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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright! This has been a long time coming, but I recently managed to get a fire lit under my ass and get some projects done so here it goes!

Back in November of 2011 I bought Pamler's old C900. It was a complete and total impulse buy and since I had wanted a C900 since I first got into Saabs I figured it was a great starting point. And it was. But shortly after I brought it home, "life" kind of happened for a few years and I was not able to allocate the resources that I wanted to. Then I got sidetracked from all the other projects for a while building a drift car and all that goes along with that (car/truck/trailer/tires/endless costs). So the C900 along with my 9000 and other "future project cars" ended up on the back burner. I still drove the C900 a few times a year, but it primarily set in a storage building for the last 3 years or so. Haven't racked up the miles since I bought it. Currently sitting at 89,562. Hadn't had to do much maintenance at all for the time I had it on the road. It was reliable and never left me stranded.

I had started a thread in 2011, but didn't really do much to the car back then and for some reason most of the pictures don't work anymore, so I'm starting a fresh thread here. Here is the original if anyone cares:

http://www.saablink.net/forum/general-classic-900-posts-information/58498-5.htm

Here is a quick recap in pictures:

The day after I brought it home:



Better pictures after being cleaned up:






Detailed "please don't break it" instructions from the time I had to have it aligned:






Definitely had some good times with it!





And here's where it all went downhill. I knew that there was some minor rust here and there, but it was overall a clean example. One day I was repairing the cruise control switch vacuum hoses under the dash and found the floor to be wet under the carpeting. The "floor rusters" were still installed and sopping wet. I think I caught it soon enough before it caused significant damage, but nevertheless there were some rust holes. I messed with it for a while cleaning the floor up and removing the tar coating. but I ran out of resources, skills, and motivation all about the same time and into storage it went. Here is what I'm up against with the floor:

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Fast forward to present day, I am in a much better spot personally, financially, and with automotive skills. We also moved into a new place with a 30x40 pole barn so I actually have the space to work on stuff.

the 2017 "season" is definitely going to be a building season for me. My drift car is solid, but about as competitive as it's ever going to be without some significant engine work, and the van which pulls the car is also down.. I'm going to take it easy and work on some other projets this year. I have been doing a fairly extensive restoration on my 1985 Chevy G20 van which involved some welding to replace rusted sheet metal. I have been borrowing a MIG welder from a friend to complete this work. Just the other day I came to the realization that the rust issues on this C900 that had stopped me in my tracks 5 years ago were now within my working ability, and what better time than now to get the rust taken care of than while I already have a welder at my disposal.

It has rained a bunch here over the last week which (thankfully) washed most of the salt off of the roads, so Friday evening I decided that it was safe to bring the C900 home from storage. Wow, I didn't realize how much I missed driving this thing!



Over the weekend I started working on it. I knew that there was some rust in various places, so I wanted to take everything apart as much as possible to see what I'm up against. Here is it's spot for the next few months while I sort it out:



And most of you guys may recognize the car better like this. I got a little nostalgic after I took the bumper off, so I had to grab a picture:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I now have the SPG kit, bumpers, hood, and some other pieces off and here is what I'm up against:

-The front frame rails look very good, I'll just clean those up a little and coat with POR15.
-Drivers door has significant rot at the bottom. I'll need to replace metal here.
-Passenger door has surface rust only. Should be able to clean up and POR15, not sure about under door skin crimp
-both front fenders have significant rust at the rear of the arch. Drivers side is actually not connected between inner/outer fender, looks to have had previous rust repair that didn't hold up.. I'll have to replace metal on both sides to get this right.
-small bubbles around rear arches, shouldn't be too bad
-A couple of holes in the trunk floor, need small patches. Previous repairs not holding.














Overall, there is a lot of work to do. I'll be posting lots of questions along the way both in this thread and in other threads if the situation warrants. Hoping to have this done by the end of June in hopes to take it to Gridlife in MI.

Here's the current rundown of what I have planned:

-Repair all rust spots on body and floor.
-Coat/seal these and other troubled areas to prevent future issues
-Try to complete the first 2 without having to repaint any blue areas (there are a couple of tiny spots that may be visible. Most repairs are on the floorpan or under the SPG kit and can be bare POR15 for now)
-Trace and fix any rain leaks into interior, and add cowl drain tubes. Don't want any more water under the carpet
-Rework SPG kit mounting. Oem rails are good, but the rest of the mount system is garbage and leaves so many places for rust to start. Going to try to incorporate some quick connect hardware from the racing world and hopefully simplify mounting these panels.
-reinstall interior
-Make some extra keys
-Refresh suspension front and rear. All rubber/joints/shocks/etc. Possibly axles and inner drivers depending on inspection
-Install necessary parts for rear handbrake
-Pull engine/trans and do basic refresh. starting to show some leaks probably due to sitting.
-Replace oil tubes in head (hoping this fixes the valve tick/noise at idle)
-Stereo?

Bonus points:
-Paint correction
-E-codes
-Whale-tail
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
And now I have a bunch of questions. I'll work on researching these some myself, but I would like input

-Body patch panels. Especially for the door bottoms and front fenders (rear of arch area). Does anyone make these? or will I just need to form the metal myself to replace? I did find these door patches on ebay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/SAAB-900-CLASSIC-DOOR-BOTTOM-repair-panel-TURBO-AERO-SPG-CONVERTIBLE-/322197780438), but they say 1988+.. I didn't know that they doors changed in 1988? Is there a reason these wouldn't work on a 1986?

-Replacement keys.. Obviously nobody around me has blanks, but I can get those online no big deal. But can any hardware story with a key cutter copy these? They look simple enough, but they are kind of short and funny shaped.

-Parts sourcing: It's been about 5 years since I've been in the Saab world. I know alot has changed with regards to finding parts. I use FCP for all my Volvo parts and they are great to deal with. I see that they carry Saab stuff too, however eeuroparts used to be my go-to for Saab.. Several years ago, EEuro was having lots of issues with accuracy and availability of Saab parts. Has this improved? Have they returned to their former glory? Where do you guys source C900 stuff?

I'm sure I'll have more questions along the way. Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Another evening and more disassembly. Got the hood off and started removing things that are mounted along the inside of the front fenders. Trying to locate any and all rust spots and get them taken care of for good. That's the first priority with this project.



Here is a spot that I found in front of the right front wheel under the washer fluid tank.




At least that one is a big flat area and should be easy enough to weld in new metal.

There have been a few previous rust patches (metal plates) that were installed with some sort of adhesive to cover rust holes. These did not hold and seem to have caused more of an issue. This one was under the trunk floor:



Removing any of these and welding in new metal.

Also started taking the hatch apart. I know that these hatches are prone to rust issues especially under the spoiler. Wasn't surprised to find a rather large spot of rust under the spoiler, but I was relieved that it's only 1 spot. The rest of the holes are nearly perfect. This shouldn't be hard to fix, however I am a little scared of doing metalwork that close to the window. I'll mask it off thoroughly and it should be alright.



Hoping to find a whale-tail to cover that area anyways ;)

Also further down on the hatch, I removed the latch/lock and associated trim pieces going out to the taillights. There is some rust here too. At least 1 confirmed hole, but overall not as bad as I have seen and should clean up nicely.. The hatch is going to end up making me paint some blue, which I was going to try to avoid.. Oh well.




And another just before going in for the evening.



I think I have found/identified all of the rust spots now and should be able to start repairing them shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks guys.

Cark, your car is truly inspirational. And a little scary that there are so many potential failires to look forward to! lol

Turbo00. Thanks for the Skandix top. It does appear that they do have the door bottoms at least. And shipping isn't even too terrible. I'll probably utilize them, unfortunately the fender patches seem to be discontinued. I should be able to fix the fenders good enough considering that most of the repaired area will be hidden by the SPG kit. As for the rust repair, I've been deailing with some rust repair on my old Chevy van as well, so I'm gaining more experience than I ever wanted very quickly.. I have used POR15 previously and had good results, but I will definitely give the Eastwood stuff another look. I've only heard good things.

MikeD. Plan on lots of dumb questions when I get around to T5ing this thing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I know the doors were previously mentioned, but it would seem that I have a bit more work to do than expected. After pulling the panels, it seems that there is some rust that is forming between the metal of the door and the deadening that is adhered to it. on the right side door it has actually broken through the metal (thankfully behind the SPG panel, so repair doesn't have to be perfectly pretty). But as I chipped away at the deadener material I realized that there was quite a bit of surface rust behind it. Unfortunately it is fairly hard to chip off of the metal. Might be something I have to deal with when I cut the bottom of the door open since the way the doors are designed it is hard to reach inside. I've used dry ice to remove floor coatings before. I wonder if it would work here.




