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Old 05-09-2017, 08:52 AM   #1
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New Front Clip for the Viggen

Hey Guys,

Not sure if this is a "problem" but wasn't thinking this made sense as an "upgrade". Last April (2016) I rear-ended someone and totaled out my 2001 Viggen. Good news, one less Saturn Vue on the road, so I feel I took one for the team here!
Now, "totaled" is per insurance, and they let me buy the car back, clean title, and now its in my garage. I got the crazy idea that I could replace the front clip with a donor 9-3 along with any accessories that were pulverized, and have a Viggen once again! I found a donor with a bad clutch for under $1000, same color so no paint work needed besides blends! I know it makes more sense to put the Viggen engine/ trans into the donor, but I really want my Viggen back.
I'll try to post a couple pics of the wrecked Viggen as well as the donor, I know this isn't much of a story without the pics.

Please know I completely understand how silly this sounds, and impractical, but I understand if you want to poke at me a bit anyway about how dumb this may be. Anyway, does anyone have any experience doing something like this? I travel a ton for work, so unfortunately it won't be DIY, but I have a local shop that knows Saabs and seems up to the challenge. Just wondering what this process will look like.
Thanks for your reply!
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg Resized_20170506_120532.jpeg (303.0 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg Viggen Smash.jpg (240.9 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg Engine Bay.jpg (147.3 KB, 18 views)
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:41 AM   #2
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YIKES

That is going to be quite a process. Also, you might want to find a proper Viggen front bumper. There are a few cars between here and Saabcentral that people are parting out.

It would definitely be less expensive to just swap parts from your viggen to the donor car. But we understand how you want to keep your viggen.

The shop will have to likely cut and splice a fair amount of sheet metal from the radiator and fender supports. Then they'll be able to hang the new parts.

Just try to make sure you get a good viggen front bumper!
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for the vote of confidence TurboJohnny! Yeah, I know transplanting the Viggen powertrain into the donor is the "logical" thing to do, but glad you understand that "logic" isn't really playing into this for me much lol.

Any idea how many hours something like this might take? Any one on here ever tackle something like this before? I've helped on projects doing this with an older Suburban, and know folks who have done it to 60's Impalas and the like, but I feel like this will probably be a whole different ballgame.

Totally agree on the Viggen bumper. I have a couple that are cracked up but could be saved. The plan would be use the donor bumper until I can get one patched up and painted. Any other Viggen-specific pieces I should be looking out for? I know I will need to get a crossflow intercooler, and my engine and transmission should still be good from the accident. Everything else (A/C, rad, PS pump, etc) should be the same as in the 9-3 donor, right?
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Old 05-10-2017, 03:35 AM   #4
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Aside from the bumper assembly, Crossflow intercooler, and the turbo(if it's damaged) I think the only other difference will be the fender markers. The standard 9-3 has orange, the viggen has the smoked markers.
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:35 AM   #5
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Yes that is a mess. Personally I would put all the Viggen stuff on the donor car. As Johnny said there will need to be some cutting and welding to get the viggen back to a state to hang the body parts on. Personally I would DIY that and use the viggen as the donor car. I think when you start adding in the cost to have a body shop do all that work, the price you paid to buy back the car, the price of the donor. and then the viggen specific parts that are ruined, you are right close to buying a used viggen that is not wrecked.

Swapping the parts will give you the opportunity to go through the entire car, and make improvements. In the end, you will end up with a car just as good as your viggen was, but not technically a viggen.

My buddy did a similar thing, he wanted to save a 9-5 aero. When he looked at the title and saw even the Aero is just a 9-5 (no mention of Aero anywhere) he gave in and did what was less expensive. In the end he still has a great car.

I'm not sure that a viggen is denoted in the VIN either? Probably the only clue to know it was a viggen (through the VIN) is the engine size.

Tboy

Last edited by Tboy; 05-10-2017 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:53 AM   #6
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Thanks Johnny - I hadn't even thought about the side-markers. Should be able to pop those off the Viggen fenders and onto the new ones when I install them.

