Newbie bought an L500 Mira

Hi Everyone,

On a whim I went out and purchased a very stock Daihatsu Mira to get me to the shop 1km away and occasionally to work which is 3km away.

As I mentioned the car is very stock apart from a JVC head unit and some 6x9s on the parcel shelf. It’s a Feb 1995 build and the VIN is L500xxxxxxxxx (I’ll update it once I check the rest of the numbers if it helps)

I’m looking to find out as much as I can about my specific model before dropping around $1000 to improve things where I can.

The major issues currently are:

  1. Major wheel bearing noise and play
  2. Alignment is out
  3. Dives right under heavy breaking
  4. Tyres are 7+ years old

I’ve been reading on this forum some common mods to L700s and I’m wondering if they’re going to work on my car. For example, it has been mentioned that Copen brakes can bolt on. I would like to know if this is possible with the L500 or more specifically whether I could use the entire hub and thus fix my wheel bearing (and brake pull) issue at the same time as upgrading the brakes on.

I understand I will need bigger wheels for bigger brakes. It might actually help me get new tyres. The Copen wheels are 4.5Jx15 ET45 which, from what I can tell should work well with 155/50 tyres and given an OD of +1%.

Either way I’m replacing the Rack ends and Tyre rod ends for good measure while its up in the air. I’m trying to source sway bar bushes and any other rubber that will likely be worn out. Currently I cannot find any new rubber. Does anyone know if L700 parts or Charade Centro will fit? Any help on other cars that share same part numbers could be very useful.

Either way hopefully someone’s got some interesting input/advice/links for me to read and learn more.

So far I’m having a great time squeezing in to tight spaces and driving this tiny lightweight thing thats all over the road. It’s exciting on the edge (even if that comes at <30kmh most days :smiley:)

Im also busy dropping the oil and cleaning out the engine bay from years of neglect. Basically I’ve changed all fluids, plugs, leads air filter ect and generally washed it down. Its runs perfect except for cold starts where it seems to stuggle to clear shit (oil?) from the top of the motor, blows a bit of blue smoke and then idles perfectly afterwards.

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Hi mate welcome,

If you want to do a lot of modifications and/or spend a lot of money on modifications then can use l700 parts but in all honesty if you are keeping the car for a daily driver and just a general get around car then dont bother.
The main reason is the wheel stud pattern (pcd) of the L500 is 4x110mm as opposed to the l700 and copen and sirion which is 4x100. To change it you would also have to change shocks, lower control arms and then the issue of drive shafts which require custom or jackshaft combos which can be costly or hard to find.
I think your best option is to get what needs to be fixed done.
I think if you really must upgrade brakes then L601 Daihatsu Move brakes are the easiest up grade for you. You would have to get wheels also as I don’t think the 12’s will fit anymore, but all the move stuff will bolt on (hubs etc)
As for charade centro being an option it is totally an option as it is also an L500 mira, I believe most are powered with a twin cam 660cc ef gl engine as opposed to the L500 you probably have which at a guess will be the single cam 660cc efel engine. which is the more common of the 2 as they are found in the L200 mira’s. also.

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Seven year old tires can be all the reason something drives like a dog.

$1000 won’t get you far unless you can do a lot of work yourself. Read up on some builds here. Use the search function and you’ll find all your answers - everything you are wondering about has been covered.

Please do add some pictures. As you questions get even more specific it will be easier for us to answer. Prioritise what is important to you. I want performance, other want a slammed look and some want everything (for those with deep pockets). Looking forward to seeing images - latter you’ll be pleased you had before photos.

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Hi, thank you!

Thanks for the reply it contained lots of useful information and confirmation for me. Most signifiant was the PCD difference. I had previously looked this up but got my facts wrong and thought my car was 4x100. That rules out a lot of things I was considering.

I intend to keep the car as a daily but you never know what the future holds. I’ve got enough income to through stuff at it when and if I choose. I want my daily to be a 660kg go kart :smiley: I dont need the comfort and would like the handling to be raw and direct. Starting to see how this might be fairly hard to achieve. That said, I would be prepared to add coilovers at a later stage if I can replace all the rubber in the front end and upgrade the sway bar or add a brace in there. Without the rigidity I’m not sure the coilovers would be worth the money.

I was looking around for a Move to steal the front hubs from but theres nothing online as of right now. How sure are you that this part will fit? Do you have any idea if the brakes are actually larger? Would the brakes work with the L500 hubs?

As for now I’m trying to fix the wheel bearings I just dont want to spend the money on the labour for that alone. While its on the hoist I want to change as much rubber as I can and minimise the movement and wear in the stock set up.

I agree the tyres are not helping but before I change them I need to know what size rim I intend to keep as the tyres are fairly rare and therefore not cheap.

I doubt that the tyre are the only reason its pull so hard under braking. It will pull against the camber of the road and always goes right. I would have thought the bad tyres would be choosing a different direction all the time rather than being so consistent?

