Category: Mechanical
Posted by: Derek
Quite a delay posting these pictures but better late than never. This is the remainder of the suspension job that was finished along with the front frame rust repair and the rear suspension shock replacement. See the previous two posts regarding paint and touch up techniques used.

When compressing the front springs I recommend Harbor Freights compressors on the sides along with a third compressor from Autozone (with a wider grip on the hooks) in the front for added safety or a chain.

FSUSP6.jpg

Control arms and hub were taken off as one piece and painted. Upon reinstall I added DMC Europes lower control arm reinforcing brackets. They definitely make the car feel more solid, especially in turns and stopping. I highly recommend adding them if you are already taking apart your front suspension.

FSUSP7.jpg

Some before and after shots once everything was reassembled.

FSUSP2.jpg

FSUSP9.jpg

And a few more pics of everything cleaned up and painted.

FSUSP13.jpg

FSUSP14.jpg

Aug 03, 2010: Front Frame Rust Repair

Category: Maintenance
Posted by: Derek
For those that have not seen it, here is my previous post and how-to instructions on frame rust repair: "How-To: Fixing Frame Rust"

During the front suspension work I wanted to take the time to touch up the remaining frame rust on 10084 that has been present since I purchased it over 5 years ago. Because of its location it was very hard to reach when I initially was doing the frame touch-up, but with all of the suspension components removed it was much more accessible.

Some things I have learned since my previous frame rust post: ACE Hardware Smoke Grey paint is a closer match than the Krylon I initially used. Also - a cordless drill with a wire wheel brush helps speed up flaking epoxy removal.

Here are some pictures of the front areas from the drivers and passengers side during the repair. You can see the POR-15 as it stands out as very silver compared to the frames grey color.






And for comparison, the before and after pictures:








Category: Mechanical
Posted by: Derek
I have had a set of front lowering springs sitting around in my garage for over a year now along with various replacement parts, and several months ago picked up a complete set of front and rear shocks. Decided it was finally about time to at least begin the project. With a whole week of evenings to myself I decided the best bet would be to do the rear first as I knew it would be the quickest - I had only a bit of frame touchup to do, where as the front has several areas I wish to perform rust touchup on as well as more parts to replace.




I had picked up an external 'clamshell' type spring compressor a year ago expecting it to make this job easy. I was wrong. Luckily a friend had given me the bolt type external compressors as a Christmas gift. I recommend also renting an extra set from your local auto parts store as it may make it easier if you don't get the angles just right. You need to compress at least 4 coils to remove the springs safely, and I recommend cutting your spring compressor bolts shorter so you do not interfere with any parts on the car. Also do not forget to lubricate the spring compressors with motor oil - this will make it much easier.



Once you are sufficiently compressed, loosen the lock nut from the top of the shock and remove. Loosen the second nut a bit to give the shock some wiggle room. Now remove the large bolt and nut through the hub. You may need to tap it back and then back it out of the shock. Be careful - if there is any tension in the spring it will 'pop' off the bolt when you back it out far enough. Now your shock is hanging from the top bolt. Ensure that the spring is loose from the top shock tower and the bottom cup. Remove top nut fully and drop down/remove assembly. Now remove spring and back off compressors. I decided to keep the rear springs and repaint them. I sanded and cleaned, quick primed, and coated with a black enamel gloss.



I used an abrasive wire wheel on a drill, 60 grit sandpaper, and a screwdriver to chip off loose/cracked epoxy. It was mostly on both shock towers right on the edges. I sanded down until I was at bare steel, prepped and painted with POR-15 rust proofing. I also used simple green on the frame. This picture is the 'cleaned' frame and POR-15 coated rusty areas. The POR-15 sections are the shimmery silver spots along the shock tower.



I then used a Smoke Gray spray paint that can be found at Ace Hardware. Its the perfect match for the original frame epoxy. I gave two quick light coats to cover the POR-15 and also the frame discoloration.



Re-compressed the spring and began the reinstall. I found it easier to not compress the spring as much and instead use the shock height adjustment to help bring the spring up into its full position. If you are not using adjustable height shocks you will have to compress a bit more than you did for the removal. When adjusting my shock height I added a few drops of motor oil so the shock cup did not grind into the adjustment ring. It also made adjusting much easier.



Category: Mechanical
Posted by: Derek
Parts needed:
- Fuel pump
- Fuel screen
- Hoses
- and any other part you wish to replace while you are 'in there'. Refer to DMC part diagram 2-1-0

Tools needed:
- Flat / phillips screwdrivers
- 7mm, 8mm, 10mm, 19mm socket & wrenches
- Torque wrench
- Adjustable wrenches
- Shop towels
- Siphon
- Bucket or empty jugs
- Acetone
- Long screw driver and duct tape recommended

First, empty your luggage compartment, remove spare tire, remove access plate to fuel tank.



