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freddyzdead 09-06-2017 07:58 AM

Hi from Down Under
Hi guys
I came here because I just bought some 500F capacitors on ebay, and this is the first time I've seriously thought about replacing the battery with capacitors. Mainly because ones this size or bigger would equal quite a few Pb batteries in cost, so the economics didn't make sense. So, via Google, I found myself in the replace-your-car-battery-capacitors forum. Very interesting. Anyway, my car is a Daihatsu Copen, which is not a car that any sort of conventional motorist would buy. It is very small, very nimble, very quick and tons of fun to drive. The engine is a whopping 659cc, 4-cylinder, but it has a turbo, which makes all the difference. The roof folds in half and disappears into the boot (trunk) at the touch of a button. The only drawback to that is, there goes all the storage space. There are only 2 seats, and there is no space behind them. This car is very cramped and somewhat claustrophobic inside with the roof up, so I have it down whenever I can. Fortunately, we have nice weather most of the year here in Australia, so there's only about 3 months when I mostly have the roof up. But even in the middle of winter, there are days quite suited for open motoring. Kind of like California. This car is a grown man's toy, no doubt about it; and it needs more and better servicing than normal cars do, especially as regards oil changes, because the turbo is delicate and needs a nice clean oil supply to keep it humming away. The battery is about as small as car batteries get; when I first got it, I tried fitting one of the 40Ah AGM deep-cycle batteries I've got spare, not doing anything much, might as well use one. But there is no space. I couldn't close the bonnet (hood), the battery was just too big. I don't know how old the existing battery is, I just bought this car in January of this year. I would add that I flew all the way up to Townsville, Queesland to get it, and drove it back 2000 kilometres to where I live, just north of Sydney. No time to get acquainted, just got in and drove. Learned quite a lot of things on that trip.

So, here I am, at the foot of the learning curve, where I've been many times before. Google landed me here in the forum, and I was sufficiently absorbed that I joined up, so I could participate. I will do that soon, because I have bought some capacitors on ebay, and I will be absorbing all the experience from the forum, and probably adding mine to it.

Fuel economy isn't much of an issue with this car; I've never measured it, but it goes 400km on a tankful, which is 30 litres. I don't know how that translates into MPG, but I think it's pretty economical. It's actually a member of the Kei car class in Japan, where the government specifies the maximum size, weight, engine size, and whatnot, and the owner gets the benefit of exemption from some taxes and special parking privileges. None of that applies here, of course, but it sure does turn a lot of heads. The maximum engine size for a Kei car is 660cc, which is why Daihatsu added the turbo, it would have been pretty pokey without it. Although it's a 2003 model, it has a lot of features that are only now becoming mainstream, like ABS. There is no spare wheel, something I didn't realise until I got it home; the reason for this is simple - there isn't anywhere to put one. Instead, they provide a bottle of sealant stuff and an electric compressor.

My background is in Medical Electronics; that was a fortunate career choice for me, as it requires you to be able to do just about anything at one time or another, and that suited my talents and temperament just fine. I'm retired now, and I have adopted this little car as my pet, seems like. I've named it Buzz. I've not yet found any reason why I shouldn't have bought it; actually, I still think up reasons to go somewhere so I can get in it and drive. I feel like a kid with his first car. I remember what that was like.

I think I'm not the only Aussie here, so it'll be fun digging through the other forums. I'm sure there'll be lots to see and talk about. See you later.

JockoT 09-06-2017 08:43 AM

Welcome. We see quite a few Copen here but they are usually the 1.3 Litre version, which surprisingly, is supposedly better for economy. They changed the engine here about 2007.
Looking forward to seeing how your project goes.

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 09-06-2017 12:22 PM

So you use it basically like some sort of 4-wheel motorcycle...

BTW I always thought the export versions of the Copen had always been fitted with the 1.3L naturally-aspirated engine. Or is it a JDM import?

freddyzdead 09-06-2017 06:01 PM

Ha Ha, 4-wheel motorcycle, indeed. Not really, but there are some similarities. With the 1.3 engine, it no longer qualifies as a Kei car. I never heard of a naturally aspirated version, that's a new one on me. Copens stopped coming into this country in 2003, thanks to Toyota, who now owns Daihatsu outright. There are no more Daihatsu dealers in this country, sadly, so Copen owners have to become proficient at maintaining their vehicle themselves and chasing up spare parts, which can get frighteningly expensive. I bought an A/C compressor from AliExpress for $92 U.S. instead of the $AU650 they wanted for it here. I couldn't even find a new radiator for it over here; if there had been one, it would have cost around $400, so I ended up getting a custom made heavy-duty one from Japan for a fraction of that. It's beautifully hand-made from welded aluminium, not the plastic crap we're usually stuck with these days.

I'm intrigued by the whole idea of replacing the battery with a bank of capacitors; not long ago this would have been science-fiction. I'm looking at a LiFePo4 battery to go with it; trying to find out what kind of terminals it has. It's 7.6 Ah, $99 delivered. I've already got a small booster box which contains a ridiculously small battery that starts the car effortlessly. Yesterday I was looking at some sort of capacitor starting box at my local Aldi, but they want $170 for it, which seems a little steep to me. I wouldn't mind taking one apart to see what's inside it, though...

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 09-06-2017 07:08 PM


Originally Posted by freddyzdead (Post 549231)
With the 1.3 engine, it no longer qualifies as a Kei car. I never heard of a naturally aspirated version, that's a new one on me.

The 1.3L was always aspirated. Maybe a turbocharged one at that displacement wouldn't even fit inside its engine bay anyways...

