JDM Mitsubishi Delica JB500 camper body on L300 truck chassis build

jfarsang

Adventurer
I've been eyeing these for years and never pulled the trigger for some reason. I know there's a few floating around and sparse information on the net, so I'm going to do a thread specifically on the JB500 in it's stock form for maintenance/specs and then I'll be modifying it with the usual suspension lift, 33" tires, some cutting/mods to the camper box and front/rear bumpers to make it into a mini camper similar to a domestic slide in camper/truck but more compact with better use of space and footprint.

A few fun facts considering it's over 20 years old.

The campershell is german Reimo factory built specific to the L200 4x4 4D46 4cyl diesel 1 tonne Mitsubishi truck.. which is almost identical to the normal JDM L300 running gear/engine that we are familiar with (now starting to be imported into the US). The difference lies in the ladder truck frame vs monocoque van body.

GVW is not much more than a standard 90's JDM L300 which was surprising considering the size difference, but then it makes sense as it's on a stripped down ladder frame truck chassis.

Interior has propane stove, 3 way 12v/120v/propane Dometic fridge, propane forced air furnace, Atwood water heater and an electric 12v/120v radiant heater.

Full shower/sink & toilet w external removable cassette.

The windows are double glazed acrylic that are used in modern european/domestic and RV campers to eliminate condensation on windows and has manual blackout blinds.

Sleeps 4 adults. 2 full double beds.

What's cool about this one is that it has a smaller footprint than a small pickup truck yet it has more interior room than my 9.5' Bigfoot camper.

Will post mods as I do them.



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Thirty-Nine

Explorer
I was just looking at these yesterday!

Aren't these 4D56-powered but non-turbo? There's one for sale in Seattle now and it says normally aspirated: https://www.jdmcarandmotorcycle.com/1992_Mitsubishi_Delica 4WD Diese JB500_Seattle_WA_13290306.veh

The non-turbo 4D56 engines make 74 hp and 105 lb/ft of torque. I have a turbo 4D56 on 30x9.50s and cannot imagine how slow it'd be on 33s and factory gears!

I didn't know these had a frame vs. unibody, however. Is the suspension the same as an L300 (torsion bars up front, leafs in the back)?
 

plh

Explorer
I was just looking at these yesterday!

Aren't these 4D56-powered but non-turbo? There's one for sale in Seattle now and it says normally aspirated: https://www.jdmcarandmotorcycle.com/1992_Mitsubishi_Delica 4WD Diese JB500_Seattle_WA_13290306.veh

The non-turbo 4D56 engines make 74 hp and 105 lb/ft of torque. I have a turbo 4D56 on 30x9.50s and cannot imagine how slow it'd be on 33s and factory gears!

I didn't know these had a frame vs. unibody, however. Is the suspension the same as an L300 (torsion bars up front, leafs in the back)?
Wow, RHD - visibility would be shockingly compromised in a LHD country.
 

jfarsang

Adventurer
Sweet! I had no idea that was possible! Keep us posted!
Will do. It's pretty cool.

Very cool! What do these go for if you dont mind me askin...?
It varies from 15k+ and the condition of the campers range from absolute junk to pristine in Japan. Unless you have someone there on location, it's luck of the draw. Fortunately, a friend of mine lives there and I lucked out on this one.

So you bought this? I saw it on FB for sale in the past weeks
This is mine. I'm not a dealer but I know there is one down in Seattle which is below average condition.

I was just looking at these yesterday!
Aren't these 4D56-powered but non-turbo? There's one for sale in Seattle now and it says normally aspirated: https://www.jdmcarandmotorcycle.com/1992_Mitsubishi_Delica 4WD Diese JB500_Seattle_WA_13290306.veh

The non-turbo 4D56 engines make 74 hp and 105 lb/ft of torque. I have a turbo 4D56 on 30x9.50s and cannot imagine how slow it'd be on 33s and factory gears!

I didn't know these had a frame vs. unibody, however. Is the suspension the same as an L300 (torsion bars up front, leafs in the back)?
Yes it's the 4D56 (non turbo) In 1994 they added the turbo to some models. Tire size mistake. I meant to say 31's. That's what I'm running now and they are amazing. Cooper AT/W's. The gearing is different on the delica truck compared to the delica van. The truck's first 3 gears only gets you to 20 mph. The bigger tires now allows me to cruise at 60mph on the highway whereas the stock tires I couldn't go past 45mph without rev's being too high. Also, this is a camper which I'm enjoying driving it relaxed so no rush to go anywhere. Suspension is identical to the L300 except the rear has axle-over leaf packs (L300 has axle under the leafs) and a larger leaf pack. Front has longer/thicker torsion bars. Rest of the drivetrain is the same. I've been fabricating suspension lift kits for these since the 90's and they are similar to old Toyo's.

Wow, RHD - visibility would be shockingly compromised in a LHD country.
It's the opposite. Drive a RHD here in Canada/US you have more visibility, especially in intersections. That argument has been made over 15 years ago since they started being imported into N America.
 
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Thirty-Nine

Explorer
Wow, RHD - visibility would be shockingly compromised in a LHD country.

It's actually not shocking at all. It takes a bit of getting used to, but that's it. So far we've driven in BC, WA, OR, CA, and NV in our van and lived to tell about it. ;)

Will do. It's pretty cool.

