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randman2011 New Reader
3/28/20 1:16 p.m.

I'm a bit premature on the actual build details, but since we all have a bit of time on our hands I'll go ahead and get this kicked off. I bought a thing:

"Quick" recap. I bought a supercharged Sambar truck back in February 2019 and from the moment that I picked it up from port in Jacksonville I knew that I wanted a kei van. I did a small amount of research at the time into the likes of the Sambar Dias II, Mitsubishi Bravo, Suzuki Every, Daihatsu Atrai, and Honda Acty but I knew that I was a long time away from being able to take on another car. 

Then in late August I started looking again, mostly just as something to do. I require forced induction, so the Honda was out. And I wanted a sunroof, which made things a lot harder. There had been an Every Turbo RZ for sale for $4500 in Japan for more than a year at that point. The interior was stripped and it was in poor shape, but even at that price it sold at the end of 2019. I learned of the Subaru Domingo and settled on that one after finally conceding that the Turbo RZ is impossible to find/afford. Seating for 7, two gigantic sunroofs, and the much better gearing than what I have been stuck with on the truck. And It's not a Clover Four engine, which is always a plus. But Domingos were exceedingly rare in general. It was common for them to have sunroofs but I also required a manual transmission and preferred RWD. The only manual transmissioned sunroof-equipped Domingo available for the last four months of 2019 was offered by a dealership for $16,000. Before shipping and import. But I wanted one so much that I had a plan. It was going to be named Salvador Domingo as a play on Subaru Domingo, a play on Sabado Domingo (weekend car!), and also an homage to Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. I'm hilarious, I promise.

One cold January day at work I refreshed the auction list on my phone as I was walking between meetings and I was greeted with the picture above. Turbocharged, 4 sunroofs (FOUR!), manual transmission, and at auction, which usually means incredibly low prices. But the auction ended in 9 hours and I still needed an inspection done. I skipped my meeting and called my exporter Matt in Japan. Not soon after, I had the inspection results: oil leak from valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket, and tires need replacing. It was listed as 4WD and has a 4WD sticker in the correct location on the rear but has a RWD VIN and the inspection confirmed that it's RWD. Timing was very bad for me financially but I went ahead and bid $3500 that I didn't have because this is exactly what I have spent 6 months convincing myself that I needed. Then I just had to wait until 1AM for the auction to end and you can bet that I was planning to stay up the entire night. On a Thursday.

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$360. And if anyone knows how to resize pictures please let me know.

The auction system in Japan is a bit weird. The auction itself is around 30 seconds and is entirely online. You can place a prebid at any time, which is what everyone normally does, or for a surprisingly large fee you can place a live bid which lets you wait until all of the prebids have settled before placing your own. It costs money and there isn't really a benefit to placing a bid reactively because it functions like eBay where it uses the lowest winning bid anyway, so no one uses live bids. And in order to protect people from bidding on a misrepresented vehicle, changes to the auction sheet cancel all existing prebids. Matt notified the auction house of the RWD/4WD discrepancy but the seller didn't adjust the sheet until right before the auction. And long story short, that cancelled everyone else's bid and I got it for the minimum bid of ¥30,000 ($280) plus the live bid fee.

And then nothing. For a full week after the auction, Matt heard nothing from the auction house. But it eventually arrived and he sent me some more pictures and details. The van was riding on the orignal 12" wheels but came with silver 13" steelies in the back with mounted winter tires. As someone who hates steelies and fully embraces everything the 90s had to offer (those wonderfully tacky side graphics!) I had Matt purchase a set of OE Suzuki Cappuccino 14" wheels to mount summer rubber on. I'd keep the silver set with winter tires (ship them over separately?) and have him scrap the black 12" set. A ton of internet sleuthing later (mid year bolt pattern change, really?) I got this picture:

Much improved. The van was put on a boat in late February and is scheduled to arrive in Jacksonville April 6th and was just spotted off of Yucatan this afternoon. I had a big trip planned. My sister was flying down for a three day trip to Universal for Easter weekend. A friend from Orlando would come up to Jacksonville and be my TWIC escort at port, then we'd drive back to Orlando for the fun weekend, driving back to Nashville Tuesday and finally returning to Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon. But now that's clearly cancelled and we have a week to get a plan together. Hopefully we can still fly to Jacksonville because we drove when we picked up the truck and it was awful. 26 hours of driving in a weekend. Last time we went to pick up the truck it was during the government shutdown; I'm beginning to think that JAXPORT is cursed.

