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Thread: New Overheating Issue and Growing Laundry list of Frustration

  1. #1
    Senior Member Boxbot's Avatar
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    New Overheating Issue and Growing Laundry list of Frustration

    I purchased my car last fall under the impression that it "needed nothing," but anticipated I'd have to do some minor things. After purchasing, I learned the "new" door solenoids sometimes wouldn't unlock once locked - so I wasn't comfortable taking it places as I couldn't reliably lock it. Today, after a few weeks of not using it, I charged the battery (another problem) and let the car idle for a while. Looking over at the dash after a few minutes of messing with the passenger door mechanicals, I saw the temp was at the top of the gauge and noticed that the fans hadn't kicked on. I immediately turned the car off, then put the key in accessory position w/heater on to try to dissipate the heat. A small bit of steam started to come out of the coolant reservoir, but hopefully I caught it in time before doing damage. If not, I guess I'll have to add head gasket to my list of problems. PO apparently replaced fan fail relay and put new fans on - but I'm finding a lot of stuff that was "done" was not done properly, so who knows. I had already ordered all coolant hoses and clamps with new water pump and gaskets because it had developed a significant coolant leak. Now I'm ordering a new otterstat and thermostat from DPI following this incident, but feel like I'm just throwing darts. Is there anything else I should be looking at?

    I'm starting to get really frustrated as it seems like problems are constantly popping up and a lot of the stuff I thought was done has to be redone. Some other problems (more for venting than diagnosis, I guess):

    1. Driver's door is slightly convex on roof - not so bad that it's noticeable in the front, but it is in the rear where it meets the T-panel. Concerned the torison bar might have been over-torqued or something.

    2. DeLorean NW Wings A Loft remote door locks and solenoid were installed by PO, and will always click when key turned or fob button hit, but will sometimes not unlock on driver's side and sometimes not on passenger's side. Once they won't unlock, I cannot open from inside or outside and it requires removal of door panel to pull on rods to open the door. They don't seem to be sticking/not resetting at common trouble point I read about and the length of the rods appears to be taught, so I am not sure what the issue is.

    3. DeloreanGo window regulators installed by PO. Passenger side is jammed in the up position. Motor and tube will react and move slightly with switch but window will not go down. Pushing it up causes the tube to bend out towards the outside of the door. Not sure if ruined or can be adjusted. When I took apart door, I found the tube between the motor and the window was being held in place with duct tape and a piece of wood so obviously something wasn't set up/aligned right.

    4. DeloreanGo external LEDs installed by PO don't seem to have a good connection. One rear tail light and now one rear side marker flicker and require tapping the plastic to turn on.

    5. Windshield washer pump doesn't work. I have ordered a new one.

    6. DMCH angle drive and dust cap were replaced by PO but speedo doesn't work. I have ordered a new kit from DMCH and a one piece cable from DeloreanGo to bypass Lambda counter.

    7. Dome light and rear light when door open setting and seatbelt light/driver's door ajar light not working and are probably disconnected for some reason, but I can't find the wires. When buzzer is connected, it does not shut off so it remains unplugged.

    8. Rear louvre not latching shut - doesn't seem to line up with latch.

    9. Glove box light not working. PO changed to LED. I ordered new bulb from DeloreanGo, but still doesn't work. No idea why or see any indication that switch is broken.

    10. Inner part of binnacle has completely separated from exterior part and is sagging all around cluster.

    11. PO cut seal on rear panel (where speakers and seatbelt are). Driver's side fits well and there is only a very minimal gap. Passenger side has very noticeable 1" inch gap and I don't see any way to correct other than maybe drilling small holes through panel and into the tub and screwing in place, which I'm sure is a bad idea. I think I saw some vendor was selling replacement strips, but don't see them available anymore.

    12. A/C has been converted to r134 but does not hold a charge. I'll have to take to a shop to sort out the leak, but I'm bracing for a worst-case scenario there too.

