Retiring my 1986 hatchback

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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BlackStraw
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Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by BlackStraw » Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:43 am

Well folks, it is almost time to say goodbye to this handsome beast, my 1986 2wd hatchback. I had a Subaru Outback in 2014 that ended up being a complete nightmare, and after dropping $5000 in repairs in one year and STILL having issues with it, I wanted something cheap and easy and reliable - and found this Tercel for $600. Have owned a few other cars since then but still kept this one as a backup and/or winter car and it has never let me down.

Image

Now I’m in that awkward situation where it’s not really worth selling - and not really worth fixing up and keeping. It might still be a $400 car to the right Toyota collector, but if someone desparately needed a $400 daily driver car they’d really be much better off buying an early 2000’s beater in better mechanical shape with some dents and cosmetic issues. Yes it still fires up and mostly runs fine and there’s hardly any body rust...but the exhaust system is full of holes and multiple tin-can patches, the tires are starting to get some cracks, the timing belt hasn’t been changed for 21 years, brake calipers and hoses are the original ones and are rusted all to shit, rear bearings are noisy, driver’s window is very stiff, battery is holding about 10% capacity, the TVS valve isn’t quite right (one port blocked off, not much power until engine is warm)….and after a minor mishap with a truck trailer hitch a few years ago, the hood and grill are crumpled and have never lined up quite right and are held together with a lot of tape and zip ties.

Individually all the repairs could be done, but the time and cost to me just is not worth it. Now, if this car was a SR5 with stick shift, I would probably have much more enthusiasm to keep it on the road, but unfortunately that 3-speed automatic is just not much fun to drive when all you have to work with is 63HP. That being said, the heater in this car is the best I’ve ever had, the seats are more comfortable than my “new” (1999) Tercel, and visibility is top notch.

However in British Columbia there is a government-sponsored scrap program where you can drop off an old car at the auto recycler and either get a rebate towards a new electric car or $850 towards a new electric bicycle. There are a few conditions, i.e. you can’t just drag in an old wreck that’s been sitting in your field forever, the qualifying car must have been insured and on the road for at least 6 months, has to have all the parts intact, and has to be able to be driven under its own power to said scrapyard. I’ve got another Toyota so not really interested in new electric vehicles at this point, but I do intend to try and get in on that electric bicycle rebate - assuming the program doesn’t get shut down due to the ol Coronavirus in the next few weeks.

I would definitely be open to getting another elderly Tercel again when the time is right - preferably either a first gen hatchback or a 4WD.

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dlb
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by dlb » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:35 pm

I feel your pain. Cars like this are in a tough spot because they're too crappy for most people looking for a reliable DD but not crappy enough to be crushed (in my opinion). I wonder how many wreckers would keep something like this in their yard to piece out. I think that would make the most sense in terms of wasting as little as possible but I doubt it would be worth the cost to the yard.

I'm opposed to all scrap-it programs because I think they encourage waste and consumerism but if there are no other alternatives, the e-bike rebate sounds like it might be the best option.

Where are you located, Blackstraw? I just came across this T4 on the island that looks decent. It's priced pretty high but it's also the first one I've seen for sale in about 6 months so I guess they're becoming more of a collectors item around here.

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BlackStraw
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by BlackStraw » Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:38 pm

I'm just outside of Duncan....I did see that ad for the one in Cumberland, but as I have watched my full-time employment suddenly become 8-10 hours a week because of coronavirus lockdowns, have to admit it is a fairly low priority. I have a feeling that if this mess keeps up, anyone looking for a vintage or project car is going to find some incredible bargains this summer as people decide paying their rent is much more important than hanging onto that 2nd or 3rd vehicle in their garage.

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Petros
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by Petros » Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:37 am

you really going to fleece your neighbors for a $850 electric bike? these kind of programs are stupid and wasteful, and frankly I think immoral. no matter how ill conceived, they cost the tax payers big bucks with little to show for it. I mean really, how often can you really ride a bike in the climate you live in?

you actually will do more for the environment by fixing the car and keep it out of a crusher. of course, government does not think that way. do not fall for the electric vehicle is zero emissions non-sense, it just means you have to burn the fuel in a power plant somewhere else.

do what you want, but what you will be doing is just adding a number to the list of "successful removal of old pollution generating car off the road" so politicians can brag about how wonderful their program is, no matter the cost to you and your neighbors.
'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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LowBuckCanuck
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:41 am

I don't suppose you would be wanting to save the front fenders, would you? If they really are rust free, my tercel is the same colour...

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LowBuckCanuck
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:46 am

Petros wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:37 am
I mean really, how often can you really ride a bike in the climate you live in?
FYI, Duncan BC is located between Victoria and Nanaimo, and is above freezing basically year round.
Last edited by LowBuckCanuck on Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

The Professor
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by The Professor » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:05 am

Petros wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:37 am
I mean really, how often can you really ride a bike in the climate you live in?
I have friends who ride their bikes to work every day, rain, sun, sleet, snow, hail.
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BlackStraw
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by BlackStraw » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:44 am

Petros it was not my preferred plan, and generally I am in agreement with you in regards to these programs....especially in the style of the "Cash for clunkers" where perfectly good running vehicles were trashed for no good reason other than to artificially create demand for new cars. However this is far from that category. Who else in the general public besides people on this forum would even consider buying this car and driving/fixing it up? Nobody. People won't even buy a 2005 car for their teenagers to drive these days because "it's not safe enough". And it's somewhat true....the way that Tercel hood crumpled when I ran into a trailer hitch at 5km/hour a few years ago was a real eye-opener.
The few remaining 1980s 2wd Tercels will never have the prestige or collectors novelty that 4wd Tercels or early Celicas or Hilux trucks or MR2s or Landcruisers or AE86 Corollas have. I would love for someone to take it for body panels or interior parts, but again....how many Toyota enthusiasts are really keen on restoring 2wd Tercels and desparate for parts? I do plan to save the hubcaps, roof racks and front corner markers.

