1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

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cars-guy
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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:33 pm

This story begins with a 1984 Tercel 4wd I I bought this beautiful machine off of my neighbor for only 400 dollars. I had my 82 4x4 truck for a while and learned all about the 4x4 Toyota history, at least I thought I did until I saw this awkward and spunky little oriental. (82 truck restoration. https://www.yotatech.com/forums/f197...estore-294447/) From the multiple shades of beige, the factory installed inclinometer, to the 6 speed manual gear box with "low range" I knew I had to have it. When I got it, it had 219,000 miles on it and ran really well. Car was on non op so no back fees. I paid the registraion, transfer fees, and uhhh "tipped" my smog guy an extra 120 bucks for being able to miraculously get the car to pass California emissions with a failing cat. At the end of the day this beauty was legal and in my driveway for just shy of 600 bucks.
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The interior was pretty clean but the front seats were very faded. The exterior was "OK" but not great. the clear coat had peeled off the top sides of the car, there were a couple dents, and a huge rust hole on the passenger side rear by the rain gutter. I spent the next year or so fixing it up (new brakes, shocks, tires, water pump, oil pump, timing belt, other belts, just about all the maintenance items needed. I was driving it back and forth between denver and LA a lot (i live in LA and go to school in denver) all of which it was perfect for. All of this is conveniently documented in this here video which i highly recommend watching .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi4Gqsn ... =emb_title

after this i began working on the cosmetics. here is a quick montage of photos from that. I cheaped out for sure on this but at least it would protect the paint and get the car looking a lot better.
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cars-guy
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Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:32 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:01 pm

None of that even matters how ever because I had just driven this car back to LA and while I was at work around early september, a drunk driver in a land rover going about 50mph according to the police slammed into my car that was parked in front of my house and launched it down the street into my neighbors tree lawn.
tercel wrecked.jpg
tercel wrecked.jpg
I don't know why the site is being weird with my links but in the last photo you can see it was parked where the silver suv is and you can see the trail of coolant coming off the curb from the land rover that sped off. yes this was a hit and run.

The neighbor I bought the car from heard the crash, knew i was the only one on the street, and immediately jumped in his car to go and find the guy. He tracked the trail of coolant from his car (which was zig zagging all over the place and if there were any other cars on the street he would have taken them out too) back to his house only a block and a half away where my neighbor called the police. Shout out to my neighbor bruce and his dad who went after this guy. He was arrested for DUI, reckless driving and hit and run. From this I was able to get the guys insurance info and file a claim so I was not completely out of luck. It was just sad to see this car go after 230k crazy miles.

fun fact this car is a confirmed drug running car and has ran every drug i have and have not heard of across the Mexican border. More on that later.

I thought that was the end of my tercel days until a friend of mine sent me a link to a car that was for sale on the forum for $350. some of you may even remember seeing this car posted here.
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I couldn't resist the idea that this car was wrecked in the front and mine was wrecked in the rear so i could combine the two cars to make one. I immediately drove up to san francisco to pick it up.

In the morning ill post more updates.
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cars-guy
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Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:32 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:10 pm

well it isn't exactly the next morning but here we are. After tearing the front end off of the car it was apparent that it would be as simple as swapping body panels. The front corner of the core support wasn't exactly mangled but it wasn't great either and required a few hours of hammering and pulling to get it roughly straight.
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eventually i got it to where the fender was mounting up straight and i got the rest of the front end on the car.
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The body still needed a little bit of tweaking bit it was at least in the ball park.

Since I had just put all new brakes, suspension, bushings wheel bearings etc. on my first tercel a few thousand miles before it was brutally murdered in the streets of LA, I swapped all that on to the new car as well. With the exception of the engine and trans, this car has all new running gear.

Now that it was mechanically perfect it was time for body work. The insurance company gave me 2k for the old car so that was my budget for a nice paint job. I striped the car down of everything I could (bumpers, grill, moldings, all rear glass etc.) and had two different people including myself go over the car for an hour and mark off any little dent or imperfection so I can make sure I address them when I do the body work. Once the car is sprayed there is no going back.
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cars-guy
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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:31 pm

Now it is body work time. I got all the areas addressed that needed to be addressed and started getting everything sanded down for paint.
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Once I was confident the car was perfect I sent it to my local MAACO. yes, maaco. Rant: a maaco paint job does not have to be a bad paint job if you do the prep yourself. If you understand when you go in for that 399 dollar special that, half of that money is used for the paint itself, then they have to pay their employees, workers comp, insurance, rent for the shop etc. They are barely making any money and thus the workers will not spend a lot of time sanding and prepping the car. Thats when you get uneven paint, over spray and crap like that. If you take off most of the things that would have been masked, mask other stuff yourself to a higher degree then they would, do your own body work if it needs it, and sand down the car properly, you can a great result for 400 bucks. Every shop is different however since it is a franchise and shops can be hit or miss so take the time and do your research. same goes for any high volume paint shop. You get what you pay for. rant off.

In my case I splurged for the 1100 dollar 2 stage urethane option and the classic light on dark blue two tone paint scheme. this car originally was painted the dark blue metallic all the way around but I couldn't live without the classic tercel two tone look. I worked with the shop heavily, going in almost every day to check the progress and confirm all the masking lines, oem paint codes, and all of that. It took a while but here are some photos after some of the paint steps.
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cars-guy
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Posts: 33
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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:44 pm

While the car was in paint for a couple weeks I took the time to clean up all of the parts that came off the car. The bumper frames got wire wheeled, stayed with rust converter and undercoated while the plastic got a thin coat of trim paint. The grill was cleaned and painted and the 4wd logos got touched up and the rest of the trim got cleaned. The mudflaps got the exposed metal support wire wheeled and coated, and in general every thing was cleaned, painted in some cases, rust proofed, and sprayed with Maxima SC1to protect it all and make it look new.

