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Saab 900 Frequently Asked Questions 1979-1994

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SPG Information

[Saab 900]

SPG stands for "special performance group". The difference between the turbo cars and the SPG cars is the suspension, the ground effects package and the rims. The SPG has 1 inch lowered suspension with Heavy duty shocks. It also has a black ground effect package that goes all the way around the car. The rims on the SPG are of a 3 spoke design and are the most desired for the 900 cars. The SPG car is a desirable car in the classic 900 community especially in the convertible version because there were only a few made.

NOTE: The 1985-1987 models did not offer a SPG car (1988 up in the USA) but did offer a car called an "Airflow car" which eventually led to the SPG car. The real difference was the way the bumpers led back into the bumper extensions where they were integrated on the 1988 and up cars.

A Special thanks goes to Ryan Anderson for submitting this info. The SPG cars also came with a high peformance Red box in some cases which increased the horsepower about 25%. Those boxes are hard to come by now but the information to modify your standard box via the potentiometers is available on the internet.

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Used Saabs and what to look for

[Saab 900]

Purchasing a used Saab can be a coin toss. Reality is that Saabs are very good cars as long as they are taken care of correctly. More often than not people who purchase high end cars just can't afford them regardless of who makes them. Above all things the number one thing to look for is whether or not the individual changed the oil at 5000 miles MAX. We know that some of the recommended service intervals are 10,000 miles but we have seen so many engine issues because of this that we flag any oil changes longer than 5000 miles. Everyone says that oil can last 15,000 miles etc... That may be true but not every car is designed with the type of oil change interval in mind. Most cars have exhaust components right below the engine oil pan which basically cooks the oil in the pan. This heat alone can be catastrophic to the life of engine oil or transmission fluid. You can pull the dipstick out and look at it closely. If it is very dark color (brown) at the base of the dipstick then that is a good indication that the heat has gotten to the dipstick enough that it has baked the oil in the lower part of the engine as well.
You can count on having some issues with Saab ie.... DI Cassettes, Belt pulley issues, Fan speed resistors, SID unit failures etc.. but in the grand scheme of things they are excellent automobiles if maintained correctly.

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Waxing My Saab

[Saab 900]

A special thanks to Matt Hoffman for the contribution of this material!. Kudos to Matt! I did find that using a several step process of the Meguiars' Fine Cut Cleaner #2, followed by Show Car Glaze #7, and two coats of High Gloss Wax #26 I was able to make a lot of really good progress on my '91. There is no clear coat on it that I can find, except on the left front fender which I think was replaced before I got the car. All the products mentioned are in the tan bottles and I used a Craftsman 6" orbital buffer for all applications. I tried a 10" but it was useless except on the roof and parts of the hood. There are just too many curves on the classic 900 to use such a large pad. The cleaner #2 did a really nice job of gently removing the oxidation without going too far. There were still water marks visible after using the cleaner #2 but the #7 glaze appears to have helped blend them in. It's possible that a reapplication of the #2 could eventually remove the water spots, or a rubbing compound, but I'm not ready to give that a shot. Over the past two years I had used the Meguiars ColorX cleaner wax, and on the third use it did make a difference, but the underlying faded paint seemed to nullify the wax after about 5 weeks.

Thanks to Jeff Koss for contributing to this FAQ!

Try using a Clay Bar first!

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Waxing My Saab (copy)

[Saab 900]

A special thanks to Matt Hoffman for the contribution of this material!. Kudos to Matt! I did find that using a several step process of the Meguiars' Fine Cut Cleaner #2, followed by Show Car Glaze #7, and two coats of High Gloss Wax #26 I was able to make a lot of really good progress on my '91. There is no clear coat on it that I can find, except on the left front fender which I think was replaced before I got the car. All the products mentioned are in the tan bottles and I used a Craftsman 6" orbital buffer for all applications. I tried a 10" but it was useless except on the roof and parts of the hood. There are just too many curves on the classic 900 to use such a large pad. The cleaner #2 did a really nice job of gently removing the oxidation without going too far. There were still water marks visible after using the cleaner #2 but the #7 glaze appears to have helped blend them in. It's possible that a reapplication of the #2 could eventually remove the water spots, or a rubbing compound, but I'm not ready to give that a shot. Over the past two years I had used the Meguiars ColorX cleaner wax, and on the third use it did make a difference, but the underlying faded paint seemed to nullify the wax after about 5 weeks.

