbled upon an Move L9. I’ve always been curious about one thing: is it possible to take the front ARB and fit it to an L7 as an ‘upgrade’? I’ve read a few things about the ARB being thicker than the L7’s, but never found the info I needed. So I took out the ol’ caliper and was quite surprised to find that the L9’s ARB is 21mm thick, compared to the L7’s ‘miserable’ 17mm. That’s quite a difference! The ARB only cost me €20, so I just took it.


L7 on top, L9 below

Now, I now the racing drivers among us will immediately think one thing: more understeer. Yes, theoretically, load transfer will be greater. However, it’s a daily, and friends will say I drive like a granny (which is arguable, but okay). My hypotheses is that the car will roll less and that I won’t get close to understeer often with normal driving. Otherwise a stock L9 would be impossible to drive as well, I reckon.

My plan is to fit new tires, fit new tie rod ends, then go for a drive, swap the ARB and see what difference it makes. Should be a fun experiment! Once I got all the parts, I’ll get to work and document everything as usual. That’s it for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this separate topic so far! Here are some pictures of Dave carrying an EJ, effectively making it a twin-engined-Cuore:

7 Likes

Awesome! You know what’s better than 1 thread? 2 threads! I can vouch for the M3 as being “a bit” more car than a l7. But the l7 is just as much fun being lighter and smaller.

I don’t get to use my M3 as often as I would like to. Working from home has got its pro’s and cons.

Any plans on polishing Dave to get the yellow color to shine again? Or was it this faded from the factory?

1 Like

I’m not sure yet. On one hand I like to ‘not care’ about the state of the paint or whether it’s clean or not, but on the other hand it would probably be a good way to practice polishing. Probably depends on time and motivation!

Btw, they never were like yellow yellow from the factory, it’s a bit like Volvo’s Cream Yellow. Although this paint is a bit faded though…

It’s fun to know what “special” editions there are. Never knew that the yellow color was special. Does it have a clear coat?

The best way to learn is to do it. And what best way to learn it on something you don’t really care about!

If you ever find yourself in Twente, you can always come by if you need advice :slight_smile:

Btw i like the shark teeth decals. I love the fact that you put them backwards on the rear wheels xD

It’s funny to see how they did those things back in the day. Although I think all yellow L7’s are Marathons. I do know that all Marathon’s are red or yellow. A theory about the Marathons: I’m not sure if there were ever Marathons outside the Netherlands, but if they weren’t, I think they named it after the DAF Marathon editions! If Marathon is indeed a dutch-only-special, I think this is plausible. Btw, I’m not sure if it has clear
coat, but I think so!

Unfortunately I usually don’t get much further north than Ede/Barneveld, but I’ll definitely stop by if I’m ever in Twente :slight_smile:

The shark-mouths are indeed on the opposite sides, but the eyes are on the correct side. However, they’re upside down :joy:

1 Like

I never knew what kind of special editions Daihatsu made. Is there somewhere you can look them up?

I have family living in Ede, so ill keep an eye out for Blyatsu and Dave!

If you even see a guy losing his shit in a black M3. It could be me xD

1 Like

I’m not sure where to look if I’m honest. Maybe ask a Dai-dealer if they have an old partslist or something?

I’ll keep an eye out too! :wink:

I know there is a special edition of the m300. The grey ones without sport bumpers but with a Momo steering wheel.

I’ll have a go at trying to find old Daihatsu brochures to see if they mention special editions. Would be fun to know all the different editions.

1 Like

[quote=“Blyatsu, post:3, topic:6059”]…the L9’s ARB is 21mm thick, compared to the L7’s ‘miserable’ 17mm…
…theoretically, load transfer will be greater. However, it’s a daily…
[/quote]This is okay for a dry track. But, to do this to a daily driver raises safety questions. I once had replaced the rear springs of my Renault 12 station wagon with a pair of heavy duty Dacia springs of which I bought on an open market in Poland. One day I was driving through the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) behind a snow-removal vehicle. The snow wasn’t being removed evenly. Rather, icey stripes were left at certain intervals each. These stripes were laid horizontally like speed bumps. Suddenly, fully without warning, my vehicle sprung out of the lane towards the left and I landed onto an agricultural field. I was lucky that there was neither oncoming traffic nor trees or buildings where I landed. The vehicle continued pointing forward, so that at least there was no endangerment from rolling over.
In your case, what you are planning to do seems to incur unpredictability, unless you first test this sort of modification out on an icey track

To be honest, I don’t see the link between me changing the ARB in the front (the section you quoted) and your story about the heavy duty springs in the rear of your Renault :sweat_smile:. On top of that, there’s hardly any snow here. Maybe two weeks a year, if any at all.