I think I'm going to go ahead and finish gutting the rest of the interior at this point just to leave no stone unturned. I'll pull the quarter panel interior pieces and headliner tonight and see if there is any rust there that needs attention as well. I'd like to take care of this all once and for all and have some peace of mind that I won't come out to a pile of dust if it gets rained on.

Also to note:

-Hood cable broke.. It seems that "thesaabsite.com" is about the best place to source that.

-Going to steal this massive intercooler for my Cressida drift car where it will be more suited. Hoping to replace this one with a similar style but a few inches narrower and not as thick

-E-Codes are bought and should arrive soon!

More to come, should have a solid evening to work on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More disassembly last night. Want to be sure I don't miss rusty areas. Glad I did because there was another spot near the left rear wheel well that had been patched with caulk that wasn't visible from the outside.




Looks like the car was rust proofed at some point and the areas that were coated seem to be holding up very well.

E-codes showed up!



And called it a night..



Items that I'm having a hard time tracking down:

-Front door seals
-Small trim pieces between hatch latch and tailights
-parts to convert to rear e-brake (floor cut out, handle, cables, etc). I already have calipers.

Anyone have or know where to source these? There are no C900s in junk yards around me unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Over the weekend, I didn't have as much time to work as I would have liked, but I managed to remove the front windows and regulators. Still kind of hard to access the inside of the door panels. I had been stalling ordering the replacement door bottoms from Skandix trying to see if there might be a better option but it looks like the best option. I'll probably order them today.

Also started getting the engine ready to pull. There is some surface rust deep in the engine bay that I would like to correct while I'm doing the rest. Also, the last couple of years in storage have not been kind to the seals as I noticed some leaks after the drive home. The engine is going to be gone over and cleaned up and all seals/gaskets will be getting replaced. I'll probably throw a timing chain and water pump at it while it's apart too. Been in this rodeo with enough other projects to know that if it is a maintenance part that is hard to get to, replace it while you have the chance even if it doesn't seem to need it.

Here is where I got over the weekend: Basically everything up top is disconnected except for the steering pump, exhaust and I still need to figure out the clutch slave procedure. Hoping to have all of that done tonight and start pulling the suspension/axles. We'll see how it goes.


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Saabeh!


As of last night, everything up top is loose and the engine is almost ready to come out. Just need to pull the axles and unbolt the mounts.

I spent way too much time fiddling with removing the clutch. I have the ring tool, and researched all the tricks, but it still fought me all the way. I wish there was just another couple of mm between the chain drive case and the flywheel. I still can't decide if the design is genius or idiotic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
My thoughts from last night. These cars don't have a front sway bar?? :wtf:

Anyways:







I'll deal with the engine later, but for now I need to deal with any/all rust on the body. Here is what I'm dealing with in the engine bay and front frame. Not too bad, but needs some attention to stop it before it gets worse.





Driver's side wheel well:


Passenger side wheel well:


Also, I found that the drivers side control arm was actually cracked where the shock mount is welded to the arm. :ahh:



The arm design seems fairly flimsy. I've seen a couple of pictures from way back where someone boxed these arms(welded strengthening plates) to reinforce them.. Is this common practice for C900s? The arms do seem to be designed pretty flimsy. Mine have a little bit of surface rust, but seem to be pretty solid overall.. Should I just repair my arms and add strengthening plates? Or should I get new arms? Box new arms? Not going off-roading, is it really necessary?
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks! The best automotive investment I've ever made was this shop! Definitely makes things easier. Hey at least you guys don't get snow in Alabama.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Dougsaab, you have PM!

Thanks Cark, I may see about a retrofit at some point, but after I can evaluate it with all new parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Wow, Look at all of the OGs! haha

I've been anxiously waiting to be able to do this resto for way too long. It certainly does deserve it!

Drewz, I've got a complete SPG kit plus a few pieces already, but it's good to know that there are still some floating around out there.

And Mike, T5 is definitely in the plans for it. Probably won't be until next year with all of the work already going on this year. I would love to have you do that work as wiring is not my not my forte. All in due time.

