Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DeLoreans Sold on eBay - 2008 Q4 Update

The Q4 Update of DeLorean sales on eBay is updated.

This is from data for the last 26 months as of December 2008, and it shows the resulting trends.

For the direct link click here.

I hope you continue to find this information interesting.
Thanks.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

LEDs are cool.



Intro
I’ve been working on my engine bay as funding and time allows. One of the first updates that I did in this area was to modernize the engine bay's light, to an LED. You all know by now the advantages of LEDs (lower current drain, less heat), but I thought it would be interesting to document here the actual temperature differences.

Details
For these tests, I popped the lens/cover out form the housing, and began readings with the current LED that I am running. First I took an ambient temperature reading. (The instrumentation used is an EXTECH multimeter, with an IR Temperature sensor.) The first picture below shows an 81F (27C) ambient temperature.


Energize! This next picture is the temperature reading on the same spot, of the LED light, as you can see there is no measurable temperature rise. Perhaps over time it may go up a degree or so, but it never feels much if any, warmer than ambient.



Next up is our old friend the incandescent bulb. The temperature began to rise quickly, I snapped this first picture at 231F (111C)…


...and I stopped after this picture, at 278F (137C):


After a brief cool down, the bulb was literally too hot to handle.


...which is about where it stabilizes at, which is nearly 200F (110C) above ambient with the lens cover off! Imagine opening the engine bay and activating this light, on a warmer day, and with a warmed up engine bay, and it is understandable how those added degrees could contribute to a 27 year old plastic housing meltdown. : (


Summary:
So, as shown, it’s no surprise that every now and then we see or hear of a melted engine bay light housing. It's one of those "factory quirks" our cars have. Oh, and by the way, the internal cabin dome lights (above rear view mirror, and on rear shelf) are made to have the same incandscent bulb, housed in ...another plastic housing.


References
So this is a simple fix, go to your favorite vendor and order an LED replacement light kit.
DMCH (or your local DMC facility) have them for $1.99 each (#SP11305).

The one that I have pictured is not a DMCH product, it is from www.superbrightleds.com. Specifically, these are their Festoon bulbs (4210-WHP6)

Picture from: www.superbrightleds.com/specs/festoonhp.htm

They're relatively expensive at $15 per bulb, but what is neat about these is that not only are they bright, consume less power, run cooler, but they also carry them in a “warm white” option. This is different from the typical LEDs that have a blue-ish hue to them. The “warm white” options tries to duplicate the warm, light yellowish, color of an incandescent bulb – and it’s pretty close (I used their equivalent “warm whites” on my dash, and I really liked how that turned out). This color option is closer to the look of an 80's car, where as the typical blue-ish LEDs seem (to me), not in line with the car's vintage.

It’s tough to capture in pictures, but the first picture above is the best shot, in the dark, in an attempt to capture both the illumination and color of this bulb. Had I used the “cool white” you would have seen a bluish tint on the picture.

Unlike the incandescent version, these are directional, that is they only illuminate on one side, and per their spec, on a 120 degree light arc. I haven't found this to be a problem, and again you can reference the picture above to see the result.

Oh ... and if you do order them through SuperbrightLEDS.com, don't use this bulb on the interior, it is much too bright for that application.


>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Modernizing Your Spare Tire, Minimizing a Flat Tire's Hassle and Cost.

Prologue
Every time we start up our cars for a drive, no one plans for a flat tire – but I am sure that it has happened to us at least once, and if it hasn’t then it’s only a question of when, it will happen. For DeLorean owners, if you have your original donut style spare, you are relying on 27 year old rubber, assuming that it can even sustain pressure. There are written accounts on forums about owners changing a flat to the spare and rolling for a few feet, before the spare disintegrates. This article is an attempt to offer an option, to prevent such an occurrence.

DeLorean, original, 27 year old wheel and tire.

The Spare Tire Issue
As with nearly all DeLorean issues, this is not new and some owners have actually taken several approaches such as eliminating, not carrying, the spare all together and ride with either Slime Sealant and a 12v compressor, AAA coverage, or just with a cell phone and credit card to call for a tow.


Current Solutions: Green Slime Sealant

Sure, Slime Sealant is a temporary solution, but it may not always work depending on the severity of the flat, rim damage, and/or how far you need to go to address the issue. (Also, if you "slimed-it" let your tire repair person know, 'cause it's going to be a messy cleanup.)


Current Solutions: Call for a non-AAA tow

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would rather change a flat with an available spare and keep moving, rather than wait in the middle of nowhere, and then pay for a tow to take the car and I home. A few times a year I do a 500 mile round trip to visit my son in college and meet up with the Central Florida DCF guys in my D, that trip is often through wide open and nearly remote areas. Should I get a flat on those trips, I’d rather address it, and move on, as I would do with my daily driver.

Current Solutions: AAA

AAA coverage is generally a good deal, but there are limitations to the amount of miles they will tow, and how many tows reimbursed per year.


Again, all the above are certainly viable solutions, but they may not work in all cases nor for everyone. So...


A Modern Replacement
So this was my goal: To modernize the DeLorean’s spare tire so that it would become a viable solution for both local and distance travel.

My search and personal preferences led me to updating the spare tire, with more modern rubber, as well as being a solution that would still fit in the wheel well (diameter and width), and since I retained the original wheel, it eliminated the guess work in which wheel would fit, and it even sort of still looks stock.

Our Donut Spare
There is no mystery about donut spare tires. Similar to our daily radial tires, they are tubeless rubber tires on metal wheels, and regulated by DOT (Department of Transportation) standards just like normal road tires. The big differences between it and your regular tires are in as follows.
Size: as they are made more compact for storage
Speed limitations: are not meant to be run at high speeds,
Mileage limitations: are not meant to be driven for any extended amount miles, just enough to get you a tire repair service station or home.
So, knowing that it should be a simple replacement.

DOT Nomenclature
First some important nomenclature on tires: DOT has specific marking regulations for tire manufacturers, to designate important information beyond size and fit suitably, notably the tires contain information on their manufacturing history. In order to update our spares, we need to be aware of these two markings, size and date of manufacture.

Size Codes
Our spares are sized for T125/70D15, which as most of you know this is the standard description for modern tires. Breaking it down:
"T" denotes a spare tire
"125" is the widest sidewall width (or 125mm)
"70" is the profile ratio of the sidewall's height, to the width (70 denotes 70% of the 125mm width, or 87.5mm)
"D" denotes a diagonal bias tire
"15" represents the wheel mounting diameter (15 inches)
Yes, this is an odd mix of metric with English units, but it is the standard.

Date Codes
This information is just as important as above because there would be no sense in replacing your old tire with something just as old. I have read that the general rule is to replace ties beyond 8 years old; however, I don’t think many people (or dealers reselling used cars) are doing that with spares, and I suspect that as long as the tread is good and that they hold air, they may have a slightly longer life. Rubber over time deteriorates as it looses its deformation properties and can harden; however for this to happen, there are also factors of environment, exposure, and usage that play into the longevity.

So, the goal is to replace your 27 year old tire with something newer. To do so, the key is to look at the stamped DOT codes to guide your replacement selection. After 2000, all tires have a two digit number to signify the date of manufacture. Easy enough, however, prior to 2000 only one digit was used, to denote the year of the decade. So a 1997 and 1987 tire would each end in an ambiguous 7. The recommendation then is to look for a 21st century tire, it will be easier to select and assure you a newer tire. The two digits before the year code, represent the week of manufacture.

For example, the picture below shows the code from my original spare, note it ends in “171”. This is a tire manufactured on the 17th week, of 1981. Visually the wheel does look in good condition, other than it could not hold pressure for over a few weeks – again, the hardening of the rubber may have accounted for that.



Where do find a newer tire?
Oddly enough I didn’t really find anyone selling spare wheels directly to consumers, and that is fine as I suspect the price would have been high, so alternative resources at your disposal are junkyards, ebay, or craigslist. Tip for looking on ebay or craigslist is to search for: T125/70D15. You will find that this is a very common size in spare tires, used on many, many vehicles so availability is actually quite good. Just make sure that you get a wheel manufactured after 2000, ask the seller for confirmation as most likely this information is rarely published.
Picture below is the spare that I found, note "0504" designator to denote a 2004 year of manufacture, and n the 5th week of the year.


Chances are also very high that you will find this tire, with it’s own unique wheel, so let’s address that next.

The Wheel
As the DeLorean's spare tire is a still commonly used size, you will find that it is mounted on a variety of wheels, and wheel patterns, depending on their host visibility. The picture below is from the spare wheel/tire that I found - from a 2001-2004 Kia Rio.


Later model Honda Civics in particular also use a 4 bolt wheel on the same tire size that our Ds use; however, it is unlikely, as in above, that that the wheel can be used due to different offsets and brake caliper configurations. Each host wheel seems unique for their specific application.

