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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Valley of Death

DeLorean Valley of Death, dirty, but no holes!

What do bloody mice carcasses, mice skeletons, engine coolant, slime, and general nastiness all have in common? No, they are not McDonald's primary ingredients. No, not even in Vietnam. Give up?

They are all things found in the DeLorean's Valley of Death, also known as the VOD.

Now I see you are asking yourself, where is this Valley of Death, exactly? Basically, it's the space between the top of the engine block and the intake manifold. And iff'n you ain't careful, this valley, or dip, between the two banks of cylinders turns into a cesspool. And then the death part comes.

So, what's so deadly about this valley? Glad you asked. This is the place where time uses science against you to destroy your precious PRV V-6, bringing death to your cruise nights. And your wallet.

Coolant keeps your engine cool, but over time it turns acidic. A major coolant line runs right through this valley. If coolant leaks here, it sits in the channel undetected for years baking acid pies and cakes. When did Playcar magazine start showing the internals? Dirty!These delicious treats slowly corrode the aluminum and melt a hole right into your engine. Here, the cake & pie will raise a family of grenades, which will then detonate when they hit puberty.

When I took my intake manifold off I was shocked at what I saw. It was neither a mouse carcass nor a pile of sludgey coolant with a severed finger floating in it. In fact, it was nothing at all. Have a look at that bit of dirt the green arrow points to. That's it.

With Over 110,000 miles on my DeLorean, which is on the high side as far as most DMC-12's go, it should have been a Godzilla-vs.-Tokyo-style disaster. Instead, the valley contained only a small layer of dirt which I vacuumed up in 3.7 seconds. My VOD turned out to be the Valley of Cleanliness, and did not require any attention.

And that's a very good thing, because if I order one more part for the DeLorean, my wife assures me there will most certainly be a death in our garage. (And I don't mean the engine.)

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Quote: Easy As 1, 2, 3.

Always direct water AWAY from sugar houses.

I'm no dumbass, I swear. But there's nothing "easy" about 1, 2, 3. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3? Who came up with that? I can tell you this; it wasn't a guy with one, two, THREE plugged downspouts during a torrential downpour.

The Toronto area was just hit with an F2 Tornado yesterday, killing an 11-year-old boy, destroying an entire printing plant and numerous houses. The storms in southern Ontario have been nothing short of brutal this summer. Intense lightning storms, flash flooding, and yeah - tornadii! (That's plural for "tornadoes" in case anyone was wondering)

When I noticed my eaves couldn't handle the water flowing off the roof, I decided I had to solve the problem before the sagging trough ripped right off the house. I've always been angry that my battery-operated army surplus water pump used for cleaning my aquarium quit on me. But let it be known from this day forward, I am no longer angry I had to replace it with a ridiculous hand-held manual vacuum pressure type unit.

Sideways pump rammage.While the rain pounded the crap out of our new shingles (if shingles did indeed have crap inside of them), I did the following: One, I ran upstairs and grabbed the aquarium pump from the aquarium cabinet; Two, I ran out into the storm and rammed the pump sideways into the eavestrough; Three, I sucked on the end creating a vacuum, as though I were siphoning gas out of my neighbour's Saturn.

Which I've never done. To anyone's knowledge.

It was, well, as easy as 1, 2, 3. The siphoning action, thanks to science, pulled the water out of the eaves. The flexible tubing directed the water down to the front steps. It was much preferable to the waterfall pouring over the edge of the eaves onto the cars parked beneath it.

In less than 5 minutes, the entire eavestrough was drained of water. And when the storm ended, I cleaned out the clogged downspout. Hmm... Easy as 1, 2, 3? Yeah, I guess it was!

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Cheated On John DeLorean

DeLorean muffler bracket, carved out of frozen Canadian armpit hair.

It was bulging, and pressing up against a fireproof barrier. It was one of the first things I noticed when I bought my DeLorean: the patched muffler was actually touching the heat shield, and I vowed to replace it with something cool, more free-flowing, and in keeping with the car: Something stainless, like this.

But the more years that went by and the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like the idea. I had to decide if I wanted to keep everything stock, or get a bit more power, and a bit more fun, out of the car.

Aw poop! A broken muffler bracket!Then it happened. Last July one of the muffler brackets must have froze in the intense cold of our Canadian summer, and broke. The muffler bracket is weak and typically breaks in the same spot. The DeLorean Motor Company in Houston, Texas, has an upgraded part to replace this bracket. All that is required is to take the rubber damper out of the original, and screw it into the new unit.

When I was visiting McFly Motorsports in Ohio, I mentioned my broken bracket to Josh - and he handed me a new one. It was straight as an arrow, and looked much more functional that the mangled unit I had lying around at home, using my internets, eating my food, and drinking my juice. It was time to give the old bracket a kick in the ass.

