1987 Tercel 4wd project

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Nordical25
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My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Back in 2020 world was relatively closed due to Corona restrictions. Many interesting cars apperared for sale back then including this one. This 1987 Tercel 4wd had exactly same colour and manufacturing year to my main project to be restored. That is why it was a really interesing one for me.

I had finished my previous historical vehicle project and decided that it was time to start fixing my 1987 Tercel 4wd back to road. That is why I was planning to use all of the best spare parts from this vehicle to my another one because doors and fenders were in better condition according to my instant judgement. This one had some engine issues but otherwise it was mainly fine excluding 10 different colours of red and incomplete interior.

I bought this car and fetched it a bit later. This car felt really powerless during my first trip. I was afraid that it had low compression or blown head gasket. However, main reason for these issues were worn and oxidised breaker points, bad spark plugs, dirty rotor and wrong adjusted ignition timing. I needed to drive this car in highway with 4th gear to make up to 100km/h, which is around 60 mph. Later during summer 2020 I went through ignition system and engine improved instantly.

This car had also issues with temperature according to temperature gauge. However these issues didn't prevent me from buying this car since I owned that time 2 additional Tercel 4wd with fully functioning engines. The cooler had also lost it's fins. That is why I bought during 2020 another cooler and ignition parts.
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Neu
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My tercel:: 1985 SR5 No Mods
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
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Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Neu »

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

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Petros »

very nice. in North America all of the Parcels had solid state electronic spark ignition, wonder why you all got the older mechanical points spark ignition.

I really love that front bumper set up, looks like fiberglass. Aftermarket? I would love to get one of those here in the USA, saves a lot of weight and improves the looks, I want to get rid of our stupid ugly oversized US Federal bumpers on my Tercel4wd. they do not make the car safer, they just add weight and cost.
'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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Nordical25
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My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Thank you both very much!

I don't know why European Tercels had mechanical points spark ignition. For some reasons different regions got different features starting from motors to bumpers.

This bumper should be 100% stock painted in red with additional dim lights. Such bumpers are found from 85-88 Euro Tercel 4wds. I can contact you if I will find any Tercel extra spare bumper. They are not that common but who knows what parts will appear for sale in the future. 82-84 4wd Euro bumper is a bit different but not that much. And it is also found from European AL20-Tercels.
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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: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Mattel »

Looks great, reminds me when I was in Sweden many years ago and sawa red Tercel 4wd in Stockholm with the headlamp washers and rear foglamp and Antenae in the strange position.
Australia also had points ignition but I replaced mine with an electronic ignition from a Corolla.
There is a guy in Norway with about a dozen Tercels I believe.
Are you going to keep this one on the road or part it?
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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Nordical25
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My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Yes, headlight washers, rear foglamp and strange position antenna do sound like our cars.

Australia spec points ignition is interesting to know. I did replace ignition too on both Tercels. Point ignition is good on everyday use but problematic if one uses car rarely. Then points tend to oxidize and wear out eventually. To me points have been mostly failing component on Tercel, so far. It is very strange that most of our 83-87 Corollas and Carina II's with 4A had electronic ignition. We received only 2A and 3A engines with points ignitions on Corolla and Tercel. However, I have understood that for example German 1985-1988 Tercel 4wds had electric ignition so there are differencies between European models too.

I am trying to keep this one and my another 1987 Tercel 4wd on the road.

Back in 2020 I had all of my 3 Tercels next to each other because I wanted to compare them which ones to save and restore. I noticed that both of my 1987 Tercel 4wds were in reasonable and highly similar condition. The undercoating helped a lot on them both. However my 1985 Tercel 4wd was too rotten so I decided to turn it into spare parts. This resulted into having two complete cars with diffent engine and idle issues since my 1987 had been off the road since 2008 and this one since 2015.

My 1985 Tercel had a complete interior so I transferred that into this car and used remaining bits to fix my other 1987. I had still to source some engine, body, ignition, fuel tank, brake and steering parts during 2020 for incoming years.

My first 1987 had been sitting aside since 2008 and this one since 2015. I managed to find also a very good condition 4A engine for reasonable price as a backup engine. Original plan was to build them simultaneously and get at least one inspected during 2021.
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Nordical25
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My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Story goes on. I managed to find original German accesories brochure wheels to my Tercels. They were unused and made during 1985 (see two digit year stamp), perfect for 1987 Tercels! They are still waiting to be used. I will use them once one of my car gets into mint condition.