Thanks to Jeff Koss for contributing to this FAQ!

Try using a Clay Bar first!

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AC Compressor Clutch Replacement

[Saab 900]

AC Compressor clutch replacements usually cost more than compressor replacements because of the cost of the clutches and the cost of the labor added together. In most cases you end up getting a compressor that is about the same cost and may not last as long as a new one. This is why we do not sell compressor clutches.

Pricing for AC COMPRESSOR & RELATED (ac parts)

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AC Compressor Failures

[Saab 900]

AC Compressor failures can be a result of several factors. If a compressor is replaced, be absolutely sure to correct the problem that caused the initial failure to prevent the new compressor from failing also. One of the biggest causes of premature compressor failure is the lack of proper lubricant in the compressor at the initial installation. When a compressor operates normally the fluid in the system actually flows through the entire system not just in the compressor. Most compressors do not have the proper amount of oil in them when they come to you new because different cars require different amounts. Several factors can cause premature compressor failure. Several are listed below:

1 - Too much Freon causes high head pressure & pooling in the condenser or drier which leads to poor flow.
2 - Too small of an amount of lubricant leads to poor lubrication of the compressor and other components.
3 - Clogged condensers release particles into the AC systems causing blockage of components or poor fluid flow.

NOTE: OIL REQUIREMENTS: Seiko-Seiki compressors requires 5 ounces of oil. Sanden SD 508 Compressors require 6 Ounces of Oil. Sanden SD 510 & SD 709 Compressors require 5 ounces of oil but CHECK THE MANUFACTURERS SPECS!

Pricing for AC COMPRESSOR & RELATED (ac parts)

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AC Conversion to 134A

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Bruce Rowe for contributing to this FAQ!

I recently did a conversion R12 to R134a on a Classis 900 Saab. I replaced the receiver dryer unit to no avail. From this web site I checked the expansion valve. The hose from the receiver-dryer to the expansion valve was plugged with particles from the old receiver dryer. I cleared this hose with compressed air, and had success. The hose connection to the expansion valve on my car had a small cone shaped screen filter that blocked the expansion valve from the contaminant.

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AC Conversion to To R134a from R12

[Saab 900]

Converting from R12 to R134 Freon seems to be a subject that is in debate throughout the country as to what is necessary to complete the conversion. Many mechanics say that in-order to convert from R12 to R134 you should replace the compressor, receiver drier and expansion valve. It has been our experience with Saab AC systems that the original systems will convert to R134 without major complications. We do however suggest replacing the receiver dryer, all Oring's (included in the conversion kit along with the 134 fittings), the refrigerant oil and rid the system of all of the old oil by flushing the system.

You must change the compressor oil from r12 to 134a oil. other wise the system will not properly charge or run. Please be sure you dont let any non-condensables into the systems lines when doing the refrigerent swap.

Pricing for AC COMPRESSOR & RELATED (ac parts)

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AC Evaporator Issues?

[Saab 900]

Most of the issue with AC evaporators on the Saab 900 occur because of stess against the bottom of the neck where the expansion valve is screwed on. If you remove the expansion valve and are not careful then a crack can occur at the bottom of the pipe that connects the valve to the evaporator housing itself. We have also seen issues where people install the pilot tube into the side fo the evaporator (from anti-frost switch) and cause damage in that manner. Replacement of the evaporator is the cure.

Pricing for AC EVAPORATOR (ac parts)

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AC Fill ports

[Saab 900]

The low side port is on the largest line and the high side port is on the smallest line. Typically the high side line is the smaller of the two lines and has the highest pressure running through it.

