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Thread: VIN 5510 - Bill's DeLorean Restoration

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    VIN 5510 - Bill's DeLorean Restoration

    I thought this would be a fun adventure to document my DeLorean project. I found the car, VIN 5510, on Craigslist doing my normal weekly search. It was listed for $19,500 firm, and looked really really great. I contacted the seller, went back and forth, and due to the COVID-19 situation going on, I bought the car without even sitting in it. I got a lot of pictures and videos, and was able to stalk the owner enough to know they were real. On 4/20/2020 we signed the bill of sale, on 5/4/2020 the car was picked up and put in an enclosed trailer and shipped over 3,000 miles from roughly Boston to Seattle. Cost was $1,450 for the trip, and the car arrived on Saturday 5/9/2020 in the morning.

    20200509_100032.jpg

    She looks beautiful!! I wash her off, blow off some leaves, do a quick drive around the block, and realize that - in addition to the automatic transmission slipping under load - the cars brakes are completely unassisted, which means I have to use both feet to push the brake to stop. I also haven't driven a manual steering car this millennia. Also, this is the first time I have ever touched a Delorean, sat in one, or driven one.

    Before moving on, let's take a quick note of the car's current condition. The car's body is great, there is a little ding in the T panel, a small dent in the left rear quarter panel, and a nearly invisible ding on the right front fender flair. Doors hold open, but gas struts may be a bit weak. Driver's side door rubs on the T panel when fully open. All the plastic bits are great, the vinyl decal stripes are good. The 'D' metal insert from the bumper is sitting on the center console.

    The interior is decent - lots and lots of little issues, though. Seats need to be recovered, binnacle leather is ripped, steering wheel leather is ripped. Door sliders are rusty, and thus the carpet is rusty. Door cards don't seem to fit well, lots of gaps, the panel on the driver's door with the handle doesn't stay. None of the lights seem to be working on the interior, but that might be me not knowing how they work. All of the seals on the doors are terrible, brittle, and falling apart. The steering wheel shakes around when you steer.

    The driver's door-closed sensor is bad, and also falling out. The parking brake sensor is sketchy. Speedometer hits ~22 and stops going higher. Tach seems to be working, oil pressure and gas gauge work. Battery voltage looks good, same with temp.

    The gas strut that holds the sunshade is weak on the left side, but still holds fine, and the engine cover latch works well. The engine looks, for it's age, really nice. Fuel lines have all been upgraded to braided stainless steel. There is basically no visible rust anywhere in the engine compartment. The exhaust looks to be new, the asbestos panels have been replaced. The engine starts up perfectly and quickly every single time. Under the car, it's leaking. Definitely leaking red transmission fluid and some kind of black oil from a few inches rear of the transmission fluid, so I think it may be the final drive oil or perhaps the rear main seal.

    Under the hood, the rubber gasket looks like it was replaced but didn't quite stick in some areas. Otherwise it looks nice, a few rust spots. Spare tire is there and in good shape. The jack is in the little cubby. Carpet and thin wood panel thing are there and in good condition, though there is evidence is moisture on the wood.

    The tires look fine and have some tread left, wheels look good. Suspension feels a little rough and hard, but not terrible. Brake pads and calipers look a bit rusty, along with the rotors where the pads can't rub them clean. I'll need to do a closer inspection on suspension and brakes later.

    Phew, that was a lot....

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    [Mostly copied from my "What did you do the DeLorean today?" post]

    A few days before the car shipped, the seller had the hood release cable snap. He ordered a new cable but didn't have time to replace it, so that was my first task yesterday [5/9/2020]. He was able to rig up a backup line and put some vice grips on the broken release handle, so I was able to get into the hood. Took about 30 minutes or so to install, which I did record because I couldn't find a video of anyone doing the procedure. I may post that at some point in the future if the footage is good enough. Hardest part was getting the cable to snake over top of all the stuff under the dash, the rest is just a cotter pin and a couple of retaining nuts.

    Now back to the brakes... My brake pedal feels soft until it goes a little down, and then is very hard to push. Whether the car is running or not, the pedal doesn't feel different at all. After watching a few hours of YouTube videos and some threads here on the brake system, I felt that the brake booster/servo was likely not functioning. I pulled the vacuum line off of the booster and it has no vacuum. So, effectively I'm running with manual non-assisted brakes, which explains why I need to use both feet to stop.

