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Horizon_Edge New Reader
7/17/20 2:50 a.m.

In reply to randman2011 :


How cool are Kei Vans!

Yours is going to be awesome!

Little weapon I just picked up, going to take time but I will have the DOHC F6A from a Capicino in it.


Following both your F6A projects closely man, may pick your brains from time to time.


randman2011 New Reader
8/20/20 2:02 p.m.

Look what arrived Tuesday!

Of course I went out and installed them Tuesday.


They came with new shorter rear bump stops but nothing for the front. Since mine are original and they're discontinued from Suzuki, I'll have to measure the shaft diameter and get some generic ones. No big deal.

I didn't think to take appropriate before and after pictures so instead I recreated a photo from back when I first got the car in April.

Yeah, the difference is HUGE. And it still has a HUGE amount of ground clearance. If the tires were smaller or if the arches were larger, it could still drop more than an inch and have more ground clearance than is reasonably necessary. I'm still not hitting bump stops and there is no rubbing at all. The car feels a little more controlled in turns and has an insanely reduced pitch during acceleration, braking, and shifting. It feels like the limit of grip has been greatly increased. However. All four of my struts are completely shot and the handling on anything but perfectly smooth roads is downright dangerous. I can expand and compress the rear shocks by hand and the front struts will collapse under their own weight, making it damn near impossible to assemble them. 

I did some research. I asked other Every owners. I even cleared up a misunderstanding with some parts vendors. There has never existed a sport strut for this platform. Homemade coilovers are the extent of performance upgrades, and some USDM cars can donate struts if you need something cheap and available, but they're OE replacements and also will raise the ride height around an inch in all cases. The only unconfirmed question is whether the AZ-1's struts will fit. I know the top hats are completely different but I didn't think to check if my spare Mazdaspeed struts would bolt to the Every top hat before I bolted everything together. I guess I will experiment with that when the new strut bearings arrive next week. But since I couldn't get any firm answers beyond a list of parts that don't fit, I went ahead and ordered a set of new OE front struts and rear shocks from G&R Imports. And I threw a spare set of front brake pads in there just in case. ETA is tentatively Monday. Not that it matters because they don't stock the strut upper bearings, and nor does anyone else because they have been on national backorder for months. So I had to order an aftermarket set from the interwebs that will get here eventually. Boo. 

In reply to Horizon_Edge :

I just love the Turbo PS/Joypop Turbo body kit! Definitely ask away, as I love sharing the knowledge and talking about my experiences. I just wish that things were moving a bit faster right now. Money is tight and everything is SLOW.

bonylad Reader
8/20/20 3:59 p.m.

Love your work my man.

8/22/20 9:41 p.m.

In reply to randman2011 :

Love this blog! What cool projects you have in the works. Also new to this site, but I have a 94 Autozam scrum truck and really want to get the Decals redone in all the OEM locations... where were you able to find the badges and decals for your van?

randman2011 New Reader
8/26/20 8:31 a.m.

Struts and shocks arrived Monday. The strut bearings arrived Tuesday. And of course I installed them Tuesday night. Again, the difference is astounding. It is driveable on bumpy roads again. I can take it on my rough highways without getting suspension rebound the abruptly changes lanes for me. The body roll is so under control that I can actually get the tires to squeal in hard cornering instead of nearly rolling the van. However. I have some thoughts about this setup.

  • It is underdamped. I should be able to find adjustable shocks for the rear from Koni or whomever because they're a standard part, but getting adjustable or even revalvable struts for the front is going to be a custom job, but with these stiffer springs it needs stiffer damping.
  • These springs are too stiff. They're manageable even as a DD and the handling improvement is immense. But with the relative light weight and incredibly short wheelbase that the cabover layout brings, this chassis is just not suited to stiff springs. Over rough roads this is just fine, but with the uneven concrete roads that we have around here, no amount of perfectly matched damping is going to prevent the massive undulations that many roads induce. I didn't think that it was that bad until I got back in the Sambar and compared the two. I don't regret the change and will be leaving it as-is, but if I do go down the path of different dampers I will definitely spec some custom springs to keep this ride height but soften things out a little. Current spring rates with the Super Downsus units are 3.7k front, 3.6k rear.
  • This platform was not offered with sway bars, front or rear. I don't know what I want to do with this information yet.
  • I can now feel the softness of the bushings, which is a little weird. I don't know if stiffer bushings are available for this platform but I will keep an eye out. 

