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92 tercel having issues, still possible to fix myself or signs of bigger issues?

I know what most have told me is to junk her but I believe in fixing things instead of throwing them away&I am sentimental with the damn thing, that being said please be nice&id appreciate any input, I have access to a self service garageif possible to do myself& mechanics that will help there but also friends with experience restoring& working on cars&a shop if things get more serious, at this point the car isn’t worth anything except to me& I’m determined to try.ill try to explain the problems best I can thank you.

She’s my zombie 92 tercel 200,000 miles automatic trans & has had work done over years as problems arise; New spark plugs, timing& serpentine belts, o2 sensor changed&changed ok oil regularly, last work was January 2015 new fuel pump& new head gasket
By March car was having dark exhaust first 5mins running& slighy rough idle but still made 15 miles daily ti work on freeway.
Feb-started noticing needs oil every other week or so, checked for leaks, no drops under car
April- driving 65mph on freeway car starts to slow down , pressing down on gas still loses speed down to 30mph, pulled onto off ramp shoulder& dies but still has power to car, turn off wait 10mins starts up fine makes it 10 miles to work on streets going 35-40mph.

Since then she’s been in the driveway’& will still start but after backing out will kind off sputter out& die, turn key& starts back up will drive around the block but with barely any power,it feels like a straw sucking up the last few drops in a drink is the image that comes ti mind, but not making any unusual sounds.

Have been told to head gasket again incase not installed correctly, fuel pressure, the fuel pump,egr valve among other things. Can’t reach old mechanic so trying to get idea about the issues before I ask for help & try ti find help fixing her.have had to wait for money ti finally have enough for whatever parts& labor I can’t do myself. Any recommendations on help in the las Vegas,nv area? Sorry such a long post trying to be specific as possible& like I said this cars sentimental to me, first new car id ever been in as a kid then mine when 18 & have put the work into her(some myself, other with lots of help) to keep bringing the zombie car back to life. Thanks for listening & have to say I really enjoy all the posts on this site some of the best car forums I’ve found

Was also told about checking valve seals&guides but if it comes to be the valve rings are bad to look into rebuilt engines & basically give up. Are valve rings that much of a waste of money to pay someone more experienced to do? Everything online seems to say that .

I’m afraid it’s time to part company with your Tercel. At 200k…it’s time to give the old girl a rest. You could put a lot of money in this old Toyota and get it running again but at the end of the day…it’s still a 25 year old car.

You are letting sentiment get in the way of economic reality. If you have money to spend on fixing this very old and cheap car then put it into something newer and nicer. It is always hard to part with a trusty old ride but it sounds like it is time.

With any car, when you put in a new head gasket at 200k miles, the sudden increase in compression put a strain on the rings and valves, but it is the rings that usually let go and the engine becomes an oil burner.

There really isn’t much you can do short of rebuilding the engine. Since you have access to a diy garage and friends with mechanical experience, this could be a good project. You would learn a lot about engines and rebuilding it yourself would cut costs compared to a reman engine.

In the end, unless you have a friend that has really good skills, the engine may only last another 20 to 30k miles but when you consider the investment, the experience and all that, it would be worth doing.

If you really love it, have a compression test and leak down test done. Sounds likes a fuel pump or clogged cat. Either can be tested. If the tests show low compression or bad head gasket then dump it.

Can you test it with the cat converter disconnected to see if it’s plugged?

First question is why was the head gasket replaced…what were they syptoms and diagnosis… Next is what did they do during the replacement? Was the head warped? If so was it milled flat again prior to reassembly? Sounds like some idiot removed your warped cylinder head and just threw a new head gasket on and hoped for the best…which is WRONG…

Your current issue smacks of the ignition system to me…but cant be sure with all of the above questions I asked.