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emo Daihatsu Copen (L880K - 659cc Turbo engine) Buyers Guide

11 Sep 2012 15:23 #15686

Here's a buyers guide I've written up for the 659cc Copen, however some points are applicable for the 1.3 engine.

Daihatsu Copen (L880K - 659cc Turbo) Buyers Guide

Common Issues:


The 659cc turbo engine (JB-DET) needs to be well looked after.  Regular oil changes are required every 3000miles/6 months.  With an oil filter change required every 6000miles/12months.  If this has not been adhered to turbo failure is a possibility.
Turbo’s are very expensive to replace with dealer prices for a new turbo around the £1100 price.  Second hand turbo’s are very rare. Turbo’s can be sourced direct from Japan, but with import costs prices are about £800.

Common failure points of the exhaust are that the chrome end trims rust off (this isn’t an MOT failure, just a visual thing).  The joint to the baffle is a weak point, look under the car just behind the driver’s door.  Replacement systems are expensive from the dealers.  Common option is to replacement with a custom made stainless system.  A price for a system is @£350, equal to if not cheaper than a steel system from the dealer.


The Copen was designed for the Japanese market.  Salt is not used on Japanese roads during the winter.  Hence only minimal corrosion protection is used.
When sold in the UK the corrosion protection was not increased enough to handle a UK winter with salt on the roads.

The main problem area is the rear wheel arches, usually on the top trailing edge.  Some Copen’s have had warranty work carried out to replace the effected panels.
Check the leading face of the sills (just behind the front wheels).  The half way point in the sill, where the plastic cover for the sill panel joint is can also show signs of rust.

Rust can appear any place where a paint chip has been left un-treated. 

Alloy wheels corrode, moisture gets under the lacquer.  The Copen alloy wheel has a polished face with painted inserts in the holes.  To be refurbished back to the original finish will cost @£100 per wheel.  If you not bothered about keeping the original finish a simple full face powder coating can be done for @£50 per wheel.

Check in the boot underneath where the jack & tools are kept.  Moisture in the boot can collect here causing surface rust.
The centre brake light on the boot lid can allow water through into the boot if the seal has failed.  Check the boot carpets for moisture.

Roof System:

The roof system us generally reliable.  Most common gripe is a squeaky or rattley roof.
There are adjustment points that can help tighten things up.  A quick spray of lubricant (WD40) on all the hinge points can help too.
Water ingress through the roof is uncommon.  Treating all the roof seal rubbers yearly with a silicone lubricant will help preserve the seals & help prevent any leaks.


Although Daihatsu garages are closing, any ex-Daihatsu dealer can still get spare parts for you.  Common parts can be got within a few of days.  However if the parts are un-common you will be in for a couple of weeks wait as the parts come from Japan.

Service parts & brake parts can be bought from any local motor factors or off eBay.
It’s advisable to always buy the genuine Daihatsu oil filter though.  None genuine oil filters tend to be too large & cannot be fitted through the front engine mounting. 

Check electrical contacts of any failed electrical part under the bonnet.  Sometimes the failure is a simple issue of corroded contacts.  Such examples are failed horns, these are positioned behind the front grill so get attacked by the salt in winter.
Also the magnetic clutch on the air-con compressor, can suffer the same problem.

Check the tyre sealant bottle in the boot, by now it’s date has expired.  New bottles are available from Daihatsu but are very expensive.  It’s cheaper just to buy a bottle of Tyreweld from Halfords.

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