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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So a few of you have been privy to the project I have been undergoing with my 1994 Aero for the past several months. I've been trying to keep it relatively hush-hush until I felt I had made enough progress to share with you all. Basically, I decided to finally jump into redoing the suspension, in a way I have not found evidence of anyone else in the world doing on a Saab 9000.

The journey started after my tax refund arrived and I began hoarding a few bits and pieces in my campus apartment closet. This was just the beginning:

The tank, Accuair Exo mount, EAI switch controller, and SMC valves I bought used from another forum, and had originally been installed in a Scion XB.

The struts are a kit from Air Lift, consisting of a double-bellows bag over long-stroke adjustable damping shocks. The kit comes with a variety of hardware which allows it to adapt to any style of strut. In order to match the McPherson strut arrangement on the front of the Aero, I measured out how long I wanted the assembly to be in order to give me the desired ride height, as well as at full up and full down. At that point, I took it to my dad, who was able to weld the strut body as well as the two mounting tabs on each side:




At that point, I began installing the management system in the hatch area. I liked the idea of a nice, clean look, and wanted to retain as much usable trunk space as possible. I ended up using c-brackets to suspend the valve assemblies and switch box from the bottom of the false floor:

This arrangement still allows full use of the spare tire, and also keeps most of the wiring and plumbing hidden. I mounted the tank, Viair 400c compressor, and water trap on the forward part of the floor, again leaving plenty of usable space.


I originally bought double-bellows bags for the rear as well, but soon realized the spring locations did not provide enough space for them to function. At that point, I went over to Bag Riders where they recommended I try their new Firestone 7076 inverted-sleeve bags. While not quite as robust as the Air Lift Dominators I had originally planned on, now that they are installed, they are absolutely perfect for the job. I had to create a custom top mount that would bolt to the bag and prevent it from slipping from the top spring perch. A friend of mine has access to a 3d printer, and I was able to send him a CAD model of what I needed. A few days later, he handed me this:



Somewhere in here, I had bought new wheels, a set of vintage gold/polished ARE 398s, 17x9.5 et 56, off of an old Corvette.

I had high hopes for fitting these blingin' beauts, but decided I would need to run some insane stretch & poke, which is not quite the look I want to go for. So they are now on their way out the door to fund something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Installation

Once I got the management running properly, it was time to run the air lines and install the struts/bags. I ran two lines from the tank, through holes in the false floor and into the spare tire well, where each of them fed one bank of valves. Each corner of the car has one pair of valves, one for fill and one for dump. They are all triggered by the switchbox that I ran under the carpeting into the center console, where it will be molded into a panel alongside the two dual-needle gauges.

The lines from each pair of valves then passes through holes in the front of the spare tire well (with grommets to prevent chafing) and outward to the flanks. Two lines go straight along the axle to the rear bags, while the other two run inside the side skirts all the way into the front wheel well, where they adapt to the braided leader lines into the strut bags.

Took some preliminary shots right after the front struts were installed:

We were running out of light, so we took the springs out of the rear just to see how low it could go:

but that didn't really work because we couldn't pull the jack out, so it was still holding up the car a fair amount.

Eventually we got a few things tweaked and were able to install the rear bags and get some legit shots of how it sits aired out:


Clearance at the front subframe (about 1.5", should be able to get another inch out of it with different wheels/tires):

And rear clearance (still plenty of room for more ;D ) :


And that's about where it sits right now. I'd like to note all of this was done with borrowed tools and plenty of help from various friends, in my gravel driveway.

I still have a bit of a list of stuff I need to do before I can call my project done, such as:
-Fix front camber (camber bolts and then machining custom pillow-ball top mounts with camber adjustment)
-Mount gauges and switchbox in center console
-Fix leaks / switch from teflon tape on all the fittings to Loctite 565 thread sealer
-Custom copper hardlines between tank and valve manifolds
-And of course wheels and tires

Thanks for bearing with my rambling. I know this project won't fit everyone's taste, but I've had an absolute blast through the whole process, and I definitely think I've managed to explore a genre of modification not everyone in the Saab crowd is willing to tackle. Special thanks to those who have given any and all support. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Cheers!
 

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Why is it called Death Star?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
subscribed?

this is pretty cool.
Haha I was breaking the build into two posts, wanted to keep them together, so I was reserving the 2nd post spot. Thanks though!

Why is it called Death Star?
That was actually a fluke. My boss, who is a crazy old nerd, saw the photo of the parts I was hoarding and asked what I was building in my apartment, a Death Star? So the name kinda just stuck.
 

