Trailing Arm Bolts

Created: 4/27/01

Last updated: 4/13/03das

Author/source: DML (Compiled by Wayne Ernst)

(HERE IS A COMPILATION OF UNEDITED MESSAGES ABOUT Trailing Arms Bolts.  Had mine done today and decided to look over some archival info. COLLECTED FROM THE DML AND POSTED BACK TO THE DML AS-IS. READ THROUGH, AND YOU MIGHT PICK UP SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW!  Individual messages separated by ****** The question may follow the answer, ala "Jeopardy.")  -Wayne A. Ernst, vin 11174


Here's what can happen if you don't check them.  Maybe.


A few new ones:

Where are the trailing arm bolts and what do they look like? 


This is what they look like from the "inside". In this particular picture the transmission was removed from the car for other reasons. This is a great time to change the bolts (as well as the brake lines - visible in the upper left corner of the photo). 


Incidentally - The car in the photos is a very late car, and happens to be one of those with that NASTY undercoating stuff all over it. As you can see the benefit was dubious at best and really makes things a mess to work on. . 




This view is with the cover shield removed. You can see the three screws that normally hold the cover in place. The shims go between the trailing arm and the bushing as shown. 


The difference between Toby TABS and the originals. Once in the car the major indicator is the 12-point bolt head. 



Here are the answers to your trailing arm bolt questions.

Question 1)
The Parts Manual and the Workshop Manual show the trailing arm bolts being inserted in opposite directions.  Which is the correct orientation or does orientation matter?

A: Although the orientation is not critical the factory installed the bolts with the heads facing outwards. Hard to do after the body is on the frame. 

Question 2)
How am I supposed to access the trailing arm bolts with the transmission in the way?  Do I have to move the transmission to get to it?  Mine is an automatic transmission.

A: Yes, but you don't have to take it out of the car. 

Question 3)
Does the design rely on pressure from the rubber bushing to hold the alignment spacers in place?

A: Yes

Question 3)
Does torquing the trailing arm bolts compress the rubber bushing enough to affect toe-in adjustment?

A: Each bushing is fitted with a steel sleeve which limits the amount of compression.

i.e., Should I only take measurements with the  bolt fully torqued?

A: Yes

"We're here to help you"

DMC Help / De Lorean Services / <dmchelp(AT)
Web Site: <



Your absolutely correct; bolt heads facing inwards is what I meant. This is a good example of detailed moderating; nice job Dave.

"We're here to help you"

DMC Help / De Lorean Services / <dmchelp(AT)
Web Site: <

----- Original Message -----
From: Dave Swingle <dswingle(AT)
To: <dmcnews(AT)
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 11:29 AM
Subject: [DML] Re: trailing arm bolts & toe-in adjustment

 --- In dmcnews(AT), "DMC Joe" <dmcjoe(AT)a... wrote:
 . . . . trailing arm bolts being
   inserted in opposite directions.  Which is the correct orientation or does orientation matter?
 A: Although the orientation is not critical the factory installed  the bolts  with the heads facing outwards.

Unless I'm misunderstanding the definition of "heads facing" I disagree - if this was the case you'd have to lift the body from the frame to remove the bolts (or cut them off). Every one I've seen (not as many as Joe!) has the bolt heads facing the transmission (inside of the frame), with the nuts on the outside almost against the  fiberglass underbody.

 Dave Swingle


You do not have to remove the automatic transmission to remove the left trailing arm bolt! On the auto trans cars the bolt will not slip out, there is not enough room but it can be done. Just disconnect the trailing arm from the carrier on the left rear wheel, you don't have to remove the brake line if you are careful and don't bend it too much. Remember no more than 5 shims per side. If you don't have the correct ones order them, they are not the same as the ones the shop will pick up off the floor from the last car on the rack. Also very important is to torque the bolts with the weight of the car on the wheels otherwise you will have a preload on the bushing. Before you take it apart count the shims and put them back the same way. When you go to the shop have some extra shims just in case.

David Teitelbaum
vin 10757 AUTOMATIC!


