HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
Post Reply
dmak_
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:25 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel Wagon

HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by dmak_ »

Hello all, looking for some help. My sister's Tercel (85 wagon, 2wd manual) recently had the transmission fail due to lack of fluid.

I'm a car enthusiast (into classic BMWs) but I'm across the country from her so can only be of help to her with resources and research.

Anyways, I'm trying to find a transmission for sale, or a place that can rebuild hers. From my digging, I'm finding the sources for Tercel parts are few and far between compared to what I'm used to. Feels like I'm searching for Atlantis.

Any guidance or advise is appreciated. I'll keep researching and digging but we're in more of a hurry (this is her DD for work, not a project car)

Side question - her car is 3A motor w/5 speed manual, but I'm not having any luck finding out the part/model # of the FWD manual transmission or any sort of cross reference on what year range will carry the same transmission.

Thanks!
User avatar
irowiki
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 3418
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:02 am
Location: Farmington, NM

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by irowiki »

PRetty sure you can use any FWD manual transmission from an 80 Tercel all the way up to 86 Tercel (and then 87/88 MT FWD wagons)

I'm 99% sure the transmission from a 1st gen (80-82) is plug and play.

Interestingly enough there's no 5 speeds but there's a few 4 speeds:

gen 2 4 speeds:

https://www.car-part.com/cgi-bin/search ... ge=1&iKey=

gen 1 5 speeds:

https://www.car-part.com/cgi-bin/search ... ge=1&iKey=

Gen 1 4 speeds:

https://www.car-part.com/cgi-bin/search ... ge=1&iKey=
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
97 4runner, 275k
xirdneh
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 2063
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:38 am
My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine, 83 tercel 4x4 wagon w/salvaged engine and 4.1 Diff's
Location: seabeck, washington, USA

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by xirdneh »

If it went bad due to low oil it will not be fixable. Gears get hot, the metal changes and teeth will fall of the gears.
Find another tranny.
If you are new to this
know that tranny and differential are bolted together.
You can replace tranny only.
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.
dmak_
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:25 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel Wagon

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by dmak_ »

thanks irowiki for the info and links!

xiredneh - from pictures and diagrams it looks like the tranny and front transfer unit are in one housing, not separate. you say you can replace tranny only so i'm confused by your wording.
User avatar
NWMO
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 1070
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 1:08 pm

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by NWMO »

dmak_,

Two housing bolted together, you can separate the transmission from the front differential housing. Here is a pic of a 4WD transmission, I've never messed with the 2WD, but expect it would be similar. The top shaft is what slips through the clutch plate.

With respect to oil/lube, it is a shared sump, transmission and front diff.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

In remembrance of my friend ARCHINSTL:

T4WD augury?
"Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit."
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

"Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Mark Twain
User avatar
SirFoxx
Top Notch Member
Posts: 147
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:42 pm
My tercel:: 1981 Toyota Tercel w/ 7age

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by SirFoxx »

dmak_ wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:08 am thanks irowiki for the info and links!

xiredneh - from pictures and diagrams it looks like the tranny and front transfer unit are in one housing, not separate. you say you can replace tranny only so i'm confused by your wording.
I have a 2wd and a 4wd trans sitting in my garage. While I havent ever pulled a 2wd apart, I can tell you that just by looking at them you can separate the trans from the diff housing in the same manner as the 4wd transmissions.
1988 DLX Tercel Wagon w/ weber (RIP)
1985 4wd Tercel SR5 (RIP)
1981 Toyota Tercel
User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11570
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by Petros »

I dismantled a 2wd 5 speed transmission that I got for parts, from the gear box forward they are almost identical, most of the parts were interchangeable with the 4wd trans. but if the trans bundled up, likely it is best to replace both the gear box and the front diff housing as an assembly. the front diff and gear box share the same lubricant, and often if the trans started disintegrating, it would circulate metal particles throughout the differential gears as well. sometimes it is not bad, but it might be best just to look for the whole assembly and replace it together.

toyota stopped making replacment parts for these transmissions perhaps 20 years ago, there are a few bits and pieces still in inventory, but you will not find what you need to replace all the parts in the transmssions, and certainly no kits. wrecking yards are your only alternative.

a used replacement 2wd trans like that will be hard to find, though you do have the option of using the 4 speed manual trans from the sedans, which gives you more available used transmissions. the problem is that the 2wd version of these cars was Toyota's entry level cars, and not many survived this long, they were just not worth fixing and keeping on the road. I think there are more of the these 4wd wagons on the roads today that the far more common 2wd when new, because they were worth fixing because of the 4wd feature (the Tercel4wd has almost become a cult car here in the PNW in the Seattle/Portland market).

Used 2wd trans are out there, but even if the car is in good condition, they do not get too much on the used car market (perhaps $600), so it is not worth sinking too much money into an old econobox car like this. a nice 4wd wagon otoh, can get $3000-4000 in good working order, not even restored. just as a good clean daily driver.

