Saturday, July 20, 2013

The DeLorean's Glove Box Lighting

Let's start with a picture of 2019's glove box, contents, and LED lighting (excuse the dash mat, just trying to preserve a good dash).


Like all modern cars DeLoreans have a glove box, which is used to to store almost anything but gloves.  Not  all cars have glove boxes with lighting, but the DeLorean does. Granted this is an area of the car of neither much concern nor usage, however, this area has been known to drain batteries if the connections aren't correct (this light socket gets power even with doors off), or if (the incandescent) light is accidentally left on.  Also following my past LED conversion, it was a candidate location for an LED upgrade -- and it turned out to be a trickier conversion than most other socket/bulbs.

Bulb Type

As I mentioned on the previously written LED conversion blog entry, this is not a common bulb, but it still can be found.  If you are looking for the incandescent replacement, search eBay or Google for a "12V T10 bulb".  The "12V" is important because this bulb type use to be typically used on lower voltage, small flashlights.

If you'd like to replace this bulb with an LED, the similarly search for a "12V T10 LED", and you'll find options. Tip: Don't go with one that has a large bulb-side, or it may not fit.

Blog Recommendation Verification

I was motivated to generate this simple blog entry because I read that other owners had trouble fitting in the glove box LED recommendations that were on my blog.  This made me curious and caused me to a) check my LED solution in the glove box, and b) to test out the bulb that was written as a recommendation.

What I found was:
a) I was using an LED bulb which I sourced at the time, but is no longer available; however, it was working, and the fit was, fine.

b) I purchased the bulb recommended on my blog entry, and tried it out myself. The issues that other owners mentioned, was that this bulb was too long, and it would not fit.  Using that same bulb, it did in fact work out great, but in the process I may have stumbled on the reason others had issues with it.

Glove Box Housing

Ah, the late 70's and early 80's were a different time.  Multiple little parts that today are replaced by one single part, was acceptable back then.  And there in lies a potential issue, the glove box housing is made up of six separate parts, that can actually be assembled in different ways(!).

...and let's start out with that.  Here is a picture of the blog's recommended LED light, with the housing removed from the glove box.

As you can see, there is NO way that lens will attach to the housing. The LED is just too long. ...or is it?
I have purposely incorrectly reassembled the housing incorrectly in the picture above, to demonstrate a point: It will fit fine into the glove box as pictured, and maybe you may have to bend the electrical pins a little, but it certainly works this way.  Except the lens cover will not fit in this configuration.

Here in fact are all the six parts of the housing, with the same bulb...
You can see that the LED bulb's threads are still sticking about the socket, and I did not even have to tighten it very hard, but in this configuration, it still fits and works properly, as seen below.

Re-assembling it back as correctly, and powering it up on the bench...
...shows that the bulb fits, and lights up (very brightly, with this LED).

Glove Box Housing - The Proper Re-Asssembly

Since I had that previous picture, I took the next step and put some re-assembly instructions on it, as follows:

Just remember to reconnect the terminals in the rear, to the two associated connectors.  (Edit: If it doesn't light up upon re-installation, reverse the connectors to the terminals - polarity at the terminals doesn't matter for an incandescent, but it does for LEDs.) When the day comes to replace the bulb, you may be able to do so by removing just the front clear lens, but I even with the incandescent I would just remove the entire assembly shown - it's very simple to repeat once you do it once.

So, there you have it, the LED solution for the DeLorean's glove box.  I am at peace that the information that I've previously published is good, as I am now using the same bulb.

As always, if you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Smooth shifting on a 30+ year old car.

Smooth shifting on a 30+ year old car.

I once drove a very low mile hardly driven DeLorean, and I was a bit surprised how it shifted as compared to mine. When I shifted on 2109 for as long as I've had it, it always seemed to mechanically clunk at the linkages and seemed very loose compared to that other DeLorean that I was driving.  I made a mental note to look into that one day.

Fast forward a several years and fellow DeLorean owner Mike (aka: Mike the Lotus Guy, Mike the parrot owner guy, Mike the zany IT guy) last week posts that he just changed the bushings on his DeLorean, and how great it shifts now ("My Elise wishes it shifted so well").  That triggered that mental note I made some time ago, and made me look into this further. Looking at the parts it seemed straight forward enough, and I contacted Mike with a question on access. His response went above and beyond in that he offered me a seven step how-to/tips of how to change the bushings. Very cool, Mike.

So I ordered the parts and waited until the weekend to start it. I completed the job in about half a day (I don't work fast, so factor that), and the results are indeed very rewarding, the car now shift much smoother, much tighter, you can really feel the bushings in the linkages contributing to all this as you shift.  Another good thing about this small project, is that it is a very inexpensive job in terms of parts, and very straight forward for you do-it-yourself types.  

(Sorry, not a lot of pictures here as I usually do, and of the few that I took most were not terribly usable - but again the results here more of an improved feel and performance which is difficult to capture in pics or video.)