I had a whole week and a half to fix both of my Tercels during April 2021 after snowy winter. I started them both and realized that my original one needed more desperately 4A-engine, which I managed to find last year. The reason was that original engine hesitated a lot both during idle and accelelation. The swap was a success with new oil and cam belt. The 4A had really good distributor and carb. I am still really happy how this 160000km (100000 miles) engine performs compared to original 417000km (260000 miles) 3A engine. I drove this car to my garage, which is located over 400km (250 miles) away. I needed to fix still a lot of things like rusty fenders during coming months.

I swapped dashboard on the "purchase" Tercel into 1984 one. I decided to make this Tercel to look like a 1984 or 1985 one. The idle was good enough to have trust on this 3A engine with temperature issues. I was satisfyed with the look of new dash.
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dlb
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My tercel:: none currently, 7 previous
Location: bc, canada

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by dlb »

Where did you find those wheels? Amazing to think of them sitting somewhere for all these years.
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Nordical25
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My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Hi dlb,

I found them online from "tori.fi" by searching 4x100 alloys. Tori.fi is somehow similar to craigslist. I agree that I had luck with them. They must have been displayed in somekind of showroom because they are unused until now.
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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Petros »

that is such a great story. love your tercels!

BTW, there is an odd thing that happens to Tercel enthusiasts, they turn into Tercel4wd hoarders. You buy one, and than you can not help yourself, and buy every additional Tercel4wd you can find. the tercels will start piling up, future projects you will get to "some day". if it gets too bad, intervention may be necessary. sounds like you might be already on your way.
'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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Nordical25
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 11:49 pm
My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Thank you Petros. It is very true. This car is unique and rare enough to raise interest to buy extra ones. Partially because these things are really great to drive in snow and in mud. Remaining part of motivation must be somehow hard access to some parts, like body panels and interior parts.

My Tercel intervention was at its closest during 2020-2021 so I needed to prove everyone that these two cars are still roadworthy and that I can dismantle remaining rotted one into parts by myself.

I started that by fixing oil, cam belt, front fenders, rear window wiper, driver window crank, stereo wiring ad rusty sunroof on my "first" 1987 Tercel between April 2021-October 2021. I managed to get that one state inspected after some pre and after inspection welding at body shop. This Tercel was first time entirely road legal since 2008.

I fixed together with my family members the another Tercel between April 2021-July 2021. We changed a new thermostat, cam belt, distributor and resealed carburetor. This resulted into stable idle without any major heat issues. I got this Tercel state inspected on July 2021, first time since 2015.

I ordered 80s style plates on both cars so they would look more original to me. I asked also an offer to repaint these cars. I received a decent offer and decided to repaint them.

First one went for repainting during September 2021.

I also managed to dismantle my third 1985 spare part donor during September 2021. I needed already interior from this car previously so it lacked some parts already.

I spent a lot of my holidays to sort out these cars and I was happy to my "Tercel" year 2021. After having such a year, I will have serious thinking before I would purchase another one.
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Nordical25
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My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

During February 2022 I did a trip to fetch some rust free Tercel doors for 2022-2023 winters painting project. I did change gearbox oil and rear axle oil to this project car. Gearbox oil was entirely black so it was about time to do that. I need to state inspect this Tercel before painting it so I still have a plenty of work to be done during summer 2022. It seems still that I have a possibility to complete two intact 4wd Tercels with a fresh coat of paint.

One fender was rusty in current paint job Tercel so I swapped that into better one. Tercels paint got finished during May 2022. Color code was Toyotas stock 3E6 and I was really happy with end result. I assembled this Tercel into driveable condition at paint shop. I need still to take this one into body shop for welding before yearly state inspection so I won't put any carpets before welding. I will start cleaning and finishing all remaining parts better after welding and state inspection. My aim is to make this historical vehicle, which means that all surfaces must be clean.

In other words I need to clean and finish one Tercel and prepare another for coming paint shop trip during summer 2022 besides all other summer activities.
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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Petros »

those are such awesome Tercels!

