Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

DeLorean Alternator Replacement

A shiny new 140 amp alternator does a DeLorean good.

In 1981, Johnny Carson was left stranded on the road because his DeLorean was outfitted with the original Ducellier alternator. This alternator was not able to supply the car with enough amps to run everything, and so the battery slowly discharged. My DeLorean was also equipped with this same alternator.

When the problem was discovered, the DeLorean Motor Company replaced the 60 amp Ducellier with an 80 amp Motorola alternator. But even this Motorola unit was stretched to its limit when everything was turned on.

Over the years many a DeLorean owner has had trouble. Trouble due to the underpowered alternator, NOT because the cars were filled with bags of cocaine. I was one of those people, so I decided to replace my alternator.

The alternator I purchased was from DMC Houston, or DMCH. It's a super-neat upgraded replacement alternator for $189 USD. They call it the 140 amp alternator. The unit I ordered is rated at 90 amps at idle, 156 amps at 6,000 rpm, and I wouldn't be surprised if it hit 1.21 gigawatts @ 88 mph.

Wires are fully of the electricity. Watch out!When replacing the alternator, always start by disconnecting the battery or you may burn your socket wrench. Or die. In a DeLorean, the battery is located in a compartment behind the passenger seat. The alternator is easy to access, on the passenger side. First, I slid beneath the car with my tools and undid the bolt holding the six brown wires. They wanted to twist with the nut, preventing the nut from being undone. To stop them from moving, I grabbed them tightly with a pair of orange pliers. You do not have to use orange. You can use any colour, really. If you're cool like me though, you'll use orange ones.

Taking cars apart does not require a professional.Next, I undid the bolt holding the adjustable tensioning arm. This allows the alternator to swing on the big bolt holding it to the engine block. For those who are curious, or don't really care about the alternator stuff: when working on the car I was laying on a red blanket on the ground. It was soft. Also, the blue arrow on the right is pointing to the bolt on the arm which I've just removed from the bracket on the alternator housing (the left blue arrow).

Putting cars back together often does.Any kind of automotive work is easier when you have a helper. I borrowed my dad. Up top, I held a 9/16 wrench (snot-green arrow) on the final big bolt while my blurry dad used a ratchet from below. In no time at all the big bolt came undone. I tapped the bolt through the housing and the 10-lb. alternator fell into my dad's hands. Those who know DeLoreans may have noticed the muffler bracket is missing in this pic. It actually broke in half last year and I replaced it at the same time (here is the post on that).

The last step is to undo the little nut that holds the red wire to the alternator. The new DMCH alternator comes out of the box with the red wire plugged in. I shaved off some of the old wire's sheathing, slid the newly exposed wire into the attached crimper thing, and pinched it closed.

Reversing all the steps here, we successfully installed the new alternator. I used a pry bar between the engine block and the alternator to keep tension on the belt while tightening the bolt on the tensioning arm. The entire job took less than 1 hour and 56 minutes, which is the exact running time for Back To The Future.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cop Stag, Unknown Doe

Stag & doe prizes include food, drink, and an iron. Yes, an iron.Proudly, with a brand new iron in hand, Suz and I returned home after a fundraising evening known as the Stag & Doe. Handing over hard earned money to the cash-strapped bride and groom is a great way to support your friends. And coming home with multiple door prizes is a nifty way of them saying "Here, take this as a token of our appreciation. I don't know where it came from. Somebody's mom probably."

And yes, I chose an iron. Confused? Eye-ron. That's right. The hot thing used to flatten my pathetic, tattered high-school clothes which I continue to wear decade after decade. Because I can't afford anything new. Because I never have any money. Because I'm always giving it away at these stag & doe things.

The good news is that the styles are starting to come back into vogue. Did I just use the word Vogue? Madonna would be proud. I'm going to strike a pose now, just to give it that 100%. What "it" am I talking about? I don't even know.

What I do know is that I came home from officer ST3's Stag & Doe with a box of tasty Waterbridge Occasions candies (an "Assortment of Chocolates & Toffees" to be exact), a package of Baileys Filled Chocolates, a box of Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread Rounds ("Rounds" is fancy Scottish talk for circle-shaped cookies), some Hot Apple olde style cider mix, a giant blue mug to drink it from, a bowl made of that ever-popular glass stuff, a pair of super neat-o candles, a Durabrand iron, and a sweet can of Spray Starch to stiffen up my flaccid rags.

I'm really looking forward to going on a sugar high, followed by a mad ironing rampage. If I end up hurting anyone in the ensuing orgy of destruction, at least I know a great cop who'll be kind to my puny wrists, and his wife-who-works-with-lawyers who can find one to get all the charges dropped.

And if not, they'll go down with me as accomplices.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Backfiring Perfected: The Fake Wasp Nest

The queen wasp in her hive is far scarier than the hot borg queen.

Wasps suck. They're like that drunk uncle, the one whose arrival is always preceded with, "oh shit, it's Uncle Mike." You know the guy. He's the one who shows up at every family bbq, and every birthday party, always slapping your sister on the ass and telling her she looks "niiiiiiice". Before he arrives, there's a palpable fear. And when he does finally show up, people try to run away. But there's no escape.

You can smack a wasp away, but they keep coming back. You can tell your uncle Mike to "take off" like the hoser he is, but he's too drunk to comprehend what you're saying. Kill a wasp, two more take it's place. Kill uncle Mike, two cops show up and spoil the fun.

The best thing to do is prevent wasps from building a nest in your yard. We purchased a giant fake wasp nest to scare wasps away. It works on the principle that wasps are territorial and will not build a hive within 200 feet of another.

In the 4 years we've been in our house, we've never had a nest. And I didn't want one. So I put up the giant fake hive. What happened? The queen wasp actually built her nest, an exact papery replica, about 10 feet away from it. As if it were comforting to her.

The bitch.

Fact: giant fake hives do not work. To the point, our fake beehive actually backfired completely and attracted wasps into the area. It was a joke, and I was the butt of it. But I didn't care - as long as my sweet, tender butt didn't get stung.

I watched the queen nursing her vile eggs for a day or two, and feared we'd soon have a massive infestation of unwanted uncle Mike's. With steady hands I aimed the hose and blasted the queen with a stream that would make a firefighter proud.

And nothing happened.

Neighbourhood children laughed and pointed as I hobbled my puny stick-ass into the house, fearing retaliation. Suz, attempting to prove her fearlessness, ventured out with a different weapon: The shears.

I cowered behind the door, like a piddling little momma's boy. Peeking out at Suz, I directed her towards the throbbing hive. With a mighty snip, the innards of the hive fell to the ground, larvae feebly wriggling around. And that was the end of the hive.

In the past two weeks, the loathsome queen has not returned. However, if there is one thing I want to return, it's the giant fake bee hive I bought at Canadian Tire. Either that, or hang it above Uncle Mike's toilet.

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