Count the washers and replace EXACTLY.If the bolts are bent you have to slice them up to remove. Torque the bolts with weight on the suspension otherwise you are preloading the bushings. If automatic loosen left side trailing arm at rear carrier but don't disconnect brake line.
David Teitelbaum
vin 10757


What you are describing sounds normal. Make sure you keep the correct air pressures in the tires (including the spare!). You should record the # of shims under the trailing arm bolts for future reference and monitor the tires for treadwear, the outside will scuff depending on how much high speed cornering you do. Unfortunatly on our cars we cannot rotate the tires to even the wear. On most computerized alignment machines even if the Delorean wasn't in it they have a way to enter "customized" settings so if you bring your specs they can enter them in. Did the shop properly retorque the trailng arm bolts after they aligned the rear wheels? It must be done with the weight on the wheels or you preload the bushings. Also the steering wheel should be straight when driving straight on a flat level road with the right amount of "return" when turning the wheel(equal when turning left or right). With the wheels balanced there should be no shimmy or vibration at any speed. There should also be no "play" or loosness in the steering. The Delorean seems to hold an alignment well unless parts wear or are damaged or changed as in lowering the springs.
David Teitelbaum
vin 10757

--- In dmcnews(AT), "Chris C" <petleech(AT)a... wrote:
 We have had our DeLorean aligned by Tire America, supposedly to the correct specifications. Unbelievably Delorean was in his computer. The car drives fine but we notice that in a parking lot at full lock,  the tires seem to scuff, and looking at the tires the tread isrough, confirming this. Is this an anomaly of the design and normal for these cars or should I conclude that the alignment was incorrectly done?


...add in trailing arms and bolts? 

Good point.  Especially since everybody calls them "trailing arms bolts," but I don't recall ever seeing them called that in the original manuals. The original manuals also don't stress the importance of checking them, or the procedure either.  Anybody got pics of the process?  Or a concise description, maybe in an old "e-mails you've sent" file?  Or willing to write a first-hand description? 


I recommend greasing the trailing arm bolt, the part of the bolt that goes into the trailing arm.  I had a bolt rust up so bad to the trailing arm that I never did get it out.  When this happens, you can tighten up the bolt but it is not tight all the way through to the other end of the bolt.

For those who check their torque, make sure the bolt rotates in the trailing arm.

Nick Kemp


Refer to Workshop manual K:01:02 it is the bolt at the left side of the page where the trailing arm meets the frame. A better picture is in the Parts manual 5-3-0 fig #25 pn #106883. It is refered to as a trailing arm bolt in K:05:01 and :02. If you do not know that they were replaced order new upgraded ones from a Delorean vender. Count the # of spacers and replace exactly as removed or you will need an alignment. Loosen the bolt and rotate the head with a wrench, if the trailing arm moves up and down the bolt is bent and MUST be replaced. Be sure to torque to spec 55 FT/LBS WITH THE FULL WEIGHT OF THE CAR ON THE SUSPENSION. If the bolt is bent you may have to slice it up into little pieces to get it out. On an automatic car you will need to unbolt the rear carrier on the left to move the trailing arm to clear the trans.(Don't disconnect the rear caliper, there is enough freedom to move the trailing arm if you're careful.)


--- In dmcnews(AT)y..., "Jerry Harry" <jerryHarry(AT)m... wrote:
Can someone tell me what these are called in the parts book, page and number?  I find all kinds of things that I think would need inspection from time to time but none are called trailing arm bolts.
Thanks for the education.
 Vin# 4890


In a message dated 9/14/00 2:32:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
haldeman(AT) writes:

<< I doubt it would be the trailing arm bolts because I have Bauerle's add on for that problem 

What type of add on does Dave Bauerle have for trailing arms...?



CIAsleeper22 if you here the clunking noise in the back it could be bad news....check your trailing arm bolts....if it is not then it could be a prob with rear hub bearings or the constant velocity joints in your rear drive shaft...just wanted to warn you because this can be a very dangerous problem...u might want to have in checked out..


I'm fairly sure it's coming from the front.  The noise eminates from the right front wheel when I turn left, and the left when I turn right.  I doubt it would be the trailing arm bolts because I have Bauerle's add on for that problem and I had him check the condition of the bolts last time I took it in. (about a year ago)  I will check them out again though, just to be safe.
I think Stian may be correct in suspecting the half shafts because it does not make the clunking noise on the second turn if I make two consecutive lefts or two consecutive rights.

Well, either way I'll have the front end apart this weekend to install new shocks, so I'll check it all out then and let you know.
  Thanks for everyone's help with this problem,

Mike Thomas wrote:


Are you sure the shifting is not in back?  I think I would check my trailing arm bolts.  I had one fail on the highway and believe you me it ain't pretty.