If you want to read about my other projects...

My Autozam AZ-1: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/project-kujira-my-over-the-top-az-1-build/127816/page1/

My Eclipse: https://www.dsmtuners.com/threads/manny-the-mistake-a-lesson-in-the-dangers-of-nostalgia.517243/

A general recollection of my wild car history: https://oppositelock.kinja.com/dsm-or-how-ruining-my-life-was-the-best-decision-that-1832376011

Up next is plans for the van.

bgkast GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/28/20 1:49 p.m.

I'll be watching this closely. I want a kei van badly for some reason.

randman2011 New Reader
3/28/20 2:00 p.m.

I was under the Sambar one day and realized how much room there is in that frame. The truck and van are both body on frame and there is nothing between the two frame rails. I had a really bad idea.

That's the battery pack for a Chevrolet Bolt. 60 (or 66) kW. 200hp and 238 miles of range in a large 3600 lb crossover; that's dangerous levels of power for the rear wheels of the van and at only 1850 lbs (before the swap) it should get pretty decent range as well. Plus DC fast charging! Salvage Bolts are currently in the $7,000 range and I could take all of the electronics and shove them under and inside of the van. It would have been tight but would fit under the Sambar/Domingo, but the Every has a different chassis and I'll have to wait for it to arrive to take measurements. And by the way, this is a VERY long term plan. Many years down the road.

In the meantime, The K6A swap into my Autozam will be freeing up a DOHC F6A that would easily replace the SOHC F6A that comes in the van. DOHC swaps into the Carry/Every have been done before and are apparently very straightforward and simple. The only custom fabrication work required is an exhaust manifold since the horizontal postiton of the engine in the van means the Autozam manifold and turbo positon can't be retained, and the SOHC parts use different flanges. Because of course they do. 

But in the very short term, I'm converting my Suzuki Every Turbo RZ Super Multi Roof into an Autozam Scrum Turbo RZ Super Multi Roof. The only difference is external badging, the horn button badge, and the key blanks. And since I buy new lock sets for all of my imported vehicles anyway, I might as well throw in $100 worth of badges if it makes me happy. I also ordered Autozam branded center caps that fit my Cappuccino wheels. And speaking of conversions. Suzuki cancelled the Turbo RZ trim after 1993 and as compensation for discontinuing the glorious glorious sunroofs they introduced the Turbo PS which bumped power up to the 64hp class maximum and included a fantastic plastic 90s body kit. 

So uh, yeah. I bought the body kit and shipped it from Japan. Here's mine. Side skirts included but not pictured.

Unfortunately it didn't come with a spoiler and I have yet to see one available used in the past 4 months, so I bought a new one from Suzuki. And I didn't realize until yesterday that the spoiler part number does not include the LED 3rd brake light, so I'll have to figure out something for that later. I'm not about to drop $275 for a generic strip of LEDs from Mazda/Suzuki.

Between this and the nightmare that is the 4G63 build in my Eclipse, I'm ready to stop spending money for a long long time, so at this point it's just a waiting game until we can get the trip to Jacksonville locked down. And then I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

chandler PowerDork
3/28/20 3:33 p.m.

Sweet van. Posting just so it shows in my topics. 

Run_Away GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/28/20 4:40 p.m.

Sweet ride. Shipping doesn't count for challenge vehicles......

jimbob_racing Dork
3/28/20 7:05 p.m.

I'd love to know who you use in Japan for buying vehicles and exporting them. It may help enable me.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/28/20 7:13 p.m.

In reply to randman2011 :

Are you selling your Sambar? I have a friend up in Lafayette with a 360 van who's been considering upgrading to something newer & capable of driving up their hills. 

pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/28/20 7:15 p.m.

After driving a little Subaru van in the islands, I have wanted one ever since. Great buy.

randman2011 New Reader
3/30/20 11:29 a.m.

So after I came out yesterday and said that used spoilers are unobtainable, one popped up for sale yesterday for $80. I sent a message to my parts supplier asking to pull the spoiler from my order. It still shows on the order but they have already refunded the money; maybe something got lost in translation? My Russian is pretty rusty...

The price of the flight that I am watching to Jacksonville increased from $193 to $1105 and then I guess sold out today. Why do I always have to do this during a national emergency? 

Run_Away said:

Sweet ride. Shipping doesn't count for challenge vehicles......

