Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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Paultercel
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My tercel:: 1986 wagon looking to do some upgrades!

Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Paultercel »

Hello Fellow Tercel Owners!

Simple Question, Can my 1986 tercel tow a small scamper trailer? What is the maximum capacity I can tow without wearing out the engine?

Thanks!

Best,
Paul
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irowiki
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by irowiki »

How big is this trailer?

Image

A tercel pulled that trailer, but it was brand new!

(not my tercel see https://tercel4wd.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5528 )
Former Tercel Enthusiast (not a practical family car anymore but they still have a place in my heart)

Site administrator, if something is broken, PM me!

87 Corolla FX16, 105k
94 Jamboree RV (Ford E-350), 90k
95 Camry Wagon, 170k
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Petros
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Petros »

do you mean one of these?

Image

How heavy is the trailer? They make different sizes, i would think the small one would be fine, just do not push it too hard at higher speeds or up hills. I would do it, but you would really make it safer if you did the following up grades:

I do not think it is a problem with the engine, but rather the brakes. the brakes are too flimsy to stop the a fully loaded tercel4wd without overheating and warping the front rotors, so I would not do it unless you up grade to the '92 and newer vented front rotors and calipers (which is a good idea even if you do not tow with it). I show you how here: https://tercel4wd.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4998

It is a really inexpensive up grade even if you buy all the parts you need new from Rockauto.com or an auto parts store, or you can get them from a wrecking yard for even less money.

You do not need to upgrade the master cylinder, just the rotors and calipers, but it gives you more stopping power so it is a good idea.

The other thing I would advise is to install some air-adjustable shocks in the rear to handle the tong weight, overlaod springs would also work but than you have to install and remove them when you do not want to pull the trailer or your rear end will be way up in the air. I am not aware of any other adjustable rear springs that can be fit to the Tercel rear suspension.

I would also make sure the clutch is in good condition, it should handle it if you take it easy on it when starting from a stop. The other thing is to put in fresh trans gear oil (with perhaps one quart of synthetic gear oil to the 3 quarts of regular gear oil, total 4 quarts). See the repair guide section for replacing the trans gear oil. i would also put in synthetic gear oil in the rear diff (one quart).

Make sure all your suspension bushings, tie rod ends and ball joints are in good condition too, extra play or slop would make it hard to control (this is true for all tow vehicles, I had to replace all the cushy Ford bushings on our 1-ton ford van with performance urethane bushings before it was safe to tow with it!)

Than you should be good to go!

you will lower the stress on the drive train if you actually use the 4wd for starting out from a dead stop, particularly on an up hill run. Keep the wheels all pointing straight ahead, put in 4wd, and EL first, start the car moving, shift into first than accelerate and shift into 2nd, than pull it out of 4wd. that will distribute the drive train loads to all 4 wheels and the particularly durable rear axle. Remember to always pull it out of 4wd when on paved surfaces, this is just for starting it moving on rough surface or on up-hill starts. go easy on it, it will do fine. Just watch the cross winds and long down hill runs. It would also help to have as much weight as possible in the Tercel to keep it stable.

Also, going to 14x6" alloy wheels and 185/60 tires would be a big help too, it would make the handling more positive and responsive, pump them up to their max of 45 PSI or so too. Remember to drop them back to 35 or so after your trip.

Have a good time! post some pictures too!
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by xirdneh »

the engine is not the future problem
its the weak brakes and the transmission you need to worry about
i was told by a local tranny shop not to use 5th gear when towing
he thought that was the reason 5th gear went bad on me last year
not sure if he is right but something to think about
i was towing a utility trailer with lawn mower and wood and lots of other stuff that probably max'd out at around 700 lbs
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.
BrownBadger
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by BrownBadger »

A 13' Scamp trailer, like Petro pictured above, weighs in at about 950lbs and has a tongue weight of about 100lbs. I wouldn't worry too much about power, but more about braking like others have mentioned, especially if you load the trailer or your Tercel down with camping gear.
Tercel__jon
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Tercel__jon »

