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Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/19/21 2:39 p.m.

In reply to mblommel :

It wasn't galvanized as I understand it, but I could be wrong. Regardless, it certainly rusts quite nicely...

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
4/20/21 1:02 p.m.

A friend of mine has wanted one of these forever, and was going to fabricate a new stainless frame for it (we work in stainless). If you need scraps for brackets or rods or whatevers, lemme know, I'll send you a box.

Cool project, interesting to see how it's made. Good luck

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/20/21 1:17 p.m.

In reply to llysgennad :

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind! There will definitely be some things that I'll probably fab up myself since they'd be simple and cheaper to make myself than buying them from one of the vendors, but I haven't gotten far enough to figure nearly all of that out and I'll probably try and do as much of it at once as I can since I'd be greatly helped by re-joining the local Makerspace to use their equipment and would save me money to only keep the membership up for as long as I need to make the parts.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/21/21 9:10 a.m.

So, I didn't get much of anything done yesterday on the car since my arm was so sore from getting my second vaccine dose in the morning, but I did get a few pics of the body up where it will be for the next month or so.

Also, not wanting the day to have been a complete waste (and since it's going to be a few days before it's warm enough to work comfortably in the garage again), I went around and soaked every nut (and nutplate) I could find in Kroil in hopes of making it easier to pull everything off the frame.

First order of business when I get back out there will be pulling the radiator and all of the A/C stuff from the front end. Then will be pulling the front suspension off and getting a good look at just how bad the rust is on the front extension and the lower part of the front frame.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/21/21 9:42 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun (Robert) :

While I have no personal experience, it's been drilled into my head here & elsewhere that you never want to trust a car on concrete blocks & definitely don't want to risk your life by crawling underneath it. Please build some wood cribbing before you turn a wrench on it. 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/21/21 12:01 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

I won't actually be doing anything with the body itself beyond pulling the AC which doesn't require my being under the car. The main work I'll be doing is on the frame, which is sitting on the ground (on my transmission jack in the front and two wheel dollies under the lower rear shock mounts), and pretty much everything I need to do on that (or plan to do) before pulling the frame out from under the body is done from in the wheel wells and mostly not under the suspended body.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/24/21 4:27 p.m.

Making slow progress. Thursday I was able to get the radiator & condenser assembly removed and set aside, and hit everything with Kroil again.

Today I started in on the front suspension- specifically the driver's front. Before I got too into it, I took some pictures of the reason that the car was parked in the first place:

The last one really shows the problem the best- this is the furthest forward on the driver's side of the frame, the front 'horn' of the front frame extension or 'crumple tube'. Forward of that rusted through break in the frame is one of the front sway bar mount points, and the steering rack is mounted just aft of where it is rusted through. The radiator is also supported by the front of that 'horn' on the frame, so if it had broken through at the top as well (which is also rusty) it could have not only compromised the front suspension but also the steering and dropped the radiator onto the ground under the car.

The 'good' thing is that the front extension is its own part separate from the frame- it's welded to the frame. The bad parts are that a) the frame around there is pretty bad as well, so there will need to be a lot of repairs made to have good solid metal to actually weld to, and b) that the frame extension itself will likely be the single most expensive individual item I'll need to buy, costing around $1500 depending on where I get it from and what material is used.

I was able to get the driver's front suspension completely pulled, which was good progress. Here it is before getting too far:

And here it is after pulling everything:

And a close-up of the rust at the bottom of the frame:

The more I get into this, the more I think that I am not going to have much choice but to outright replace the frame- but I'll save making that call until I have the frame out on its own and really get a good look at everything as a whole.

Another disappointment I encountered was the fact that apparently the Spax adjustable shocks that I put on the car almost exactly a decade ago are apparently shot, or at least the driver's front one is (meaning I'll need to at least replace the front pair). As annoying as this is, in reality it has been 10 years, even if they have just sat there for most of that (which may actually have been worse for them). I'll have to decide whether I want to get another set of fancier, adjustable shocks or just stick with the stock ones (which are a lot less expensive). I'll also have to decide how far I want to go in replacing and refreshing things... I'm obviously replacing all the ball joints (didn't do that before), and will probably be replacing the bushings on the control arms as well (don't need to do the sway bar, since those were new polyurethane ones put in when I refurbed the car initially). Interestingly the front wheel bearing seems to be in good shape- but I'll likely replace it anyway since I have everything apart. One thing I'll have to weigh is whether I want to get the machined aluminum control arms that one of the places sells or just stick with cleaning up and adding the reinforcements developed for the stock ones.

