Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
celtglen
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Posts: 143
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My tercel:: 84/2WD/Wagon-stock/311+K miles-original engine/original owner/ no mods

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by celtglen » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:55 am

My "Moment of Zen"

Got Veruska (My Tercel Wagon) fixed up. Suspension and Front end work (under car), first new oil pan gasket since her "birth in'84", flushed the cooling system and replaced hoses and thermostat (hey I DO have a heater!) and the Cat...it was the original one.

Of course I re-tuned the engine, already had the valves adjusted, and finally the steering (except for the R&P it is only 14 years old and not leaking). Bought her a new pair of hoofs---Bridgestone Insignia 200ses, and new brakes..

Ran her out on the highway holding a steady 50-55 MPH...and she rated...are you sitting down..33 MPG! Before all of this work the mileage was between 12 and 15 MPGs!

The new Cat made a huge difference..not to mention no longer having to fight the front end!

OUTCOME...she is nearly 309K miles and still kicking butt. I ran her up some steep inclines and she gained 10 <MPH now no one flashes their headlights at me to get the hell over....I will no longer be forced to try climbing a hill behind an 18 wheeler..loosing hope of making the top!

I LOVE MY CAR

All I have left is replacing the intermediate shaft to the steering---the u-joint is loose-ish and more play in the steering wheel than what the shop manual says if proper.

One oil leak to go and I cannot find where it is coming from! Is there another gasket in the Timing belt chanber other than the Cam Shaft> the leak is lower than the Cam Seal leak would be,

HELP>?

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by Petros » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:08 pm

the only two likely places it will leak in the front is the cam seal or the lower front main seal (on the crank, it is behind the timing belt cog). It could also leak from the valve cover gasket, take it off and clean both mating surfaces and put form-a-gasket on it.

It is possible that it could leak from the oil pump, but not likely. The other common places for an oil leak or the half plug at the back of the head (under the valve cover gasket), the o-ring in the distributor, and the fuel pump gasket. For some reason the fuel pump gaskets always seem to go bad, it might be because of the plastic insulator does not expand and contract with the heat like the aluminum head does.

You might improve economy a bit more by advancing the spark timing from factory (emissions) 5 deg BTDC to 10 or even 12 deg BTDC. Verify if you vac advance on the distributor is working properly, if not replace it with a good one, and it will also improve cruise economy a bit as well.

Good luck
'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)

celtglen
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Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:41 am
My tercel:: 84/2WD/Wagon-stock/311+K miles-original engine/original owner/ no mods

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by celtglen » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:06 pm

Petros wrote:the only two likely places it will leak in the front is the cam seal or the lower front main seal (on the crank, it is behind the timing belt cog). It could also leak from the valve cover gasket, take it off and clean both mating surfaces and put form-a-gasket on it.

It is possible that it could leak from the oil pump, but not likely. The other common places for an oil leak or the half plug at the back of the head (under the valve cover gasket), the o-ring in the distributor, and the fuel pump gasket. For some reason the fuel pump gaskets always seem to go bad, it might be because of the plastic insulator does not expand and contract with the heat like the aluminum head does.

You might improve economy a bit more by advancing the spark timing from factory (emissions) 5 deg BTDC to 10 or even 12 deg BTDC. Verify if you vac advance on the distributor is working properly, if not replace it with a good one, and it will also improve cruise economy a bit as well.

Good luck
Hello and thanks..I have replaced the half moon on the valve cover along with that gasket as well as replaced the oil pressure switch (both were indeed leaking) and as the "normal" place the oil collects when the CAM seal is leaking is DRY I suppose it is the lower front mail seal.
How hard is that to replace?

As far as the timing advance ( The advance is working) is this for the 2WD as well as the 4WD?
Thanks
CG

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by Petros » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:46 pm

The engine timing will be the same for either 2wd or 4.

The front main crankshaft seal is a bit of work; you have to pull the radiator to get access to pull the front pulley (requires a big wrench to break the large bolt free), and sometimes you need a puller to get the pulley free. than you remove the front cover and the timing belt cog (that should slip off), and then you find the seal in the front of the oil pump housing. If it is leaking you must replace it, if it is not too bad you can wait (but keep a close eye on it) and than replace the timing belt at the same time since you will have it all off anyway.

So make sure it is the front seal that is really leaking before you replace it. You might also try the oil stop leak stuff, it softens and swells the seals to make it seal again. It might buy you some time, but it is not a long term fix, and I would not use it if the seal was not leaking, it will soften all the seals and could shorten their life.

Good luck.
'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)

fancypantsmcgee
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Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:08 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel 4WD
Location: Heber, Ut.

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by fancypantsmcgee » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:13 pm

Excellent thread!
There really is something about these little cars. I've never been one to hang on to cars, no matter how much money I pour into them.
but somehow I've sat on a rusted engine-less 86 tercel for a year now. Patiently day-dreaming of getting it running again..
so peculiar.