-- In dmcnews(AT), billschaferabn(AT)a... wrote:

  I am in need of as much information as possible on installing three shims  on my passenger side rear trailing arm assembly.  The drivers side trailing arm assembly has three shims in it and my passenger side trailing arm has none.  How much effort is required to place three shims on the passenger side to even up the toe in on the passenger side. Has anyone done this or had this done to their "D". Please let me hear from you if you have.



do not add shims to 1 side just to have the same # of shims as the other.  you must get on an alignment rack and have the thrust angle checked. it is possible to have (i think) as many as 5 per side not usually the same # of shims on each side. It is very important never to change the # of shims unless you are on a rack. you should note the # of shims for future reference in case you ever take the trailing arm bolts out. while you are there loosen the bolt and then turn the head with a wrench while watching if the trailing arm moves up and down. this would indicate that the bolt is bent and should be replaced immediatly.

david teitelbaum


Hi Scott,
The first thing to do is pull that rear wheel. Jack the rear end up on jack stands and check the wheel for loosness, (grap it by both sides and see if you can shake it side to side and top to bottom). Put the car in neutral and slowly turn the suspect wheel by hand, any noises? Any lumps in the tire? Next remove the wheel, (any loose lug nuts?), now look at the constant velocity joint rubber boots on the rear axle, any torn or ripped? Check the eight bolts attaching the axle CV to the rear wheel, these can come loose. Check the shock absorber for worn rubber bushings. Also check your trailing arm bolts, make sure they are tight.

Dave Sontos
VIN 02573

DMC83in99(AT) wrote:

Today, I was driving the DMC on a pretty curvy road.  When I took an extra sharp right hand turn, it started making this rapid thumping noise from the area of the left side wheel well.  It doesn't do this on left hand turns, just right.  Any ideas?

ADDED 8/16/03

From: "tmpintnl" <
Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 8:05 PM
Subject: Re: [DML] A TABs HOW-TO?

Hank - Here's a brief snapshot of the process to get a quick look at
the TAB's to make sure that they at least *appear* to be secure. 
Naturally, the only way to know for sure is to remove them, and
examine them very carefully for signs of cracking, corrosion, etc. 
(If you take them out for a good look, you might as well install a set
of TOBY-TAB's back in, and be done with it - subtle plug :-) )  Put
the car up on ramps or jacks.  Remove the sheet metal shields from the
area on both sides.  The studs can sometimes spin while trying to take
the nuts off, so it may take two people to do this step.  Examine the
trailing arm joint common to the frame for signs of obvious distress,
such as bent parts (frame members, trailing arm, etc.). Grab the shims
and try to move them around the bolt shank itself.  If the bolt is
tight, you can't move the shims ... if the bolt has come even a little
loose, you can rotate the shims rather easily.  With a rachet and
socket on the head of the bolt, rotate the bolt in a clockwise
direction, and observe the shims carefully.  If the bolt is bent, the
shims will appear to move up and down when the bolt is turning.  I say
clockwise because you don't want to accidentally loosen the bolt while
inspecting it.  Inspect the two small bolts that attach the rubber
bushing plate to the frame.  The bolts must be secure.  I have seen
these shear off and/or fall out.  This allows some movement in the
joint, but is not as catastrophic as a brokem bolt can be because of
the retention of the large flat washers on each side of the joint.  If
all appears well, check the torque on the TAB using a torque wrench,
with a box-end wrench on the other end.  You will probably have to
check the torque on the head of the bolt, unless you have a
low-profile torque wrench.  Set the wrench to 50 - 55 ft-lbs.  You may
get a slight rotation of the assembly due to wear on the flat washers
or the steel sleeves in the joint.  Once you are satisfied with the
inspection, put the shields back on in reverse order, and away you go.

Toby Peterson  VIN 2248

-- In dmcnews@y..., "Hank Eskin" <heskin@b...> wrote:
> could someone provide a "TABs for Dummies"
> step-by-step explanation on how to check them? 

From: "Shannon Yocom" <
To: "DMC - DML News Post'n" <
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2003 4:59 PM
Subject: Bauerle - TAB Supports

To all,

As promised below is a link to images of Dave Bauerle's TAB Support.

Dave said that this is NOT primarily a "catch" all though it can act as one if
need be. It is mainly a support.

Also Dave commented on the side to side twisting motion that Toby mentioned
stating that the amount is minimal enough that the bushings in this setup can
allow for such movement.

He does have extras left and can make more for those who decide to go this route.

As mentioned before Dave does not have access to the DML or a computer so if you
have any comments, concerns, questions, disagreements etc. please contact him
directly. That info can be found at the link below.

[ note: since text greatly lacks tone & can be interpreted multiple ways let me
state that the tone above & linked is in no way condemning Toby & his Tabs. I did
not know of any other option for this problem until recently and wanted to share
information while possibly helping both driver safety & vendor business. I
actually have a set of "Toby Tabs" and plan to use them in my car . . . . . some

Shannon Y

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