Transmission Repair & Engine Assembly

The transmission of this car was fine - no problems at all and no leaks. But the internal condition was unknown. The common problem areas of the DeLorean (Renault) transmission are a weak second gear roll pin and a random tendancy for the shaft nuts to unscrew themselves, drilling a hole in the end cap and dumping gear oil all over the road (and then ruining your transmission). Investigating these issues requires opening the transmission up.

This photo shows why erring on the side of thoroughness was a wise decision! This second gear roll pin was holding on by a (metal) thread! Believe it or not, this car was shifting fine, but with about 1/8" of thin metal holding things together, that probably wouldn't have been the case for much longer.

This (slightly blurry) photo shows the reinforced replacement pin.

And here's the worn roll pin that was punched out. Many years ago this car had gone 42,000 miles on the original plastic clutch line, which is the likely cause of the (almost) pin failure.

Moving on. Another common problem area of the transmission is that oil leaks around the axle shaft seals. The shafts rust, then that eats away at the seals, then the gear oil leaks all over the floor (and road). While the shafts from this transmission were not bad and were not leaking, adding these stainless steel sleeves will ensure it stays that way.

With all of the gears tested and everything (mostly) reassembled, this transmission is ready for its next 30 years of driving!

Now it's time to start assembling the engine. The bottom end components were checked to make sure they were within specs. Thread repairs in the upper crankcase were also made as needed. Here are the crankcase halves assembled. All new bearing shells and new standard-sized crankshaft thrust washers were used, then the crankshaft float was verified to be within tolerance.

Getting closer. The heads were given a valve job and tested. They were also ported and polished to increase airflow, which is important for the camshafts. The original camshafts were replaced with custom-ground camshafts from DeLorean Motor Company Europe. The profile of these camshafts will drastically increase torque for the lower to mid-range of RPMs (where you do most of your driving), which will make this car much more fun to drive.

Here, the heads are on and torqued down, new timing chains are installed the engine has been rotated several revolutions to set the tensioners. You'll also notice that the water ports for the y-pipe have been repaired. It's common for these bolts to be completely seized to the upper crankcase. New fasteners will be used everywhere on this engine, but it's critical to use plated bolts with plenty of anti-seize for these four. I also think it's a good idea to replace them whenever you have to pull the intake for service or inspections.

After removing the engine from the stand, bolting on a new clutch, and attaching the transmission, the engine is hoisted back into the car. There's still a lot of work to do from here. The valve covers, timing chain cover, and intake have been powder coated to keep everything easy to clean. Also note that all of the various metal bits (hoist hoops, crankshaft pulley and nut, engine cover stand, and overflow tank mounts) were blasted and re-plated in the original yellow zinc finish. This applies even to all of the various crankcase plugs, most of which will never be seen, but at least they'll be just like new.

Almost done with the cooling system. A pressure test will be performed before the intake manifold gets installed.

Using the restrictive stock exhaust with those narrow cams would negate most of the benefits that the cams add. And after thirty years on the job, the stock exhaust system on this car is pretty rusty and worn-out. A solution to both of those problems is to add this DeLorean Motor Company "Stage 1" stainless steel exhaust. In addition to the performance and aesthetic benefits, this system also eliminates the awkward crossover pipe, which makes servicing some components in the rear of the engine much easier too.

The fuel pump died, so the tank was completely drained and thoroughly scrubbed, then all new in-tank bits were added.

Fast forwarding a bit more: the engine is now ready for an oil pressure test, then it will be time to start it up for the first time since the project began.

After 30 years of wear and tear, the original engine wiring harness was looking poor. It's been replaced with a new-old-stock "1983-style" wiring harness, which eliminates the ugly over-the-intake run and shortens a few electrical paths. The original alternator and starter have already been replaced on this car, so wiring adapters were created in order to cleanly connect the stock DeLorean harness to these new components without resorting to any hacks or modifications to the harness; this takes more time, but will keep the wiring clean and un-hacked in case a new component (with a different connector) must be fitted at some point down the road.