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Thread: Suspension restoration - best practices?

  1. #1
    Senior Member 82DMC12's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Olathe, KS

    Posts:    657

    My VIN:    11596

    Suspension restoration - best practices?

    Hi guys,

    Thinking about digging in and doing some suspension restoration on my car. I'd start with the front suspension and do the following:

    1. Remove upper and lower link, steering knuckle - how to restore them? Sand blast and paint? Powder coat?
    2. New upper/lower ball joints
    3. Wheel bearings
    4. Get brake calipers zinc-plated, install brake kit
    5. No need to do rack and pinion, already replaced
    6. New bushings

    For the rear suspension, basically the same job except also replace the one pivot bolt that's seized up...

    For the "big parts" - the links and trailing arms, etc., what should I do? Take them to a machine shop? What should I ask them to do for a lasting restoration job? I want them to look like new but I think simple paint isn't going to last long enough. If I get them powdercoated, should all the bushings be installed first and taped off?

    First I need to find a machine shop to help with pressing out bushings or get me out of a jam but I want to make sure they are equipped to restore the parts properly, too.
    VIN 11596 Jan 1982 build - owned since Nov. 2000!

    -5MT-Stage 1 w/custom Magnaflow muffler-Tinnerstedt steering linkage-Marty Maier shocks-K&N filter-PJ Grady front lowering springs-Michelin Pilots-Centerforce clutch-Alpine CDE-HD137BT-Monitor1 and JL Audio amps-Kicker S8L7-Boston Acoustics-Ample Audio

    http://www.500px.com/AndyLien

    Was Fargo, ND
    Now Olathe, KS

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    My VIN:    15275

    hi

    Hi andy. .I blasted and powdercoated all mine. .you should let me do yours!! I always like making a little extra money!

  3. #3
    Senior Member 82DMC12's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by painterdave72 View Post
    Hi andy. .I blasted and powdercoated all mine. .you should let me do yours!! I always like making a little extra money!
    Oh really, I should have thought about you! OK Sounds good you can definitely help out.

    Do you know anyone in town who does the gold-color zinc plating for my calipers?

    Andy
    VIN 11596 Jan 1982 build - owned since Nov. 2000!

    -5MT-Stage 1 w/custom Magnaflow muffler-Tinnerstedt steering linkage-Marty Maier shocks-K&N filter-PJ Grady front lowering springs-Michelin Pilots-Centerforce clutch-Alpine CDE-HD137BT-Monitor1 and JL Audio amps-Kicker S8L7-Boston Acoustics-Ample Audio

    http://www.500px.com/AndyLien

    Was Fargo, ND
    Now Olathe, KS

  4. #4
    Senior Member DMC-81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82DMC12 View Post
    Oh really, I should have thought about you! OK Sounds good you can definitely help out.

    Do you know anyone in town who does the gold-color zinc plating for my calipers?

    Andy
    If you have to call around, the process is called Yellow Zinc. They start with clear zinc (the normal gray zinc), and then add a yellow chromate layer on top ( at least that was the process where I live).

    I would recommend stainless steel pistons for extra peace of mind.

    Here are my selections: Re-plated parts, SS pistons, ceramic formulation pads and hardware from DMC, and new rubber kits.

    Front:


    Rear:
    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)

  5. #5
    Delorean Guru
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    To just get a few parts done (plated/anodized) is very costly. The vendors do large batches so it is more economical for them. Your best bet if you want plated calipers is to just use one of the vendor's exchange programs and buy a set of 'loaded" rebuilt calipers. As for painting before or after you install new parts, if you powder coat you can't put the new parts in before you powder coat, to cure the powder you must get the parts too hot so you install the bushings and joints after you powder coat. To clean the parts before you paint or powder coat, typically they get sand blasted. A good paint job could last a long time unless you use the car regularly or store it outdoors, powder is expensive overkill but it will stay newer looking longer and is easier to clean. Be sure to keep the places where the new parts go masked off so you don't get powder build up. The new parts won't fit unless you remove the powder coating.
    David Teitelbaum

  6. #6
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Stevens Point,WI

    Posts:    2,065

    My VIN:    6125

    Sounds like you're on the right track with your plan. I pretty much did what you listed and took a bunch of photos if you're interested in seeing how the process worked for me. Photo albums linked below. I stripped most of the suspension parts with aircraft stripper to remove the majority of the paint, then sand blasted what was left. I bought a cheap blasting cabinet and media from harbor freight for less than it would have cost me to have a shop do it. It took a lot of time though. If I had to do it all now (8 years later) I'd probably just have the powder coating shop blast the parts for me.

    For the zinc plated parts I sand blasted those too and send them all to DMCMW. They have a local vendor that does the plating and DMCMW checked to make sure everything was inventoried and nothing was lost. They really went above and beyond considering what they charged which was not much above the vendor's cost. I yellow zinc plated all the large parts and clear zinc plated all the hardware since the chromate layer is a bit thinner so it wouldn't gum up the bolt threads.

    I also replaced all the front bushings with poly, and replaced all the rear suspension bushings with new rubber DMCH reproduction parts. While I was in there I also replaced all the rubber coolant hoses, radiator, fuel lines, clutch master and slave, brake master, shocks, lowering springs.... yeah, talk about scope creep. Totally worth it though to just hit all the chassis parts at once and be done.

