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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two months ago today I flew into California to pick this car up after I won the auction for it, it's finally time to post about it.

I've wanted a 3 door turbo ever since I had a beater SPG in college that I never should have sold. And living in Ohio, I've always wanted to get a car out of one of the western states where rust isn't a thing. This car checked both those boxes. I'd been looking for a long time, and what really got me to bid on this particular example was the color combo, I love Rose Quartz over red.

It just so happened that the Saab owners convention was happening in Denver the weekend after I was picking up the car, so I decided I'd fly in and drive the car back to Ohio with a little stop at SOC along the way.

Here's the first picture I took of the car myself after the seller picked me up at the airport:


After chit chatting with the seller for a while it was time for me to get on the road, but I took his advice and found mountain road just a few minutes from his place before I got on the highway.



On I-15 headed out of LA, I probably made it about thirty miles before I pulled off the highway for the first time.


The car was having a hell of a time running in traffic. It seemed pretty OK, if a little down on power out on the open road, but when I got stuck in traffic I would get symptoms I would normally associate with a dying fuel pump, lack of power, lurching, etc. It never actually died though, and I was always able to get it to smooth out and keep going as long as I stayed out of the throttle.

I should've made it through Nevada and into Utah the first night, but instead I stopped in Vegas.


I spent the night in my hotel room, looking for local parts stores. I had realized the seller put Autolite plugs and Denso wires in this poor car and I knew I needed to fix that sooner than later. I found a Pep Boys right near the strip that had NGKs in stock, gladly overpaid for them and installed them in the parking lot. Feeling confident, I rolled out of Vegas back onto I-15.


I made it about two hours out of Vegas, to the tiny section of I-15 that crosses through Arizona. It was a very beautiful place, which is good, because I had a lot of time to take in the scenery.
There was road construction and the traffic was crawling, so I caved and called AAA. They towed me to the nearest town which was St George UT.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I sat at a repair shop for about two hours, while my car sat outside, not being looked at. They were very nice, but they also assured me over the phone they could look at my car, and I believed them. That never happened. I called my brother, he was at his office in front of a computer so I had him help me find a truck and trailer to rent. I decided I'd just haul this car the rest of the way to SOC and try to find some friendly Saabers there that could help me.


I made it through the rest of the desert and over the mountains and rolled into SOC on Saturday afternoon, just in time for the group photo. I drove a 900 notch rally car into the picture for someone that had multiple cars there, I had known the owner for all of five minutes when I was flipped the keys.


I met some great people, several of which I had known online and never got to meet in person. Making it to SOC was the high point of the trip. Jon I know you're gonna read this eventually

On Sunday morning I tried to fix the car. Jeff was one of the people I talked to about my car the night before, and he said to find him in the morning and we'd take a look. He's a Saab lifer and still works for Orio, doing great work to keep these old cars on the road.

Ultimately all we did was mess with the AMM, and we improved the situation. I decided to take it on a test ride to go see a non Saab friend in the area. I made it there and almost all the way back before the symptoms cropped up again.

Defeated, I paced around the parking lot of the convention center while I called shippers. I decided that if I had another problem out on the road somewhere in the remote midwest I probably wouldn't be as lucky as I had been to this point.

I got lucky one more time, though. Another guy I met at SOC, Bryan, was loading up a car on a trailer and saw me in the parking lot and asked if I needed help. I explained what was going on, and without hesitation he offered to let me leave the car with him so I didn't have to wait in Colorado for the car to be picked up. Saab people really are the best.


I dropped the car off there, stayed one more night in CO, dropped off my truck and rented a car, and drove the rest of the way back, making it to Ohio the Tuesday after I left.

The car arrived at my shop late on that Friday night, looking like it was about to fall off the trailer. The shipper also had me unload it, I'm about 95% sure he didn't know how to drive a stick.



The car made it back safe, and that's all that mattered. Immediately after getting it off the truck, I pulled it in the shop, gave it a look over with my dad and uncle, put an Ohio tag on it, and drove it home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The next day, I started changing stuff. Swapped out the kinda rough SPGs for the Ronal 8 spokes off my convertible, and installed a Sport & Rally wheel I got from a friend.



The 8 spokes look great, but the tires are too small, and the wheels are too bent. I'm on the hunt for something better to replace them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
After that, I drove it for a couple days. I messed with the AMM some more, I replaced the O2 sensor, and I put Bougicord wires on. It seemed to run mostly better.

Then the voltage regulator fell out of the alternator. Luckily I realized I wasn't charging close enough to home that I made it back. Replaced the reg with a new one, made sure it was firmly attached, and it hasn't been an issue since. My best guess is the alternator was relatively new and the reg never got screwed in tight before it was installed.

I've been driving it, trying to take it on progressively longer trips from home. Last week I scored a set of vent covers for it, which you'll see in the next photo.

I was out with a friend, just about to drop him off and head home, sitting at a red light. We were actually talking about the car and how it seems to be doing better. The light turned green, I stepped on the clutch to put it in gear and felt a pop and then no resistance in the pedal. We pushed it out of the intersection and I called AAA again. This car has done more miles on a tow truck than it has under its own power since I've owned it.