Thankfully the DMC-Europe front lowering springs are still in good shape- they don't even need to be repainted. But... just the ball joints that clearly need to be replaced alone are almost $150 together and both sides will need them, so this is definitely not going to be cheap (not that I had any illusions it would be...).

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/24/21 5:13 p.m.

If it makes you feel better,  the spax shocks i put on the duster are all blown after less than 3k.

berkeley spax. I think I trust gabriel more now.....

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia SuperDork
4/24/21 6:09 p.m.

Has anyone drawn up the Delorean frame so you could have the pieces waterjet cut ?

How is the stainless body attached to the steel frame ? 

With that much rust , you must not be the only one fighting this battle !

Good Luck with it ....

 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/24/21 6:22 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

I have a 3D PDF of a full-blown CAD someone in Europe developed of the frame (basically, a 'lite' version of the full CAD file, since he is working out how to/if he can monetize his work). If the frame is simply repaired, it will likely just be using sheet steel bent as needed and then welded to the original frame.

The 'stainless body' is in reality just a sheet of stainless over a formed plastic underbody- if you look through some of the pictures you can see this fairly well (the ones of the back after the bumper was removed are good for this). The plastic forms the bulk of the body itself with just the stainless skin over it, and that plastic body bolts to the frame at a dozen or so points.

This is a battle many other DMC owners have fought- and there are many different ways to deal with it. If not too extensive, you just cut back to good metal on the frame and chip off the epoxy coating, weld in new metal, and then use POR-15 to seal it back up. There are also replacement frames available from several sources- though none of them remotely inexpensive. And I'm still toying with having a custom frame built- something that has appeal due to being able to design the engine mount specifically for whatever engine I use vs. having to make an adapter for the stock mounting cradle.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
4/24/21 8:11 p.m.

There were lot of DeLoreans here in Columbus since Big Lots owned the company from '85-'90 and the cars and parts were kept Downtown (now part of the Arena District). People were telling me stories of the frames being all rust by 1997. Both the old owner of my buddy's dad's company and the owner of my elementary school had them. I remember getting mulch on it when I was "carpet bombing" the parking lot from the playground equipment. My buddy's dad watched them scrape and knock the rust and epoxy off the frame when the company owner brought it into the shop to inspect it. Odd Lots and Big Lots locations gave them away as a promotion.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/25/21 5:37 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Big Lots owned the remnants of DeLorean?

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
4/25/21 3:45 p.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/25/21 5:48 p.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Thanks, that was awesome to read!

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
4/25/21 7:13 p.m.

This reminds me, do you still have my copy of "On a Clear Day, You Can See General Motors"?  I don't need it back or anything, just want to make sure I know where it is.

 

 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/26/21 7:43 a.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

Yes- it's sitting on the bookshelf behind me here in my office. I still need to read it... -_-

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/26/21 9:35 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Yup- the story of how things got from DMC going under to their current state with DMC-H(ouston) having all of the inventory and rights is pretty common lore among DMC owners.

It's interesting as well looking at the state of parts availability and vendors now vs. even a decade ago when I was initially working on getting my car on the road.

  1. DMCH (Delorean.com) remains 'the' place to get parts- if you're looking for a stock part (whether it's NOS or a reproduction), DMC themselves are probably the place to go. They don't sell that much in the way of aftermarket or upgrade parts- there are only a few things that they sell like upgraded shocks/springs and different 'Stage' engine upgrades. Generally the lowest price for stock parts.
  2. DMC-Europe (delorean.eu) has much of the same original parts as DMC-H but at a higher price (and it has to be shipped from Europe). They are a lot more forward about 'tuning' and upgrade parts, especially when it comes to stainless replacements for stock parts and handling enhancements (they were some of the first to develop the 'outrigger' stiffening supports for the front LCAs). They're the only source for a few things, and where my car's current front lowering springs came from as they were the only ones offering them at the time.
  3. DeloreanGO (Deloreango.com) is I believe somewhat of an offshoot of DMC-EU or at least sources their parts from them (and in some cases, supplies aftermarket parts to DMC-EU. Less expensive than DMC-EU, but more expensive than DMC-H. They have some nice upgrade parts but their site is by far the least organized and most difficult to find parts on.
  4. DeLorean Performance Industries (deloreanindustries.com) is one of the oldest of the alternatives to DMC-H, and has one of the widest ranges of aftermarket/upgrade parts, both making their own (all the way up to having made a run of stainless steel frames...) and pulling them from other places like DMC-EU and some of the more obscure, focussed vendors. Their parts have always made it possible for owners to customize more both in terms of performance and appearance (the two-tone leather seat covers in mine came from them), but there are a number of people who complain that the quality of the parts and testing of them for longevity can be lacking. Personally I've not had too bad of an experience dealing with them- there was a billing problem when I put in multiple orders once but they resolved it quickly.