Great tip for installing gasketed windows. clean and spray a thick coat of SC1 on the gasket and let it sit for a day or two. It will soak into the rubber and soften it up plus its a very slippery coating and isn't potentially harmful to the rubber or paint like other lubricants. Apply it liberally again when you install the window and I swear it makes the gaskets pop right into place with little to no effort.

When I got the car back I just let it sit under a cover for 45 days to let the paint finish off gassing and then I cleaned it and applied mysterious science IE ceramic coat to the paint to protect it. Then I threw all the trim and every thing back on and here is the final result.

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Mattel
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Posts: 1598
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2004 12:11 am
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: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by Mattel » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:02 pm

What a great result and well cone on the budget you had! I like the fact that some of your earlier cars dna lives on. Tell us about the drug running Tercel when you are ready!
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

cars-guy
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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:04 pm

For any one who is interested in total cost, the car was $250, Paint out the door was about $1500, and misc body supplies and other stuff was about another $250. My budget from the insurance was 2k so this worked out perfectly. While I'm sad about my first tercel getting wrecked I basically just traded it for another one thats now twice as nice and has half the miles so I can't complain.

It isn't perfect. because I didn't spend 5k on a paint job there was some over spray and two spots on the roof where a little spec of something got caught in the clear coat. Also the headlight bucket is still just a tad off and while I see exactly on the core support i need to hammer down a bit to make it straight, I think ill leave it. It adds just a tad more character to the car and its a reminder of its past. Just as the owners of these cars and people in general have scars from their past that serve as a constant reminder of where they came from and how thats shaped the person they are today.

cars-guy
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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:18 pm

Mattel wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:02 pm
What a great result and well cone on the budget you had! I like the fact that some of your earlier cars dna lives on. Tell us about the drug running Tercel when you are ready!
ah yes the drug running tercel. When I bought the first one it had a ton of service receipts from a shop in tijuana mexico. It was a san diego car so i didn't think much of it until I looked at the dates. This car would get an oil change once a week for a month, then the next month it would get new park plugs every week, then the next month new coolant every week. I immediately thought that it seems like a good cover story going across the border. "oh I'm just saving a few bucks by having my car serviced in mexico" The school i was going to at the time had a strict no drug policy and they would have dogs go through the parking lot at random so I needed to make sure this car was clean. I called up my local police department and gave them my concerns and asked if i could bring it in and have a dog go through it. That was a hilarious conversation "uhhhh we've never had anyone ask us to this uhhhhh, hold on let me transfer you." that sentence repeated many times along with about 6 transfers and I eventually brought the car in. The dog alerted to everything on the car and so I helped the officers pull back the door panels and things like that. They never found anything but they swabbed behind the panels for traces and it tested positive for literally every drug that was chemically known by the pasadena police dept. They asked me a few questions about how i got the car and i gave them all my paperwork, they did a little mini investigation and sent it over to the DEA and sent me on my way with the car. There is actually a note or something attached to the car in the dmv or somewhere that says that the car can't be searched by a dog because it will alert to it every time.

Maybe thats why I was always so happy whenever i drove the thing. I was just inhaling herion and coke fumes the whole time :lol:

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LowBuckCanuck
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My tercel:: 1986 DLX 4wd Wagon "Jenny"

Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:36 pm

What a beauty she's become! If you don't mind me asking, did you have fight at all to get that much for your wrecked car? $2000 seems like a lot, (from the perspective of a stingy insurance corporation of course) for a car of that vintage with "low collectable value." If there was any trick you used, it might help out wrecked tercel owners of the future.

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NWMO
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by NWMO » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:04 am

cars-guy,

Beautiful car and job!! Perseverance pays off!

Chris
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

cars-guy
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My tercel:: 1985 Tercel SR5
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Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by cars-guy » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:27 am

LowBuckCanuck wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:36 pm
What a beauty she's become! If you don't mind me asking, did you have fight at all to get that much for your wrecked car? $2000 seems like a lot, (from the perspective of a stingy insurance corporation of course) for a car of that vintage with "low collectable value." If there was any trick you used, it might help out wrecked tercel owners of the future.
That was more or less their original offer, I tried to fight them for more but I guess they offered 2k cus they were kind of backed in to a corner. Their client not just hitting my car but being hammered and a hit and run.

My best advice would get your hit in a hit and run, some how be able to track the guy down, take the money from the insurance company, and then offer the guy a civil compromise. What that does is you say hey, give me x amount of dollars in compensation to make amends for what you did and I’ll tell the da to not slap you with a felony.

I got two grand from the insurance company but with that civil compromise..... let’s just say my old tercel made me a significant chunk of change.

Keep in mind that civil compromise if anyone is involved in any sort of criminal case. Car, property damage doesn’t matter. Offering the offender the civil compromise can get you more than well compensated

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LowBuckCanuck
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My tercel:: 1986 DLX 4wd Wagon "Jenny"

Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:19 pm

Thanks for the insight!

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marlinh
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My tercel:: 'Everett' Blue mint 4WD wagon and 'Rocky' 86 4WD Wagon
Location: Kootenays

Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by marlinh » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:51 pm

Wow, what a story! Your car turned out beautiful.

Smatters09
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My tercel:: 1983 toyota tercel wagon 4wd 5speed

Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by Smatters09 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:22 am

Beautiful love the new car love the color

YakSr5
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My tercel:: 1985 lifted

Re: 1985 Tercel 4wd Restoration

Post by YakSr5 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:53 am

Car looks great! love the drug mule tercel story.

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