03 April 2011

Lowering Front of DeLorean

I spent the morning and early afternoon at a buddy's house to work on the DeLorean.  About a year ago, I purchased a set of lowering springs from DeLorean Cars.  I also got a front sway bar bushing kit from DeLorean Parts Northwest a few months ago...and a set of lower control arm support brackets from DeLorean Car Show.  Yeah, that is about $635 worth of stuff just sitting around waiting to be installed.  Now that the weather is finally cooperating with me, I think it is about time that I had them installed.

Measurement before:  25.25 inches from ground to wheel well lip
At stock height, the front of the car was actually sitting about a quarter inch higher in the front (when measured at the rocker using a level).  We measured the gap before everything, and there was about a 3.5 inch gap between the tire and lip of the wheel well.

Jacking up the front end.  Kinda looks like it is flying.
First thing to do is jack up the front end and remove the wheels.  This was really exciting for me because, I finally got to use the jack and jack stands I got about six months ago.  It is also kinda neat to see the underside of the car.  Next, we removed the front sway bar and set it aside.  We will get to that later.


The right side was worked on first.  We removed the upper control arm...and when I say 'we', I really mean Brendon.  He did most of the work, since he knows cars...I mean he KNOWS cars.  He is currently restoring a Pontiac Firebird.  That thing is in pieces right now, it looks like a model kit or some kind of car from Ikea.  Me, I just helped hold things and loosen/tighten things...oh, and I handled the jack.  In the process, I did learn a lot about the front end.  So anyways, we (Brendon) removed the upper control arm so we (actually we this time) could fit the spring compressors in to, well, compress the springs.


Spring compressor on one side of spring
With the spring compressors on either side of the spring, we tightened the bolt to squeeze the spring.  Once we got it 'short' enough, we could remove the spring. We also removed the shock which would be reinstalled later.  I did not get new shocks, yet.  Perhaps next time.

Lower control arm support bracket
The lower control arm support brackets go on next.  This bracket will help with handling while strengthening the lower control arm.  Side note:  See that wire just dangling over the frame, just left of the bracket?  There was a wire dangling in the front, too.  Turns out it is the same wire.  There was bout three feet of extra wire, just beautifully draped around the frame.  Brendon was curious as to what it was and where it went.  So he followed one end and found that it was a ground.  Since there was excess length, he was going to cut it and remount it to the ground.  Well, he removed one end from the ground, I pulled on the wire to see where to cut it...and turns out, the wire was connected to...NOTHING!  Yeah, the whole wire just came out.  One end was connected to the frame for ground, then other end connected to nothing, just hanging out there for...who knows...thirty years?


New lowering spring (left) and stock spring (right)
The new spring was compressed and put in.  Notice the difference in length in the two springs.  The shock put back in, the nuts and bolts are tightened to correct torque settings as listed in the workshop manual and instructions of the bracket kit.

New spring and bracket installed
One side done, one to go.  Basically, the same process goes on the other side.  Should be easier, now that we conquered one side and know where the problem areas are...like I said, 'should be easier.  There was some minor issues but we (Brendon) worked around it, and it all went pretty smooth.

Front sway bar
 Both sides done, time to reinstall the front sway bar.  This one was tough.  The bushing set included four polyurethane 'donuts' that need to be pressed into the lower control arm (two each arm) and two D-shaped polyurethane bushings that are held in the front with brackets.  Getting the donuts in was quire a task.  They were slightly larger than the hole it was suppose to fit in.  We had to use a C-clamp to ghetto press the donuts in.  Hey, what ever works.

These bracket were a bitch to get on

With the donuts in, we loosely installed the sway bar.  Now, actually the toughest part of the process, getting the front end of the sway bar to line up and bolt in the front brackets.  This took a lot of muscle and clever thinking, mostly on the part of Brendon.  You can see in the above picture that Brendon is using all his might to push up on the sway bar and tighten the final nut...while I was using my finger to easily snap that photo.

Measurement after:  23.5 inches, a drop of 1.75 inches
Front sway bar is in, everything in is torqued up, and the tires go back on.  I got to play with the torque wrench and put the wheels back on, yay me.  The moment of truth, time to lower the car back down.  The front end is considerably lower, even with only a 1.75 inch drop.  The car looks faster and meaner just sitting there.

We took it for a test drive around the area.  There was a noticeable difference in handling, everything felt tighter and more responsive.  I also noticed that I could see better out the windshield since I am now at a better angle to the glass.  Then Brendon took the wheel, he is the first person to drive it (other than myself), since I got the car over a year ago.  He did some swerving to test the handling, everything is a-okay.

After about four hours, we finished the job.  Special thanks to Brendon for doing most of the work and letting me use his workshop and tools to do all this.  I really could not have done this without him.  Like I said, Brendon knows cars.  He is also a fellow Hot Wheels Designer.  I got to work on most of the cars that he designed, now he got to work on my real car.  Saved me a lot of money by not doing this 'simple' update in a shop.  Thanks again, Brendon.

Next up:  Taking the car to DMC-California for a tune up. It needs work on the brakes, perhaps transmission.  Will also need an alignment and smog check, so I will see if they can do all that and what ever else it needs.  Oh, more money to spend.

3 comments:

Brendon said...

Awesome!!

Robert F. Crocker said...

I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well. responsive web development

Matt Carpenter said...

Hey Manson, great site name. Someone else likes DM. ;-) I'm considering the suspension upgrade you did. Since you've had it, have you experienced any crunching up or down driveways? Cheers!