24 July 2014

DeLorean Shock Tower Brace Installation

Yes, I am a dork

What? Shock Tower Brace?  I thought I have already installed one.  Yes, and no.  Two years ago, I installed the Shock Tower Bar, not Brace.  While they essentially do the same thing, there is a difference.  The new Shock Tower Brace from Toby Peterson of DeLorean Parts Northwest, is made of stainless steel, much stronger than the aluminum bar.  Toby's design also allows the spare to be removed without removing the brace. This also means that the trunk carpet can lay flat, with the brave below the carpet.  No more bar exposed in the floor of the trunk.  So, I decided to get one after I saw it at DCS2014, last month.

Note to self:  wipe the lens before taking photos
Installation begins with removing the Shock Tower Bar.  I have removed and reinstalled the bar many times for various reasons.  First step is to take the bolt and thread it all the way down, until it bottoms out on the frame.

Threading the bolt down
The kit comes with two 'extra' nuts so you can thread the bolt down. 

Exposed bolt
With the bolt hitting the bottom, the nuts are removed.  This leaves a long exposed bolt.

Sleeve placed over bolt
The sleeves go over the exposed bolts.  The one with the slot goes on the left (driver's) side of the car.

Slotted fitting
Both machined fittings get bolted down using the lock nut provided.  Nuts are torques at 23 foot pounds.  Make sure that the slotted fitting lines up with the opposite fitting, or perpendicular to the car.

Putting the brace in place
Now, the brace is ready to be placed.  The brace rests on the fittings, and floats above the trunk floor.  The curved part of the brace points towards the rear of the car.  Note that the slotted hole is on the slotted fitting, or the left side of the car.  Torque down the right side first at 23 foot pounds.

Adjustment bracket for tension
The adjustment bracket goes on, sandwiching the brace.  The slotted fitting allows this brace to fit flush...for a normal DeLorean.  Here is where I ran into some problems.

Bracket resting on edge of access panel
My bracket was just barely resting on the edge of the access panel.  This does not seem right.  At this point, I stopped working on it and shot an email to Toby to ask for advice.  He told me that for most cars, this should not be a problem.  It is possible that because I have a textured pontoon, there are some slight variances.  Or, because it is a DeLorean, it will differ from every other DeLorean.

Also, there should not be any silicone to seal the access panel.  There is a foam pad that 'seals' the panel, along with eleven screws.  Well, ten for me as one screw is not screwing into anything.  Notice the big hole in photo below, there is also a slight crack in the fiberglass.  That is another project for another day.  Typical DeLorean project, try to deal with one problem and another problem comes up.  Yay!

Under the access panel
I removed the panel to file away a notch so the bracket can sit properly.  While the panel was off, I cleaned up the silicone.  The silicone was so old that it was not even sealing the panel to the body.  I feared that it would be a task to remove the panel, but it just popped off once the screws where out. 

Panel notched to fit bracket
Bracket now level with brace
I shaved off about 2mm, now the bracket just falls right into place.  Now, I can get back to install this thing.

Putting tension on the bar
Before torquing down the nut, the bar needs to be tensioned.  That is what the adjuster bracket does.  Taking a 3/16 hex bit (why not metric?), the screw bottomed out, then tightened two turns to load the brace.  Finally, the last nut can be torqued on the bar, again at 23 foot pounds.

Finally installed
This is simple install, even with the extra modifications I had to do.  It should take no more than twenty minutes for the average person to install.  For me, with all the bonus stuff needed, it took about two hours.  Plus, I had to stop working on it for a few days and seek advise from Toby.

I took it out for a short test drive, not sure if it is any stiffer than the previous bar.  But, either bar or brace is significantly different than stock.  My route takes me over some bumpy train tracks.  Ugh, trains tracks and DeLoreans do not mix well.  Anyway, I can tell that the stock set up is way more 'flimsy' going over bumps.  With the added support, there is better control and stiffness.

21 July 2014


Oh, we almost made it through the month of July without a call.  I was doing so well with positive entries to this blog.  Now, I have to deal with this shit.

21 July 2014
   310-256-4359 Los Angeles, CA -  I thought I recognized this number but was not sure.  I even did a Google search...and guess what I found.  Yeah, a link to my blog.  Here...well not here, more like HERE.   Hello, return caller. Thanks for calling and leaving a four second voice mail that contained a digital 'beep'. Wrong number?  Hardly.  Telemarketer?  Abso-fucking-lutely.  Now, fuck off!  

18 July 2014

DeLorean Maintenance - 2014

Parked in front of the new DMC California location in Huntington Beach
Lately, I was having some issues with the car.  What?  No way.  Yep, there was a misfire in one of the cylinders and it was causing the car to shake.  This was noticeable while idling at a light.  The misfire made it hard to take off, as it huff and puffed through first gear.  Once I hit about 40mph, well in to third gear, it seemed better.

Normally, I wait until I need to smog the car to make a trip to DMC.  But, this misfire was not something I wanted to wait another nine months to fix.

Off to the new DMC-California location in Huntington Beach.  While there, I also had the team replace my Trailing Arm Bolt and Radius Arm Bushing with Inconel TAB's from DMC-Midwest and Polyurethane Bushings from DMC-Europe.  Danny suggested Steel Braided Fuel Lines.  Why not.

