Home Restoration, Log 20

Restoration, Log 20

I haven’t updated in a while, and I’ve done such a huge amount – so this post will have to be more bullet points than literary discourse.

– Clint and I completely stripped the interiors of our cars to install Dynamat. Covered the entire interior tub; floors, footwells, the transmission tunnel, firewall, rear deck, battery box and wheel wells. This made a huge difference in highway noise, road noise, and engine noise. It also gave me a chance to do a bunch of other interior work I had wanted to do. This installation took several days of scraping, cleaning, and precise cutting and forming of the Dynamat sheets.
– Finally installed the new passenger side rear speaker
– Shampooed every inch of carpeting
– Tapped into the lights master switch to install a secondary relay. In the factory wiring configuration, the switch handles the full current of the headlights – but isn’t well suited for the task. The plastic internals melt. In this new configuration, the relay handles the current and the switch won’t melt.
– Re-stretched and glued the vinyl on the driver’s side interior quarter panel. 30 years of entering and exiting the car had left it unglued and ripply. It looks like new now.
– Re-epoxied the driver’s side upper seatbelt anchor bolt into the body so it doesn’t spin
– Removed, cleaned, and re-adhered the driver’s side quarter panel louver
– Repaired the seatbelt warning switch
– Removed the steering column and shaft
– Replaced the failed rubber steering column bushing with a lifetime one made of Delrin. This eliminated a huge amount of rattling over bumps and a ton of play in the steering
– Replaced the seized steering shaft with a brand new stainless one from Martin at DeLorean Cars UK. This made the single biggest change in the car’s character of any one job I’ve done. The steering is so light and perfect now – feels almost as though it could be power assisted, but isn’t.
– Removed, disassembled, and rebuild my lambda counter in an effort to eliminate my speedometer bounce. It was a long shot as I know the lower cable is to blame, but it was one more thing I wanted to do eventually anyway. It didn’t help.
– Replaced all 4 springs with lowering springs. The front ones had been lowered by heating with a blowtorch and were collapsed and bent. The ones we took out were so frightening… this made the front end very squirrely around corners and over bumps. Now it feels solid as a rock and handles much better. Having the front suspension out also gave me the chance to inspect, lube and re-boot the lower ball joints.
– Installed a new fiberglass radiator duct, which ports air from the front fascia over the radiator and through the fans. My car had been missing it since I got it. This thing was a huge pain in the ass, as the original one was made of flexible plastic But the replacement is very rigid. I had to do some cutting and sanding to get it to fit against the body tub. I also discovered that whatever impact had originally destroyed the original duct (probably a hard bottoming-out) had also bent the lower radiator support brackets, which needed to be bent back down for the duct to fit. And of course, a few uncooperative rivnuts had to be ripped out and replaced.
– The duct install also gave me a chance to install a new powder coated rock screen, which, combined with the duct, had the added beneficial effect of completely straightening my lower lip spoiler (was previously very warped)
– New radiator bushings (the old ones were incredibly dry rotted)
– Cut new boot carpet backer boards (one for me and one for Clint)
– Removed, cleaned and re-sealed my fuel sending unit to eliminate a gas odor
– Drained and refilled the transmission oil – MTL Red Line is an amazing product!
– Removed the old output shaft lip seals and replaced them with new double-lip ones that should never leak
– Installed a new O-ring on the differential adjusting nut
– Installed sleeves on the output shaft flanges to further guard against leaks
– Cleaned the drive axles
– Tore down and rebuilt the original door lock module to reduce standby current draw. This was accomplished by use of modern, high-gain Darlington transistors in place of the old and outdated ones. The high gain transistors were then accompanied by much higher rated resistors, which are what actually cut the current draw. Now my car can sit for days and still start on the first try without a battery tender.
– Discovered that the mixture control screw couldn’t be adjusted because it was completely packed with crud. This necessitated a trip into the valley to remove, disassemble and clean the mixture unit. But, of course – the valley trip gave us a chance to do a bunch more stuff, like….
– Cleaning up the coolant that had leaked from a loose water pump back hose, and fix the leak
– Replace the heater control valve and hoses
– Install my cooling system auto bleeder from Toby and Misty at DPNW
– Pressure test the entire cooling system at 20psi and tighten anything that dripped
– Install a new rocker cover gasket on the passenger side – the last one we did was leaking already. Got much better quality ones this time around
– Install a clutch slave cylinder remote bleed fitting
– With the mixture screw cleaned up and usable, finally set the mixture properly. No more gas smell and should hopefully pass smog when the time comes!

Then yesterday was a tech session with the NCDMC crew in El Dorado. Thanks to them, I…
– Adjusted the door torsion bars so the doors open themselves and actually stay up, a luxury I have not had since I got the car. What a difference that makes! It looked like mine had been dialed down by some amateur at some point, and it was a pretty hairy adjustment as some bolts were stripped. I probably also need slightly more powerful struts to maximize the travel, but it’s a whole world better already without them.

After we adjusted my and Clint’s doors, all 6 of us took off for a cruise around El Dorado and Old Town Folsom. Lots of great, twisty roads and little towns up there to get some face time with the locals 🙂

We also got a chance to meet a new local owner, David – who just moved to Lodi from Minnesota and should be a cool addition to the club. His car is very nice, but seems to have a ticking that we’ll have to help him investigate.

That’s all for now… I’ll try and update more often so there can be more detail on each job. The next big task is going to be dropping the transmission and swapping the clutch, rear main seal, and doing a rebuild on the trans. But I’m in no huge rush…

And as always, pics are in the gallery. Pics from the NCDMC meet are here.

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