I'd never considered the challenge because I'm much more of a "spend the money and do it right the first time" kind of person (the parts that I've bought already FAR exceed the $2000 limit on their own) but there's no way this could ever compete in autocross. The truck is a tip hazard and this has an entire van on the back plus a roof made of heavy glass. The drag and autocross portions would be a punishment in this car. I did, however, have a Miata that would have been perfect for the challenge if I had known back then. And if I had trusted it to get to Florida...

jimbob_racing said:

I'd love to know who you use in Japan for buying vehicles and exporting them. It may help enable me.

I'm all for enabling others to make financially questionable purchases from the heart! Mathew Matusiac at JapanCarDirect. There are a few guys there who each have their specialties. Matt helped me to find a Jimny and ever since then I've just gone back to him. I would always recommend JCD.

Pete Gossett said:

Are you selling your Sambar? I have a friend up in Lafayette with a 360 van who's been considering upgrading to something newer & capable of driving up their hills. 

 I will be very soon! The husband is saying that he won't let it go unless I buy him another Jimny but for parking reasons my plan is to list it as soon as we return from Florida with the van. Tell your friend to send me a message! My Sambar would definitely be a big driveability upgrade from a 360 if he's down to swap the van for a truck.

pinchvalve said:

After driving a little Subaru van in the islands, I have wanted one ever since. Great buy.

If the one you drove had three rows of seats, that was probably the Domingo/Sumo/Libero/E10/E12. I've heard nothing but great things aside from one particluarly bad experience described by Peter Orosz on Jalopnik. I'll find out about mine pretty soon.

randman2011 New Reader
4/14/20 1:35 p.m.

There has been a lot of weirdness in the past two weeks, but here's a summary. Mat, the exporter in Japan, confirmed that ports across the US have been closed to individuals and he has had reports of many people being unable to pick up their cars in person. I immediately filled out the import documents and looked for a way to submit them electronically, but after 48 hours of almost nothing, I was forced to give up and hire a broker to do it for me. As far as I can tell, the only way to submit these things online is through a web interface called ACE. It takes two weeks to get an account and a bit longer to get things set up so that you're ready to submit documentation, so I wouldn't have had time to do it myself. $200 later, customs is cleared.

At the same time I reached out to a minitrucks group to ask if anyone had any recommended shippers who were familiar with picking up vehicles from port and ended up with a guy who gave me a to-my-door quote that I was happy with, so I asked him what he needed to make it happen, and never heard from him again. I lost 5 days to this guy, and by the time I started getting quotes from established Freight Forwarding companies I was 2 hours away from being required to pay an expedite fee to ensure that the van would get picked up before the 10 free days of storage at port expired. I called a company here in Indy at 8PM, someone miraculously picked up, and I was told that I was just in time because a call in the morning would have been too late. Pickup would be Thursday the 16th, the last free day at port with an ETA around the 19-20th. I had no idea what documents would be required to allow a company to pick up my van because in the past I've only needed proof of customs clearance and my photo ID. As the driver would be not me, I assumed a POA or other legal document would be required, but I had plenty of time to contact the terminal service to find out. This was last Thursday.

I got a call Friday morning telling me that the truck driver was at port and needed my documents. I was directed to the driver's representative, Amanda, who has been awesome through this. I explained that I didn't yet know what documents were needed and I had expected to have more time. I had already called port once earlier that morning and did not get through. Amanda acknowledged that she had not been able to get through to them either, but the driver picking up my van is THE driver that services Jacksonville's port and is a veteran in that respect. I sent in the customs clearance paperwork (all of it, since I didn't know which one was needed) and Amanda then asked if maybe the port was closed for Good Friday. Other destinations of theirs had been closed for the day already, but if they couldn't pick up my van that day they would have to move on and my shipping request would have to be sent to someone else. I called back at close but didn't get through.

Monday I call Amanda. Port was indeed closed, but so were all of the other terminals that they were supposed to pick up from, so the driver spent the weekend in Jacksonville and had already picked up the van that morning. ETA Wednesday or Thursday morning. Today I get another call from Amanda confirming the location of the drop off and again confirming an ETA of tomorrow or Thursday. And terms of Cash on Delivery. Expect a call from the driver tomorrow.