Yes it's the 4D56 (non turbo) In 1994 they added the turbo to some models. Tire size mistake. I meant to say 31's. That's what I'm running now and they are amazing. Cooper AT/W's. The gearing is different on the delica truck compared to the delica van. The truck's first 3 gears only gets you to 20 mph. The bigger tires now allows me to cruise at 60mph on the highway whereas the stock tires I couldn't go past 45mph without rev's being too high. Also, this is a camper which I'm enjoying driving it relaxed so no rush to go anywhere. Suspension is identical to the L300 except the rear has axle-over leaf packs (L300 has axle under the leafs) and a larger leaf pack. Front has longer/thicker torsion bars. Rest of the drivetrain is the same. I've been fabricating suspension lift kits for these since the 90's and they are similar to old Toyo's.
Ah 31s; makes more sense. I'm on the 30x9.50s on my L300. Huge difference, and I can actually go 65 on the freeway, although we generally stay under that.

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Mad flex. All 3 cm. :D
 

plh

Explorer
A RHD Deli I can understand. There are windows on the LH side of that vehicle. An RV thou? Can't get a grip, your LH side is completely blocked and your mirrors are really small. RV's suck to begin with for traffic merging and general visibility rearward. now move the driver to the right? I'll pass, I value my life I guess. Most other fellows on highways drive completely terrible, now you will be driving blind amongst those monkeys.
 

jfarsang

Adventurer
A RHD Deli I can understand. There are windows on the LH side of that vehicle. An RV thou? Can't get a grip, your LH side is completely blocked and your mirrors are really small. RV's suck to begin with for traffic merging and general visibility rearward. now move the driver to the right? I'll pass, I value my life I guess. Most other fellows on highways drive completely terrible, now you will be driving blind amongst those monkeys.
The mirrors extend past the forward cab and give you 100% unobstructed views from the front bumper to the rear corner on both sides. There is also a rearview camera that gives you a wide angle top to bottom view behind. There is more visibility around the truck then almost any new car.

I've been driving RHD's since the mid 2000's across Canada, US and central america. Road trips along most states. I also value my life and those I share the road with. I can see more with these Delica's and react much easier than a modern car with giant obstructive A/B pillars and poor blind spot rear visibility.

plh, if you sat in the driver's seat you would know what I mean and be impressed at the lack of blind spots on this. It's pretty awesome. It looks big and bulky in the pictures but it's footprint is smaller than a Toyota 4 Runner/Tacoma. You can tell by the small size in the parking space I'm taking up in the last pic.
 

lev

New member
Looks awesome! Not enough Delicas around here :( I saw one in West Oakland a few weeks back, but they are few and far between...
 

Saguache

Adventurer
I was just looking at these yesterday!

Aren't these 4D56-powered but non-turbo? There's one for sale in Seattle now and it says normally aspirated: https://www.jdmcarandmotorcycle.com/1992_Mitsubishi_Delica 4WD Diese JB500_Seattle_WA_13290306.veh

The non-turbo 4D56 engines make 74 hp and 105 lb/ft of torque. I have a turbo 4D56 on 30x9.50s and cannot imagine how slow it'd be on 33s and factory gears!

I didn't know these had a frame vs. unibody, however. Is the suspension the same as an L300 (torsion bars up front, leafs in the back)?
He pulled the turbo (know the guy from my Paragliding days) and now it's even more of a gutless wonder.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

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jfarsang

Adventurer
I was just looking at these yesterday!

Aren't these 4D56-powered but non-turbo? There's one for sale in Seattle now and it says normally aspirated: https://www.jdmcarandmotorcycle.com/1992_Mitsubishi_Delica 4WD Diese JB500_Seattle_WA_13290306.veh

The non-turbo 4D56 engines make 74 hp and 105 lb/ft of torque. I have a turbo 4D56 on 30x9.50s and cannot imagine how slow it'd be on 33s and factory gears!

I didn't know these had a frame vs. unibody, however. Is the suspension the same as an L300 (torsion bars up front, leafs in the back)?
There's a lot you can do to enable the torque/turbo to work together.

Timing is advanced by default. Retard the timing and with the combination below you'll see massive gains in mpg,torque and power without hurting the engine.

- delete the EGR. It's horrible. Blanking plate is the best.
- Pyro probe/EGT gauge. Must have to monitor the heat climbing.
- retard the timing
- use a good diesel additive
- boost gauge/adjust wastegate and up psi.

I've done this on all my delica's and I'm able to run 31's with a full load and do 60mph down the I5 without breaking a sweat. Before it would suffer at 40mph.

Also I've done a lot of worthwhile upgrades along the years. Most of them are documented over at delica . ca forum.

One of the best was upgrading the front brakes to Gen 2 dual piston. Since the drivetrain is almost identical to a Montero, parts are cheap and I used Gen 2 Montero dual piston calipers, rotors and pads. This made stopping power MUCH better and modulation is superior to the stock setup. When you do this, completely flush the old brake fluid crap out and get some fresh fluid in there.

The standard stuff too. Change all fluids. When I did the front brakes I did the wheel bearings and hubs at the same time. Butter smooth.
Suspension/swap bar bushings. Those too.

All of the above combined will make a standard Delica feel great.

As for the non-turbo camper model I have being gutless. It is and it isn't. It's slow up hill but has awesome torque. Without the turbo I find myself just cruising and enjoying the drive as opposed to rushing somewhere. The camper is not meant to fly down the road. It's unique to drive and people love it wherever I go. The seating position is similar to my old 70's VW Westy. Skinny steering wheel. Just just lean on it and relax.
 

Thirty-Nine

Explorer
I'd like to do the EGR delete, but worried it'll effect whether or not I can get through our emissions check here in Portland.
 
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