Good luck looking for a replacement. but unless that car is in very good condition and the engine is in good shape (we are talking about a 35 years old economy car), I would not spend more than $300-400 to get it back on the road.
'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)
dmak_
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:25 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel Wagon

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by dmak_ »

lots of great into guys, thanks. I'm picking up a used unit this week for $200 and sending it to my sis. not sure if the yard will leave the front diff or bellhousing attached or not, we'll see when i get there. she is not setup to do the work herself, so there is some labor cost to get it fixed, but still financially cheaper than buying a different car. Considering a non-running 2wd wagon is basically worth scrap, the initial car cost was low, the car was a low-mileage 'grandma that drove it to get groceries' car, and she obviously in love with the car, she's going to try and save it.
User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11570
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by Petros »

dmak_ wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:19 am ...she obviously in love with the car, she's going to try and save it.

LOL, sounds like my daughter. be careful not too spend more on it than it is worth, it is easy to fall in love with these quirky little wagons, and than spend more on it that it is worth.

I had driven a Tercel4wd since my two daughter's were very young, when they got to be in high school, and thinking about their own cars someday, they never missed an opportunity to join their mother in disparaging my long time Tercel4wd. when it came time to get their own car, I of course offered to find them a T4wd and restore it for them, both declined (too nerdy I guess). so they we got them other cars that I fixed up for them.

After the oldest one was away in collage and was in need of a car about the same time I was given a Tercel4wd that was in great shape, with only minor issues to fix. I offered it to her, I just had to drive it to Texas from the Seattle area, she was kind of lukewarm on the idea, but it was free. so I drove it all the way to Texas by my self in July and left it there for her. despite the age, it was actually one of the more reliable cars she ever owned, she had also had several scooters and motorcycle, and it was more reliable than those too. She really learned to like it, started decorating it with painted dragons, and doing stuff to the inside.

After several years she was in a fender bender that crunched in the front, she was so upset, she was willing to pay a body shop to straighten it out and rebuild the front end, no matter the cost (she was out of collage by than and earning a decent income). I had to talk her out of it, as a DIY job it could have been done, but to take it to a frame and body shop, no way it was worth it. I essentially forbid her from spending that much on fixing it, we found a nice used Matrix instead (that she is still driving to this day).

This funny little '80's econobox wagon have a funny way of wrapping around your emotions like no other car I have owned. you would never guess that before you own one, and there is no rational reason for it, but these cars have personalities and character that once you know it, you do not want to give up. But it will also cause you to spend too much on fixing them. if you really love it that much, before you spend $3000 in repairs, go find another one in good condition. sell the other as a fixer, or for parts to keep good ones on the road.
'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)
dmak_
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:25 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel Wagon

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by dmak_ »

Petros wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:39 pm LOL, sounds like my daughter. be careful not too spend more on it than it is worth, it is easy to fall in love with these quirky little wagons, and than spend more on it that it is worth.
great story, and I can echo the warning of love becoming greater than common sense. but thats what passion is!

i wanted to conclude the thread, since so often on forums a question is left unanswered. we have completed a successful fix! she brought the car to a shop to confirm my diagnosis, which they did. the trans had seized (due to lack of fluid) and the small gear that goes from the bellhousing to the gear box was the weak link and had completely stripped.
IMG952931.jpg
so, i drove 200 miles and picked up a used unit via the junk yard parts searches posted by irowiki. the yard included the front diff, not knowing it was a separate part, so that was a bonus considering the fluid loss could have done damage to the unit in the car. I crated it/boxed it and shipped it directly to the car shop she hired to do the fix.
20201118_163906.jpg
20201119_112933.jpg
the trans was a 4 speed, and her car was a 5 speed, but as mentioned here, it was compatible. i recommended she put it a new clutch/flywheel while they were in there so the trans never has to come off the car again. she called me the day she picked up the car and was elated.

i gifted her the shipping cost, but in the end it cost $250 for the trans/diff & $1200 for the diagnosis, labor and clutch bits.

thank you all for the tremendous help!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
NWMO
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 1070
Joined: Wed May 20, 2015 1:08 pm

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by NWMO »

dmak,

Thanks for the update, great work!!
Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

In remembrance of my friend ARCHINSTL:

T4WD augury?
"Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit."
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

"Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Mark Twain
User avatar
dlb
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 6722
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:03 pm
My tercel:: none currently, 7 previous
Location: bc, canada

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by dlb »

Ditto, thanks for the update. I was curious how this was going to play out. I'm glad you and your sister managed to keep the car alive. That's a fairly hefty bill but I'm pretty sure I'd pay it for a car I loved too.

Also, your sister was lucky to find a shop that was willing to do this kind of work on such an old car. I feel like a lot of shops simply aren't interested in working on old stuff like Tercels.
User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11570
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: HELP - Siblings Tercel busted transmission

Post by Petros »

good job, make sure she has the gear oil changed in the trans ever 20k to 30k miles, and it should last forever.

$250 is a reasonable price for a good used trans. I do not know what else they did, but $1200 seems a bit steep to remove and replace trans and clutch. typically a clutch job is $600-700. including parts. if they spent some time dismantling the trans to see if it can be fixed, I would think that would not be more than $150-200. This would not be any more work than a clutch job, they have to pull the trans, in this case they are putting back a different trans. unless they replaced all the seals and any other parts we do not know about. but sometimes in larger cities the shop rate is much higher due to overhead costs.

It is done now, she has to keep it.
'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)
Post Reply