Amayama cancelled my parts order and refunded my money. Their explanation was that the parts are out of production, their way of saying that they are out of stock. However unlike the other parts which were previously cancelled from this order and roders past where the price went to "OutOfProduction" these still list a price (higher than what I paid) and show 10+ in stock. And damn it, I want these center caps, lock set, and spare keys!

randman2011 New Reader
4/17/20 8:40 p.m.

*@#$! It's finally here!

I'm always worried that the mental hype that I give to cars is going to make them not live up to expectations when they finally arrive. This was absolutely the case during the 11 months that I fought to get a Focus RS, but fortunately the van was more like the ND Miata and AZ-1 where even my imagination couldn't guess how cool it was going to be. Holy crap, this van is the coolest!

Story time. ETA was Wednesday or Thursday morning. I had heard nothing by 5PM Wednesday so I had assumed the next day. I got a call just before 8PM from the driver saying that he was just outside Indy but had run out of gas and only had 6 minutes of drive time left, so he'd be delivering first thing in the morning. I asked him where he was and said that I could be there in 20 minutes. So I drove to Whitestown. It's definitely not racist. Definitely. 

I don't think that I have experienced anything more intimidating than driving a car around a truck rest stop at 8PM. No matter what I did, I was always in the way. And I couldn't find the truck. Eventually I got stuck at a dead end with a fuel tanker in front of me and another semi behind me, when a car carrier pulls out in front of me and at the very back of it I catch the silhouette of a mini van.

It was much darker than this in person. But I flagged him down and we both parked in everyone's way because I CAN'T GET OUT OF THE WAY! I tried so hard. There was a lot of stress about payment because I had expressed that I intended to pay for transportation with credit card but tried to get cash anyway and then only had $400 but the guy who accepts card payments over the phone didn't want to have to go into the office at 8:30 at night so we tried doing Zelle but my phone is running a custom ROM so the transaction got denied and the husband had his set up with his savings account which has like a 3 day waiting period...it was a mess. Eventually he took my cash and I transferred the rest and I got the keys. And damn is it a good thing that I didn't try to drive this thing back from Florida.

It makes the most ungodly noises from the rear, proportional to road speed. It has to be a rear wheel bearing, and I have already ordered the parts. Avoiding the highway, I got it home soon after.

1. This van is filthy. It is supposed to stop raining and be warm tomorrow so I'll be washing it.

2. This van needs love. Lots of weatherstripping and trim is falling off. There's dents and scratches all over the outside. Did I mention that it's filthy?

3. I don't know why everyone in Japan hates installing speakers in cars but this is the third car that I've imported that has bookshelf speakers permanently mounted somewhere. This particular van didn't come with speakers but the wiring is already there. I pulled the interior apart and measured for speakers. Factory sizes are 4" speakers in the front doors and 6x9" speakers in the back trim behind the second row. I ordered 5 1/4 speakers in the front (they should fit with significant modification) and 6 1/2 speakers for the rear, which shouldn't be a problem but I'll have to make my own mounting bracket. This van is missing a dash harness for the speakers so I need to make something going from the harnesses in the doors to the speakers, and since the wires to the back speakers is so thin I will be running my own dedicated wires back there. I have an aftermarket radio install harness for the factory wiring on the way, since the previous owner used a combination of spade connectors shoved into the factory harness and their own wiring for the bookshelf speakers, as well as the male and female connectors used in 2000s+ Hondas. The plan is to make my own audio harness with the same connector that would be found in a more common USDM car so that radio changes in the future will be very easy. 

Once I get the van cleaned and can take better pictures I will post more, but rest assured that this is the coolest thing ever.

4/17/20 10:23 p.m.

I did, however, have a Miata that would have been perfect for the challenge if I had known back then.

Well, part of the Miata could still make it down, right?

randman2011 New Reader
4/17/20 11:06 p.m.

In reply to SpeedySam :

In a carry-on perhaps. That Miata ended its life by folding in half after becoming acquainted with a perfectly average speed bump. Competition driving would have been short lived at best. Also 70hp is a tad pathetic in an NA8. But the price was right.


EDIT: Oh hi, Sam. No, not that Miata. The other, much cheaper Miata.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/17/20 11:40 p.m.

In reply to randman2011 :

I believed the state removed it, but there used to be a sign at that exit on I-65 that said:

<- Whitestown

Brownsburg ->

And I always surprised that it remained for 20-years or more. 

randman2011 New Reader
4/27/20 1:55 p.m.

