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Thread: The Restoration of #1768

  1. #1
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    The Restoration of #1768

    Hello, my name is Clint, I'm 24, live in Sacramento CA and welcome to the restoration thread on my car "Loreana" 1981 Delorean, black interior, manual VIN #1768. You will see just about every job a Delorean owner could need to perform to return this long abused car back into good health. In the 3 years I've owned and restored this car, many of my mechanic friends noted that this car would have been in the junkyard if it weren't for me, or that they considered Loreana a parts car when I bought her. When I began this project I was fresh out of automotive Tech school and working at a two man fabrication shop so I didn't have the proper money needed to simply replace everything that needed fixing. However, I was going to be sure this car still got what it deserved - a new lease on life through a lot of hard work. I've learned so much from this car and I want to share my experiences with you.

    This thread was one of the longest and most popular back on the old site and some have asked that I bring it back. Luckily I've mirrored many of the posts on other car forums which helps to bring this back. I've cleaned it up and made some more logical posts this time. The content gets more defined and the posts towards the end are much better than these early ones. This is still a ongoing project so there is plenty more to come.

    I hope you enjoy it and I hope it helps many of you new owners learn about the problems you have that may be similar to mine:

    One of the most asked questions I get with my car is "Where in the world did you find that?" as if it was a wild unicorn from outer space. While I'm still working on a quick and easily explainable answer, this is the long version- It all started with a 1987 Yugo, I found one for sale at a junkyard in Sacramento and I just had to save it. It was a lot of fun repairing it and making it look better, but while it was very fun I wanted something RWD and a bit peppier but still with Italian flair. I found a '77 Fiat 124 on Craigslist but after months of work that car got nowhere (it caught fire many times) and always put up too much of a fight so I decided to move on and it went back on Craigslist. I had little trouble selling it to a man named Peter who had a warehouse shop in Oakland, Ca full of more interesting cars. I delivered the hateful Fiat to his shop and he showed me around his great collection.

    There was only one car I was truly interested in. I was in disbelief, this car was the first one I'd seen in person for years. I've wanted a D since I was 5 yrs old because of BTTF and had been saving since I was 8.

    The Acquisition

    These are the first photographs I have of her:

    Peter explained this car did not belong to him, he was storing it for the owner Greg who worked in San Fran. After a quick call he was able to come over and talk with me about it. Here's the back story: Greg bought the car in '2000 back in Massachusetts from the 2nd owner. The car had been on the east coast since new and serviced by Grady. In 2001 Greg moved out west, stopping in Texas for some service in Houston then continued to its new home in Berkeley, CA. With very little spare time to repair or enjoy the car, Greg decided it was time to sell it to someone that would care for the car and enjoy it more than he did.

    The original owner put about 20k miles on it in 2-3 years, then for unknown reasons it was parked in 1984ish. It sat 15 years mostly likely outside or in a wet garage and that's how the rust formed.

    Circa 1998 it was bought by a guy who owned a gas station repair shop in Boston, this guy got it working and maybe put a few thousand miles on it.

    2000 Greg bought the car and had a few repairs done by Grady. He says he drove the hell out of it up in the empty forest back roads of Massachusetts. In 2001 he moved to Austin, TX and drove the car there stopping in DMCH for some work. It broke down about 1/2 mile from the shop. Greg did a few other repairs after that when he lived in Austin for a few years but he never registered or licensed the car after he left Massachusetts in 2001.

    2005ish he moved to the Bay area and drove the car from Austin almost non stop by himself, fearing it would never restart if he did stop. After moving to Cali the car was only driven about 100 miles as it had a bad hot restart problem. It was parked until I bought it April 2009 making me the 4th owner.

    Since the car hadn't run in years and needed lots of work to be roadworthy I negotiated down to $5000. It was a good deal for me. I even found $1 in the ash tray!

    Engine bay was very neglected, A/C frozen.

    Minor dents in the roof, Mercedes 6.9 in the background.

    Interior was intact and fair for the age.

    There were quite a few dents however, this on the RR quarter being the worst.

    The worst of the car was the underside that had been rotted by the Massachusetts winters.

    April 18th, 2009 I returned and was able to see the car in sunlight for the first time. That day I took ownership of the car one of the happiest days of my young life. I loaded it up and took it back to Sacramento.

    Look at that low mileage!

    Got to dig that Atari plate frame!

