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Lenox
Posts: 1
(@lenox)
New Member
Joined: 4 months ago

I bought my 1993 5-speed Del Sol Si not long ago in October to learn how to do my own mechanic work past just being able to change my oil. Towed it 150 miles with the help of my friend's beast of a 2.7L F150, pushed it into my garage and it's been there since. The plan is to restore it completely to factory with a couple of exceptions relating to the exhaust (I'm currently unable to source the OEM exhaust) and some upgrades on the interior (ex: seat covers and speakers). 

Working in my free time between college, work, and cross country, I got it running and idling smoothly within a few weeks which was very exciting for me and it served as a motivator to continue and complete the restoration. The engine turned over, but the reason for not getting any combustion was the fact that the spark plug wells were full of oil and I suspect that the cylinders didn't fare much better due to shot O-rings (I replaced them along with a new valve cover gasket which had also gone bad). After draining the oil from the wells, I removed the spark plugs which were caked in oil and carbon along with the distributor wires which were a little flimsy from being soaked in the oil for so long. I checked the compression of every cylinder and they were a bit over 90psi all across. The timing belt was off by about 8 teeth and after I reinstalled the timing belt correctly along with new spark plugs and wires, the engine started right up. It idled really rough and the RPMs would drop so low the engine would die. When it was running, it scared me because I heard knocking and rattling which I can now attribute to the terrible exhaust system that was installed by a previous owner. It was attached to the vehicle only by the tri-y and rested on the passenger side rear tire's suspension knuckle where the noise came from when the car was running and vibrating. None of the hangers were used nor were they even in the right spots to mount them properly. I have a new exhaust system that mounts to every hanger correctly. After I did a valve adjustment and a new MAP sensor, the car idles smoothly now. 

I don't understand what was going on in the previous owner's head but apparently, they didn't believe in regular oil changes. When I drained the oil, it was tar-black and came out a little sludgy towards the end of the drain. I left the oil pan plug out for 3 days before finishing the oil change to ensure that all that could come out did so. I put Seafoam in the crankcase and after 150 or so miles, I'll do another oil change. I will also put Seafoam into the fuel tank next time I fill up.

Unfortunately, having lived most if not all of its life in the midwest, the rust belt has taken its toll past the "usual" Honda rust. the frame is relatively untouched by the rust but the quarter panels will need an overhaul and I just welded in new floor pans since there were massive rust holes on the passenger side. The driver's side wasn't too bad and only needed a couple of patches welded in. This was my first time welding and it isn't the prettiest job. I aimed for functionality over perfection and did my best to not make a mess while still making it watertight. Seam sealer is amazing. The sheet metal being 24 gauge didn't help much and limited how heavy I could go on the welding. Since my budget doesn't allow me to go all in and get a MIG welder, I picked up the cheapest flux-core welder from Harbor freight and prayed not to burn through every time I pulled the trigger. 

The driver's side front two seat mounting points were completely rusted out and the seat was only mounted from the back which led to a questionable ride with safety being a major concern. It felt as though I was in a poorly made rocking chair. When I took out the seats, the driver's seat's rails were also rusted out where the front two mounting bolt holes were which ended up actually separating completely and remaining fused with the interior carpet. With a little bit of persuasion, I was able to free the carpet from the rusted remnants. Though intact, the passenger's seat's rails also were heavily rusted. As for the driver's side two front seat mounts, I welded a nut onto a sheet of 22 gauge and riveted them into the remaining intact rail where the mount used to be. Fortunately, the one farthest from the fuel cap cover release was salvageable and is now perfectly usable after some rust reversal.

I'm planning on bringing the car into a body shop to get the quarter panels done professionally since my current expertise would be inept where whatever I did would not look good at all if I were to do it myself. I had originally planned to use bondo to fix the quarter panels but after taking a wire brush attachment on my angle grinder to them, I discovered that a previous owner had already used bondo on it and did a very poor job because it was rotting from the inside out. The holes which I thought were relatively small and workable turned out to be much larger and widespread and I've decided the best route is to get them rewelded to get the job done right the first time. This is probably going to be where the majority of my budget will go to. 

