Monday, October 31, 2016

Front suspension improvements - parts are here

My next mission is to address the front suspension:
A big design flaw with the Delorean front suspension is the fact that there is literally no longitudinal constraint of the lower control arm. The only thing keeping the wheel from flexing fore/aft is the sway bar which in other words is having to serve dual purposes: Reduce sway and stabilize the LCA. Not ideal. This design arrangement is a legacy from Colin Chapman; the same concept was used on the Lotus Esprit S1 and upgraded on the S2 (or S3) later on. To remedy this, I purchased two sets of massive stainless steel lower control arm reinforcements from DMC Europe that will provide triangulation, of course without affecting suspension compression/extension. The end result is stability primarily under braking.

Stainless Lower Control Arm supports (L&R)

While I was at it I also invested in a complete set of polyurethane bushings, also from DMC Europe, for all front suspension joints. Many of the bushings come with nicely machined stainless spacers and inserts and have the precision worthy of a Swiss watch:

Polyurethane bushings with stainless hardware (L&R)
 

Monday, May 16, 2016

What's next?


Digital dash:
The Megasquirt MS Pro-3 ECU offers a lot of exciting possibilities. One of them is to provide the output to a display with a custom interface; a completely configurable digital dash in other words. This would do away with all mechanical inputs and the various inputs from sensors all over the car into the dash, and instead allow a vast array of different displays, alarms, set-ups etc. There is already a compatible design in development within the Delorean community that accepts the CAN bus protocol. Here is an example:

Front suspension:
Given that I am now dealing with forces of nature that are a lot greater than they used to be, the first thing to address is the front suspension attachment points: A weakness in the Delorean’s front suspension is that the lower control arms are not triangulated. In other words, the LCAs are a simple cantilever design to take vertical and lateral loads; however, they are not designed to absorb longitudinal loads. Those loads are, oddly enough, being taken by the anti-roll bar. I believe this is one of Colin Chapman’s concepts that Lotus adopted on the early Espirits. The solution is rather simple from a component standpoint but complex from a geometry and mechanical grip stand point. In addition, the strength aspect is not ideal either; there are examples of front wheels having collapsed into the rear of the wheel well under heavy braking. There are several solutions out there; one particularly interesting solution is undergoing field testing as we speak and I am following the results of it with great interest.

Brakes (shouldn’t this be at the top of the list?):
The stock disc rotors are prone to overheating and warping from repeated use. There are some upgrade options to ventilated, cross-drilled options available that I need to look into. Nuff said.

Stay tuned….

Monday, March 7, 2016

Final thoughts


Driving my new Delorean on the street is… humbling. Ed eased me into it by letting me ride along and – wow – I would characterize the acceleration as almost explosive.
Responsiveness is great. Once it reaches the beginning of the power band it just takes off; and the “whoosh” from the blow-off valve when you let up on the gas tells the ones you just passed that this is not your ordinary “all-bark, no-bite” Delorean. That Saturday in Melbourne was pretty hectic and we were itching to hit the road for the long journey home. So in the midst of all that I actually never drove the car – until we were back home in Frisco, TX and it was time to drive it off the trailer. Last time I drove this car, it had the stock engine and auto tranny. Now, ten o’clock at night, after a full day on the road I was negotiating a torquey fire breather with three-four times the power, a stick shift (in fact, I was so unprepared that I wasn’t even sure where in the shift pattern to find the reverse gear) and what seemed like a very, very grabby clutch. It is, I’m sure, probably considered very smooth and easy for the amount of power (Ed emphasized many times that it is child’s play compared to some of his other projects). HOWEVER, to me, it was like trying to compress a rock. I did my best not to slip the clutch too much but, still: I bet that car came off the trailer in one big leap.
A couple of days later I spent a good hour practicing starts in the parking lot of a grocery store (audience included). Now, a full week later I’ve got it figured out: I can do smooth starts all day long with just the right amount of rev without bunny-hoppin’ or stalling. So far, I think my favorite environment is the highway: You trudge along at 65 and wait for someone with something to prove to come up alongside and then… downshift…. end of story. Mid-life crisis? Maybe so, but – hey - I’m enjoying every second of the cure.

This past weekend I also participated with my car at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas. The comments around Ed’s worksmanship were never-ending…. So, as a last hoorrah, here are the before-after pictures again:

Then
Now

As I was outlining my high level criterion in my very first blog page, Delorean owners have a few, good sources for engine upgrade options but, in my mind, Ed Ghesquiere has really hit a home run with my car and I am just so thankful I was the beneficiary of his skills and expertise.
Next, I’ll be working on upgraded, ventilated, multi-pot brakes and then I’m thinking an all-digital dash. The ECU has all the outputs to accommodate it.

More than anything though, I will do a lot of driving J.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Dyno testing!


I’m telling ya, driving 18 hours from Texas to Florida all in one day is not for the faint of heart; your mental state is pretty trashed, but that’s what me and my good buddy Leif did. The next day, February 27 was a big day: dyno testing, final review and sign-off.

Dyno testing took place at Garcia Automotive in Melbourne, FL. Now, if you recall, (or you can refresh your memory right here): Target, rear wheel output was 350 HP and 350 ft.lb of torque. The last month or so Ed had been telling me that he knows for sure we were exceeding that. Well, here is what two dyno runs yielded (individual results were about one percent apart):

·         Rear wheel peak power: 367 HP @ 6,260 RPM

·         Rear wheel peak torque: 377 FT.LB @ 4,710 RPM


Here is the video of the second run (the fun starts at 25 seconds):
 
 

Friday, February 19, 2016

A few tweaks

A couple of changes to deal with the heat:

  1. A heat shield that goes between the CAT and the turbo air intake area to keep the inlet air temp as low as possible has been added. A shroud around the intercooler (in the pontoon) has also been added.
  2. Instead of drawing (hot) air from the engine compartment, the turbo air intake has been extended with a rubber boot such as the air is now drawn from the inside of the bumper.
The turbo compressor and air filter now run considerably cooler and will be a benefit in a whole bunch of ways.

New heat shield and turbo air inlet arrangement
We're now a week from travelling to Florida to inspect, dyno test and bring #1283 back to Texas!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tuning

At this point I can only relay the progress that Ed reports to my via texts. In the last couple of days he has gradually increased the boost from 7 up to 15 psi. There was no worry with respect to the new motor but whether my fuel pump was going to be able to deliver enough fuel at full swansong, and here is what he said:

About the fuel pump: A couple of years ago I threw out the o-so antiquated factory fuel pump and fuel sender and replaced it with this complete solution from Delorean Motor Company in Houston, TX. Good for me that it has the ooompf to deliver the goods, and good for all others that also already have this pump/sender module and are considering an engine swap.

The final result

So here it is, the final and completed engine compartment. The engineering solutions and workmanship is worthy of any high-end automotive company; everything is functional and tidy... (Yes, I'm gonna have to ditch those stock stickers.)

Just check out what the engine bay used to look like and what we wanted to achieve, right here. We definitely reached our goal, and then some.

Nothing wrong with the view from the rear either: