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Thread: Just bought a barn find, need some guidance.

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Mar 2018

    Location:  Broken Arrow, Ok

    Posts:    18

    My VIN:    3394

    Just bought a barn find, need some guidance.

    Hello, all. I just bought a 81 delorean with auto trans. 10k miles that has been sitting in a garage for 11 years. Number 3394. It got parked because the fuel pump was acting up. It has the original tires still holding air on it. The original owner. In As good condition as you could expect.

    Now the bad, 1/2" jelly in the fuel tank. Nothing was drained before it got covered up for an 11 year nap. All the fluid levels are where they should be just not the color or condition they should be. I know from reading posts here that the fuel system will need rebuilt. Here is a question. Has anyone ever been able to just run cleaners through the fuel system and get it running reliable again.
    It looks like it can run 2k on the fuel system parts along.

    It also looks like I will need to replace all the water line hoses. Brake flex hoses.

    What are the chances of not replacing the radiator, water pump, master cylinder, calipers, heater core, etc.

    What about the electric items, i have not put a battery in it yet. What can I expect?

    The Out side mirrors are foggy looking. One door gasket has a tear in it, the head liner is sagging in one spot. Ill fix these. They are easy to spot and know they need fixed.

    Any input or direction to other info sources would be appreciated. Thanks, joel

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jun 2016

    Location:  Austin MN

    Posts:    106

    My VIN:    03500

    Any car sitting that long should be gone through A-Z no short cuts! For the car and specially your life!

    It may take a few years and 5 to 10 grand.

    Congratulations Dave B.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Posts:    4,211

    My VIN:    3937

    Congrats on your car. Sounds like you found a good project.

    After 11 years, I agree the entire car will need to be gone through. You may not need to replace everything, but inspection and cleaning/flushing is in order at the very least.

    Brake system - You may not need to replace the calipers, but you'd be wise to at least rebuild them. That'll mean new seals around the pistons, new fluid and new pads. Perhaps the flexible lines too. Parking brake system has no fluid, but you'll need to inspect/replace the pads and adjust the cables.

    Fuel system - drain the tank completely and clean well. Replace the filter. You may get away with being able to run itself clean, but that's not terribly likely. Possible though. If you're making a lot of other adjustments and fixes on the engine, this'll be tough as it will be difficult to keep the engine running long enough to get it clean. New fuel lines as a kit aren't a bad idea at this age for any car. Maybe you need someone to rebuild the fuel distributor for you or maybe you don't. Don't fire up the engine to try the fuel system just to see how it goes though until you get the jelly cleaned out from everywhere you can first.

    Engine/cooling system - I would think you'll need new coolant hoses all around which also means you get to dig into the valley. Not a bad idea anyway because you'll probably have had some rodents living in the car in those 11 years you'll need to clean up from. All new coolant hoses means new coolant and a flushing along with it. With the intake off, you can put new spark plugs in it and perhaps new ignition wiring too. Again, not a bad idea for any of our cars at this age.

    Electrical - do a bunch of inspecting before you put a new battery in it. Inspecting for mice or other damage mostly. Go in behind each seat and look at those fuse and relay areas. That'll tell you a lot about where you're starting from. New fuses are a good idea and so too are new relays. Buy one of the kits and update the problem areas like the fan fail spot. Once you do that and put a new battery in it, you can power the car up to accessories but not try and start the engine. From there you can begin to assess what switches, bells and whistles work and which ones don't. Windows, mirrors, horns, turn signals, lights, stereo, etc. Expect to need to go into the doors to inspect, clean and fix things.

    Transmission - change the ATF before driving the car. Change the filter that is up in behind the trans fluid pan too. You will probably need to rebuild the auto trans shift computer box with an up to date version of those 80s electronics. Again, good to get done for anyone with an automatic as the originals are prone to failure sooner or later.

    Doors seals and whatnot - hopefully you can store the car inside. Then the cosmetic stuff can wait or you can work slowly on it when you need a break from the other stuff. It's important of course, but not more important than the other stuff I mentioned above.

    Find another owner near you (where are you btw?) and go meet up and see some other cars. That's one of the best ways I ever found of realizing what might not be right on your own car when you see it correct on someone else's.

    Be patient and <cliché font> enjoy the journey <cliché font>


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Mar 2014

    Location:  Lansing, MI

    Posts:    416

    My VIN:    04194: 5-Speed, Black Int, 79 Peugeot 604 Manifold, 05052: 5-Speed, Gray Int, 78 Peugeot 604 manifol

    Congrats on your purchase! If you do the work yourself, and if you are resourceful with parts, you can get that car back on the road for a couple thousand dollars. I restored 5052 in 2014 after 23 years of storage. The time between the date of purchase and the first drive was less than 2 months at a cost of about $2,000.

    Tires: While I dont buy into the 10 year "rule" that has been promoted by tire companies, I will say that the NCT's should be replaced at this point as they are in excess of 35 years old.

    Fuel: As others have said, clean the tank out to the point of being spotless inside, replace the pump, boot and fuel filter. Perhaps luck will be on your side with regard to the distributor, CPR and injectors. I would recommend replacing the fuel hoses.

    Brakes: Replace the master cylinder. I cant stress that one enough. The hoses are probably clogged. The internal caliper passages might be sludged up as well. I would recommend rebuilding the calipers...they are pretty easy to rebuild. While you have the brakes apart, take the rotors to your local brake shop and have the rotors machined. Needless to say, replace the pads.

    Cooling system: Replace all hoses. You could probably defer this one until the car is running, but I would recommend replacing the hoses before any significant driving. Replace the belts as well!

    Electrical: Do a visual check of the relay compartment, under the coil cover and by the starter and alternator. I would recommend replacing the fuses and relays at the least.

