my post-tercel vehicle adventures

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dlb
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my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by dlb » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:35 pm

hello gang. it's been a long time since i've been on this forum. i've been on a bit of a journey finding a vehicle that suits me now and decided that it would be fun to come back here and talk cars with the old gang (assuming some of the 'old gang' is still around).

so several years ago i decided that my 4wd corolla wagon was more to my liking than the tercel and at that point, i basically lost my passion for t4's. i obviously still think they're fantastic cars and ogle when i see one on the road but i no longer have the interest to rescue any more of them. i found that the ones that i did fix up and sell wound up not being appreciated like i had hoped they would be, and that was really disheartening. i didn't want to put tons of effort in to save a rad old car from the scrap pile just to have it neglected or abused by its new owner.

so i happily drove my 4wd corolla wagon for 5 years. i loved that car -- correction, i still love that car. one xmas eve, a drunk driver bumped into the front driver side fender which pushed the fender back so i couldn't open the driver door. i straightened it out and all was fine after that. then my wife hit a deer with it last fall but i banged most of the dents out and had the spare parts to replace the broken headlight and corner light. and i didn't mind those little dents, i feel like stuff like that are like badges of honour for a vehicle that is serving its owner well. same with rust. so i've been really happy with the corolla.

69878791_614.jpg

but my wife and i recently bought a vacation property that is a 5 hr drive away, and we have a big dog and a lot of stuff that we have to bring up there each time we go so i wanted basically the same vehicle but with more cargo room. i liked the look of the nissan x-trail so i thought i'd give one of those a try:

Image

i found one for a good price and jumped on it. there was lots to like about it: surprisingly responsive and powerful engine that still got identical mileage to my corolla (despite being a 2.5L, amazingly), super smooth ride, heated seats, power mirrors, tons of cargo space, the rear seats folded down flat, all the various controls just felt nice to the touch...this was clearly an actually nice car. but i learned a few things with my x-trail: this car came from an area of BC where they use lots of salt in the winter and despite all my experience of working on rusty old tercels (i have always prided myself on being really good at breaking tiny, rusted bolts free without shearing them), i learned that vehicles that have been exposed to tons of salt rust in a totally different way. they don't just get a bit rusty, the affected metals either corrode so badly they turn to dust when you put a tool on them, or the nuts and bolts fuse together. then they will only shear off, and need to be drilled out, re-tapped, and new bolts installed. it was incredible, and very frustrating and disappointing.

the next thing i learned was that x-trails were only available in canada in north america, not the US -- and only for two years, in 2005 and 2006, and that meant that some parts were impossible to source around here.

i also ran into a few instances where the listed part #s for things like brake shoes and park brake hardware were incorrect across the board. everywhere i looked, they said "this is the part we have listed," but none of them fit the vehicle. i wound up having to go to the wrecker for park brake hardware. i didn't like that much.

another aspect not to be discounted is that driving a 'nice' car made me nervous. i worried about it getting dinged, and didn't want to lend it to my wife since she can be a bit hard on vehicles.

i ultimately decided that despite loving driving and using the x-trail, the cons outweighed the negatives. so i sold it.

next on my list of what SUV to try out was the first gen ('96-'00) rav4.

Image

i was surprised how expensive they were for an older car but finally managed to find one with high km but in very good shape that had been well cared for. i bought it and immediately noticed that it was much smaller inside than the x-trail, and not as luxurious. i was initially disappointed. but it still felt like it was in good shape so i gave it the benefit of the doubt and bought it anyway. and after just a few days of driving it, i realized i really liked it. it has more cargo room than the corolla, plus the rear seats are really easy to remove if we have an exceptionally large load of stuff to bring to the new property. i like that it's so similar to the corolla in terms of its condition too -- it's old and worn enough that i won't lost my mind if my wife spills her coffee in it or when a new dent shows up. it is not as powerful or responsive as the x-trail but it is much more so than the corolla. and it's just a lot of fun to drive. it feels like i'm driving a toy somehow. and it feels comfortable to me, unpretentious. it feels like the logical extension of the 4wd corolla, and the 4wd tercel.

so after driving the rav4 for just a few days and really liking it, i moved all my junk into it from the corolla. in the middle of doing so, i realized, "jeez, i guess this is it -- it's time to sell the corolla." i listed it yesterday and have someone coming to buy it tomorrow. i'll be a little bummed to see it (and the mountain of spare parts for it) go but i feel good about the new chapter i'm starting with the rav4.

