Why Not to Buy a Delorean - A Conversation with my DeLorean Owning Friend


January 30, 2pm:

Monica Simone Houston: Guess What! Hackster just bought a DeLorean!

DeLorean Friend: What kind of DeLorean?

Monica Simone Houston:(I didn't know there were different kinds of Deloreans, so I quickly look this up) 1981 DMC 12

DeLorean Friend: A real one?

Monica Simone Houston: Yup. We’re going to drive it across the country to do hackathons!

DeLorean Friend: Cool. I hope it runs well.


February 12, 12pm:

Monica Simone Houston: Sooo... Where is the fuel cap on a Delorean? Please answer quickly. I am stuck at the gas station.

DeLorean Friend: well. mine has a little flap on the trunk lid(in front of the car) on the driver's side, but later on they removed that flap so you have to open the trunk to get to it now. There are a few maintenance items you will might need to get done. You should read this book. http://www.delorean.net/pdf/TIBGDA_web.pdf

Monica Simone Houston: Uh... Reversing is also problematic...I was told to lift stick and pull back...But it's not working.

DeLorean Friend: I think I can help with that. I had to take mine apart for repairs and I made a video of the mechanism. It would help if you knew how it worked inside. I'll find the youtube video I pulled up to go in reverse one day and the shifter lever just broke off and I had to replace it with a part from a Lotus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTXwAL3Echs

Monica Simone Houston: Which direction do I pull back? I'm in a bit of a tight spot right now

DeLorean Friend: Watch the video. I put it into reverse at about 0:45 in the video.

I also had problems getting into 2nd gear with mine and I had to have the linkage bushings all replaced and have everything re-adjusted by Toby at DMC Northwest. I think it was about $500 for the parts and labor. The parts are like $5. The labor is the expensive part. Those are NOT easy to get to. You pretty much HAVE to use a lift to get to them.

DeLorean Friend: Does that video help?

Monica Simone Houston: Thank you!!!

Monica Simone Houston: Ok, so I have to open the trunk to get to the fuel - is there a lever inside somewhere?

DeLorean Friend: it's near the floor on the driver's side


oh.. and there is no power steering on these cars, so it's hard to get the wheel turned when you aren't moving very fast. I find that it helps to make sure your tires are properly inflated. The PSI values are printed on the inside of the glove box lid. Did you find the trunk release?

Monica Simone Houston: It's broken.

DeLorean Friend: oh no! ok.. try pulling up on the hood...er trunk... while you pull the release. The hinge is on the front of the car, it opens near the windshield so you should be able to pull on both at the same time.

Monica Simone Houston: Worked!

DeLorean Friend: Sweet! It's a two person operation to get my engine cover open. Same problem. I keep a piece of wire in the car that I tie to the engine cover so I can pull up on it while I pull the release.

This is what the fuel cap on the DeLorean looks like...

This is what the fuel cap on the DeLorean looks like...

Monica Simone Houston: Is the middle one fuel? It's very weird.

DeLorean Friend: Yeah. One of the other ones is for brake fluid I think. Did your gas cap have a lock on it? Probably not since you have to open your trunk to get to yours. I replaced my locking cap with a regular one.

Monica Simone Houston: So you think the middle one in the picture is the one? I’m holding people up at the gas station here.


February 12, 2pm (a few frustrating hours later):

Monica Simone Houston: So, first day driving the car didn't last long...engine is having trouble and I would guess it is a fuel problem. I got it up to 60mph but it started 'bumping' and then despite giving it more gas, the RPMs started to decrease. May have to hit up DMC Northwest today...

DeLorean Friend: Uh oh. Turn off your AC. Could be straining the motor

Monica Simone Houston: I didn't think it was on but I'll check.

DeLorean Friend: Just turn the knob to off. How does the voltage gauge look? Should be about 13v when it's running.

Monica Simone Houston: voltage gauge looks good.

DeLorean Friend: Temp?

Monica Simone Houston: temp is fine also. So is oil. *(I later learned that neither of these gauges was working)

DeLorean Friend: Ok. Keep and eye on the temp gauge unless you know that all of the hoses have been replaced and your fan relays have been replaced.

Get a bottle of chevron techron from the parts store and dump it in your gas. Get the 12oz bottle. Fuel injectors could be dirty. That stuff will help clean them out.

Monica Simone Houston: thanks! I'll let you know how that works.

DeLorean Friend: If you have a multimeter you could make sure you have the correct voltage to the coil. could also be a clogged fuel filter.


February 12, 4pm (even more frustrating hours later):

DeLorean Friend: Did your car make it?

Monica Simone Houston: No, it's still stuck at a gas station near Lynwood I added the techron but since it was a full tank of gas I don't think it did anything. I let it run for a while anyway just for good measure and tried to drive it around the block, but ended up needing to push it back to a parking spot.

DeLorean Friend: Oh no. so the engine keeps dying?

Monica Simone Houston: Yeah it sounds like either fuel or air.

DeLorean Friend: Check the coil voltage. Someone on the forums said their car started loosing power and then wouldn't stay running after they started it and it was because of the coil.

Monica Simone Houston: Mmm interesting. Will do.

DeLorean Friend: Oh..and I just emailed you PDFs of the wiring diagrams for the car.

Got our sponsors' logos on the DeLorean!

Got our sponsors' logos on the DeLorean!

February 17, 4pm:

DeLorean Friend: Did your DeLorean make it to DMC NW safely?

Monica Simone Houston: yup it's having the fuel system fixed

DeLorean Friend: What was broken?

Monica Simone Houston: fuel pressures were off because gas tank had leaks

DeLorean Friend: Oh no!

Monica Simone Houston: fuel filter was also plugged up

DeLorean Friend: So I guessed right on the fuel filter

Monica Simone Houston: and pump wasn't working well, which is what I could hear when I ran the car


February 21, 4pm (The weekend of our first hackathon):

Monica Simone Houston: Hey, does your delorean come with a spare tire?

DeLorean Friend: Yes. I think it's in the trunk under the mat

Monica Simone Houston: Ours didn't come with one apparently. We're going to need a new wheel and tire. Any chance we could borrow your spare just to get it to the building. It's in my garage 10 blocks from the hackathon.

Monica Simone Houston: Any idea if a normal spare world fit on a Delorean? Can't reach Toby at DMC Northwest.

DeLorean Friend: I have no idea. Check the dmctalk message board. Maybe someone nearby has a wheel they can loan you.



March 3, 4pm:

Monica Simone Houston. More car trouble. I broke down on the way to Portland. The car is leaking gasoline.

DeLorean Friend: Where did you break down? Where is the gas leaking from?

Monica Simone Houston: I'm in Factoria. The gas is leaking from both the engine and the gas tank.

DeLorean Friend: both? That's weird. must be high pressure or something Get it over to Toby at least you aren't far away

Monica Simone Houston: Yeah tow truck should be here in 5

DeLorean Friend: ask him to check out everything let him know you plan to take it on long road trips. ask him about the tires and the hoses. and the trailing arm bolts (the original parts were made of inferior materials) They attach the rear wheels to the frame of the car.

Monica Simone Houston: I will ask all of that. Thank you! I really hope this works, but I think we will now have to tow the car between cities.

DeLorean Friend: I would suggest towing it anyways.



Toby’s amazing mechanics at DMC Northwest fixed the car. We ended up arranging towing for the rest of the trip, and driving in a mini van ourselves.

Stay tuned...the journey isn't over yet.


Special hanks to Jason Garland, for his infinite patience.