I bet the inspectors think you are nuts. No matter, you can not help yourself at this point.

something odd I noticed about these cars, like no other old project cars I have own (most all of the cars I have bought since high school in 1973, were in fact fixer projects). these funny little econo-boxes have a personality, and once you drive one for a bit, it hard not to like them and feel you have a strange imtimate connection with old cars. I am not really one to be sentamental about a rusty old machine, but darn it, no other car I have ever owned has had this effect on me. I want to save everyone that I see.

My first one I bought for $150, it was in a collision, but still driveable. it did not have a clean panel on it, interior was trashed, no radio, a few rusty spots, and a rattely engine. I needed cheap transportation fast, and I found it. I was just going to drive until I can get the engine to my Nissan pathfinder rebuilt. over the year or so I drove it I slowly picked up the body parts I needed to fix it, even paid for a new windshield, and even rebuilt the engine, bought new tires, and struts to install. than I finally got my pathfiner running, I ended up selling it it instead. because the Tercel was just so economical and fun to drive, much less truck like than the Pathfinder. I still hesitated to sink more money into it, but I later found a near perfect body that the owner wanted the engine out of, and it had a trashed transmission. so I bought the good rolling chassis from him and swap all the good newer parts over to the better chassis. I stripped the old one of useful parts, and than hauled it to a scrapper to get it out of our yard. they used a giant fork lift and ran it through the windows (most were still good), that caused me to wince. he lifted that old car of mine high into the air and dumped it on top of pile of other junk cars going to the crusher. that trusty little car that served me for over a year just tumbled off the pile and rolled to the bottom, denting and scratch the body as it went, and it laid there like a wounded dying animal right in front of me.

I suddenly had this feeling of panic. I wanted to run out into the yard and stand between it that that gigantic fork lift and scream.."wait, wait! I made a mistake! I can fix it! I can fix it! let me take it home!" I felt like throwing my arms around the defenseless hulk of the tercel and use my body to protect it from further harm. I almost cried as I stood there watching it lay there in its undignified death, feeling like I betrayed its trust by just tossing it away. It was like helplessly watching an old friend get beat to death, all because of me. I did not know what to do, it would be stupid and unreasonable at this point, but I could not help it. it had been such a great car to me.

it was such a silly and irrational feeling, I knew that, but I could not shake it. it still bring tears to my eyes, even though I know it was not worth fixing, it was just too beat up, and it was just not worth that much. Never had any car I have owned ever have this effect on me, and I have owned a lot of different cars. it is just an old metal and plastic machine that served it purpose, and is now done. no matter, I am going to keep the others I have running forever, until I pass away. I can not go through that 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)
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Nordical25
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Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2022 11:49 pm
My tercel:: 2 4wd 1987's. One with 4a, other with 3a
Location: Finland

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by Nordical25 »

Thank you, I try to build them even more awesome.

Yes the inspectors can indeed think that I am nuts. But some of them are car enthusiasts themselves so it depends from a person to a person. Their understanding tends to rise here with repainting the car because most of people start to understand that car is worth of saving with a fresh shining coat of paint. I have also fixed previously a 1970's Opel Kadett back to road and reception improved instantly with a fresh coat paint.

It is true, these cars do have a special personality. I don't want to waste good parts either because some of them could be hard to find. I may be totally wrong but I feel that Toyota has paid a lot of attention into these cars. 1983-1987 Corollas, Camrys or Carinas never got inclinometers, enormous rear side windows nor 4wd with diff lock. So I feel that Toyota wanted to experiment a lot of things with Tercel 4wd and that is why the experience is so different to other similar models. They updated the Tercel look at least two times, 1985 & 1987. All cars, like Corolla haven't received two facelifts. I owned also a 1987 Carina II AT151 but it never felt so special after driving the Tercel 4wd. It just lacked something. I like also the size of this car. It is big enough to carry most of stuff you need all the time.

So I understand totally if you felt bad sending a Tercel to scrapper. I want to keep mine running too as long as I can find parts to them. And I like the fuel consumption too. It has been good since 80's even here in Europe with all our econoboxes around.
HuguesFR
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My tercel:: Tercel 4WD 1987
Location: France

Re: 1987 Tercel 4wd project

Post by HuguesFR »

Beau travail, elle est très belle en rouge

Nice work, she is very beautiful in red
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