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Thread: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

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    Cool Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    This is the best forum, ever!

    We just bought our first Van, a 1987 5 speed 4x4 LE, FKA "Curby" although we don't use that name anymore.
    I thought the color was bronze, but I guess it could be champagne? Does anyone know the original colors of the 1987 Van?

    We paid $1500 to the previous owner and immediately had it towed to have the brakes completely rebuilt for another $1300. Somehow this still seems like a good deal, for Alaska.

    Anyway, it needs work.

    The first priorities for us are:
    1.The tailgate does not latch, leaving the door light and clock on all the time. We have to unhook the battery at night. Not a big deal, but also somewhat annoying. The rear window wiper motor doesn't seem to work either. Should we be looking for the guts or a completely new tailgate? Any advice on this?

    2.Curiously, none of the doors lock from the outside, nor can they be locked with the usual lock-and-close method, but all lock from the inside... if, for example, you want to lock yourself in the van. Which I don't typically do. (Does anyone know how to fix this issue?)

    3.There is an intermittent, High-pitched whine from the engine area that starts after driving a mile or so... ? This one is disconcerting.

    4. I must step on the clutchand gas when starting the engine - is this normal?

    I've used the search function for each of the above but haven't really come up with anything relevant... if you know of a post, please forward it on!
    I'm really excited about working on the van, but I'm a mechanic school dropout (literally) so I anticipate a learning curve.

    Thanks in advance for your help, I look forward to learning and posting more!
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    Last edited by AKVanLady; 11-07-2014 at 05:28 PM.

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    Re: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    Hi & Welcome to TVT! Paint code is on a metal tag riveted just below the passenger seat:



    The 1st 3 digits of the 2nd line are the paint code:



    Here's a link to a chart that tells what each code is: http://www.toyotareference.com/van

    Just match up your 3 digit code to the codes they display in (xxx) next to the color sample. I've found this to be accurate, but if you need to buy paint it's always a good idea to take a small part to the paint store for match-up (I usually take the gas cap cover).

    As to your priority list, I've had these same issues. Assuming you are somewhat mechanically inclined and/or have a strong interest in fixing yourself, we can help.

    1. The rear hatch stops latching for a variety of reasons. The simplest and easiest to check would be to verify the hook part of the latch is in the correct position. If you open the door and look up inside the latch mechanism, you will see a little hook that grabs onto the loop when the door is closed. The open part of this hook should be facing you (ready to receive the loop). If it's the closed side you see, then make sure the door is unlocked and operate the handle with door open. If you hear a click and the open side is now facing you, then it could actually be that easy............but you'll probably not be that lucky. Most of the time the latch gets stuck due to lack of lubrication. Sometimes it's a combination of that and dirt/corrosion preventing operation. If this is the case, a penetrating oil (such as wd-40) can work wonders here. You will likely need to disassemble things in order to work the lube into the spots that need it, but you should try to get it in the exposed parts 1st (might get lucky). Spray it up where the latch hook is and then try to work the hook back & forth while operating the latch handle. A screwdriver or something similar might help to get things started. Much of the time lubing and exercising is enough. If not, then you will need to remove the inner door panel, remove the latch assembly, then lube, repair, and/or replace as required.

    If by chance you get the latch of the door is working correctly, but it still won't latch to the body, then it might be a simple adjustment issue (loop too far away from the latch). The "loop" part that's attached to the body (bottom center of door frame) may need to be moved. These are adjustable, but can get hopelessly stuck over the years. In order to adjust you loosen the 2 screws that hold it down, lubricate with penetrating oil, then knock it this way & that with a hammer until it begins to move freely. Once it can be moved, position in the desired location and tighten it down. There is almost 1/2" of travel on this adjustment loop.

    Another common problem with the rear hatch is the bending of the "tang" or tab. There is a possibility the hook part of the latch is in the wrong position, but if the latch handle tang is bent, it may not be able to release it. Here's a link with more information: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...for-rear-hatch

    2. Locking the van. Are these manual locks or power/electric? (in this era it could be either). Based on your description of the problem it sounds like manual locks, so I'll explain these. I typically never lock mine, so I might be wrong regarding the slider & rear hatch. I think the slider and the rear hatch need to be locked from the inside with the doors closed or with a key from the outside. The two front doors can be locked by pushing the lock posts down, then while holding the exterior door handles in the "open" position, close the door. Toyota did this to prevent accidental lock-outs. If you lock & shut the door without holding the handle up, the door will unlock as it closes. Just make sure your key works to unlock at least one door before locking .

    3. Whines can be various things, but if you're hearing it while driving then it's pretty loud. I'm thinking an idler pulley for a fan belt might be seizing up (this is common). Open your engine compartment and check the idler pulleys on your AC and power steering belts. To do this remove the belt(s) and spin the adjustment pulley. If the pulley spins freely and quietly then it's good (should spin several revolutions with one flick of the wrist). If however one feels rough or doesn't spin at all, then that's likely your problem. In order to fix you'll need to take it apart and replace the bearing inside. It's a cheap and common garden-variety bearing that's used on everything. The part number is 6302-2RS. CLICK HERE to check out how many are listed on eBay at any given time.