My buddy helpfully took this photo to document the occasion.

It ended up being the clutch line that separated at the connection between the hard pipe and the braided section. I have a new line ready to go in tonight.
 

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That's a nice 900T! It looks great. I agree that Rose Quartz over red leather is a great combo. Did I miss what year it is?

Sorry to hear about all the problems and extra costs you endured on your trip home. But it makes for a great story! And hopefully your good SOC experience made up for some of it.

Looking forward to hearing how it progresses for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! I guess I didn't mention that specifically, it's an '88.

Also, the clutch pipe install did not go well. I got some advice from the Facebook c900 group I'm gonna try the next time I get time. The old pipe came off easy, but I can't get the new one to thread into the master. I'm going to try loosening the master to get some wiggle room and re-attempt.

I think this car is still in the "getting to know me" phase where it tests my will. Every old Saab seems to have kinks to work out when I pick them up, it's part of the fun!
 

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OMG yess!!!! I'm so happy you found one! It's a shame about not making the drive, but I'd rather have a clean body and deal with the mechanical issues any day! You'll eventually get on top of the problems and start having fun with it!

Are the Ronals repairable? They are some of the best looking wheels for a non-spg clad c900. Maybe someone in the area can straighten them?
 

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Heck yeah! I love this story. True Saab story right here. I was bummed to hear it when you ended up having to tow it, but super glad you were able to make it out to SOC. It was a blast getting to meet you and nerd out on Saab's. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again. Looking forward to more updates on the car!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are the Ronals repairable? They are some of the best looking wheels for a non-spg clad c900. Maybe someone in the area can straighten them?
I'm sure they would be fixable, no bad rash or anything, but I'm fairly sure every one is bent. However I know about a guy local to me that reportedly has a brand new in box set that I might try to get. Also considering tracking down some super CSEs as an alternative.

Heck yeah! I love this story. True Saab story right here. I was bummed to hear it when you ended up having to tow it, but super glad you were able to make it out to SOC. It was a blast getting to meet you and nerd out on Saab's. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again. Looking forward to more updates on the car!
Yeah, it was great meeting you and the various other great people out there in CO! Nothing like getting tossed the keys to someone's race car who you met five minutes ago. I had so much fun at SOC that I'm already scheming about how to get my whole fleet out to next year's show and actually be there for the whole thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I loosened up the master cylinder last night and tried to weasel the aftermarket part in there, the bend around the body closest to the master cylinder is just in the wrong spot. I'll be taking the pipe I have to a hydraulic shop to just have them fix it.

So for future reference in case anyone searches about clutch lines/pipes and finds this thread, this part number DOES NOT FIT: REIN PSH0225 {#5331137}
 

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I loosened up the master cylinder last night and tried to weasel the aftermarket part in there, the bend around the body closest to the master cylinder is just in the wrong spot. I'll be taking the pipe I have to a hydraulic shop to just have them fix it.

So for future reference in case anyone searches about clutch lines/pipes and finds this thread, this part number DOES NOT FIT: REIN PSH0225 {#5331137}
You need to loosen that master almost to the point the nuts are completely off the studs, before the connection will engage.
It also helps to smear a small bit of brake fluid on the threads.
Stick with it and you will have one nice car.
On the drive issue...do a fuel pressure check including a residual check.
I've seen my fair share of outlet check valves fail intermittently on these.
Car will start long when cold run well and suffer in traffic and have hard start issues once hot.
Check TDO relay if you have one or CPS if you are at the change over year.
I have a red 87 in my garage for sale with those same Ronal eight-spoke wheels.
I may be headed to divorce court for suggesting we sell her 'baby' but she also has a 2001 Viggen convertible.
I just don't have space for her two and my three Saabs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You need to loosen that master almost to the point the nuts are completely off the studs, before the connection will engage.
It also helps to smear a small bit of brake fluid on the threads.
Stick with it and you will have one nice car.
I did get the nuts basically all the way off, the aftermarket replacement pipe I got is still just too long, even if I did somehow get it started it, where it's bent would prevent the master from tightening back down straight. Planning to get the flexible section of the original pipe replaced, hopefully today.

On the drive issue...do a fuel pressure check including a residual check.
I've seen my fair share of outlet check valves fail intermittently on these.
Car will start long when cold run well and suffer in traffic and have hard start issues once hot.
Check TDO relay if you have one or CPS if you are at the change over year.
I have not checked fuel pressure, but I also have not had a single problem with it running since it got delivered to Ohio. Still wouldn't be a bad idea at all.

I have a red 87 in my garage for sale with those same Ronal eight-spoke wheels.
This car being an 88 we've got different bolt patterns, but either way it's one of my favorite wheels for these cars.