Remove clamp around boot. Remove top boot so you have access to the fuel lines off the return line and pump. Remove return line and pump line. It is recommended that you label these if you are unfamiliar with their orientation. Wipe up dispensed gas and push aside. Take long screwdriver and duct tape siphon hose onto the end. Stick in tank in sender hole. Depending on the length of your siphon hose you may need to route it behind the passenger wheel well and around the A/C accumulator.



Pump gas out of tank until empty. If gas is clean you can store in a container for lawn mower, generator, etc. If gas is bad you should dispose of it properly. Now unplug fuel pump and lift boot out of tank. Remove the two hoses attached to pump and return line. Check to see if there is any remaining fuel now that you have better tank access and remove if present.





Using 10mm socket or wrench disconnect pickup unit in tank. You will have to take it apart in the tank and remove it a piece at a time. Be careful this is old plastic that has sat in fuel for 27+ years. Use shop cloths and acetone to clean the baffle. Here is a dirty baffle and a dirty tank:





And a cleaned upper part of the baffle:



Use shop rags to remove any remaining gas and clean up as much residue in the tank. Once you have removed as much as possible, pour in acetone and use rags to clean and wipe down the inside of the tank. To reach in you will most likely need to 'ride' the passenger side fender:



Once acetone has dried, reassemble the baffle in the tank. It should sit between the grooves toward the drivers side of the tank. Make sure to set up the springs the same way they were when you removed the baffle. Once finished it should look like this:



Reassemble in the same order you removed items. It is recommended while you are in there to replace all clamps/hoses/etc. When installing the new pump, the torque setting for the dome nut on the pump banjo bolt is 11 ft/lbs. It should be a 19mm nut. The positive connection nut on the pump is 7mm and the negative is 8mm. When replacing the pump and boot, be sure not to kink the pickup line. It is best to use the sender hole at this point to make sure you have everything installed and not kinked.



Finally, reconnect fuel line and return line, replace boot, clamps, and you are set. You should put a few gallons of fresh gas in the car now, then fill the tank up to max and check for any leaks.




Sep 02, 2008: Engine Bay Complete

Category: Exterior
Posted by: Derek
Here are some completed pics with my engine back together, new nuts & bolts installed, A/C compressor in, hoses cleaned, engine bay painted, etc, etc...





Aug 26, 2008: Engine Bay Repaint

Category: Exterior
Posted by: Derek
One 'defect' with my car that has bothered me was that my engine bay was looking very worn for such a low mileage car. I don't know if it was just from past owner neglect, but it was getting under my skin. Some areas were flat, some were lighter grey, some were shiny black. Everything else in the engine compartment looked nice, but the bay just ruined it.

So I spent several hours over the course of a week getting the engine disassembled, parts removed from the walls, hoses tied up to the center block, etc etc to get easier access to the engine bay walls. I wanted to get this cleaned and fixed.

There are two ways to clean up the engine bay. The first is to use acetone and wipe down the walls. This may sound strange, but the fiberglass has a gelled outer layer that acetone does not harm. When wiping it down it results in a shiny look which also shows the natural grain of the fiberglass. I tried it in sections and while it looked nice, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue it to the upper pontoon under the windows, and if not, didn't think I would like the difference between the bay and the upper pontoon.

So I spent another eight hours in one day wetsanding, cleaning, and taping/masking the engine bay. Finally the first coat of paint went on yesterday. Here are some pictures with the original as a comparison. I am using SEM Trim Black for this.





Category: How-To
Posted by: Derek
The A/C accumulator (also know as the dryer) removes the moisture, oils, and liquids from the AC system after it leaves the evaporator before returning to the compressor, sending back only the coolant as a vapor. Liquid coolant will have a chance to return to vapor form, and any oils that escaped from the compressor will be captured.

Replacement of this part should be done when any major A/C work is being done to the system, for example when the system has been evacuated and opened, especially when the system is 25+ years old. In my case I am fixing a leak in the low pressure switch and compressor, and wanted to replace it while working on the system.

A major problem however is when removing the A/C accumulator, the brass evaporator pipe has to be disconnected. This is a very delicate piece that is generally broken when attempting to remove the accumulator. Breaking this pipe means replacing the evaporator, which results in tearing apart your dash and interior to get at it. A long and unwelcome job.

Like everyone who thinks they can do it without breaking anything, I jumped in and thought "Eh, I'll get it done right, no problem" however when I started to crank on the evaporator pipe, my fears worsened as it was not budging and flexing the pipe too much for my liking. Thus began my 'unorthodox' attempt to remove the accumulator.


