1984 Toyota Tercel 3 door STD Hatchback 1.5L from North America


Mostly love, but some hate relationship with this car


Transmission rebuild once.

Suspension steering components worn out - replaced.

Body rust around the rear windows.

Stolen and recovered once within a week.

Ignition rotor failed once in the middle of the road.

Battery and alternator replaced four times in 30 years.

Speedometer around 10 mph off on the dial reading.

General Comments:

Overall a very reliable car.

Transmission rebuild around 165000 miles.

Great car for driving long or short distances for years.

Superb - still gives 30+ MPG freeway and around 30 in town. Used 92 octane, otherwise it pings.

Oil changes around every 3000 miles help keep it going.

Low maintenance cost.

Somewhat noisy on freeway drive at 65-70 mph. Still runs great for hours.

The little radiator fan runs great and keeps the engine cool when idling on stop signs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th March, 2017

1984 Toyota Tercel 3A-C 1.5L from North America


It's a fun project!


I deliver pizzas for a local company, and a co-worker gave me the car after it stopped working for him. I installed a new $300 distributor and got it running, only to find it had NO brakes. So I replaced everything but the rotors and drums. The brakes are great now.

I drove it for a few nights, when it developed a bad oil leak. My brother and I replaced the oil pan gasket, and we thought that fixed it, but it continued to leak from the bell housing area... rear main seal.

So right now, the engine is pulled, going to hot tank it. The rotating assembly was in great condition, so we are going to cross-hatch the block, re-ring and install new bearings, gaskets and o-rings. My brother did some mild porting and polishing of the head; more removing casting marks, smoothing the bowls and removing built up carbon. We are going to gasket match the intake and exhaust when we get the new gasket.

While the motor is out, I am going to detail the engine bay and fix any broken connectors, vacuum hose, steering rack boots, and clean up the k-member, steering, and transmission.

Other than that, it's getting all new belts, radiator hoses; basically going to replace anything that's rubber, fuel filter and pump.




It's got a top of the line sound and security system. When I find a car, doesn't matter what it is, I go all out. Plus this car is will be my work car; that means at least 60/hours a week driving it.

The rocker panels are buggered. The driver's side has serious cancer. The shocks are completely blown out, so the ride is a bit bouncy. That will be taken care of after the rebuild.

General Comments:

I was driving a 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix 301ci V8 automatic when I got the Toyota. Since I have to pay for my own gas, I figured the Tercel would be an improvement in MPG. I was unfortunate to find out that the Yota got 9 MPG... my GP... 15.

From what I gathered of the history of the car, it was initially well taken care of. But the previous 2 years before I had it, it was just a delivery car beater (don't fix it until it's completely broke).

When we cracked the intake/exhaust manifolds and the head off, we found thick carbon encrusted deposits everywhere. The exhaust valves couldn't seat... or seal. The backsides of the valves were covered in 7-8mm of carbon. The inside of the #1 exhaust runner had a 2-3mm carbon build up along its entire inner diameter. Things like the EGR banjo bolt were completely blocked. The flapper valve in the exhaust manifold was stuck blocking off the #1 & #2 cylinders. We guessed the engine in its current state was putting out... 25-30 HP.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th March, 2008