So, the recommendation is that if you find an appropriate sized good looking spare tire (some are never used), regardless of the wheel, get it and change it out with your existing DeLorean spare wheel. Any local mechanic can do that for you for a few bucks.
(I'll post a picture later of my new spare tire, on the original DeLorean wheel.)

Cost
You will find that newer spares (from 2000+) are not as readily available as 1990s spares, so keep looking around. I generally saw prices anywhere from $10-$50, but factor shipping for online transactions.

If you are curious, below is a premade search link, that displays a search for T125/70D15 spares on ebay:
Click Here for eBay Search Results.


Summary
So that’s it, once you find your tire, remounted on your existing wheel, you are ready to mount it back in the original location and drive knowing that you are ready to address a spare tire change should it be needed, and it was done for much less than the price of a tow. For you owners about to, or that have begun to, hibernate your cars for the Winter, this could be the right time for this simple project.


Epilogue.
...or are you really ready to handle a flat, even with your new updated spare?

How would you change a flat, with your OEM jack?
Have you checked it recently?
If your on the road, and change your flat where do you put the flat as the fronts fit in spare wheel well, but the rears won't? (Tip: Best option for the rear tires is the rear luggage carrier if you have it, otherwise the passenger seat works if you don't have a passenger, otherwise tie it down temporarily to the engine mount cover.)
Seriously, if you haven’t tried it, perhaps while in your car is safe and snug in your garage or driveway, you should simulate a flat tire change on your own D.

I did that once and discovered that the my jack was flimsy, the ratchet tool for lifting the jack stripped out on use, and I didn't even have a 17mm wrench to remove my aftermarket front strut bar to access my spare! That quick exercise was an eye opener and has since been corrected by carrying the appropriate tools for the job on every drive. You should try the same, especially if you are going to modernize your spare.

>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DeLoreans Sold on eBay - 2008 Q3 Update

Last March's I posted a comparative summary of DeLoreans sold on eBay from October of 2006, through that time period.  Today I updated the original posting, to include data through the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2008 (which is today, as of this writing).

I hope you continue to find this information interesting.

For direct link click here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

2109 is in a Car of the 80's Contest

Hello.

In between some Tech discussions here, I'd like to make a request.
Our car is currently in an online Car Show contest, sponsored by Texaco. The contest consists of choosing a car of the decade for the last 11 decades, and 2109 here is in the running for the 1980's Car of the Decade.

If have a quick moment: [EDIT: Contest is over. Thanks.]
[EDIT:  Here is link to 2109's entry: http://texacocarofthedecades.com/bestinclasscars2008/CarDetails.aspx?CarDetailID=111&Preview=False&Decade=1980 ]

You do have to register at the site to vote, once you are registered, go to the "1980" header at the top, find 2109, and vote.

I don't intend to win the grand prize, but I would like to win the decade category of which I would donate the gas card money to my Dad.

Thank for your support and time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Burping your new DeLorean baby.

Update 08/23/08: Added a missed detail from vendor products, added a final optional radiator bleed step, some pet friendly notes, and an addendum of rerouting the coolant vent hose.

Intro.
If you’ve ever had to, or wish to, replace your coolant then you need to know how to complete the job, by “burping”, or eliminating any air that has been introduced into the cooling system.

Background.
The purpose of the cooling system in a car is to move an effective amount of heat away from the engine, through a heat transfer process involving the circulation of a cooling media (“anti-freeze”, aka “coolant”) from the engine, to a cooling source (radiator with fans, or higher speed outside air blowing on it).

The system is generally passive, requiring only occasional preventive maintenance such as: checking periodically the fluid levels (when car is off and cool), and checking periodically for coolant leaks (through tell tale green or orange drops under the car).

If you have ever encountered a moderate, controllable overheating issue (for example an alternator belt snap – which also powers the water pump that moves the coolant in the system), or if you are just flushing your coolant system, the next step is to remove the trapped air from the system. Note: A severe overheating problem introduces the potential for more serious mechanical ailments, such as blown head gaskets or warped heads – I don’t cover that here, and you should never, ever, allow your D (or any other car) to seriously overheat. Trapped air in the cooling system will seriously disable the thermal efficiency and in some cases, the function, of the cooling system so it is vital to eliminate it from the circulatory system.

A well maintained cooling system is essential to keep your car in top mechanical condition, and unlike conventional cars, our cars have a long coolant path since the engine is in the back and the radiator is in the front.


Procedure
Once you’ve remedied the issue that led to overheating and/or you have replenished the coolant (btw: coolant is recommended to be replaced every 2-3 years), the next step is to “burp” the system. There are two main locations in the DeLorean, to facilitate the release of trapped air from the cooling system. The first is located on the top cover of the water pump, where you will see a brass fitting poking out of the somewhat domed shaped cover, under the bracket for the throttle spool. The second location is upfront, at the radiator’s passenger side.

Burping your cooling system, OEM style:
If you have an OEM, non modified cooling system, it will take you longer to burp your system, and it will be messier, than with post production modifications, but it will be just as effective. The procedure is as follows:
a) After the fluid is replenished where the level is about an inch or two from the cooling bottle’s neck, start the car and watch the flow. Doing this actually bleeds some air, but this only works for a short time, until before the system actually begins to pull heat out of the engine. Be prepared to add a little more coolant if the level goes down too much (near the bottle’s internal hose opening. When the fluid level appears to be stable (within a few minutes), cap off the bottle.
b) With the engine still running, rotate the wheels to the extreme right, verify the parking brake is on, and then go to the front passenger side wheel (optional: with a small bucket to attempt to collect the soon to be flowing coolant). You should now have visibility and access to the radiator. Note: Goggles strongly recommended at this step. Loosen the clamp from the smaller hose at the top and GENTLY pull/work the hose out. Note: If your car is stock it has a plastic radiator and the fittings at this point you are working on, can easily snap – and ruin an otherwise good day and simple procedure (consider an update to a metal radiator in the future). Here is the messy part, at some point after removing the hose, or immediately, you will get a flow of coolant mixed with air coming out of this hose. As soon as you see only coolant flowing out, quickly (but GENTLY on those plastic radiators) reinsert the (gushing) hose back on the fitting (goggles come in useful here), and re-tighten the clamp. Congrats, you’ve bled the radiator …but no time to celebrate yet, move to next step.
c) Now, go to the engine bay, and locate that brass fitting above top of the water pump. At the fitting stick a clear vinyl hose routed to a small bucket, to prevent a second coolant shower, this time into your engine bay. Now turn the fitting CCW until you get a flow, and re-tighten it when as above, only fluid is visible through the hose.
d) Turn off the car and come back after it has cooled off. It is a good time now to change that shirt and get that sticky smelly coolant off your arm.
e) After the car has cooled, open the coolant bottle and check the level, top it off to about an inch above the internal hose inlet. Close it up, and start up the car.
f) Let the car warm up, if all went well, congratulations, the cooling system is void of any trapped air, and as effective as possible.
Optional:
g) If a test drive after step f still produces high temp, then park the car let it cool off. Repeat step b, but DO NOT start the car, just set it up first. Start the car, put hose back into the radiator after you get a steady stream of coolant. Turn off car, change shirt again, enjoy your ride.


Burping your cooling system, an easier alternative:
In the new Millennium, the procedure above can be performed faster and with almost no messy coolant spills. This entails installing two simple, inexpensive, easy to install modifications to your coolant system. ...actually both these devices have been around (and proven) for quite a few years. They are:

1. A cooling system auto bleeder.
Back in the 90's DPNW's Toby Peterson came up with (the first of quite a few) novel solutions for our cars. Specifically for this application, he experimented and created a method to always have the pump bleed off air, safely, effectively, and automatically. How? Remember the fitting on the top of the water pump? Well the water pump fitting is connected to a hose that runs to a T-splice, into the coolant bottle, and the fitting is left in an open position. This results in that any air in the system automatically gets removed, and vented away, always. No mess, no fuss.

This is available from two vendors that I am aware of:
DeLorean Parts NorthWest's (DPNW)
Wings-B-Cool™ Cooling System Self-Bleeder Kit
(Includes both auto bleeder and radiator bleeder discussed below - each with a shutoff valve)

Special T Automotive's
Air Bleeder Cooling Lines
(This is what came on my car, and in pictures shown here.)


This is what it looks like installed on the water pump side (black hose, attached directly to fitting):


...and this is the other end of the hose, on th eT-splice (on the left in picture):


2. A radiator bleeder
Remember the pulling, the gushing, the reinsertion of a gushing, small coolant hose in the radiator? Well friends say goodbye to that with this nifty device:

DPNW'sWings-B-Cool™ Radiator Bleeder Kit

This essentially consists of spliced in valve on the smaller (top) coolant hose on the radiator. See picture below:

Now to bleed the system, you just attach a hose to the new fitting (which is provided in the kit), the other end to your trusty little bucket/container, and open the valve to check for air, close it when done, a 1 minute operation, with no spillage.

The burping procedure using these little mods
a) After the fluid is replenished where the level is about an inch or two from the cooling bottle’s neck, start the car and watch the flow. Be prepared to add a little more coolant if the level goes down too much (near the bottle’s internal hose opening. When the fluid level appears to be stable, close up the bottle.
b) With the car still running, rotate the wheels to the extreme right, verify the parking brake is on, and then go to the front passenger side wheel. You should now have visibility and access to the radiator bleeder valve. Put in a clear hose (provided with kit) into the valve, put the other end in a container (see picture).

Open valve, watch for fluid flow only (no air bubbles), close valve, remove hose. Congrats you’ve bled the radiator and you shirt, hair, face, and arms are probably still dry.
c) Turn off the car and come back after it has cooled off.
d) After the car has cooled, open the coolant bottle and check the level, top it off to about an inch above the internal hose inlet. Close it up, and start up the car.
e) Let the car warm up, if all went well, congratulations, the cooling system is void of any trapped air, and as effective as possible.
Optional:
f) If a test drive after step e still produces high temp, then park the car let it cool off. Repeat step b, but DO NOT start the car, just set it up first with the valve open. Start the car, shut valve off after you get a steady stream of coolant only. Remove the hose and container and enjoy your ride.

In closing...
See, much simpler, much dryer, and not even having to mess with the water pump fitting. ...and pet friendly too! (If you haven't heard, spilled coolant will make a curious pet that decides to taste and drink it, either very sick, or worse.)

So, it’s very useful, very effective, inexpensive, what’s the catch?
The only one that I know of, is that while the auto bleeder is happily bleeding air away from your cooling system, the question that should really be asked is: “How am I getting air into a closed coolant system?” In other words, the auto bleeder is actually so effective, that it may mask an issue with the system.

There are two ways to get around this:
1) My workaround to that is a weekly preventive maintenance of checking for leaks on the garage floor and checking your fluid levels. If your car has neither issue, then chances are very good your system is in good working conditions.
2) DPNW's product actually has a in inline valve on the hose to the T-connection. This allows you run it open as you long as you wish, then perhaps on a periodic basis, close it for "normal"/OEM operations. Neat trick. Here's a picture of the valve in a closed position (to set it on "auto bleeder" mode, you would run your car with the valve swung over 90 degrees from where pictured).

Photo courtesy of DPNW.

Keep cool.

Addendum:
"While you're there".... I noticed that the vent line from the coolant was set to drip right on top of the frame. And when it did, it would splatter around the corner of the engine bay. : (
So, a quick trip to Lowe's for a longer and new hose, then a couple of tie wraps later, I rerouted the line so that it would vent underneath the car.
Picture below, underneath, looking up toward the rear tire, shows the the results.



----------------------------------------------------------------------
 If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings.
 Thanks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A nearby lightning strike, and its effect...

It’s my intent to put at least one article here a month, of substantial content.

This month, July 2008, to really enjoy my car my only recourse is the DeLorean Calendar, of which 2109 is featured for this month, because starting on July 5th, after a great drive, I pulled the car in the garage to begin the infamous “Valley of Death” (VOD) work. I’ll do a full write up on why, how, how much time, etc. next month. (PS: I enjoy working on my car, so it wasn’t a total lost month.)

This month I’d like to leave you with this little tidbit. Although it was not DeLorean related, it could definitely apply.

My mother in law was recently driving in to visit us, as she was 100 miles away she got caught in a thunderstorm, with lightning strikes flashing and cracking near her Toyota Rav4. As she waited at a stoplight – there was an instant flash along with a loud CRACK and BOOM!!!! …a lighting strike hit and exploded a transformer on the top of a pole, right by her car. Thankfully she was fine, just startled, but immediately after the energy dissipated, her car would not start. After the storm subsided, a battery jump start got the car going again, but the car’s entire electrical system was acting strangely.

Eventually the car had to be towed in the remaining distance, as it appeared to not hold a charge, and the alarm was messed up, and the power windows, and a few other electrical items. The culprit? See picture, the energy of the strike made it into the electrical system, and melted a link path (cener of picture) in the fuse box!


So, the morale of this story is, if you are caught in a lighting storm in your DeLorean, you may not be sent "Back to the Future", but you may be sent to mechanic/parts store.

>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<

Monday, June 30, 2008

DeLoreans Sold on eBay - 2008 Q2 Update

Last March's I posted a comparative summary of DeLoreans sold on eBay from October of 2006, through that time period.  Today I updated the original posting, to include data through the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2008 (which is today, as of this wriing).

I hope you continue to find this information interesting.

For direct link click here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

DMC's (new) Stage 1 Upgrade: A review

(Updated 07/10/12, added some notes and a video at end of this blog)
(Updated 06/06/08, added video at end of this blog)

Intro:


DMC has been selling and installing engine upgrades for our DeLoreans for a while now. They currently offer two options, a "Stage 1 Exhaust/Ignition Upgrade" and a "Stage 2 Performance Upgrade".

The Stage 2 option is an engine, ignition, and exhaust system revamp that roughly adds an extra 70Hp to a your stock PRV engine. DMCH has previously stated that only engines with 50,000 miles or less, qualify for the upgrade; however, there is a Stage 2 parts only option that is built and delivered on a zero mile crate engine, as a $7125 option.

Parts Kit: "Stage 2 Perfomance Upgrade"

DMC has very recently re-introduced the "Stage 1 Exhaust/Ignition Upgrade" option, which is similar to the Stage 2, but without any engine modifications nor engine mileage restrictions. The Stage 1 upgrade is available as a parts kit, for $2195, or installed at your local DMC affiliate for $2995.
Parts Kit: "Stage 1 Exhaust/Ignition Upgrade"

The original Stage 1's headers and pipes were Jet Hot coated, and while they looked good upon installation, the upgrade got put in hiatus after they were showing premature surface rusting, as the coating was being abrasively rubbed off vehicle use. In order to address this, this second release is an all-stainless solution (headers, with two catalytic converters, a custom muffler, and brackets). Something else addressed was that the previous Stage 1 & 2's upgrades were sounding too "muscle-car" like, which while some liked that, to me (and apparently others as well) this did not sound appropriate for this car, to its European roots (and parts). To address this, DMCH selected a different muffler solution on this version, to get that "European exhaust sound".

I've seen and heard the previous Stage 2 installs (never saw a Stage 1), and it was enough to get me curious on the halted Stage 1 option. Since I have had my car, I felt that our stock exhaust just didn't have the right sound either, especially as you up/down shifted, and the tiny exhaust tips just looked plain silly (I had even added some Pepboy chrome tips to attempt to address that). I couldn't personally justify, or had the pressing performance need to have a full Stage 2 upgrade; however, with this new re-engineered exhaust solution being available again, and a personal financial alignment of the planets, I decided to go for a Stage 1 upgrade.


Here is a "before" picture, taken in the early morning of day of the the trip to DMCFL:


Installation
Part of the joy of ownership for me is that I like to work on my car, and have been doing so for the last few months. However, with our hot muggy Florida days which have prematurely started, a 90 minute A/C drive to Bonita Springs (DMCFL location) for a one day installation, didn't sound like too bad an option for me to justify.

As usual DMCF's staff there is very knowledgeable and professional, in their impressively clean and organized facility (lobby and garage bays). They began as soon as the car cooled off, and in the late afternoon, the car rumbled up as soon as it was all put together. The new exhaust sound was impressive, it just did not sound like the same engine - but the true test would be on the road. If you are wondering about doing this upgrade yourself, it looks like a pretty straightforward bolt-off, bolt-on job, if you are fortunate enough to not have any of the original manifold mounting bolts snap.

This is what the complete part kit looks like...

Contents:
Stainless Headers
Stainless Catalytic Converter (2)
Stainless Custom muffler
Stainless Associated pre-bent tubes, 2.5"
Stainless Clamps (2)
Stainless Mounting brackets, w/rubber isolation mounts (2)
Stainless, Polished, Exhaust Tips
Muffler heat shield
Cold Air Intake kit
K&N Air Filter
Nology Corepack
Nology Wires
Spark Plugs, Silverstones
...and, a Cold Air Intake Kit


Evaluation
So after it's all done and paid for, what does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? What does it contribute? What can it do? ...let me attempt to answer those questions, with specific observation right out of the shop, and with now with several weeks of driving it.