If you were referring to the lowering springs: they’re only 15% stiffer than stock. The Blyatsu is sitting on BC springs, which are 4k, way stiffer than stock and still pretty good.

PIVOT!!! :joy: :joy: :joy:

I don’t blame you for keeping Dave and deciding to look after it and slow modify it to make it safer/better for the road. I spent a few months looking for another L700 so I could have two as I really enjoyed driving it round town but sadly for a good one (as i wanted a good one which wouldn’t require too much work as my current one does) you’re looking at a lot of money which instead I bought the Ignis Sport as i had always wanted one of them.

Either way, your looking after Dave and he’s looking after you as you have certainly put him to good use!:laughing:

1 Like

UPDAVE - FESTIVE EDITION

Idk, something with the holidays.

Anyways, last week I decided to check out the, suspected, tie rod end situation. I already bought some new rod ends, but never really checked what caused play in the steering. I jacked up the car and rocked the wheel back and forth, to see where the play came from. It was evident it came from the tie rod end, so ‘that was that’.

Later though, I had a ‘shower thought’. Something was off: the threaded part of te rod end was moving/pivotting (PIVOT!!) when I was rocking the wheel ( :musical_note: everybody in the whole cell block, was dancin’ to the wheelhouse rock :musical_note: ) back and forth. When the ball joint is shot, the threaded part of the rod end should just stay in place. So, maybe there’s no play, but the rod end is just loose.

Fast forward to the next day: I went to the shed and put Dave on jackstands to see what’s what. Guess what? The nut on the rod end wasn’t secured properly. :melting_face:

Now, you’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation

Back when I was trying to get Dave through MOT, I replaced the knuckle and axle. That meant taking off the tie rod end. I’m certain I put the nut back on (with an impact wrench), so that one’s ruled out. And I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes! For example, yesterday I had to pull over on the highway because I forgot to tighten the front wheel… again.

When I took the tie-rod-end-nut off yesterday, I noticed I couldn’t get it back on entirely. The thread turned out to be ruined (no idea how), so that’s probably the cause of all this misery. I cleaned the thread as best I could, gave the nut a few ugga-dugga’s and made sure the tie rod end was secured properly.

So that’s another problem solved. However, I’m still going to replace both rod ends, because they’re cheap and the old ones are probably worn in some way after 22 years.

THE BAD EXHAUST NOISE
With that problem solved, another one showed up. Okay it was already there for a month, but I couldn’t be bothered to take a look. The exhaust was rattling like crazy, and sounded like something was lose. If that was the case, it would be an easy fix. However, I didn’t see anything hanging loose, and since the noise came from the mid-silencer, I suspect something internally broke.

however,

Looking at the silencer with a running engine, I noticed a fairly big exhaust leak coming from that silencer. So yeah. That’s f*cked :melting_face:
I’m thinking of cutting it off and just put a piece of pipe there instead. I’m curious to see what it will do to the sound (the rear muffler is still on btw).

That’s it for now! Tomorrow, Dave will receive some fresh rubber, and I will soon start working on the Blyatsu again. Cheers guys!

3 Likes

Dave content is honest & wholesome.
love it!

1 Like

Alrighty then, first of all: I wish you all a wonderful 2023, and hope we get to share a lot of cool Dai-projects together!
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

TIRE(D)S

We all know how it goes. You buy a car, do a few mods, ruin it, buy a daily, try to keep it stock, fail miserably. Well, I don’t want to say I ‘ruined’ Dave, but some money has been spent.

As said in the last post, Dave got some fresh rubber. Wouldn’t call this a mod as much as a necessary bit of maintenance with the tires being that old (from 6 to 16 yo) and dry. It’s bizarre how much steering input was required with the old tires! Now you can just point it exactly where you want it. For €152, this was a massive upgrade.