    On the engine I found the vacuum line that splits into a T, and I took that apart and verified that when the car is running there is a very nice suction pressure there (and when it is not connected the car runs terribly). I hooked up the T, connected the end that goes to the vacuum tank, and verified that I still had good suction. This pretty much tells me that there is something wrong on the vacuum line that runs from the engine to the booster. I hooked up my air compressor to the line at the booster, used vice grips to close the line near the engine, and pumped some air into it - which did not hold. I set the air compressor to like 20-30 psi, and then started trying to hear and feel for air leaking. A quick walk around pointed me to the rear right - I took off the rear right wheel, jacked up the car, and crawled under. Unfortunately, it isn't good news. The line seems to be leaking all of the air from the hard line, somewhere above the frame on the passenger side, just above the transmission, near where the trailing arms attach. I don't think there is any way I can get to it without dropping the frame.

    For a temporary fix, I ran to Lowes' and for $25 picked up 3/8", 20' coiled copper tube. I had to cut the hoses off the ends of the hardline, since they were so corroded that they wouldn't move. I run the tube under the car, zip tying it along the way, roughly following the original path - but now under the frame rather than on top of it. I used hose clamps on each end to connect it to the rubber vacuum lines. The whole process probably took me 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The vacuum is holding perfectly, and the brakes actually work now!! I don't have to sue both feet to stop from 10 miles per hour!!

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

    Location:  France

    Posts:    2,411

    My VIN:    16951

    Club(s):   (DCO) (DOA) (DCUK)

    Congratulation on your purchase
    Can't wait to see more picture of it

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Jul 2011

    Location:  Aloha, Oregon 97003

    Posts:    143

    My VIN:    10309

    It might seem like a monumental task to take care of all these issues but for the price you paid I would say you will come out ahead and with a lot
    of new working parts and interior when you are done. You didn't say whether you checked the fluid level in the transmission but given the leaked fluid
    you saw under the car that could be the problem and you won't have to rebuild the transmission just the seals. It's a fairly easy job to pick up the body
    from the frame to put a real fix in for the brake vacuum line. While the body is up I would also replace the a/c hoses.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    Quote Originally Posted by cdrusn View Post
    It might seem like a monumental task to take care of all these issues but for the price you paid I would say you will come out ahead and with a lot
    of new working parts and interior when you are done. You didn't say whether you checked the fluid level in the transmission but given the leaked fluid
    you saw under the car that could be the problem and you won't have to rebuild the transmission just the seals. It's a fairly easy job to pick up the body
    from the frame to put a real fix in for the brake vacuum line. While the body is up I would also replace the a/c hoses.
    I didn't check the transmission fluid - probably should have... The transmission was slipping for the previous owner, and he redid the fluid and replaced the filter. Honestly on the drive I did on Saturday - about 10 miles - I only had it slip once as I was going up a hill. Basically anytime I give it a lot of throttle or there is extra load, the transmission slips.

    When you say 'pretty easy to pick up the body from the frame'... How easy? I have skimmed through the process a bit, looks like I have to disconnect all the wiring in the back, take the bumpers off (just rear?), and probably disconnect the brakes and steering up front... The process of raising the frame up looks pretty straight forward once everything is disconnected. But yes - I will absolutely do a real fix for the brake line ASAP.

    Do you suggest that I replace any other hoses or anything that are otherwise inaccessible? I'd rather do it once and be done!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    One thing I want to do with my build log here is keep very good track of every dollar spent on the car... So, today I spent a whole lot money. lol

    I was able to get the car's title changed over, get it registered, and get license plates. That cost me $2,453! Most of that was the use tax (sales tax) - in WA it is pretty expensive. I decided if I was going to spend money today, might as well buy some stuff!!

    Since I've got the replacement transmission sitting here, I cleaned it up and took off the bell housing because it was cracked in shipment. After closer inspection, I decided not to weld it because the broken piece wasn't near any threads, and there is already a casted-in hole (inspection hole?). I wish I would have realized that prior to taking the housing off the transmission, because now I have to replace the seal and a bunch of transmission fluid and diff fluid spilled out. Most of the purchases are transmission related:

    First, my Amazon order, $260
    • High temp gasket material (the original gasket isn't available individually, and the kit is $150+)
    • High temp RTV gasket maker
    • 10mm Square male drain plug socket
    • Socket set that includes 10mm square female drive
    • O-ring kit
    • Stainless steel hose clamp kit
    • 4 quarts of Red Line MT-90 (final drive oil) - enough for 2 changes
    • 3 gallons of Castrol Dexron III (auto transmission fluid) - enough for 2 changes


    And then my DeLorean Go order, $854
    • Delrin Steering Column Bushing
    • Upgraded M10 driveshaft bolts
    • Automatic Transmission Filter
    • Automatic Transmission gasket & rebuild kit
    • Crush washers for drain bolts


    This purchase list is enough for me to install the replacement transmission, rebuild the existing transmission out of the car, and reinstall it. That will leave me with a perfectly good and matched engine/transmission, and another transmission I can sell. Hoping that I didn't forget anything! Also.. probably going to have to pull the trigger on a 3d printer soon, so I can make all the tools to disassemble the transmission fully.

