The 2016 DeLorean Convention and Show is coming up in Springfield, Illinois at the end of July, and I am planning on driving 2932 from Houston to the event. It will be the longest road trip the car has been on since the 2010 show in Lexington, Kentucky! I enjoyed seeing the countryside in my DeLorean and James and I have been itching for another road trip, so this is the perfect excuse.
The only problem with taking 2932 out on a road trip is that I have no control over the weather - we will be exposed whether it is sunny or pouring down rain. Now I am not saying that my DeLorean is driven only in pristine conditions - I've always gone out in whatever weather I have to. But, for being as hassle-free as a DeLorean can be in the nearly 7 years I have owned it, 2932 does have one slight problem...the roof box.
What is the roof box, you may ask? This is the mild steel low rectangular box that sits underneath the stainless steel T-shaped roof panel. The downward mark of the T runs between the two doors, and the crossed portion at the top of the T is at the rear of the car and holds the torsion bars - the cryogenically twisted metal springs that allow the heavy doors to raise upward so that you can get in and out - in place. The roof box was painted black and epoxied to the top of the fiberglass underbody at the factory and then loaded up with the doors and torsion bars. In theory it works fine, but give it 35 years of sitting through rainy roads, driveway car washings and misty morning parking lots, and it will begin to show its age - rusting out and separating from the fiberglass it was bonded to.
The first indication I had that something was wrong in the roof area was that my passenger side door would always pop slightly ajar on the rear latch while I was driving. Sometimes this would even happen with the car sitting still in the garage overnight. Having a door come ajar in a DeLorean while driving is not as spectacular as it sounds - the door does not just fly open all the way without warning while you're cruising down the highway, sucking out occupants and loose 80's cassettes. Each door uses two independent latches, so the worst that will happen is that either the front or the rear of the door will pop open about an inch outward from the body of the car, and you will get lots of road noise and outside air.
The next warning sign was water leakage from the front roof area into the interior of the car. I found this out while driving home from a 4th of July parade and getting engulfed in a massive thunderstorm. The rainwater started pouring in through the driver side sunvisor mounting points and the front dome light, covering my lap and the shifter area of my center console. I ended up having to remove both of my shoes in order to pull off my socks and place them under the dripping areas to stop the water from doing any damage. The water was rust-colored and not just overflow from the deluge - my socks still bear those stains. It was not fun.
After that, I knew the roof box was on its last leg. It was in dire need of replacement, but doing so meant removing the doors, stainless T-panel, headliners, windshield, and replacing the old tattered roof box with a new one, preferably made out of stainless steel or otherwise protected with more than a coat of paint. It was a big job, and more than James and I had room for in our garage at home. It was the only thing stopping the car from being its best, and I wanted it fixed before traveling 1600 miles in it. DCS 2016 was the perfect excuse to get it going, but it was time to call in the experts. My car is now temporarily a customer of my own service department. I am opting to install a new e-coated steel roof box, which is a dipping process that ensures the inside of the box is protected, not just the outside. Work is currently underway...
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Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm a car nut, bird lover, and musician. I have recently transitioned from music teacher to automotive service manager, and there have been lots of cool stories and crazy characters along the way!