Evaluation 1: Highway Driving
Driving for a very, very short distance in street traffic, basically from DMCFL to the highway, was fun. The car had a very different sound, not tuner, not muscle, definitely a European car sound – more on that later. On the trip home at highway speeds, I was reminded of my last vehicle's exhaust upgrade to our family hauler: a 2000 Expedition, 5.4 liter, to which I converted it to true dual exhaust with Magnaflows – now that, was a muscle car sound (and appropriate for that V8). And I was reminded of it because similarly, there was an approximately 2100 rpm harmonic resonance that reverberated into the cabin. Again, this highway ride was not really the showcase of this exhaust system, as it hummed (sometimes droned) for over an hour around the same revs (low 2000's in 5th gear). At that range, the sound is slightly elevated over stock, and at some points as you press on the accelerator, it is a sound that you can feel all around you.

Evaluation 2: MPG difference
As stated above, the trip to DMCFL for me is about a 90 minute, point to point trip; and it consists mostly of 90% highway (70 mph speed limit) driving. I filled up the tank and cleared the trip odometer just before the inbound trip, and then re-filled up again before leaving DMCFL to a) check my pre-Stage 1 install inbound mpgs, and b) reset to for outbound mpg calculations, with the Stage 1 installed. A few blocks before arriving home, I filled up the tank again, and noted the miles for the return trip calculation.

Results:
Pre-Stage 1: 26.0 mpg
With Stage 1: 27.5 mpg
Interesting. I suppose the more efficient exhaust system, in addition to the hotter spark burn, new sparks, contribute to the slightly added efficiency of the engine. I believe I've captured a good comparison here, as in both cases the conditions were very similar: Full tank fill up (O89), 90% highway miles (same roads, miles), no passenger, A/C air on, no significant winds, and cruising at a more or less a steady 70mph. Still, taking way any unaccounted for, or difference variables, it probably safe to say that Stage 1 is a 5% mpg increase, over the stock exhaust.


Evaluation 3: The look.



The Stage 1 exhaust system looks very professionally done, and in fact is very well integrated to the block, frame, and rear fascia. The O2 sensor is now very easy to access, and the oil filter is still easy to get to.



And even though I haven't checked it yet, eliminating the old system's crossover pipe (behind engine, above transmission), now provides interesting access opportunities from underneath the car, to the back of the engine, by the clutch fork lever mechanism.

Standing, and even crouching, from a few feet away you can barely see the catalytic converters; most of what you can see underneath is the union of the headers to the single pipe that goes to the catalytic converter. BTW: That union/bend is still within the lower limit of the frame. Every time I see them as I walk up to the car from behind, the plumbing reminds me of two snakes with their heads elevated in a rising coiled strike position. The new muffler sits a little lower than the stock setup, and is partially visible from the bottom center lip of the bumper.

Here is a squirrel's eye view of the left hand side plumbing.



The final touch is classy, the polished stainless tips have a "DMC" logo laser etched on the top, and look significantly more impressive than the smaller stock exhaust tips.


There are two things to note that I am iffy about, but these both come down to nitpicking. First is for some reason, the right tip extends out just a little bit further than the left. It doesn’t seem to be in the installation, I’ll have to check that further. The other is that I do not care for the exhaust clamps used to join the muffler to the 2.5 inch exhaust bends. I can try to move them so they expose the bolts less, but instead I will replace that nuts and bolt look altogether, with some stainless band clamps.

The engine bay also benefits from this upgrade. First, both the warm air hose, that rises from the manifold’s stove bracket, and joins up with the stock cold air hose, are removed. This is good because that is a typical eyesore as on older cars as it tends show surface rust. Mine had been long gone, and had been replaced with a similar bypass hose. You have the option of replacing the stock configuration today, with DMC's "Performance Air Intake", or Hervey's "Cold Air Input Tube", or if you search around there are tips on do-it-yourself versions. The Stage 1 kit now includes this, and the look in this area if you had not previously done it, is now much cleaner. Eliminating the old system is not an issue for Southern climate cars, but it may be a bit of (probably minor) an issue for the few cars that are run in colder weather.

Eliminating the old system is not an issue for Southern climate cars, but it may be a bit of (probably minor) an issue for the few cars that are run in colder weather.

There there is the Nology upgrade's contribution to the engine bay, it now adds thick blue Nology wires running to your plugs, along with an associated braided ground cable (one per plug).
.
..of course the Nology powercore is also installed on the vertical wall, and it visually states that this is not a stock setup.

Hmm, as I write this it occurs to me that as far as appearances, you really can't differentiate if this if is a Stage 1 or a Stage 2 upgrade.

Evaluation 4a: Horsepower/Torque
I have no real data, but theoretically there is supposed to be a 8-15 Hp gain by going to this less restrictive exhaust system. I have no real data to track pre and post Stage 1 results, so all I have is a subjective evaluation as follows.
Not often, but I have pushed my car to redline on 1st , quickly then to 2nd to see what she could do (stock). So as a baseline, I kind of know how she responds in a 0-60mph run. Curious as to what this new exhaust system would contribute, I did the same on the same roads I've previously pushed her.
There is definitely an added kick in 1st gear, not a monstrous boost, but definitely noticeable. A quick 1st gear redline, to 2nd gear to 60mph "seemed" and "felt" faster – but again I have no real data, dyno readings, to back that up. Stage 1 definitely contributes a few more ponies of Hp into increased torque…and I suppose if you took the cats out… Disclaimer: not advocating to do this, nor to pull your mattress tags either. : )


Evaluation 4b: Street Traffic Driving
If what you've read so far leads you to believe that this upgrade is just "not all that", well, I have saved the best for last. I drove it for several hours for the next two days after the upgrade, to continue the evaluation. The driving was all local street traffic driving, and this, is where you drive with a smile on your face with this upgrade. First, firing it up in the garage is just so cool, it just goes "baRRRooom" and at first you can't really believe this is your same car, with that sound. Once on the street, the sound of revving up 1st is just plain fun – it's like all of a sudden your car sounds similar to the cars that you admire for their engine sounds. Then, in between passing it on from 1st to 2nd, you are rewarded with another new "foreign" sound, a momentary deep exhaust burble, just before 2nd gear kicks back up the Euro-sonic track. The more revs you pull the cooler the sound effect…there goes that gas mileage improvement! And my favorite effect so far, by far, has to be a slight tap of the accelerator as you coast slowly in neutral, "VRrooommm": totally pointless, but totally cool, and totally previously unachievable. In fact as I pulled into a gas station I did just that, and as I came out of the car some young kid in a spruced up Acura stopped to say my car was "Gangstah!" …yeah, I'm going with that was a compliment.

This upgrade is most definitely best appreciated, tuned for, street driving.


Summary
So there it is. Was it worth it? You will have to make that decision for yourself, for your own reasons, for your car; however, for me it is a resounding: "Yes." Not only am I (still) driving a DeLorean, but now a DeLorean with a really great sounding exhaust. To me the Stage 1 upgrade adds significantly to the overall driving pleasure, and ownership experience.

...and PS:
I hope everyone enjoyed a great Memorial Day today.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update (06/08/08)
I tried taking videos of the exhaust system from the outside, at idle, etc., but they were all pretty boring. Although this video is in "shaky cam", I believe that this one best conveys how the new exhaust system sounds to the most important critic - you the driver.

In the video the D starts from a near dead stop, is shifted up to redline on 1st gear, then quickly shifted to 2nd up to 60mph, and then drops to Neutral (listen for cool "burble" sound) to a coast.

Here is the video:




...ok, ok, here is the standard driveway idle and rev shot:




-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update (07/10/12)

So it's been over 4 years I've had this Stage 1 system installed in the car.  Since then, there are other options out there ( http://www.specialtauto.com/index.html ,  http://www.deloreanindustries.com/ , http://www.deloreans.co.uk/shop/carparts/index.html ) for similar systems.  In addtion DMCH has modified their Stage 1 from as described here: Nology system no longer included, and the muffler is slightly smaller.

Still I have enjoyed this modification/upgrade to 2109 very much.  Four years later I still smile listening to the exhaust sounds as I row the gears, and I can actually chirp the rear wheels on a turn - both very non-stock attributes for a DeLorean.  I recently made an in car video compilation of three different type of throttle performance sounds.  Here it is, hope you enjoy it.







-------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The RPM Relay – A modern update

(Edit 02/21/16:  Updated links for Dave's website of related products.)

RPM Relay, a synopsis
The RPM relay, resides in your fuse/relay area. Physically it is a small boxy plastic case made either by Bosch (black), or Volvo (green). In our cars a thick wiring harness plugs into to it, just above the fuse box, under the door lock module. The RPM Relay’s function is essentially simple, as long as it senses a tachometer signal (engine use), it supplies power to the fuel pump. Additionally it also provides power to the warm up regulator heater, and it turns on the main fuel relay (Lambda relay). When the RPM Relay goes (or starts to go) bad, your cars stops dead due to no lack of fuel being pressurized into the system. Now, guess what part on a DeLorean is (still) a notoriously high failure part? Answer see 1st and 2nd words in sub-title above.