I got some sealed bearings and a lubricated sleeve that I will be using to replace the rubber steering bushing that plagues this platform and most other kei van and truck platforms. The old bushing sleeve needs to be pressed out and the bearings pressed in so I get to take another trip to my local machine shop. I can't do that now, though, because the van was dropped off this morning for window tint. They said it should take three hours, so maybe I can pick it up at noon and pull the steering arm today. And I still need to pull the cluster surround and figure out why it is loose and squeaks. And I need to get to the bottom of why the USB connection for Android Audio keeps disconnecting. I would also like to get my new exhaust tips installed but that's such a low priority given the rest of this crap.

Their first picture together:

In reply to Superairwill1786 :

Thanks! Bookmark this website: http://mazda.epcdata.ru/scrum/asja03/exterior/5170/#5170A I have yet to find another source that beats their prices. Packages take about two weeks from placing the order to receiving it in the US and I have probably placed 15 orders since 2018.

randman2011 New Reader
8/27/20 9:00 a.m.

I fixed the squeaky gauge cluster (top clips holding the clear face to the rest of the unit had come undone). I fixed how the HVAC vent selector could only go between face and face/floor but the indication on the slider showed either floor or floor/defrost (the actuation cable had gotten folded inside the dash, which shortened it by a few inches). I fixed the radio cutting out over bumps (failing USB cable AGAIN). I fixed the AC (in my disassembly of the dash I had pulled a pin out of the connector to the AC dash switch). 

The van was also tinted yesterday. I did not realize that you aren't supposed to roll down the windows for 3-5 days after having tint applied, so this weekend is going to be a struggle. No windows on any of my cars are ever up. I chose Lluminx Air 80 to keep the heat down while still being mostly clear. They did all windows including the windshield but not the sunroofs as they have aggressive frit and come with nice sunshades. The film does have a slight blue tint that isn't super noticeable unless you are intimately familiar with what color the interior actually is. The van is noticeably cooler than the truck now and I am already happy with the tint. I just REALLY want to roll the windows down.

Also, the dipstick is in the passenger side rear wheel well and now that the car is lowered I can't easily get to it. Unintended side effect. Oh well. My short term to do list is down to just checking the oil and replacing the steering bushing. Then maybe I can start focusing on my other cars again. The Miata is feeling lonely...

Superairwill1786 New Reader
8/28/20 11:28 p.m.

In reply to randman2011 Dude, awesome! Thanks so much! Last night I purchased thru Mathew a 1990 SC Sambar. Soooo stoked... Dias mirrors and inside door panels, sunroof (after market?) OEM fog lights, and red valve cover doesn't arrive until thanksgiving on the slow boat, but can't wait. So I may have to pick your brain for that too. Did I see a tach on your every gauge cluster? Wonder if sourcing one for my scrum is a long shot or just impossible?.. side note I used this product on my once black plastic, (bumper and mirrors) which had turned quite gray. "Car guys premium series plastic restorer" took only a few minutes and worked instantly. Back to factory black for under 25 bucks. Highly recommended. It'll restore torraku's bumper to new!! ✌

randman2011 New Reader
9/8/20 2:51 p.m.


We took the van on a 2100 mile roadtrip last week. It and the Bolt are our only four door cars (the dog had to come with us) and EVs aren't exactly great at driving 1050 miles in one day. The drive there was great, except that the volume buttons on my radio have stopped functioning. The Volume Down button sometimes turns the volume down but usually does nothing. Volume Up does nothing. Attenuate one singular time turned the volume down and otherwise did nothing. So that was a pain. But the drive back was the issue. I was suffering a bruised tailbone and the stiff springs were not helping, so we opted to stop in Nashville for the night and resume driving in the morning. That's where the fun began.

