Tercel back on the road

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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simon84
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Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Tercel back on the road

Post by simon84 »

After 13 months up on blocks in the garage, I'm finally driving it again! Last winter got busy then parenting in the pandemic took up all my extra time (not complaining though). I started working on it in my spare time in August (did I mention that I have a 3yr old so not a ton of spare time.

Main repair was replacing the transmission. I found one in the Kootenays (thanks to Marlinh). And I replaced a few seals and swapped in my existing 3.71 front diff to match my rear diff (Many thanks Xirdneh for guidance). New clutch since I had the trans out.
While I was in there, I put in a new-ish exhaust system from the Kooteny donor car. I redid the front struts (new cartridges, cleaned and POR15 paint). New front ball joints, and swapped out the power steering and replaced with manual rack also from the donor car (thanks again Xirdneh for tips on this). I also dropped the cross member, trans and center drive shaft mounts by 1/2 inch. This is to ease up on the CV angles since I've got about 1" lift (spacers on top of the strut). Then I made a cross member between shock towers which helped me place some new gauges under the hood to peep through the vintage chrome taster hood scoops (initially installed to accommodate the tall air filter on the weber). 2 of these gauges are cheap chinese crap that I will want to replace at some point. While I was doing the cross member spacers, I tied into that with some brackets I fabricated to mount a winch in side the grill. This actually took up quite a bit of time for something that is perhaps a little frivolous. Don't know when I will likely use it but that will be a triumphant day for sure! I also welded up some holes in the floor under the drivers feet. And some clean up underneath and ashpalt undercoating. I welded on a 6" strip of 18g sheet metal on the drivers door to cover up a real rusty patch that formed under the rubber rub stripes that I peeled off the whole car.
I also checked on the front sway bar end bushings and replaced some cracked rubber with some old but ok bushings I had. And I redid the rear sway bar. I got new end link bushings for that but could not find any of the other bushings. The other ones were in decent shape but the bar had some play in it. So, I welded some beads onto the bar where the frame mount bushings go and then carefully ground it back down smooth to increase the thickness of the bar a bit so that it was all snug again. I also did this to the end rings so that it was tight there too. That was really painstaking since I had to use a hand file for that. This all worked out well. Barely any chatter on the back end when braking on highway off ramps.
I also made some skid plates. A thick one that is about 1 foot square and goes under the flimsy plastic one up front just behind the bumper. Then I made some sturdy frame pieces to replace the flimsy pipes that go on an angle between the frame and the cross member. That has a thinner plate (about 2' x2') that bolts to that.
Also notice the new radiator (from Rockauto). I accidentally punched a hole in the old one while installing the winch mounts. Old one was an oversized rad from a camry. Probably overkill up here in Canada anyway.
Then I had to put in a new drive shaft carrier bearing since the driveshaft was clanging against the exhaust quite loudly.
It's running quite well now. I had a little coolant leak. I may want to re-install the cat since it's just got the "cherry bomb" muffler (ie. not a muffler). It's also kinda loud on the highway. It's a whiny rumble (on top of the loud exhaust). Could be the CV axles. They are not old, but I've noticed similar noise from them on my last tercel once it was lifted. I think that they wear in at a certain angle and when you change things, they are not so quiet. Anyone have any advice on this? Could also be wheel bearings. I know I've replaced the front right wheel bearings not that long ago.
I'm thinking I'll get the garage that did the alignment for me to check it over again.
Still some body work to do, but I paid a lot of attention to the underside where it counts for longevity up here in Canada.
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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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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by Mark »

How did welding the floor go? I'm coming up to that job myself (there's about a 4" hole rusted through the floor under the seat). I don't want to remove too much of the interior, but I'm paranoid about lighting the car on fire. The last time I welded sheet metal on a vehicle (my '85 toyota van rear hatch upper lip), the surrounding paint caught fire briefly. The underside of my Tercel has undercoating. I'm not sure how much I should remove before attempting to weld a patch. I'll probably just cut out the rust and use sheet metal screws to hold in a metal patch and then use lots of rubberized undercoating over everything.
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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by Mark »

And what are the gauges for?
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simon84
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by simon84 »

Yeah, that thick undercoating they put on there does catch fire. I used a grinder with wire brush attachment to clean off a bunch of it, but there were some small flames starting up here and there. It's easy to unbolt the seat and then fold back the carpet. I put some pieces of sheet metal around the area to shield the rest of the interior. I used a mig with 030 wire. I had to play with it a bit to get the right settings (power setting 2 and about 20 for wire feed on my welder and I turned up the gas flow to about 20 CFH). It's tricky but you can get the hang of it if you do small welds spaced out and then come back and start filling in.
The gauges are Vac, Oil Press, and Fuel Press. I already had the fuel pressure gauge in there because I installed a fuel pressure regulator when I added the weber carb. Right now they are really just for novelty but when I get better Vac and oil gauges I think I will appreciate them more.

And after driving home today, I decided to get some new wheel bearings. It sounds like the driver's side front bearing has a pretty steady drone. I did the other one a few years ago so I probably should have just done both. And I'll do the CV axles since I'll have it all apart again for the bearings.
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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Mattel
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My tercel:: 1988 Corolla 4wd Wagon (AKA Corolla All-trac) 5speed, AC, Power Sunroof, Windows, Mirrors, Steering, Locking, Diff Lock, 14" Corolla SX Alloys with Silica Hankook Tyres, 4afe, King Springs, Upgraded Headlights, Full Synth oils, 210,000kms
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by Mattel »

Hey Simon! you are one of the originals - glad you are still around! good to see the Tercedes!
Previous: 83 Tercel SR5 4wd, 84 Tercel SR5 4wd
88 Corolla 4wd Wagon 5speed, All power options, Fact Sunroof, Diff Lock, 14" SX Alloys, Hankook Tyres, 4afe, King Springs, Upgraded Headlights, Full Synth oils, Tow Bar, 210,000kms
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simon84
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by simon84 »

I just checked my notes and I already replaced both front wheel bearings about 20K miles ago.
Is that possible that they are done already?

Also, has anyone else noticed the issue with CV axles when you complete a lift and there's some noise coming from them when they run at a new angle?
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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dlb
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by dlb »

Finally, some pics! Great to see all the work you've done. Did you install the current wheel bearings? When I was a teen, my dad installed some on my car but he didn't do it well and they were shot within a month. I'd say that if it sounds like a bearing, it's probably a bearing. And if you have a spare steering knuckle kicking around, it's easy enough to swap to rule the bearing out.

Very interesting having the gauges in the hood scoop. You're such a creative lad.
The Professor
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by The Professor »

simon84 wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:34 pm ...Has anyone else noticed the issue with CV axles when you complete a lift and there's some noise coming from them when they run at a new angle?
This would be expected with a high-mileage wear item that has recently been asked to operate in a range of motion that it has never seen before.

I've mentioned subframe spacers for the front end on lifted Tercels for this very reason.
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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simon84
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by simon84 »

Professor
Yes, I'm now a fan of making the subframe/trans mount/driveshaft carrier bearing mount spacers a part of my lift. I think it's ironic that now I've fixed this and relaxed the CV angle and it's giving me problems. It does make sense though and I've ordered new cv axles and will swap them in.

DLB
Yeah, you inspired me to get the Vac gauge. The VAC and OIl gauges are flashy but not very useful. I'm going to shop around for better ones. No rush though, these were really just for fun and because I can. I'll appreciate them more when I get better ones. The fuel pressure gauge is good though. And I had to install the little blue light in that one which was fun. I still have space in the other scoop so maybe I'll put temp & voltage gauges there. I can check out those spare knuckles I have from the Kootenays car. They are a bit rusty but may be ok.
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: Tercel back on the road

Post by Petros »

nice alloy radiator. what that expensive? where did it come from?
'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: Tercel back on the road

Post by simon84 »

Alloy radiator was on Rockauto. It cost a bit extra but I simply could not resist. No issues so far.
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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marlinh
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My tercel:: 'Everett' Blue mint 4WD wagon and 'Rocky' 86 4WD Wagon
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by marlinh »

Nice job Simon, Love the scoops. Does it go faster now?

Can you include more pictures and details for the winch? Love that idea. I did some floor and frame repair this summer on my winter car. There was some serious rot. Turned out better than I expected. What I did to prevent any fires was to spray the surrounding area with a squirt bottle of water and kept it on hand as I welded. Couple of little flames but nothing out of control.

Mark, Any undercoating can be scraped back a few inches and if kept damp shouldn't burst into flames. Don't get things too hot. If you are doing a lot of welding, let the area cool periodically.
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Mark
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by Mark »

I think I'll just do the metal patch with self-tapping screws and bondo covered with rubberized undercoating. Whether I weld in a patch or screw/bondo it in, its future re-rustability is about the same and I'm not worried about structural strength with just a small patch. I think the less undercoating/paint I remove from the surrounding area the better since the original paint is way more durable than anything I could spray on.
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My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine, 83 tercel 4x4 wagon w/salvaged engine and 4.1 Diff's
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by xirdneh »

Twenty years ago i patched the floor with metal and screws and gooped the under side with wet/dry roof patch and covered the goop with aluminium foil while it was wet.
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.
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simon84
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Re: Tercel back on the road

Post by simon84 »

A couple of follow up points on this transmission replacement that snowballed into manual steering conversion, exhaust replacement, frame lift, floor repair, body work, suspension refit, hood scoops, gauges and a winch. Did I mention that it was up on blocks for 13 months. Thanks to parenting in the pandemic times.

I got the new wheel bearings and front axles in and it's back on the road. The whining from the front end is gone. The front bearings seemed in ok shape (smooth and no play) but one definitely had a tiny amount of grit inside it that I could hear when I turned it. The dust seals on that one were visibly failing. The rubber was in-tact but there were some bits floating inside and the thin spring that seals often have inside them was free floating. So those bearings were replaced and I also put in new CV axles. I got Cardone brand axles from Rockauto and they were quite difficult to get in. I had to really pound on them (used a wooden mallet) and will keep an eye on them to make sure they don't back themselves out. I've had that happen to an axle before and the end sheared off at the retainer clip on the inside end. I also replaced the axle seals while I was in there. The loss of fluid from that broken axle was the cause of the imploded transmission.

So the car is running pretty good now. I've got some rust issues to tend to on the doors and front fenders. I will chip away at that as I go. Next priority is to re-install the catalytic converter. It's just a bit loud without it since my muffler is just a "cherry bomb" which is not really a muffler at all. The catalytic acts as a bit of a resonator so it will tame the noise level a little. And the catalytic converter will help me sleep at night until I can afford that Tesla cybertruck.

Marlinh: I will add in some more pics of the winch soon. And better yet, I can show it to you when I get out to the Koots and I'll bring you that steering rack too.

Petros, the radiator is good, but the drain tap handle broke off and I had it braised back on when I got the cylinder head lug for the upper rad hose fitting flange welded back on (there's another thread about this issue).
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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