I've typed this all out once before but lost it due to a cat, so I'll try again. All but a select few trim levels of the Every and Scrum don't come with any speakers or audio equipment at all, and even though the Turbo RZ is the most expensive trim of all of them, it only came with a single tweeter integrated into the factory head unit.

I have now remedied that. Here's what it took:

  • Kenwood eXcelon DMX906S for that wireless Android Auto goodness
  • Polk DB522 DB+ 5.25" speakers for the front
  • Polk DB652 DB+ 6.5" speakers for the rear
  • Metra 70-7991 adapter harness for 86-95 Suzuki
  • 2x Metra 72-9300 speaker adapter harness
  • Metra BT-1721-A Honda bluetooth adapter (or bluetooth adapter harness for your favorite make)
  • Mazda ZZS26427000 double DIN radio dash surround
  • Mazda 1A0166903 double DIN radio bracket kit
  • Mazda ZZS766903 double DIN radio support

Parts total: $693.23

Suzuki never offered a double DIN radio in the Dx51 Every/Carry, so the OEM parts above are only available through Mazda and they appear to be from a commercial van trim, although I haven't found any information on Scrum trim levels. Additionally, any van that has power locks also has a speaker harness in the door, going from the factory speaker location through the door grommet and terminating in a standard two pin speaker connector just inside the cabin. All vans appear to come with the harness for the rear speakers going from the C pillars through the headliner to the A pillar and terminating at a four pin connector where the A pillar meets the dash. Unless you have a van with factory audio, the harness bringing all of these signals from the doors/A pillar to the hole behind the radio will be missing. If you wish to buy this harness, Mazda ZZS067S12 is ~$32 and Suzuki 3685550F00 is ~$33. I have a collection of Suzuki kei chassis harnesses in my basement (don't ask; mistakes were made) so I opted to make my own instead. If you buy the factory harness, you don't need to purchase the Metra bluetooth adapter harness. All vans and trucks come with the Suzuki three pin radio power connector consisting of +12v, switched +12v, and a dimmer signal, as well as a single pin ground connector.

You may be wondering why I have in the parts list an adapter harness to install a bluetooth cell phone kit into a 2003+ Honda with the factory head unit. These Metra bluetooth harnesses contain both the male and female connectors for the radios in their respective applications. I typically buy the Mazda harness so that all of my cars which require custom wiring will use a standard radio install kit for a 1990-2005 Miata, but that has been discontinued so I switched to a Honda kit because it's all in one connector and it was the cheapest at $20. You cut the harness in half and it's cheaper than buying the two pigtails separately. With the dash harness sorted I wired its connections into the female end of the Honda connector, and I used the three pin pigtail from the Suzuki adapter harness kit for power and ground going to the Honda connector, so the radio harness just needed to be soldered to the Honda connector using the standard Honda pinout and that's all of the wiring sorted.

Radio assembly: The bracket kit contains three pieces. Two plates bolt to either side of the radio using 8 total screws. The third piece is a strap of sorts that runs underneath the radio. It uses two screws on one side and one on the other, and contains a single captive nut in the middle along the bottom. Bolt the radio support to that captive nut such that it extends rearward and downward from the bottom of the radio. This lower bracket is absolutely necessary as it supports the weight of the radio against the ash tray bracket and the dash itself is not strong enough to support even the stock single DIN without it. Ask me how I know.

Dash dissassembly and radio installation: Remove ash tray. Remove three bolts holding the ash tray bracket in. One in the front and two in the rear. Remove single DIN radio surround. Remove four screws holding in the factory radio. Slide radio out through dash opening. Slide the new radio in through the dash opening, support bracket first, and replace the four bolts attaching the head unit to the dash. Bolt the ash tray bracket's two rear bolts into the HVAC unit and radio support bracket as they were before, but leave the front bolt out. If everything lines up, put the dash surround in place and replace the last ash tray screw. If not, the support has some adjustability built in so you can loosen the upper bolt and make adjustments. This is what it will look like once everything is bolted back together.