Within three miles of our stop in Antioch, the van experienced a hard stutter on the highway and would continue to do so any time it built more than a few pounds of boost. I got off the highway, confirmed that no fluids were leaking and there was no physical damage, and we continued on surface streets trying to keep it out of boost while I puzzled through the situation. I eventually decided that this must be a disconnected boost controller triggering overboost and fuel cut so I hopped the back wheels up onto a curb and inspected.

Sure enough, the vacuum hose had slipped off of the nipple on the compressor outlet.

The nipple isn't barbed and I didn't have any hose clamps, but at least I knew that it would be an easy fix when it happens again. However, I only made it about a mile past that when the turbo blew. The rear of the van erupted in a cloud of oil smoke and any time the boost got above the "3 LED" mark it would erupt again. On the highways of Indiana that wouldn't be a big problem but in the hills of Tennessee and Kentucky I found myself slowing to a crawl to get up some of the inclines. I adjusted our destination to the nearest car parts store (a NAPA) so that I could stock up on oil that I knew I was burning off. 40 miles away. And Google took this opportunity to adjust my settings to allow highways without me noticing. Turns out that NAPA was out of synthetic 10W30 and the Advance next door no longer carried it. I had to stock up on some store-brand conventional, but I guess it would be leaking out/getting burned off regardless. With the destination now set to home once again, Google used its newfound conviction to return us to the highway and took us on the Western Kentucky Parkway. Whose speed limit is 70. Through hills. The next exit was 10 miles away. So on went the hazards and I could JUST maintain 100kph without blowing smoke.

The rest of the drive was miserable. With these horrid springs, the roads got unbearable as soon as we entered Indiana. Our 4 hour return trip extended to 9.5 hours and when we got home I couldn't even walk. I had to have the husband pull me out of the car. The dog hates me. No one wants to unpack the van. We got back on Saturday and I am still exhausted. 

So the turbo is blown. I haven't looked into RHB3 rebuild kits but I have low expectations. I could take the opportunity to upgrade to a GT12 but I don't have a way to tune it. And I really don't want to put much money into this SOHC setup since the DOHC swap will be happening and I'll likely just scrap this engine anyway. I don't know what I will do about this, so in the garage it sits. Leaking a little puddle.

Also the bearings that I ordered to replace the steering bushing were the wrong size. My parts order that I placed in April arrived while we were gone. They finally announced the lock set discontinued and shipped me everything else, nearly 5 months later.

In reply to Superairwill1786 :

Every and Scrum vans were offered with tachometers on the PZ, PS, RZ, and PY (Joypop Turbo) trims and the clusters are intercompatible. They're not super common but they do show up on Yahoo from time to time. I don't see any on there right now, though. New from Suzuki they're all around $600 so you're definitely better off waiting around for a used unit. There is a part number change in 1993 but worst case scenario you can swap the tach and combined fuel/temp gauge into your existing cluster along with the plastic circuit on the back. I know that the vans came wired for all of the available features, so while I can't speak for the trucks from experience, chances are good that the connections are already there.

I hadn't really considered restoring the black plastic since it's a work truck for us, but now that the husband is considering selling it (for another Jimny. Again) I might have to look into that. Certainly as-is it looks pretty crappy. I am VERY jealous of the fog lights, though. One of the KS3s that we looked at had selective yellow fogs and I was all over it, but it got sold out from under us and then broke the allegedly brand new timing belt before it ever left the dealer lot. That red valve cover was offered on some of the trucks and commercial vans and allegedly indicates more robust internals, but I have not seen any proof of this. Either way, it looks super cool.

Superairwill1786 New Reader
9/28/20 4:52 p.m.

