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BUILD Timelord Adventures - 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 Project


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dmctimelord

dmctimelord

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This off season I decided to rebuild the suspension and clean up 40 years of grime. Some things I am currently working on include:

  • Replacing all 40 year old flexible brake lines with stainless flex lines.
  • Rebuilding and cleaning up all brake calipers and associated hardware.
  • Replacing wheel bearings.
  • Replacing control arm bushings.
  • Replacing 40 year old shocks/springs.
  • Replacing fixed rear lower control arms with adjustable ones (The DeLorean has no rear camber adjustment and this will make that possible)
  • Cleaning up the frame and checking for any signs of rust and cracked frame epoxy. Making repairs as needed.
  • Replacing front lower ball joints.
  • Boxing in front lower control arms (DeLorean front LCA's are known for flexing and eventually cracking) This "boxing in" involves welding a solid piece of metal on the open bottom of the LCA.
  • Installing DeLorean specific front LCA stainless steel braces (extra insurance and firmness).
  • POSSIBLY rebuilding/refurbishing master brake cylinder and servo.

  • And in a side project, this DeLorean had a rare aftermarket twin turbo kit installed on it back in the 80's that was designed for the DeLorean. In order to make it fit properly there were custom exhaust manifolds cast for this kit. Both of my manifolds developed a crack as a result of having improperly supported turbos and cats. All the weight was on the exhaust manifold flange which cause a stress crack. It took a prayer and a ton of research to find another set of manifolds for this kit but I found a set! One side was replaced earlier this year and properly supported. I will be post on that when I get to doing the other side!
Please enjoy and feel free to ask any questions you like! I will try to keep this thread updated as possible!
 
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dmctimelord

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The pic below is of the right rear assembly. The DeLorean utilizes a trailing arm that is attached to the frame by a bushing and a long bolt. These bolts were known to fail so I had a very strong Inconel bolt installed on each trailing arm. The shocks you see are the original Girling shocks and there were some lowered springs added at some point (along with side skirts. This picture was taken before right after I removed the wheel and hub nut (which is recommended to be used once so I purchased new ones). I have had an ongoing "clunk" sound when making turns and going over small humps. Some DeLorean owners told me it could be bad bearings so I plan to change them too!

2020-11-08 22.29.13.jpg

Below is a shot of the front of the trailing arm and you can see the nut of the Inconel bolt on the right and the shims on the left of the arm that are used to adjust the toe of the rear wheels. Also you can see the brake hose I am going to replace.


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Brake calipers are off and time to tear them apart and clean them up! On the right is the parking brake pads.

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I soaked all the parts in EvapoRust and wire brushed everything. Then applied a few coats of caliper paint. The gold color is pretty close to the original color of the calipers!

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I purchased a caliper rebuild kit that came with rings and hardware. God thing! the old stuff looked horrible and fell right apart!

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Rebuilt!

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A good before and after shot!

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Now to put all this on the side and start taking apart the suspension!
 
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dmctimelord

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Here I was able to remove the bearings while the hub carriers were still attached.

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I used a bearing puller kit I acquired on eBay:

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The bearings were shot, when the wheels were spun they would spin forever!

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Then off with the old shocks!

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Next up, I will be removing the hub carrier, control arms and refinishing everything!

Stay tuned!
 
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dmctimelord

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So with all the parts off the rear suspension, I figured I would take some time and set up shop in the basement where it is warm and get some work done. I soaked, wire brushed, all the parts I could. Here was that process!

Here are the rear upper control links. I removed the bushings and prepped them. Found a touch of rust so cleaned them up and threw on a little POR 15 gloss black and they looked like new!

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I did not get a pic before I re-installed them but here is the first coat.

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Next up was to clean the hub carriers, hub, and outboard shaft. Using some wire wheels and brushes, fine sandpaper, degreaser, and a little elbow grease cleaned these parts up pretty good!

Hub carriers removed!

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Before and after cleaning and prepping.

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Getting some POR 15 silver!

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Pressed in the new rear bearings. SKF is recommended for the DeLorean.

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Bearing installed with new circlip.

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Installed outboard shafts and hubs back onto hub carriers. This was NOT as straight forward as pressing the bearing in. The rear of the hub carrier is odd shaped so you cannot press the outboard shaft on from the backside. If you do it wrong you end up separating the bearing inner race halves. Hence why we had the kit of press fittings and sleeves. With the right combination everything goes together perfect!

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v6buicks

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:love::love::love:
I'm so glad I get to follow this.