Tools:
- 2 large vice grips or adjustable wrenches (I used and prefer vice grips)
- Dremel
- Reinforced cutting disks
- Some sort of 'protector' plate (described in more detail below)

Safety equipment:
- Goggles or protective glasses
- Breathing mask (painters mask)
- Earplugs

Additional:
- Steady hand & firm grip


This how-to assumes that you have removed the high pressure line from the evaporator, the return line from the accumulator, and the low pressure switch from the accumulator, leaving only the evaporator <-> accumulator connection in place (which we are now going to remove). It also assumes your passenger tire is removed and car is elevated for easier access.

Tip: I took cut up plastic bags and wrapped the open hoses from the A/C system and twist-tied them to protect them from any dust/debris that will be flying around.

Tip: I also began spraying down the nut with PB blaster 48 hours in advance, twice a day. This allowed it to soak and hopefully make removal of the line easier.


Step 1: Begin cutting with the dremel on the accessible side of the A/C accumulator. You want to make as wide and as long of a cut as possible of the side and as much as the bottom as can be done. It is best before starting to remove the bracket that holds the accumulator to the fiberglass so its only held in place by the evaporator. I removed the trunk access panel and put vice grips on the accumulator large nut where the evaporator ties in to help secure it from movement. Attempt to cut as little as possible into the accumulator as the filter inside is filled with little pellets, if you cut it open you'll make a bit of a mess. When finished you should have this:



Step 2: Cut off pipe as high up as possible and remove the plastic innard. IMPORTANT - now take a shop rag and reach up into the open evaporator. Plug the evaporator hole as good as possible to keep any dust/debris from entering the open A/C system.

Step 3: You want to keep cutting down until you only have the 'nut' part remaining on the evaporator pipe. Be careful at this point because a few inches behind you are the fuel lines. This is where the 'protector plate' comes into play as well as a steady hand. I used a thick tupperware lid as a shield behind where I was cutting. I could push it back with one hand while using the other hand to cut. Try to make as shallow of cuts as possible to only cut through and not any deeper than the metal. As you go you'll then have this:



Step 4: Cut off the remaining metal until all that is left is the nut on the evaporator line. Remove as much excess metal as possible. It should look like this when you are finished cutting:



Step 5: Spray again with some PB Blaster and allow to sit. Use vice grips from under the car and place one on the nut and one on the evaporator line. Hold the evaporator line still while turning the accumulator remaining 'nut'. I placed both grips almost parallel with each other and squeezed. It came off with very little force and no flexing of the evaporator line:




Disclaimer: This is my method of removing the accumulator. I take no responsibility for any damage that may result from following this walkthrough. Be aware, any work done is at your own risk.

Aug 11, 2008: The Summer Job (Round 1)

Category: Maintenance
Posted by: Derek
Current work underway:

- Replace slow leaking A/C compressor
- Replace accumulator, low pressure switch, and orifice tube
- Paint engine compartment walls
- Replace rusted bolts/nuts with stainless
- Hide wire bundle under manifold
- Paint engine cover hinges
- Clean engine/engine compartment
- Pressure test A/C and refill with R12

So far I have removed the old compressor, disconnected some A/C lines up front, removed everything from the walls of the engine compartment, started cleaning, and purchased some stainless hardware. Next up is the sanding/painting of the compartment.
Category: Electrical
Posted by: Derek
After arriving home from DMC Florida and turning off the car, the frequency valve 'stuck' in the on position. Diagnosed the problem as my RPM relay sticking (completing the circuit). As this is my second RPM relay problem in the past two years (my other was the car dying out on the highway) I decided to go with the solid state RPM relay offered by Dave (Bitsyncmaster) on DMCTalk.com.

Take a look at this picture comparing the two, and read Ozzies great review on the relay upgrade here.

Category: Exterior
Posted by: Derek
Went down to DMC Florida yesterday to get my unsightly Previous Owner body wound fixed. At some point my PO must have dropped something onto the door's A-pillar side frame and put a nice crease in it. I have a few other small blemishes on the car but this by far stood out when you walked down the passenger side. Saw Stephen at the Celebration Exotic show a few years ago and he had said that DMC had a technique to remove these types of dents now without going in from behind, which is impossible with this pillar as it is boxed in. The technique consists of a spot weld type wand with a pad and arm on the tip. The pad sits on the car on one end of the arm, and midway down the arm is the tip welder which you then use the arm as leverage to 'lift' the dent up. It was quite interesting to say the least.

So I met up with Skip and Kevin @ DMC Florida a little after 9am. Kevin got to work on the car and within 2 hours my dent was gone. It was very interesting to watch him work, and it came out flawless. Now I want to start saving up some cash so I can get the other marks in my car cleaned up as well! I wanted to thank Kevin and Skip for coming out on Saturday to work on my car. Its nice to have the option of the shop being open on Saturday to make it easier for us owners in Florida who work during the week and just need 'while you wait' type work. Kevin was fantastic with the metal work, take a look at the before and after pictures below.


BEFORE:








AFTER: