Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
mountaindude
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My tercel:: 1984, 1985
Location: Northern Nevada

Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by mountaindude »

Most of the time when I drive in the snow, I am not generally plowing through it. Now, I am aware that the car is low and I had even got stuck once high- centering the car, but I learned something else that I just encountered that is critical and I am glad that I did.

Yesterday, our work was cancelled for a "snow day". I did not have to go into the mountains. I went into town to get coffee. The streets were not cleared and there was 16 inches of wet snow on the road. The Terc powered through it. As I was getting a few streets from home I noticed the temp gauge starting to climb. It was not in the danger zone, but it was abnormal.

What I found was that because the 1984 Tercel has a cooling fan forward of the radiator, snow has gotten in the area and stopped the fan from turning, this, stopping the fan from cooling the radiator.

I have the grill on the car attached with zip ties, so it was no issue removing the grill and removing the impacted snow.

Afterward, she ran cool and fine. I took her to work today over an icy, almost 8000 ft summit, running normally and without any hickups. (I have two studded tires on the front, and I haven't had to put her in 4wd so long as I am not pushing snow.)

I am glad I found this issue when I was NOT on the mountain.
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Petros
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by Petros »

this is a common hazard in any deep snow driving. I have seen window type screen put over the grill to keep bugs and leaves from collecting on the front of the radiator, it should work the same way with snow. Watch your coolant level, sometimes even getting hot, without overheating, can compromise the head gasket.

for exactly this reason I have been contemplating installing air shocks in the back, and these air bladder front spring boosters in the front, and have a 12v air compresor to pump up the clearance from the drivers seat when needed, and than allow it back to normal ride height after. there is no easy way to get more than an inch or two of additional ride height, you end up wearing out the cv joints very fast with much of an angle on them, and you can damage the seals on the top of the struts when it tops out on bumpy roads. the abilty to raise it to get through deep snow, or a stream crossing, than bring it back down, without even getting out of the car would be a fun "addition" to the car.
'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)
mountaindude
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My tercel:: 1984, 1985
Location: Northern Nevada

Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by mountaindude »

Petros wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:04 pm this is a common hazard in any deep snow driving. I have seen window type screen put over the grill to keep bugs and leaves from collecting on the front of the radiator, it should work the same way with snow. Watch your coolant level, sometimes even getting hot, without overheating, can compromise the head gasket.
I keep a very close eye on temps. I know the healthy area for this car. I did not allow it to climb much, but it wasn't normal which always concerns me.

I just need her for 2.5 more Winters. Fingers crossed.
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Petros
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by Petros »

I should hope you will experiance more than 2.5 winters. I intend to keep fixing mine for as long as I can keep it on the road, for as many winters as I am alive!

I will be making some mods along the way to make it more suitable for deep snow and river crossings, etc.
'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: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by simon84 »

I keep a very close eye on temps. I know the healthy area for this car.
What is the "healthy" temp range for the tercel? I put in a 185F thermostat to get better heat in winter. The temp gauge sits around the top of the thermometer symbol. Does that seem 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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NWMO
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by NWMO »

Simon,

As long as it doesn’t creep much higher for an extended period of time, you should be fine. I have always assumed stock thermostats would have been in the 180 range? but I’m not certain of that.

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simon84
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by simon84 »

Thanks for that. I also recently got a temperature scanner, so I'll try that out and see what readings I get from some different spots on the engine & rad hoses etc.
I also have to replace the fan switch in the radiator. I previously had frenkensteined a Camry radiator in there and modified the fan switch by placing it where the TVSV goes (not in use since I have a weber carb). I now have a proper radiator and need to move it back. As it is now, the fan runs more than it should.
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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duragauge
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My tercel:: 1986 Tercel 4WD SR5
Location: Willamette Valley

Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by duragauge »

Simon84,

Before I found a Spectra CU813 on Amazon I was seriously considering using a Camry radiator after reading your earlier posts.

Looks like you must have been using one from a 1988-91 2.5L V6 Camry, since those are like ours but wider and with the bottom mounts shifted over a bit.

Image

I know the Camry radiator doesn't have a port for the fan switch, but could you use something like this AUTO METER 2282 inline radiator hose adapter with a 3/8 NPT port? Amazon has a "very good" used one for $20.

