Ed's D

My 1983 De Lorean DMC-12, VIN 16908

Breakdown #3

I can’t remember what I said exactly, but to paraphrase: “We’ve been driving around all morning, and it hasn’t broken down!” These words would soon haunt me.

On Saturday, September 15th, my fiancé and I were driving around scoping out venues for our wedding reception. The car was performing great. After I dropped her off at home, the car began to sputter. Quickly realizing what was happening, I pulled off to a side street before it stalled. Not again!

So I instantly thought that the problem from Breakdown #2 had not been resolved. During the last troubleshooting session, I had swapped out the RPM (Fuel Pump) relay, which had no effect. I also had my RPM Relay replaced after the June Maintenance-Fest. More on that later.

So I let the car cool down, and was able to drive it back to my parent’s house. After that, it didn’t want to start at all. I called Ken K to do some troubleshooting. Got out the Volt/Ohm meter, and began testing all things electrical, and it all looked good. So I took off the air box, and dumped some fuel down the intake. The car started for a second or two. So we guessed it was a fuel problem. Since the accumulator was the only part of the fuel system that had not been replaced during the refurbish, we suspected it to be the problem. The symptoms seemed correct. Replacing this thing wasn’t going to be easy for me…

After a few hours of sitting on my parents couch, I thought “if it’s a fuel issue, why not try swapping the RPM Relay?” I swapped it out with my spare, and the car started right up. Arghhh!

So take a look at the burn mark on the old relay:


Ken K advised me to clean out the female spade connections for the relay, and if any looked bent, to bend them back. The burned prong’s matching connection looked like it could be loose. I cleaned it with some sandpaper, and crimped it to be a tighter connection. I got some Dielectric grease since it’s highly recommended for the DeLorean’s electrical connections. It supposedly fills in the gaps in electrical connections. It does NOT conduct electricity, but rather is an insulator. This insulating effect causes electric to not arc out thereby preventing heat and eventually a fire hazard or at least a bad/burnt connection. So I smeared some of the grease on the female spade connectors, and the relay prongs. Hopefully this won’t be a problem in the future.

Two bad RPM Relays in only a few months. I bought my spare RPM Relay at SpecialTAuto.com. For my next RPM Relay, I’ll probably use a different vendor.

Costs:

RPM Relay from SpecialTAuto.com: $29.95 plus shipping
Dielectric Grease from Murray’s Auto Supply: $8 or $9?

New suspension components

It’s been over a month since I got the new suspension installed. The stock shocks were 25 years old, and felt rough. I felt the stock springs appear to make the car sit too high – because the originally designed springs were shorter. Early 1980’s bumper height regulations forced an increase in the ride height before the car was debuted, and taller springs were a last minute change. However, DMC (Houston) now offers springs that return the car’s height to the original design specification. I chose to buy new shocks from midstatedmc.com and Eibach springs from DMC (Midwest).

I was lucky enough to have all of the work completed at the Delorean Midwest Connection’s Fall Tech Session. The designer of the shocks that I bought was there to deliver them to me, and help me for most of the day with their installation in my car. I was extremely grateful for this, since I don’t know what to do, but wanted to learn. Also, I was advised to buy new lower ball joint rubber covers in case we damaged them. However everything came apart nicely. I did end up using the rubber boots on my tie-rod ends, which I am proud to say I replaced mostly by myself.

Before:




Installation:



New Shocks:




old springs compressed

old front spring left, new right:


New front left spring and shock



The hub is lift up, out of the way:


Rear:




What the reverse side of my tires looks like. I’m glad the white letters face this way.


Done! So I waited about 5 weeks to get some good after pictures. I still don’t know if the front end has settled as far as it can, compared to pictures of other cars with the same springs. However, I’m very pleased with the results thus far:



Front:


Front:


Rear:


Right about now, most Delorean owners are asking “How does it handle?!!!” The truth is: I’m not too sure. I have only driven one other DeLorean which had the hard-riding stock shocks. My daily driver is a 2004 sports coupe, and I have driven many other modern cars. I know my new shocks ride softer than the stock shocks. This was apparent when I first drove the car away from the event. Compared to modern cars: I think it’s still kinda harsh. Here’s what the shock designer originally sent to me:

“I call this a “sport” kit because the upgraded performance shocks we are using from KYB do have a little stiffer ride quality to them then the old “touring” setup we had. This new “sport” kit is still softer then the Eibachs from DMC Houston and ton’s better then the original Girlings. They do an excellent job of working with the D’s suspension and give the car a very controlled, well balanced feeling. I have driven my D with these shocks on it down to DMCH open hose events twice, which is 2000 miles at a time, and the car handles and drives great, on the road as well as the track time we’ve had down there. One of the other D owners who is running this KYB setup was making trips back and forth to Colorado every other week for almost a year and loves the way they handle. He says it’s the best setup he’s ever had on a Delorean, and he’s had more then a few over the years. Anyway, when it comes to shocks and ride quality a lot of it comes down to personal preference and what kind of ride you are looking for. This KYB setup makes the Delorean handle and ride like the sports car it’s supposed to be.”

I’m pleased with the softer ride, and think the setup looks great. I still think the ride height in the front needs to sink another half inch or more. I drove the car with about 120lbs of weights in the front for awhile, but that didn’t seem to do much. I don’t want to drive much more before getting an alignment done. But I don’t want to get an alignment until the height settled completely.

The shocks that DMC (Houston) sells with the Eibach springs cost considerably more than Mid-State’s shocks, so my wallet is also pleased. Overall, I’d recommend these shocks and springs to any DeLorean owner.

Costs (discounts not included):

“Sport” Shock Kit from www.midstatedmc.com: $340
Eibach Spring Kit from DMC (Midwest): $399 plus tax
2 Lower Ball Joint Boots from DMC (Midwest) $9.74 plus tax
Labor: Free! Thanks MM!