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Old 08-18-2011, 04:12 PM   #1
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Grocery Getter Build Thread - SLAAB

So my first post is just going to be sort of a teaser and hopeful preview of things to come.

If all goes well I'll have the money and time to make this car worthy of having it's own build thread. Lots of hardware on its way, and the timing is off and it's not what I was planning on spending my $ on at this point. But, it's been consuming oil for months now and blowing smoke under hard acceleration, so a simple turbo swap has turned into a bit of a project...

Some background: I bought this wagon in November of 2010. It was the only 5 spd wagon I found in the greater northeast after 6 weeks of looking, so I bought it. It had a CEL at the time of purchase, but it seemed to run great so I assumed it was something minor. Minor it was not... some new exhaust valves and it was finally running on 4 cylinders.

Since then it's been great, getting a few maintenance items and a few aftermarket bits as well. 159,000 miles and it's running great, aside from the turbo.

The goal of this all is to have a very nice sleeper of a car that makes for a great daily driver. Nothing over the top, but something that can seriously blow your hair back when you want to have a little fun.

So here are some post purchase pictures and a few from along the way. Again, consider this first post a teaser and there will be lots to come over the next few weeks. New 18t turbo and some other parts show up on tuesday.

September SOTM submission coming soon.

Hopefully this doesn't bore you all to death.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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Looks Alot better in the Daylight

My 9-5 is gearing up for stage5 aswell, I just need to fab a few more items and get in touch with my tuner

Your Wagon is My Favorite 9-5 Color
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Green9kAERO View Post
Looks Alot better in the Daylight

Your Wagon is My Favorite 9-5 Color
Haha, that's because when you dropped the turbo off with me I was in my girlfriend's 9-3.

The steel gray has definitely grown on me. When the p/o first sent me pictures I was seriously not feeling it. I still feel like every other wagon I see is steel gray, but I'm liking it alot more now. Cosmic blue would have been nice, but attracts too much attention.

That's the other goal of this car actually, is to attract as little attention as possible. At least from the fuzz. The suby owners and and trashbox honda drivers in my neck of the woods will definitely know who I am
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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A list of parts on the way:

-Newly built/rebuilt TD04-18t-6 w/unclipped turbine wheel to keep it spooling up quickly. The whole object here is fast spool and low end grunt, not top end.
-King Cobra intake pipe from 06+ 9-5, much larger than the earlier model intake pipe, compressor housing had to be machined down 15mm due to the larger bend in the new pipe.
-FORGE 007 BPV, was on my list anyhow, but my stock Bosch valve just went the other day and threw a CEL.
-Silicone vacuum lines.

This I'll call "phase one". Get the turbo in and the important stuff taken care of. Tune may stay as is or I might go with a "tweener" tune from Mike D until "phase two" arrives... hopefully in just a few weeks.

GS V2 3" dp
BSR 2.5" exhaust
3.5 BAR fpr
Definite retune by Mike D

Hoping to see some nice torque numbers once all is said and done.

I tried uploading a crappy picture of the turbo but it took too long and I got impatient. I'll be sure to get some good ones when UPS drops it off on Tuesday. Thanks Dave Kennedy for all the work on the turbo. He is the absolute authority when it comes to building turbos as far as I'm concerned.

And if anyone can tell me simply how to post real pictures instead of thumbnails, that would be great! Thanks
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:27 PM   #5
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So while trying to get all my ducks in a row today before the swap takes place next week, I come to learn that ideally I should port my exhaust manifold to match up with the larger opening on the 6cm2 turbine housing.

Good to know. I went and saw Steve at SAABspecific and he happily gave me a manifold to play with. He even gave me a vote of confidence in saying "hopefully you don't show up next time on a flatbed" good to know he's rooting for me!

I have already been told to be very careful in how deep I go with the porting. The walls on the manifold are thin so I only really have the thickness of the flange to play with and will end up with a steep transition to the turbo. But now is the time so I'm glad I'm doing it right the first time and getting these things out of the way.

