Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

DeLorean Time Machine

No, I can't actually see through those 2015 Doc Brown sunglasses. But they're still wicked.

"Back To The Future" celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and DeLorean hype had never been higher. My friend Ken rode that wave all year. You see, Ken has a Time Machine!

His 95% screen-accurate Back to the Future Time Machine was featured in magazines, newspapers, and a Spike TV commercial "copy" of a 1980s BTTF teaser commercial. It was re-shot scene-for-scene to duplicate the original. View it here. It is impressive. I kid you not.

A couple of weeks ago I was supposed to accompany Ken, and the rest of the gang to a car show. However, my DeLorean was having a spa day at DPI and couldn't make it. So Ken gave me the honour and privilege of taking his Time Machine! A Time Machine that Michael J. Fox sat in. Yes, our butts have touched.

The crowds of people don't have to worry. Everything's lead-lined.If you think driving a Time Machine is all fun and games, well, you'd be right. But you'd also be wrong. Oh yes. Very, very wrong. Why? Not only do you have to negotiate rabid fans all the while waving and smiling to them, but you have to shift gears, steer, and avoid peeping toms falling out of trees. It's tough!

To make things worse (for driving, not for being awesome, let's get that straight) the car is absolutely FULL of stuff. Hoverboards, Sports almanacs and various sunglasses crowd you. If you dig around, you may even find ol' Einstein hiding in there somewhere. The car is AMAZING. The details are superb. People rushed the car and dozens of kids thought it was the actual movie car.

When I say the car is screen-accurate, what I mean is that it matches the DeLorean used in the Back to the Future films almost exactly. And movie cars weren't exactly made to be driven. They were made to look cool. And "cool" comes at a price. Most notably, the time circuits. Those pesky time circuits and keypad block the heating & cooling controls, and make shifting really annoying. Especially with the ON lever for the time circuits so close. I bumped that lever so many times... I know exactly how Marty accidentally turned them on escaping the Libyans.

But it's all worth it. The car is unbelievable. And when that flux capacitor is fluxing, everything is instantly 200% more awesome. It always draws a huge crowd, and that's what Ken is hoping for. Because the car is for hire. No, I'm not kidding around. If you would like to rent it, visit www.timemachineforhire.com. Proceeds to go Team Fox, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ceramic Coated DeLorean Exhaust

Bitchin' NOS exhaust from DPI.

"Should we pull over the DeLorean?" an officer asked his coworkers as I passed the group of them, shielding themselves from the rain. And after a harrowing drive through that nasty storm, I arrived home safely - just in time for my cousin's wedding.

Unfortunately for me, the previous owner did not know how to take care of the DeLorean and fibbed extensively about its condition.

Sadly, mechanics with working knowledge of the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel system are either retired or, in most cases, dead. My voodoo skills aren't up to par yet, so raising them wasn't an option. Zombie mechanics are unreliable anyway, with limbs falling off mid-accumulator job, or eyes oozing out of their sockets into the gas tank. Forget it.

And so Josh was the chosen priest to exorcise the DeLorean's demons. The first gremlin to be eliminated was the fuel distributor, followed by a warm up regulator, a full throttle microswitch and 8,172 gaskets, o-rings and washers. The previous owner bypassed the idle speed ECU when it failed, along with the Lambda system, both of which were restored to original condition.

Josh also replaced the clutch, leaking master and slave cylinders, reservoir, and upgraded the plastic clutch line with the braided stainless steel line. Not everything went as planned and Josh didn't finish some of the work. But he's in demand. I'll take what I can get.

Finally, the ass end of the car received a sweet upgrade. Something I've been planning a long time.

Over the years I've driven a number of DeLoreans with various exhausts. I found anything with headers to be far too sexy for me. Plus it has a bad horsepower to volume ratio: I don't think the extra 7 to 10 hp is worth the extra decibels. I prefer the sweet Euro exhaust note and decided on a completely stock system, but with one bonus. I had it ceramic coated in polished silver.

Ceramic coating the exhaust has a number of benefits. It traps the heat in the system, keeping the engine bay cooler. A cooler bay means cooler intake temperatures with higher oxygen content. And hotter air flows faster out of the exhaust, leading to lower backpressure and better scavenging inside the cylinders. The result is a documented 2% to 3% more power. In my case that conservatively translates to about 2 more hp. Not to mention it's effing gorgeous!

See what the exhaust looks like from behind.
The driver's side cast iron exhaust manifold with ceramic coating.

Photos open in a new window.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ono Kiawe Charcoal - Oh No!

Holy hell that's supposed to be charcoal?

Back in July I promised a review of Ono Kiawe Hawaiian charcoal. Well here it is. And when you've finished reading, hate it. Hate it as much as I do.

You know you're off to a bad start when three quarters of the charcoal is so massive, it's unusable. The Ono charcoal cannot be poured into your grill. Well, it can, but it won't burn. So don't waste your time. Grilling with Ono Kiawe charcoal requires one extra unorthodox grilling tool: a freakin' hammer.

I thought the first large branch was just a fluke, as I smashed it into more usable bits. It was kinda fun at first. I guess. Then it grew tiresome as I continuously pulled useless monstrosities from the bag day after day.

If that were the only problem with the Ono Kiawe charcoal, I could live with it. But it's not.

