K3ve2 turbo

Has anyone boosted a stock internal k3ve2? Obviously you can’t run a ton of boost due to high compression but because of compression being so high won’t you have a quick spooling and nippy car? Please share your thoughts and experiences

Factory compression is 11:1, you’ll need a damn good ecu and an intercooler and e85 fuel to help with the high compression

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As Dale said e85 is your friend. A good closed loop ecu with knock detection. Quick spool is a matter of sizing the turbo right or running anti lag.

So I won’t be able to safely run a Unichip with the Unichip Turbo module?

Is ethanol the only option or can methanol injection work as well?

T3/t4 turbo?

I would only run an ecu with closed-loop O2. If the unichip is a piggyback don’t. Methanol has more BTUs of energy, however, e85 is suppose to be 85%. Would your methanol injection be near that? I am not sure what your end goals are so hard to know how to help steer things. Are you looking at drag racing? For track or hillclimb you won’t gain much going for big power over driveablity and better to have a huge focus on handling, steering and a Cusco LSD. For a road car keep it so it pulls off idle, and for that I’d go with a small variable pitch turbo like a RHV4-VJ38 from a Mazda WEAT diesel or similar (I’ve just ported one and put a billet inducer on, pretty good little thing on small capacity if you can get vacuum control of it - more modern full electric ones are to be avoided so says the guy that does my balancing).
Having said all that, if I wanted big power I’d port the head, do the combustion chambers and forged pistons (not Malaysian - I looked at doing this with GSX600 pistons). A ported head will make a little more power on boost (and if the only change is the porting you get this power with a boost reduction, dyno proven), the porting will help with off boost power too, a tidy combustion area will reduce the chance of detenation and you can run timing closer to tdc as opposed to the retardation that is otherwise needed, forged piston for reliability.

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“Anything” is possible, it’s just what trade-offs you want to make.

Turbo a high compression is fine - just limit the boost you run.
Want to run more boost - you need to reduce the possibility of detonation, so yes a reduction in compression is the simplest and often employed from factory, such as the K3VET having a lower compression.

The others, as stated, the other way is to change the fuel. So yes;

  • E85 (as fuel)
  • Methanol (as fuel)
  • Methanol Injection (into air intake)
  • Water Injection (or Water+Meth)
    Will all reduce the possibility of detonation and therefore allow more boost with the high compression.

To what point you can safely increase the boost will be a factor of ‘control’ of the engine via the ECU - so it’s unlikely that the Unichip* would provide the control and failsafes required to do it safely / properly.
*I presume this is some form of piggyback module? Or is it a full ECU?

IE if you run Water/Meth injection, what happens if the line blocks or the tank runs out, can the ecu revert to a safe low boost (protection / limp home) mode?
If you’re running E85, do you have a flex fuel sensor in there, to in real-time know the Ethanol content and modify the engine map/tune if/when the ethanol content changes (ie between tanks/servos etc).

Ensure proper fueling and capacity for extra fueling to keep things ‘rich’ as a budget anti-detonation method. IE modify to a return fuel system, larger injectors etc, additional of fuel filters to ensure injectors don’t get clogged.

Perhaps look into Water-to-air intercoolers instead of air-to-air. To try to keep a consistent air intake temp to reduce the range of intake temps the ECU has to manage. (You’ll note a lot of modern vehicles are WTA). This will be more complicated than a simple air-to-air setup though.

Part of this will all be risk-mitigation vs what you want the setup to do.
Go to the effort of slapping a turbo on and run 1psi boost - congrats you have a “turbo K3VE2” but with worse power to weight ratio than the N/A you started with but I doubt that is your goal :smiley:
Slap a turbo on and route the intake through an ice-bath / CO2 sparge on the intercooler, run 30psi on methanol and grenade the engine across the line doing a 10 second pass…i doubt that’s your goal either.

The “basic” formula:

  • All associated turbo components
  • All associated fuel components to run E85
  • Proper aftermarket ECU and a good tuner
  • Realistic expectations of the Power you want and the Boost level you expect to run.

Then you’ll have a solid turbo K3VE2…and soon after you’ll have Compact Motorsport replying “do we have the gearbox for you!”


Even if you make the engine bulletproof. The gearbox will probably ruin the party.


The end goal is to have a reliable daily with 130kw on wheels, I’m not chasing insane power, lap times or strip times.

I know that there’s a Daihatsu Materia 1.5 Manual and there was a Ltd edition available for South Africa which was turbo. Will that gearbox not be able to used instead of the K3ve box?

If you have seen the skid factory and watched the vid’s from the daihatsu L251 that they put the k3vet into. The guy that owns it now is frequently on the facebook group and all I have ever seen him do is break gearbox’s. If you want straight cut gear’'s for a gearbox that won’t are way less likely to not break than compact motor sports is where to look but they are not cheap. Also @Motherhatsu has LSP which is her turbo L700 with a turbo k3 onboard and I know she has broken a few gearbox’s also but also spent a lot of money in her build and probably more than most daihatsu people would really like to spend. (not just most).

Coincidently the guy that owns the L252 from the skid factory has just put it up forsale today.
Due to the facebook group rules he called it at 15k whether he gets that or not is another matter.
You can go the route of getting a k3vet half cut imported and and go that route and keep it stock turbo as I know Motherhatsu has another l700 with the stock k3vet in it and I don’t think it has had many problems.