    Also, do a tune up and oil change.

    A lot of the above referenced repairs can be done at low cost, but the work is time consuming. In any event, have fun with it!

    Congrats again,

    Andrew
    4194
    5052
    Andrew
    4194 Since 7/98
    5052 Since 7/14

    1972 Buick Riviera
    1974 Bricklin SV-1 177
    1982 AMC Eagle SX/4 (4.2 I6, 4 Speed)
    1983 Pontiac Trans Am (Knight Rider Conversion in progress)
    1985 Oldsmobile Toronado (daily driver)

    Solex carb and antenna television guru.

    "My carbon footprint is bigger than yours!" :-)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dangermouse's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Atlanta OTP GA

    Posts:    7,095

    My VIN:    2743

    Club(s):   (SEDOC) (DCH) (DCUK) (DOC-UK)

    Congrats


    Post a few pictures and we can see if anything else needs done
    Dermot
    VIN 2743, B/A, Frame 2227, engine 2320

    I don't always drive cars, but when I do, I prefer DeLoreans

    http://www.will-to-live.org

    No-one is to stone anyone, even, and I want to make this absolutely clear, even if they do say "carburetor"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Citizen's Avatar
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Location:  Houston, TX

    Posts:    669

    My VIN:    3341

    I like everything Jonathan and Andrew listed, but I'll add one more thing, if you don't mind.

    - Keep a record of everything you replace, fix or clean. Also record the cost. This will be excellent documentation for when and if you ever go to sell it. Plus, even if you never sell, it's nice to look back from time to time, and see all you've accomplished!

    Congrats!

    Thomas

    ...
    Keeper of the new DeLorean Owners Directory, at www.DeloreanOwnersDirectory.net

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Mar 2018

    Location:  Broken Arrow, Ok

    Posts:    18

    My VIN:    3394

    Wow, what a response. Thanks,

    Ok i need to know if it's worth the time and money. Over the last week i have been putting together a list of worst case repairs. Like entire fuel system, brake system, water system, minor electrical, minor cosmetics. The good on the car is no rust anywhere, body and trim a 9+. Interior an 8+.

    Well this did not post in a timely manner, and it lost half of it.

    I have been adding up the retail price on the parts. 5k min most likely 7k. I do all my own work. Rebuild cars as hobby. What are these cars actually selling for? Ive seen adds from 15 to 50k. If i bring this back to near pertect condition what will it be worth /be able to sell for? Any insight here would be helpful.
    Last edited by YJK; 04-17-2018 at 10:30 AM.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date:  Mar 2018

    Location:  Broken Arrow, Ok

    Posts:    18

    My VIN:    3394

    I'll take some pics tonight and see if I can post them. I have already started taking stuff apart to see condition in engine area and fuel tank.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Mar 2014

    Location:  Lansing, MI

    Posts:    416

    My VIN:    04194: 5-Speed, Black Int, 79 Peugeot 604 Manifold, 05052: 5-Speed, Gray Int, 78 Peugeot 604 manifol

    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I like everything Jonathan and Andrew listed, but I'll add one more thing, if you don't mind.

    - Keep a record of everything you replace, fix or clean. Also record the cost. This will be excellent documentation for when and if you ever go to sell it. Plus, even if you never sell, it's nice to look back from time to time, and see all you've accomplished!

    Congrats!

    Thomas

    ...
    +1 On keeping a list of everything you fix / buy / sell. I did just that with 5052. When I got the car, the first thing I did was make a list of what needed to be done / repaired. I tracked all my purchases, including how much I saved via cross references and buying various used parts. I also kept a running tally of the parts I sold, including the entire core k-jet system, when I did a carb conversion.

    You may want to explore your fuel system options, including carb or EFI as both offer advantages over K-Jet. Im partial to carb conversions myself. Furthermore, it's probably to the point that an EFI conversion might be comparable in cost to a complete K-Jet rebuild.
    Andrew
    4194 Since 7/98
    5052 Since 7/14

    1972 Buick Riviera
    1974 Bricklin SV-1 177
    1982 AMC Eagle SX/4 (4.2 I6, 4 Speed)
    1983 Pontiac Trans Am (Knight Rider Conversion in progress)
    1985 Oldsmobile Toronado (daily driver)

    Solex carb and antenna television guru.

    "My carbon footprint is bigger than yours!" :-)

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Posts:    4,211

    My VIN:    3937

    Definitely a good idea to keep a logbook and be taking photos along the way. Great references for later when you either go to put something back together or are trying to troubleshoot something on the car. I have kept a spreadsheet from day one, and after ten years, it is pretty HUGE. No telling how long anyone will own their car while guessing from the day you get it, but being able to see what you did on the car since you've owned it gives you a good tracker of maintenance and whatnot. Spreadsheets also don't forget, so if you put the costs of things in there, you can see the running total. That's good and a bit scary too! I've divided mine out per year, per mile, etc. About any way you want to look at things.

    If we go by the rule of thumb regarding restoration costs of $1,000 per year that it sat, then you are looking at $11,000. Likely less since you said you already do this kind of thing as a hobby. What will it be worth once you get it in good shape? Hard to say. Most of the time, these cars don't become good examples of ones you can flip and make a profit. Perhaps true with most classic cars? A well sorted out 81, automatic with no rust, great exterior and good interior probably lists for somewhere in the 40s and actually sells in the 30s. Complete guess though. That might leave you some room to make some money, or maybe it doesn't. It wouldn't cover your own time and effort though either in those costs. Most owners that have figured out a way to enjoy their cars have found it's a combination of blood, sweat and tears, passion, perseverance, idiocy and money. But not just money.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

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