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AC Freon Amount

[Saab 900]

The amount of freon needed in a Saab AC system is from 2.5lbs to 3.0lbs of freon to properly fill the system. When filling you can watch the site glass on the receiver drier or expansion valve to figure out when you have put in enough freon. Once the site glass goes from milky to clear then the system is full.

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AC Fuse Blows AC on

[Saab 900]

Several things can cause your AC fuse to blow when turning on the Air conditioning. The most likely cause of a Blown AC fuse is a frozen or burned up AC Compressor clutch. When this occurs the heat from the burned up compressor clutch often causes the compressor bearing to seize up and burn the AC belt off. Compressor replacement is the only repair!

Another reason can be a short circuit caused by the cable that runs to the compressor (In Saab 95-2004, it is a single and shielded one with blue
plastic lining. This cable runs from a connector located at right upper side behind the front engine panel, directly down to the AC compressor). Check this cable for any damage caused by friction with metal pipes. I solved the problem using isolating tape. Compressor was in perfect working
condition and no dismantling was needed at all. after "Cable repair", no more blown up AC fuse (10A) occurred.

Pricing for AC COMPRESSOR & RELATED (ac parts)

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AC Hose To Condenser Problems!

[Saab 900]

On all the condensers you must be extremely careful when removing the hoses. When you remove the Upper and Lower AC hoses to the condenser you will destroy the condenser threads because the nut on the AC hoses are steel and the condenser threads are Aluminum or alloy. In just about every case the upper hose must be replaced with the condenser replacement. This is quite common and this will cause you to have to replace the hoses (upper and lower). In some cases you may be able to clean out the lower hose threads to remove any aluminum that is in the threads PRIOR to installing the OLD hose on the new condenser. MAKE SURE your do this Prior to installing the hose. We cannot replace a condenser under warranty if you make this mistake!!!

Pricing for AC CONDENSER & RELATED (ac parts)

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AC Hydraulic Hose Repair

[Saab 900]

Leaking Hydraulic hoses can often be attributed to a leaky clamp which cause the hose to be able to be turned. You can repair some hoses temporarily by cutting a small 1/4 slice of the metal fitting out (being careful not to cut the hose) then put a adjustable hose clamp over the (now cut) fitting and tighten down the clamp. What happens here is that you cut just enough of the metal clamp out that when you put the hose clamp on and tighten it down that is basically creates a new clamp over top of the one that started leaking. This is a great quick fix and may last a bit but replacement of the hoses with new is the best long term solution.

Pricing for AC HOSES (ac parts)

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AC intermittently works

[Saab 900]

One of the most common problems with the A/C on the classis 900 is the failure of the A/C button. Switch Failures can often be identified by noting that the components will work only when the switch is held in manually. Replacement is the repair!

The primary AC hose that is attached to the compressor leaks causing the fluid pressure to drop below Saabs minimum which intern shuts the system down. Leakage can be noted by checking the joints on the hose for signs of Fluid leakage. Leakage will often attract dirt causing a gummy residue at the junctions.

The AC compressor develops noise when failing. The internal components go through exhaustive work when the AC is on. The amount of internal rotation is considerable. Failures can often be identified by noting that the compressor growls when the engine is revved and disappears when the AC is turned off. AC compressor seal failures are common problems on the Classic 900 as well. Seal failure can often be determined by noting that the a gummy residue exists just above the compressor on the hood of the car. This is a sign that seal leakage that is being thrown onto the hood by the rotation of the belt!

The AC time delay relay will fail causing the compressor not to turn on. AC Time delay relays can only be check by using a voltage meter.

The Anti-frost switch can fail eliminating power to the AC time delay relay causing the AC system not to work (The Anti-frost switch is located in behind the fresh air intake and has a wire that is inserted into the evaporator to monitor temperature).