Also, it looks like I'll be getting those doors and patch panels from Dougsaab this weekend! While it's going to be much easier to use rust free doors than fix mine, it does pose another issue.. I was hoping to avoid painting much of the blue. Since most of the rusty areas are under SPG panels, I was just going to fix them up and paint them black.. But now I'm looking at black doors and potentially some fender/hatch areas that the repair will be visible. I can only assume that there is a 0% chance of paint matching these doors to the rest of the car. A friend of mine (who paints cars professionally for a living) was over last night and tossed around the idea of just painting the entire car. The hood, roof, and quarter panels don't really need it, but freshly painted areas would never match right. And he made a good point that if I was ever going to paint this car, now would be the time since it's all apart. Definitely got me thinking.. So much for a quick "get the rust fixed and get it back on the road" kind of project :rolleyes:

So opinions... If (and it is a big "if") I end up having the whole car repainted. Is it worth doing it in Admiral blue and keeping the original color? It's not my favorite color but it has grown on me. I don't know what the value of these cars is going to do in the coming years, but I don't want to potentially ruin it by painting it a different color. Since it's not factory original in many other ways, and not a true SPG or some other rare model it may not even be a factor but OCD it a bitch and makes me question every little choice until progress stops. The dark blue has definitely grown on me, but I would probably go with something with more pearl or metallic. Idk. Just tossing around ideas at this point. Maybe something like Lexus "indigo blue" from an SC430 would be nice.

I am already planning on doing the SPG kit, wheels, and possibly quarter panel vents in the same color that in on the bottom of my LS400. Sometimes it looks grey and sometimes it looks black depending on the light. Would look sharp with dark blue too.

 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Rust free doors are back at home! Also very nice patches for nearly all of the rusty areas on my fenders. Much thanks to Dougsaab!

My wife was out of town all weekend, so I was in charge of the toddler. Besides the impromptu road trip to Ohio I didn't get a whole lot done, however I managed to finish removing the rest of the front suspension and all of the wiring harness that goes around the left and across the front of the car. Holy crap there is a lot going on under the hood of these cars! Much more complicated than the basic Toyotas that I'm used to working with anymore. Every plug is labeled so that I might be able to put it all back together.




I was hoping to be able to remove the fuse box or at least loosen it up enough to paint around, but it seems that there is a harness that comes out of it and enters the cabin behind the dash. I'm hoping that I don't have to remove the entire dash to remove this, but not holding my breath...

Also removed the Oil cooler housing and the oil cooler itself.. There was quite a bit of rust on the housing, and one hole. I think it is salvageable though. I'll throw it in the pile of parts going to the powder coater and see what happens. The oil cooler also looks kind of shabby. I may look into sourcing another one.

 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Has anyone removed the fuse box (or at least got it loose enough to paint around) without completely removing the dash? I assume that there is no simple disconnect but you have to remove the plugs from every single component under the dash? I'm finding little to no info online about the topic.

Also I think I decided on a color: Porsche Dark Blue Metallic from around 2013

 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Thanks, I'll dig into it a little more when I get home.. I'd really rather not pull the whole dash.

That is what I was going for. similar to the stock color, but nicer looking. It still looks blue in the shade (whereas everyone always mistakes this car for black now), but doesn't turn super bright in the sun either. I'm having my painter quote it now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 · (Edited)
Thanks for the tip! I was looking right past them, but there are 3 plugs that go right into the side of the fuse box. popped them off and it came right out.



I was then able to remove the entirety of the left side harness. I think I have a fairly decent handle on the wiring and where everything does when reinstalling. Also figured out why the locks probably weren't working. The connector that plugs onto the door for the locks was corroded to the point that it fell apart in my hands. Hopefully replacing that plug will fix the locks.

Driver's side/front harnesses.. There is so much going on under the hood of these cars!



There is where I hit a snag and stopped for the evening. There is a harness that comes out of the passenger side. It goes from the injectors and top of engine and hooks up to the ECU and other stuff in the car. Besides the ECU, there are no plugs on the other wires. I may end up buying some universal connector plugs and cutting/installing them on the other wires to make removal/install of this harness easier.. Then again the more I thought about it, maybe I was going about it all wrong and need to pull the whole thing inside of the car..




If I can get the remainder of the harness out tonight, I'll work finishing up the removal of the tar from the interior and trunk floor.. That's the goal for tonight.
 
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