The DeLorean needs routine maintenance and the occasional, more significant refurbishing. Beyond that there are also a number of customizations and upgrades to improve performance, reliability and functionality.
Angle drives break after five miles in my DeLorean, so I haven’t had a speedometer in years. Instead I built a clip-on digital one that picks up pulses from a Hall sensor passing by a VSS ring mounted on the rear axle, an Arduino, a 3D printed case and an Adafruit seven segment LED display backpack.
The A/C compressor can put a lot of load on the engine, which can be an issue when your car has idle stalling problems like mine does. I did a common MegaSquirt II modification to add A/C idle up support to my DeLorean.
Adjusting my door striker pins so that the doors no longer rattled and latched properly was actually pretty easy. The oil change should have also been easy, but a bad oil filter and a lost oil vapor separator hot in the way of that.
My old R12 system is very likely completely original, but after 35 years or so it developed an unknown leak, most likely at the evaporator. Since I had a new engine that required a new compressor, this seemed like a good time to replace the entire system and convert to R134a. Step one: getting the old system out.
I did another once-over of the car and found a few more issues that needed to be addressed: a failed blower motor, a confused coolant temperature gauge, more exhaust noise, more tuning, and more transmission leaks.
This post is the rough sequence that I used to get the car idling with TunerStudio, and then getting it driving. Something like this would have helped me a lot when I was trying to figure this out myself.
My first drive uncovered a few issues — stalling on acceleration and deceleration, excessive exhaust noise, bad brakes, TPS issues, a broken key, a squeaky belt, trouble starting in Park, a broken oil pressure gauge sender, fixing closed loop idle, replacing a leaking fuel line, fabricating a bracket for the oil dipstick tube, and running out of gas. Here I get all of those fixed, and finally bring the car home.
Diagnosing ignition issues led me to replacing the original bulkhead connectors used for the EFI wiring with a single, modern weatherproof one. This included building a new mounting plate with appropriately-sized holes for both the new connector and two of the original connectors.
I swapped out the old radio with a new double-DIN unit with a touch screen and Apple CarPlay compatibility. This was a it tricky, since the center air vents are where the radio needs to be. I relocated them to the knee pad and wound up needing to build a new air distributor to get the radio to fit.
Everything is pretty much done, so it's time to set up the initial MegaSquirt tune with TunerStudio. I also had to hook up some remaining cables, add fluids, fix a coolant leak, drain some bad gas, build some brackets and do a few other bits before I could finally turn the key.
After waiting too long for a muffler, I decided to build my own using off-the-shelf parts, with minimal welding and no bending, with the end goal being to have as quiet of an exhaust as I could make... within the bounds of every aftermarket part being labeled "performance", that is. It came out pretty good, but I have yet to hear what it sounds like...
Before I could wire up Josh's harness into my car, I needed to understand it, as well as make a few modifications for the automatic transmission and my particular car's electronics. This meant creating a new wiring diagram, after which I could replace the old engine wiring with the new and move closer to getting it started.
I'd installed some Dynamat before, but only in easily-accessible areas. With the electronics trays behind the seats removed for the EFI conversion, I had the opportunity to install Dynamat there as well.
Now on to the electrical modifications. The spark plugs go in pretty easy, and the coil-on-plug system fits just like the spark plug boots normally would. Before I could go any further than that, I would have to remove the old engine ECUs and related wiring to get ready for the MegaSquirt installation.
Vacuum routing on the 3.0L engine is simpler than on the 2.8L engine. In part this is because I removed the charcoal canister, so I no longer have a vapor recovery system (although I may add one later). I needed to hook up four things: the climate control vacuum reservoir, the automatic transmission vacuum modulator, the brake booster, and the MegaSquirt MAP sensor.
In order to pull the old ECU wiring, I needed to get under the center arm rest. This isn't particularly hard; it's mostly an issue of finding all the bolts, disconnecting all the wires, and making sure to move the harnesses away from the sides of the armrest before lifting it out.
The door struts are really easy to replace, but I spent a surprising amount of time trying to get the clip into the bottom of the strut in until I finally rotated it to point away from the car. After that the top end went on pretty easy. If not for that bit of trouble, this would have taken just a few minutes.
With the bottom of the engine swapped out and the top of the engine cleaned up, it now had to go into the car. Overall this wasn't too complex, beyond the trick of getting the transmission aligned with its mounts. It went pretty smoothly all told.
The fuel system was fairly easy to install. After relocating the fuel filter to the engine bay, I put the new fuel injectors into the fuel rails and mounted them back on the intake manifold, and installed that back on the engine. I built two new stainless fuel lines with AN-6 connectors to run from the rails to the existing hardlines in the car.