and that's where i'm at now. t4 --> ae95 --> x-trail --> rav4. i just wanted to share that.

hope everyone here is doing well and taking good care of their t4's.
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Petros
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by Petros » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:25 pm

good to hear from you David,

you know, the RAV4 was the ultimate replacement for the T4wd. toyota discontinued the T4wd once the All-trac came out, but sales were disappointing (like due to the higher price, and less suitable for rough roads), and they discontinued in mid year of the production run. Right after the first gen Rav4 came out, a rugged little 4 cyl 4wd. I like the early one, but the two I have driven seemed to have a bit of a harsh ride, like truck, but it is a gear size. the next gen one got a little bigger, and that one is my favorite, still a 4cyl and fairly light. I have been in those models several times, and they are a great size and nice ride, and as you found, seem to hold their value a long time. Than the next one got even bigger, longer, heavier, than it got a V6, oddly it was still called a Rav4. I have driven those, and I do not care for them at all.

not a lot of small 4wd available anymore, Suzuki stopped importing their fun little SX4 (2.0 liter, AWD small hatch back car) years ago, the RAV4 is too big, became ugliy and heavy, even the subarus have gotten big and heavy.

I will stay with my Tercel4wd, as long as I can get parts to keep it 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)
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LowBuckCanuck
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:32 am

dlb wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:35 pm
this car came from an area of BC where they use lots of salt in the winter and despite all my experience of working on rusty old tercels (i have always prided myself on being really good at breaking tiny, rusted bolts free without shearing them), i learned that vehicles that have been exposed to tons of salt rust in a totally different way. they don't just get a bit rusty, the affected metals either corrode so badly they turn to dust when you put a tool on them, or the nuts and bolts fuse together. then they will only shear off, and need to be drilled out, re-tapped, and new bolts installed. it was incredible, and very frustrating and disappointing.
Whereabouts in BC?

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ARCHINSTL
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by ARCHINSTL » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:01 am

Great to hear from you, David!
Many of us have wondered ...
Tom
T4WD augury?
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dlb
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by dlb » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:27 am

Petros wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:25 pm
good to hear from you David,

you know, the RAV4 was the ultimate replacement for the T4wd...I like the early one, but the two I have driven seemed to have a bit of a harsh ride, like truck, but it is a gear size. the next gen one got a little bigger, and that one is my favorite, still a 4cyl and fairly light...Than the next one got even bigger, longer, heavier, than it got a V6, oddly it was still called a Rav4. I have driven those, and I do not care for them at all.

not a lot of small 4wd available anymore, Suzuki stopped importing their fun little SX4 (2.0 liter, AWD small hatch back car) years ago, the RAV4 is too big, became ugliy and heavy, even the subarus have gotten big and heavy.
i don't like the look of the second gen rav4's but i think the third gen looks sharp. way out of my price range though.

i agree, it seems like a lot of companies were making small SUV's for a while but they've all grown in size with each generation. now the subaru forester, which used to look like a t4, looks more like a ford escape. same with honda's cr-v, and most others i can think of. it stinks. that's why i liked the nissan x-trail so much, it was about as big as a small SUV can be.

another thing i don't like about newer cars is fewer and fewer are available with manual transmissions. most everything i looked at that was post-2000 was automatic, which was a deal breaker for me.
LowBuckCanuck wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:32 am
Whereabouts in BC?
i'm on southern vancouver island. are you in nelson? is 'leonard' one of greg's old t4's?

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rer233
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by rer233 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:14 am

Welcome back, David! Great to hear from you again. Nice to see you're back in the Toyota fold. I know they cost more than other manufacturer's vehicles, but like I'm known to say "you get what you pay for (if you're lucky.")

Got my sister a killer deal (IMO) recently on a 2001 AWD Toyota Highlander that belonged to my neighbor's deceased step father. Seems the guy wasn't real highly regarded by his heirs and they just wanted out of the car. It was one owner, garage kept, in real nice condition, with 73K on the clock and most importantly, a 4 cylinder engine ( same as the Camry.) Talk about easy to work on! She paid 6K for it, and the guy that State Inspected it for me said he'd buy it if she didn't want it. 'Course, it's an A/T- so that lets you out (she can't drive a M/T anyway, so it was right up her alley.) I think she loves it.

