“That 80s Time Travel Movie”, Brisbane Arts Theatre

“That 80s Time Travel Movie”, Brisbane Arts Theatre

The Brisbane Arts Theatre is putting on a parody musical called “That 80s Time Travel Movie” and I’ll give you one guess what it’s about. Naturally, my DeLorean was there for the Australian premiere! I thought it was pretty good; I love seeing new spins on the existing content and not just straight quoting or re-telling. Here’s a couple photos I took on opening night.

DeLorean out the front of the Brisbane Arts Theatre

Because promo shots look nice

Marty & George McFly in my DeLorean at the Brisbane Arts Theatre

Marty & George McFly posed and filmed a little skit in my DeLorean

Brisbane Arts Theatre fake prop DeLorean 1

I managed to swing behind-the-scenes access to the replica prop DeLorean they made. It’s a welded steel frame on wheels that has some additional wooden support bracing with painted corflute for the body panels. Given the very limited time & budget they had, they did a decent job!

Brisbane Arts Theatre fake prop DeLorean 2

The gullwing doors do actually open! You just have to be very careful when handling them. Apparently they caused a lot of problems for the set builders… If only they knew how much trouble they caused DMC, heh

Brisbane Arts Theatre fake prop DeLorean 3

The prop DeLorean divides into three pieces they can separate & wheel around individually. The people I spoke to weren’t aware that they actually did something very similar to this when filming Back to the Future – they had an “exploded” DeLorean they built with multiple layers to make filming internal scenes easier. Because there’s no easy way to physically fit Doc, Marty, Jennifer AND Einstein all in an actual DeLorean at the same time

Brisbane Arts Theatre Flux Capacitor

You don’t really see this level of detail from the audience, but the prop DeLorean does have a rough Flux Capacitor (made from flashing EL wire) with some random components on top

“That 80s Time Travel Movie” is showing at the Brisbane Arts Theatre from now until the 27th of March. Book your tickets at https://www.artstheatre.com.au/backtothefuture.

New website, new Riven Journals upgrade

New website, new Riven Journals upgrade

It’s been so long since I updated this thing, I decided to just start from scratch with a whole new website. Something that’s not, well, entirely coded by hand in Notepad so maybe I’ll be more likely to update it. I’ll re-add more old content whenever I get around to it.

This website isn’t the only thing that’s new though, I’ve just finished another round of modernising the Riven Journals – just in time for Riven’s 20th anniversary!

What’s new:
  • The background music now plays on more modern browsers (including on most smartphones)
  • There’s a new compatibility shim to display the mouse hover text, which replaces window.status which has been deprecated for quite some time
  • All Perl code has been modified to work with newer versions of the language, which means the cookie handling parts work properly again. This means all .cgi pages work, there’s no more script errors, and Journal 5 is actually completeable now
  • All PHP code has been modified to work with version 7 of the language
  • Personally checked that the Easter Eggs are actually accessible, since no one’s found them yet (they’re pretty hard to find!)
  • A couple logic errors have been corrected (which were present in the original Riven Journals… I have no idea how I missed them for so long)
  • The Prefetching code has been updated with more hints, which should make browsing around the Riven Journals super fast with very quick page load times

You should totally check them out!

And if that’s not tempting enough for you, in honour of Riven’s 20th anniversary I’m unveiling some exclusive, previously-unreleased, never-before-seen Riven concept art of the schoolroom Wahrk counting number game:

Riven Wahrk Schoolroom counting game concept art(click to embiggen)

 

“Twenty years, Atrus… Twenty. Long. Years.” – Saavedro, Myst III: Exile

Now to wait for Riven’s 25th anniversary…..

DeLorean Radiator Bleeder Kit

DeLorean Radiator Bleeder Kit

Like in many areas, the DeLorean’s cooling system is a little bit different when compared to the average modern car. The coolant radiator is still in the front, but the engine’s mounted in the rear. This not only makes for a very long coolant loop that takes a lot of fluid, but also means the system has multiple high points – meaning you have to bleed the air bubbles out of multiple places. The system wasn’t really designed with ease of maintenance in mind, but thankfully there’s a few upgrades/modifications you can do to make this job easier! So today I’ll be installing one of DeLorean Parts NorthWest’s Wings-B-Cool modifications, a radiator bleeder kit. This procedure can theoretically be done on the car as-is if you’re small & flexible, but I highly recommend jacking up the front right corner & removing the front right wheel to give you plenty of space to work in.