    13. Battery drain - discharges at absurd rate. Unplugged door lights but that didn't resolve issue.


    Annnnnyhow ... If anyone has any quick links that I should check out about any of this crap, or teach me some sort of mantra about ownership, that would be great - This overheating episode is just the proverbial straw as I keep getting further away from something that I can enjoy. Now, I can't drive at all for the moment for fear of overheating.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DMC-81's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    A lot of the issues seem to be electrical. What is the state of your wiring, connectors, etc. Is there a corrosion? Pictures are helpful.

    For example, the overheating issue could be as simple as a corroded otterstat connection.

    The bowing on the doors is due to early doors that don't have the extra structural reinforcements of later doors. I understand that leaving them open for a long time eventually causes the bowing. I have an early car as well, and because of this, I never leave the doors open for very long, (especially at shows). But, in addition to the natural situation with early doors, perhaps the PO torqued them up to aid the Wings a loft system. Do the doors seem to open with a lot of force and bounce at the top? A video would help.

    Yes, there is a fix for the cut interior panel. Thankfully, my PO didn't cut them, but I had a split on the top portion of the passenger side, and I was able to fix it without resorting to the dreaded screws through the panel. I think I have pictures in my interior restoration album. I'll find them and post.

    Keep your chin up! I think most of these things are relatively minor, so, I would take one thing at a time. It's easy to get overwhelmed if you don't. There are lots of people here that have been there and are willing to help.
    Last edited by DMC-81; 03-18-2019 at 04:15 AM.
    Dana

    1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (5 Speed, Gas Flap, Black Interior, Windshield Antenna, Dark Gray)
    Restored as "mostly correct, but with flaws corrected". Pictures and comments of my restoration are in the albums section on my profile.
    2006 Dodge Magnum R/T (D/D)
    2010 Camaro SS (Transformers Edition)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

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    These laundry lists of frustrations are no fun, no argument there. Had a dandy of my own in the first few years I had my car. And like you, I thought I was getting "the cleanest car our used manager has ever seen" that didn't need anything. Not exactly the case and some pretty awful experiences early on. Manageable though and like Dana said, better to try and tackle one thing at a time.

    I would focus on the overheating issue first and leave the cosmetic stuff (binnacle, interior panels, louvre latch) for later. Some of those issues do sound all related to electrical problems and you may solve more than one at a time once you start digging into them.

    Pictures are of value here and taking some of the fuse and relay area behind the passenger seat might be a good place to start. And the engine bay as well, from above and also from under if you can get an angle on the otterstat location and wiring. Getting those cooling fans to turn on AT ALL is the first step and then figuring out if or why they aren't turning on when they're needed is step two.

    If you're already familiar with how to take the inside door panels off looking at internals, then that's good. Good chance your battery drain issue is related to the door locks or poppers or something similar. You can pretty easily disconnect just the electrical portion of those door locks and go manual for the time being. That'll let you keep a battery charged overnight and also let you park it somewhere without fear of it being unlocked.

    These cars can really suck the fun right out of you when the problems keep piling up so lets not let that happen.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

  4. #4
    Nothing witty here lest it offend
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    Tackle the last one first and get a battery cut off.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bitsyncmaster's Avatar
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    Pull your fan relay and fan fail jumpers and verify all the pins in the socket are seated. Another common fault are the two diodes that drive the fan relay.

    It's best to jumper the otterstat and with the key on, wiggle the diode connections and relay connections to find marginal conditions. So if the fans start and stop you can narrow down a bad connection.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member Boxbot's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys:

    Trying to respond to all:

    Electrical
    History: searched through receipts. PO installed "Fan Relay Circuit Fused Wire Link, 40A circuit breaker, heavy duty accessory relay" and all new fuses from Delorean Go and "radiator cooling fan and motor" from DMCH. Photos of fuse box are attached.

    Re: battery cutoff, I haven't yet purchased because I'm concerned the one that goes behind the passenger seat might get bumped and shut off power while driving. Maybe this is not something that could really occur - I'm also not wild about resetting clock and radio constantly. Has anyone worked out a relatively simple workaround to those issues, or do I just have to bite the bullet? When I got the car in November, I would notice weak starts if it sat for a week. Now the battery seems to die after a few hours.

    Cooling
    Photos of engine bay and what I think is the otterstat attached. Coolant leaks from what looks like behind the original water pump. I hope new pump and gaskets and hoses all around do the trick.

