after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

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dlb
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after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by dlb » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:18 pm

After a few years of messing around with SUV's, I've decided to revisit wagons, and I finally found something I'm really excited about. It's a FWD 1991 Corolla.

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Gas prices have skyrocketed here (up until the last week or so with everything flopping due to coronavirus), and I've already wrestled with the increased cost of driving a 4wd year round for a long time so I decided to go the FWD route. I tried one of these corollas before and I liked it a lot but ended up going with another car at the time so I'm happy to have found the same model. And I like this one even more because it has manual steering, and no sunroof -- two of my favourite non-features in a car, haha.

This must be the most base model Toyota offered because in addition to the manual steering and lack of sunroof, the side mirrors have to be adjusted from the outside, and there is no dome light up by the rear view mirror. Those are things I'm not nuts about but I don't really care about either. It also does not have a tachometer, which I've never seen in a manual trans Toyota. That's too bad but again, doesn't really matter to me.

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It needs some work so I'm going to start on that soon. After the necessary stuff, I'll look at some fun stuff like nicer wheels and a roof rack.

Anyway, I know I'm still not part of the T4 club right now but I'm happy to be closer to it. Wagons are where my heart is. The fuel economy on SUVs sucks.
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splatterdog
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by splatterdog » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:21 pm

I would say welcome back, but you never really left! Once a T4 owner, always a T4 owner.. One admirer of the Icehawk this winter reminisced about his best car ever. First car he ever had that always started, no matter what, and took a while to achieve again. And of course plows through the snow like a truck.

Certainly nothing wrong with keeping it simple or a wagon. Good luck with the new ride.

larry mcgrath
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by larry mcgrath » Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:37 pm

You never loose your desire to like these cars Larry.

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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: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by Mattel » Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:19 pm

Hey, welcome back David! I always feel a bit guilty for pushing you to that corolla All-trac! I've still got mine and a Vanagon. I had to buy a whole corolla wreck from the other side of Australia to get a glass sunroof because the steel one rusted out.
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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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: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by Mattel » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:03 pm

We never got that 2wd model Corolla Wagon in Australia however we did get a newer model a few years back back and there are companies importing low mileage hybrid corolla fielder wagons with the prius running gear from Japan that look really good and are perhaps 5 years old.
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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dlb
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by dlb » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:51 pm

Psssshhhht, Mattell. I have nothing but fond memories of my ae95! those are still the coolest looking car of all time, IMO. I used to hate the look of these FWD ones, they're such a grandma vehicle, but now I kind of like that aspect of it. It's just the right kind of ugly for me.

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NWMO
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by NWMO » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:11 am

Congratulations dlb, I still enjoy driving the Rusty Frog, even when it's a constant project! Some day it will turn into my first Gambler rig, but hopefully that's a few years away.

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john
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My tercel:: 85 toy tercel 2wd wagon (formerly a 4wd automatic)
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by john » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:47 pm

Hello DLB, It's good to have a car you're excited about! Congratulations on the Corolla! I still enjoy my '85 Tercel. It's a great work car. It has been front wheel drive for a number of years now and no one has asked me to leave the forum:). John

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dlb
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by dlb » Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:22 am

John, what made you turn your 4wd into a 2wd? Did you have a problem with the 4wd or rear axle? I assume you just removed the rear axle shaft, yeah?

Yesterday I removed the rear struts and took them apart. One wasn't too bad but the other was the worst I've ever seen. The shock absorber part had zero pressure and slid up and down with zero resistance. I also ordered new springs because they're available and at 30 years old, the ones in there are probably due for it.

john
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My tercel:: 85 toy tercel 2wd wagon (formerly a 4wd automatic)
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by john » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:01 pm

Years ago, the front differential on the automatic transmission self destructed. The only replacement I could readily find was a front-wheel drive only transmission. It bolted right up. I'm happy I kept the car on the road. She runs great and passes smog way under limits. Here on the valley floor in California I never really needed the 4wd, so it's ok. John

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Petros
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by Petros » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:22 am

Congrats David. that has the 4AFE engine, I think one of the best engines toyota made: nice simple first gen EFI, 16 valves, very reliable and very efficient, with a great flat top power curve, pulls strong from from about 1600 RPM up to the Red line.
'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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dlb
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by dlb » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:27 am

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the 4AFE too. On top of it being a solid and economical engine, the gearing in the transmission for the FWD corolla wagons is much peppier than the 4wd version. It's way more fun to drive 99% of the year. I'll definitely be feeling sorry for myself when it snows next though, haha.

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dlb
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by dlb » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:02 pm

Update on the Corolla wagon: I've replaced the rear struts and springs, the entire exhaust system, a leaky CV axle seal, and the gear oil (I went with Redline synthetic). The trans drain plugs on these don't have a magnet, it's located in the trans case so it can only be cleaned when the trans is taken apart. That's stupid but luckily I had an old T4 drain plug with the magnet built into it so I put that on the Corolla. It hasn't needed anything else besides a thorough cleaning inside and out. The previous owner was a nice young guy in mechanics school with a love of old station wagons (he replaced this car with an early 80's Volvo wagon) and he replaced the timing belt and clutch last year, plus all the maintenance stuff I usually do when I first get a car (plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter) so I really haven't had much to do on it. I'm still waiting for a bunch of stereo stuff to show up in the mail though, and when it does I'll be replacing the head unit and putting 6x9s in the front doors and a sub under the seat. I hate having just a crappy stereo and a few tinny little 4" speakers. I was going to replace the wheels with 15" alloys and 185/55r15 tires but the tires on the car are in excellent shape so I can't justify the cost of new tires plus mounting them. Once these tires wear out in a few years, then I'll look at nicer wheels.

I fueled up the car for the first time today and got 34 mpg. That's awesome. I'm very pleased with the car so far.

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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: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by Mattel » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:31 pm

Good preventative maintenance David!. we never got front wheel drive wagon of that model which is weird because we got the salon and two different type of hatches and the 4wd wagon. The alltrac was ahead of the 850 Volvo in the late eighties with the D pillar tail lights. They both have good solid engineering and are good to work on. Did I ever send you the link where I leant my Alltrac to a car blog in Australia. check out the comments section. https://www.caradvice.com.au/655384/201 ... omparison/
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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dlb
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Re: after a few years away, I'm back in the wagon game.

Post by dlb » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:21 pm

It's time for another update. I ended up putting the 15" Honda wheels on earlier than I had planned because my dear sweet wife ran over a punch and annihilated one of the otherwise mint tires that came on the car. Those tires were 185/70r13 and I couldn't find anything used in that size around here, and I didn't want to pay a bunch of money for two new ones when my plan was to get away from 13" tires for the majority of the year, but I got lucky and found a set of 185/55r15 all seasons on sale at Canadian Tire for $60 each or so. I put them on the Honda wheels, and also happened to find a set of technically used, although never actually used, 13" winter tires for $60 for all four (!!!) to go on the stock rims. The Honda rims look a little too modern for the car but they're still a big improvement over the stock steelies.

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I also finally received all the stereo components and got it all installed. Man alive, it sounds unreal now. I had forgotten how necessary a sub is for a complete sound spectrum.

I mentioned in another post that the gas tank seems to be difficult to fill for the last 13-15 liters but I messed around with a few things and will see if it's any better on the next fill up. Besides that, the car has been great. I'm really happy to be back in a wagon. On our last road trip, we packed all kinds of crap and were worried about fitting it all but we ended up having lots of room to spare.
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