The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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Petros
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by Petros »

what is important for CV life is the angle, the more angle on the joint the more it works with each revolution of the wheel. at small angles, the wear is minimal. I would guess 1.5" of lift would be okay, perhaps up to 2", but you just need to take a look at it and eyeball the angle of the joint. if it looks like a small angle when it is sitting at rest, you are likely fine.

beside the spacing down of the cross member (which is also useful for a 4age swap to get more room under the hood for the stock EFI intake manfiold), you can reduce your lift a bit by switching to the first generation front MR2 upper strut mount. it will swap right in and is about 12mm (1/2") less in height. you can also buy polyurethane performance upper strut mounts for the first gen MR2 to put in your hot Tercel4wd. I would also think having the front alignment done and have them set the camber angle to as high as the specs allow. as I recall it is something like 0 deg to +1.5 deg, set it at +1.5 deg (or what ever is the max factory setting). that will also reduced the cv angle by that much.
'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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simon84
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by simon84 »

AugustusFerdinand - Not quite... as far as I can tell. You raise up the car by adding the spacer on top of the strut. The engine and trans dropped a half inch with the spacers for the cross member, rear trans mount and the driveshaft carrier bearing mount, but the car itself does not move. The engine/trans drop does two things. It eases the CV angle and it gives you a half inch less clearance for the cross member and trans. So it's a bit of give and take there. I've noticed a lot of front end noise since dropping the engine/trans the half inch. I think it's because the CV axles have worn in at the steeper angle (after 20k miles). And now they seem to be making quite a bit of noise at highway speeds. I've noticed this before after adding the 1" lift on my previous tercel and swapped in new CV's to fix it then. I'm also replacing the wheel bearings while I am in there (also 20k miles on them). They are pretty smooth but one of them seems to have a failed seal and you can hear a little bit of grit in there. I already bought them so I'm gonna put them in. So I won't actually know if it was the bearings making noise but the signs point to the CV axles.
I will check for pics and post them.
Driver: 87 Tercel SR5, white, 4ac, weber carb (aka the Tercedes)
Road Tripper:95 Mitsubishi Delica L400 2.8L Turbo Diesel
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simon84
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by simon84 »

Some pics of the spacers installed on cross member, trans mount and driveshaft carrier bearing mount.
2021 tercel cross member spacer.jpg
trans spacers.JPG
carrier spacer.JPG
Sorry for the upside down pics!

I just replaced the front axles and wheel bearings. The bearings were not really bad but when I removed the steering knuckle, you could hear a little grit in one of them so the seal was likely not good. The car is much quieter on the highway now.
I highly recommend the engine/trans mount spacers when doing a lift. If you add the same spacing as the amount of lift then you should be able to keep existing CV axles. It's not much more work than the lift and saves you from swapping axles. I've replaced 3 sets of axles on 2 different tercels due to this issue!
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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
Project Car:Red 68 Plymouth Sport Fury III
Previous Tercel:Orange 84 Tercel 4wd (aka the pumpkin)
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Petros
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by Petros »

why did you feel it necessary to lower the trans cross member too?

the slight angle change does not seem to affect anything as far as i can tell without the rear cross member shims, or is there something I am missing when you lower the front of the engine?
'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)
The Professor
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by The Professor »

The engine and transmission should be spaced out from the body as an assembly. Using spacers on both crossmembers also preserves the original engine/transmission inclination angle, which is important for splash-lubricated components like our rare-as-hens-teeth transmissions.

There are lots of good reasons to do a full body lift and not many good reasons for installing a suspension lift. These aren't heavy duty 4x4s, they're dinky old econoboxes.
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
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Petros
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by Petros »

The Professor wrote: Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:05 am Using spacers on both crossmembers also preserves the original engine/transmission inclination angle, which is important for splash-lubricated components like our rare-as-hens-teeth transmissions.
Do you know this for certain, or are you just speculating? not a bad reason actually, but I would estimate that a 10mm shim at the front cross member would change the angle of incidence about 0.6 degrees (front down) without changing the rear mount height. so if it is that sensitive, does that mean you have to maintain the angle of incidence on the body lift as well? you would have to raise the rear exactly the same as the front? I do not think anyone that has lifted their Tercel has done that, and no one reported a transmission problem that I can recall after a lift. what about when going up long uphill grades? I have done 11 mile uphill grades (9 percent, about 5 degree) at full throttle/fully loaded, going over the Rockies, why did not I damage my transmission?

