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fishboy

A tiny off roading Daihatsu? Opinions please!

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In pursuit of the ultimate super-efficient vehicle, I am trying to work out whether this fine beast of a machine could be made to handle a bit of off-roading from time to time. The kind of off-roading I’m talking about would be the occasional jaunt in the woods on dirt/mud/gravel sort of stuff.

2nroux3.jpg

 

Daihatsu Centro/Handivan - 3 cylinders / 660cc of unbridled muscle.

Now before you laugh and click out of this thread please hear me out! J

 

PROS:

- Super low fuel consumption at 5.5L per 100km (43MPG)

- Weight: a mere 640 kilograms (1400 lbs) curb weight.

 

CONS:

- It lacks 4 wheel drive (it is front wheel drive)

- It’s ground clearance is not great

 

So I was thinking, maybe I could get away with the odd bit of off-roading despite it only being front wheel-drive. I could fit some grippy tyres to it (or perhaps some snow chains or something) to improve the traction. I expect I’ll still get bogged fairly frequently but no matter – I could also fit a small (hand?) winch to the front, or even carry a rope + block and tackle in the trunk....being so light-weight it would be super easy to pull out and resume driving.

Maybe I could even raise up the ground clearance a little (do you think such a thing might be possible on this sort of car?)

 

I mean, I know normally many would be inclined to say “nah mate...you need a 4WD”, but I was thinking this thing is so tiny and light perhaps you could view it more like you would a motorbike than a typical big old 2WD car...

 

Thoughts??

 

3bhw4.jpg

30bpuvk.jpg

Edited by fishboy

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yeah, a 'come-along' winch could pull that thing outta almost any trouble.

 

comealong.jpg

 

 

I'd think you'd want a lot bigger tires - which means gearing is gonna be a problem, maybe a different gearset in the transmission?

 

could be a fun project.

 

 

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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You'll see many "Kei Cars" in my Country (Honduras) Such like that Daihatsu,

 

which was sold here as Daihatsu "Mira", also came in Pick up Shape:

 

DaihatsuMirapickup1.jpg

 

 

DaihatsuMirapickup2.jpg

 

 

Daihatsu also sold here the more Luxury Daihatsu "Cuore",

 

and the Bigger Daihatsu "Sirion" / Subaru Justy

 

(there are much more kei cars from other many Brands)

 

but no one came 4WD in that size...

 

except certain Subarus, like the Subaru Rex / Sherpa

 

or the Micro buses / pickups Subaru Sambar / Domingo.

 

So, if you want to go offroad with that small bodied car, you must Lift it,

 

in order to let bigger tires get in. Also you will use more the First and Second Gear.

 

I've seen Lifted for Off-Road other three Cyl. cars, such like the Subaru Justy...

 

 

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...or the Suzuki Might Boy:

 

 

mightyboy.jpg

 

 

LiftedMightyboy.jpg

 

 

Good Luck with the Project!

 

Kind Regards.

Edited by Loyale 2.7 Turbo
Misspelled Word.

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Have looked into the Suzuki Sidekick (Vitara here) and other mini SUVs but I've got my heart set on something tiny like this - assuming I can make it work.

 

It looks like you're all recommending larger wheels. Does this make such a big difference? I was hoping to keep approx the same wheel diameter to maintain it's on-road efficiency. Would just some more grippy tyres suffice? Or is it going to be totally useless off road with such small wheels?

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Have looked into the Suzuki Sidekick (Vitara here) and other mini SUVs but I've got my heart set on something tiny like this - assuming I can make it work.

 

It looks like you're all recommending larger wheels. Does this make such a big difference? I was hoping to keep approx the same wheel diameter to maintain it's on-road efficiency. Would just some more grippy tyres suffice? Or is it going to be totally useless off road with such small wheels?

 

I had a girlfriend that had a Geo Metro that had larger tires on it. I drove that thing into places you would never guess it could make, and it did it without trouble. The ground clearance is key. With such a small engine you might want to have a larger set of wheels for trips with offroad potential and the smaller set for road driving. I know Diahatsu also makes a 1.0L turbo diesel that gets between 70-110 miles per gallon. That would a pretty sweet option too.

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Key is ground clearance, and protecting the fragile parts, like the oil pan and diff. The squirrels can't be allowed to escape.

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get a short enough wheelbase you could drive ontop of any rock someone else is trying to drive over :)

 

 

When I had a tiny 78 Honda with 12 inch wheels, I would tell folks that, what was a 'dip' to them was just down one hill and up another for me!

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When I had a tiny 78 Honda with 12 inch wheels, I would tell folks that, what was a 'dip' to them was just down one hill and up another for me!

 

:clap:

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I just got back from a offroad event with my geo tracker.It had some mud and some tight forest trails.One of the trails had a bunch of really steep and tall kelly humps.All of the other vehicles would stuff their bumpers into the dirt, but the little geo just rolled right right over the humps and down the other side,then up another one...Felt like a rollercoaster.

 

Those kelly humps were big enough that for a few seconds the geo would completely disappear from view.

Edited by Uberoo

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It'll all depend on what you want to do. Hard packed dirt/gravel probably won't be an issue, but if it gets soft....

 

I think you'll probably want more ground clearance. You could probably get a bit with a little suspension modification, but ultimately, you'll probably want large tires.

 

Also, I doubt there's much for aggressive tires available in that size, so going larger will probably open up the options. Although still, it'll probably be snow tires, or rally competition tires. Neither of which are ideal.

 

 

The other major challenge will be traction. Tires will help that, obviously, but FWD and an open diff, means it only takes one wheel to loose grip, and you've got nothing. You might be able to combat that a little with momentum, but that's dangerous. It's a catch-22, where having a tight LSD or locker makes steering difficult, and daily driveability compromised, but having it too loose could leave you stranded. Also, there probably aren't many (if any) options for those...

 

You might be able to get creative with brake line locks on the front wheels to help force the power to the other wheel when you need it, but that's not a great option.

 

 

Good news, is with it being so light, recovery shouldn't be difficult. Make sure you have good tow points, and a come-a-long with you, and you should be able to self-recover from most situations. 

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Everyone badmouthed subarus when they came on the offroad scene and some people still do,but with some basic mods and a good driver they can be taken almost anywhere.So buy a  cheap FWD micromachine and put some skidplates on to protect the important things.Then take it offroad with some friends and see for yourself how it does.If it does reasonably well, work on improving areas that were lacking like tire grip or ground clearance.If not your only out whatever you have in the thing.

 

 

I took my stock 2wd 87 dodge dakota regular cab shortbox through some fairly impressive rocky jeep trails in colorado by driving it smart-putting tires on rocks rather than straddling them, maneuvering the truck to keep both rear tires on solid ground as much as possible,etc.Did all of that with no damage to the body or anything underneath it.The key was smart driving and only exploring when it was dry.Once I got back home in idaho I tried to do the same thing but quickly found myself spinning in the mud due to rain and tight wooden trails that retain moisture.My truck still runs and drives to this day and it weighs 3700lbs, but it also has alot more ground clearance that that microcar and very heavy duty drivetrain hence the weight.

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