Are those cracked manifolds weldable? It sounds like you could recoup some significant costs if you repair and sell.
 
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dmctimelord

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:love::love::love:
I'm so glad I get to follow this.

Are those cracked manifolds weldable? It sounds like you could recoup some significant costs if you repair and sell.
I am not sure to be honest! I have heard mixed opinions about welding these things! I do not know much about welding manifolds. If you know someone who might be interested in doing a job like that please let me know!

I did pay a decent price for replacements so I wouldn't mind recouping some of that cost. :) Here is a picture of one of the manifolds. They both cracked in exactly the same place.

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Replacements:

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v6buicks

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That's a sizable crack! That lack of support does look terrible though. I'm probably not the guy for the job. If they're iron, I can't help at all. If they're steel I can probably drill the ends and weld it shut. It still wouldn't be very pretty though because I only have a MIG. lol
 
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dmctimelord

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That's a sizable crack! That lack of support does look terrible though. I'm probably not the guy for the job. If they're iron, I can't help at all. If they're steel I can probably drill the ends and weld it shut. It still wouldn't be very pretty though because I only have a MIG. lol
Thats OK, I appreciate the interest though! They are iron and I think that is why most of the comments I have received were just like what you said above LOL! I fabricated some suspension brackets to take the weight off the manifolds. Why in the world would this kit have been installed with no support is beyond me. Hopefully these will last a long time. If not, then I will have to consider doing custom headers or removing the turbo kit altogether and returning the engine back to stock...But that just seems....illogical LOL. :)
 

willizm

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This thread redeems all the bad crap of 2020. Can’t wait to see more pics. I got to drive my buddies dmc a couple years back and was really surprised by how heavy the steering and body was in it. Is that just how these cars drive being an all stainless steel body?

Keep the pictures coming.
 
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dmctimelord

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This thread redeems all the bad crap of 2020. Can’t wait to see more pics. I got to drive my buddies dmc a couple years back and was really surprised by how heavy the steering and body was in it. Is that just how these cars drive being an all stainless steel body?

Keep the pictures coming.
Thanks my friend! I really appreciate the kind words! If my car can redeem 2020 in anyway, then she did her job! :)

In all honesty the car only weighs 2718 lbs! Many people think it is a really heavy car. In neutral, I can literally push it with my finger lol! What you are probably experiencing is the lack of power steering. Good old cars like this from the early 80's were all about driver experience. With no power steering you really feel and get really good feedback from the road. With no power steering on these cars if the road bends or the wind blows, you better be ready to react. :)
 

v6buicks

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This thread redeems all the bad crap of 2020. Can’t wait to see more pics. I got to drive my buddies dmc a couple years back and was really surprised by how heavy the steering and body was in it. Is that just how these cars drive being an all stainless steel body?

Keep the pictures coming.
Of course it does! It went back in time and killed the bat before it became soup.
 

DanJ

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This is an awesome thread. I honestly have never heard of a turbo DMC.
 
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dmctimelord

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Having got all of the parts refurbished, it was time to start re-assembling everything. First I noticed that there was a good deal of crud up in the wheel well and on the frame. Took some hot water with a little Tide detergent and started to wipe everything down. The frame is made of steel and coated in a thick epoxy. For the most part, when maintained it will last many many years. I have seen some DeLorean frames that look worse than swiss cheese and it ultimately makes the car undrivable. When looking to buy a DeLorean, one of the biggest things is to be able to see photos of the frame in detail. There are a couple spots that need a little attention but for the most part I am blessed with a frame that is in pretty good shape!

Before:
2020-11-08 22.29.13.jpg

After:
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Also I got around to replacing the rear flexible brake lines. What a PITA! It took a few different combinations of flare nut wrenches and crows foot wrenches with extension to get these unbolted. The auto transmission makes it really tight to access the inner side of the frame where the hoses attach to solid lines again.

40 year old Delorean brake hoses vs new!
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While putting things back together, I also decided to prep and clean up the drive shafts and clean off the two hole lock strips.

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I have to say so far I am pretty pleased with how everything is coming out. I am also thankful that the previous owner of this car kept her in great shape and in a good dry climate controlled space. I have read about the nightmares of rusted parts and bolts breaking. So far (knocks on wood) I have not had to tap out any bolts, but ready if we have too! I also wanted to take a second and thank everyone who is following along! There will be so much more to come. Once this suspension work is all done and has been documented, then I want to go back and post pics and talk about some of my past projects! Seriously though, I am fairly new here and the the warm welcome has been great! Thank you for the encouragement to post and tell the story about my car! :) Cheers!
 

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