Ignore the loose wires under the dash. Those are the speed and reverse signals which aren't used in this application and I hadn't cleaned them up when I took the picture. So the van has a radio and wiring harness, but still no speakers. The original speaker setup consisted of a 4" speaker and proprietary mounting bracket (Mazda ZZS066A61A, $11 each) in each front door and a vertically mounted 6x9 in a proprietary bracket (Mazda ZZS16895X and ZZS16885X, $31 each) in the side trim panels in the cargo area. If you didn't get factory speakers then those mounting brackets are also missing. I have no patience for 4" speakers and Polk doesn't make a matching 6x9 set so I oped for 5.25" in the front, the largest that would fit, and 6.5" in the rear because I didn't want to try to fabricate a box for larger subwoofers back there. The front install is relatively easy. Details in next post.

bobzilla MegaDork
4/27/20 2:44 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to randman2011 :

I believed the state removed it, but there used to be a sign at that exit on I-65 that said:

<- Whitestown

Brownsburg ->

And I always surprised that it remained for 20-years or more. 

it's actually opposite that. I live off that exit. 

EDIT: I guess if you're coming from Chicago it would right. It's not wrong though. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/27/20 3:08 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

I often spent more time going south on I-65 than north. :-)

randman2011 New Reader
4/27/20 4:57 p.m.

I hope you like pictures! Note that when I refer to "license plate nuts," this is what I mean:

Front door 5.5" supplies required:

  • Very small tapered triangular file
  • Drill
  • Drill bit set (I can't remember the exact size but you should match it to your license plate nuts anyway)
  • Dremel with cutoff wheel or other method to cut sheet metal
  • Metal punch or #1 Phillips screwdriver that you wouldn't mind damaging.
  • #2 screwdriver
  • #3 screwdriver if you have one, but #2 can be used for all screws if you don't
  • #10 license plate nuts with round head
  • #10 ID x 1/2" nylon spacers
  • #10 x 1" sheet metal screws

The front door cards were clearly never designed to be removed, but once you get the hang of things they're not that bad to deal with. To start, there are two plastic plugs on the rear of the door pull, pictured removed above. The rearmost one is quite easy to pop out with a screwdriver but the front WILL put up a fight. I had to use two screwdrivers, one on either side of the plug, and even still it was a struggle to not cause damage to the plugs or the door pull. They are visually unique so you don't have to worry about mixing them up. With those removed there are two #3 Phillips screws recessed in the holes that they revealed. Once those are out, the door pull can be removed by sliding it to the rear of the door to release the tabs. There is one electrical connector to the door switches that is very easy to remove.

There is a very small metal bracket that services the rear door pull bolt held in by two #2 Phillips screws. Get that out of the way.

The door release lever is by far the worst part of this job. There is a screw behind the lever that, once unscrewed, refuses to come out. A magnet would be very helpful here. Slide the assembly toward the front to release the tabs. You are working against the springs for the door latch so you will have to apply a surprising amount of force. The rod is held in place by a small white plastic clip that must be rotated counter-clockwise in order to release the rod, which then comes out through the bottom. There is no room for fingers in there, so use some skinny screwdrivers to push the lower part into or out of the door, depending on side. The first one I did took me a few minutes of fiddling but the third time I removed it I was done in a matter of seconds. 

This is what it looks like when the driver side clip is "unlocked."

There are two clips at the front of the door card. Press the center button in to release, and then pull the entire clip out. All of mine were broken already and just fell out of the doors, so expect to need replacements for these. They can be had from any local parts store so save one to compare. The last thing holding the door card on is the plastic trim panel up by where the side mirror mounts. This serves no purpose as there are no internal fasteners for the mirrors and from the factory it was held on by double sided tape. I have no intention of putting these back on and will instead leave this section bare metal.

There are 7 clips holding the bottom of the door card to the door. You can see their locations in the picture above. There's a slot below the forward-most screw hole for the door pull that provides an easy way to get a hand behind the card to pull these clips out. Work around the bottom of the door from there. When the bottom of the card swings away freely, lift the card straight up to release the top window seal. There are no clips along the top so you shou;dn't need to apply much force, but sometimes the card can rub on the rubber window surround and make removal a little more difficult. Note that you don't need to remove the lock shaft thing at the top rear of the door to get the card off. Mine is only off because it was missing when I acquired the van. Five new ones (Mazda 1AXK58691) are on order because I like to have spares. 

Here's what things look like with the card removed. You can remove the plastic while you work if you wish, but do not dispose of it. It is important for waterproofing and it doesn't even need to be cut to accommodate these larger speakers, so leave it intact. At this point, my pictures switch from the driver side to the passenger side door.