I thought this piece was big, then I pulled that entire tree out in the pic above.Popping and sparking charcoal is crappy. TRES crappy. You don't want sparks popping into your food. Ok, I'm sure there's one guy out there going "Yes I do you dick!" Well, ok fine. You're right. Go buy some Ono Kiawe dude! It's the best!

When I lit the Ono charcoal, it popped and sparked until the end of time. Yes, I'm writing this from the future (thanks, DeLorean!) and it's still popping and sparking. (And this season's Survivor is being played on Mars.)

Finally, and this is just a personal thingy here, I found the smell and taste a little too strong. I felt like it overpowered the food. Some people might love it. It definitely has a distinct flavour.

These are pretty big problems in my opinion. Then again, money talks! Nearly any problem can be overlooked if the price is right. So how much did I pay? Guesses? I think I heard five bucks! I wish. A 20 lb. bag cost me about $30 with tax. At that price the problems are unforgivable. Thirty dollars is the price a of a premium charcoal. A charcoal that shouldn't have any problems.

The only way this charcoal could be improved is if Jesus descended from the ashy skies above my grill and, like, kissed it or some junk. Unless you've tried everything else and are simply curious, avoid it. If a mass riot broke out tomorrow, (which is possible, I'm in Canada after all) I wouldn't even steal a bag.

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 09, 2011

Joe Cool Fan Relay Failure

Joe Cool. Super rad.

One of the DeLorean's weaknesses is the Lucas relays, which can fail at any time. This will likely happen at the worst possible moment. Like when you're being chased by, say, the Libyans or something, in a mall parking lot.

Ask around the DeLorean community and most will tell you that only Concours cars use the original relays. Most will tell you you're crazy if you drive around on the original relays.

Well, call me crazy.

My DeLorean has 112,000 miles clocked, which is sorta medium-high in the DeLorean world. And I'm still going strong on the original Lucas relays. ODOC prez Kenny and Pat Mastroianni (yes, that Pat Mastroianni) have both been on my back to replace the relays. So it's kind of ironic that the ONLY relay to ever fail on me was the ONLY one I'd ever updated: the cooling fan relay.

The only melting I want in the DeLorean is cheese. On something from Taco BellThere are a few fixes for the cooling fan relay. The most basic is a pair of wires used as a jumper. But it can melt and should only be used as an emergency fix. The DeLorean Motor Company and John Hervey (DAP) sell updated relays. Rob Grady's Fanzilla is no longer available.

The option I installed in 2009 was Joe Cool, made in limited numbers, and no longer available. It was available through the DeLorean Motor Company Midwest and McFly Motorsports for a while, for $175.

See it installed here.

Normally both fans kick on together, sucking huge amperage. While this is only for a second, the spike causes damage as the current runs through the circuit board. It melts the soldering, causing the relay to fail. You do not want your fans in cahoots with each other! What Joe Cool does is stagger them slightly, so one comes on before the other. This stops them from drawing too much current at once.

Unfortunately for me, my original failing fans draw such HUGE current that my Joe Cool failed while driving the car on a lengthy journey to DPI with friend Ken. Sitting in a traffic jam I watched in horror as my temperature gauge creeped past 220 and edged towards 260.

Joe Cool did not keep his cool. Joe Cool had let me down!

I warned Ken I was about to overheat and spill coolant all over the road. We unscrewed Joe Cool and discovered one of the two fuses had blown. Driving at high speeds to keep the air flowing through the rad, we escaped the jam and high-tailed it to the nearest Pep Boys where I purchased new 15 amp 3AG type fuses for less than 5 bucks. With a new fuse in place, Joe Cool was back to normal and the fans came on beautifully.

Let this be a lesson. Even the updates cannot be relied upon 100% of the time and a sane DeLorean owner will carry around a spare set of relays. Then there's me.

---------- Update June 2012: After DMCMW's visit I've learned why Joe Cool failed, and my fans are the culprit. My fans are beginning to fail, and as such are drawing too much amperage for the 15 watt fuses. Joe Cool is fine - I will have to replace my fans soon.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 05, 2011

DeLorean Mini-Resto Underway

Goodbye D! See you soon.

I come from a car family. Growing up my dad owned GTOs, Corvettes, a 442 or two, and was a champion drag racer in the 1960s. Cars were in my blood and I wanted my dream car before my 30th Birthday.

When I bought my DeLorean my intentions were to have fun with it. I wasn't going to stress over it. That changed quickly. As things wore out I replaced them, but often the brand new parts were defective. Over the years I had spent more on shipping and duty than I did on parts. Not too long ago I gave up. And it was the best decision I've made in years.

There are a few vital DeLorean parts which cannot be purchased new any longer. One such part is the fuel distributor. The DeLorean uses the Bosch K-Jetronic constant injection system, like many early 80s exotics like Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini. I hate it.

Unfortunately, the rebuilt units I kept installing weren't rebuilt correctly and lasted anywhere from a minute to a few weeks at most. Embarrassing.

My dream car (go ahead and laugh, I'm used to it.) wasn't much fun any more. I gave up and enlisted the help of Josh. You know who I mean. The innards of his brain overflows with performance ideas for the 2.85 liter PRV engine and perfection is the name of the game inside his shop.

And so on a gorgeous mid-August day Kenny and I drove to meet Josh's cohorts, loaded the D onto their trailer, and came home in Ken's D. No, not this one, the regular one.

It would be nice to have a perfect car, and with Josh on the job I know I won't have to wait until my 40th! (Which is years and years away, by the way.)

Labels: , ,


This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.