    Aside from these items, 5510 is currently residing at Delorean Service Northwest for a full technical inspection. So far it looks like the hose leading to the fuel accumulator has split (pretty common, from what I can gather), the brakes look bad, and its idling higher than it should.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    [This section is as posted in the "What have you done to your DeLorean today?" post]

    Got some bad news from Toby at Delorean Service Northwest - looks like 5510 needs a new frame, or some extensive frame repair. Still trying to decide whether to bring it home, pull the body off the frame, and go to work on a full frame restoration... If anyone has thoughts on the subject, I'd love to hear it! The Stainless Steel frame is out of my budget. Tips on what work to do at the same time, how to approach it, materials to use, etc. Someone had recommended replacing the coolant lines? Maybe rebuild the suspension? If it makes a difference, my father is a professional welder with 30+ years of experience and would likely be able to do the welding for me if I handle ripping it apart and cutting out the bad stuff. He lives ~1700 miles away, so I would have to prep everything for him to do over a few days or a week, then I'd wrap it up by POR-15'ing the whole thing.

    Prior to getting the news about the frame, I also ordered a complete brake rebuild kit. New rotors, pads, seals, caliper pistons, hoses, etc. I think I'm going to pick up a full set of stainless steel brake lines as well, since the brake vacuum line is toast and the body is coming off anyway. This would mean replacing everything in the brake system except the booster, master cylinder, and calipers.

    In non-Delorean news, I sold my Honda CR-Z. I now have ample funds and room in the garage to work!


    Amazon: $123
    • Oil/fuel drain pan & funnels
    • Silicone Brake Parts lubricant
    • Wheel chocks
    • Castrol DOT4 brake fluid (3x 12oz - enough for a full replacement, I think)
    • Thread locker
    • Disk brake compressor
    • Brake cleaner
    • Copper anti-seize


    Delorean Go: $699
    • Front & rear rotors
    • Front & rear pads
    • Front & rear rebuild kits
    • Front & rear caliper pistons
    • Front & rear brake hoses
    • Misc brake hardware (retaining clips, pins, shims)

  8. #8
    Junior Member mhanch's Avatar
    Join Date:  Sep 2019

    Location:  Renton, WA

    Posts:    26

    My VIN:    10332

    Club(s):   (PNDC)

    Have you joined PNDC yet? Looking forward to seeing your build over time!

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    Quote Originally Posted by mhanch View Post
    Have you joined PNDC yet? Looking forward to seeing your build over time!
    Not yet, I have the signup form sitting on my desk right now - signed and ready to go, just haven't sent it in.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date:  May 2019

    Location:  Seattle, WA

    Posts:    40

    My VIN:    5510

    Successfully separated the body from the frame on Saturday (May 23th, 2020). My brother-in-law Joe came to help, thankfully. No way it would have happened in one day (roughly 10 hours) without him. We did the poor man's lift using 16"x8"x4" and 16"x8"x8" cinder blocks, along with some jack stands and two floor jacks.

    My entire body is aching, every muscle feels like its pulled, and after we finished my entire body was covered with dirt... but... there's now a DeLorean body sitting on two furniture dollies and 4x4's, and a DeLorean frame sitting on 4 wheel dollies.

    We started with the checklist here: http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?14...tion-Checklist - It gave us a HUGE boost. I've now replied to that thread to add some additional details for anyone else making the plunge, but honestly it was pretty straight forward, just a lot of hard work. Concrete blocks are really heavy!

    20200523_215049.jpg

    Since then, I took a couple or days off, and tonight (Tuesday, May 26th, 2020) I finally went out and cleaned up. Got all the tools back organized, swept up as best I could, and also took the time to drain as much of the fuel out of the tank I could and transfer it into our daily driver. I had pretty much filled up right before taking the car into the shop. I also took some time to start scraping on the frame and find some rust spots, and also investigating one of the main reasons I took the body off - the brake booster vacuum line and fuel return line. Here's how it looks:

    20200523_225844.jpg

    Not good. There is literally nothing left of the vacuum tube, it fell apart as I picked it up. The fuel line is still in-tact, but the rusty area smells strongly of gas, so that's definitely the source of the leak. All of these pipes will need to be replaced - I'm currently debating whether to order a full set of stainless steel brake hard lines and fuel hard lines (along with the vacuum booster) - or make my own.

    The frame also has a lot of rust in some small areas - the front crumple area has had a lot of work on it, the rear engine mount area is similar, and near where the trailing arms connect. The plan is, over the next month or two, to strip down to the frame of most components (definitely engine, transmission, and brakes - maybe suspension) - find all of the rust spots (inside and out), grind them clean or cut out the rust where necessary, and then I'll have an idea of what it'll take to restore it.

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