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sethmeister4 SuperDork
12/24/17 11:28 a.m.

Oh man this might be my new favorite build!  I was born in '85, and my folks had a 5spd fwd one of these that they bought in '84, I believe.  I grew up in that thing for 5 or 6 years, and now that I'm older I'd love to have a 4wd version.  Can't wait to see what you do with it!  I love the old pic of your first one!  

midniteson Reader
12/24/17 2:12 p.m.

In reply to sethmeister4 :

Thank's man, if you can find one cheap, i would recommend buying one.

Everyone that i have met that has owned or even been around one has fond memories. They are Sturdy little cars.

Getting hard to find Manual 4wd SR5 versions anymore. 

4WD Tercel buying tip:

the 83-84 Tercels got 3.73 gears.

85-88 got 4.10 gears for some extra oomph.


oldeskewltoy UltraDork
12/25/17 6:23 p.m.

had one a long time ago... managed to fit an NOS 65/66 Mustang fastback 1/4 panel in one.


Ive moved up some... now driving AE95 Corolla All-Trac sedan

midniteson Reader
12/25/17 11:39 p.m.

In reply to oldeskewltoy :

Thats Awesome! I love me some All-Trac. If i had the money and the storage, i would own a fleet of old  toyotas.

 I used to have a 88 Celica ST165, This toyota is much easier to work on lol.

Ive been on the look out for a 80's 4WD Van. they are tough to find, and when they do they are a lot of money now.

Lof8 Dork
12/26/17 7:17 a.m.

This thing kicks ass.  I'm in for more updates and adventures!

midniteson Reader
1/2/18 11:34 p.m.

The Snow hit... and the 4wd drifts were glorious. 

Over the Holiday weekend, i went and did some Wrecking yard hunting with my buddies while visiting Boise. 

I was on the hunt for A new steering wheel for Mr T, and what ever else i might "Need"lol. 

I was looking for a factory toyota non airbag wheel that  I could swap on...until I Poked my head inside an

1980ish RX7, and saw this


$11.00 out the door, I'm a very happy camper. I love the way it looks and feels. 

I was looking at some of the cheaper 80's style grant steering wheels and some of the racing wheels on Ebay.

This OEM wheel beats them all in Style and feel, at 1/4 of the price of the cheapest one. I am going to drill some 

holes to match a Grant Adapter. 

I also traded my Friend a set of Chevy headers for some Celica/Supra seats. They are in decent shape, all the

adjustments work, Even the air lumbar support is still functioning.

 no pics yet, but they look like these just much dirtier...



midniteson Reader
1/3/18 12:05 a.m.

Also, If anyone by chance has The Mazda Horn button that came on this 1984-85? RX7 steering wheel

I would love to buy it from you.

sethmeister4 SuperDork
1/5/18 11:38 p.m.

We just got a bunch of snow here in Virginia Beach, and I was thinking about how fun this car would be in it!

midniteson Reader
1/7/18 7:37 p.m.

In reply to sethmeister4 :

Not much snow, up here in the NW as of yet, I was off today and it was raining, so i took ol T out on some dirt roads. 


The rear rotates Nicely with left foot braking devil

midniteson Reader
1/7/18 8:02 p.m.

I was born in 82, so these were two very influential cars from my youth. 

It's like ive gone back in time...

If you couldn't already tell.

heart the 80's

physician Reader
1/11/18 7:46 p.m.

Nice thread! Does it really do 40+mpg?

I am looking for a prius at the moment.. my non sense car guy brain think a 80'awd tercel might be a better buy... lol

Crackers Dork
1/11/18 8:33 p.m.

That roof rack really ties the car together, man. 

Too bad there's no easy way to tuck the bumpers on these. 

midniteson Reader
1/13/18 2:43 a.m.

In reply to physician :

With how wore out most tercels still on the road are, I would say more like 25 mpg city and hwy 35+mpg If there are no hills. 

putting around town is fun because the car is small and nimble. The little motor is suprisingly torquey at low speed, and the car has a very tight turning circle even with bigger tires.

If you have to drive on the freeway at all for your commute, i hate to say it but i would go with the Prius....It is Waaaay faster. 

Tercel top speed is 75ish on flat ground. and it takes a looooooooong time to get there.

Some 4wd Tercels came with an Auto, I could not imagine being even slower lol. I would never purchase one

without a manual. It would be so slow it would be bordering on dangerous. 

Dangerously slow.


midniteson Reader
1/13/18 2:52 a.m.

Speaking of Dangerously slow, With the swap to big tires, my speedo was very off. 

I could have dowloaded an app to figure out how far my speedo is off but where is the fun in that?

I decided to put our public tax dollars to good use. 

Speedo says 35, radar says:


So the speedo is off about 8 mph, Good to know.

I'd rather keep johnny laws red and blues out of my rearview. 

