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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

Post #1 and a transmission question. The car is a '91 900 SPG, 51,000 miles (yes) and bone stock. Buddy just got it from the auction and has been driving it for a couple days. We have no history on the car. The shift from 1st to 2nd has been very notchy. 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and back down are smooth. As of this morning, it's really tough to get it into 1st or even 2nd gear at all. It feels as if the shifter gate isn't even there from neutral...it'll wiggle in neutral back & forth fine, slide into 3rd, 4th, 5th & Reverse ok, but you don't even feel a detent where it should slip into 1st or 2nd. This isn't everytime...but 8 out of 10 times we're trying it.

When driving, the trans makes no awkward noises at all and it goes through the gears fine (well...other than above issue).

Is this a tranny problem? Shifter problem? Have you seen this before?

Thanks for your help...it will decide whether or not I buy the car.

Best wishes,

John in Battle Creek, MI
 

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What controls the shift pattern is a ball and spring that ride on the shift rod (inside the transmission) and an internal centering pin that keeps everything on center- nothing can every go wrong with the centering pin.. in normal operation, oil flows over this entire assembly and it keeps everything moving smooth. Now... if large chunks of metal are present inside the transmission, this shift assembly acts as a catch for metal chunks. you will be able to move it in neutral, and perhaps even get some gears but if there is a lot of metal in there you won't be able to get some gears at all. Also, you have to wonder where the metal came from..... it might have a gear cluster that's 1/2 gone, or the reverse gear may be completely chewed up. in either case, the trans needs a total overhaul. if a cluster is gone, the trans is basically now a door stop (not worth rebuilding).

also, check the engine mounts. if they are very broken, you won't be able to get gears because the entire shift assembly will be out of wack in relation to the shifter itself. worth checking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Getting closer...

I got a suggestion to try & adjust the latch pin (name?) at the bottom of the shifter. After some trial & error, I got it to take 1st & 2nd again...and it even improved the feel of 3rd, 4th, 5th & Reverse. It's still pretty notchy from 1-2, but better. The trans makes no noise, no whining at all so I'm not convinced that it's a gear issue...I'll swap the fluid with something fresh & see what I get then.

BTW, I come from the world of Mazda Miatas (I own 2 & race one in the SCCA) and the online community for those cars is simply incredible. I'm glad to have found we have something similar for Saabs!

John
 

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I think you mean the tappet pin, if messing with that worked, great :D

give it a fluid change, and you should be on your way :!:


The saab community is large online, and there are several different ones. IMHO, this is the best one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WTF? Where's the damn drain plug? There's no transmission drain plug. Do we suck sludge out with a pump through the fill hole? What's the trick? For God's sake...crazy Swedes!
 

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yeah no drain plug on the 91+ trannys, i dont get it either :roll: . best way to do it is to remove the rear diff cover and drain it that way, while you have that cover off there should be a filter in there that you should clean out. i wouldnt really reccomend taking that cover off tho until you have a new gasket handy cause they tend to not re-seal with an old gasket.

as for fluids make sure you dont listen to the manual, it usually says to put motor oil in the tranny...bad idea. best way to go is redline MTF, but its expensive ($9-$14 per quart depending where you get it) if you want a cheap alternative go to your local honda dealer and ask for some MTF thiers is like $4 per quart and works almost as good as the redline.

good luck.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well for goodness sake! Thanks Paul, that'll be next weekends job ;)

John
 

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honda MTL, or GM-synchromesh (same stuff). the Red line fluid while I'm sure it's good fluid, is just WAY too overpriced IMO. and yeah, for some reason some of the 90+ boxes have no drain plug. you have to pull off the rear diff cover, and that's not hard to do, but you have to get under the car and it can get a bit... messy. also gives you a chance to clean the filter like paul said.
 

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Glad that the latch stud adjustment helped. Also make sure the end of the gear lever is well lubricated round by the plastic ball - chances are it's dry as a bone, which won't help with shifting. White grease is OK, but special metal/plastic grease is better.
 

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1981 8v c900 sedan, 1990 2.0 9k carlsson, 1992 21 c900 sedan
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900SPGHammer said:
WTF? Where's the damn drain plug? There's no transmission drain plug. Do we suck sludge out with a pump through the fill hole? What's the trick? For God's sake...crazy Swedes!
I bet you will find it's the crazy Americans. :cool: Remember that GM took over Saab in 1990, so anything 1991 and up is going to have a lot of GM influence, and I bet that the decision to not provide a drain plug is a direct result of some GM lunatic telling the design time to remove it from the 91+ manual transmissions.

Regards,

Craig.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Turns out GM / SAAB isn't the only group who does this. A pal has a late model Ford Explorer and while there's a drain plug on the trans...there's no fill hole! Apparently there's some special tool for the dealership to service that. Wild.
 
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