Good afternoon. When you mention Yahoo above, are you talking about Yahoo Japan and the Auctions section? I seriously need to learn all of these hidden gem websites you speak of! Must just be hours of searching and looking on the interweb on your part!


randman2011 New Reader
9/28/20 8:34 p.m.

I pulled the turbo and bought an RHB3 turbo kit from GPopShop. And boy has this turbo put up a fight! To begin..


I still need to figure out who is going to fix that for me. The last time I had a shop "fix" a broken bolt in a turbine housing it went VERY poorly. It took two whole days to get both housings off. The compressor took 15 minutes. The turbine had a stuck bolt which was conveniently also the bolt that I can't get a socket onto because it's blocked by the oil drain flange. But after much frustration and the purchase of another deadblow hammer, it separated.

Oh no. (Under the turbine heatshield. TONS of coked oil buildup indicates a large or old oil leak)

OH NO (There's supposed to be an oil seal at the bottom of that shaft by the turbine. It's still there, but just barely)

And now for the inside. This is the compressor side. The center piece is pretty much a disk of aluminum. It's held in by RTV. The unthreaded holes are used to twist the disk and break the seal, then the disk just pops out. The center piece is a seal. It's actually conical with a small "piston ring" at the top and a larger one lower down. The conical piece is an interference fit for the shaft and spins with the wheels while the rings stay seated against this aluminum disk.

This is the back of that disk with the bottom of the conical seal visible. The opening at the top is an oil drain and is normally oriented downward. 

The thrust bearing is underneath that aluminum disk. Like many common turbos, the RHB3 comes from the factory with a ~270 degree thrust bearing. The replacement part is a 360 degree bearing. I don't have a picture of it, but the underside is the side that sees wear and this one is definitely in need of replacement.

This is what's under the thrust bearing. At the very bottom of the turbo, the turbine side journal bearing is held in with two snap rings which are microscopic. At the upper end, the compressor side journal bearing is held in with one snap ring on the bottom and the thrust bearing on top.

Those snap rings are so small, by the way, that I have yet to see a set of pliers that fit. This is what I had to do to my brand new set, and even still they only just fit inside the microscopic holes. Getting the new rings in place was a nightmare.

And...while I was putting things together I completely mangled the larger compressor side piston ring. I called GPopShop to order a new one and they informed me that I had bought the only RHB3 rebuild kit available and their order for another stock unit had not yet been fulfilled. After much calling on their part, they got the manufacturer to drop ship a replacement ring for me. $22, all in shipping. If I can find someone to address the broken bolts in the turbine housing, I will have everything that I need to get this thing back on the van on Wednesday.

Superairwill1786 said:

Good afternoon. When you mention Yahoo above, are you talking about Yahoo Japan and the Auctions section? I seriously need to learn all of these hidden gem websites you speak of! Must just be hours of searching and looking on the interweb on your part!


Yup. auctions.yahoo.co.jp. You'd think I'd have it bookmarked given how often I'm on there.

randman2011 New Reader
10/9/20 12:18 p.m.

Compressor ring arrived early last week. While I was on my way to the garage to install it, I tripped over a bag of gravel next to the work bench and knocked the turbo onto the ground. The wheels flew off and the shaft landed under the Bolt. Somehow the wheels and housing weren't damaged, but the threads on the compressor end of the shaft were damaged enough to prevent the nut from threading. It's so small that I can't get my phone's camera to focus on it, but this was my best shot.

My local machine shop laughed when I asked about an M4 left hand thread die on the phone. He recommended a place downtown that could probably acquire the appropriate tooling. They determined that it is indeed M4-0.5, but something about it doesn't match standard M4 and even if they had the appropriate die, it wouldn't work. They kept it over the weekend to look into it more, and ended up correcting the threads by hand. It was an expensive and long process, but it truly looks brand new now. I was so excited to get the van back together that I didn't take any pictures. I had the turbo reassembled and installed in the van in about 3 hours.

That is a GIF but I guess you have to click it to get it to play. Oh well.