Here is a picture of the stock manifold vs. the inlet on the 6cm2 turbine housing (not my new turbo, but a core, my new one is much prettier than this).
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:57 PM   #6
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Fuck yeah.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
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Just be careful when your porting that manifold that you don't make a balloon. You don't want to port match in such a way that you get a narrow opening in the manifold that balloons out at the meeting point and then reduces back down in the turbo. Make your transitions as long and smooth as possible. Don't just open each at the end to gasket match.

This looks like an interesting project. Carry on...
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:33 PM   #8
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Yeah I started porting a bit already and there is definitely some serious material to be removed! I am definitely going on the conservative side though. The last thing I want is to overdo it and end up with hot spots on the inlet to the turbine housing.

This is the first time I've done any kind of porting and all I can say is holy cow! It seems like there could be alot to gain in even just a simple port and polish.

I was looking on Eastwood.com at some of the grinding burrs they sell for porting, but ended up just using my dremel and the sanding rounds. It works really well actually but is slow going, which is great with this being my first time.
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:41 PM   #9
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This This
is worth the money if you plan to do a lot of porting. You'll be there for a year with a dremel. A cheapo die grinder from Harbour Freight will do a better job if you are strapped for tools cash.

Standard abrasives also has a PDF guide that's worth reading.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:06 AM   #10
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The porting is going good. You are right though, wit the dremel it is taking some time, but I kind of enjoy it, and this way I know I can't go crazy and grind through anything. If I saw more porting and polishing in my future I would definitely invest in a proper grinder and kit. Hopefully this is all the grinding work I'll need to do for awhile though.

Curious to hear from someone who knows... if I should be trying to achieve the sort of bell shape I've got going now, or if I want more of an angular approach to the turbo? I'm being really careful and trying to only work with the thickness of the flange. Everything deeper down will just be getting a quick polish. It needs a bit more work, but is coming along nicely methinks.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:34 PM   #11
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So a bit more porting has happened on the ehx mani and it's looking pretty close to where I want it.

More importantly... the new turbo showed up today!!! Even more beautiful than I could have hoped. I plan on eating my dinner off of it tonight.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:21 PM   #12
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The deal goes down tomorrow. Hopefully all my ducks are in a row and it will be a nice smooth install.

The parts from GS showed up yesterday. KC intake pipe, Forge 007 BPV, and 10' of silicone vac line. I already put the forge in to replace my failed bosch unit and get rid of the nagging CEL shining in my face. Can't really notice a difference yet since I'm still nursing the weak turbo. It has the green (weakest, rated for 15psi) spring in there now, which I'll probably keep until the whole transformation is complete, although I may put a shim or two in just to make sure it's good. Not sure I want to jump to the yellow as that's rated for 23psi and may be a bit too stiff and not dump properly. Tomorrow afternoon will be a different story though as I'll finally be able to lay into it.

On a side note, I did follow the advice of an older thread on SC about sourcing the exhaust lock nuts from VW. They apparently have really nice copper nuts at a fraction of the cost of the SAAB ones, the (albeit 4 year old) thread said they were going for about $1.50 a piece. I'm swapping to the ported exhaust manifold as well as replacing the turbo, so I need 14 lock nuts. The VW dealer down the street from work wanted a whopping $4.50 EACH for the lock nuts. I told him no thanks and called the VW dealer closer to home. Their parts guy says he doesn't use the ones from VW and he gets copper ones just as good from Wurth and will sell them to me for 25 cents. Now that's a deal if I've ever heard of one. Glad I called around as there's no way I was going to spend $60+ on freaking lock nuts. The latter parts guy is my kind of dude!

I'll have plenty of pics of the install. Again, hopefully all goes well.

I've also discovered badly worn rear end bushings and some early signs of cupping on my new tires. So the short term priority after the turbo shifts to getting the back end all up to snuff so I don't chew up a $500 set of tires. As soon as that is remedied it's all about setting cash aside for the 3" dp and BSR exhaust.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:39 AM   #13
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The 18t and KC intake pipe are installed and my initial response is HOLY SHIT! I think Gary Moore said somewhere that it should have come this way from the factory.