DeLorean Radiator Bleeder Valve

The best hacks are the simplest ones. This mod consists of nothing more than a T-valve, hose clips, and some temporary clear hose only used when bleeding (not pictured)

The normal procedure for bleeding the DeLorean’s radiator involves disconnecting a hose, having boiling hot coolant spray all over you in sputtering bursts between the air bubbles, then reattaching the hose again when you think you’ve got rid of all the bubbles. Even worse, if you have the original radiator, the hose barb is plastic and after 35+ years this plastic is very brittle and likely to crack on you, which means you have to replace the entire radiator. Thankfully I have an upgraded metal radiator, but even still it’s not a pleasant procedure. I did it once and swore that I’d do this modification before I had to change my coolant again.

DeLorean Radiator Hoses

The radiator return connectors – the lower metal pipe is the main coolant return line, while the upper flexible hose is an attempt at a self-bleeding system. It doesn’t really work and you still have to remove this hose to manually bleed the system

The procedure for this mod is pretty simple – clamp off the hose (or drain your coolant system), cut out a segment of the hose, insert & replace that segment with the kit’s T-valve. I have some clamps specifically designed to close off coolant lines which made this job super simple. I recommend either investing in a pair or borrowing/renting them if you’re planning to do this job without draining the coolant system, because otherwise you’ll end up with coolant everywhere.

DeLorean Radiator Hoses Pinched

Coolant bleeding hose clamped off & ready to be cut

Cutting a segment of this hose is probably the most difficult part of this job – and that’s not hard to do at all, which says something about how easy this mod is.

To operate the new coolant radiator bleeder, simply attach a temporary hose to the barb on the T-valve that leads into a suitable container, turn on the car, bring the engine up to operating temperature when the cooling fans cycle, then open the valve. When you no longer see air bubbles in the clear tube, turn off the valve & remove the hose and you’re done – it’s that simple! You might want to do this in multiple goes, topping up the coolant reservoir when necessary to make sure it doesn’t run out – if it gets too low you’ll just introduce more air into the system and then you’ll have to bleed the engine too.

DeLorean Radiator Hoses with T-valve

T-valve installed in place with my radiator freshly bled

You can also see another mod I recently did to the car on the right of this image – I taped up the gaps between the radiator & its shroud with metal ducting tape (which is a different product to duct tape that is designed to stay stuck at a wide temperature range and also when wet). This means more air goes through the radiator itself instead of going around it through the gaps. I’ve noticed it’s helped my engine stay a little bit cooler, but not by much – I would only recommend it if you have large gaps around your shroud and you also live in a hot climate, but don’t expect it to work any miracles for you. Properly bleeding the radiator will have a larger impact.

Once this radiator bleeder kit was all installed, I bled my radiator with the T-valve just to check it all worked. Interestingly enough, even though I had already bled my system before, I still got a few more air bubbles out of it this time. I guess that goes to show how much more effective this bleeder is vs removing & reattaching the entire hose! I would totally recommend this upgrade to other DeLorean owners, it’s well worth the small price to eliminate a messy job.

DeLorean Brake Fluid Change

DeLorean Brake Fluid Change

Not all the work I do on my car is fixing things or upgrading parts – sometimes I do regular maintenance too. For instance, flushing & changing my brake fluid – it’d been a few years since I last did this job and it needs to be done regularly, particularly on older cars that don’t have sealed brake systems. Plus, I also had some air bubbles in my brake lines that I needed to remove. Aside from the fact that all automotive fluids slowly degrade with time, brake fluid in particular is usually very hygroscopic (meaning it absorbs water very easily, even pulling moisture from humidity out of the air). Most brake fluid has additives that let it tolerate a certain amount of water, but it’s not very much. If it exceeds this limit, it’ll start rusting things in your brake system from the inside – which is even more concerning when you consider that brake fluid itself is highly corrosive if it touches the wrong things.

It’s also important to make sure you change the fluid in the brake lines themselves, not just the fluid in the main reservoir. Brake systems need to be bled of any air bubbles, too – if there’s air bubbles your brake pedal will feel spongy and won’t work as well as it should. There’s a procedure to follow for this that varies between cars, and the DeLorean uses a different order than the usual due to the car’s unique configuration, so be sure to find out the correct process before you start.

DeLorean Brake Bleeding 1

First set of fluid bled from my brake lines – super dark liquid in the bottle, tiny black flakes in the clear tube… This fluid change was definitely needed!

DeLorean Brake Bleeding 2

Part-way through the bleeding procedure. Remember to keep on topping up the reservoir as you bleed the system, you don’t want it to run low & pull air into the lines or else you have to start again

DeLorean Brake Bleeding 3

Bleeding finished, only clean fluid coming out now. You can see the liquid in the bottle is light coloured now. Time for the next wheel

After rinsing everywhere very thoroughly to make sure no corrosive brake fluid is left on anything, this job is done! This one’s not a very glamorous job, but ya gotta keep on top of the regular maintenance to keep a car running. 😉

DeLorean Brake Bleeding Finished

The brake fluid flush & change on my DeLorean is all finished!