"Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

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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: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by Mattel » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:34 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hWWw5cyTvgcould you take off the damaged panels and use a strap and a truck to pull that frame back into shape? I've heard of it being done before there are a few videos up on youtube that can help.. I like this guy who used a ruler on a replacement hood to align his car back to position!
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

loess
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Location: Iowa

Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by loess » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:23 pm

Man, life has been throwing me some challenging left-field curveballs all summer and things are finally calming down enough that I can direct some intention back toward looking into another vehicle. A delayed thank you to Petros and Mattel for your replies! Toyster sat for a couple of months and last week a friend with a Prius and a towbar helped me get it towed into storage.

tercel4wd-tow.jpg

I have been getting by without a car thanks to family and friends helping me with rides (and for a while there I was cornered into dropping some serious dollars on Uber), but living car-less in my area is not a sustainable or practical reality for me and my work. Now that I have saved a little dough to invest in another vehicle for reliable daily transportation, I am finding myself at a crossroads.

I had a lot of fun with my Tercel4WD overall. If I were to invest in another: on one hand I could have a really useful parts car in Toyster + the extra wheels, tires and misc accessories that I have collected while I have had her, plus perhaps I will find the time and resources at some point to experiment with realigning the frame between a couple of trees as was mentioned by Mattel above. I am also hesitant to part with it because frankly I totally fell in love with the Tercel4WD over this past year, in no small part due to the incredibly comprehensive and friendly resource that is this forum. That being said there were a few sticking points that I came across during my time driving the T4WD as my sole vehicle that bring me pause when considering the pursuit of another Tercel4WD, if these points were not addressed. For one, driving at highway speed for me seemed to be very often defined by a white-knuckle grip on the wheel and a pretty all-encompassing sensory experience that was kind of stressful: the wind noise was a constant presence due to deteriorating door and window seals, and if it was raining or misting outside, I'd get some of that water coming in through the cracks, which was fine when it was warm outside but unpleasant when temperatures were low. Another thing that bugged me was that the impatience of today's drivers with the slower speed at which the Tercel4WD accelerates and merges onto the highway made me feel somewhat preyed upon. I also noticed that for my body frame (6'2" and slim), the seats in the T4WD and the lack of cruise control on long trips had a tendency to exacerbate my back and knee pain, and could really do a number on my butt bones too. I don't know if I could get into traveling long distances on a regular basis in the Tercel if I had to. I never got around to pulling off the driver's side interior door panel to fix the stubborn window rollers, and it got worse over time which was kind of annoying. Lastly, the rear seats feel sketchy to me when traveling with children. I don't have any kids of my own, but many times I had friends' kiddos in tow in their car seats and felt some concern about it. From what I remember reading here it sounds like 3-point belts were able to be retrofitted for the Tercel4WD but the retrofit kits that were issued are rare indeed.

I think most of these are solvable and I have been recently keeping an eye on the forum and CL for another T4WD. While I would have mine to use as a parts resource, I do not have tons of time, money, or space to do any major rehabilitation of a clunker so I need to find one without severe rust, good body/suspension, working A/C and a solid transmission.

I'm also still missing my beloved Previa van, but my next thought after that is always that I do not miss is the effort and contortion of my body required to access the engine and drivetrain on that vehicle; fluid changes, repairs and maintenance on the Tercel has been a piece of cake compared to that van.

Other thoughts I have had: same friend who helped me tow this car has a 1992 Corolla wagon in Colorado; like to check that out next time I visit him out there. I would not mind trying out a Honda Element at some point but don't have anywhere close to the dollars for one at this time, nor do I have any knowledge of what commonly fails on Elements, what to be aware of when buying one, which years are better than others, etc. My first car was a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback and then a 1998 Forester; those were both solid cars that I put lots of miles on, but they both had head gaskets that blew.
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Petros
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by Petros » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:46 am

Tercel4wd have a funny way of wrapping around your emotions, unlike any other car I have owned.

find one in decent shape and most of those issues should resolve themselves. I have driven Tercel4wd across the country several times (3 to 5 k miles in a single trip), and found it very easy to drive. Despite the under-powered engine, acceleration from low speed should not be a problem because it has a decent torque cure, sounds like your engine had some issues, perhaps a vacuum leak all those vac lines some where (those are always easy fixes, once you located it). Accelerating from zero, or from 25 mph should be fairly brisk, it is only when trying to pass someone at 60 mph or more that it runs out of power.

You can fix the seat issue one of two ways, pull both front seat covers off (require you to remove the seats, it is easy, just (4) 14 mm bolts each), and than swap out the passenger side foam/padding to the drivers side. Usually the passenger side is much more firm and gives good support. The other thing I have done is remove just the drivers side and added extra layers of foam in the butt and under thigh area, and also in the lumbar area on the back of the seat. I found this made the seats much more comfortable for long drives, no numb butt and legs, nor sore back. You should not feel any of the frame though the seat, if you can it means the foam padding is broken down.