Hey TBoy, thanks for attempting to cram some reason into my head, unfortunately it is too full already with ridiculous amounts of sentimental value and ill-based "logic". The good news is, the donor was under $1000, and I already have that made up in parts I'm selling off of it I wouldn't need for the Viggen. Also, scrap in WI is stupid low right now, so insurance sold me back the Vig' for $143 with a clean title. So at the moment, I'm close to break-even on parts and my out of pocket will only be labor (for the most part) Did your buddy with the 9-5 get an estimate from the shop on the hours needed to do the swap?
You are absolutely right about it not being noted a "Viggen" anywhere on the title, but it is digit 5 in the VIN IIRC. Anyway, this car and I have about 200k of memories, and the engine, trans, and clutch were all re-built within 100k so those improvements are done. And the worst part, my wife has (somehow, against her best judgement) already given her blessing to my project, so now I'm mentally 110% into this. Insurance paid out replacement price on the car, so I figure as long as I don't go over that in rebuilding costs, I'm good.

I know, feel free to laugh about how crazy this is, I've got the Viggen sickness and this is known side-effect.
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:08 AM   #7
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depending on how much insurance paid out, you will probably come pretty close to the end of your budget. You might even go over.

It's difficult to measure hours of labor on a project like that. Especially not having a lot of experience estimating. But I'd put it at close to 30-40 hours. say the labor rate is $100/hr you'll be looking at close to $4k in labor alone.
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:58 PM   #8
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Did the insurance company by chance provide you with the estimates for the repairs after the adjuster saw the car? If not, maybe you can ask for them?

I had some front end damage fixed on my 9-5 2 years ago. They replaced the hood, front bumper, one headlight and some other various bits and pieces. The total was over $5k. It was at a Saab "dealers" body shop. Apples to orange comparison obviously, but may be helpful to put things into perspective.

You could bring it to a body shop and ask them to give you an estimate, most shops will do it for a nominal charge.

If you had to pay a shop to do it all, I would guess that the end result would be somewhere north of $6k. You save some cash for not needing to paint, though if they have to blend panels that won't help much. There is the additional labor of removing the parts from the donor car, not to mention the hassle of having one at their shop. They may even charge you storage fees for it.

I just hope the drivetrain was in great shape before the accident and wasn't damaged during the accident.

Did the seat airbags fire?
How much Viggen will actually be left once you're done?

If it were me, I would probably do it if I had the time to do it myself because I think it would be a cool experience. If I didn't have the time to do it, I'd pay someone to swap all the good bits onto the "donor".
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:35 AM   #9
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I have an alternate solution: take the insurance money, buy yours back and also buy another Viggen with mechanical problems but a good body, and use both donor cars to repair the new broken one, sell the leftover good parts and get scrap price for the rest. That would be very inexpensive and you'd still end up with a Viggen in the end...the downside is you'd have 3 'junk' cars sitting around for awhile lol
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:06 AM   #10
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Lot's of opinions and options here.... Bottom line is we are happy you are a Saaber and we are hoping you share your project regardless of what you choose to do! I know I've gone against the grain once or twice regarding saabs (and other life things)!

Keep us posted.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:22 PM   #11
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Hey All,
Thanks for the continued responses and info.

SRP, yeah, I saw the estimate. I talked to the shop the insurance company used for the estimate, they said they priced out a new front end (without the accessories like radiator, a/c, etc) and, with paint and labor, it was about $6800 so they actually quit the estimate at that and called it totaled. That said, this included about 30 hours labor, so that tells me something. Knowing my donor will offer most parts, and it is black so paint will be limited to blending on the doors, labor will be the majority of the cost here. The dash airbags fired but not the seat ones, and I can grab the dash from my donor.
Trionic - your "junk Viggen" option is intriguing, but not sure I've seen a blown Viggen recently. Any lead on one for me?
My Saab tech did have a chance to look over the carnage a bit closer the other day and thinks the frame rails on the sides (forgot what he called them) can actually be pulled straight, vs needing an entire clip. Seems the Vue went up and on instead of directly into me, so he is optimistic that it will end up just needing a new radiator core support and then all the accessories. All this of course assumes drive-train survived, which he says it looks promising.
Hope to get it in the shop for dismantling at the end of the month. Gotta get my barn-find LB Vert finished first! Yes, being a Saaber is awesome!
I'll post again as soon as dismantling provides some details.
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