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by Petros » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:55 pm

these little ugly ducklings have a way of attaching themselves to your inner psyche. my first one I got for $200 as a quick temporary transportation car. It had been front ended/rear ended (in the same accident), rear window broken, front bumper bent, grill crunched, sideswiped, inteirior messed up. but it was drivable and I needed wheels fast. After several months I bought a front bumper and grill (when I discovered the frame was bent-the replacement bumper mounts would not line up-used extreme measures to bend it back to "close enough") and replaced the rear glass, cleaned it up so it was decent. I drove it for two years and it really grew on me, I replaced the right front wheel bearings, right rear axle bearings, it was easy to work on compared to our newer cars. finally the engine gave up big time, piston skirt collapsed because of piston slap. Than I had to decide to fix my Pathfinder, or fix the Tercel4wd. I debated because the Tercel was bent, rusty and rough, but I decided to rebuild the engine anyway, only because it had saved me about $2000 in fuel costs over the Pathfinder during the time I was driving it. Than I found another one, my current daily driver, cheap. The body and interior near perfect, but no engine or trans (both wasted), so I decided to use my beater to make one good one. And I am still driving it almost 10 years later. But the old beater was hardly worth fixing up, especially because of the minor rust and the bent frame, so I stripped it of useful parts and hauled it to the scrap yard. Although I had rationalized getting rid of it, the body was too rough to make it worth fixing, and at the time these Tercel4wd were not getting too much money even if in good condition. I needed an replacement engine and transmission, and it also had to get out of my yard, but seeing it go had a affect on me I would have never expected.

I towed it to the scrap yard and left in out in the open next to a big mountain of ugly scrap metal. Than I watched in horror as the big ugly fork lift pick up the little car by putting the big forks through the windows, crunch (!), and than he unceremoniously raised it up and dumped it on that big pile of ugly scrap metal. It rolled over several times as it went down the heap of scrap; here was this great little blue Tercel that had driven me and my family around for over two years reliably, economically and safely, the one I cared for and fixed up, now thrown out like trash. It looked so pathetic, the glass now shattered, the sides all crunched in, but a sudden panic emotion swept over me; I wanted run run out into the scape yard, hug the car and protect it from more harm as they dumped more scrap on the pile, and yell at the fork lift operator "stop! stop! I made a mistake, I can save it! I can save it". It just seems such an undignified end to such a great little trooper of a car.

I have never felt that way about any other car I have owned, one would think that as a mostly rational adult I would not develop emotions for a collection of parts, particularly in the form of an old import econo-box. I had to tell myself, IT IS NOT WORTH FIXING, it was too far gone before it got here. Really strange emotion for something I did not think I even cared that much about.

Some cars I guess have "personality" and have their way of wrapping themselves around your emotions.
Last edited by Petros on Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
'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)

celtglen
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Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:41 am
My tercel:: 84/2WD/Wagon-stock/311+K miles-original engine/original owner/ no mods

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by celtglen » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:40 pm

Thanks Petros for making me cry :shock:

However, your rusted-to-death-Tercel story demonstrates why I have worked so hard rubbing down the rust spots on my Tercel--spray painting the spots-- as I try to prevent (and succeeding) those spots from getting too deep starting the all-inclusive Death March to Hell

or the
final chapter of all Tercels

RUST FROM HELL

~~~~leave it to a Greek, :roll:

CG

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Petros
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Posts: 9722
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by Petros » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:03 pm

yes, it made me cry to type the story. I feel like I should pray to the car gods for forgiveness, and take extra good care of every other Tercel I find as penance, to make amends for my ways.

Ultimately everything we own, and in fact, everything we are made of ourselves, comes out of the ground, and will eventually end up back there. Even so, as the number of Tercel4wd dwindles lower every year, I always feel there is something important is lost every time another one shows up in a wrecking yard. There are just no new ones being made, and never will be again.
'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)

Rokkatansky
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Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:49 am
My tercel:: 1985 Sr5 stock
Location: Australia

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by Rokkatansky » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:56 am

Theres a Zen in Tercel for sure.
Slept in the Terc.
Got me 214 km to home destination with a blown head gasket running an orange light gauntlet.
Got me through sand past bigger 4x4's
Up mountains with sharp rocks.
And so much more
Cleaning her puts a smile on my face.
Working and figuring out the mechanics is Zen.
Going to auto shops asking for parts and seeing the look of sales persons face and hear them say I remember those cars, "my friend had one and it got us out of trouble once"
Glad there is a group of Terc owners who support each other, to keep the legend alive.
Long live the Terc.

I sometimes wonder though if Toyota decided to make a new version what what it be like?
Would it be a shitty SUV AWD or a super tuff mini hilux?

Or should I keep this to myself?
1985 SR5 Custom, Lifted legs 3" rear 1" front, 205/70/15 shoes, Stock 1.5 heart all arteries cleaned.

celtglen
Top Notch Member
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:41 am
My tercel:: 84/2WD/Wagon-stock/311+K miles-original engine/original owner/ no mods

Re: Zen and the Toyota Tercel Wagon

Post by celtglen » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:21 pm

No the carb Tercel will never be again..however I read that Datsun is making a come back in India and soon here..so who knows what awaits us.

CG

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