|Mugs & Motors at Panera Bread|
Those driving their British iron parked together across the street from the coffee shop and the cars formed an impromptu car show. More than a few Panera customers stopped by to have a closer look at the representatives of the golden age of British automobile manufacturing. The cloudless sky and bright sunshine was marketer's dream: the cars absolutely glowed in the late spring sun.
|Parked at Panera|
We topped off our coffees and a number of us picked up an extra sweet treat to enjoy later before we mounted up for the short drive to Silverhill, Alabama and the shops of Darby Classic Restoration where Mike Darby was waiting for us. Jack Ross led the caravan in his stunning silver Jaguar E-Type roadster and he did an excellent job of timing the traffic lights so that the group stayed within sight of each other. Turning off Baldwin County 64 and onto highway 54, we opened the throttle butterflies a little and gave the cars a bit of a workout. The several 90 degree turns on 54 were taken at speeds not usually seen by less exciting cars.
|Inside Darby Classic Restoration|
The group pulled onto Mike's property and parked up under the shade trees that front the place. We took our time chatting with a few folks who chose to meet up at the shop and forgo the caffeine and calories of the breakfast stop. Once everyone made their way into the shop, Mike began the tech session on automotive electrical systems.
He had several old wiring harnesses along with some examples of various fuse types, connectors and useful tools. The main event was a harness that Mike laid out and attached several components to in simulation of problematic headlight circuit. Mike demonstrated the correct method of step by step troubleshooting and during his talk, he pointed out several important facts:
- A "short" or short circuit usually involves blown fuses, melted wiring and/or smoke.
- A dead electrical component is likely due to an open circuit that prevents power from reaching the device.
- Poor grounds are common on old cars. Cleaning your ground points will often fix the problem.
- Corroded or dirty connectors are another common cause of electrical problems.
- Save old wiring harnesses that you may take off parts cars. They are a good source for correctly color coded wiring and various connectors.
- Use proper automotive wiring devices. "Vampire" clips, wire nuts and household wiring devices are asking for major trouble.
- By good quality wiring tools. They make the job easier and more realiable.
- British cars are no more prone to electrical problems than cars from any other country - including the US.
- Work methodically to find your problem and have an accurate wiring diagram handy.
|The simulated headlight circuit|
Mike took a great deal of time answering questions and going into great detail for the benefit of those in attendance. As always, we owe Mike and Nancy Darby a big thank you for hosting the event.
Afterwards, Richard Cunningham discussed two great products for keeping the interior of your car cool: Koolmat interior heat insulation and Zero Clearance reflective insulation for shielding the car from exhaust heat. Richard has installed both products in his E-Type restoration project and several members are currently using the products with excellent results.
Since it had been a matter of hours that we last had anything to eat, the group once again set out for another meal, this time at Champy's Chicken in Daphne. It also gave us an opportunity to experience an honest-to-goodness traffic roundabout that the Daphne street department recently finished. While they are quite common in Europe, they are just now being seen here in the US.
|Lunch at Champy's|
The helpful staff at Champy's dragged several tables together to accommodate the hungry SABCC crowd. We scanned the menu and placed our orders with a delightful young waitress that really engaged the group. It turns out that she was working at Champy's part time but was actually a dietitian at a local hospital the rest of the week. We razzed her about serving up platefuls of deep fried death on the weekend and helping to choose healthy menus during the work week. She took it all in stride and reminded us that all food is good in moderation.
We enjoyed our heaping plates of fried chicken and more than a few of the group had to take boxes of food home because the portions were so large. Moderation would have to be practiced another day. We rolled out of the restaurant, once again full, and into our cars for the trip to our respective homes. Everyone enjoyed the day and vowed that we would do it again and soon.