A crippled muffler bracket which no longer functions.But I couldn't bring myself to use the new, improved bracket. I felt like I was cheating on John DeLorean. First the replacement exhaust... and now this? I was already feeling guilty for using a stainless steel coolant bottle instead of the original plastic one that, over time, becomes so brittle it explodes, leaving you stranded.

Stranded in the middle of the desert. In August. With nothing to drink but a huge puddle of delicious coolant.

I decided to keep the original 1981 bracket. I took the two pieces to a shop called Zoro Muffler. I asked the owner if he could help me, handing him the two pieces. He told me that if it could be welded back together, we'd know in a few minutes.

It was a success - and I paid the owner with two maple leaves and a donut, as that is the currency we use in Canada. I was happy to be able to use the original bracket. When my dad and I installed the new alternator, we first stabilized the muffler with the newly welded bracket. Click here for a close up of the weld, and *here* to see the entire bracket, in all its 28-year-old glory.

I think Sir Mix-a-Lot said it best when he sang "...because silicone parts are made for toys". In many cases, it's best to stick with original parts.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sucking Large: Hershey's Goodies

Goodies, once the tastiest treat this side of candy mountain, are now a revolting mass of Satanic corn syrup.

Like all the men who came before me, Maria toys with my emotions, giving me hope when I know there is none. She barely answers my burning questions, and won't even give me her proper email address. She works for Hershey, precisely, the customer service department.

To: consumerinfo@hersheysConsumerRelations.com
Date: Aug. 5, 2009

I am in awe of what you've done to the new "Goodier" Goodies. To my recollection, I have never seen such an enormous change to a product. What amazes me in particular is how you took such a delicious product - and utterly destroyed it. The perfect balance between the candy coating and the licorice is gone. They are overpowering, like the lingering odour of dead fish. How could this product get approved? I truly, sincerely hope the new "Goodier" Goodies are temporary and that management will come to their senses and reverse this blunder!
- A Former Goodie Lover.


Now 'Goodier' proclaims Hershey's!

I can barely bare

to read the response that's

not in Haiku form:

From: consumerinfo@hersheysConsumerRelations.com
To: theguywhomadetheawesomebendercostume@superstud.com
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 4:18 PM
Subject: Re: REF NUMBER: 006043819A

Thank you for contacting us about GOODIES candy. I am sorry you were disappointed and appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

Our product line is continuously evaluated. Occasionally products are reformulated to increase their appeal to consumers' preferences. The reformulation is accompanied by extensive market research testing to ensure that consumers will like the change.

We work closely to keep our Marketing Department informed of both the positive and negative input received from consumers. Your comments are valuable and have been forwarded to the Marketing Department.

This email address is restricted for outgoing messages only. For that reason, please do not respond to this email as the inbox is not monitored.

Maria Miller
Consumer Representative


Have you ever been shocked and disappointed in a product change? Have you ever been included in the so-called "extensive market research testing" these companies claim to undertake? Maria makes me cry. I don't know whether it's because she's lying to me, or because I'm so immature that I just can't handle it.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

DeLorean Intake Manifold

DeLorean intake manifold. Fast and fluffy, ready to go. Only $600. Call...

"With his wildest thoughts, did John DeLorean ever imagine this?" I thought to myself as I relaxed in the 40C temperature of our cedar sunroom, feet resting on my DeLorean's intake manifold, which was doing Ottoman duty.

Only a day earlier I was hard at work with a friend, president of one of the many DeLorean owner's clubs. Together we unbolted, unplugged and tested various things. Finally, with the problem within our grasp, we decided to pull the 16-lb. aluminum manifold.

Once removed, we gained access to two very important parts of the engine: the ignition distributor and the "valley of death" or VOD. (A post on that to follow). Realizing we could not possibly finish the repairs without some new parts, we packed it in.

DeLorean intake manifold. All shots. Comes with 6-month supply of food. Only $600. Call...I have ordered a set of o-rings and gaskets from the DeLorean Motor Company and am awaiting their arrival. In the meantime, I thought it would be a great idea to shine up the manifold.

I went into the backyard with a deadly can of GUNK Engine Brite, made from the tears and nightmares of environmentalists. As I sprayed the heavy duty engine degreaser and scrubbed with a toothbrush, the blackened manifold slowly turned a bright silver.

All around me the grass withered and died, and as I hosed off the patio a celebratory rainbow appeared in the petroleum-based run-off. I let the manifold sit outside to dry off for a few hours, then brought it inside for protection, as a new one would run me nearly $600 U.S. plus shipping if it somehow "went missing". That's nearly $37 per pound.

Well, I guess it's not that bad. With Gold around $900 per pound, I'm glad I don't have one of the ultra-rare solid gold DeLoreans*.

*Just kidding. I totally wish I had one. Oh, and the gold DeLoreans only had gold plated body panels, not engine parts.

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