If a cop does pull me over for speeding however, my response will be :

"I Honestly didn't think this car could go that fast sir"

midniteson Reader
1/13/18 2:58 a.m.

In reply to Crackers :


I think so too. My buddy threw that one together before running the Idaho Gambler 500.

I'll probably buy a nicer lighter one, or modify this one to protect the roof more.

I have a plan for the Bumpers similar to my original build. 

Getting rid of them really helps with approach and departure angles. 

I'm going to try to make them sturdy yet as light as possible. I want to shave weight on this thing wherever i can. 


midniteson Reader
1/13/18 3:18 a.m.

And final update, tomorrow i am going to pull a free engine for Mr T

I may sound like this "Crazy Fool!"

The Donor for the motor will be....

A Chevy Nova.


Pics to come.


crankwalk Dork
1/13/18 12:32 p.m.
physician said:

Nice thread! Does it really do 40+mpg?

I am looking for a prius at the moment.. my non sense car guy brain think a 80'awd tercel might be a better buy... lol

Fuel economy was calculated way differently then by the EPA so calculated manually I bet it gets mid 20s.


We still have a bunch of 4wd 80s everything up here and have all sorts of these things running around. It’s cool to see a super clean one being driven not by an enthusiast but just a grandma who was had it since new.


And since I live about 15 minutes from Knik glacier, if you bring the Tercel up in the summer you could recreate that commercial. I’ll bring the land cruiser and the beer.

Keep up the good work.

midniteson Reader
1/13/18 7:54 p.m.
crankwalk said:

And since I live about 15 minutes from Knik glacier, if you bring the Tercel up in the summer you could recreate that commercial. I’ll bring the land cruiser and the beer.

Keep up the good work.


Thanks man! Driving To Alaska and hitting the Alcan Highway is on my bucket list.

Your giving me great ideas.

I might just take you up on that one.


midniteson Reader
1/13/18 8:07 p.m.

And here we have whats left of an 85 Chevy Nova.

They are basically a fwd corolla and came with a Toyota 4AC engine 

which just so happens to be the only easy bolt in engine swap upgrade for the Tercel.

from 1.5 to 1.6 liters of fury!

luckily the Motor is intact and ripe for the Plucking. 

Another friend find. He was at another friends fab shop to work on the Frame in the Pic. 

He is actually the guy pictured on page one in the Black AE86 corolla.

The cars hood was off,  when he walked past it he just happened to see the 4ac and gave me a call

He is still years away from the 4ag swap with all the other projects he has, so this works out great.

The owner of the Fabrication shop used the vehicle for anger management lol.

I asked him if i could buy the motor, he said if i pull it. its going to the wrecker. no charge. 



midniteson Reader
1/13/18 8:42 p.m.

Pulling a motor is great fun, when you dont give a crap about putting it back together. 

Here we have my buddy torching an axle to free the motor 


And Finally free of the old Carcass.


midniteson Reader
1/15/18 1:28 a.m.

Took my daughter out and did a little dirt road exploring. 

She loves being able to ride shotgun in somthing besides my Firebird.

We slapped on this sticker before we headed out. 


we may or may not have jumped it a little.


midniteson Reader
1/18/18 7:42 p.m.

Went and bought some tune up parts today, (NGK plugs, cap and rotor) 

noticed this :

It's coming from the front of the motor. Most likely a crank, or cam seal. maybe both. 

midniteson Reader
1/22/18 3:10 a.m.

Got into my buddies shop over the weekend, swapped seals, and set the timing.

car is running really well. 

I've also gotten so used to it's turtle like slowness, that it makes every other vehicle i drive now seem somehow faster lol. 

midniteson Reader
3/16/18 7:49 p.m.

Mr T, is still running strong!

This June, i will be taking it on the Idaho Gambler 500 with My friends who sold me the car. 

For those who dont know, the Gambler 500 is an off road rally, where a group cheap cars run 500 miles off road.

It is not a "race"

This will be my first Gambler, however my car has already entered and finished two seperate 500 mile gambler

events in Idaho, this will be its third. 

My teammates will be  in this Spiffy 86 Tercel 4wd 5spd my buddy picked up with a disassembled carb for $250


It Runs and drives but needs a lot of work. we are pretty well versed in repairing and setting them up to hit the dirt.

My car, is pretty much sorted and ready to go. It's been pulled from daily use, but i worked out all of the bugs

this winter. Just need to install the Supra seats. it should easily finish the Gambler 500 for its third run. 

I am excited. 500 miles of rallying my tercel in the Dirt, with buddies in another tercel, plus camping and end of

the day beers and BS with a huge group of car guys, definitely my kind of vacation!


midniteson Reader
4/7/18 3:11 a.m.

Finally got around to checking out and pulling the 1984 Supra seats. They are a little rough, but nothing some foam glue and sewing wont handle. 

Really stoked on the blue. they will match the car's interior. and are super comfy and have pump bolsters that work!

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