This is the original author again. I am up to 100 000 miles now, and only these problems came around in this period:
Alternator replaced/ Thermostat replaced/ Horn is getting stuck sometimes (may be relay). That's all. I also have a dog now, a Rottweiler, and I am thinking about a bigger car now.
I was just wondering, I am burning oil as well now and was wondering how hard it was to replace the seals?
I never in my life have gone so deep into a car engine. Used regular car manual for Tercels, equivalent to Chilton's. It is a tedious job, and requires special tool like valve spring compressor, for example. I used a piece of rope to fill the cylinder through a spark plug hole to prevent valves from falling into cylinder. In 3 days I was done, working mostly in the rain outside. I think it is doable, if you have done other minor work on a car. But you need to remove all the belts, including a timing belt, and also the camshaft. Good luck.
Hey, thanks for commenting on my review: 1984 Tercel DX: "A reliable car that will be there for you like a friend" Yeah, when I ran at 87 octane, the pinging and knock was mad crazy. On top of that, the car would diesel when I'd shut it off. Ping & dieseling got worse when I got a stuck closed thermostat and the engine ran most of the time on the temp gauge on the red. No need for a thermostat here on Hawaii, so I just tossed it. I take it you had the 3E-E engine? Lucky guy if you did. I swear the vacuum and carburetor setup on the 3A-C engines make me wish I had fuel injection. Sorry to hear about the notorious valve seals though. I have the same suspension problem with my Tercel. I think it might be my rack or bad bushings for me.
Your problem with the acceleration getting on to the highway is due to your automatic transmission. On the manual 4 speed model you can take 2nd up to 50MPH easy, without revving out the engine, and at 5500+ RPMS you are getting maximal HP out of it. I've had this car for quite a while now. With the manual it's really more torque than HP, but in the proper conditions this car is very good in it's class. I've raced a v6 Maxima Automatic with her, and I was ahead of it by half a car length. No mods, just the stock 1.5 liter with the 4 speed manual. Also premium gas and octane boost does help a lot. I also have the oil problem, but instead of changing the seals I think I am just going to have a refurbished Paseo Engine dropped in her. The paint on her is an awesome white, so I will probably keep her for awhile. The only thing I do not like about this car is there is no power steering. Minus that, it's a great car.