The tercel can tow quite a bit...stopping it is a whole nother ballgame. I suggest looking up the brake upgrade and doing that before attempting to tow anything.
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Paultercel
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Paultercel »

Awesome! Thanks guys. Deffinetly will upgrade the braking system and replacing trans and differential gear oil.
The scamper is 16 feet long.... I dont know how much of a difference that makes...
But sounds like I should replace those things regardless. As far as the clutch is concerned; who makes the best clutch and assembly?
Only like to buy quality parts... Learned the hard way from an old vw jetta i once owned. Chinese exhaust systems are NOT quality!
One more question further.
My exhaust has separated at the resonator near the rear axle. I was thinking of getting a tiger patch to band-aid the problem. Right now i have coat hangered it together so its quieter. Would like to avoid purchasing an entirely new exhaust system. Has anyone had any luck with the tiger patch kit? Any other macguyver tricks to remedy this situation?
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Petros
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Petros »

any temp fix to the exhaust is just that, best have it replaced properly with a new pipe if you intend to keep the car. they should not have to replace all of the system, just from where is has rusted away, usually behind the cat.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by dlb »

16' doesn't mean much, it's the weight of the trailer that is important.

changing the trans and gear oil and clutch will not protect the transmission from the wear of pulling a very heavy load. it comes down to very small gears being put under a great strain. i personally would only tow a very small trailer because of the risk of damaging a transmission that is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
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Paultercel
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Paultercel »

Oh boy. Maybe not a good idea then. A bad transmission is a problem I am not interested in tackling...
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simon84
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by simon84 »

I towed a tent trailer about 2000 miles to Burning Man and back in 2011. It was kinda loaded up but seemed ok and we made it there and back. There were some issues with the trailer though...
I lost all the lug nuts on one wheel but managed to keep the wheel!! Also had to replace both tires on the way back.
Long story short, I won't tow that trailer again. I would probably not go far when towing with the tercel and would stick to a small tent trailer or maybe the 13 foot scamp or a boler.

Who needs a trailer when you have Chateau Tercel? (sleeping in the back)
I guess that would get old pretty quick on a long trip. More importantly, it may not go over with significant others for extended periods.
Driver: 87 Tercel SR5, white, 4ac, weber carb (aka the Tercedes)
Road Tripper:95 Mitsubishi Delica L400 2.8L Turbo Diesel
Motorbike: 94 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6
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Angel
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by Angel »

Paultercel wrote: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:56 pm Hello Fellow Tercel Owners!

Simple Question, Can my 1986 tercel tow a small scamper trailer? What is the maximum capacity I can tow without wearing out the engine?

Thanks!

Best,
Paul
The Scamp 1300 weighs approximately 1000lbs unloaded. Once you fill the water tank and pack clothes, food and fishing gear, it can weighs 100-500 more. The Tercel is rated for 1000lbs, I believe that also includes the weight of anything in the car. So the short answer is no. The longer answer is that you need head room for braking. Without it, your trailer can fishtail. 1300’s don’t generally come with trailer brakes but you could install them, and an electric brake controller. That would help but it would still be hell on your transmission and mileage. A transmission cooler would help, but again, that’s an add on.

Towing capacity formula
Find out curb weight (on VIN sticker).
Add the weight of passengers, fuel, and cargo to the curb weight.
Subtract this number from your vehicle’s GCWR ( you may have to look this up using your VIN if it’s not on the door sticker).
This is your max towing capacity.
Check to make sure the hitch can also handle this weight
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splatterdog
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by splatterdog »

Have you considered motorcycle size camper trailers? That would be the best size.

Something like this would be cool. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=56XL0TysIn0
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splatterdog
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Re: Can My Tercel Pull a Small Scamper?

Post by splatterdog »

Oops, didn't notice how old this post was.
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