Question about 1985 Toyota Tercel

1 Answer

Car shudders when i accelerate; runs rough - sudden problem

Just started today; maybe building for awhile. starts up reliably and fine, as always. but when i go to accelerate, the car shudders and shakes. i had to limp it home and to auto parts store. when i give it a lot of gas and get the RPMs up high, i can shift gears without too much loss of power and shuddering, but i really have to rev it. reverse is fine. right now it's parked. took to auto parts store, got spark plugs for it. guy there said if it's a bad cylinder to forget it and just give up on the car. advice? i have very little money - hence the car's poor condition to begin with. but if i ever won the lottery i'd rebuild the car, that's how much i love it. idle is really low too; i often stall when i get to the bottom of a hill and lately that has got worse (which may have been a lead-up to its current problems.)

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  • sadie howard Aug 25, 2012

    additional details: shake is in front end. i need a rt. front axle. 185,000 miles; lots wrong with it but it runs. only drive it around town because of its problems. from what i've read here that's most similar to my car's "symptoms," some possibilities to check out are: motor mounts, rt. front axle (suspect), vacuum hoses, spark plugs. stops shaking when i release gas pedal. if i rev the engine i can shift and it seems to shake less in rpms over 2500.. i really need this car. wish i had the money to do all that it needs but i don't.

  • sadie howard Aug 25, 2012

    Hi John; Thanks for answering! It's a toyota tercel SR-5 wagon, 1984 or 85. panel in door says Oct 1984. i don't have the original owners manual but i believe the engine is a 3-A. i don't know what contract breakers and a condensor are. how would i find these? there are plugs just like the ones to the spark plug that go to the distributor cap. i should let you know i have oil leaking from everywhere so it looks as though that has seeped into where the spark plugs go. i haven't changed spark plugs yet. trying to get up my courage! also yesterday i found a hose which recycles the air to the air filter was totally disconnected and lying loose in there! i bought another hose clamp for that but guy at auto parts store said it has nothing to do with the problems i am having. i may not get to all of this until tomorrow but will let you know how the spark plug thing goes asap. thanks so much!



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Hi Sadie, I believe what you mean by shaking is that the engine is misfiring. Did it make any difference when you replaced the spark plugs? What engine is it in the car? 2A, 3A, 4A? or is it one of the E series engines? Lt me know as many technical details as possible? As the car is of a particular vintage when carburetors were in common use, what is yours equipped with, a carburetor or fuel injection? Does it have contact breakers and a condenser int he distributor or is it equipped with an electronic ignition system? Before we go onto the steering and suspension, we'll concentrate on the engine. It would be foolish to sort those if the vehicle is not able to move from point A to point B. Regards John

Posted on Aug 25, 2012

  • 2 more comments 
  • sadie howard Aug 25, 2012

    ji john; i replied above but from my email. please excuse my bumblings; still getting used to how this site works. thanks for responding!

  • sadie howard Aug 27, 2012

    hi john; update: a friend helped by putting new spark plugs on. the main thing i saw with the old ones was that some had oil on them; not surprising with all the blow-by and oil leaks i have. he said that yesterday when i had started it with hood up so he could look at it, the whole engine was shaking and after we put in the spark plugs it was not. i was wondering about my motor mounts, because why else would the engine shake too? i want to test those before driving it. reattached hose between air filter and air intake. after work tomorrow i will test to see if the motor mounts are loose or broken. one of my vacuum hoses seems to have a gash or split in it on top. need to find out what it goes to and how to get it off and replace it. idle still rough and wanting to stall but then throttle kicks in if i use accelerator and then runs smooth with the new plugs. more later tomorrow. thanks so much!

  • Hi sadie, The shaking of the engine was due to the misfiring and uneven running of the engine before the plugs were fitted. I believe that all the pipes and tubes when refitted will improve the performance of the vehicle more and more. Ask your friend to help you get the engine cleaned. That will help you discover where other problems may be found and allow you to sort them out. As the plugs were oiled, it will probably mean that when you win the lottery you will need to get the engine reconditioned, but together your friend and I will help you keep the vehicle going for the weeks remaining until you do. Best regards John

  • sadie howard Aug 28, 2012

    hi john; thank you for your help and suggestions! there wasn't any oil on the plug threads but the corrosion/deposits on two of them looked like caked on. burned on oil from the pictures i saw in my manual. am still hoping for solutions on the cheap. i do intend to get the RF axle replaced anywa, since that's a safety issue. i have set aside a little money for that. i am still mystified as to why the shaking started so suddenly but am going to continue doing the small things i cando for the car. had no time to devote to test driving the car today. tomorrow i'll do that. is there anything else you recommend i do? i will let you know how it drives. thank you so very much for your assistance! may i contact you again if this is not solved by the plugs/tune up stuff?



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Posted on Jan 02, 2017



  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: car won't idle after battery change

Won't idle after battery change... SOLVED! well, for me anyway. :)

I just experienced the same problem on my 2002 tundra last night, and fixed it this morning after sleeping on the problem. Here's how it went.
I cleaned the terminals, etc., and replaced the battery, as it was 7yo and old and on the verge of failing.
Immediately after this, the truck would start right up but the idle would drop to about 100 RPM, then slower and slower, and eventually stall. Every time.
I warmed it up and drove around the neighborhood for about 45 minutes, thinking the computer needed to re-learn it's Idle settings, etc... No change.
This morning, I decided to go after the cheap and easy fixes first...
Inspect throttle body... it was filthy full of black sticky dirty/sludgy stuff. I cleaned it off using a rag and some brake cleaner. DID NOT spray brake cleaner IN the opening; just on the rag and then wiped all of the gunk out of the opening, butterfly, and inside as far as my fingers would reach with the butterfly open.
Reassembled everything, started truck... runs perfectly.

Dead battery? Won't run? Dirty throttle body? How do these all tie together?! Here's why (to the best of my understanding).
Over the past 65k miles, dirt and gunk slowly but surely builds up in the throttle body. At some point, the computer senses that this affects the air/fuel mixture or something of this nature. The computer compensates for this, and stores it to it's memory. Sometime during the vehicles lifetime, the battery fails or is disconnected. The compensation settings that the computer stored are lost when the power is disconnected, so the next time the engine is started it's telling everything to behave as default... but the car isn't in a default state, there's **** in the throttle body... or a bad sensor, etc.
I could be way off, but my gut feeling is that this is correct. My advice: Pull the intake tube off the front of the engine and clean the gunk out of the throttle body. It should be the first thing to try, since it's the cheapest and easiest thing that I can think of.

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SOURCE: 1992 Toyota Camry Rough Idle

start by pulling hose off egr valve see if idles smoother almost instantly

Posted on Mar 17, 2009


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SOURCE: 1985 toyota 4x4 22re missing and rough idle

Have you pulled out the spark plugs to see if there are any tell tale signs on them.They are a good indicator of many problems that occur and can save a lot of time isolating the problem.They should all be the same colour.Is the air box and lid properly secured with no leaks or splits in the intake tube.Have you put injector cleaner in the fuel tank to clear up any possible dirty injectors.Therse a few things your problem could be including engine vacuum leak which you can find by lightly spraying carburettor cleaner around suspect places such as inlet manifold and around injector seals.

Posted on Oct 24, 2008


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SOURCE: 95 toyota 4runner running bad. can not figure it out.

Check the timing and compression of the engine. It sounds like you either have a blown head gasket or a the timing jumped.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009


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SOURCE: My car shakes every time I hit the gas. I revs

Your transmission is dying.

Posted on Nov 14, 2009

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