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.

1 comment:

Martini said...

Yet another thing I missed at DCS. Not that I don't believe you but I would love to test drive to cars back to back, one with a brace and one without. DPI Josh claims it's completely impossible to stiffen the front using those two shock tower bolts.