Keep us posted- don't be a stranger.
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LowBuckCanuck
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:16 am

dlb wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:27 am
i'm on southern vancouver island. are you in nelson? is 'leonard' one of greg's old t4's?

Yes, Lenny's previous owner was Greg. I'm in Revelstoke through. The reason I asked where the x-trail was from is because salt is heavily used in the interior, which ruins so many nice cars around here.

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dlb
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by dlb » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:07 pm

wow rich, i didn't know the highlander came in a 4-cylinder. i looked it up now and it looks like it's a 2.4L. that's awesome, i bet it gets comparable fuel economy to the x-trail. sounds like you happened on a great deal.

lowbuckcanuck, my x-trail was from pemberton. i knew it would have salt exposure but i was foolish enough to believe it couldn't be that bad on a a vehicle that was only about 12 years old. lesson learned though, i'm never buying another car that has lived anywhere salty.

greg's green tercel, 'ron,' was my first t4. i think greg bought it off me in 2012 or so when i first found my 4wd corolla.

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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by LowBuckCanuck » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:10 am

dlb wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:07 pm
wow rich, i didn't know the highlander came in a 4-cylinder. i looked it up now and it looks like it's a 2.4L. that's awesome, i bet it gets comparable fuel economy to the x-trail. sounds like you happened on a great deal.

lowbuckcanuck, my x-trail was from pemberton. i knew it would have salt exposure but i was foolish enough to believe it couldn't be that bad on a a vehicle that was only about 12 years old. lesson learned though, i'm never buying another car that has lived anywhere salty.

greg's green tercel, 'ron,' was my first t4. i think greg bought it off me in 2012 or so when i first found my 4wd corolla.
Such a small world really. Even stumbled across your corolla ad on kijiji today.

How recently did you sell your xtrail? Because I know someone who recently bought one around your area. That would really take the cake for "small world-ness."

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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by Mattel » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:52 am

Hey David. Great to hear from you and read about your car issues. We are lucky in Australia to have non of the salt issues you have. I still have my all-trac and I remember your trepidation on getting yours and I'm glad its been good to you. My sunroof corroded so bad I had to buy a whole JDM car from Queensland that was wrecked and have it send down on a truck so I could dismantle it and sell all the parts I needed just to get the rare Glass sunroof with blind that they never sold in Australia but at least now it wont rust! ended up breaking even after I sold the JDM height control suspension and rare interior parts.

I've gone a bit backwards though and now have one of your other cars you had issues with. A 1990 VW T3 Vanagon. Mine is the Australian version of a Westfalia called a trakka and I really enjoy it however it's not without its constant small issues (the remanufactured cv's need replacing already (under warranty) and pretty bad fuel economy although having a fridge /sink / stove etc is awesome and I sleep in it about once a week when I go surfing plus it's going up in price these days.
Previous: 83 Tercel SR5 4wd, 84 Tercel SR5 4wd
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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by splatterdog » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:55 am

Enough about cars, what about the vacation property? Is there room to start you own T4 repository? haha

5 hours is a bit of a run, definitely consider gas mileage when making a vehicle choice. Even 2-3 mpg's can add up in a hurry. I've been mostly T4'ing to camp this winter, which is 2 hours away, saving me half the gas the Expedition would gulp. Since I've been having a record year for ice fishing trips, fuel savings have really added up.

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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by BlackStraw » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:35 pm

I'm a daily checker of the south vancouver island used car listings....and have to say I was VERY tempted to come and buy your wagon....especially knowing from your posts here the quality of mechanical attention you would have put into it. Knew it wouldn't last long at that price. But alas there's only so much parking space in the driveway, and I already have a "spare" Tercel that isn't worth much but don't really want to get rid of yet.

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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by Jarf » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:24 am

Great to hear from you David.
Sounds like life has been interesting.

We had a 2nd gen Rav 4 (4cyl/5spd), solid vehicle all around, I wasn't a fan of the cross mount as It complicates servicing, but such is life.
It was as reliable as they come.
When rust took my last T4, I replaced it with a Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Uses way more gas than the T4 but no ABS and a proper 2 spd transfer case.
Also a decent vehicle but it does suffer from frozen bolt syndrome.
I have never spent more time coaxing things apart than I have on this beast, at least wrenching events are far and few between.