It's hard to say what improvement you would gain from doing just the KC pipe, but I don't see how it couldn't be a huge help. It's not something I would just do if I weren't swapping the turbo to begin with, as it involves swapping at least the compressor housing (might as well do the whole turbo since it has to be removed anyway). The difference in size vs. the stock pipe is incredible, and therefore makes it a VERY tight fit. I actually had to remove the top bolt holding the wastegate actuator on in order to snake the pipe down in there. It is a serious squeeze, but once it's down there everything lines up fine. I did leave the hard line for the EGR system that goes into the top of the pipe loose and not clipped to the VC. I think with some elbow grease it can be coaxed to line back up and get screwed down.
My thoughts on the pipe: It's so big it's got to greatly improve airflow to the turbo. I can definitely hear a much deeper growl from the intake (stock box, 06 snorkel, GS drop in filter). There is a lot more noise from the turbo now as well, but that could just be the larger wheel, and the Forge BPV (with intermediate box bypassed) sounds really crisp.

So, about that turbo... The 18t is absolutely awesome. I liked the 15t and how quick it was to make boost, but wasn't such a fan of the initial torque spike and then the feeling of it quickly falling flat and then being out of breath around 4500 rpms. The 18t still build boost quickly down low, but comes on sooooo smoothly, it's amazing. It just keeps pulling and pulling, and by the time you get to 4000 rpms it's really in its prime. Again, I just can't get over how smoothly the boost and power come on. After easing into it for the first little bit, I finally gave it the beans and the boost pulls well into the red now (I know it's not an accurate boost gauge) whereas the 15t would just kind of nudge in there. I'm debating whether to have Mike D do a retune on it now, or just wait a few weeks until I get the 3" dp and BSR exhaust along with a 3.5 FPR.

All and all the install was pretty straight forward. The only two hiccups we had were getting the exhaust manifold off. A quick search on saabnet revealed that we needed to take out the stud closest to the serp belt side of the engine. Other than that there was just a little detail with the clamp holding the turbo together blocking the inlet for the oil supply. We just loosened it and carefully nudged it out of the way a few degrees, being really careful not to twist the center section or turbine housing.

All and all I'm extremely happy with this, and definitely looking forward to seeing some dyno results, either with or without the exhaust.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:42 AM   #14
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Also another couple pics. One of the stock manifold vs. the ported one, and another of my wagons fat ass hanging out of my buddy's tine little garage. It definitely beat working in my crushed stone driveway though and worrying about the off and on rain all day.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:55 AM   #15
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:57 AM   #16
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Wait till you get the exhaust and a tune for the turbo before you dyno, it will be nice to se how everyhting adds up
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #17
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Wait till you get the exhaust and a tune for the turbo before you dyno, it will be nice to se how everyhting adds up
+1 From my understanding you would have to retune twice if you tuned now and then after the dp. Call MikeD though as he would know best...
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:21 PM   #18
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+1 From my understanding you would have to retune twice if you tuned now and then after the dp. Call MikeD though as he would know best...
I Think if He pushes that turbo hard with the stock DP his EGTs would go crazy, and could be compromising his turbo/engine. But I Think Carl was planning on tuning twice....
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:23 PM   #19
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So far I'm loving how the car drives with the current tune.

My only concern though isn't even EGT's, but the risk of running lean with all the extra airflow of the turbo. At the same time the current DP will be acting as a choke point, and yes, raising EGTs, but also limiting the air going through the system a bit, and hopefully the stock fuel system can keep up/compensate.

This thing is crazy right now, I can't say enough how smooth it is and how long it pulls for. I can't even imagine what it will be like when the rest of the hardware finds its way under the hood.

After the rear bushes get done to hopefully straighten out the rear end (hopefully this week) I've got some minor rust issues I absolutely have to deal with before the winter/salt season begins.

If anything I've got more real life work to do than I can handle right now, so as long as I've go the motivation there is lots of $ to be made and that means at least a 3" GS DP sooner than later. The cat back may have to wait, but I know the DP is the important part.

Thanks everyone for following and giving your opinions/advice. Hopefully I've been putting out some useful info here that could help someone else down the road.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:49 PM   #20
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If it makes you feel any better..... My 9-5 Aero is stock except for a FMIC, Wossners, and a T28...... no tune and it runs fine... has been doing so for 7000 miles.... Im waiting to get a DP on it before i get a tune
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