Automatic tercel too slow

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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My tercel:: 1986 4wd wagon stock

Automatic tercel too slow

Post by BCBEN » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:43 am

I have a 1986 tercel (with 55,000 original kms!) with a 3 speed auto and on the highway at 90kms/hr (55mph) the rpms are through the roof. Tried slightly larger tires made very little difference anyone tried swapping the ring and pinions? Maybe from an earlier model that doesn't have 4.10 gears? Any relevant info appreciated.

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Re: Automatic tercel too slow

Post by rer233 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:21 pm

Convert it to M/T- did it to my '87 T4 (gonna need a donor car 'tho.)
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83 SR5 Silver/Blue (Snowmobile/work beater)-totaled but drivable
85 SR5 Blue
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87 fwd silver wagon a/t
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Re: Automatic tercel too slow

Post by NWMO » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:13 pm


What is "through the roof" ? My 85' M/T runs near 2,800 rpm at 55 mph. After a year of driving and getting used to the 1.5L, I don't think twice about running 70 mph, even though the engine is turning 3,500 rpm. I do have larger wheels/tires I am getting ready to put on, but that's more about comfort and aesthetics (since my mini-lift) than engine speed.

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Re: Automatic tercel too slow

Post by splatterdog » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:48 pm

Yep, conversion. If I remember right, the auto had it's own unique ratio. 195/70r14 tires shave off about 200 rpm's.

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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
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Re: Automatic tercel too slow

Post by Petros » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:50 pm

this is common with auto trans, no overdrive gear and it uses fairly low final drive. larger tires are the only thing to try. If you change out diff, the easiest thing to do is to change out the whole third member and front diff assembly, with ones from the '83-84 manual trans, (3.73:1) .

make sure the engine is in good tune, set your spark timing at 12 deg btdc (rather than the factory 5 deg), and live with it. I drove an auto trans tercel half way across the country, the long open stretches of SW desert seem rather slow at 70 mph, but that was about all it could do. You cojuld also add sound deadening insulation under the carpet and on the firewall.

if it comes time for an new engine, you might go for a 4ac, easy swap, and more hp. gives more power.
'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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