These Polk speakers came with massive capacitors for the tweeter crossover so I had to mount them sideways and enlarge the pointy end of the egg-shaped speaker hole in the door. I used the dremel to cut out two triangular sections to provide clearance, shown below. Cut only as much as is necessary because the speakers also need to mount in this area. The license plate "nuts" require a square hole. I selected the #10 size because the hardware store only had #10 spacers in stock, but ideally you should choose nuts which require the smallest square hole. Select a drill bit slightly smaller than the sides of the square will need to be. If you have a good way of centering your four holes around the irregularly shaped cutout, I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, insert the speaker into your hole, recessing it until the magnet is resting against the door glass. Center it as much as you can, then use your punch or #1 screwdriver to mark each of the holes. Remove the speaker, then use the same tool with a hammer to dent the metal for each hole. The bottom front hole will fall on a crease. It's going to suck but this is necessary because the shape of the inside of the door card prohibits any rotation of the mounting tabs from perfectly level. Carefully drill these holes, then use the file to shape the holes into squares of the appropriate size. Snap the license plate nut into each completed hole.

That's the hard part done. Replace the plastic, making sure to pull the window switch connector through its hole. Pull the speaker connectors through the designated speaker hole in the plastic and attach them to the speaker. You may need to bend the electrical tabs to clear the door metal. Screw the speaker into the license plate nuts, using one 1/2" spacer on each screw. Yes, the nuts are slightly offset, but that doesn't matter. Each screw gets the same 1/2" spacer. The finished product should look like this:

Depending on your speaker choice, you may need to trim the lower front speaker mounting tab to clear the door card. I had to do this on mine and ended up cutting the tab in about half, shown below. That should be the only location for potential clearance issues and with that resolved, replace the door card. Installation is the reverse of removal and all that, but don't forget that little two-screw metal bracket!

The passenger side is exactly the same as driver side except that the clip holding the door release rod needs to be pulled away from the door to be removed, and the passenger side window switches don't have the electrical connector in a pigtail and instead have it mounted directly to the switch unit, making it infinitely more of a pain to remove.

randman2011 New Reader
4/27/20 5:28 p.m.

The rear speaker mounting is a bit more open-ended as there are a lot more options. I'm stuck with wood as a material, so the lengths of my fasteners are accounting for 3/4" thick wood. Metal is a better option if you have it. Adjust fastener length accordingly.

Rear side 6.5" supplies required:

  • Spare wood large enough to cut two 9"x10" rectangles
  • Mitsubishi MD124049 4G63 water pump pulley
  • Jigsaw
  • 8x 1/4 / #14 license plate nuts with square head
  • 4x 1/4 x 1 1/4" sheet metal screw (1" length may have worked because my math was slightly conservative)
  • 2x 1/4 x 2 1/2" sheet metal screw (or 2 1/4" length if you can find it)
  • 2x 1/4 x 3" sheet metal screw (this was a little long but I'm not sure 2 1/2" is long enough)
  • 2x 1/4 ID x 3/4 nylon spacer
  • 2x 1/4 ID x 1" nylon spacer

There are no tools required to remove the rear cargo trim. It just has some clips to pull off. I found that it was easiest to start at the C pillar corner and work around from there. With that removed, this is what the cavity looks like. Plastic license plate nuts have already been inserted. Note that these license plate nuts are a different size than the ones used at the front.

I used nylon spacers to get the mounts to a level plane then used wood to connect them all. The measurements were:

  • 175mm vertical spacing between holes
  • 200mm horizontal spacing between holes
  • One side offset vertically by 25mm.

With that all measured and drilled, it's time to cut a circle to mount the speaker behind the wood. I opted to mount the speaker exactly in the middle of the 6x9 hole in the trim panel, but this is not recommended, as the speaker needs to be mounted slightly above center to clear the plastic inlet on the passenger side. Wherever you decide to put it, center it horizontally between the mounting holes and grab your 4G63 water pump pulley to trace.

Cut out the hole with a jigsaw. I opted to use the mounting screws that came with my speakers because they were long enough, so with some simple trigonometry I marked and drilled the pilot holes around the circle. Here's me showing how much I am enjoying this project.

With that done, it's time for installation. Or you can paint the wood black first. Or even stain it. Whatever. The two forward mounting points don't get any spacers. The top rear gets a 3/4" spacer. The bottom rear should get a 1" spacer but the hardware store was out and didn't have a combination of parts to get it to 1" so I can't confirm myself yet. There is a plastic cover on the inside of the 6x9 grille that needs to be removed before you snap the trim panel back on.

This is the plastic tube that you're trying to avoid on the passenger side. This is actually the engine air intake.