  2. #2
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    The first thing I did after getting it home was a basic cleaning and looking around the car thoroughly and took many pictures, here are some.

    Major issues I've noted so far:

    Severe frame rot in rear
    Moderate rot in front crumple tubes
    Severe steering slop
    Very rusty and squeaky suspension
    Questionable brake lines, M/C and calipers
    Angle drive destroyed
    Under car wiring in very bad shape
    Many loose wires under the dash
    Only working gauge was the volt meter
    Drooping headliner
    Dangerous looking fuse panel
    Unsafe tires
    AC system in ruins
    Most trim in need of dire of restoration
    Crack louvers and lower engine cover

    The frame rot did have me quite worried, however at the time I was building race cars for a living and had access to all the tools to do the repair later. I attempted to find the end of the rust by removing more epoxy but it just got worse.

    Good things I found:

    Fuel pump and accumulator has just 250 miles
    New and updated window regulators
    Full DMC Houston major tune up kit
    Service books and a car cover
    New radiator

  3. #3
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    The Wake from Hibernation

    April 26, 2009

    Soon I began working towards getting the car running. The DMC Houston tune up kit was just what I needed - Plugs, wires, cap and rotor, filters, oil change, new copper O-rings for the fuel fittings, and belts. All the old parts were in rough shape.

    I decided to remove the quarter panel and fascia for more access and cleaning. I also swapped out the flat rear tires with something I could roll the car around on.

    The injector hose fittings were corroded enough to cause leaks so some light sanding was needed to flatten them out.

    I took the injectors to be ultrasonic cleaned as well.

    New valve cover gaskets and a valve clearance check, most were a few thousandths of an inch loose.

    After flushing the fuel distributor and lines I knew I had to keep cleaning upstream of the tank to prevent any old fuel from clogging up the kjet down the line. After removing the access covers in the trunk and disconnecting the lines, I removed the lower sealing plate below the gas tank. I expected the tank to simply drop out but the foam insulation had other ideas. It took about 45 minutes of jumping up and down on the gas tank and gently prying on for the cell to finally come out.

    Thankfully there were no hidden rust holes in the frame here.

    New(ish) fuel pump

    Fuel didn't look that bad for being about 4 years old. All the fuel was removed and blown out of the lines, ready to start fresh.

    I also installed the new window regulators that the previous owner did not install, these were quite a pain.

    I now had owned my car for a week, working many hours after work every night but still she didn't run, I had quite a fight with the fuel filter. It took a few trips to the local auto parts store to get a quality filter that didnt leak.

    The First Start

    But soon I was able to track down all the small leaks and electrical faults to get her to run for the first time since 2005. It took a few seconds but soon all the gauges started to wake up and function too. It was a very joyous day.

    Right click and open in a new tab to play.

    I knew I had a very long road ahead before I could properly drive my new baby, as the rest of the car had a bunch of electrical bugs. Jiggle the fuse box just so and the center console lights would go out, shake it another way and random relays click on and off. Lots of work to come.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    May 2 2009

    With a basically running engine, I now needed to make the chassis able to drive, First off the steering.

    The U joints had considerable play, new joints were a bit above my budget when I could be more creative. The steering is composed of British parts and If ound some late 70's MGBs that matched. In hindsight I should have adapted some new tighter Japanese steering joints but just the same with some welding and fitting, I now had slop free steering joints. FYI each joint has 84 pins in them, do not spill them on the floor!

    I installed an extra radio I had just to fill the hole in the dash.

    The next week I fiddled around with the fuel mixture on the engine but I still had some small vacuum leaks that prevented my from starting the car without priming it be spraying fuel down the intake first. Then I bled the brakes with new DOT4 fluid, they felt solid enough for a short test. Finally I was able to take my first test drive of my new car almost a month after purchasing it. I had mixed feeling, as the car sounded and felt much rougher than I was expecting but the euphoria and rush of my first dive in a Delorean, a Delorean that was mine no less was incredible.

    May 10 2009

    After owning the car just a few few weeks i already was eager to take it to a car show, however it was in no shape to drive there. In the Sacramento and SF bay area there is a monthly high end car meet called Euro Sunday, and every year they have a "Gullwing" themed event were Bricklins, DMCs and now Merc SLS can come to be the front and center. To get the car there I had to borrow a trailer from my work, Evil Genius Racing to bring her to the event.

