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Norton, MA

Buttoning Up the Engine Bay

Repairs and Maintenance Blog

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. 

Buttoning Up the Engine Bay

Joe Angell

The engine was fully installed and connected, so that left me to put the rest of the car back on around it, notably the engine cover and the louvers.  This is purely mechanical and pretty straight forward.  As for the rear fascia, that would have to wait until I had the muffler installed.

Engine Cover

Before I mounted the engine cover, I replaced the old black grills with new stainless steel grills, and the old rusted retaining strip with new stainless steel ones.  The old strips can just be pulled off with pliers and the grills pulled out.  I started installing the new grills, but the strips wouldn't quite sit flush against the grills, allowing them to rattle around.  To work around this, I bought some self-adhesive foam rubber weatherstripping and stuck strips along the edge of the grills, then pushed the retaining strips on.  This worked great, and held the grills without any rattling.

The foam rubber weatherstripping I used.  Two rolls were enough for the entire engine cover.

The stainless steel retaining strips on top of the some foam to keep the strips from rattling.

The final install of the grills and strips, as seen from the underside of the cover.

The engine cover hinges are attached to the car itself through the fiberglass of the engine bay.  If you're replacing the hinges, you'll need the parcel shelf back out, as that's where the nuts go on.  Everything here is M6, so a 10mm socket is all you need.  In the engine bay, it's really just a matter of holding up the cover while you line up the hinge studs with the holes, then slide on the washers and the nuts and tighten them down.  The hardest part here is holding the engine cover in place with your shoulder while you line up the holes and get the nuts on.

The center piece that holds the cover up is attached with two M6 bolts as well that go into rivnuts into the body.  Once the hinges are attached this isn't too hard to get into place, although you're still holding the cover up with your shoulder while you get the bolts in,

The driver's side engine hinge with new stainless nuts installed.

The final install of the engine cover.

The hold-up bracket mounted to the engine bay.


The louvers mount to the body from two arms positioned under the roof.  On each side there is a block with two studs that goes through the arms and into the louver itself.  I was out of M7 nuts, so I used M7 nylocks to mount them.

There are also the two lift pistons that keep the louvers up when they're open.  These again use M7 nuts.  You'll need two wrenches here, one to hold the inner nut and one to tighten the outer nut.  The assembly of nuts and the rod they are mounted on spin freely against the piston itself, acting as a spindle or hinge.

Engine cover, louvers, air intake -- pretty much everything installed except the exhaust and the fascia.

Rear Fascia

At this point I built a new muffler system, which I've detailed in another post.  After that, it was time to re-install the rear fascia, tail lights and license plate.

This is really just the reverse of taking it off.  I hadn't removed the wiring from the backing piece and the fascia, which meant I had to move them as a single piece into position.  This wasn't much trouble at all.  Just be sure to check for the marker light wires and the engine latch; I wound up taking the backing off three times because I forgot something.

First, attach the backing to the brackets on either side of the engine compartment.  This goes in with two sets of nuts, bolts and washers on each side, and requires a 13mm socket.  My backing also had two screws that went into the fiberglass.  I don't know if this was standard or after market, but they didn't seem necessary to me, so I left them off.

With that in place, attach the engine latch with two bolts and a 10mm socket . The cable for the latch is much easier to connect before bolting the latch to the backing.  It just slips into the groove on the latch.  If you're not sure which side is front vs back on the latch, just remember that the cable pulls towards the driver's side to open the latch, and it should be pretty clear which way to install it.

The release cable has a clip that just slips onto the edge of hole in the backing.  Simple enough, but it seems to work.

The two nuts and the threads of the bolts that hold the backing to the driver's side can be seen in the center of the picture.  The cluster of three holes is where one screw goes through the backing into the fiberglass.  The cable on the right is for the engine cover latch.

Final installation of the backing.

The final installation of the engine latch, with the cable connected in the proper orientation.

Next connect the marker lights to the harness.  I had previously installed blade connectors on the marker light wires, and had to replace the wire on one and fish the other out of the fender where it had fallen.  I also connected my aftermarket high-center stop lamp and backup sensors.  Luckily I'd labeled most of the wires when I'd taken everything apart, but there were a couple I had to look up from wiring diagrams.

With that out of the way, the fascia can go on.  Make sure all the wires are actually above the bumper when getting it lined up.  The top of the fascia should slide over the top edge of the backing, and the studs on the far left and right sides inside the fascia should slip over the groves in the backing.  There is also some simple metal framing underneath the car that the fascia sits on; if the fascia goes over it, it won't seat properly, and you won't be able to get the bolts in.

The two bolts for the backing and the three nuts for the fascia studs can be seen through the tail light assembly cutout.

The edge connector for the tail lights attaches directly to the circuit board.

Six black Philips screws hold each tail light to the bumper, and four more secure the license plate holder. 

I installed the seven Philips screws along the top edge of the fascia first, then the two screws on each end of the bottom.  I was unable to install the three middle screws due to how close my muffler sits to the plate behind the fascia.  I used flat washers on each screw in all cases.  

Finally, there are three more nuts and washers on each side that install on studs on the fascia, securing the sides to the backing.  These use a 10mm socket.

The tail lights install easily after that: connect the edge connector to the circuit board, and turn the six screws through the holes int he tail light assemblies into the fascia.  The license plate is equally easy, with just four screws.

The very last thing to do is to plug backing the black bulkhead connector for the tail lights.  I actually forgot to do this, and it took me a moment to realize why my tail lights weren't working when I tested everything.

And that's it -- everything's buttoned up and ready to run.