I got oil and PB Blaster everywhere and even after 30 minutes of idling and a drive through the neighborhood, it is smoking. I have to get back in there to replace the soft, aged coolant lines, so I will be keeping an eye on the smoke. It's all external and nothing is coming out of the exhaust, so I think I'm in the clear. I also confirmed that it doesn't smoke more at WOT, so at least the new turbo seals are working as expected now. 

The turbo is a little tight at the moment. It spins easily, but it would stop spinning immediately if I spin it by hand. The first time I tried to make boost in the van was a little bit of a struggle, but by the time I got home after the 20 minute drive it was spooling like it used to. The BOV sounds a lot different though, and I'm not sure I should be concerned. It did fill up with oil prior to the rebuild so I guess I should clean it out and check it again.

randman2011 New Reader
10/28/20 2:20 p.m.

Maintenance update!

First up is a new steering column cover. I didn't realize how bad the old one was until I got the new one on. The downside is that now the column doesn't match anything else in the car because it's so shiny and new. But it's a nice problem to have.

The HVAC blend door slider popped out again because the previous owner damaged the steel cable with a 90 degree bend, so I finally disassembled the dash far enough to straighten the cable and get it working. For an HVAC system that can only put heat out of the floor vents, having a functioning blend adjustment is pretty critical. While I was in there I cleaned and lubricated all four of the upper vents. If you were wondering how Suzuki prioritizes airflow between the driver and passenger....let's just say that the passenger isn't the one making sure that you get to your destination safely.

This is looking at the unit from the bottom, so driver side is to the left. The shape is pretty odd in two dimensions. It's even more complex in three dimensions.

I also replaced the breather vent on the BOV since the old one was fully saturated in oil and I had a spare. I'll clean the old one eventually but at least now I can actually hear the BOV. And I know that this isn't the cause, but the car feels much more healthy after the swap.

The actual reason I started all of this is because my air filter came in. OE replacement filters are available from a few sources; for example, GRImports has them for $17. There are two different styles. Both are cylinders that are open on both ends, but one is 5" tall and one is 6 3/4" tall. Mine is 5" tall and the original was in ROUGH shape. Instead of stocking up on relatively expensive paper filters, I decided to go for a washable cotton filter like I have in all of my other JDM cars. Important OE filter dimensions: 2.5" ID, 5" tall. I couldn't find anything matching those two dimensions, but K&N YA-7585 is close at 2.5" ID and 4.875" tall, and since it was originally designed for liter sportbikes, it will flow plenty of air. It is worth noting, however, that K&N's dimension include the foam seal height and the OE filter dimensions do not.

I should also note that the grey foam seal on the old filter was added by me after the original seal disintegrated. The OE stuff was even taller. I had to add two layers of my 3/16" HVAC seal tape on top and one layer on the bottom to make up for the height. 5/16" foam would be ideal here, assuming that I can't find a filter that's nearly a half inch taller.

After this, the filter still didn't seal to the lid of the airbox, but the airbox lid also didn't seal to the rest of the box. The lid has a very deep channel around it for a seal and the seal on my lid wasn't thick enough to touch the box's lip. Here's what the lid looks like flipped upside down.

You can see how deeply inset the seal is. To kill two birds with one stone I decided to modify the lid to drop it farther down onto the airbox, reducing the necessary height for the filter and for the lid seal. The center structure is what gets clamped down onto the box, and I removed a quarter inch from its height to allow the lid to sit lower.

Apparently I didn't take a picture of the final state, but this is what it looked like after removing the first 1/8" of height. Now the lid seals to the box but the compression force on the filter still isn't that strong. And given the extent of the damage to my compressor wheel I am pretty wary of a poor seal on the air filter. I may revisit this soon.

And as a reminder, these springs are awful when paired with OE struts. I'm starting to regret the swap, to the point where I have pulled the original springs out of my scrap metal pile.

randman2011 New Reader
6/30/21 3:36 p.m.