I just do not think it is that sensitive, the little bit of extra ground clearance near the center of the car seems a better reason not to shim it. besides, I try to slightly overfill the transaxle with gear oil by filling it with the left side of the car jacked a bit higher than the other (better access to the filler). likely I only gets in a ounce or two more, but seems that should more than compensate for a 0.6 degree angle of incidence change. of course if we are talking 4 or 5 degrees of change that might be a different story over the long term, but that is not what is happening here.
'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)
The Professor
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by The Professor »

Speculation based on experience and career choice. I'm more worried about CV angles, to be frank.

Also, most people don't put much mileage on, or own these cars for very long, so you're not going to have accurate reporting of long term trans/CV wear on HEAVILY off-roaded, lifted Tercels. Hell, once lifted and broken most people will probably scrap the car and never log in to this forum ever again...

Until someone takes a Tercel up the Rubicon, I would worry more about CV/Trans longevity and building a proper lift kit vs. sweating over another inch of straddle clearance.
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
1984 Subaru Turbo-Traction wagon & hardtop
1987 Subaru RX 3-door
1987 Subaru RX Type-RA 3-door
1987 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon
1999 Subaru Forester S
2002 Subaru WRX sedan
2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by splatterdog »

The cv angles are already pretty sharp with only new coil springs. A truly proper lift would also drop the front control arms with brackets connected together like a strut tower brace. Axles might not clear that area after the drop though.
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by simon84 »

I agree that lifting the tercel to go off roading never ends well. I like it lifted for a bit of extra clearance and so you can run 14's. Handy on some out there logging/mining roads and in deep snow. Sometimes both at once! Looks good too!
IMG_3629.JPG
and here's a quick comparison pic
banff-mar-08 021.jpg
And the orange one is on 13's in this pic.

I think with around 1-2" lift you can get by ok without lowering the control arm mount. I notice also that when wheels are turned to full steering lock, the brake hose is getting a bit tight. Has anyone gotten a longer hose or adjusted the mount?
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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
Project Car:Red 68 Plymouth Sport Fury III
Previous Tercel:Orange 84 Tercel 4wd (aka the pumpkin)
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by LowBuckCanuck »

Got these sponsored posts on my Instagram feed.. food for thought.
Screenshot_20210413-185335_Instagram.jpg
Screenshot_20210413-185330_Instagram.jpg
Screenshot_20210413-185327_Instagram.jpg
Screenshot_20210413-185324_Instagram.jpg
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by AugustusFerdinand »

Per their website they're $1090 for the base coilover and another $250 for the high lift option, so $1,340. Nice find, little rich for my blood considering success with what we have so far.
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teranfirbt
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by teranfirbt »

One thing I found out about on mine recently, after replacing the original driveshaft center bearing, is that lifting the rear a bunch causes the flanges between the front driveshaft and the rear diff to mis-align be ~2 degrees. This doesn't sound like much, but the extra stiffness of a fresh center bearing caused it to transfer a very annoying vibration into the car between 35 and 40mph. Above that the vibration went away, probably went away from a resonance mode in the center bearing rubber.
To solve the problem, I spaced the center bearing down 2" to make the driveshaft be straight from the transmission to the rear diff, rather than have a big angle change in the middle. This completely solved my vibration. I'm guessing that the original rubber in the center bearing was sloppy enough that it was masking the problem, since I made the lift years ago.
IMG_20210405_171151.jpg
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Re: The Definitive List of Ways to Lift a Tercel 4wd

Post by The Professor »

teranfirbt wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:45 pm One thing I found out about on mine recently, after replacing the original driveshaft center bearing, is that lifting the rear a bunch causes the flanges between the front driveshaft and the rear diff to mis-align be ~2 degrees. This doesn't sound like much, but the extra stiffness of a fresh center bearing caused it to transfer a very annoying vibration into the car between 35 and 40mph.

To solve the problem, I spaced the center bearing down 2" to make the driveshaft be straight from the transmission to the rear diff, rather than have a big angle change in the middle. This completely solved my vibration
This is exactly the sort of thing I was referencing in my previous posts about lift kits. It'll take more parts to do it right, but you won't have any of the silly behavior associated with stressed joints, bushings, etc.

Lift it once, lift it right.
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
1984 Subaru Turbo-Traction wagon & hardtop
1987 Subaru RX 3-door
1987 Subaru RX Type-RA 3-door
1987 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon
1999 Subaru Forester S
2002 Subaru WRX sedan
2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
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