SU(PER)SPENSION

With the new tires on, the car pulled to the right. I think the old tires were just worn ‘straight’, because it was steering quite true before. Since I am a careful person (at times), I wanted to give Dave an alignement. However, since it needed to be aligned anyways, I figured: might as well do a few mods.


Tie rod ends, lowering springs, and ARB’s. Believe it or not, but this was only €45

… well, kind of. You see, both the lowering springs and rear ARB were just ‘leftovers’ from the Blyatsu, so I didn’t actually spend the money for Dave, but still had them laying around. Might as well use them! As mentioned in the previous post, the tie rod ends were €25 for the set, and (you might’ve figured this one out already if you’re really good at math) the front ARB cost me just €20.


30mm lower. Might be hard to tell on photo, but in real life it looks like it should’ve from the factory. - m i n t t

For scientific reasons, I decided to stick to the following order:

  • Test drive with stock suspension
  • Fit the new tie rod ends
  • Mount front ARB
  • Mount rear ARB
  • Fit lowering springs

with test drives after every change. This gave me the opportunity to feel the difference in handling, which was interesting. Also, I’m having a hard time describing what I felt, let alone in English :sweat_smile:

After fitting the new front ARB, handling was what exactly what I’d expected, but also not really. You could literally feel the ‘resistance to roll’. With the old ARB it felt like you were determining the amount of roll by turning the steering wheel, instead of determining your direction. Now you have a bit of roll at turn-in, but it feels like it won’t go past a certain roll angle. Also, when you let go of the wheel, it doesn’t ‘fling’ itself back to the upright position, but more or less gradually levels itself. Overall, it’s way less ‘all over the place’ and way more controlled. It massively ‘calms down’ the car, which is great for comfort.

The rear ARB didn’t do as much, which was kind of expected. In terms of roll, it couldn’t have been much less. The ARB has a relatively small diameter, so it can’t and wont’ to that much for normal driving. I think there’s a more noticeable difference when you start driving on track and use it for grip balance. Although I didn’t feel like there was a change in roll angle, it did feel like it was, again, a bit more controllable and calm.

Last but not least: lowering springs. I expected quite a bump in handling from these, but it was kind of disappointing, and I’m 90% sure it’s because of the spring rate. I’ve driven a few lowered L7’s before, and those felt nice and firm and sporty. These springs feel like OEM plus. A while back, I asked the manufacturer what the spring rate actually was, and they said “The springs are 15% stiffer”, whatever that is in N/mm (idk the stock spring rate). I think those other lowering springs are around 150%-200% the original spring rate, so 15% isn’t all that much. Oh well, it’s not the end of the world. After all, it still drives well!

I got it aligned and enjoyed driving it so far. Well, sort of…

KING RATTLE

Last time, I told you about the exhaust being a loud annoying P.O.S. . Well, last week, it split in two :upside_down_face: . The mid damper parted from the front of the exhaust, which meant Dave was straightpiped for a while. There’s only one word for the kind of noise it made: obnoxious. Embarrassingly loud. Luckily, I was able to just shove the damper back in to the pipe in front of it, which temporarily fixed the issue. Since the exhaust lost its structural integrity, it was hanging quite low (hence why I couldn’t ‘enjoy’ driving it yet) and after fitting the new springs, I wasn’t even able to fit an OEM emergency jack underneath the mid damper. Yikes

So, I tried aligning the exhaust as best I could, jacked it up to keep it as high as possible, and fitted an exhaust clamp. So far, it works quite well! The exhaust isn’t dangling like it used to, and there are absolutely no rattles. On my drive home, I was amazed by… well everything actually. Dave is now a genuinely comfortable, quiet and proper handling car. It’s great, but it kind of feels… wrong. Maybe that’s just because the exterior is absolutely hideous and its been abandoned and neglected for the last 22 years.

I still want to fix the exhaust permanently and try to fix an idle issue, but other than that there’s not much to improve for a cheap daily. I’m quickly heading towards 10k km’s since I’ve bought it, and I’m hoping to put on a lot more km’s after that.

Until next time!

4 Likes