Stainless Steel Braided Fuel Line Kit
List of things done to the car:
  • - Install new Stainless Steel Braided Fuel Lines
  • - Install new Injector Nozzles and Seals (all six)
  • - Adjust Fuel Mixture, Timing, and Idle
  • - Install new Inconel Trailing Arm Bolts
  • - Install new Polyurethane Radius Arm Bushings
  • - A/C Service Evacuate, Charge, and Leak Test

That is it for this time.  I will be back in a few months for my usual maintenance.  In the meantime, I have some new parts that are waiting to be installed.  Stay tuned, as I will be working on the easier stuff...possibly, even this weekend.

Hot Wheels DeLorean, next to my DeLorean, at DeLorean Motor Company

02 July 2014

A/C Vent Plugs For The DeLorean

A/C Vent Plugs available from delorean.com
Most would agree that the vent system in the DeLorean is not the best.  Like most cars, there is a central vent in the middle of the dash.  While most cars a have vents located towards the ends of the dash, the DeLorean has vents in the arm rest.  A tube is routed from the central vent to to the doors, these tubes are located behind the knee pad and run into the front of the door.  Good idea, but if there is any gap between the door and vent tubes, you lose airflow.  Besides, I have not noticed much air coming in through the arm vents.  Maybe because I rarely use vents.

Anyway, one solution is to block the airflow before it reaches the doors.  Above is the A/C Vent Plugs available from delorean.com.  It is a great design, meaning it is a simple design that I think I can replicate.

Rough drawing of discs
Luckily, I have access to a laser cutter.  I made some rough measurements, and drew something up in Illustrator for cutting.  The hold can be easily plugged by a three inch disc.  The DMC design simply snaps into the tube, removing the rubber gasket, or Duct to Door Adapter Seal (105213).  My 'design' is just a disc and will use the rubber gasket to hold said disc.  I admit that this is definitely not a better design than the one you can get from DMC, but a cheaper one...at least for me.
Laser cut discs with logo
I wanted to have a DMC logo on the disc.  The only way to do this, on a laser cutter, was to have the logo cut out and have a backing piece.  Holes in the disc would defeat the purpose of the plugs.  The alternative would be to model up a disc, this would basically resulted in a direct copy of the ones you can purchase.  No fun in that, I want to do something a bit different.

Removing protective backing
The thought was to cut these out of styrene, which is white, then maybe paint them with SEM black.  There was some black acrylic laying around, so I had my file cut in that.  I removed the letters, which I hope to use on another project, to create the negative logo.

Using solvent to bond the discs
Pieces are bonded together with a special solvent for acrylic.  The bonded disc create a negative, recessed logo.  I do not have a nice outer ring like the production version.  Again, that could have been created by modeling in 3D program.

Open tube, nice place for rats
Above image shows were the vent plug goes.  It is a big three inch hole.  Wait, I just had a thought, I could have used two hockey pucks and shoved it in the hole.

Peeling the protective layer before installation
I left the protective backing on the discs to preserve the high gloss of the acrylic.

Installed vent plugs
After installation, I felt the plugs were way too glossy.  I was trying to find a good angle to get the photo above as I kept getting weird reflections.   I had a hard time getting close up photos in general since I kept getting reflections of lights, background, or camera.  A glossy surface also means that it would be hard to keep finger prints and scratches off the discs.  So, I decided to sandblast the discs.

Sandblasted discs
Yep, I have access to a sandblaster, too.  A few passes with the sandblaster and a nice matte finish.  No more glaring reflections.  Of course, I could have achieved this same look with styrene and paint.  Instead, I wasted used up some nice acrylic.

Matte finish disc
Installed the sandblasted discs.  Not sure if this is looks better than gloss.  Oh well, I could always have another set cut out and swap between gloss and matte.  If you have access to a laser cutter, or lathe and mill, you too can make yourself a set of vent plugs.  But, if you are not a cheapskate like me, get your authentic vent plugs from DMC.

Vent hole in the door
Oh, you noticed that I have two sets of discs, total of four.  The other two are for plugging the hole in the door.  Since there is no rubber gasket or any way to hold the discs, double sided tape was the only option as it is.  Another option is to model up a full vent plugs for the doors.

The problem is, the surface is slightly curved and one of my Retainer (105519) is warped...which makes poor contact with double sided tape.  I will need to straighten the warped Retainer, or get a new one, before installing caps for the vent hole in the door.

Added ribs to door vent caps
My solution to this is to add some ribs to the caps.  It is a little messy as I could not use any solvents to glue the styrene strips to the acrylic cap.  Cyanoacrylate glue (super glue) was used to bond the two different plastics.  Luckily, no one will see this.  Heck, I do not think anyone really notices the holes in the door in general.  They are surely not going to notice my custom plates.

Fitted cap on retainer
The friction of the ribs will keep the cap secured to the retainer.  No need for any adhesive.

Installed door vent caps
 Now, my vents are sealed...well, not sealed, more like covered.  In theory, this should pipe all the air through the center vents.

On a side note, my car is in the shop now and one of the things they are doing is look over the AC system.  This includes charging it with the cool stuff.  Do they still use freon? They will also check the system for leaks.  After this, I may want to remove my vent caps and see if I can get any air from the door vents.  If it works, all this was just another 'fun with the laser cutter experiment'.  We will see.