If your RPM Relay fails on the road, there are some options to get get you home.
One thing you can do, is to remove the RPM Relay and jumper (a thick paper clip will do in a pinch) terminals #30 and #87; this will supply constant power to the pump. This is only temporary as it will affect ECU/Lambda controlled fuel mixture, and overall is probably not safe to run for an extended period. John Hervey's SpecialTAuto site has an excellent reference of this emergency jumper solution here.

The other option up to now has been, to carry a spare RPM relay. Just in case.
Available at:
SpecialTAuto: here
Your local DMC affiliate: here
Remember though, these have the original late 1970's/early 1980's design.

Well, now that we are in the new millennium, we have a new option thanks to Dave M. (an electrical engineer and an active DeLorean community participant), aka “Bitsyncmaster” on DMCTalk and the DML. Read on...

Dave’s re-engineered RPM relay
In February of 2007, Dave sketched up plans for a modern update to the notorious RPM relay. His schematic replaced commonly used 1980’s discrete components with a modern solid state components and a micro-controller/processor. To really appreciate the difference between the original design, and Dave’s, look at the picture below (my old OEM relay on left, and Dave’s version - click picture for larger view).


The old relay reminds me of the results of an old Radio Shack electronic kit, and the new one just looks so modern with its really tiny surface mount components. Beyond duplicating the basic function, he also added an optionally active “Hot Start” feature. This will actually prime the fuel system, for 1 second at 1 hour intervals when the car is parked. Some consider this a controversial feature because it is workaround, to a different problem that needs to be fixed. Again, it’s optionally enabled by the user, and this could mean the difference between a drive-able car or not, at least until the complete fix to the problem is addressed.

Features of the Re-Engineered RPM Relay
Back to the main feature of the this new RPM Relay design. There are some very big difference in this new and modern relay:
a) Less current draw: This new design draws 16ma on ignition, and 20 ma in operation. The original relay draws 260ma. That’s a 92% reduction of current on the new design!
b) Eliminates a constantly energized coil: In the original design this relay maintains a constantly energized coil when it is on, this function is now replaced with solid state components (the differences are visible in the picture).
c) Less heat: Since the original relay sucks up more current through the discrete parts (see coil above as an example), they generate more heat. So much so, that you cannot touch the internal components on the original relays after a long drive. The new design, on a similar drive, runs barely warm. I know because I performed that test with the two designs.

To anyone who has dealt with electronics and reliability knows, the three benefits above, translates directly into a now significantly more reliable part. Cool.


Cost
As of this writing Dave is currently asking $75 to upgrade your old relay, along with a refundable $50 "core" charge. The upgrade consists of a completely new and professionally made circuit board, with modern components soldered in, and using your existing case and connector.


RPM Relay in use
I have been running this relay as a beta tester for Dave, since January 2008 (5 months as of this writing). In that time, I have driven my car every weekend on either 10-30 mile cruises, or often to longer distances to local car shows (including during high 90+ degree Florida days). In that time we also took the car on a 600 mile round trip that included 3 hours of continuous driving. The relay sits quietly in its place, performing its function, and frankly I have forgotten that it is there - which is exactly what this part should contribute to our cars.

Summary
Hat’s off to Dave and his improved design of the RPM relay, this is an excellent one person contribution to the maintenance and continued longevity of our cars.

These kind of upgrades are typically not as “fun” as other things that you could add to your car: You plug it in, and apparently you don’t really “get”, or see, any noticeable improvements. While that is true, you should consider this a preventive maintenance, a reliability improvement, an upgrade. And while those are often not “sexy” upgrades, in the end, it is money well spent on your hobby/passion/baby (as it were).

If you’d like to consider or purchase one of the new solid state relays from Dave, you can contact him at: http://dm-eng.weebly.com or PM “Bitsyncmaster” on DMCTalk.org.

Edit 01/03/09:
One Year Update
My solid state RPM relay is the oldest production unit in operation. It has been running without incident now throughout an entire year, including some near 100 degree ambient Florida temperatures, and several 3+ continuous hour trips. Many other owners have now been running Dave's relay with similar excellent performance.

Edit 02/21/16:
Eight (!) Year Update
Yup. Still all good. Great product, a must have if you own a DeLorean.

>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<

Sunday, May 4, 2008

DeLorean Clock : Gallery of owners' updates

It has been almost a couple of months that I published the "The DeLorean clock, a modern update" blog post.

In that time I have been enjoying my clock on every ride that I take, as well as have corresponded with a few other owners in their upgrades as well.  As they've installed their now functioning clocks, the feedback from them has been very complimentary as to the work that was done by Dakota Digital, and the overal look after installed.  Here are a few pictures and feedback that I have received:


Bill S.
"I am a very happy camper to have such a nice looking clock that really works.  I was able to get the clock back into the "D" today and it looks fantastic. WOW. It was worth every penny they charged and more. The look is great and your instructions made the hook up childs play. I am delighted to have a working clock.  I actually like the no holes in the clock face look better than the original set up."


Jon in Spain.
"Installation was very easy."


Bruce in California
"It looks great. We did a car show this past weekend with our club and all were impressed with my new clock! Some thought it could never be done."


If you would like to replace your current non-working DeLorean clock, this seems to be a very good alternative. 
Check the link above for more details.
And if you do make the upgrade, zap me over a quick picture for this gallery. 

Thanks. 


>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings.<<<

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sticky power window switch fix

So my son is driving and I am riding shotgun one pleasant Florida winter, and I decide "Hey, kill the air, let's roll the windows down." I tapped each power Windows switch until the windows go down, no problem… until I smell this really awful smell. Awful in the sense that, this is not good, this cold be really not good. So we pull over right away and sniff around but the odor was gone by then. Later when we pull back to the driveway of our house, the windows would not go up.

After removing the fuse/relay panel, fuse #11 which is part of the power window’s circuits, was blown, in fact the plastic on it had deformed(!). Replacing it, it blew again, which led me to the switch. For some reason, the passenger’s side switch, was sticking on the rear part of the center console. What had happened was that as I pressed the switch, and released it to stop the window motor (typical operatoin for these cars), the switch is meant to swivel back to it’s neutral position. It didn’t, it got stuck and the motor blew the fuse. The switch took a lot of the heat, and actually melted the mating connector as shown below (the connector in the back, is the passenger's side).


Two fixes required:

First I had to replace the connector, this is not a common part so I had to go with shielded female spade lugs. I tightened the spades sideways with a pliers, to ensure that they engaged into the switch firmly.


Secondly I had to stop the switch from sticking. Looking at it in detail it could be a tolerance issue, either the switch or the openning for the switch or a combination of both, contributed to top button touching the center panel when it was depressed. As you can see in the picture, there isn’t much of a gap as installed - especially in relation to it's neighbor switches (window defoger and driver's side window switch).


The spacing is so close that it actually stayed stuck in the down position. So, my solution was to move the switch a tad bit forward. To do this I Dremel-ed the opening just a bit, at the short side of the opening. Then I put an inexpensive, flexible spacer (a heat shrink tube on electrical tape, below)  on the rear side of the switch, to get the spacing required between the switch and the console.


The fit was snug, but the switch now moves freely in both the up and down positions – no more sticking.

Once those were done, the fuse held and it has been working great.

I suggest that you test your current switches for no interference with the panel, in order to prevent a similar scenario.

>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The DeLorean clock, a modern update

The first DeLoreans, up until about VIN#s 6000, came standard with a center dash panel mounted digital clock. For some reason (cost savings?) the clock was eliminated and all DeLoreans produced afterwards came with a modified center panel that did not include a cut out for the clock. Unless your DeLorean had a later, or after market radio which had a digital display, your car would not have a digital clock display.

My DeLorean being a relatively lower VIN series production car, came with a clock, but it had stopped working for many years back. The previous owner had tried to repair it, but the clock was pretty well out of commission. There are may DeLoreans with orignal clocks that either do not function,  or are malfuctioning; apperently the years have taken its toll on this component. Since I have had the car I have been looking for a clock solution, and after many dead ends, I believe that I have found a suitable compromise: a modern, functional, retro and near OEM good looking console digital clock.


Our current clocks:
Our current clocks seemed to have been sourced from an 80's existing application, the clocks on the Lotus Esprits. The two pictures below are of the housing, and opened up you will see the main circuit board/display. The clock's DeLorean harness connector is shown in the left picture in the upper left (a four wire, white cylindrical connector).