I was taking the van to Kentucky for some junkyard diving when the sunroofs got stuck open. There are plastic covers on either side of the rear sunroof controls so that let you close them manually, and once I got back to Indy I tore out the headliner to investigate. Turns out that all three bolts for the front sunroof motor had backed out, which is why the front glass couldn't close. And because the design of the MECHANICAL limit switches preventing operation of both roofs at once is beyond asinine, the lack of resistance from the front sunroof being fully closed meant that the rear motor never got power, so it was stuck open as well.

Ever since I got the van, the front roof has been finnicky. The up/down action has always worked, but I could only get it to slide back maybe 10% of the time. But I could always slide the front open if the rear sunroof was fully open. I figured there was a bad microswitch somewhere but no, there's a cam inside the front motor that disables the forward/backward motion seemingly at random, and the size of the cam lobe lines up with the 10% success rate that I was observing. So I removed the switch so it can never be driven by the cam. Now I can open and close each sunroof at will. 


On an unrelated note, the husband and I took the van to Baltimore at the end of May to pick up a new car. I'll create a build thread for that car with more details, but here's a teaser:

I mention that because I was talking with Flatout Suspension earlier this year to make coilovers for the van since I have been so impressed with the quality of their coilover set for my Eclipse. I was hoping to take the van by their shop for measurements while we were in Baltimore but after agreeing to the plan they stopped responding and never even gave me their address. So I tried, but I'm still stuck with this garbage suspension. It wasn't too bad for the Baltimore trip, but as soon as I got back to Ohio/Indiana I started loathing it again.

randman2011 New Reader
4/26/22 9:31 a.m.

This is long overdue for an update. I drove the wheels off of the van last year but nothing else really occurred in 2021. I kicked off 2022 with a trip to St. Louis!

It was hilarious watching the van from the top of the arch.

That trip was the last straw in the seatbelt discussion. I HAD to get rear seatbelts in this thing. I contacted a company to refurbish my front seatbelts and make a matching custom set for the rear. They matched the van's side stripe PERFECTLY!

Drove the van to a local machinist and we went to town on the C pillars.

We welded in a reinforcing plate with captive nut that matched the front belt mount point on the B pillar, and before long I had belts installed on the pillar.

Similar captive nuts went into the seat bottoms and after two trips to the store for some higher grade bolts, everything was done. Well, except that the company had sent me three "wisteria" belts and one "fuscia" one. So my back seat looks like this currently. And it looks worse in person.

In the interim, the van took the animals to Cincinnati.

It also went to Iowa to pick up a 2ZZ and C60.

But as I said, I drove the wheels off of this thing. On my drive to the welder I observed that I had a front wheel bearing going out. So I placed an emergency order for parts from Japan and they were set to arrive a day before I was supposed to take the van to Georgia, which could be doable. But then the package got lost in the mail. And the larger of the two bearings is a non-standard size. It's all fixed now, but I'm sad that the van missed that trip and I had to take the MR-2.

On my test drive after the wheel bearing I found that the headlights are now burnt out. They take standard H4 bulbs but they're hot garbage anyway, so a projector retrofit kit is coming my way. I've got that to sort out and also this oil leak. The bearing order included a valve cover gasket and an oil filter housing gasket, which were the only oil gaskets I could find that weren't internal to the engine. If I can find the time I'll get under the van and see if I can actually pinpoint the leak.

GasTungstenArc Reader
4/26/22 1:06 p.m.

Deal of the century!  I have always liked these Kei vans.  In a bitter turn of irony, I don't have the space for one right now.  

StripesSA1 Reader
4/27/22 2:45 a.m.

Just a quick "Hello" from South Africa. We had these and the SJ Jimny's since whenever, so love to read about them in your threads.

Ironically they where nicknamed "Half-loaf" van's because of their sizes compared to the VW Kombi's we had, and mostly because bakeries used them in their local, around town deliveries back then.

Just a side note, not all of your photos from the last post are showing.

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