View Full Version : VIN 03937 - From August 2007 until the present day

08-20-2013, 09:00 PM
Great ideas for the new forum sections guys! I'll give the "car blog" type section a go. Won't try to do it all at once or in one post, so I'll add to it as time permits.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away........



Bought VIN 03937 in August 2007. I imported it from the US to Canada and it arrived in October of 2007.

It is a September 1981 build and has the automatic transmission and black interior options. The car has a right front fender antenna and the light grey wheels. It (had) a Craig radio and the console clock. The hood has no gas flap, but does have the grooves. Front and rear fascias came with a lighter than normal grey paint, almost a silver to match the stainless in certain light. At the time of purchase, no notable modifications done to the engine or much elsewhere.

The car took longer than expected to be delivered. Not due to customs clearance, but from the dealership. I was led to believe it was mainly waiting on a replacement headlight switch, but it also had some ignition switch work done in transit. Car advertisement described it as the "cleanest DeLorean our purchasing manager has ever seen."


The car arrived on October 10th, 2007 and so did the beginning of the surprises...


Of course I did my best to look over as much as I knew how to when it arrived. I rushed into purchasing the car too quickly and didn't spend enough time learning. There are endless things or ways I would do it differently if I were to take a second crack at it, but such is life. I bet at the time I was as impressed with a Save the Clock Tower flyer being included as I was frame pictures or maintenance history. In fact, I think I joined the forum here in September 2007 AFTER buying the car, instead of the other way around. I bought it from 60+ photos, phone calls and emails, and an in person check by a coworker who lived in that area. He thought the car was great, but unfortunately he didn't know what he was looking at any better than I did. Oh well, no regrets... moving on :)

I made some notes right away, my "day one observations" if you will. Partly to document what I knew needed fixing or attention, but possibly something that a lawyer might need to review.

Here's the highlights from the first 48 hours (and boy did the list ever grow after this!):

- Automatic transmission when in “D” will not shift automatically out of 1st gear. Dave at DMC Midwest said to check tranny fluid first otherwise it is likely a failure of the transmission governor module.
- Speedometer/odometer does not work. Dave at DMC Midwest said to check behind front left tire for angle drive and cable problems.
- Fuel gauge does not appear to be working. Needle reading vertical directly at word “FUEL”, as opposed to 4/4 mark. Contents of fuel tank unknown.
- Cooling fan failure light is on. Have not investigated whether fans actually are working or not. Dave from DMC Midwest commented that from fuse area pictures he thought the PO might have rewired the light to mean something else.
- No door lock key was shipped with car. Cannot unlock doors from outside. Locksmith may be able to produce key for the existing cylinders, or new door lock cylinders will be needed complete with keys.
- Neither power window moves up or down. Passenger window switch was found defective by dealership and they have had Warren at DMCH mail me a new switch. Drivers switch is in place, but window does not move. Switch problem? Motor? Fuse?
- Cannot seem to get air flow through cabin vents. Fans are running (0, 1, 2, 3, etc speeds) but air is not channeling into cabin. Have not tested out A/C.
- Radio is dead. No lights or sound.
- Both drivers and passengers seat does not slide forward or back. It appears as though when the seats were reupholstered, this sliding mechanism was taken out and seats are bolted in place.
- Two rogue wiring on/off toggle switches under left side of drivers footwell. Each switch has one wire coming into switch and one wire leaving. These terminate at a screw in frame (ground?). One switch has a blue wire, the other has a black wire. Are these related to cooling fans?
- Clock is blank.
- Engine louvers cover has no latch. Cable appears to be gone. Release point behind drivers seat is still in place, but does not appear to be connected to anything.
- Trunk latch does not seem to grab.
- Small amount of oil leaking from approximately oil filter area. May have gotten loose during shipping.

Two days later on October 12th, 2007, a Friday, I zipped over to my mechanic's figuring I would get the car safetied, go to the DMV and get my plate sticker and registration done, and then I would be cruising out into the sunset with the wind blowing by. Ironically, it would take 9 months less one day to get my car back on July 11th, 2008. With many of the problems gone, as well as a significant chunk of my wallet, but plenty of issues remaining.


...To Be Continued

08-21-2013, 12:43 AM
Nice entry!

BTW - Love The Last Starfighter (1984).

08-21-2013, 12:11 PM
Great story Jonathan!