Image

With one of those on the upper radiator hose your switch should sense the correct temperature so your fan would run at the right times and you could keep the larger radiator.

Admittedly, I've not tried this myself and don't really know what I'm doing, but your posts did make me think long and hard about it!
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simon84
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by simon84 »

Yes, that is the rad I had used. Got it from a pick & pull years ago. Worked well but probably not needed for up here in Canada. It served me well when I took the tercel down to Burning Man in 2011 towing a tent trailer.

I've now got this new shiny aluminum radiator from RockAuto and it has the correct spot for the fan switch. I just need to swap it to the correct location and plug the existing spot.
Liland Global Alloy Radiator.JPG
Good tip about the rad hose attachment!
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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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duragauge
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My tercel:: 1986 Tercel 4WD SR5
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by duragauge »

That's a nice looking radiator! Great find. Can't wait to hear how it works for you.
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Petros
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by Petros »

you do not want the thermal sensor on the upper hose in the Tercel. that is where the heated coolant returns from the engine. when the thermostat opens it will send a blast of hot coolant to the top of the radiator, and the low temp coolant will be coming into the bottom hose into the water pump. the fan will turn on and cool the radiator further. you want the sensor on the bottom hose, near where the factory radiator sensor is located, so when the out going coolant is too warm it turns the fan on to lower the temperature of the radiator. (not when the incoming coolant is hot).

there used to be these simple temperature sensors that just attached to the outside of the hose, held in place with vinyl tape. these came with after market radiator fans so you can remove the belt driven fan on the front of the engine. that should be a much more simple solution, and likely costs less as well.
'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)
mountaindude
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Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:04 am
My tercel:: 1984, 1985
Location: Northern Nevada

Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by mountaindude »

My gauge rides just beneath the thermometer diagram. For me, 180 thermostat is the sweetspot in all my old toyotas. Never over 180. I still get excellent heat for winter. I like this range. My Tercel climbs from 4700 to 8000 to 6000 feet and back on every day that I expect weather. It never shows a reading above the bottom of the thermometer diagram. In the long downhill setions the gauge gets lower. I had a crack in the top of what appeared in what I am sure was the original radiator. I patched it and it actually ran fine. I replaced it with a mid grade Rock Auto radiator that I am starting to trust. I save the original radiator just in case. So far, so good.
mountaindude
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My tercel:: 1984, 1985
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by mountaindude »

simon84 wrote: Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:37 pm
I keep a very close eye on temps. I know the healthy area for this car.
What is the "healthy" temp range for the tercel? I put in a 185F thermostat to get better heat in winter. The temp gauge sits around the top of the thermometer symbol. Does that seem ok?
My gauge rides just beneath the thermometer diagram. For me, 180 thermostat is the sweetspot in all my old toyotas. Never over 180. I still get excellent heat for winter. I like this range. My Tercel climbs from 4700 to 8000 to 6000 feet and back on every day that I expect weather. It never shows a reading above the bottom of the thermometer diagram. If it does, I pay attention.


Image
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simon84
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Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by simon84 »

Thanks for this. I will have another look at my heater controls and the air flaps in the ducting. I'm not getting much air up to the windshield on defrost setting. I've already lubed the cables and when my temp control lever broke, I fabricated a much stronger one. The valve under the hood is working fine so I've gat all those parts working.
I'm thinking I will end up going back to a 180 F t-stat if I can solve the other issues.
I did notice that the heat gauge usually read pretty low in the past. I've had t-stat issues in the past also so that's also a likely culprit.
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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simon84
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:18 pm
Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Re: Little 1984 Tercel, deep snow achilles heel

Post by simon84 »

Thanks for this. I will have another look at my heater controls and the air flaps in the ducting. I'm not getting much air up to the windshield on defrost setting. I've already lubed the cables and when my temp control lever broke, I fabricated a much stronger one. The valve under the hood is working fine so I've gat all those parts working.
I'm thinking I will end up going back to a 180 F t-stat if I can solve the other issues.
I did notice that the heat gauge usually read pretty low in the past. I've had t-stat issues in the past also so that's also a likely culprit.

And Thanks for the correction on the rad hose fan switch placement Petros!
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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