BTW I didn't think Jap car parts were so expensive there in Australia

freddyzdead 09-06-2017 10:08 PM

Sorry, my mistake, I was thinking of carburetor version; but, no, there wasn't a turbo version of that one. I've never seen one, except in pictures, but it seems that, although the 1.3 engine has no turbo to go wrong, some of the spirit has gone out of it by so doing. The whole buzz of the Copen was to have produced such an amazing car while keeping within kei car rules. Turbo was the only answer.

Everything is expensive here. A modest house in Sydney will cost you a million dollars nowadays. There is no justification for this; prices of everything have just skyrocketed. Copen parts are expensive because they are so scarce. Less so for other Daihatsu models, but it's still a problem. My last car was a 2003 Daihatsu Sirion. I found it impossible to find any information about this car no matter how hard I looked. Later I found that it was known in Europe as the Daihatsu Storia, or Toyota Duet. Still difficult to find parts or info. I finally tracked down a workshop manual, but it was in Russian. Car before that was a Daihatsu Charade 1991. No problem with parts or info for that one, because Toyota hadn't meddled yet. It's hard to forgive Toyota for what they've done to Daihatsu. Probably the best maker of small cars on the planet, and they ruined it, just to keep the competition down.

puddleglum 09-08-2017 12:30 AM

Welcome to the forum. Lots of good info here. I really don't know how you folks afford to live in such expensive cities. Canada has its crazy expensive cities as well.
Really cute little car, I've never heard of it before. Probably never came to north america. Kind of disappointing mileage for such a small car, but I'm sure you could improve that substantially if you wanted to try. Interested to hear how your capacitor project turns out.

freddyzdead 09-08-2017 02:21 AM

Australia went metric in 1972. After all these years, I still can't extract any useful information out of a measurement of litres per 100 km. I have to convert it to miles per gallon, or even kilometres per litre before I can use it.

The odd thing about this car, and many other Daihatsus, as far as I can tell, is that although it has an OBDII connector under the dash, I have never found any reader that can communicate with it. Also, even though it has the usual MIL in the instrument cluster, it has never come on, except when the ignition is on with the motor stopped. There is a problem with the engine, which I first thought was a broken wire, because it would start missing and spluttering, and black smoke would be coming out the exhaust until I finally found that pulling on a bundle of wires in the main engine loom corrected it. And tying the wires to a fixed object seemed to cure it for awhile. But now I think it's a bad plug connection between the engine and the ECU, which is inside the passenger cabin behind the glove box. I don't have enough dexterity to find this plug, but in a desperate attempt to get to the bottom of the problem, I unwrapped about 8" of the bundle and pulled pretty hard on each individual wire. After that, there was no sign of the trouble for quite a long time. That's why I think it's a plug problem rather than a broken wire. But I think the engine is running at less than optimal tuning, and may be misfiring more often than I know about. And the Check Engine light has not lit up once since I've owned the car. So, it looks like Daihatsu has disabled the OBDII function in all Australian cars up until 2006, even though the same model has OBDII in other parts of the world. Why would they do that?

I will look through the forums here and see if there's any threads dealing with OBDII. Seems like there ought to be. Not such an easy topic to find good info on.

BLSTIC 09-08-2017 02:59 AM

Litres per 100km is the ONLY measurement. You know how far you drive regularly, this number tells you how much fuel you will use per trip/week. The km/l or mpg is only directly usable as a range calculation. Admittedly in Australia (hi from Cairns btw) single tank range is actually a concern...

But now that I've got my trigger over and done with...

You *should* be getting much better mileage than that. My Suzuki Mighty Boy got 6l/100km (350-400km from the 20L tank) and my 2013 Swift got 6.5 or so. Your car is the combination of the lightweight small engine mighty boy and the much more modern swift, so you should be using far less fuel than what you actually use.

If your car has OBDII plugs but not OBDII function it's the same as EF Falcons, you need specific programs to do it properly. But if you can find a Daihatsu reader and choose a similar vehicle (same engine family and year, but probably any 3-pot daihatsu from around 2000 will do) it should work. That's how I read my JDM VTEC Honda Prelude codes when I was in NZ, with ADM Civic communication stuff.

cRiPpLe_rOoStEr 09-08-2017 05:00 AM

Brazilian expats in Japan usually complain about the turbocharged Kei cars in general being quite too thirstier compared to the naturally-aspirated ones.


Originally Posted by freddyzdead (Post 549375)
Australia went metric in 1972. After all these years, I still can't extract any useful information out of a measurement of litres per 100 km. I have to convert it to miles per gallon, or even kilometres per litre before I can use it.

I'm more familiarized with km/l measurements. When it comes to MPG, the Imperial and American gallons might lead it to become quite confusing.


So, it looks like Daihatsu has disabled the OBDII function in all Australian cars up until 2006, even though the same model has OBDII in other parts of the world. Why would they do that?
I don't know why, but Toyota still makes vehicles that are supposed to be compliant to OBD-II but are actually listed to not be compliant. They're stockpiled in Gibraltar and then shipped to NGOs and government agencies throughout the under-developed world. Surprisingly enough, even though OBD-II compliance started to be enforced in Europe when Euro-3 emission standards went into effect, here in Brazil the local equivalent to Euro-3 didn't call for that and there were even some mechanically-governed Diesels certified as conforming to Euro-3 standard. I don't know how Tatra managed to keep their mechanically-governed Diesels compliant to Euro-3 and if they provided some sort of OBD.

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