$1000 is just a starting point… I’ll spend more if I need to. Seem my previously reply where I explain what I want from this car. It’s a daily that I want to be able to through in to corners with confidence. I’m happy to change any part but I can’t see me doing anything custom. I desperately need to source and replace the rubbers in the front first and the tyres second.

I’ll add some pics for you guys later tonight if I remember

One tire can have a car pull and do so consistently. It can be a mismatch of tire integrity between left and right or the wall in a tire failing. But yes I get you are looking at rim/tire combos. With all my experience (have done 12, 13, 14 and 15 inch in many combinations) I would consider the optimal to be 13" x 6" rims in about plus 32 offset. 15" may look cool but the limited tire options and small tread widths (I run 195 but damn big job to fit in). There are limited 14" options. When I went to 15 x 7 there was only lone decent 13" tire available. Now there are a few really good options in semi slicks. M100 front brakes are optimal and well paired with Appluase rear discs (use orig master cyl) - these fit under most 13s. With the Copen some 14"s might fit or else 15’s but you only get to run 165 wide (looks at the expense of performance).

My humble opinion is that the best first upgrade is L700 control arms, struts (I like to cut the spring seats off the mira struts and weld them on the M100 struts at a height so the tire just clears - use the Mira coils with perhaps 1/2 to one coil removed) M100 hubs/brakes/outer cv and M100 drums/wheel cyl (the inner Mira bearing gets switched with the M100 ones - don’t leave the little tubes out as they let the bearings crush together). The second upgrade is springs - DO NOT CHANGE THE FRONT RATE [nearly every single coil over available that people fit into these are way way to stiff] - they are as stiff as needed (okay removing a coil or two does increase the rate). Essentially the front needs to be soft for traction. Going hard in the front will make it ride like a dog (they all ride like dogs - but a uncomfortable dog), increase wheel spin and make it understeer. So the other part of this is fitting stiff rear springs - in the range of 400-450ft/lb. You could go custom springs or do custom mounts and fit a 2.5 or 2.25" coil over type spring. Koni rear shocks/dampers from a Hyundai Excel fit and set to 3/4 or full firm will greatly improve the handling (note they are shorter than std and this is a good thing). Getting a Koni strut in the front would be a good thing too but requires fab work.

Hey man thanks for the reply.

I’ve had my mechanic tackle the major issues and managed to find some Hankook Optimo tyres which makes me happy. Settled for a slightly larger size to end up with a brand name rather than nasty looking chinese tyre (165/70/12). It increased the od by 5.8% but hasnt made any difference to the feel of the car. Im guessing because its actually decreased the rolling resistance at the same time as changing the gearing. It also will rub on absolute full lock but thats not a big deal.

Managed to source and replace

  • Rack Ends
  • Tyre Rod Ends
  • D rubber for stabliser
  • Link rubber for stabliser
  • Both front wheel bearings

I purchased a superpro top strut mount bush which appears to be the correct part however I could not work out how to get the strut top apart in order to fit it.

Unfortunately the front struts are completely gone. And I need to fix this ASAP.

In Japan and Malaysia there are all kinds of bits that can be bought but none seem to fit the L500 since it was mainly an export model.

At this stage im considering Lowered King Springs with KYB struts in the front just to get it right. Thats mainly because I cannot be sure whether L200 coilovers or even better L700 coilovers would work. Do you know of any other struts or coilovers that would fit that might be labels as being for a different model?

Hoping for thoughts on the use of the kingspring. Given that they’re 30mm lower I suspect there would be a better strut to use and since I need new top mounts I wondering if anyone knows of a good bolt on solution.

This is from their catalog:
4/1992 - 2/1995
Lowered Coil Front KDFL-81 $C

L200 and L700 have diff distance between bolt holes.

The strut tops come apart by drilling the spot welds. Pic please to show what your problem with them would be?

The Kingsprings will lower it. However, I would question them about rate, which I am sure is increased. Any increase is the front is undesirable, whereas you want double the rate for the rear. Trust me on this. A stiffer front will make it understeer like a dog. The rear need to be about a 400lb/ft spring. Front should be about 125lb/ft. Note that the front spring rocker ratio is close to one to one than the rear. At a guess actual rate a the tire ends up about double in the back compared to the front. As a front wheel drive you have to get traction in the front (this includes cornering) and when the front is soft the wheels follow the ground while the back should be transferring weight to the front (stiff does this). Use Hyundai Excel rear shocks too. They are shorter and will help with the weight transfer. Okay, this has been repetition of my last post. Have fun.

My mechanic actually did mention he could get them apart but didnt want to spend the time I think. He’s just a local guy doing me a favour more than having any real interest in the car. I unfortunately have no where I can work on it myself.

I’ve since phone pedders where I will get the rest of the work done. When I spoke with them they seemed quite comfortable with making me some coilover if required so I’m sure getting the new rubber in the mounts wont be an issue.

