Newbie from the UK

So I’ve had a soft spot for Daihatsus for a very long time, initially fourtraks, but it quickly spread to Cuores, Miras, sirions and kei trucks. Sadly I never really had an excuse to buy one, until now.
The Mongol Rally is like a charity lemon event sort of thing, but much bigger. Its from London to Mongolia, which is roughly 10,000 miles (16000KM) and the only rule is that the engines, cars etc all have to be small and crap, so that participants get an adventure.
A couple of mates and I are keen to enter the 2024 rally (since 2023 is fully booked) and so that gives me a reason to finally go out and get myself a Daihatsu.
“Which one?” you might be asking, well thats simple. Kei trucks and vans are outside the budget and don’t have enough seats, the AWD sirion rally is too hard to find, and so its a choice of Cuore, Sirion or Charade, so Ive found a tidy L700 3 door (spitting image of the blue turd) and then I checked the payload, which blew my expectations! 525kg! For context, the very popular choice Fiat Panda 1.2 4x4 has a payload of 380kg, so its nearly an extra 150kg of payload. WIN! (For those who might be wondering how, its because the Cuore is so light. The GVM is 1250kg, nothing special, but because the car is only 725kg, it leaves a supprisingly generous payload)
So, I’ve found a car - Ill be going to look at it soon, but it is a relatively long way away from me. Its definately been owned by a keen enthusiast (he might even be here!) so is there anything I should look out for, beyond the obvious?
Modifications - I know its bad to look at mods before even seeing, let alone driving or owning the car, but lets be honest, its not going to make it without some mods. Obviously stuff like underbody protection is going to have to be custom made, and for wheels and tyres Ill get the smallest steel wheel that clears the brakes so that I can fit the chunkiest tyres, and Ill carry plenty of spares. I highly doubt theres a lift kit available, so I was planning on shoving a spacer on top of the front struts and disconnecting/removing the antirollbar(s). I might also install a light bar or spotlamps, depending on how strong the standard ones are.
My main concern is parts. I’ll be very supprised if nothing broke on the trip, and obviously I’ll be carrying spares. I’m keen to hear your suggestions as to wich spares, obviously belts, wheelbrearings, perhaps an alternator? Halfshafts? No harm in carrying spare brakepads given how small they are.
Engine - so the puny little 1.0L isn’t a great engine when the car is empty, but with 3 guys, tools, spares, fuel, water and camping equipment all loaded up, its not going to move. Also, as I understand it, it’s a relatively uncommon engine, especially where we’re going, so over-stressing it for tens of thousands of miles sounds like an exceptionally bad idea to me. Ive seen and read all about the sirion 1.3 engine swap, which involves swapping the whole K-frame assembly, including the front suspension, engine, gearbox, diff, steering rack, front brakes etc. Is this engine any easier to find if it breaks? Also, do I use the sirion radiator etc?
Differential - Ide be over the moon if theres an LSD available for the sirion or cuore diff. Is there? If so, where?
I’m planning on keeping the car after the rally, probably returning it to use as a daily, so if I could avoid chopping up the arches/wings etc that would be great. I shouldn’t need to, given the slight lift and either standard or tiny bit larger tyre size, but I might have to drill a hole in the wing to fit a snorkel, in which case Ill find a sacrificial wing for it. Where do the ECU, and all the other vital electronics sit? Ill be sure to make an attemt at either relacating or waterproofing them.
Really looking forward at finally getting one, and to the trip, and to getting to know some of you lot of course!


Welcome along, that sounds like an amazing adventure. A Guy I know through another forum did it in 2018 and it looked/sounded incredible.

His steed of choice was a Daihatsu Charade - full story here

What I will say though is that by the end the car was utterly, utterly broken. Like ‘only fit for scrap’ broken. Also, there is/was a bizarre rule where you can bring a car into Mongolia, but it MUST be removed within 30 days or you pay vast taxes. So you need to arrange to get it back out ASAP once the event is over, and bear in mind it will basically be a wreck by this point, so its a case of have it shipped home for ~£3000 or if you drive it, expect to have something thats doubly broken by the time you’re back, and also likely getting pulled for having a very very unroadworthy car at one/some/many points on the way home.

Don’t want to rain on your parade, definitely do it if you can because it looks like an incredible experience, but wanted to relay some info I’d seen from elsewhere about what to expect, damage wise!


Welcome, Sounds like a lot of fun to be had with the whole adventure.
The L700 has an ejde or maybe ejve where you are. Things to look out for is they tend to be smoky as the rings get gummed up. This is due to the holes in the pistons in the ring lands being too small from factory and the fact that people don’t service them when the should.
You can get an Lsd but pretty rare and not worth trying to find one or probably the money for what the intended purpose of the car is.
No idea on availability of the k3 over that way.
You wont be able to remove the anti- roll bar at the front (sway bar) they bolt into the LCA’s and help to keep the front wheels in place.
Keen to see where this all goes. :slight_smile:

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Thanks both! What a fantastic read, some useful tips in there as we were planning on a similar route. (Not Iran and not Ukraine, for obvious reasons)
Okay, so it looks like I need a copen ARB, as well as a spare bonnet, because I,ll be bolting two full sized spare wheels to it. I think I’ll also try and make/otherwise aquire some plastic rear side windows, so that its possible to give the poor bugger in the back some fresh air!
One of my mates has an uncle in Turkey, so I think the idea is that we change the tyres there, so that we havnt got to drive all across europe on rally-style tyres, which would then be bald when we actually needed them 8000 miles later!
When you said the car was dead/unroadworthy at the end, what were the issues? Surely its just a case of changing the shocks/bushes etc? Or had the shell actually started to crack/come apart? I’ve said that I’ll buy the car, so that I can keep it at the end, but if it’s going to be scrap, then I can’t really be bothered to do all the work etc putting the K3VE engine in it. I’m going to leave the original wings and bonnet at home, and use the spares to chop up for the rally.
Is there anything specifically to look out for on these, beyond the usual?

Quick update.
Bought the car, drove it 5 hours home without issue. Also organised some sacrificial front end pannels and interior bits. Anything else I should get from a breaker because it won’t survive the rally and new ones don’t exist?
Obligatory picture included.


There might be a Cusco LSD that fits your original box. Do some searches.

If I do a K3VE2 swap from a sirion, I’ll have a different gearbox. Unless theres a more powerful engine I can use on the standard gearbox?