    It wasnt a huge turn out but I met two D owners there, or rather they never let me alone, but it was nice, I think I got more looks from my car running/sounding like shit that just being a delorean but it felt great to finally be part of the community. Honestly some of teh other DMC owners were a bit embarrassed by my car.

    Here is the award video of me showing my prized baby at the show after Ken shows his and talks about his "carbon fiber" underbody? ok.

    After the show I took it to the EGR shop and looked under it on the lift to examine the underside better. The rust just looked worse every where I looked it really needs to be sandblasted thoroughly or cut out. also fixed the intake vacuum leak at the W pipe that made it so hard to start cold.

    Sorry they are warped cell phone pics.

  5. #5
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    May 16 2009

    3.0 Eagle Engine

    After reading on many other Dmc build websites and here on the forums, I had decided to pick up a 3.0 Eagle Premier engine for installation down the road. I found one at the local self service junkyard. It came from a '88 with 166k miles, the car had been hit in the rear but looked decently well cared for. Complete engine for $256.

    June 27 2009

    A bit time passed as I still had to give other project cars attention, but I was able to take the new 3.0 apart for a proper cleaning, many hours of scrubbing went into this one but it was well worth it. It seems the passenger side cam was wearing down badly. Going to need new cams anyway!

    Next I began painting some of the clean parts and the VOD of the 3.0.

    June 30 2009

    VOD job

    After tearing apart the 3.0 I felt compelled and confident enough to take the intake manifold off the 2.8 in the car to clean and paint the valley as well. I had a real fit getting the y pipe off as I stripped the head off one of the 4 M7 bolt heads. but a quick bit of drilling was able to remove enough to get the pipe off.

    Now I was able to scrape, scrub and vacuum the 1/2 lbs of dirt in the casting of the engine valley, then paint it like I just did with the 3.0 using POR 15. its very important to clean this as well as possible.

  6. #6
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    July 1 2009

    Renewing the Steering Rack

    While waiting on my latest parts order I decided to tackle one of the first and worst flaws my car had, the sloppy steering rack.

    After removal I performed a full strip down and re painting and greasing however the driver side of the rack seemed to have no support what so ever as if the bushing holding it had fallen out. Since individual parts are not available for the rack, I had to create my own bushing out of a cheap and durable material.

    Using a mix of 1 and 1.5" PVC I was able to make a very tight fitting and smooth bushing for the rack to slide on, after placing the small tube instil the outer piece I sanded the outer diameter down until it fit tightly into the rack body. Sadly I dont have any pictures of this creative solution in progress but here you can see the end result epoxied in place.

    New tie rods installed.

    In the end I was rewarded with a much tighter and smoother steering system.

  7. #7
    Certified Stainless!! Chris Burns's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Fernandina Beach Fl

    Posts:    1,927

    My VIN:    Getting closer and closer...

    Club(s):   (DCF)

    Wow! Did you have your work cut out for you.

    Don't stop there!

  8. #8
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    July 14 2009

    Pulling the Engine

    By now I had been ordering a bunch of little things from DMC but nothing big, my newest order was a exhaust repair kit, new studs and gaskets for the leaky headers, but I saw I would have to pull the engine to do it properly. I decided to take the trans out with it as it looked simpler and quicker, overall it was quite easy

    With my intake still off I removed the engine wiring harness.

    Next the muffler with brackets, engine mounts and ground straps, shift rods, inner axles, clutch line and rear fascia were off before I began hoisting.

    Transmission was so filthy.

    Now I can look at the frame more and no surprise it was just getting worse and rustier. you can see the tow hook that partially ripped out when we tried tying to it on the trailer.

  9. #9
    My friends think I'm nuts jawn101's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Sacramento-ish

    Posts:    4,380

    My VIN:    02100

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    This is awesome man. I haven't seen all these before! So when are we gonna pull my motor, you make it look so easy

    Also, to anyone else who's watching, keep doing so as this is going to be one of the best, most creative, most inspiring restoration threads on here.
    Last edited by jawn101; 04-26-2012 at 11:47 PM.
    1981 DMC-12 #02100. July 1981. 5-speed, black, grooved w/flap.
    restoration log, March 2011 to present
    full and detailed photo restoration log

  10. #10
    Senior Member vwdmc16's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  sacramento

    Posts:    1,413

    My VIN:    1768

    Club(s):   (NCDMC) (DCUK)

    Yeah we will do it soon. It will be even easier with my sweet new electric actuated engine crane. Ill probably make a thread on that later, I am pretty proud of it.

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