30 March 2013

DeLorean Maintenance - 2013

Not sure how other states (or provinces) deal with vehicle smog.  Here in California, one needs to smog their car every two years.  Cars older than 1975 (I think) are exempt.  Well, it is that time, again.  I  need to have the DeLorean smogged in order to register the car.  I leave that task to the good folks at DMC-California.  They will do their magic on the car and makes sure it passes.

As goofy as it sounds, I was waiting to get my smog summons...just so I can take the car to DMC.  For I have a lot of work I wanted to be done on the car.  Recently, I have had issues with the car not starting.  There are a number of upgrade parts that I wanted to be installed in the car.  This includes the new Fuel Pump/Sender, Front & Rear Performance Shocks, Rear Lowering Springs, and Lower Strut Support Bracket.  These are projects that some owners can do on their own.  But who are we talking about here?  Some of this stuff requires the tools, facility, skill, and knowledge that I just do no have.  Better leave areas like the fuel tank to the pros.

I dropped the car off two weeks ago, on Saturday, and picked it up on Thursday.  Here is what they did.

New DMC Performace Shocks and Springs
Finally, the rear of the car has been lowered to match the front.  It had been 'ass up' for two years.  Now, the car is level.

Height before the rear was lowered - 27 inches
Height after installation of new shocks and springs - 25.5 inches

This was that I tried to do myself, twice.  I had trouble getting the spring compressors at 180° from each other.  Not a lot of room to maneuver in there...and not a lot of experience on my part.  Something about strong metal strings under tremendous amount of tension.

Installed Lower Strut Support Bracket
Years of closing and opening the doors puts a lot of stress on the lower strut support.  In the photo above, you can see that the strut support is at 90° to the B-pillar.  Before the support bracket was installed, it was cocked at an angle.  In fact, the driver's side had fiberglass damage.  Not only was the joint misaligned, it had cracked the fiberglass, and was about to complete break off from he B-pillar.  The passenger side was not as drastic, but still misaligned. Now that the support brackets are in, I will not have to worry about not being able to lift the 90 pound doors.

Of course, I finally got that Fuel Pump installed.  It had been sitting in the box for nine months.  Having it installed also completes my quest to have at least one part from every DMC vendor installed in my car.

Obviously, there is always le problème dujour.  There were three additional things that needed to be done.  Well, two that needed to be done and one that was a cosmetic issue.

- Coolant hoses were not looking that great.  So yeah, I would want that to be taken care of.  What, did you expect me to do that, myself?  They have the car apart anyway, let them do it.  Besides, I am not equipped to deal with hazardous materials.

- Torn boot on the left axle.  Yeah, do not want dirt getting in there, nor do I want grease to ooze out.

New headliners for the doors
 - The headliners were getting old and could use a refresh. Oh hell, why not.  Not only was the fabric itself getting old and sagging, the foam behind it was getting crusty...like the clown.  I must say, new headliners do make the cockpit look so much better.  Plus, I do not have to deal with it sagging on my pretty hair.  This was also one of the more costly (parts and labour) items on the invoice.

New headliners
Other 'minor' stuff done to the car include (and I am just reading off the invoice) a routine oil change with oil filter, adjusting fuel mixture, alternator belt, drive belt, some o-rings, smog check.

So, how much did this cost me?  A lot.  About double of what I thought it would be.  But, at least I know it was done right and not by some hack, like me.  The parts installed should last and I will not have to worry about them for a long time.  Who gets more money from my paycheck, the government or DeLorean Motor Company?  Well, I got a good bonus check, and the government took about half....the other half went to DMC, still a few hundreds dollars short.

Oh, the problem with starting was solved by the crew at DMC-California.  There was a loose connection in the fuse box.  The fuse was good, but the wires leading to the fuse were not.  I would never have found that.  Now, we are good to go.  I should have no problems.  Although, I do want to do some other stuff to the car now.  Stay tuned, this should be happened within a few weeks.

28 March 2013

Depeche Mode - Soothe My Soul

New single from Depeche Mode's Delta Machine is Soothe My Soul.  Here is the video


22 March 2013

Fish McBites...In Happy Meals

Quick review, McDonald's Fish McBites are really good.  Dare I say it, better than their Filet-O-Fish.  Also, the packaging for the Fish McBites is a great design.  The only drawback, it is only available for a limited time.  Why? They are awesome!  I suggest going to your local McDonald's and order a box of these.  Perhaps increased sales will convince McDonald's to keep it on their menu.

Fish McBites Happy Meal
For years, even decades, I have been talking about Filet-O-Fish Happy Meals.  It is good to see that McDonald's had incorporated the Fish McBites into their Happy Meal menu.  I consider this a small victory on my part.  I like to think that they listened to me.  Better yet, I like to think that someone at McDonald's Headquarters had the brains and balls to add this to their menu.  Again, the only drawback is since the Fish McBites are limited time item, so is the Fish McBites Happy Meal.

Meanwhile, the fight for the Filet-O-Fish Happy Meal continues.


There is telemarketer calls, then there is calls from weird numbers.  Little late in the month, so let me get right to it.

22 March 2013
   0000000000  unknown  Yeah, that was it.  That is what showed up on my screen.  Look, I shit you not.

There, you see?  Ten zeros.  What the fuck?  How the fuck am I going to report this one to the Do Not Call Registry?  Look, I am not even sure if this is a telemarketer or some top secret communications glitch...you know military, or worse, aliens.  No, not Mexicans...Martians.  What if the iPhone, my iPhone picked up a transmission from Curiosity?  Maybe I should have picked up. I am going way out on a limb and classify this as a telemarketer call, and not interstellar communication.

11 March 2013

Depeche Mode North American Tour Dates 2013

Depeche Mode - The Delta Machine World Tour

Depeche Mode announced the tour dates for their North American leg of their tour for Delta Machine.  Seems like a short leg, I am sure there will be additional dates to be announced later. 

Aug. 22 -   Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
Aug. 24 - Chicago, IL -   First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Aug. 27 - St. Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair 
Sep. 1 -   Toronto, ON - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Sep. 3 -   Montreal, QB -   Bell Centre
Sep. 6 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
Sep. 8 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater   
Sep. 10 - Washington DC - Jiffy Lube Live
Sep. 12 - Atlanta, GA -   Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Sep. 14 - Tampa, FL - Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds
Sep. 15 - Ft Lauderdale, FL - BB&T Center
Sep. 18 -   Houston, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sep. 20 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sep. 22 - San Diego, CA - Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Sep. 24 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
Sep. 26 -   Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre
Sep. 28 - Los Angeles, CA -   STAPLES Center
Sep. 29 -   Los Angeles, CA -   STAPLES Center
Oct. 8 - Phoenix, AZ - Desert Sky Pavilion

I know what I will be doing in late Sepetember.

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.