    Teardown and parts pile here (Some parts already sand blasted):
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=253

    Suspension Parts Here, stripping, blasting and powder coating:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=327

    Zinc plated parts here:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=347

    Brakes Here:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=97

    Ebrake disassembly/reassembly:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=235

    Rear Hub Carrier Refurb (Powder coated the aluminum carriers silver, installed new bearings)
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=170

    Rear Suspension Link Refurb thread:
    http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?50...Bushing-Refurb

    Note: If you plan to powdercoat the rear links you need to press out the old bushings. The baking process involved with powder will destroy the rubber so it's better to just remove them right away so you don't damage the finish trying to remove the old bushings.

    For flaking epoxy on the frame I used sanding discs to remove the epoxy down to bare metal, feathered out the epoxy so there was no hard edge, then applied POR-15 rust preventative paint, POR primer (which helps the top coat stick, and adds coating thickness similar to that of the stock epoxy) and then top coated with Rustoleum Smoke Gray.

    http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?51...lor-Comparison


    Some overall before and after:








    Mark Dehlinger

  7. #7
    Senior Member 82DMC12's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Olathe, KS

    Posts:    657

    My VIN:    11596

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark D View Post
    Sounds like you're on the right track with your plan. I pretty much did what you listed and took a bunch of photos if you're interested in seeing how the process worked for me. Photo albums linked below. I stripped most of the suspension parts with aircraft stripper to remove the majority of the paint, then sand blasted what was left. I bought a cheap blasting cabinet and media from harbor freight for less than it would have cost me to have a shop do it. It took a lot of time though. If I had to do it all now (8 years later) I'd probably just have the powder coating shop blast the parts for me.

    For the zinc plated parts I sand blasted those too and send them all to DMCMW. They have a local vendor that does the plating and DMCMW checked to make sure everything was inventoried and nothing was lost. They really went above and beyond considering what they charged which was not much above the vendor's cost. I yellow zinc plated all the large parts and clear zinc plated all the hardware since the chromate layer is a bit thinner so it wouldn't gum up the bolt threads.

    I also replaced all the front bushings with poly, and replaced all the rear suspension bushings with new rubber DMCH reproduction parts. While I was in there I also replaced all the rubber coolant hoses, radiator, fuel lines, clutch master and slave, brake master, shocks, lowering springs.... yeah, talk about scope creep. Totally worth it though to just hit all the chassis parts at once and be done.

    Teardown and parts pile here (Some parts already sand blasted):
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=253

    Suspension Parts Here, stripping, blasting and powder coating:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=327

    Zinc plated parts here:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=347

    Brakes Here:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=97

    Ebrake disassembly/reassembly:
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=235

    Rear Hub Carrier Refurb (Powder coated the aluminum carriers silver, installed new bearings)
    http://dmctalk.org/album.php?albumid=170

    Rear Suspension Link Refurb thread:
    http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?50...Bushing-Refurb

    Note: If you plan to powdercoat the rear links you need to press out the old bushings. The baking process involved with powder will destroy the rubber so it's better to just remove them right away so you don't damage the finish trying to remove the old bushings.

    For flaking epoxy on the frame I used sanding discs to remove the epoxy down to bare metal, feathered out the epoxy so there was no hard edge, then applied POR-15 rust preventative paint, POR primer (which helps the top coat stick, and adds coating thickness similar to that of the stock epoxy) and then top coated with Rustoleum Smoke Gray.

    http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?51...lor-Comparison


    Some overall before and after:








    Hi Mark,

    Wow, awesome photo set! Now you really have me inspired! I did some work on someone else's DeLorean a few years ago and had DMCMW zinc plate the hardware and brakes for me - it was a really nice look but I have yet to do the same for myself. Your car looks great, hope to get mine to that level soon.

    Andy
    VIN 11596 Jan 1982 build - owned since Nov. 2000!

    -5MT-Stage 1 w/custom Magnaflow muffler-Tinnerstedt steering linkage-Marty Maier shocks-K&N filter-PJ Grady front lowering springs-Michelin Pilots-Centerforce clutch-Alpine CDE-HD137BT-Monitor1 and JL Audio amps-Kicker S8L7-Boston Acoustics-Ample Audio

    http://www.500px.com/AndyLien

    Was Fargo, ND
    Now Olathe, KS

  8. #8
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Stevens Point,WI

    Posts:    2,065

    My VIN:    6125

    Quote Originally Posted by 82DMC12 View Post
    Hi Mark,

    Wow, awesome photo set! Now you really have me inspired! I did some work on someone else's DeLorean a few years ago and had DMCMW zinc plate the hardware and brakes for me - it was a really nice look but I have yet to do the same for myself. Your car looks great, hope to get mine to that level soon.

    Andy
    Thanks Andy, I got a lot of help from the community here and from following a few other builds like VIN 3281 at No Roads Garage. If you want to get inspired reading this site will definitely do it.
    http://www.noroads.com/delorean/3281/

    If you haven't already seen the Project Vixen rebuild or Protodelorean's car, those are also amazing:
    http://projectdelorean.com/index.html
    http://www.projectvixen.com/

    Since I've completed my own build I've seen a few other guys on here do work that goes above and beyond what I did. If you check out Rich's restoration on DMCToday you'll see one example of what I mean.
    http://dmctoday.com/showthread.php?1...Resto-VIN-4728
    Mark Dehlinger

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