    Cosmetics
    I would love if you can find any sort of "cure" for the rear interior panel and let me know. As far as the doors go, they open relatively easily and both have new struts, but the driver's side seems to open easier than the passenger. It's not so effortless that it "bounces," however. Is there any fix for these? I'm imagining I'll have to go visit Grady at some point. I haven't been to any DMA events yet, but hopefully my car will be in shape to meet up in April when they have their annual "door alignment party."

    IMG_7818.jpgIMG_7822.jpgIMG_7826.jpgIMG_7827.jpgIMG_78171.jpg

  7. #7
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    My thoughts on a few of your issues:

    1) The door skin problem is common, as mentioned.

    2) The door latch/lock mechanisms can be finicky. Some people disable their locks entirely to avoid problems (that still doesn’t guarantee the latch won’t get stuck though). When mine acted up I removed, cleaned, reinstalled, and adjusted the latches.

    4) The problem may not be the bulb. The tail light boards developed weak spots over time that cause one or two tail/brake lights to flicker.

    6) The angle drive is a failure prone system and a few of us have bypassed it completely with a modern system

    13) The door lock control module is a notorious battery drainer.

    Stay positive. Old cars need time and patience to correct previous owner mistakes and wear and tear from old age.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Boxbot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    Pull your fan relay and fan fail jumpers and verify all the pins in the socket are seated. Another common fault are the two diodes that drive the fan relay.

    It's best to jumper the otterstat and with the key on, wiggle the diode connections and relay connections to find marginal conditions. So if the fans start and stop you can narrow down a bad connection.
    Sorry, I'm not quite there with my terminology/knowledge yet. You're saying pull the blue relay in the photos and check the yellow fuses that are in it? And also wiggle red and green wires that are going to otterstat when car is at operating temp to see if it's just a short?

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Boxbot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFI View Post
    My thoughts on a few of your issues:

    1) The door skin problem is common, as mentioned.

    2) The door latch/lock mechanisms can be finicky. Some people disable their locks entirely to avoid problems (that still doesn’t guarantee the latch won’t get stuck though). When mine acted up I removed, cleaned, reinstalled, and adjusted the latches.

    4) The problem may not be the bulb. The tail light boards developed weak spots over time that cause one or two tail/brake lights to flicker.

    6) The angle drive is a failure prone system and a few of us have bypassed it completely with a modern system

    13) The door lock control module is a notorious battery drainer.

    Stay positive. Old cars need time and patience to correct previous owner mistakes and wear and tear from old age.
    Re: bulbs - PO replaced rear boards and installed LEDs. They're only about a year old.

    Re: door lock - the updated electronic solenoids should have resolved that problem, no?

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Regarding the Wings A Loft door locks module, do you have any of the documentation that might have come with that kit?

    The reason I ask is that it looks like there may be a termination on that circuit breaker that's not there. I have a slightly different version of the Northwest door locks kit (actuators kit that replaces heavy original solenoids) and mine has a thin gauged wire terminating on the one side of that circuit breaker but it also has the original, thicker red wire on it too. Perhaps if someone else on the forum knows better how that kit is to be wired, they could confirm?

    Here's a pic. The smaller wire in my case is bright yellow. You can see the brown power wire on the one side of the circuit breaker and the other red heavy wire on the same side of the circuit breaker as the yellow one.

    IMG_5566.jpg

    Your otterstat looks quite nice, really. In good shape anyway. To do a simple test of whether that otterstat wiring will turn the fans on, you can jumper it right at those two connections. What you do is disconnect both of those wires right at the otterstat (those black female plastic connectors should just unclip from the otterstat) and then using a short length of wire with male spade connectors on both ends, plug that jumper wire into the two black, plastic connectors.

    This is telling the car that the otterstat wants the fans to turn on. You don't need to turn the engine on, but with the ignition key turned to accessories and that jumper wire in place, you should have both cooling fans come on up front. You can visually check them (as well as hear them or feel the air blowing). If that works, then we go to the next step to having them work as intended.


    Sept. 81, auto, black interior

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