08-24-2013, 10:12 AM
Shortly after dropping the car off at the mechanic's on October 12th, 2007, I realized I would not be driving it before the season ended and the winter arrived. Keep in mind I have had the car in my possession for a grand total of 48 hours and put a handful of miles on it at best just touring around my subdivision. I didn't really know what it was like to drive a DeLorean and this was not a good example initially.

The winter basically went like this:

- Check with the mechanic on progress. Get an update on what had been done and what parts were needed.
- Order parts as indicated and when they arrived, take them over to the shop. About 3 fairly big orders went in that first year.
- Wait for parts to be installed and find out what else was discovered wrong on the car.
- Repeat.

The mechanic I trusted with his abilities and attitude. The condition of the car however, turned it into a project for him too. Since he had other customers with day to day things, if someone came in looking for an oil change or brake work for example, the DeLorean waited until tomorrow. This happened for months. He was partly learning too along the way and not many jobs on the DeLorean go as planned as you can all likely attest to.

For example, the one day I was over looking at the car, I mentioned how the drivers mirror was not tight. The housing I mean, it was not flush against the stainless and looked like one or more of the screws holding it in place wasn't in all the way. Since the interior door panels were already off at this time, I thought it would be simple to get done. Not so much. Likely an hour or two instead of 5 minutes as when we got in and looked at why it wasn't tight, it was because a PO had cross threaded the screws and made a mess of it. To fix it right meant correcting what had been done and a quick job wasn't quick.

Even in the years following this I would often work on things that you would think would be quick and easy. I remember it taking 5+ hours to get one of my door lights to work. You hope it's just the bulb and when it isn't, you take the receptacle out and then the interior panels to reach the connector, then the armrest to vacuum out the mouse nest remains you found, then sort out where the wiring got damaged, then get it working and put it all back together and your 5 minute bulb replacement took 5 hours!

The tough part with waiting is what your friends and family are asking. When are you getting your car back? When will it be done? What's wrong with it, I thought it was in great shape? Why don't you tell him to hurry up? Why don't you go over there and demand he finishes your car? This is ridiculous, why doesn't he just get it finished?

If any of you have gone through this kind of thing, it isn't fun. It can be hard enough to be okay with it yourself, but when your friends and family who you have told many times about how you're getting a DeLorean, keep asking what the story is and what you should be doing in this situation, you may feel like your head is going to explode. It is not a great recipe for stress or your nerves. Even local DeLorean owners and get togethers can be tough as you would just love to bring your car to an event, but since it is broken at the moment, that just isn't going to happen. Getting the "polkaroo DeLorean" label because guys start to think your car doesn't really even exist is no fun.

Looking back though, we were making progress on the car. I was learning even though it wasn't me yet doing the work. That first year I wouldn't have even known where to start to try and figure things out. I've always liked cars, but up until DeLorean ownership, I had never even changed my own oil. And I didn't own a single tool for any sort of car work. Boy would that ever change.

By the next Spring and Summer (2008 ) I was getting pretty anxious. He got my car ready and I drove away in it on July 11th, 2008. It was definitely not problem free yet and there would be many other things to address, but (I thought) the major stuff was done.

Some of the things we sorted out were:

- Dead radio was fuse and/or wiring related so that was fairly simple to get going. In 2012/13 when I did my stereo/speaker upgrade, I saw how bad a shape they were in, but in 2008, at least it kinda worked.
- New fuel sender as leads were corroded off and gauge now works (and has ever since).
- PO had wired fuel pump directly to battery (switched power I would assume). Likely to compensate for bad RPM relay, accumulator problem, or something else they didn't know how to fix. This was restored to spec.
- Windows realigned and working again. Window switch replaced but motors were fine.
- Power mirror switch replaced, mirrors working well (and tight!).
- HVAC mode switch rebuilt which corrected no air flow problem. A/C not working, but would be addressed another time.
- Both parking brake cables replaced, brake continues to work well.
- Rear calipers rebuilt (fronts not yet done at this time).
- Fluid changes all around including all new coolant hoses + reservoir cap.
- Seats were missing slide release bars which I found through a parts car and cleaned up and installed. Seats were okay all along just no bar to engage mechanism (thank goodness!!).
- Front left wheel losing air, valve stem replaced.
- All 4 shocks replaced with ones from Marty M.
- Front bearings replaced.
- New door lock cylinders replaced as my car didn't come with a door key. (really?? you shipped me a car with no door key? thanks)
- all 16 lug nuts replaced
- sunshade louvre grills replaced as they were missing
- cubby hole lid, lock, etc. replaced as they were missing
- air filter clips replaced since missing, muffler bracket (s) replaced since missing, door pull straps replaced since missing
- variety of angle drive components trying to make speedo work (lol)


I think that's it. It's a bit blurry as to which things the mechanic did and which things I did very soon after getting the car home myself. I would quickly realize that the reason my transmission wouldn't come out of first gear was actually a bad shift computer governer holding each gear until a high RPM, and the reason my brakes didn't do much until you pressed the pedal in about 80% of the way was related to the bad master cylinder. But I finally got my car back!!

