James' Daihatsu Cuore L700 - SKD555

April 2019: So here we are at the track day. It was so much fun I can’t explain. This car is so inappropriate yet so perfect. Luddenham Raceway is the perfect kind of track for these little cars. I managed to get faster and faster throughout the day. It was all laughs. The car didn’t have a single issue and took the abuse like a champ.

Anyway. here’s a bunch of pics from the day.


Great post!
your pictures are always top quality.

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April 2019: I’m happy to say there is an end to one chapter. The bloody parts car is finally out of my garage, thanks to my mate and his doggo!


July 2019: My journey with my Subaru wagon is about to end. A new owner is lined up and while I’m selling the car as is and heavily modified, the entire stereo system will be coming out and going into the Cuore, which is exciting cause its a pretty high end one.

The car will be sold with no speakers or amp but I do need to swap the headunits around, the current one in the Cuore is actually from my Subaru. I hate it so much I can’t explain.

First thing though, I gotta pull the ‘new’ one out of the Subaru.

With that sorted the old one in the Cuore could come out, I forgot how ghetto it was mounted, with two single din mounts.

I’ll have to look for a different solution.

Quick test fir with the new headunit, the Sony is a little different as it just uses a single din to mount, I had to bend the tabs just to hold it in. It all has to come out anyway when the new speakers go in so it’ll be fine for now.

Despite both being Sony’s the loom connector is different.

I got an ISO adaptor on eBay so I could cut those off and make another one, again this is just for now, cause there will end up being three joins in it, which isn’t preferred but it’ll work fine for now. I’'m going to repin the Daihatsu adaptor at a later point to have no joins.

Joins done.

Quick check in the car.

Anoyyingly the sourround doesn’t fit, I’ll either have to modify or find another one to try.

Lots of exciting times ahead for this, I’ll be making a real effort to do it properly.


August 2019: So this one is going to be a big one, it’s a very big thing to finally happen to this car. Manual swap time!

I had everything prepared but I wanted to take the quick moment to give the box a little once over with some degreaser.

Now that we’re ready to get going, time to pop it in the air.

Fluids were first on the list, coolant first.

Oils and filter.

As we’re pulling the engine out with the crane, we need all the space we can get, so the front end can come off.

The radiator could come out as one now.

Hoses and exhaust.

The lower bolts on the struts could come off the give the knuckle movement the make it easier to get the driveshaft out

They’re going to stay in the car but they just need to be popped out of the box.

With everything on the engine side out, it was just about ready to pull. The loom needs to be sorted though, there are two ways to do it, disconnect everything from the engine, or what we did, remove the plug from the ECU and being the entire loom with the engine. This was a much much easier way we believe.

On the crane, it went.

Out it came.

Good riddance.

It could then come off the block for the last time.

Converter and flexplate off.

Looking at the rear main that was in the car, it was actually in really decent shape considering its never been replaced. I’ve got a new one though and it’d be stupid not to change now.

With all the auto stuff now off, we can prep the engine for the manual box. I had the flywheel machined quite some time ago, it had the slightest amount of rust. A quick hit with some degreaser and a green sponge and it was good as new.

New drive belts could then go on, again originals were in great shape but it had to be done.

Manual specific spacer before the flywheel got thrown on with bolts torqued to spec.

We didn’t have the correct clutch alignment tool on hand to it took a little trial and error to get everything aligned in the end.

Now this thing was a bastard, the old bearing came off no worries, we gave the shaft a quick clean.

Quick grease.

Must’ve taken almost an hour to get this little shit seated and clipped in correctly, we got there in the end.

The manual box was no ready to go on for the last time.

Starter motor is something that is different between auto and manual, you can especially hear it when you start the car, they sound very different. The wiring connectors are the same, however the loom length is routed differently as the starter is on the bell housing side rather than the block side like the auto one.

Easily sorted.

Before continuing we wanted to get the interior stripped of all the old auto stuff first. Starting with the pedal box.

Engine is ready and waiting but when we went to go and throw the clutch cable in we noticed that for some strange reason there wasn’t a whole for it. It’s interesting to see they made two different firewalls for auto and manual.

Luckily we had a bunch of Cuore’s around us to get an idea of the exact placement.

Started with the bracket hole.

Then the main hole for the cable, it needs to be bigger than the cable so the adjuster can be brought though, it needs to be fed from the interior.

I could then bolt up the manual pedal box, I had to drop down the steering column to make it a little easier for it to pass through.

Good time for the engine to go back in now.

Struts back together after the shafts were pushed back in.

Clutch cable and shifter linkage on.

Time for fluids.

Fresh Ryco Filter.

Nulon 10W-40 and a fresh sump washer.

Box got some Penrite 75W-85 Pro Gear

Battery in.

Got the shifter all buttoned up too.


As we’ve retained the auto ECU, the car won’t let itself start without getting the inhibitor sorted. A quick check with a multimeter and look at the service manual.

Derrick had a smart idea to cut the original connector off and wire it up instead.

The front end could then go back on.

Coolant went in outside just in case.

And it started up perfectly.

At about 1.30am we were finished. All up it took about 14 hours but we got it done and I was able to drive home. What a transformation it has made. The car feels like it almost has double the power.


Nicely done! I’m amazed at how great your photo quality is, and even more at how rust free your cars in Australia are. I’m really jealous :stuck_out_tongue:


September 2019: I’ve had a spare set of headlights lying around now, and a friend gave me a headlight restoration kit. I’m going to get my original set properly done and cleared when the car is painted.

This is just a simple Mothers Kit

The came up looking pretty great.

Gave them a quick hit of wax too.

Strangely, my driver’s side was shocking and my passenger side was as new.

Before and After.

For a quick couple hours on a Sunday, I’m happy with the result.


Looks mint!

I have done the old “Various stages of wet sanding” on other headlights, but purchased the “powerball” when it was on sale one time.

I agree, it was a very simple process and worked a treat, much easier than wet/dry sanding. Have done the Sirion’s and an Evo IX’s headlights…quality outcome each time.


October 2019: Been keen on doing this for some time, and with the Subaru leaving me, and injecting some cash back into my wallet it was time to do it, and do it properly. Copen brake upgrade.

Before anything could get happening I needed to head over to New Model Wreckers to grab myself a set of Daihatsu Copen calipers. They sold me everything as is whole on a hub. Not bad for 150. Also grabbed a second set for a mate.

Got them home, they looked pretty decent.

In the spirit of doing this properly, I decided to have them professionally rebuilt with genuine seals and rubbers, plus powder-coated in Oxytech Flame Red by a bloke in Sydney called On The Brakes. Glad I did, cause holy balls they come out amazing!

With no interest in using the original pads and rotors, I needed to upgrade those too. For disks, I went with DBA’s T2’s. They’ll do perfectly for this application and look great.

Much better shape than the old stuff.

For pads I went for another thing I’ve been familiar with on other builds. Dixel, Type ES’s in this application.

I truly believe this is the best bank for buck mod you can do to a car, braided brake lines. Hel as always.

Lastly, for fluid I went for some Motul Dot 3 & 4.

Before we get into this, these are such smol boi’s its halarious.

Alrighty, in the air we go, wheels off.

The rotors seem to be original, they are thick with rust and have multiple cracks surrounding them.

Main part of the brake caliper could now be popped off.

Then the holders could come off.

Brake lines could then come off, also something that scares me, but flare nut spanners and a shitonne of WD40 help the anxiety.

With everything removed, I needed to prep the brakes. The hardware got a light coating of copper anti-seize

Lines went on the caliper side first as it’ll be a little easier routing it.

Quickly through the disks side by side, the size difference is hilarious.

Not to mention that fact we’re going from solid to vented.

Same deal with the factory calipers.

