03 March 2013

DeLorean Trunk Release and Cable

If it is not one thing, it is another.  I will get to the release and cable in a moment.  But first, the 'original' problem of the day...le problème dujour.

The DeLorean was not starting. The past few times it would have trouble starting, but only at night.  It would hesitate a bit before actually turning over.  Morning starts were fine.  One morning, while getting ready to go to work, the engine just died after starting.  I tried three times, the final time it would just whine like an annoying Russian chick...'nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet'.  Starter was working, so my guess was the fuel pump was toast.  Good thing I have the new fuel pump/sender module from DMC-Florida.  The bad news is, I have a full tank and no where to empty the tank.  Plus, I have poor lighting in the garage, so I have to use a lot of candles when I work on the car.  Better leave it to the professionals.  I need to take it in soon for some maintenance, anyway.  More on that later.

In an effort to diagnose the real problem with not being able to stat the car, I downloaded a checklist from DeLorean Tech Wiki and did some research on DMCTalk.  At the very least, I can narrow down what the problem area would be and maybe attempt to fix it.  I have even had conversations with a friend, a DeLorean owner in Canada, via social network to assess the situation.  If it was just a simple relay swap, I can do that.  So I got in the car, stuck the key into the ignition and gave it a turn to the run position.  I should and did hear a hum. Although, I was not sure if it was coming from the relay compartment or the fuel pump.  What the heck, I am going to try to start it.  It started.  What?  Yeah, it started.  Like I said, if it is not one thing, it is another with this car.  But, I still love it.

Oh yes, the trunk release.  I am about to get to that.  I let the engine idle for about five minutes, get everything up and running before I shut down.  I noticed a little fuel smell emitting from the car.  From what I could tell, it was coming from the engine area.  Possible mixture issue.  I wanted to see/smell if the gas was coming from the tank and fuel pump area.  Time to pop open the trunk...oh darn.

DeLorean trunk/bonnet pull handle
The pull handle was loose, flapping around, there was no tension on the cable.  Well, here we are back on the subject of the trunk release.  This means there was no way to get into the trunk and check the fuel pump area.  Good thing I have a fuel flap hood, at least I could still get gas...now that it seems to be starting.  Chalk up another win for fuel flap hoods.  I still needed to get into the trunk to check/smell things out, if anything, I need to fix what was wrong with the latch and or cable.

Off to the internet again, to search for ways to break into the trunk.  This basically involves blind fishing, using a strong wire and hooking the latch.  I found an old bucket in the garage with a thick gauge wire handle.  This should work.

Wire handle from a bucket makes a good DeLorean Trunk Break In Tool (Part# 192516)
I removed the handle from the bucket and straighten it out.  I put a slight bend at the end at the rough angle and position I thought the latch was at.  Remember, you are working blind.  I had to find pictures of the latch on the internet, I love the internet, and estimate where the latch was and bent/shaped the wire accordingly.  I slid the white plastic handle down to the end, it provided a nice grip for the task.  The ends of the wire already had a nice hook to it.  Now, the fun part.

Arthroscopic surgery through the fuel flap.
Most DeLorean owners have to insert the wire from the cowl vents, near the passenger side wiper pivot.  This also requires the 'break in tool' to have a more custom bend.  Luckily, I have a gas flap hood.  Ha, another advantage to having a flapped hood.  Being able to go in straight also provided mechanical advantage, as I could just hook and pull in the direction of latch movement, versus 'pushing' the wire if entered from the cowl vents.

For the next forty minutes, I essentially performed arthroscopic surgery on the car.   I have some pretty good seals on my hood, so maneuvering the wire was no easy task.  The hood is under a little tension from the latch itself. So, you need to apply a little pressure were the latch is as you are fishing.  Also did not help that I could not see what I was doing.  Kinda like trying to deflect lasers with your lightsabre with a blast shield in front of your face...you gotta use the force.  Okay, if I was using the force, it would not have taken me forty minutes do this...or maybe I did use the force and it would have taken me two hour otherwise.

Scuff marks from the makeshift tool
Rusty tool marks on the lip of the trunk
 I finally got the hood open.  When you hear that distinctive 'ping' of the spring, you know you got it.  I imagine this is what it is like to break into a vault, only more organized and in less time. Forget the small bills, get to the van!  Slight casualty, no I did not get shot in the leg, done with the heist tangent.  There were some scuff marks on lip of the trunk, mostly from the rusty bucket handle.  This was expected, as I was pulling on my tool for a while, in and out...until I got my release. Yeah, I went there.

'X-Ray view' of how the tool worked
Above picture shows how the tool worked.  You can see how hard it is to pull the tiny tab under the latch assembly.  Note how perfect the bend of the wire is in relation to the trunk latch and trunk lip.  Pretty proud of that, it is the simple things in life.

Missing pin
Random cotter pin found nearby
Good news is, the cable was fine.  No signs of the cable going out anytime soon.  Still, I should install a back up cable here and one for the engine cover.  I will tackle that another day.

There was no signs/smell of gasoline in the area, this is good.  On to fixing the release cable.

I problem was the pin that holds the cable bracket to the latch was missing.  I looked around and did not find the pin.  Granted, I did not look very hard.  I did find a cotter pin laying on the carpet, welcome back.  No doubt Mr. Kotter was holding the pin...the Sweathog pin in place.  This is a simple fix, so simple in fact, Arnold Horshack has been raising his hand...ooh-ooh-ooooh!...since the beginning of this paragraph with suggestions on how to fix it.

Nut job, screw job
The temporary solution was to find a bolt/screw and a nut to secure the cable bracket to the latch. 

Repaired latch pin
I might try to find a better pin replacement at work, but for now, this will do.  There is the right amount of tension on the pull handle.  And now, I know how to break into the trunk.  Just a little touch up on the trunk lid with some SEM Trim Black, and we are done.

SEM Trim Black, good for making things more blacker

Pro tip:  Always keep the handy Trunk Break In Tool in the trunk...wait, what?
There you have it.  Now you know how to get into your trunk if your cable breaks.

I hope it is safe to drive since everything seems to be working...at the moment.  Who knows when something will just fail on the car and fix itself a week later.


Martini said...

Nicely done. Question: does the SEM trim paint blend with the existing black when you do spot treatments like that? Also, if you think you can smell fuel coming from the front of the car, try this: turn your wheels to full lock right, get down and look under the front driver's side wheel. There's a neoprene hose there that sometimes pops off a metal line. Mine pops off at least once a year. Finally, next time your car doesn't start, just hit your head on the steering wheel.

awildermode said...

Most of the scratches were just rust marks from the wire. There were minor scuffs. I 'feathered' the SEM Trim Black and it is a close enough match. It is a little on the matte side, versus the semi-gloss of the tub.

Thanks for the tip on the neoprene hose. I will have a look under there when I get a chance.

I thought about hitting my head on the steering wheel...but all that does is sound the horn.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog/ post and your time for making this tutorial. I made the bucket handle tool in about 5min and it took me 4 minutes to reach and pull the lever under my DeLorean hood. It worked perfectly! My hood got stuck after I installed fresh new gas struts and I guess the struts are putting too much pressure and working against the latch and mechanism (which I will have to adjust later).

Again, thanks for the tutorial - it helped immensely! - Brian