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Shealy’s Lunch Drive

Members Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Larry & Rita Garner, Dennis & Karol Mason and Hal & Trudy Scott

There were 4 almost entirely gray scale flavored Miatas gathered at the almost entirely re-branded Sprint quick stop for Saturday’s Drive-Eat-Drive event. They only thing that remains of the previous Greg’s Gas Plus is just the big giant sign out by the street. The assembled consisted of the Masons who were there in their Sparkling Black NC, the Garners who were there in their Brilliant Black NC, the Scotts who were there in their Galaxy Gray NC and the Bogarduses were there in their Sunlight Silver NB with a touch of blue.

The Garners were the Rally Masters and lead car. They took a right out of the parking lot and off we went north on SC230. Determined not to have any Interstate miles on the trip, they set up their GPS to plot a route. After several miles of not being able to get the GPS to find our lunch destination, Shealy’s Bar-B-Que in Batesburg-Leesville, they broke out the phone and Google had no problem plotting a course. Well they must have had “shortest route” selected as an option because about 90% of the way there, it popped us off the main road onto a little dirt road over some railroad tracks. Less than 50 yards ahead was a stop sign, so we figured it must be paved at that point. Nope. But after another 1/2 mile of driving down what seemed to be farm paths through rows of peach trees we turned right onto blacktop and the road the restaurant was on.

With a bit more than 3 miles to go, Brian & Donna in Car #3, inexplicably lost forward momentum. The car hiccuped, the CEL came on and while the engine was still running, there was no power to be had. They coasted to a stop at a wide shady spot along the road. Car #4, Dennis & Karol, slowed and pulled in behind them. Brian unlatched the hood and while Dennis was under there looking for anything obvious he went to the trunk and got out a Bluetooth OBD II dongle. We called ahead to the two leading cars to let then know what happened. Almost to the BBQ place, they both turned around and soon there were 4 Miatas parked along the road. Brian had the dongle, but the app to use with it was no longer loaded on his phone, so he attempted to download it.

Someone suggested it was bad gas, they had purchased a couple gallons at Sprint. Probably not as Larry & Rita’s car wasn’t acting up, they had bought gas at the Sprint too. After more than a few minutes of not finding anything obvious under the hood, someone asked Brian to start it up to see what the engine was doing. The car fired right up, and when he mashed the go pedal a few times, the car responded as it should. It was decided to see if their car would make the last three miles to Shealy’s. It did. Still no app download.

Because Shealy’s is a buffet, Brian always feels as if he doesn’t polish off 2 heaping plates of food he hasn’t gotten his money’s worth and based on a quick sample of the dining room, he’s not the only one. As the rate of food consumption, as well as the conversation, at the table waned every one started making after lunch plans. Of course, the other three couples offered to follow the Bogarduses home to make sure they made it, but they declined. They knew the trick, if the car acted up again, stop, set a spell, and try again. There was still no app download.

Wouldn’t you know it, but just a touch more than a mile from their home, the car started to stutter again. Brian pushed the clutch in and coasted a bit hoping to make it around the next corner where there was place to pull off. Realizing they were going to be a bit short, he down shifted to second and eased the clutch out. The engine returned to normal. The two of them held their breath and tried to levitate off the seats to lessen to load so they could make it home. They did.

After they got home, the Torque Light app Brian was trying to get, ever since the Miata first stalled, finally downloaded. His phone was set to auto update its apps and in the phone’s infinite wisdom would not let him add a new app until the 5 that needed updating were through. Once the car cooled off he ran the code – P0340: Camshaft Angle (or Position) Sensor circuit malfunction. A quick search of the Miata.net forums let him know that a failing cam position sensor will generate the symptoms they had. When it gets hot it acts up, then when it cools off it might work fine (for a while.)

Brian did a search and none of the auto parts stores in the area (at least according to their web sites) had a one of these beauties in stock, so he thought he would have to order one. It was then, that he remembered he had an extra one of these items in the garage. It was a left over from a couple years ago when he was having issues with their old Garnet Red NB. Turns out he did, so Brian swapped it out and he’ll see how it one goes.

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