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

Friday, January 13, 2012

DeLorean Door Adjustment

Adjusting the sexy DeLorean doors with a not-so-sexy 17mm wrench.

Arguably the most recognizable feature of the DeLorean is its super glammy gullwing doors. Of the handful of manufacturers who have produced gullwing doors, the DeLorean's (aside from the new Mercedes SLS) are generally accepted as the most reliable.

First, a cryogenically set torsion bar designed & manufactured by Grumman Aerospace "untwists" and begins to lift the door. As its limited power runs out a standard strut takes over and lifts the door the rest of the way in an uninterrupted & sexy manner.

At the factory the early cars, such as mine, had door alignment problems. Sometimes the doors would not close properly, or only one latch would catch as there were no door guides. My car has the early stainless steel quality control guides and I've always had to slam my doors. In the winter the rear latches catching were dependent on temperature. The colder it was, the less chance they'd have of catching. I decided to fix them.

I carried my toolbox into my garage and opened the driver's door to reveal the bolt. The black paint on the bolt and washer were quite worn. It was clear that my door had been adjusted before.

Bobby McFerrin would say, Don't worry, be happy. The plate doesn't fall off.Using a 17mm wrench I loosened the nut around the latch bolt about 3/4's of a turn. This allowed me to move it around within a small area. It is attached to a larger plate on the other side. I wasn't sure if that rear plate would fall off, but the design wouldn't make sense if it did. So I chanced it... and the plate stayed put.

I moved the door pin around then slowly closed my door over and over, carefully watching the latch as it swallowed up the bolt. After about 10 minutes of fiddling, I had the bolt in the perfect position and tightened it up.

Had I known it was this simple, I would've done it years ago.

I shut the door repeatedly, very happy with the results. I no longer have to slam my driver's door, and the door panel is aligned perfectly with the body! Unfortunately, I could not seem to figure out the passenger door, so maybe it's not that simple after all.

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Blogger Michael Manning said...

As this excellent Blog site is wanton to do, I am constantly amazed at each turn of a new facet about the DMC. Mentionof Grumman Aerospace makes me wonder about the process DeLorean used when designing this car. I still haven't completely understood this enigma. But I am enjoying learning about it from your posts, Martini!

1:17:00 AM

Blogger Martini said...

Thanks Michael. I am not an authority on the car, but I know enough that sometimes I sound like I am. Haha. I will definitely write about more aspects of it this year.

2:25:00 PM

Blogger Jerry Bowley said...

The passenger side should be just as easy. Simply place a tall dressing room mirror beside your vehicle, and perform the same steps as mentioned above, but by watching yourself in the mirror this time.

(Sometimes the most obvious solutions are the most obvious.)

2:51:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

A mirror! Well that's just genius. I suppose if I BBQ'd some ribs at the same time it would likely work, too, yes?

8:38:00 PM

Blogger honkeie2 said...

The doors are what make this car! The first time I saw this car and saw how the doors opened I was in love! I wonder how hard it would be to put doors like this on my Toyota? hahaha

6:42:00 AM

Blogger reener said...

Your blog doesn't allow Wordpress commenters?

I think it's an issue with any vintage car. I had a similiar issue with our '66 Mustang. After fixing the door issue, it was now out of alignment with the front fender! Since it's not a concours car, we just left it. Maybe for another day.

It's always a great relief when something goes better than expected!

10:16:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

Sorry Reener... I am not sure, but I'm guessing it won't allow Wordpress because I'm still using the old Blogger setup. I should switch one day, but it means a lot of fiddly stuff with my images and sidebar. Bleah.

I hear you on the door thing. As much as I'd love a concours car, I'd rather have a reliable car I can drive anywhere, anytime, and not worry about (much).

10:31:00 PM

Blogger The T-Dude said...

I can't make the front door on my house work right. I don"t know how you do it on a Delorean.

9:05:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

LOL. When all else fails, I resort to my never-fail childhood method of fixing: smash with hammer.

6:09:00 PM

Anonymous Erwin Calverley said...

Ahh.. Good to see Delorean getting some love! Yes! The doors are its trademark. The way it has to be open, seems like it's going for a time travel adventure. Anyway, good job maintaining one of the well-known classics cars.

5:58:00 PM


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