And I thought that would be a good thing, right? Yikes, now the real stress/fun begins...

11-22-2013, 02:38 PM
Sometime after getting the car home in July of 2008...

(Thankfully) even 6+ years into ownership, the car has rarely left me stranded. The first and arguably the only time, happened to be in the parking lot of an A&W restaurant... as I was there for a Cruise Night. Good timing. I had tried to back the car into a spot, between the lines, and missed terribly. I had shut the car off and started to walk over to the registration table and looked back to realize I was straddling two spots. When I got back in the car and tried to start it, nothing.

In comes "Doctor Oldsmobile" I think the sign said in front of his old car. I popped the engine cover and we had a look around. I think he looked in there for all of about 2 seconds before he says, "there's your problem." Turns out my ballast resistor connections had come undone, or more accurately, one of the connectors had melted off. He came back from his car with a tool box and spare electrical parts and I think about 5 minutes after it wouldn't start, it was back to starting. It wasn't until a week or two later and much the same thing happened, but out on the road somewhere. I was more prepared this time and fixed it myself. But when I got home I posted this sort of question on the forum and a couple owners said it was not wired correctly. They gave advice on what should be going where and after I made it so, have never thought about it again.


The before image shows the darker blue coloured connector (partly melted) with the erroneous connector on the lower left pin. And the after image shows them where they should be, and still are.

The fuse and relay area has been upgraded and cleaned up over time. When I got it they were all original. The fuses were replaced with the correct sizes in each location and the relays got swapped out too. The only significant wiring correction was realizing the connections underneath the cooling fan relay socket had come loose. That helped me get the fans working though and one step closer to having this area back being as it was intended.


I think this was about the timing of when I unplugged my door lock module. I had gotten it working and it locked and unlocked as it was supposed to, but I also did not have the nicest of door alignment for the longest time and was not willing to see a door lock component fry itself from trying to fire when the doors weren't latched correctly. I think it was only last year that it was pointed out to me that my door didn't look like the rear latch was all the way in. This "double click" type thing where it latches twice sort of. Sure enough, knowing to give the door a bit more of a finished oomph and it closes correctly now. Just never went back and plugged the door lock stuff back in and may just leave it as is forever.


This is about the most recent picture of that area I have. It may not be quite as pristine as it might have looked leaving the factory, but not chasing perfection on these cars and settling for 'good enough' in some areas helps to stop from going a bit coo-coo at times.


Here is one of the photos that helped us realize that the rear latch was not into the second position. It looks obvious now of course, but many of the odds and ends on these cars don't always register as being "not quite right" and something you can fix versus just one of those things that is inherent to how they are designed, for better or for worse. I guess part of the trade off for having a car so unique, is that you don't very often get to see others just like it and compare the two in how they are the same and how they are different.

07-27-2018, 10:35 AM
Hmm, where was I? Early 2009? Ok...

As of the beginning of the 2009 season, I'd only put 400 or so miles on the car. I still had a bad auto trans shift computer and mushy brake master cylinder affecting things back then, but didn't yet know it (or have it sorted out).

My fuel tank closing plate (FTCP) underneath was pretty ugly, so I got a stainless steel replacement. Also did some POR-15 work under there while things were open.


This was also about the time I pulled out some mechanical siren/alarm type contraption and the excess wiring that went with it.


The trunk release cable also snapped about this time. Thankfully it gave way right at the lever handle and I could use a pair of channel locks to pull on the remaining strands to get the bonnet open. I replaced that cable and installed a back-up cable too. Did some MacGuyver'ing on the extra cable connectors of course.


The 2009 season ended with only about 500 new miles going on the car and a grand total since I got it in the Fall of 2007 of less than 1,000. If a relationship I was in ending in 2008 had put a damper on the car that year, losing my job in 2009 thanks to some lay-offs really put the car on the back-burner. 2010 was around the corner though...