The window regulator is a fairly easy fix, usually well under an hour, and new regulators are still available, or you can pull a good one off your parts car. Hopefully your next car will have good window and door gaskets, as well as working regulators. That should stop a lot of the wind noise. Also, you can add an extra layer of sound deadening insulation under the carpets, as well as have the underside coated, it will protect it from rust and reduce noise transmission.

I have gotten by without cruise control, but there are inexpensive after market cruise controls that can be installed. And I am sure any upholstery shop can find a way to retro fit rear shoulder harnesses to your car if you feel you need them.

There is no reason you should be "white knuckling" the steering wheel, if you mean by that you find driving it at fwy speeds scary. There may be some problems with your suspension, it should not be like that. Make sure the suspension is in good shape (all ball joints, rod ends, and bushings are good), steering rack is tight, and the alignment is done properly, it should ride and steer rock solid and predictable. I have driven a number of different T4wd all the way across the US with a very relaxed grip on the steering wheel, usually just one hand, all the way.

Just make sure your next T4wd has a recent clutch job, and the engine and trans are in good shape, all other repairs are not too costly, or fairly simple DIY jobs.
'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)

loess
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Location: Iowa

Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by loess » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:17 pm

Been meaning to update for months. After I crashed Toyster, I put in a storage unit where it's been mostly sitting except for a few parts I've pulled from it. I could not shake the Tercel bug and stubbornly went looking for another. Back in November I happened to be in Missouri and came across this 1987 SR5. In hindsight I think I paid too entirely much for it, given the level of rust on various areas, but at the time I was desperate for a vehicle to drive at all, so decided to just go for it:

tictactercel.jpg

It got me through the winter without much issue except for one breakdown in which the fuel pump died in January. I also replaced the window regulator which was fun to learn how to do thanks to some helpful tutorials here. Anyhow I replaced the fuel pump and carried on until about a month ago on an absolutely scorching hot day when I was dumb enough to let my fuel level dip to nearly empty while driving around doing errands. Before I had an opportunity to re-fuel, I parked it for about an hour during a music rehearsal that I was at, and when I went to leave, no dice. Had to leave it there and I live about 45 minutes from the city so I wasn't able to get back to it for 2 days, at which point, seemingly miraculously, it started up fine. I figured perhaps it was simply vapor locked. I made it about 15 miles into rural Iowa (about halfway to my house) and it died on the highway. I had it towed it home and discovered that no fuel was getting to the fuel filter (and therefore no fuel to the fuel pump > carb > engine).

Did a bunch of searching on here and had a thought that perhaps that day as a result of letting the fuel level get so low, some sediment/gunk got sent into the fuel lines causing a blockage. So I decided I should blow compressed air through them to clear them out. After wrestling with the fuel tank drain plug (which had probably never been removed) for a good 10 minutes, I finally got it loose and drained the gas. The gasket was in pretty bad shape and got mangled enough that when I replaced the drain plug, it leaked. Yesterday I went and got some cork-rubber gasket material and made a new seal which seems to be holding fine. Just finished blowing air through the lines and reconnecting fuel hoses, but alas still no start.
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Petros
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by Petros » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:21 pm

Here is a simple test:

if you have no fuel in the carb, try running a line directly from a gas can into the fuel pump. if it starts and runs than you know the fuel pump is good, and fuel gets from the pump to the carb. The problem is up stream of the fuel pump. check the fuel filter, sometimes that junk from the bottom of the tank will plug up even a new filter. in fact, if the fuel filter is of unknown age, just replace it, they are cheap.

if it does not start, likely the problem is with the fuel pump.

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)

loess
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by loess » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:13 pm

Thanks Petros. I had forgotten to mention that the very first thing I did after I had it towed home was to change the fuel filter, so it's brand new one on there currently. I ran a length of fuel line from a fuel jug into the inlet of the fuel pump, but no luck. I went ahead and picked up a new fuel pump thinking that even if the problem is not the pump, well then I'll have a spare on hand for the future. Just finished installing that pump, but that didn't fix it.

I have tried removing the fuel filter and sticking the inlet hose (the one that is coming directly from the gas tank) into a jar, then cranking the starter and seeing if fuel spits out, but I get nothing. Have also made sure that hose going from fuel filter to fuel pump is clear. If I pour a couple tablespoons of fuel directly into the carb, or some starter fluid, it will start and run for a couple of seconds before quitting, so it would seem almost certain that the problem is directly related to fuel delivery, yes? I can take apart and put mechanical things back together all day but when it comes to actually diagnosing issues I am still very much a novice.

Next I am going to attempt to go through the vacuum system and see I can find something wrong. I have a pretty murky understanding of vacuum stuff but I do see there are helpful diagrams in the FSM and on the forum.

I am unfortunately reaching a point where I am going to have to sell both T4WDs but I would really like to get this one running again first. It has got to be something simple that is keeping it from starting.