I take your point on the front needing some softness in it and I’m trying to achieve it. The issue is how exactly. The king springs are easy to buy and bolt on part, however I cannot find rates listed anywhere. I could also go for the stand height king spring. My understand of king spring was the rates matched factory unless you went to heavy duty or sports but thats heresy I have no proof or nothing to prove it.

I’m going to email king springs and ask for the rate specification.

For the back its the same issue. I can either get lowered or stock height king springs easily. I can also get the stock dampers easy. I would love to put in koni but that dont make it for the daihatsu. Can you tell me which year excel shock you think fits? Also is it direct bolt on? Any idea how much shorter they are?

To get an idea on rate use an online calc like this

You need spring diameter, wire diameter, free length and number of coils.

Do email or call Kings, they will let you know the rate. Not sure on the year of the Excel. About 50-60mm shorter in extended length. Compressed they are more than short enough no matter how low you go. I would go and check the exact part number but the I have sold the only set I had to Col Adams. I use something completely diff. The rears touch slightly on the top bracket/mount and a knock or two with a hammer corrects it. Otherwise, yes, straight bolt in.

For front coil overs you could check with these guys

they are okay but the supplied springs are way to stiff. All other Malaysian stuff I would avoid like the plague. Do let us know how you go? All the best with things.

Thanks again for the very helpful reply!

I’ve had a response from King Springs but I am waiting to hear the options from BC racing.

The spring rates for the 30mm lower king springs are:
KDFL-81 (140lb/inch) (Front)
KDRL-82 (260lb/inch) (Rear)

The spring rates for the standard height king spring are:
KDFS-81 (125lb/inch) (Front)
KDRS-82 (230 - 300 lb/inch) (Progressive rate Rear)

What are your thoughts on this? I would rather lower but that is because I perceive that the body roll would be minimised as well as more lateral stability in the upright itself.

To me, 140lb does not seem like a huge increase. If anything it seems that the backs are not firm enough (based on your thoughts).

Its very tempting at this stage to get the kingsprings all round and to add stock struts up front and koni excel rear dampers since this will be a huge improvement. Although I am hopeful BCracing come back with something suitable too.

140lb should be okay. What price did you get on the rears? I can check on a price for some 400lb rear and see if Kings will drop ship to you.

I didn’t ask for a price. I just thought I would search the part number online and go with the cheapest I could find.

BC said they have nothing for the L500 but I’ve asked them to checked for L200 listings since L500 never existed in Malaysia.

I would appreciate a quote for the rears or a point in the right direct to find something stiffer as you recommend. Cheers

It was mentioned on the phone that it would be possible to select from this product line

I’m not sure what other specs I need for the rear other than the 400lb however. It’s looking more and more likely that I will be matching them with the 30mm lower 140lb fronts and standard struts.

I’ve also worked out how to replace the bush in the strut mount so that solves my immediate problem of clunking when driving.

Some more reading for you. :slight_smile:

A short shock won’t “bounce”. A poor quality one will since it can’t damp the spring osclation. A stiff spring needs firm damping and with little weight the ride quality will always be poor.

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Thank you, the year of the excel was mentioned in your video which is helpful to me.

Currently I am at:

  • Stock front struts
  • Replace the top rubber with superpro
  • Use Lowered front spring
  • Use lowered rear king spring
  • Use excel series 2 damper

What I want:

  • Slightly higher rebound damper in the front (will ask pedders if they can fit an insert instead of buying new stock struts)
  • Same height but firmer rear spring (again I will ask pedders but potentially also get kingsprings to identify a part number from the pro sport range)

Unfortunately even with measurements in the post I was unable to find a 400lb rear spring that would match the ride height of the lowered front king spring at 140lb

$330 would get you a full custom rear spring in rate and height from Kings. Local guys that sell Kings should be able to do you the same price. Pretty much ends up the same as the one with the part number for lowered but with a diff thickness wire or wound with less coils. Something they would figure for you and do easily. The extra cost is for labour to set up and run something outside of a gumby punching in a part number to make a common listing of theirs.

I should have asked where you are located?


$330 is fine for that.

I’m located central Sydney. Not sure the best place to order from? Only place I saw listed was from king spring website which was QLD i believe.

Given that I’m going for 140lb front and stock structs (and I’m just guessing) what is the best rate for the rear with hyundai dampers? I was thinking around 440lb.

Also what are your thoughts on the stock strut? Would getting a larger/shorter/better damper fitted by pedders be worth the fuss and extra money?

Pedders are taking a lot of time to get back to me. Thinking they will also charge me more per hour labour

If there is not going to be a huge difference I’m thinking just get the KYB stock struts for the front as I can get them cheap enough on ebay.

Also to save money maybe just go the KYB Excel on the rear? Or do you think it’s worth trying to find Koni? Again KYB is easy to buy online now, Koni a little bit harder and I assume more expensive. I feel like the shorter and larger excel shock will be a big diff even without going to something like Koni but maybe im wrong