Since most of the lower tones come from the rear and the speakers aren't that large anyway, I had to play around with the audio configuration on the head unit quite a bit to get it to stop sounding tinny and awful. The EQ is set to pretty drastically reduce high frequencies and I thought the built-in Bass Boost function actually sounded better than messing with the EQ on the low end. I moved the sound stage pretty significantly rearward by dropping by attenuating the front channels something like 6dB in order to hear more of the 6.5s, but I am really happy with it now. I'm still thinking about installing a sealed 8" sub and box somewhere in the future, but since I am 100% against intruding into the cargo area I don't know where I'd put it yet. Some kei vans mount a speaker bar on the ceiling just inside the back hatch and that may be an option if that won't interfere with headroom in the third row seats that I add later.

randman2011 New Reader
5/13/20 2:56 p.m.

There's not all that much to share. I got the Turbo PS bumpers put on, but the side skirts require drilling to make holes for the clips to attach to, so I won't fool with those until I can get the whole set painted. Silver to match the side strip is what I'm going for. The Autozam badges also went on and I removed the Suzuki and Every stickers, but I have had no luck removing the old adhesive so I haven't put the new stickers on yet.

The rear bumper was missing a bracket which is now on order. The front bumper was missing three brackets which are also on order. The fog lights are plugged in because the harness exists on all vans but I haven't bothered to locate the other end to wire them up inside the cabin. I didn't get the switch with the bumper and I don't really care; the plan is to trigger them off of the headlights anyway. While I was under there I also installed two additional horns from a 2nd gen Volvo S40 that I had laying around my garage. The original Volvo brackets mounted nicely to the frame just under the fog lights and the Volvo harness was used, but again I haven't connected the other end to anything because I was too lazy to run wires from the relays back to the battery. That may be a project for this week. 

The bearings finally arrived from Japan so I removed the bearing housings and took them to a machine shop. There was maybe 20 mintues between pulling the Volvo out of the garage and having both bearing housings in my hands. The axles pushed out of the hubs with just pressure from my thumb; no hammer necessary! I wish they could all be that easy. The left rear was missing most of the seal and the bearings were quite dry. Right rear was fine but I went ahead and did both. Part numbers were Suzuki 4348150F00 two per side and Mazda ZZS026154 one per side. The parts catalog claims that the bearings were changed two months after my van was produced, but these were the correct ones for me.

Excuse the disaster that is my garage. I have three torn apart project cars at the moment and it's not going well.

With the bearing issues resolved, I discovered a bushing issue. A steering bushing is so loose that I need to use 90 degrees of steering input on the highway just to keep going straight. It's a very common problem and I was thinking about sourcing a Delrin bushing to replace the factory rubber. Others have replaced it with a stack of roller bearings. I have options, but a new OE bushing ($25) is on order anyway.

Yes, it's a stupid design. You don't need to tell me.

buzzboy Dork
5/14/20 6:48 a.m.

Kujira? I feel like I know that from something but google's telling me it translates to Whale which doesn't sound right.

randman2011 New Reader
5/14/20 8:24 a.m.
buzzboy said:

Kujira? I feel like I know that from something but google's telling me it translates to Whale which doesn't sound right.

You may be thinking of Gojira, giant lizard, from which we get the name Godzilla. Kujira does indeed mean whale; it's what I named my AZ-1 because it's gigantic and blue. In the absence of an Indiana BMV and since the AZ-1 is missing the whole rear suspension right now, I was advised by law enforcement to put that plate on the van until government offices open again. 

The van has been named Raitoban, which I am trying to figure out how to contract to 6 characters plus the big red R for the van's eventual license plate. In the spirit of full disclosure, the Miata's name is Ninjin (carrot) and the Sambar's name is Torakku (truck).

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/14/20 3:14 p.m.

How about R​​​​​ ITOBAN? That's six plus the R.

randman2011 New Reader
6/15/20 3:44 p.m.

@ShawneeCreek I did a thing!

Also check out my new spoiler! My favorite body shop charged me a whole $75 for that glorious metallic tricoat, which makes me want to have the rest of the car resprayed to match.

You will have to excuse the filth. I put 1500km on the van this weekend and don't have time to fix stuff. The timing belt on Michael's Volvo decided that it didn't want to time stuff anymore, so I have spent a full week dealing with that. Still no resolution.

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/16/20 10:13 a.m.

Nice. I'm glad it worked out :)

Such a fun little vehicle.

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