So what are my options if I don't want to spend thousands fixing it and making it 100% roadworthy?
#1 Sell it to somebody as-is for $200, they drive it for a couple of months, then they find something better and it ends up in the junkyard anyways.
#2 Park it in my field where my wife glares at it, let it fill up with mold and maybe take a few parts off it over the years if by chance I end up with another 80s Tercel.

I really have no interest in an electric car, they have their own share of impact on the world....but it is a fact that this 86 Tercel gets about 60% the gas mileage of my fuel injected 1999 Tercel (which I have no intention of getting rid of anytime soon). I have no pretensions that everyone driving around with battery powered vehicles will do anything to reduce pollution overall, the lithium mining alone is a very nasty business.

And yes by the way, my property backs onto a trail system that goes directly into town 6km away, and the comfortable biking season is pretty much 9 months a year here - so regardless of getting a subsidy, an electric bike would be a fine way to get around when you don't need to carry a lot of cargo.

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splatterdog
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by splatterdog » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:51 am

Petros wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:37 am
you really going to fleece your neighbors for a $850 electric bike? these kind of programs are stupid and wasteful, and frankly I think immoral. no matter how ill conceived, they cost the tax payers big bucks with little to show for it. I mean really, how often can you really ride a bike in the climate you live in?

you actually will do more for the environment by fixing the car and keep it out of a crusher. of course, government does not think that way. do not fall for the electric vehicle is zero emissions non-sense, it just means you have to burn the fuel in a power plant somewhere else.

do what you want, but what you will be doing is just adding a number to the list of "successful removal of old pollution generating car off the road" so politicians can brag about how wonderful their program is, no matter the cost to you and your neighbors.
Our cash for clunkers program removed a lot of great cars from existence. Saw a huge line of them at a pick and pull just before they were to be crushed. Some idiot grabbed the turbo off the Saab I needed an interior part from. You could see the liquid death in the oil feed line. Anyway, well over half of them were desirable vehicles, and of course some that deserved to be there. The one that really stood out was a mint 4runner with 30k on it. What a shame.

Can't really fault Blackstraw on the lucrative money grab, but If that bike isn't made completely in Canada, I'm with Petros. I would also likely keep the car going as I love cheap beaters, especially when ones like these can be notoriously reliable and comprised of cheap parts. I would kill for that level of rust! That's the only thing that retires my T4's.

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splatterdog
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by splatterdog » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:06 am

The Professor wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:05 am
Petros wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:37 am
I mean really, how often can you really ride a bike in the climate you live in?
I have friends who ride their bikes to work every day, rain, sun, sleet, snow, hail.
My only winter riding ends at about 12 inches thick. Riding an electric bike seems self defeating if being "green" is anywhere on your list. In my case I would be most worried about cold battery capacity and having to push my whole rig back to shore.
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dlb
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by dlb » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:48 am

Peter, you're coming off awfully hot. Everyone has their own opinion but you talk as if anyone who doesn't share yours is wrong and stupid. It's arrogant and tiresome. Please speak to people with the same respect they show to you.
The Professor wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:05 am
Petros wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:37 am
I mean really, how often can you really ride a bike in the climate you live in?
I have friends who ride their bikes to work every day, rain, sun, sleet, snow, hail.
splatterdog wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:06 am
Riding an electric bike seems self defeating if being "green" is anywhere on your list.
I like both of these statements. I'm a fair weather cyclist and I still bike to work 6 months out of the year. I live only about 30 min from Blackstraw.

That said, I don't see the allure of e-bikes. I guess they're for people who want to ride further but may not have the fitness levels to do so? I dunno. I bike half for exercise, and half to drive less, so an e-bike sort of defeats both of those purposes to some degree.

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BlackStraw
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Re: Retiring my 1986 hatchback

Post by BlackStraw » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:40 am

For me the appeal of an electric bike is just that - extending the range. Now to be clear I'm not talking about the ones where you sit there and dangle your legs and press the thumb throttle....I mean the "assist" type where you absolutely need to pedal to go up a hill for example - but with considerably less effort. I used to live downtown in a very flat area and rode my bike all the time, it was just the fastest easiest way to get around, period. Now I live considerably uphill, and huffing and puffing in the full sun riding up steep hills at the end of the day just does not have the appeal it might have to me as a much younger man full of piss and vinegar.
Yes it is only half as much exercise as riding a full pedal bike, but I would be much more likely to go on more bicycle voyages of 5 or 10x the distances which I would otherwise do under leg power only these days. My wife's had an electric bike for a year now and went from zero cycling to over 1000km commuting to work on it a few days a week last summer. Yes it only saved $100 of gas but that's not the point.

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