There are a number of smaller vendors who tend to focus on one or two particular upgrades (for example drayron.com makes several steps of upgrades for the tail light boards, lsdelorean.com makes kits to swap LS engines into the cars, etc.) as well.

 

 

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
4/26/21 9:54 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun (Robert) :

Depending on your skill level and tools vs money to replace the frame

If it was me I'd make cardboad templates of the bad areas, fab replacement parts, cut the cancer out and weld it all back together. Take your time and it can even look original. However I will say a full custom chassis would be awesome.

As for your suspension parts if sticking to original frame: ball joints, shocks, arms....I'd research what the car needs for a handling improvement. Taller ball joints for camber gain? More camber or caster adjustment? Arms weak and need more strenght? Shocks are easy to order custom if there's std mounting types on both ends.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
4/26/21 10:19 a.m.
Ashyukun (Robert) said:

In reply to eastsideTim :

Yes- it's sitting on the bookshelf behind me here in my office. I still need to read it... -_-

No worries, I still haven't gotten around to reading the Bruce Campbell book I borrowed from you.  laugh

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
4/26/21 10:46 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

I never knew that, but makes seeing seeing the relatively large number of DeLorians running around here.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/26/21 11:23 a.m.

In reply to asphalt_gundam :

The only additional wrinkle (besides the fact that some of the locations may be pretty complex to have to recreate) is the existing, largely worthless, epoxy coating. There's little doubt from what I've seen that it's not worth trying to save it at all- it needs to be stripped off and the frame treated in some way to prevent everything from rusting again.

Even if I build a custom frame, I'll still be replicating all of the suspension attachments- I'm not going to try and reinvent the wheel (no pun intended) there. The suspension was designed and tuned by Lotus and it's never been bad per se- just that the weight and the power holds it back, and the parts are pushing 40 years old. There are weaknesses (the aforementioned LCAs) but also parts available to either reinforce those weaknesses or outright replace them with updated versions (like the billet aluminum LCAs available).

What I do is going to be a balance of what is necessary/wise to do and what I can afford to do-  I could easily spend more than outright buying another DMC would cost if I don't try and budget a bit.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
4/27/21 7:03 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun (Robert) :

Industrial job shop or a heavy equipment manufacturer for getting the frame sand blasted clean. Should cut right through the old epoxy. Same for paint/sealing afterwards. I did this with mine and its tough. Can hit it with a hammer and it just dimples a little without exposing bare metal.

Complex areas of the frame can be done as multiple pieces and then all welded together. I like to put extra welds on the back side of a joint if I want to shape it to a radiused edge in order to keep the strength. Card board templates of the frame in easy to make size/shape/bend should get you really close. Then cut out the cancer and make more templates if it couldn't be reached before. Such as internal gussets that need replacing. Assembly can be reverse or whatever combination will get the best finished product in the end. If the frame thickness is 1/8 or close a bench top manual shear can make real fast work of cutting simple panels and bench vise for bends.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/27/21 11:23 a.m.

In reply to asphalt_gundam :

According to the 3D PDF of the frame, most of it is 1/16" sheet... which honestly seems a bit thin to me. I'll have to take some measurements of my own of course- which will in many cases be complicated by the rust and the places that aren't still having the epoxy coating. Most of it though isn't that thick, so I was expecting that with the metal shop at the Makerspace at my disposal cutting and bending whatever I needed wouldn't be that difficult.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia SuperDork
4/27/21 11:54 a.m.

Do you need to make braces for the body before you take it off the frame (whats left of it ) ?

I guess your real hope is that the guy with the cad file releases it ,  do you need all of it ? 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
4/27/21 12:22 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

The body and frame are already completely separated- it's just that I can't move the frame out from under the body until all the stuff for my wife's non-profit's yard sale is out of the garage (about a month from now). The body is plenty stiff on its own, and the frame is as well (or should be, the front extension is not the most solid but that's why I'm doing this in the first place).

How badly I need the full CAD file will depend on what route I go down with the frame. If I just try and repair my existing frame, it's not really needed much at all besides perhaps confirming the thickness of the metal (which I can do with some effort from the 3D PDF). If I try to design or have designed and built a custom frame for it, having the full CAD would be nice because (being the structural analyst that I am) I would want to run loads on the original frame make sure that the new frame was at least as capable. And of course if I end up finding that either of those options would cost more than simply getting a new frame (i.e., they would both cost more than $10k), the CAD wouldn't be needed at all.

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