It might need a few new valve springs. The input shaft bearing in the transmission is whining a little. There’s a wobble or two here or there. One of the camshaft lobes may be in trouble. Clunks? Plenty. We’re really hoping the clutch cable doesn’t finally give out either. The good news is that even with 230-plus thousand miles on the original 4K-C engine – there are no recalls for the 1982 Toyota Starlet! We drove the Starlet down to Toyota Santa Monica in hopes for a new old stock replacement shift knob or some other eighties-era Toyota gem, but were told that the Starlet was free of any recalls by virtue of age and durability. A quick search over at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database confirmed that the Starlet was recall free. There is no entry whatsoever for the 1982 Toyota Starlet. Not to worry. We can personally assure the NHTSA that the Starlet is mostly trouble-free, and that the 50 or so horsepower from the mighty 1300cc peanut grinder engine under the hood presents no possibility of unintended acceleration.
Archive for the ‘1982 Toyota Starlet’ Category
The dry climate and salt free roads of California are kind to older cars like the Starlet. The same warm California sun has detrimental effects on vinyl interiors. Throw in twenty plus years of sitting and sunbathing, and it’s a good bet that even the rich Corinthian leather in those 1981 Cordoba seats has seen better days. Drivers seats take the biggest beating. While the foam inside the Starlet seats is still mostly there, the stylish light and dark brown vinyl piping is clearly toasted. In the time between now and when our vintage Mitsubishi ECU collection is worth enough money to trade for a trip to a real upholstery shop for the madras seat cloth conversion, investing 14 bucks into a pair of seat covers was a thrifty solution to tattered bucket seats. Sliding economy replacement covers over crusty old seats takes just few minutes and is a usually tools free process. Read the rest of this entry »
Despite promises of atomic power and limitless propulsion, the lead-acid battery under the hoods of most automobiles is not very futuristic. Cleverly named maintenance-free batteries are updated versions of the same basic lead-acid automotive battery design that first kicked over a production Cadillac in 1912. Even maintenance-free batteries require occasional wrenching. Regular battery inspection and maintenance can make the difference between a five-year battery lasting five years, and one that gives up before its time. Inspecting the battery terminals and posts for corrosion is easy. Fluffy white crud means it’s time for a battery clean up. Read the rest of this entry »
Changing the oil and filter on a regular basis is the single best way to keep an engine running as long and best as possible. A thin film of oil molecules is the only thing that keeps gnashing engine internals from turning into an expensive heap of scrap metal by way of friction and heat. Another function of engine oil is to keep those same engine parts clean. Dropping out the oil and swapping in a new oil filter takes but about an hour, and can mark the beginning of a do-it-yourself tradition of maintaining your engine and wrenching on your ride.
Why Change the Oil?
Even though engines run cleaner and more efficiently than ever before, some of the by-products of combustion end up as junk in the oil. A certain amount of metal will also float into the oil as the engine normally wears. Engine oil and oil filters can only suspend and contain so much crud and combustion by-products, before the balance of lubrication shifts away from trouble free motoring and towards engine wear. Changing the oil and filter gets rid of the crud. The engine stays cleaner and lasts longer.
E-Z Step-by-Step How-to Change Oil and Filter
When to Change the Oil
The best advice to follow as far as engine oil and filter changes comes from the folks that built your car. Every 3000-5000 miles or three months is conventional thinking. Stop-and-go city driving can qualify as “severe duty” when it comes to maintenance schedules, and require more frequent changes. Spending 20 bucks on an oil and filter change every few months is still less costly than a new engine – even over the course of multiple oil changes. Always prevent oil spills by containment. Drain containers and drip pans are also cheap, making it easy to recycle the used oil and properly dispose of the filter.
The way Clunkbucket learned about how and why to run a compression test on an engine came only after bolting almost every conceivable replacement part onto a 318 V-8 in a 500-dollar ’67 Plymouth Barracuda. Only after a compression test was it determined that the engine was closer to a V-5 than a V-8. As Foghorn Leghorn often trumpeted, there’s a right way – and there’s a wrong way. Running a compression check only after replacing perfectly good carburetors and everything other engine related part is the wrong way. Running a compression test is one good way to see what’s going on inside an engine without talking it apart. Read the rest of this entry »
Interest in the Toyota Starlet began after rolling the Mitsubishi Starion down to the 2005 Japanese Classic Car Show. Seeing a few restified examples of the mighty KP61 on the lawn, followed by a stripped out Starlet junkyard reminder had the hatchback added to the car want list. The 1982 Starlet seen here was found in the local Recycler, and purchased for a cash price of 300 dollars. A ride over on a bicycle with cash in pocket, a walk back to the car from the parts house with an econo-battery, and the Starlet was driving home to Montrose with bike in hatch. The Starlet is shown here a few years back in Huntington Beach, California wearing a set of junkyard-scrounged 13-inch US INDY slot mags. These wheels were rescued on half-price day from a ’70s Toyota Corolla SR5 liftback. As the Starlet currently serves as Clunkbucket official transport, stay tuned for all manner of maintenance, restoration, and performance-oriented mayhem featuring the Starlet as an economical model.