Ed's D

My 1983 De Lorean DMC-12, VIN 16908

Woodridge, IL July 4th Car Show


Woodridge Police Department and the Chicagoland Chapter GSCA present

Friday, JULY 4, 2008 – NOON until 4 P.M.

Wilton Industries
2240 75th Street
Woodridge, IL 60517

·        I-355 to 75th Street
·        West on 75th Street

·        Turn right at 1st driveway before the McDonalds


This is within walking distance of my house. I’ll be there with VIN 16908 as long as it doesn’t rain!

Trailing Arm Bolts replaced!

The stock Trailing Arm Bolts (or TABs) are prone to bending, and eventually breaking over time. The solution is to replace them with Toby TABs made from Inconel 718 from DeLorean Parts Northwest. Here’s some of the history behind their development.

This is a nickle-based super-alloy. “Inconel 718 also has a very high fracture toughness, which means that it is very difficult to initiate and propagate a crack.  It’s virtually corrosion proof, non-magnetic, and is used in the aerospace industry whenever a failure is absolutely not acceptable (engine mounts, landing gear, and wing attachments, to name a few).”

DMCNews.com has some information (with pictures) about TABs here.

Let’s get started. Supplies used:

  • Ratchet and socket set
  • 13mm combination wrench
  • 3/8th drive 11/16th Torque Adapter
  • 3/8th drive Torque Wrench
  • 19mm offset wrench
  • Crescent Wrench
  • Anti-seize lubricant
  • Silicone lubricant
  • Jack stands
  • Low profile jack
  • Another jack
  • Car ramps
  • Wheel chokes
  • Utility Light
  • Workshop Manual – Section K (Rear Suspension)
  • Reciprocating saw (if necessary)

This process of replacing the bolts is relatively easy if you have a manual transmission. I took the following picture from under a lift. Here’s what that area of the frame looks like on a manual car:

Nice and clean, eh? Alright, here’s the best picture I could get of the same area on my car:

You can see the big ol’ honkin’ automatic transmission almost touches the coolant pipes, and you don’t have access to the nice holes in the frame where the heads of the bolts are located. Argh. Alright, after reading probably every TAB thread on the DML and DMCTalk, I’ve figured out:

  • It’s easier to replace the TABs on an automatic car when the transmission is out of the car, or has been lowered out of the way
  • You need to remove the trailing arm from the hub carrier on the driver’s side to maneuver the bolt out.
  • If a bolt is really bent, you need a reciprocating metal saw to cut it apart for removal.
  • It’s way easier to do this with a lift or a mechanics pit
  • You need a good offset wrench to hold the heads of the bolts. If you know a good welder, get a cheap wrench, cut it up, and weld a spacer in it.

I don’t have a lift, or a mechanics pit. I have a single car garage, with barely enough room to work. I don’t have a creeper. I can’t get the car higher than 15 inches at the frame with my jack. Maybe worst of all, I don’t have anyone to help me with this job.

Here I go. Jack up the car using the proper procedures, put it on jack stands, and leave the jack in place. Choked the wheels with new wheel chokes. I also used a ramp and 10 lb weights on the driver’s side under the underbody, and an alloy wheel and 10 lb weights on the passenger side under the underbody. There’s about a half inch gap between the underbody and the weights. If the car should fall, this assorted stuff will support it. It gets in the way a lot, but I’m not taking chances… I’m very afraid of the car falling on me. Also notice my foam insulation that I lay on.

I got a set of metric offset wrenches from AutoZone for this next part:

I used the offset wrench to hold the head of the bolt, while removing the nut. I struggled to remove the bolt from the trailing arm. Finally I used a flat screwdriver to push on the threads of the bolt. Once it was out of the trailing arm, I pushed the bolt back into position, with the trailing arm below the bolt. I started removing the plate that holds the bushing in place:

After I struggled with the reinforcing plate bolts for a few hours, I finally got it off! The bolt is free! Here’s what all this stuff looks like:

I lost a jam nut, but found it a few days later. Which brings me to:

Helpful Tip #1: Tape the ends of the recessed are of the frame. The jam nuts will fall and roll out unless you’ve got something to catch them. The tape will catch them.

Here’s the moment of truth. Take a close look! All my effort was not in vain! The stock TAB is bent!!!

I cleaned the parts, used some silicone lubricant to “treat” the bushing, and some anti-seize on the bolt. Here are all the pieces cleaned, ready for assembly:

Now, I thought of a way I could hold the jam nuts in place, in such a difficult, small area.

Helpful Tip #2: Hammer the end of a small wire tie into the lock nut: The wire tie is small enough, and flexible enough to fit into the recessed area of the frame. Once the bolt catches the nut, rip the wire tie out.

Helpful Tip #3: Don’t use a closed end combination wrench on the 13mm nuts. You won’t be able to get the wrench off once the bolt is in. Use an open end combination wrench.

Once I got the retaining plate mounted, I struggled to reinsert the bolt into the trailing arm. The mess of cables and hoses on the driver’s side makes everything more difficult:

I realized the trailing arm was in a position that made this task impossible. So I figured out…

Helpful Tip #4: Jack up the hub carrier about ¼ to ½ inch for bolt removal and reinsertion.

Once the trailing arm was positioned better, the bolt slid in easily:

The threaded ends on Toby TABs are tapered down to 18mm. The space is too tight to fit a ratchet and socket. I found an 11/16ths is a good match for 18mm, so I purchased an 11/16ths torque adapter specifically for this job:

I used it with a ratchet to snug up the bolt

Helpful Tip #5: Use a 18mm Ratcheting Combination Wrench for this job:

I should have bought one, but I made due with the constant turning of the torque adapter. My arms are tired…

Holding the head of the bolt with the offset 19mm wrench:

Tightening the nut with the ratchet and torque adapter:

You need to torque the bolts with the weight of the car on the suspension. Supposedly the best results are attained on a level surface. As I said, I don’t have a lift, or pit, so I’ll settle for ramps. Once the nut was snug, I reattached the wheel, lowered the car, and backed it up my ramps. I torque the nut to 53 FT/Lbs with my new 3/8 drive torque wrench:

I used the torque adapter positioned perpendicular to the wrench (so to not affect the torque setting). The wrench is a little over 16 inches long, so it was short enough to work with under the car. The passenger side is now done!

Onto the dreaded driver’s side trailing arm….

It’s different for the driver’s side process, because you have to detach the trailing arm from the hub carrier to maneuver the bolt out and back in. I wanted to prove this wasn’t necessary, but I found it is…

Supporting the hub carrier for bolt removal (got brave, and used my low profile jack):

Removing the trailing arm from the hub. First time separated since assembly in Ireland?

I made sure to be careful with the hard brake line. It will flex, but make sure it doesn’t cause a bend in one location. I was worried the trailing arm would have the weight of a steel beam, and come crashing down. I was relieved to find it’s not very heavy. To get the bolt out, I had to pull the arm away from the hub carrier, and then lower it below the carrier. I put my low profile jack back in place. I borrowed a scissor jack from another car to support the trailing arm, and lower it slowly:

I got the bolt out! The bolt wasn’t as bent as the passenger side bolts, but still slightly bent.

Some cable towards the narrow end of the trailing arm will support the arm:

Now I put the new bolt in, started a few threads on each bushing plate bolt, leaving it all loose. I then pulled the hub carrier back, and put the trailing arm back in position. Bolt the trailing arm back up to the hub carrier, and snug up the bushing plate bolts. Finally, snug up the TAB nut.

One last picture before final torqueing:

Beautiful, eh?

I reattached the wheel, lowered the car, backed up my ramps, torque the nut to 53 FT/Lbs, and the job was done! I don’t want to do this job again anytime soon…

Time elapsed: 10 days. Mainly because I didn’t know what I was doing. There was a lot of trial and error, and scheduling conflicts. I almost gave up right away, figuring I’d have DMC (Midwest) do this job for me. But I persevered, and continued to accomplish one task at a time. I learned a lot, and I’m pretty damn proud I did this all by myself. I could probably get the job done in a day or two knowing what I know now.

Since I had such a hard time figuring this all out, I felt brave and made two videos. The first is on the bolts themselves, and the second is on bolt replacement with the automatic transmission. Hopefully I didn’t make any mistakes, but please point them out if I did.

Video 1

Video 2

I’m gonna go degrease my hands for the umpteenth time


K1000DP – Toby TAB Custom Trailing Arm Bolt Kit from DeLorean Parts Northwest – $74.95 plus $4.60 shipping
Proto 5122 Torque Adapter 11/16′ 3/8′ Drive: $15.75 plus $4.98 shipping at Drillspot.com
13mm Combination Wrench: $4.88 plus tax at Menards
Double Box End Offset Wrench Set: 15.99 plus tax at AutoZone.
Husky 3/8 Drive Torque Wrench: $68.96 plus tax @ The Home Depot

No DCS ‘08 for VIN 16908 or Ed

I decided against attending DeLorean Car Show (DCS) ’06, even though it was within a few miles of me – a decision I still regret. I wasn’t an owner yet, and I didn’t know if I’d fit in there.

I originally planned to attend DCS ’08, either by driving the car, or flying out. I was registered at the hotel, but conflicts arose, and I opted to stay home. The price of gas is a lot to stomach right now, and I never got around to replacing my trailing arm bolts.

Here’s an article I found about DCS ’08. In case you didn’t know, the man in the article who started DCS, and organizes it every two years also sold me my car.


I will be attending DCS West ’09 in Las Vegas! I’m definitely flying out for that event, and leaving the D safe at home.

$3 Battery Strap

My battery strap was missing the buckle to connect the two straps.

PJ Grady sells a kit for $48.50. I didn’t even investigate NOS. I decided to modify a battery box strap for use in my car. FYI, here’s how to use the stock strap.

I removed the strap mounts from the body. They are bolted to the underbody with 10mm bolts, with the nuts in front of the rear right wheel, and under the car.

I bought this strap kit from Menards. It is one continuous strap meant to wrap around a battery box.

I cut the strap into two pieces. My mom sewed the ends together, to attach them to the mounts. Thanks mom! New straps mounted, old straps cut off:

Oops. I looped the strap on the wrong side of the mount. Oh well, not perfect, but it works:

All done:


NOCO Battery Box Strap Kit, Part No. HM001CS: $2.99 @ Menards
Sewing: Free!

Adjustable Rear Lower Control Arm Kit

Since my camber was off by two degrees, and I didn’t want my tires to wear unevenly, I invested in adjustable rear lower control arms. I went with the mid-state kit as opposed to the DeLorean Motor Center kit to save some money. The only issue was I had to remove my control arms, and send them off to be modified. This was over the Memorial Day weekend, so it took a little bit longer. That’s okay; the quality of the work is top notch.

Alright, this is my first time doing suspension work by myself on any car. I assembled my tools:

Workshop Manual – Section K (Rear Suspension)
½ drive breaker bar
Ratchet set
½ drive Torque Wrench (rental from Autozone)
Low profile jack
2 ton Jack stands
2 X 4
Anti-seize lubricant
Hammer (rare to use on a car)
Utility light
Paper Towels
Simple Green
Orange Hand Cleaner

Tire removed, preparing to remove to lower links:

Supporting the hub carrier with a jack, trying to get the hub carrier pivot bolts out.

I stopped taking pictures because I got so dirty, and the job was very frustrating. I finally got the hub carrier pivot bolts out after using a hammer to pound them out. I sent the arms off the next morning, but forgot to get a before picture of them. Mid-State recommended some anti-seize on the bolts when reassembling.

13 days later, they arrive:

Beautiful, aren’t they? The welds are really nice looking.

Supporting the trailing arm, trying to get the bolt back in:

Wow, I got it together. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing.

My rental torque wrench, and new ½ drive breaker bar:

Torqued and back on the ground after almost two weeks!


Almost ready for an alignment. This is probably the best time to replace my stock trailing arm bolts…

Mid-State Lower Control Arm kit: $210
UPS Ground Shipping to Mid-State: $13.18
Anti-Seize Lubricant: $3.21 @ Advance Auto Parts
½ Drive Breaker bar: $5.98 at Menards
Torque Wrench: $97.20 at Autozone(deposit charge, will be refunded when returned)