DeLorean Cooling Pipe Hose Replacement

1/30/2006

Swear Meter Rating of 11+ Uncomfortable position, fluids everywhere, out of reach hoses, difficult work, loss of skin on knuckles, pain felt for days afterwards.

There's a reason the Swear Meter is "coolant green"

Now I haven't yet replaced my front speakers, but I'd argue this is the worst thing I've ever done on my car. Sure enough the day I fixed my oil leak I started dripping coolant from no less than 5 different spots underneath the car. Boggles the mind.

I bought a complete coolant hose kit from Special T Auto and it arrived quickly. I had devised my lift system thanks in part to Daniel Fox of the AZ-D group I'm in. Basically I use a floor jack to raise up the car and then it sits on its own tires on stands I made from railroad ties.  If they're strong enough for trains, they'll hold my D. So now the car is raised up about 7-8 inches off the ground from the bottom of the tires.  That gives me approximately 20 inches in which to work underneath the car. It's not much, but just enough.

I have an aluminum "racing jack" which means it's lighter and it goes under very low cars easily. I wrapped a 2x6" piece of wood in a towel so the epoxy under the frame wouldn't get damaged and I have more lift area. I jack up the car using the box frame under the engine, and the flat area just behind the crush tube in the front of the car. Jack stands can be used if you're taking a wheel off. I prefer to put a small 2x6 piece of wood between the jack stand and the jacking areas under the car. Less chance of puncture or cracking. Hopefully if you're trying this procedure you've already figured out how to raise your car up.

At any rate, they needed to be changed.  The worst leaking was coming from the driver's side front area. The tiny rubber hose connecting the pipe to the radiator was first to go. Ideally you'll have some kind of bucket handy to catch all the coolant. It's around 2 gallons so don't get a Cool Whip container.  There's going to be a lot, and it's nasty stuff. I figured these things were going to be a piece of cake. Well most of the clamps were rusted to begin with. When a screwdriver wouldn't work or fit I tried using a socket which sometimes just rounded the head.  Vise grips were my last resort many times. After a lot of work and swearing the first bit of coolant began to flow....

...mostly not into the bucket. @&%!! After a quick repositioning I let it drain out. This, by the way, is just the amount in the radiator itself and part of the pipe it's connected to.  There's more waiting for you later. The next section I did was the one behind the front right shock tower.  It was a pain to get to, what else is new.  The little hose going from the junction to the radiator was a piece of cake though. My hopes were raised. I then realized that the entire aluminum piece could be removed so I cleaned it up some with an abrasive pad and water. The rubber piece at the front had to be trimmed to get it on a few times. It helps a lot to rub a little coolant around the pipe ends so you can twist it on easier. I also used large pliars extensively to get grip because the coolant is like liquid soap. The idea is you can slip the rubber part down the hose a little, line up the ends and then slip the piece over both to make the junction. Sounds easy but in the position you're in... it's not.

Since I was getting very friendly with my front suspension area I decided to clean it up a bit with some WD-40. It was pretty nasty. The second pic shows how it looked when I was done with that front area. No leaks, nice and clean. Next I moved under the car.  You have to remove the closing plate under the gas tank to access these two pipes. Undo the front set of bolts first since there's a lip there, then make your way to the back.  The panel will drop down and you pull it out of the lip, then try to set it someplace out of the way. If yours looks like hell from a brake master cylinder leak consider getting a PJ Grady Stainless Steel replacement. The straight pipes were a little hard to get a grip on but once they got going it was no big deal. Again, coolant everywhere, bring a bucket and rags.

Next I moved onward and upward. Apparently the set of pipes I did pissed me off so much I forgot to take pictures. If you look at the rest of my site, that says a lot for me to not take pics. The angles at which you have to bend the rubber are unreal. Probably the most frustrating part of the whole process right there. Past that there is one connection just north of the transmission on the passenger side as seen below. The driver's side goes all the way up into the engine bay alongside the frame. I attacked this one from above and it went reasonably well.  I couldn't feel my hands anymore by then so it helped. Last but not least I hit the front driver's side where it all began. The screw on one of the brackets is unaccessable by any tool that I had on hand. Even better when they're rusted solid.

Now, what I didn't do that you should do is replace the upper coolant hoses as well. I got lazy and after doing these I really wasn't up to it. I'm not going to explain what I did to flush the system.. it's probably wrong and I don't want to encourage that kind of thing. Just take it somewhere or get help from someone who knows what they're doing. You do need to fill it back up and bleed it though before you drive it.

I used a 50/50 pre-mix as not to goof it up.  If you buy the regular stuff you'll have to add distilled water, and honestly who has that in their garage? Once the coolant bottle looks full enough, trust me it's not, seal everything up and start the car.  You'll need to bleed out the air from the system. While it's running, use a small socket to very very carefully open the little bleed screw on the water pump. I'll get a picture of this thing soon. It'll hiss until it starts dribbling coolant, so watch for it carefully. Oh yeah, and watch for the A/C belt! You'll then probably need to add coolant, and repeat the bleeding again after a minute or so.  Make sure you have enough coolant in the bottle or you'll overheat.