Anyway, back to it.

Mounting brackets could then be fitted.

Pads then went in.

Main part of the caliper could then go on.

Front lines in.

Always a pleasure working with satins clips.

Despite the fact I’m leaving the rear drums alone, for now, I still wanted to do the rear lines.

Nice difference.

Finally, everything is in. Before it can be dropped though we gotta bleed the system.

Far as I know, its never been done, and boy oh boy was it yuck.

Wheels could then go back on, got lucky with clearance that’s for sure!

Got a few outside too, so happy.


Love your photos mate!!

About time for that k3 right? :wink::thinking:

Thanks for that mate, I wouldn’t be able to work on the car without my camera these days haha.

Look I’ve thought about it many times but I love that the car is a triple, so while more expensive I’ll be staying EJ and going turbo hopefully sometime in the new year.


I had that mindset too, and then I drove a K3VE powered L700. An EJDE of the same power level has a terrible power curve.
Ask some that have done the swap on whether they have regrets.


I loved mine, bang for buck its the best reliable power upgrade you can get!


After owning a M100 Sirion and a M101 Sirion GTVi, for city driving I would take the EJ-DE, the k3ve2 is only really good in the hills but I would still prefer the EJ

I would rather drive on limit of a smaller engine then hold back on a more powerful engine.


November 2019: With the brakes completely overpowering the tyres, which I knew would happen, it was rubber to be on the list next.

Being extremely limited on size options I ended up going with some Nankang NS2-R 165/55R14’s. I wanted the 180’s but they could only get 120 treadwear. Keen to see how long they last.


Big difference in width and sidewall.

They fit good and look pretty tough on the car.

The rear looks great but as the factory suspension is soft it rubbed really bad on any bump.

Luck would have it a friend was parting his Gino after an unfortunate event in traffic. Due to this, there was a set of ZerOne SSR coilovers with custom pillowball camber mounts up for grabs.

Up it went to chuck in.

Old stuff came out pretty easy.

Before and after of the front.

We had to ever so slightly notch the strut mount to get the camber tops to fit correctly.

Rear then went it.

Before we finished up for the night I chucked in a new front engine mount we noticed was completely rooted from when we did the manual conversion.


New one is nice and fresh.

Out with the old, in with the new.

We got a couple of pics of the crew that evening too.


Hi James, awesome build to review.

I have a 2001 DAIHATSU L700S and after a recent service at my local mechanic to have the rocker cover gasket replaced and to isolate a tapping/vibration in the steering (it was bubble in the rear Tyre so they were both replaced and swapped to front) they advised the suspension is worn and should be replaced.

They quoted around $790-990 to do the work but I know they are going to just throw in a standard kit. I note you got your hands on the ZerOne SSR(550?) coilover suspension kit. I think I have found that same kit on ebay for $825AU from Malaysia and I have asked for a quote for the mechanic to fit the kit. If it is $400-500 for the work I am keen to consider that. Do you recommend the kit? Is $825AU a good price point for it:

Car is only used for daily driving but if I can get a performance suspension kit for $200-300 more than a standard kit I would much prefer that.

If you do advise it would there be any tips for the set-up I should advise the mechanic or I can do myself?

In my experience the Zerone is not a performance product. It is a product for slamming the car down low and being about to stand back and admire how low it is, as opposed to making the car drive better. BC Racing is probably the only off the shelf performance option.

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I think they are a decent option, it made a massive difference to body roll and cornering in my car. I never really drove the car on completely stock suspension but I did have lowering springs on the car, it was extremely bouncy. Personally I’ve actually found it to be more comfortable then it was, even on full hard on the front. BC likely is a better option, as they’re easy to get and easy to contact if you ever have an issue but they are another 3-400 more. Neither come with camber tops which is annoying.

You’ll certainly save a good bit of cash putting them in yourself.

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It doesn’t look that complicated either with the right gear.

Aren’t they pictured here on the units?