You could save a lot of money and just get some rally cams with it N/A and have it more reliable. I believe once again compact motorsports now have them.

You know the old saying goes you can have fast, reliable and cheap. However you can only pick 2.
Though you want it for a daily I would guess reliable would be one of those picks.

I personally have a yrv daily that was a $200 car and has just been re-regoed for another year. It chews oil like many k3’s and ej’s do but it is reliable. Besides oil and some trying to fix the oil issue with atf and upper cylinder clean’s the only things I have had to get for the car was ac regas, rear wiper, few bulbs and I fixed the radiator when it exploded on me due to being brittle but that cost nothing as I had a spare top tank in my spares pile. Obviously I chose cheap and reliable and it still does 100k’s plus on highway no drama. oh and I bought some $150 wheels for it for the tread lol

Well even the stock 4 gear automatic from the yrv turbo doesn’t last much longer than 200.000 kilometers (been there, done that). My dream build is the m300 4x4 with the k3vet but until I find a solution for the gearbox, that build will be postponed. I’m just not willing to put that much money in a Daihatsu since there are allot of fun cars for the same price that will be just as much fun but more reliable. Shame really.

Isn’t there a Toyota gearbox that fits? Not even with a adapter plate? 110nm of torque isn’t that much so i simply can’t understand why the gearboxes of Daihatsu’s fail so quickly. The K3VE2 almost makes the same amount of torque but that gearbox holds on just fine (don’t quote me on that). Has it something to do with the turbo that you ‘instantly’ go from 70 to 110nm at 3000 rpm? If so maybe the solution would be as simple to let the boost build more gentle.

I think that if you turbo a K3-VE2 you’ll be swapping gearboxes more often than swapping spark plugs…

I just want choo choo noises :cry:

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Stick with NA. A street car needs to go from idle. Have the head ported, light flywheel, spend your money on a cusco LSD, some BC racing suspension (stick with the factory front spring rate and at least double or triple the rear rate and it will feel excellent {increase the front rate if you want less traction and understeer}). As a daily car the worst thing I find in a Dai is the near on four turns lock to lock of steering. The things that transformed the enjoyment of mine most was in this order of most important to least important: spring rate and damping correct; std driver’s seat getting heavily bolstered; correct driving position with lower steering wheel and wheel set back 120mm; LSD; 1.5 lock to lock steering; bigger front discs and rear discks, semi-slicks; torque; power; more torque; more torque, more torque, more power, more torque…

Big power is good for drag racing and boasting. Torque wins races. A road car just needs to be a joy to drive. You should want to get in and savor the experience. A car with power on the road will just get you into trouble. When mine was 660cc and slow, you had to race it everywhere just to keep up with traffic. It took much thought to keep any pace. Once you do have power/torque, it is pointless unless a road car goes in every gear without changing. A quick 30ft time is more important than a 1/4mile trap speed.

As TPG said with e85 you want a flexfuel unit. Have you seen inside an engine that runs E85, it is a black mess. You’d need to fill up more often. Are there a lot of E85 stations in the places you go. I’ve only had a brief experience of e85 in a road car, and you drive everywhere with two 20l jerry cans. I am looking at going e85 in my street rego race car, but it is an occasional use road car and I’ve been trailering it to events.


How did you quicken up the steering?

There are a few ways. I don’t want to come across as rude, however, I am inclined not to disclose this info. It is a lot of work. The modifications are to steering. I do not know your capability. I do not want to endanger you or other road users. The conversion I did myself also cost me thousands to figure it out. It took buying many racks, much machining and fabrication. If you had the skill and ability a used rack non-power steer from the Japanese rwd car I got it from is about $350. Then add the quaife quick internals. Change the rack ends over from original. Depending on what Dai it goes in depends on whether the rack needs to be shortened or washers added to lenghten (measure the distance between lower control arm pivots and get the rack end pivot centers the same. Mounting the rack housing requires either machining the item to use the Dai parts or fabing up new brackets (I recommend the latter). Make this adjustable for height so you can move the rack up and down a bit to dial out bumps steer. Plus a few other bits and it heads over a grand in Australian dollars. The spline from the Dai does not match the rack spline. A hybrid universal needs to be made from half of a Dai and half of the one from the donor. I did not cut and weld anything as it was for a street car and such would have been illegal. I have shared with a few members here who I have asked not to make public what to do. Each have applied it to their rally cars and were able to do their own fabrication. From what I have said you might be able to figure out what the donor car is. I’ve given four hints. Using the std internals gets you about 2.5 lock to lock. The quick rack internals are less than two turns.


Thanks for the detailed reply and not at all rude.

Some trade secrets should be just that.

I know dai fans can be a bunch of cheapskates sometimes but have you considered selling a kit?

Sadly the fabrication skills required are beyond my capabilities but I love the ingenuity all the same :v:t3:


A kit really would need fitting. $1500-2000 would not break even. People would rather spend on “looks” and “image”. Not sure how many would appreciate the difference it makes. Fore example, how many people want a Ferrari for the way it looks and for the statement it makes about their image as opposed to how it drives and feels to drive?