If you're interested in looking for the just as out of production and rare original Lotus version, (and lucky enough to find it), it will work with a small modification. The Lotus clock is a near exact duplicate part, except the end connector is different. For your reference, the Lotus Part # is: A089M6034F.

Repair/Replacement options that I tried were:
* Reanimating the current dead clock – no good, possibly delaminated circuit board traces or bad components.
* Utilize an older Ford Thunderbird digital clock – no good, extra wires were tied into the corresponding OEM stereo.
* Found another older digital clock, simple to wire, but it would not fit in the envelope of the current clock.
* Searched the internet for any remaining old Lotus Esprit clocks (same clock).
* If you could find one on eBay, they would typically sell in the $200 range, and that was a still 25 year old clock.

Then I got a tip from a DMCTalk posting, about digital meters by a company named Dakota Digital, digging around their website they had a “custom” option.

An alternative: A new digital clock.
A few conversations with them, some special instructions, the results came in the mail.

After installing it I have to say that I am 99.99% pleased. The clock is bright, readily visible, looks nearly original, and is really, very useful when driving - especially if your current radio does not have a clock display.




The Good and The Bad.
As stated earlier this is a compromise solution, and perhaps not for all. So allow me to discuss the pros and cons that I can see.

Cons:
* Since Dakota Digital uses their proprietary existing clock design/circuit board (in picture below) in replacement of the original clock, this requires modifications to the center dash panel.


The panel removes easy enough (tip: write down the wire colors for the three wires of the rheostat - or take a picture), especially with a manual transmission shifter. The original mounting studs on the panel are replaced with larger brazed studs, and a dark bezel is glued on to the dash (details seen below).


* Dakota Digital’s existing clock design has the time adjustment buttons on the left side, as opposed to the bottom on the original clock. For this clock you then have two options, you can have them put the set buttons on the bezel on the left of the clock, or you can have the buttons mounted remotely (see picture below) – I chose this options and ran them for access, under the dummy switch. For you concours guys, this may be a significant difference.  




Tip: See those red/black buttons, they are small plastic caps that are lightly press fit, on top of the spring loaded trigger buttons that set the time. I suggest that you remove them (just pull up on them), before you route them through the console, since they can come off quite easily especially when you "fish" the wires up though the console hole, as shown. Once you have the triggers where you need them, you can then easily pop back in the red/black caps.

* In order to hook into the existing clock connector, you either have to cut the harness connector and splice the new clock into it, or alternatively, you can cut the existing connector of the original clock, and splice it into the new clock and then just connect the harness to the clock connector. (Wiring notes further below.)
* The fit of the center console, is a little snug - just make sure you tuck all wires away from under the clock when re-installing the center panel. Unless you know where to look, you would never notice. 
* This clock will add a small (2mA) load to your car when it is off (to preserve clock time) - normally not a big deal, but it will add an additional drain and these cars have been known to, if grounds aren't clean, loose a battery's effective charge in 1-2 weeks w/o use.

Pros:
* You now have a modern, working digital clock – and it is useful.
* The display dims with headlights on, like the original.
* Relatively easy to install.
* ALL Vins can utilize this. The Vins that originally had clocks in them (roughly up to the 6000s), can directly plug the new clocks in using the connector options above. I am sure that the higher Vins that never came with clocks, still have the clock connector; these came with the center dash consoles that did not have the cutout for the clocks, so it would need a new plate – but guess what? DMCH has these in stock, so you could easily purchase a new plate, move the rheostat and assotiated bracket from your existing to your new plate, and then send it in to have the clock built in. If they did finally remove the clock connectors in the later VINs, the hook up of these new clocks is pretty straight forward (battery power, ignition power, ground, and optional light dimming).  
* Attention DMC: With this solution, you can sell your new DeLoreans, with clocks.

OK, you are sold, what’s the next step?
Dakota Digital has now made two of these clocks for me, what I have done is to send them my center dash (I had a spare) as pictured above, with my original clock mounted on it for volume references.   
UPDATE (03/31/08): 
Just confirmed with them, you only need to send the panel, they do not need the original clocks as they now have the volume requirements defined. Just to be safe, make sure the original moutning studs are on the back of the panel so they can reference locations.
If you have any doubts/questions on your panel, call them up to discuss it.


My main contacts there have been Scott (Sales) and Justin (Custom Shop), both have been cordial, responsive, and overall very pleasent to deal with. Their contact information is here I suggest you call and speak with either of them (tell them Ozzie says "Hi" - btw: just in case anyone is wondering, I have no ties nor profit/gain from recommending them), for any specific Dakota Digital information and to coordinate your retrofit. By this point they are familiar with the DeLorean clocks so it is just a matter of sending above and following further instructions below.

Once they receive your panel, they typically call you back with three questions:
1) Color preference of display (Teal is best match to original),
2) Location of time set buttons (so far I have chosen remote), and
3) Credit card for payment of $135 plus S/H, to your address.

They seem to able to turn these around within two weeks. I did ask about a group buy, but they said since this is custom work, they are all still being made on a one by one basis.

INSTALLATION 

Removing existing center panel (two types):
The center panel used on both applications of shifters (5 Speed or Auto) is the same, their removal however is slightly different.
On a 5 Speed: Unscrew the shifter ball. Remove the two screws at the bottom of the panel.  Rotate panel up and back from the rear, lifting up, while simultaenously moving the shifter boot above the shifter.
On an automatic: I haven't done this, but there is a good walkthrough here at DMCTalk.com

Wiring
Per notes above you will have to decide to splice into your existing clock connector, or directly into your harness wiring.

You will find this connector either just under the front of the center panel, or if not visible, it is most likely pushed in under the A/C panel.  If the connector is not visible when you remove the center panel, the worst case is that you may have to remove the center console (relatively easy job), in order to have better access at it.



Interestingly enough, I have been getting feedback that even the latest VIN#s, still have the clock connector even though the clock option was eliminated. This is significant because this means that ANY DeLorean can have this clock mod, as long as you have a center panel with the appropriate hole for the clock (tip: in stock currently at DMC, Part #108240). If you are going to swap your existing non-clock panel for this panel, you will need to move the rheostat, rheostat bracket, and the side trims.

The splicing configuration is as follows:

DeLorean Harness:   1) Black  2) Purple(x2),  3) Green/White, 4) Red/Orange 
DeLorean Clock Connector:  1) Black, 2)  Red, 3) Green, 4) Blue
Dakota Clock:  1) Black, 2) Orange, 3) Red, 4) Blue

Just match the numbers above, depending on your wiring preference.

Example 1: If you are hooking up the Dakota Digital Clock to the original clock's connector, the new clock's Orange wire, would be spliced into the connector's Red wire.

The picture below is an example of this wiring:

(The blue and red sleeves above are heat shrink tubes, on a soldered splice. Tip: don't splice so close to the connector as above.)

Example 2: If you are not going to be using the harness nor the original clock's connector, then I suggest you use shielded spade/lugs, and mate per numbers; for example, the Dakota Red wire, to the harness' Green/White wire.  Doing so will allow you to remove the center panel if you should ever need so in the future, without having to cut the wires.

For reference, these are the DeLorean's harness clock wires, and their function: 

Green/White: 12V, with ignition on.
Purple (2x): 12V, constant (for clock memory) 
Black: Ground
Red/Orange: Dimmer

Disclaimer: The above wiring configuration worked for my VIN# harness, wire colors, for my application. Please use this as a guideline only and make sure you verify your own wiring first. If you car wires melt while you do this, I will feel bad for you, but you were warned - seriously, worse that can happen is you'll blow Fuse #11, or maybe damage the clock, but just be cautious messing with the electrical system if you are not sure. If you are not comfortable there, then get a fellow D owner's assistance/expertise to assist.


Summary:
I believe this is a good solution to dead/malfunctioning DeLorean clocks. DMC had stated that they would not be remaking clocks, so unless you have seen another solution this may be the only one out there. Let me know what you think.


***** NOTE (03/25/08) ******
I am writing this posting from The Traders Hotel, in Changzhou, China at the end of a long business trip day. When I get back to the states I will upload the pictures above. Oh, and get this, guess what room number I am staying in? I am in room number: 2109. What are the odds of that?

***** NOTE (03/30/08) ******
It is SOOOO nice to be back home. Since I've got a 12 hour jet lag, I have just updated some text above and have uploaded the majority of the pictures. Feel free to email me if you have any additional questions.


UPDATE (June, 2008): See a picture gallery of other owners who have put this clock mod, into their own DeLoreans. Click Here.


>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DeLoreans sold on eBay

DeLoreans Sold on Ebay: 2012 Q2 Update

I may be late posting, but I have not stopped collecting the data, so… here it is a summary and notes of 69(!) months of eBay sales of DeLorean.

My last updated was at the end of 2011, so this update represents the first six months of the year.  The results are always interesting to dissect and speculate, here is what I see in the data.



Looking at the trend line:  You can see an undeniable trend for the last 18 months of upward (increasing selling price).  DeLorean prices seem to have recovered from the 2010 dip, paralleling the state of global economic conditions during those times.  However, in Q1 and Q2 of 2012, there has been a very steady, and moderately steep, rise in sold prices; incredibly, the rise is the most significant since I have been tracking this data since Q3 2006.


Looking at the table:  Here we see the details of this rise in prices.  First we note that in the first two quarters of 2012, the quantity of sold cars is on track to match the 2011 numbers (total sold in 2011: 69, and most sold was in 2008: 82) 

Then we see that the average price (this is the number that is graphed above) in 2012 so far, is a healthy (or alarming I suppose depending your status as buyer or seller) 10% increase from last year.  The trend seems to be that every year the average price of a DeLorean sold on eBay is tickling closer to $20K for a running decent Delorean in non-project condition.  

Interestingly enough, the lowest sold running one that will require labor and parts it get to back to a decent condition, jumped up 32% from last year  - this, and the increase in good condition cars, could also be attributed to the fact that more and more DeLoreans are being restored. This is again evidenced in the spread of selling prices, where the Standard Deviation (“SD”) is showing the narrowest range in 2012, than I have ever recorded since I’ve tracked these sales.

Finally some anecdotal data for 2012 Q1-Q2: By States, the most cars sold were in California (9), then a tie with Florida (4) and in New York (4), followed by Ohio (3).  The lowest Vin sold was 982, highest was 20059. Lowest miles: 997 (which was the highest selling so far in 2012, at $31K), highest: 100K.

That's my summary, stop back to see how the trend for the year finishes.



(If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.)

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DeLoreans Sold on Ebay: 2011 EOY Update

Happy New Year!  Here is an update to my tabulation and summary of eBay sales of DeLoreans, for the past 62(!) months, or just over 5 years. The results are always interesting to dissect and speculate, here is what I see in the data.


As the chart shows, in 2011, we saw the largest annual trend rise that has been recorded in the last five years.  Notably Q3 and Q4 had a good share of $20K+cars sold.

From my perspective in the States, there are some signs the economy is moving ahead. The signs are sporadic, but they are there in that while there isn't the wild amount of cash being thrown around, it is being put out when the right product comes along (examples: pricey iPhones, Hyundai and Ford cars). Apparently this may apply DeLoreans as well, based on the ebay selling price trends in 2011.


The Table shows the tabulated description of this upswing, where with respect to the previous year, the selling price:
  • Average increased by 10%, which is also the second consecutive year of positive increase double digits this year.
  • Lowest sold, as I track them these are non project/drivable cars, and you can see that on eBay the lowest priced running cars have gone up, nearing $10K now.
  • Highest sold are typically the outliers, but you'll note that one car sold for just a wee bit higher than last year’s high seller, and the histogram shows that there were two $30K+ cars sold.
  • Range/SD: The difference in the spread between the lowest and highest sold also increased in 2011.
  • Skew: The histogram illustrates the selling prices are clustered around mid to high teens.



Some final breakdown of 2011 sales:

By States sold in
California (9)
Florida (8)
Ohio (6).  

By Vin#
Lowest: 719
Highest: 16874

By Miles
Lowest:     1,700
Highest: 111,000  

By year
1981:55
1982: 5
1983: 9

Summary
So that's the 2011 numbers and analysis, as I always say this is not the definitive description of how DeLoreans sell in general, but it sure is interesting to see the trends on eBay.  

Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, happy, and prosperous 2012.


(If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.)

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2011 Q1-Q2 Update

I may be late in posting, but I have not stopped collecting the data, so… here it is: 57(!) months of eBay sales of DeLoreans.

My last updated was at the end of 2010, so this update represents the first six months of the year.  The results are always interesting to dissect and speculate, here is what I see in the data.

Looking at the trend line: 

The upward (increasing selling price) trend that was noticed in Q3 and Q4 remained for the first half of the year.  The dip in the trend parallels the global state of the economy, where recession ruled, for nearly a year from May 2009 to May 2010.  It appears that as far as DeLoreans go, selling prices continue to pick up, albeit, at a slow pace. 

Looking at the table:  

While the trend in prices has a gone up, the table shows though that the amount of cars sold is low compared to the previous year.  At the half of 2011 there were less cars sold than in 2010. Perhaps this means that there were more bargain hunters OR more were tempted by the lower selling price of DeLoreans in 2010.  In the many, many months I have tracked these sales, 2011 Q1 and Q2 definitely showed the least amount of cars sold in a month than previously seen.

Checking my previous updates, at the last update I wrote:
“If you wanted to generalize based on this data, the average Delorean on eBay in 2007 sold for $18K, in 2008: $17K, in 2009: $15K, and in 2010: $16K …will we see the average sale back up to $17K in 2011?”   
Well, it looks like we may be headed that way. In 2011 you can see that the trend of the average car sold is actually 5% over the previous year.  So far this year cars sold averaged nearly $17K, which is almost back to 2008 levels. Even the lowest purchased cars (must be running cars to make this data) jumped up to 10% from 2010, again paralleling close to 2008 levels.

By States, the most cars sold were in Florida (6), followed by California (4).  
The lowest Vin sold was 725, highest was 16874. 
Lowest miles: 10K, highest: $95K (which coincidently was Vin 725).




2010 EOY Update (Posted January 15, 2011)

Sorry for the delays, but here is the data on eBay sales of DeLoreans, cut, sliced, and summarized. Below is an update to reflect a 51 month period, of DeLorean DMC-12s sold on eBay:


Graph:



Table:

Summary:
The 3rd and 4th quarter of 2010 saw a rise in the selling prices of DeLoreans on eBay. 

Details:
So what happened in 2010 with respect to the sales of DeLoreans on eBay?
Well as the data shows:
  • Per the trend line, Sales seem to have followed “The Great Recession” in that a slight recovery was noticed in the 3rd and 4th quarter. 
  • In 2010, the amount of cars sold were  56% higher than the previous year, and nearly matched the amount of sales in 2008.
  • Whereas the maximum, average, and low selling values in 2009 were less than 2008, in 2010 all three indicators were higher than 2009.  This may possibly be a reflection of slightly stronger consumer confidence (in other words, there may be more buyers out there now).
  • By States, the most cars sold were in California (11), followed by Ohio (7), Florida (5), and Arizona and Michigan (4 each).


In closing...
If you wanted to generalize based on the data tracked here (don't count 2006, it is not a full year of data, as I started gathering it only on the last quarter of that year), then the average Delorean on eBay in 2007 sold for $18K, in 2008: $17K, in 2009: $15K, and in 2010: $16K …will we see the average selling price back up to $17K in 2011?  Keep checking this blog, as I’ll continue to post quarterly updates.




Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.




(If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.)

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2010 Q1 Update

























































Below is an update to reflect a 42 month period, of DeLorean DMC-12s sold on eBay:







































Summary:

















2010 Q1 Ebay Sales:



















As the graph and table above show, the last quarter seemed to have found the bottom for DMC-12 sales on eBay.  There is a notable pickup this quarter.  Here is a summary of observations:








  • In just the first quarter of 2010, there were 21 DeLoreans sold, which is nearly half of all D's sold in 2009 (52).






  • All measured stats (low, avg, high) are double digit increases from all of 2009. 






  • The most expensive DeLorean sold (6032, $33K) was more expensive than any D sold in 2009.






  • Recorded 4 consequitive $18K sales in two weeks (20074:$18K, 6460:$18.5, 1035:$18.2, 4113: $18.3).






  • The most cars sold were in California (5), followed by Michigan and Arizona (with 2 each).


In closing...







The US economy seems to be very slowing improving from 2009, and consumer spending appears to be shadowing that as well. While the numbers above certainly support that, I also would not discount at least two DeLorean selling in the $50K range at very public auctions, which may have influenced recent (and future) selling prices.


Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.

(If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.)





2009 Q4 Update (EOY)
Below is an update to reflect a 38 month period, of DeLorean DMC-12s sold on eBay:





Summary:

Ebay sales were still shadowing the economy, as DeLorean sales on ebay remain in the flat, if not actually have found a slightly newer bottom. In short: the buyer's market prevailed in Q4.

Q4 saw:
Four more cars sold in Q4 (15), than in Q3 (11).
Selling States sold most: CA (4), IL (2), IN (2)
A new low for a running car in needs work, at $8,500.