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Petros
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by Petros » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:15 pm

you are on the right track. yes, good simple test: dibble some fuel down the carb and see if it starts. So you know it is lack of fuel. when you put in the new fuel filter, does it filter fill with fuel, or is it still sitting there empty of fuel?

You just need to isolate the reason you get no fuel, should be simple at this point. there are only a few componets between the fuel pump and the intake manifold, try each one in turn: pump, fuel line, needle valve in the float bowl, and so fourth. usually the fix is simple, it is just finding it that takes time. Do not get discuraged, work though the problem systematically. You WILL find it, and you WILL fix it!

possible a large vacuum leak is preventing it from running, minor vac leaks will not prevent you from starting and running it. check the big line for power booster for the brakes to make sure it is connected, and not split. also check the intake manifold bolts to the head, they can work loose from the temperature cycling and develop a large leak the main gasket. it is rare, but one member found a large crack in the intake manifold that was not obvious. there is a support bracket under the intake manifold that bolts to the side of the block, it is often left off after repairs, but it leads to the vibrations on the intake manifold to eventually crack (cast aluminum does not have very good fatigue life, so that bracket is necessary)

Does the carb have fuel showing in the float bowl window? you have to clean it off to check. just another data point to verify the problem.

if a car has not run for a while sometimes the needle valve in the float chamber will get stuck and not allow any fuel into the carb. usually you just have to (carefully) take the top cover off the carb and free it up, clean it, check for function, and than reinstall the top on the carb.

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)

AndyG
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My tercel:: 1984 4wd Dlx. Stock
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by AndyG » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:48 pm

I am having the EXACT same problem as you! Holy crap, glad I’m not the only one with this issue. I’m feeling the same way too, it sucks. I really don’t want to sell mine but I’ve been trying and trying, and no luck. I can never have fun out in the mountains because it always leaves me stranded. No fuel from the tank line to the filter. I just replaced the filter and pump thinking it would solve the problem but nope.
I’m wondering if it has to do with the fuel line being gummed up between the fuel tank and filter.

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Petros
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by Petros » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:18 am

the metal fuel lines rarely go bad, unless you live in an area where they use road salt (the lines will eventually rust through). more likely you may have a leaky rubber fuel line up stream of the fuel pump.
'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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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by Petros » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:19 am

BTW, this is exactly why you must ALWAYS diagnose the problem BEFORE you try and fix it.

if you do not diagnose the problem, you will waste time and money replacing good parts, and it will not fix the car and leave you frustrated.
'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)

AndyG
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My tercel:: 1984 4wd Dlx. Stock
Location: Mountlake Terrace, Wa
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by AndyG » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:03 am

Don’t think so, I replaced all my rubber fuel lines, nice and snug. And I needed all that work done anyway, The carb was a leaky mess before

AndyG
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by AndyG » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:22 pm

Hey @loess I’d take a look at your new fuel pump. But check the filter again first( I did that). I just discovered my new pump from O’Reilly’s failed on me. Absolutely no vacuum from the valves. Ended up putting my old, but working one, back on for the meantime.

loess
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by loess » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:06 pm

@AndyG - great to hear that you're up and running again!

I had a family friend come out today to help me figure this thing out. As I mentioned before the most recent thing I had done was to install a new Spectra fuel pump from AutoZone without success. So we started checking things from the ground up, running the car from a gas can. Went through all of the vacuum lines and tested everything we could find, discovering along the way that one of the choke breaker diaphragms seems to have ruptured, but other than that everything seems to be routed fine and the vacuum is strong. We blew air through the fuel lines again, and all of the sudden fuel started dribbling out of the hose that runs into the fuel filter. Reconnected it, turned the key and bingo the dang car starts right up and comes back to life. Took it for a ~5 mile test drive and she seems to be holding just fine.

I dug out the old Delphi fuel pump and was able to test it with his fuel pressure gauge. Well it had indeed failed and my guess to replace it was actually spot on. Don't understand why the new one wouldn't pull fuel at first, but in any case I'm thankful to have gotten this solved. Simple fix, but a real psychological battle!

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ARCHINSTL
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My tercel:: Goldie is a 1986 SR5 attualmente con Weber/also owned the first T4WD in STL in late '82
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Re: "Toyster½shell" 1985 Tercel 4WD SR5

Post by ARCHINSTL » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:39 am

@ loess -
You might want to go back to the tank and install new rubber connector lines, as well as remove the "inspection port" on the tank to check the filter.
I did this back in 2005, and found the filter was OK and clear [knock on wood!], but replaced the rubber lines anyway (Hey- did not want to do it when I'm 88, 23 years from then :shock: !).
For thought, as these might help:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1369&hilit=tank
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2674&p=44079&hilit=tank#p44079
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5614&p=41095&hilit=tank#p41130
Replacing those little rubber lines was a PITA, esp. because I had to jack up the rear and remove the RR wheel.
Oh well - better then than now, when I do not bend as easily...actually, bending ain't too bad, but getting up - :( :roll: :cry:
Tom M.
T4WD augury?
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