I may be headed to divorce court for suggesting we sell her 'baby' but she also has a 2001 Viggen convertible.
I just don't have space for her two and my three Saabs
You've got the right outlook on this, it's never too many cars, just too little space!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The clutch line saga is hopefully coming to a close. I spent yesterday afternoon travelling around town with my original clutch pipe looking for someone to help me fix it.

I called one local place, they said they don't work with anything involving brake fluid, they told me to try the local NAPA. I took it there, they said they couldn't do anything with it other than cut the hard pipes and then I'd have to flare the ends and I could put a rubber hose in there with new fittings.

Dropped by a friend's shop, and he suggested another place that specializes in fluid pipes and fittings. Again, they said they couldn't really help me with brake fluid, but he still tried. He cut the failed crimp off and tried to re-crimp it. He made it so I can't pull the pipe out of the hose, but it spins around inside the hose, so it's still not going to work.

At this point, I went back to the car and decided screw it, I'm going to try to bend this Rein pipe a little, it already doesn't work, can't make that any worse. I put it in the vice and tapped it a little. I ended up getting it to bend enough that I could get it to thread onto the master. So now I have the clutch line all installed and the master tightened back down.

I read somewhere a trick to "reverse bleed" the system by prying the throw out bearing towards the front of the car to push any air back toward the reservoir. The next step was to just wait, so I left for the night. Planning to go back tonight and see if I have a pedal.

One other interesting side note, the friend I mentioned was a dealer tech when 900's were new. He asked me if the pedal was stiff before it failed, which it was. He suggested I start looking for a pressure plate, apparently a worn pressure plate will present as a stiff clutch pedal.

So now I have a Sachs clutch kit coming that I couldn't believe I found on Rock Auto. Disc, pressure plate, throw out bearing, pilot bearing, and alignment tool. $120 for everything. I remember paying triple that years ago for the same stuff.
 

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Yeah, it was great meeting you and the various other great people out there in CO! Nothing like getting tossed the keys to someone's race car who you met five minutes ago. I had so much fun at SOC that I'm already scheming about how to get my whole fleet out to next year's show and actually be there for the whole thing.
Yeah man, that was fun. Driving Cameron's wagon was a treat. He has some nice cars. Excellent timing. hahah.

I would love to get the 9000's up to the next SOC. Would love to know where it's going to be
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah man, that was fun. Driving Cameron's wagon was a treat. He has some nice cars. Excellent timing. hahah.

I would love to get the 9000's up to the next SOC. Would love to know where it's going to be
You definitely should, there were not nearly enough 9000's at the show in Denver.

Last I heard they're trying to secure a venue within an hour or so of Orio NA's headquarters in Bethlehem PA. Would you drive them or maybe tow one up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I bought the clutch kit, but I ended up just putting the line on and slapping it back together to try to put a few more miles on it before it goes into storage for the winter.

I discovered a few water leaks upon taking it back out on the road, so I'm now in the process of ordering a heater valve and all of the hoses I can think of as they relate to the heating/cooling system.

Two questions related to that:
Has anyone done the valve replacement using this guide? It's different than the way I've seen people do it in the past.
heatervalverep

Anybody know where I can get the metal connector pipe/housing for the thermoswitch for the AC between the two short coolant pipes between the engine and rad? Mine's crusty and if I can get a new one I will.
 

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You definitely should, there were not nearly enough 9000's at the show in Denver.

Last I heard they're trying to secure a venue within an hour or so of Orio NA's headquarters in Bethlehem PA. Would you drive them or maybe tow one up?
Agreed. I would love to bring both of them, but probably not going to happen as Albany is so far away from me. I would likely drive a 9000 and have my girlfriend drive one of the 9-5 wagons as a bail out tow vehicle if necessary (though we all know which car is more likely to break down). I'll just have to see how my school schedule plays out. That's the real burden.
 

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I bought the clutch kit, but I ended up just putting the line on and slapping it back together to try to put a few more miles on it before it goes into storage for the winter.

I discovered a few water leaks upon taking it back out on the road, so I'm now in the process of ordering a heater valve and all of the hoses I can think of as they relate to the heating/cooling system.

Two questions related to that:
Has anyone done the valve replacement using this guide? It's different than the way I've seen people do it in the past.
heatervalverep

Anybody know where I can get the metal connector pipe/housing for the thermoswitch for the AC between the two short coolant pipes between the engine and rad? Mine's crusty and if I can get a new one I will.
So that clutch line seems ok after being 'customized'? And your bleed went ok? Sometimes getting those bled is a bitch.

The Townsend how-to site has been around as long as I can remember. I've never followed that exactly. IIRC, I just pulled the kneepad and heat duct and did everything from under the dash with plenty of twisting and swearing.

I haven't seen a listing for the AC switch housing. But yeah, they do tend to be crusty or eroded inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yeah, I will probably just end up wire wheeling the housing as best I can and send it.

Planning to give that procedure a shot as well, I like the idea of not having to stand on my head all day to do the job. I'm sure there will still be plenty of swearing involved, anyway.

The clutch line fits fine, essentially just needed to bend it a tiny little bit more. I did it very slowly in small increments so I didn't kink it.
 
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