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this is actually a super ambitious build. I really like it. now if only I had the ambition to copy this and do it to my 9-5 aero.

but I don't lol
 

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Looks great and sounds like its been a good learning experience!

First thought... Just a sanity check. Was your 3D printed part an FDM part? What material was used? I'd hate to see it de-laminate!

Subscribed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks great and sounds like its been a good learning experience!

First thought... Just a sanity check. Was your 3D printed part an FDM part? What material was used? I'd hate to see it de-laminate!

Subscribed!
Not entirely sure of the details, I just supplied the CAD model and my friend took care of it. I will be getting them remade out of aluminum shortly, the plastic is just to get it on the road and make sure everything works properly.
 

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Almost looked like ABS plastic.

Super cool project.
 

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Not entirely sure of the details, I just supplied the CAD model and my friend took care of it. I will be getting them remade out of aluminum shortly, the plastic is just to get it on the road and make sure everything works properly.
OK. Good plan.

And good friend! :)
 

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Interesting build, am I right this allows you to have normal ride height one minute and then fully slammed the next?

Will follow your project with interest, wonder how you will find the handling at different heights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Interesting build, am I right this allows you to have normal ride height one minute and then fully slammed the next?

Will follow your project with interest, wonder how you will find the handling at different heights.
Yes indeed. I planned everything out so that with no pressure in the bags, my subframe should be about 1/2" from the ground, depending on tires. Full up (around 120-130psi) will equate to approximately 1" above stock ride height, while 80psi (pretty standard ride pressure) will give me about a 2" drop from stock ride height, which is about what a lot of people are running with lowering springs.

I have not driven the car yet with the rear bags installed, but I drove it for about a week with the fronts in, and I'm really impressed with the struts. They do have adjustable damping built in, so I cranked that up to max to try to avoid some bounciness typical of bags. Honestly though, I think I might turn it down a couple of clicks, it was almost harsher over small bumps than the stock suspension was. It's definitely a different feel from stock, but they still handle quite well in the corners, and it's incredibly comfortable aired out.
 

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Guys in the UK have used rear bags a fair bit on 9ks and 900's, and like it for the comfort and to help with towing. You are a pioneer on the fronts though, well done!

Hey I've finally posted an add for my TD04-19T if you are still looking, lots of interest in it so move fast if you are needing one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Guys in the UK have used rear bags a fair bit on 9ks and 900's, and like it for the comfort and to help with towing. You are a pioneer on the fronts though, well done!

Hey I've finally posted an add for my TD04-19T if you are still looking, lots of interest in it so move fast if you are needing one.
The only bags I've heard of having been installed in Saabs to date are simply booster bags that fit inside the stock spring, and can be inflated to help handle heavy loads. But I could be wrong.

Unfortunately I'm not really in the market for a new turbo at the moment, for obvious reasons...thanks though!
 

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That is right, a fair bit cruder than what you are up to.

Understand about limits to what you can do at once, I've lowered my expectations to just build this summer, spend racing it next summer due to time and cash limits.
 

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where those e36 headlights I saw?
 

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Almost looked like ABS plastic.

Super cool project.
Its ABS, definitely interested in how you bolted it in the top! I have been trying to figure that out on my rear set up to (static not air) and It doesn't look like you can access the top spring mount from inside the car..

And unless he made it on the 3D printer at 100% infill I doubt that will hold the weight of the car for too long before breaking. If it is 100% infill and it does hold up could you please send me the cad file? I have access to a 3D printer this summer and I would love to take advantage of it!

So excited to see this all done up dude! Thank you so much for pushing the envelope!

And PLEASE share your secretes when you fix the camber!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
where those e36 headlights I saw?
Yes indeed! Still need to come up with a better mounting bracket, might hit up the 3D printer for that as well, but I think they look quite good.
Its ABS, definitely interested in how you bolted it in the top! I have been trying to figure that out on my rear set up to (static not air) and It doesn't look like you can access the top spring mount from inside the car..

And unless he made it on the 3D printer at 100% infill I doubt that will hold the weight of the car for too long before breaking. If it is 100% infill and it does hold up could you please send me the cad file? I have access to a 3D printer this summer and I would love to take advantage of it!

So excited to see this all done up dude! Thank you so much for pushing the envelope!

And PLEASE share your secretes when you fix the camber!
The plastic top hat doesn't bolt to the spring perch, it just bolts to the top of the bag and fits around the flange on the spring perch to keep it from sliding once the weight of the car is on it. Honestly, I really don't have that much faith in them holding up to the weight of the car for very long, I just need them to hold me over until I can pay someone with a lathe to get some aluminum ones done instead.
 
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