Just a few days ago I primed the newly done floor pans and this week I'll be rolling on some Killmat sound dampening before continuing on putting the interior back in. I managed to source the entire interior from a 1997 Del Sol where most of the plastic trim pieces are in decent condition. I think the all-black trimming will look good. I've just put on Iggee seat covers over the 97 seats I got since the driver's seat isn't in good condition. There are multiple burn holes from cigarettes and the side has the typical rip of which I shoved in new foam before sewing up. At least the rails are intact with not much rust which I will be cleaning and repainting before mounting them back in the car.

I'll soon start on the trunk where some plastic pieces are missing or damaged. The trunk light is missing (I've got one coming in the post soon) and the plastic trim over the Targa rack release is missing its top half. Small issues, but I want to make sure I get to everything. I've replaced the struts with new ones from BOXI on the trunk lid since they barely worked and after a couple of seconds, they would give up and the lid would slam down---almost on my hands a couple of times. Thankfully, all the carpet is present. The spare tire cover was trash and the composite wood was crumbling into mulch. I'll need to cut out a new sheet to fit and attach the carpet to it in the future. The spare tire is missing, unfortunately.

The spare tire well is slightly crushed in on the driver's side from a previous rear-end collision which was the cause for the car's rebuilt title. Other than that, all the previous damage seems to be repaired and I imagine with a little patience, a rubber mallet could probably do a good job at banging the spare tire well back to where it's supposed to be. The factory seam sealer has separated in the spare tire well so that'll be needing to be tended to as well since I can see the ground through the split opening. There's minimal rust in the trunk and there doesn't seem to be any leaks so that's a big plus. 

The rear bumper reinforcement beam appears to be really rusted. This is the same issue I had with my daily driver, a 2003 Honda Element EX AWD. Shoutout to all my fellow toaster drivers! I fixed the issue on my Element by getting a not-so-rusted reinforcement beam from my local u-pull yard, sanding it, and then repainting it before mounting it onto my car. It was so bad that if you just banged your hand against the rear bumper's plastic, rust flakes would just shower to the ground. I've yet to take off the Del Sol's rear bumper, but I've got my fingers crossed that the reinforcement beam is salvageable and can be reused because I don't know where I'd be able to source another one. These Del Sols are pretty rare to find in the midwest and usually once one goes into a scrapyard, they're gutted before the week's end.

The last thing that I'll need to do is tend to the paint. It is way overdue for a paint job. The clearcoat has definitely seen better days and a large percent of it has flaked and peeled off most of the body panels. I would get it professionally repainted, but that is far too expensive and goes way over my budget. I'll be doing it myself and hopefully, it turns out well. Thankfully, paint jobs are relatively reversible. The car is its original paint color; Milano Red.

As for when I get the restoration completed, I hope to use it as a daily driver along with my Element and give these underappreciated cars some love and appreciation. Hopefully, along the way, I can get others to learn to value and appreciate these cars as much as many of us here do. However, my biggest obstacle will probably be mastering the art of driving a manual. I've never driven one more than 10 feet before and that was in neutral! I've prepared myself and acquired multiple reflective magnets to cover the Del Sol reading Student Driver with the hope that people keep their distance. A good thing about Illinois is that there are barely any hills so I won't have to worry about that until later. 

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Jayhaeroo
Posts: 2
(@jayhaeroo)
New Member
Joined: 2 weeks ago

Hello people, Im Jayh im from Holland! Im 34. Have my del sol for about 7 to 8 years now. Its a 1992 samba green decently fully rebuild NA b16a2 with 195 hp.

Waiting on a new paint and offcourse waiting on the oldsols rooftop 🙂

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DaveAndAlex
Posts: 7
(@daveandalex)
Active Member
Joined: 1 week ago

Hello All! Bought a 93 Del Sol Si 6 months ago as my son's first car. We are slowly building/rebuilding the thing together. Currently working on suspension and brakes.

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1 Reply
DaveAndAlex
(@daveandalex)
Joined: 1 week ago

Active Member
Posts: 7
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