2009 saw:
Only 63% of the amount of cars sold, in 2008.
A double digit drop on Max, Avg, and Lowest cars sold, than in 2008.
(For example, the average selling price in 2009 was $14.8K, and $17.4K in 2008; that's a 15% drop, but don't fret a 14% drop for our cars in dollars is nothing compared to a 15% drop for a Ferrari.)
For the 3rd year, the maximum selling price did not go below $30,000, which was for a concours-like 200 mile car, sold in NY.
Statistically interesting is that the grouping of costs of cars sold in 2009 was very close to what it was in 2008. This is an excellent statistical characterization of an overall shift towards lower prices, in the range of the amount of the cars sold ...which we can again blame on the economy.


In closing...

I am generally optimistic about 2010. We won't bounce back fast, but I do believe overall the economy, and DeLorean sales, will be better.


Worth repeating:
"If you have a DeLorean for goodness sakes drive it, enjoy it, and maintain it. If you are considering selling it, delay it if you can, to maximize its earning potential. If you are a buyer, there are some great deals on eBay --but just be aware that they will require additional expenditures to keep them running reliably."



Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.



>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.




2009 Q3 Update (09/30/09)Below is an update to reflect a 35 month period, of DeLorean DMC-12s sold on eBay:













Summary:

It was a slow quarter for ebay sales of DeLoreans, as only 11 auctions completed with sales. The 2009 Q1-Q3 trend compared to all of last year shows an average selling price 15% lower, although the lowest priced cars were similar in comparison of the two periods. At the high end, the highest selling DeLoreans are selling at 25% lower than last years maximum selling price.

Looking for the silver lining, we can see from the graph that the decline in selling price trend (2007 Q4 through 2008 Q1), seems to have found its bottom and has somewhat leveled off.

Last year in Q4 there were 16 cars sold, if that number is matched this Q4, that will only be 2/3 of the cars sold in 2008. Based on the current economic climate and consumer spending trends in the US, 2009 may be the year of the least DeLorean sold on eBay in the last 3 years.

If you have a DeLorean for goodness sakes drive it, enjoy it, and maintain it. If you are considering selling it, delay it if you can, to maximize its earning potential. If you are a buyer, there are some great deals on eBay --but just be aware that they will require additional expenditures to keep them running reliably.



Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.

>>> If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.<<<


2009 Q2 Update (06/30/09)
Below is an update to reflect a 32 month period, of DeLorean DMC-12s sold on eBay:













Summary:

Is there a glimmer of a recovery here? My 2nd order polynomial trend line was starting to lose refinement with the data, so I upped its resolution with this update. The graph above represents the revised trend line (no change to data other than added all of Q2'09).
Looking at the data with this more refined trend line, it now seems to show a wee little positive shift in trends of ebay sales. The shift up is driven by the dots above the trend line, and with one specific outlier discussed below. It is interesting to note that in Q1, there were some nice DMC-12s that moved through ebay, at bargain basement prices. In Q2 though, nearly 25% of the cars sold were $20K or over cars. Contrast that with 2008 Q4, were the percentage was 13%. Now, we did also see one outlier of a sale, a DeLorean sold for $39K, one that amazingly was a 205 mile odometer car. So the combination of both those sales, put a slight positive trend to DeLorean sales on eBay. It would be great to see this trend continue - keep stopping by to check out how it goes.



















Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.




2009 Q1 Update (03/31/09)
Below is an update to reflect a 29 month period, of DeLorean DMC-12s sold on eBay:





Note: Starting with this update, I have entered the total number of cars sold per year, per update.

Summary:

Reflecting our global recession, where so many either do not have the funds, or are holding back expenditures for these type of buys, the 2009 Q1 sales activity on eBay of DeLoreans, followed similar trends.

The average selling price was 13% below 2008, and this was attributed to most of the activity being at the lower end of the selling prices. This point is really highlighted where you can see that the maximum amount for a DMC-12 sold in Q1 2009, was almost half of the previous year’s.

Don’t be misled by the amounts though, as this does not indicate that only “project” cars were selling. On the contrary, some of the cars sold in the high teens appeared to be in very good condition, inside and out. Granted you never really know what you get on a long distance sale, especially if you don’t see/drive the car first, but I do evaluate each sale for the condition of the vehicle, and I can see that cars selling between 17K-20k USD were easily 20K-26K USD cars a year ago. ...and a few of those were leaving the country due to a weak(er) dollar.

If there was a glimmer of hope in the selling value of these cars, it is in data not summarized here that occurred in Q1, in that some spectacular DeLoreans (condition, options) were offered, and bidding on them went into the high 20’s, but they did not meet the sellers’ reserves. So I suppose that this means a) for the right car the money is out there, and that b) certain sellers will not give away these type of cars, even in a bad economy.

Let's hope for a turnaround in 2009, and not just a turnaround in car values.


Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.




2008 Q4 Update (12/31/08)
Below is an update to reflect a 26 month period, of DeLoreans sold on eBay:







Summary:

Whereas we saw a generous double digit increase in average selling prices in 2007 from 2006 (+13%), 2008 to 2007 showed a very slight decrease (-2%). Considering the type of year 2008 was with respect to the economy (US and global), compared to stock portfolios and 401Ks performances in this same year, it really wasn't too bad of a drop. You will note above that the low end of cars sold, was also down (-7%) from the previous year, unlike a large rise (+23%) in 2007 compared to 2006.

This year was a buyers market for many item and not excluding DeLoreans, there were some beautiful looking cars that sold in the $17K-$20K range. However, whereas I have only tracked closed bids, it was very encouraging to see that at the end of 2008, there was some active bidding on 1981, 500 mile beauty (#3446) that went up as high as $28,889 - but did not meet the reserve price; as well as a $39,999 closed sale of a similar condition 1983 (#16558). That may be an indicator that top notch cars (low miles, concours type) are still holding a good value.

Let's hope for a turnaround in 2009, and not just a turnaround in car values.


Disclaimer: eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends.
Edit 01/01/09:

I've had a few people ask, so here are some quick Q/As on this data:
1) The 26 months of data consists of a total of 197 closed eBay transactions (which is an average of 7.5 cars a month - although the 2008 rate was 6.5 cars a month.)
2) Yes, all cars in the database are running cars, I exclude from this data any car listed as "non running" or "project cars".
Previous posting, and explanation of the table and graph is below:
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2008 Q3 Update (09/30/08)
Below is an update to reflect a 23 month period, of DeLoreans sold on eBay:




Summary:

eBay sales do not define the DeLorean market, but it sure is an interesting indicator of trends, especially as it parallels US consumer spending.

The graph shows a slowdown to Q1 and Q2 gains from 2007, where the average selling price now in 2008 is essentially as it was in 2007. It's a buyers market, and there were some very nice looking cars, relatively low miles, sold in the $17K-$20K range.

Previous posting, and explanation of the table and graph is below:
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2008, Q2 Update (06/30/08)

Below is an update to reflect a 20 month period, of DeLoreans sold on eBay:






Previous posting, and explanation of the table and graph is below:
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…is a curious thing. See the chart (click on it for a larger view) below? I have been tracking every DeLorean sold on eBay for almost a year and a half. (Yeah, I’m funny that way.) Anyway, the graph does show interesting trends for these cars with respect to how they sell on eBay.



First some caveats about the data:
  • The data/graph points are only for closed sales.
  • The line represents a best fit, to the grouping of individual data points (sales).
  • Data/Graph is only for operational vehicles, listing which stated “project” or “non-working” cars are not tabulated. So, all these points are of drivable cars.
  • Other than above, I did remove a $39K sale of a low 500 Vin car, because it was re-listed, and never closed on eBay.
  • The 2006 data starts on 10/15/06 (i.e., not a full year of data)

The percentage is the change from the previous year. For example, the average selling price in 2008 is 4% above 2007, and in 2007, was 13% above 2006.

Miles (odometer reading) data shown, is for all data collected (2006-2008).

"SD" = standard deviation, basically an indication of how spread out all the data is (smaller the number, the closer all the sold values are to each other)


Looking at this data you can draw your own conclusions, interpretations, and observations. Here are a few that I have come up with.
  • The slump since Sept 07 could be one of two things 1) it really follows our national economy which is currently heading for, or in, a recession. In fact the largest gap for a DeLorean sale has taken place between February and March of this year (on any week there are typically at least 3 cars for sale, often more.), or 2) is it a seasonal thing? More data will help to clarify.
  • Average sale prices (solid line on graph) seems low, but that may be due the unknowns associated with purchasing on eBay – I am sure there were some bargains here, as well as some less than advertised condition vehicles.
  • The high sale data points, above $25K, were exceptionally good looking and well detailed listings of the condition, especially the maintenance history, of the car being sold.
  • While all these represented (advertised) drivable cars, the under $15K cars all needed some amount of either cosmetic or mechanical work.

I have more details on the cars sold, contact me if you’d like to see some additional information (vin#, overall condition, mileage) for any particular point.


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If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings. Thanks.