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Technical Day
Sun 17th Feb 2002
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 13
[ show pre-run info ]

You could argue that anyone who knows about cars has already done all the jobs on their car that need doing and  oesn't, therefore, need a technical day. However, that leaves a large number of people who may have nowhere to work on a car (it may be street parked for example) or who are a little timid about starting a job in case they can't finish it and would like to have someone who knows one end of a screwdriver from the other on hand to help out in a crisis. Perhaps there are people who don't want to work on their cars but are happy to either help other people with theirs or just chew the fat with people who are there.

We had all of these at Richard & Eileen's for our first technical day. 5 cars appeared at Newbridge for the run up the M9 to Stirling services where we met 6 more, including sisters Nicola and Susie, both in silver Roadsters who were on their first trip with us. Because Sunday was Eileen's birthday, we'd arranged, without Richard or Eileen knowing, to meet at Callander car park to dress the cars with balloons so we could "make an entrance". In one of the funnier moments of the day we arrived at the car park to be greeted by 4 people who were just getting out of their silver Passat who made various derogatory gestures at us. It then dawned on them that there weren't one or two MX5s but 13 and we were treated to the sight of the women walking, heads down, 50 yds towards Callander while the blokes got back in the car and went and picked them up and drove them all away. Total time in Callander: about 2 minutes.  How stupid do you feel?

We dressed the cars up with balloons including some which needed a tyre inflator to do the trick and headed off. All the attention we got from then on was positive and cheerful.

On arrival at Richard and Eileens we parked up and handed over the presents, cards and flowers that we'd brought. For the 500th time I reversed too far and cracked my rear fog light. This time it was to prove beyond repair. I called for peoples' attention and, as usual, failed to get it, but I went on and suggested that people just got on with what they wanted to do and, if they needed help, to ask someone who looked like they might know the answer (which effectively ruled me out).

I got on with the job of greasing my electric windows, sometimes on my own and sometimes with interested onlookers. During the day, I did both windows, Richard & I took the electric window switch to pieces and bodge-fixed it with superglue and I fitted a scuff plate which had come with the car 2 years ago but had never been fitted. I saw brace bars and air boxes lying around so assume these got fitted too.

I took the car into Richard's garage and widened the drains in the sills to stop them getting clogged. Richard suggested changing my rear centre brake light to a fog light and he did that while I stood around trying to look useful. (Am I being hard on myself there? Well let's see. How about when Richard wired everything up and the brake lights worked but the fog light didn't. Richard and Iain got their heads together with various ideas as to why the diode wasn't doing what it should, when I noticed that the reason it wasn't working was because I hadn't put the ignition on. I was treated to the oh-so-familiar rolling of the eyes from my co workers that I get on every DIY project). I tried to remove the old fog light but failed repeatedly to find the right socket (see the frustration pic) before Richard applied some technical persuasion with a hacksaw and got rid.

The last job was to cure the leak which I had thought was the drains. It turned out (and this is where  technical days are really useful) that both Richard and Iain felt that the seal on my hood wasn't tight enough (it looked fine to me, but they were able to compare it theirs) and altered the hood clips. The difference was clear in the shape and tension of the hood and I'm confident the days of a wet leg in the rain are over.

I have no idea what other people did that day, I was busy from when I got there till being the last to leave, but I know it was a fabulous day for me and I feel like I have a new car. That's not to say I got everything done that I wanted done but I certainly got "my money's worth". Perhaps others who were there will read this and contribute thoughts about their day too. It was a success from my point of view, how about you?

[by Graeme]

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