Am sure you will love Rav, they're great vehicles.
Keep in touch

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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by marlinh » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:43 am

Great to hear from you David. Been thinking about you lately so it was great to read your post. I want to know where your vacation property is! You were considering the Kootenays but I guess that was a bit too far away.

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Re: my post-tercel vehicle adventures

Post by dlb » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:48 pm

Mattel wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:52 am
I've gone a bit backwards though and now have one of your other cars you had issues with. A 1990 VW T3 Vanagon. Mine is the Australian version of a Westfalia called a trakka and I really enjoy it however it's not without its constant small issues (the remanufactured cv's need replacing already (under warranty) and pretty bad fuel economy although having a fridge /sink / stove etc is awesome and I sleep in it about once a week when I go surfing plus it's going up in price these days.
hey matt! you know, i've always said that i hate the vanagon as a vehicle and love it as a camper. all the cabinets, appliances, beds, and whatnot are really neat, and even more so if you can use it regularly for surfing.
marlinh wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:43 am
Great to hear from you David. Been thinking about you lately so it was great to read your post. I want to know where your vacation property is! You were considering the Kootenays but I guess that was a bit too far away.
marlene! i'll email you about the property. i've been thinking about you lately too.
Jarf wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:24 am
Great to hear from you David.
Sounds like life has been interesting.

We had a 2nd gen Rav 4 (4cyl/5spd), solid vehicle all around, I wasn't a fan of the cross mount as It complicates servicing, but such is life.
It was as reliable as they come.
When rust took my last T4, I replaced it with a Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Uses way more gas than the T4 but no ABS and a proper 2 spd transfer case.
Also a decent vehicle but it does suffer from frozen bolt syndrome.
I have never spent more time coaxing things apart than I have on this beast, at least wrenching events are far and few between.

Am sure you will love Rav, they're great vehicles.
Keep in touch
jarf, i remember when you got the vitara and actually took a lot of your thoughts into consideration when i started looking for more of an SUV and less of a wagon.

i don't mind the transverse mounting of the engine because now that i'm not rescuing old tercels, i find i don't spend anywhere near as much time working on the cars i own! i still enjoy wrenching but it sure is nice to have to do it so often. i must also admit that we have a fantastic, honest, cheap mechanic just down the road from us now so any time i don't feel like doing a job, i take it to him. he did the timing belt and water pump on my wife's '03 hyundai accent (which i actually really like, believe it or not -- very peppy, great mileage, easy to work on, drives nicely) and i think the bill was about $300 (canadian dollars, of course). i was so impressed. so yeah, ease of maintenance is slightly less of a concern to me now although i still think it's hallmark of an excellent vehicle design.
BlackStraw wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:35 pm
I'm a daily checker of the south vancouver island used car listings....and have to say I was VERY tempted to come and buy your wagon....especially knowing from your posts here the quality of mechanical attention you would have put into it. Knew it wouldn't last long at that price. But alas there's only so much parking space in the driveway, and I already have a "spare" Tercel that isn't worth much but don't really want to get rid of yet.
ha, thanks blackstraw! where are you located?
splatterdog wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:55 am
Enough about cars, what about the vacation property? Is there room to start you own T4 repository? haha

5 hours is a bit of a run, definitely consider gas mileage when making a vehicle choice. Even 2-3 mpg's can add up in a hurry. I've been mostly T4'ing to camp this winter, which is 2 hours away, saving me half the gas the Expedition would gulp. Since I've been having a record year for ice fishing trips, fuel savings have really added up.
hey SD. we are thrilled with the new property. it's 10 acres, almost all trees, and near the end of a dead end dirt road about 5 minutes drive out of town in a tiny remote coastal community. basically heaven, to us. we put a camper up there last summer right after we bought it and we are planning on building a very small off-grid cabin there this spring/summer. now, we've never built anything like this so it might end up being a total f***ing disaster but i'm hopeful we can make something passable. i have quite a few friends who are carpenters with various specialties and they are all very happy to answer my myriad irritating construction questions. assuming the cabin doesn't totally suck once it's done, i'll post pics of it here. and if it sucks, i also might post pics just for laughs and as a "don't do what i did" cautionary tale.

so glad to see so many of you are still kicking around here, keeping the t4 love alive. if there's one thing i dislike about the 4wd corolla, x-trail, and rav4, it's that none of them have a forum like this one. this site, and the knowledge and dedication of the many great users here, is an invaluable resource.

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