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Thread: Had my first spontaneous breakdown

  1. #1
    DeLorean owner since 2011 Stainless's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Syracuse, UT

    Posts:    613

    My VIN:    2087

    Had my first spontaneous breakdown

    I recently got my car put back together after doing several jobs in tandem (replacing coolant lines, modern fuel pump, a/c work, etc.) and chose today to take it on its first longer drive back to my home town only about 30 minutes away for a car show. Keep in mind that I've owned by car for over 10 years and have driven it thousands of miles. A few minutes before arriving, I went over a minor bump in the road while going 45 MPH and the engine died without warning. All the electrical stuff still worked just fine, but as I rolled down the road, I tried popping the clutch, but it wouldn't fire.

    Luckily, it died on a road with a very wide shoulder and I was able to pull over just fine with plenty of room to contemplate my options. Since this had never happened to me before, my mind immediately went to the recent work that I had done and I wondered if something had come loose with the new fuel pump, like the wiring. The car would crank just fine, but wouldn't fire. I then wondered if something had fallen off the car when it went over the bump in the road, so I hoofed it back to where I thought the bump was, but didn't see anything in the road. All belts were fine and it had a full tank of gas, so I then thought it might be a no spark situation.

    I checked the plug on the coil and it was fine. The ballast resistor wires were all in place, but I took them off and snugged them back on, just in case there wasn't a solid connection. I also had zero tools, so I couldn't get into trunk to check out the wiring to the fuel pump. I then thought it might be a blown fuse, but thought that unlikely, but started checking them anyway.

    I searched online and found that the two most common causes of this type of issue are the ballast resistor wires or an issue related to the coil, which I had already checked. I decided to recheck the coil, and lo and behold, there is a wire that connects on the right side of the coil that appeared to just be sitting there, not connected to where I thought it should be on the coil. I hooked that back up, tried to start the car, and it fired up immediately. It was an answer to my prayers and I was able to make it to the show and have a lot of fun catching up with some familiar faces.

    I was very surprised that was the cause as I haven't touched anything around the coil in many, many moons. But my case confirms that in situations where the car suddenly dies, it's definitely a good idea to start by checking the coil wiring.
    Last edited by Stainless; 07-04-2021 at 01:40 AM.
    Jared L.

    June '81, manual, black inter. VIN 2087
    Other cars: 2012 Toyota Sienna, 2007 Mazda 6, 1999 Jeep Cherokee
    DeLorean blog: http://deloreanblog.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Senior Member Citizen's Avatar
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Location:  Houston, TX

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stainless View Post
    I was very surprised that was the cause as I haven't touched anything around the coil in many, many moons. But my case confirms that in situations where the car suddenly dies, it's definitely a good idea to start by checking the coil wiring.
    With the car safe at home and in your garage, and with tools available, you should definitely try to duplicate the issue by playing with/disconnecting the wire. See if the car won't start. Then reattach and try to start. Would be good to have solid evidence of the cause.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2018

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    I like a story like that. I had a ballast resistor wire come off with the same result. I wasn't far from home, but it sure is nice sorting it out and not having to get a tow.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DMC-81's Avatar
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    I had the car die on me during my early shakedown tests after I restored it and it was the same cause. For mine, it was the double connector on the right wire.

    Last edited by DMC-81; 07-05-2021 at 04:56 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.
    1985 Chevrolet Corvette, Z51, 4+3 manual
    2006 Dodge Magnum R/T (D/D)
    2010 Camaro SS (Transformers Edition)

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

    Location:  Leonardtown, MD

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    My VIN:    03572

    When ever possible, I replace those quick connect pins with ring terminals. Especially on high current circuits like the fan breaker and blower breaker.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  6. #6
    DeLorean owner since 2011 Stainless's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Syracuse, UT

    Posts:    613

    My VIN:    2087

    Quote Originally Posted by DMC-81 View Post
    I had the car die on me during my early shakedown tests after I restored it and it was the same cause. For mine, it was the double connector on the right wire.

    Mine was the exact same wire. I'm going to see if I can come up with a better way to keep that wire in place. If it worked its way loose once, it will probably happen again, eventually.
    Jared L.

    June '81, manual, black inter. VIN 2087
    Other cars: 2012 Toyota Sienna, 2007 Mazda 6, 1999 Jeep Cherokee
    DeLorean blog: http://deloreanblog.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  May 2013

    Location:  Richmond Va.

    Posts:    132

    Mine was the ignition switch wire. Went over bump car died. I believe it was the purple one.

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