    If the idler bearings are okay, then you'll need to do some more troubleshooting. Duplicating the sound when the van engine is accessible will likely be necessary when chasing it down. In order to rule out accessories (alternator, power steering pump, ac, and water pump). Sometimes I'll remove a belt, run it, then put it back on, run it again & compare. The van can be driven with the AC & PS belts removed, but since the alternator belt also drives the water pump, you can only run the van for a minute or so with that one removed. It goes without saying that messing around with belts on a running engine can be dangerous. So take precautions not do get hurt and do so at your own risk.

    4. There is a "clutch safety switch" built into the van. If the clutch is not depressed the starter will not crank. This is to prevent you from accidentally starting the van with in gear and then crashing into something when it unexpectedly lurches forward. Throttle position shouldn't affect starter operation, but it might help to pump the gas while cranking (to get things fired-up). Pumping the gas shouldn't be required, but each vehicle develops it's "quirks" and as long as it starts and runs good I wouldn't worry about it.

    Let us know how things go and don't hesitate to ask any more questions. We'll help if we can. Tim

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    Re: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    Thanks, Tim, for your detailed response!

    It looks like we have a (4H4) Metallic Beige Van - I'm glad to see the paint is still available.

    As for the other items, I did a little more digging and realized:

    1. The latch acts like the internal spring mechanism is broken (if one indeed exists). That is, the actual latch part freely moves with no resistance or "rebound" to hook and hold onto the loop. Have you (or has anyone) drilled out the rivets, fixed the guts and re-riveted the latch part? It looks like it will cost about $100 + shipping to replace this item, since it's broken anyway I thought I'd give it a go?

    2. Somehow I completely forgot the lock-and-shut sequence for old Toyotas! That and the key release on the steering column. (Yikes) Thanks for the reminder. Apparently, I wasn't shutting the van completely off when I got out. (So that's what that buzzing sound was...)

    3. My better half believed the whine to be more of a "whistle" from the wind as it flows across some anomaly on the van body. Although he's probably right, I am not yet convinced, so I'll look into your suggestions when I have more than an hour to devote to it and will get back to you.

    4. Glad to hear it is relatively "normal" to hold down the gas pedal at starting. The van tends to idle low when it's cold as well, requiring some gas pedal pumping... but if this is typical, at least it's not something to worry about.

    Thanks again for all of your help!
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    Re: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    Yeah, if that spins then the latch is likely toast (nothing to lose by trying to fix). This is something I'd try to find at a salvage yard, but as you know these vans are becoming more rare and obsolete every year.

    Since hearing more about your throttle issue I wouldn't call it normal, but I'm guessing not all that unusual. I like my vans to run like they're supposed to, so I keep mine up. The air valve (between the intake halves) is a likely reason for this. There is a test procedure in the service manual, so depending on how bad it is, you might want to look into this. BTW, there is a free 87 service manual on PDF available for download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q4u...7wOD7nKyF/view. It could disappear at any time, so download it before it's gone. Tim

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    Re: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    Yeah, if that spins then the latch is likely toast (nothing to lose by trying to fix). This is something I'd try to find at a salvage yard, but as you know these vans are becoming more rare and obsolete every year.

    Since hearing more about your throttle issue I wouldn't call it normal, but I'm guessing not all that unusual. I like my vans to run like they're supposed to, so I keep mine up. The air valve (between the intake halves) is a likely reason for this. There is a test procedure in the service manual, so depending on how bad it is, you might want to look into this. BTW, there is a free 87 service manual on PDF available for download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q4u...7wOD7nKyF/view. It could disappear at any time, so download it before it's gone. Tim

    This is great information, Tim. This manual is great! Much better than Chilton!!! I will read up on this procedure and update as I progress...

    Thanks again

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    Re: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    Re the back door catch......I have repaired one of those......I learnt patience....Suffice to say it is possible..........what happens is that the spring end rusts/breaks off.....I drilled out the rivets and took the catch block apart,inside are two springs. I rebent the spring end and spent an hour putting it back together It is very tricky but tada mine is still working 4 years later. I didn't need to rivet it back together as it was all together when I reattached it to the door......good luck................NIk
    Last edited by nikifix; 11-12-2014 at 10:54 PM. Reason: slelling error

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    Re: Another New Owner 1987 4x4 LE Van

    Quote Originally Posted by nikifix View Post
    Re the back door catch......I have repaired one of those......I learnt patience....Suffice to say it is possible..........what happens is that the spring end rusts/breaks off.....I drilled out the rivets and took the catch block apart,inside are two springs. I rebent the spring end and spent an hour putting it back together It is very tricky but tada mine is still working 4 years later. I didn't need to rivet it back together as it was all together when I reattached it to the door......good luck................NIk
    Alright, Nik, we'll give it a go! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

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