1986 Toyota Tercel 4WD 1.5L 4 Cylinder from North America
An outstanding piece of automotive technology
The rear axle bearing packs have gone bad; the transfer case seal was cracked; and the choke linkages tend to stick in cold whether.
I bought my Tercel due to advice from my brother who also owns a Tercel. He said it was a very reliable and well rounded vehicle, he was not kidding. The rack-and-pin steering makes handling the Tercel very easy. For a four cylinder, my Tercel can go surprisingly fast. The four wheel drive is essential for the mountain area I live in, and the extra low crawl gear is just frosting on top of the cake. The cargo room in it is extraordinary. I've packed up to 15 trash bags into my little Tercel and still had room to spare. Its fold down seats make it easy to use for camping. Though the seats aren't very comfortable, the room and overall layout of the cabin make up for it.
The only complaints I have about this vehicle is its harsh return from 4WD to 2WD. The locking differential is a nice option, but it requires a lot of harsh treatment on the transmission for me to get the vehicle back into 2WD mode (IE. shifting from reverse to first gear without the clutch.) Also, I may have to rebuild my carburetor if the linkages freeze on the choke. Lastly, the mechanical fuel pump on the Tercel tends to degrade performance during winter.
Overall though, this vehicle is an outstanding piece of automotive technology.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th August, 2002
29th Jan 2004, 05:27
About the 4WD to 2WD selection problem you have with the Tercel. I find when you have this problem, try reversing the car a little (say about a couple of feet) then go into neutral and then it should easily go into 2WD.
6th Oct 2005, 16:58
Re. changing 4-2WD: Switching works best, when no load is on the drive-train. Eventually let the car roll freely or try to change load by letting the car roll without accelerating for 2 seconds, steady pressure on the gear-shifting will easily let you change 4-2WD then.
14th Oct 2005, 14:58
I also have a 1986 Toyota Tercel 4X4 wagon. It shifts easily from 2 wheel to 4 wheel drive, but if any tires are mismatched at all, it is hard to shift back from 4 wheel to 2 wheel drive. I recommend always running matched tires and rotating often.
31st May 2016, 05:44
I have an 86 Tercel as well and I'm curious on how to get it into 4WD from 2WD? I don't wanna mess up my tranny, so I haven't tried anything yet.