Parts Required:
100775: Bushing, Rubber  (Total 4 required) - #8 on diagram below
100776: Bushing, Sleeve  (Total 8 required) - #7 on diagram below
SP10025: 4 M8 x 1.25 nylock nuts, (Optional, to replace the originals.) - #6 on diagram below
At the time of this writing, less than $40 in parts. Interestingly both the sleeves and rubber bushings are listed as "DMC Improved Parts".  The rubber bushings that came out of my car were different, inferior I would even say, that to these new ones.  The sleeves were the same, and as I have a very complete list of work history on 2109, and don't see these ever changed, I may have had original parts. 

Reference above at:  DMCH Web Site


The list that Mike sent me is below (used with his permission), I added my notes as to my experience and a minor optional deviation, prefaced below under "Ozzie:"

So here goes:

Ozzie: Obviously, lift the car for access to bottom. As always use proper safe methods. If you use stands only, at least shove some tires underneath just in case and try not to bump into them as you wiggle your way under car (think of the game "Operation" here).

1. Change the bushing on the shift rod at the transmission. Easiest one. 17 mm wrench on the bolt side, 13 mm wrench on the nut side. Use ratchets; the bolt is long.
Ozzie: I concur, this was a cinch.  My only other recommendation is to ensure that you replace the rod in the same way it came out, so you don't change the working linkage adjustments of your system.

2. Working in the accumulator port, change the two bushings in there. Just a 13 mm ratchet needed here, as the shift rod ends sit on studs in there. Go ahead and tighten up the nut for the rod that goes back to the transmission after changing the bushing.
Ozzie: Ah the accumulator port (access hole), I have mental scars from an accumulator replacement many years back in my garage: car inches above your chest, limited arm leverage to works, fun.  But this was different, the clevis, or "Bellcrank Assembly", where the two link rods rotate from is not entirely visible from below the car, but easily enough accessible by hand and to work it with a ratchet wrench.  As for replacing the bushings at this point, I concur as he wrote. Once you figure out the best way to wrench it, it is very straight forward.  

3. Only barely thread the nut on to the stud that the shift rod going to the shifter assembly sits on. This will allow much greater movement in the next step.
Ozzie: This is where I deviate a little from Mike's suggestion. What he wrote works, but I found it easier to just remove the shifter rod, remove old bushings and leave it disconnected. You'll see why below.

4. In the car, remove the shift knob, undo the two screws holding the shifter cover down. Remove the shifter cover and the shift boot.
Ozzie: Yup to above. And when I looked at what was under there... well, I'm getting ahead.

5. Use a 15 mm socket to remove the bolt for the pivot fork on the shifter assembly. Turn it sideways and you'll be able to pop out the clevis pin for the left/right shift cable.
Ozzie: Yup to above, work slowly here and try not to drop the small parts (clevis, pin, washer) down in to the frame.

6. Remove the four nuts holding the shifter assembly in place. 10 mm.
Ozzie: Yup to above, again.

7. Lift the shifter up, and wiggle it past the hard lines, etc. That will get the shift rod up high enough to undo the bolt & nut to change the bushing.
Ozzie: Mike's notes end there, and you can see why, which is fine. However, this is where I changed it up a little.  What I found under the shifter boot, which I've seen before and knew that someday I would address it, was a lot of dirt and filth attached to the grease on the shifter and nearby areas, like a very dirty visible part of the frame.  So for me, the entire shifter had to come out for a clean up of it, and the area it mounts in. Since I left the linkage loose at the clevis, I pulled the shifter up and completely out, without a problem.

Now with the shifter out, i was able to a) very easily replace the bushing and sleeves, and b) clean off the assembly and apply some lithium grease to the moving parts.

Now all that remains is an added step, since I removed the shifter assembly:

Step 8.
i) Put shifter assembly back in place, guiding its linkage rod back from where it came from.
ii) Reconnect the clevis pin hook up, and then check for shifter for functionality.
iii) Go back under the car and "fish out" the shifter rod by feel, now use the new sleeves and bushing and tighten it up on the clevis pin.
iv) Check a) your work to ensure all it tight under the car, and b) the shifter is traveling to the shift points as required, and if so, then lower the car, and button up the shifter assembly and for a ride.

What I found.
In general, the rubber bushings that DMC now sells are certainly better than what came out of my car. The new rubber bushings have 90 degree flare edge on both ends, the ones that came out of my care only had it on one side.

Except at the transmission side, all the other bushings sleeves that came out of my car were in very good shape. The sleeves on the tranny side, since it is the most exposed to the elements was pretty beat up.

Rubber bushings:
The bellcrank ones were not too bad really. However the tranny side rubber bushing tore itself part upon removal because it was pretty well aged (again, the one most exposed to the outside).  The big surprise was the shifter's rubber bushing, it was pretty worn and obviously contributed to a lot of sloppy side to side play that I had been driving with. (BTW: Mike also confirms similar findings on his car.) No doubt this was the link that was the sloppiest and mainly caused the mechanical clunking sounds. While the other three get just rotate in place, this one rotates at different angles because of the shift points, so it gets the roughest treatment.  
Picture shows old bushing and sleeves from the shifter rod end as they came out, and the new set installed.

Thanks to Mike for posting this quick fix, and for reminding and motivating me to get it done.  This is truly a big bang for the buck job, in the upkeep of these cars.

As always, if you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the "Best of" postings