Pricing for AC ANTI-FROST THERMOSTAT (ac parts)
Pricing for AC COMPRESSOR & RELATED (ac parts)
Pricing for AC HOSES (ac parts)
Pricing for AC SWITCH (ac parts)
Pricing for INTERIOR SWITCHES (switches)

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AC Leak Testing

[Saab 900]

On the Saab 900 79-94 testing for AC leaks can be done quickly. Simply go to the receiver driver which is located in the right fender well behind the battery and disconnect the two blue wires. Touch the metal of the two wires together and if they AC compressor comes on you know that the pressure in the drier is too low which tells you that you have a leak in the lines or the compressor itself. Most of the time if you have a leak in the lines you can see it because the line gets sticky or corroded around the area that is leaking.

Click here for pricing on the Saab 900 79-94 AC components!

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AC Noise from belt area

[Saab 900]

A roaring noise that can be heard when turning on the A/C can generally be attributed to a faulty A/C Compressor but can also come from a faulty A/C idler pulley (2.0 Liter engines). Both components fail on a consistent basis on the 1985 and up 9000's. Compressor failure should be done by a professional technician only. Idler pulley failures can be identified by removing the belt and turning the idler by hand to see if the bearing has failed!

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Antenna Mast Broken in Motor

[Saab 900]

The link below is a PDF that is designed to show how to dis-assemble your antenna assembly on the Saab 900. This proceedure also applies to many other Saabs and should be about the same with only minor differences. If you replace your antenna mast and the mast will not retract all the way then the problem is likely an issue with a piece of the mast broken off in the bottom of the antenna assembly.

Click here for Antenna removal and dis-assembly proceedure

Pricing for ANTENNA MAST & POWER ANTENNA (antenna & related)

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Antenna Mast Replacement

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Michael Harvey for contributing to this FAQ!

Antenna Mast failures generally occur because people ride through the carwash with the antenna up. Once the mast is bent replacement is the only repair. As long as the antenna cord is not broken the repair is fairly simple. Simply remove the 17 or 18 mm nut off the antenna assembly top and pull out the portion of the antenna mast that still remains in the assembly (You may have to turn on the radio when attempting to remove the old antenna mast). Slide the original sleeve over the replacement mast and place the nut over the mast and insert the corded portion of the antenna into the antenna assembly until it reaches the bottom. Have someone turn OFF the radio and slowly rotate the cord clockwise until the corded portion of the antenna is pulled into the antenna assembly. Slide the mast all the way into the assembly and install the nut and tighten slightly! DO NOT WORRY if the mast does not go all the way down at first as it will adjust itself after turning the antenna on and off again.

NOTE: Remember to keep the silver sleeve that goes around the lower portion of the antenna mast as you will want to use the original sleeve as opposed to the one that is supplied with the replacement mast! (The ones that come with the replacement mast are often too thin and will not secure the mast well enough!) There are occasions where the antenna cords break off and will not allow the replacement mast to be pulled in by the rotation of the antenna gear assembly. In this event you will have to remove the antenna assembly and disassemble it and manually remove the broken portion!

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Center Console Replacement

[Saab 900]

A Contribution From Mike: I was trying to find info on how to remove the center console of my 93 saab 900s but failed to do so. I figured out the hard way that there are four screws located in the console that hold it in place. Note**It does NOT slide either forward or backwards** There are two screws in the back you will see them after you remove the ash tray at the bottom. And the other two are in the front, you must remove the shifter boot and you will see them. They are the two furthest up and closest to the floor. Removal of the silver plate that holds the boot in place is unnecessary. This is helpful for ignition replacements or Shifter adjustments.

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Central Lock Issues & Module Location

[Saab 900]

Central lock issues can be attributed to a number of failing components. The most common issue on the 900-9000 is failing central lock control units which cause things like doors locking and unlocking by themselves or not all. Some of the ECM units are no longer available and some are depending on the part numbers. On cars with hatches we have also seen issues with the micro-switches in the lock actuators as well which cause the trunks to not lock or unlock correctly. The cure for this problem is to replace the rear lock actuator.

NOTE: A sign that you have a failing door lock actuator is that you hear the noise for the actuator as if it were working but it actually does not function correctly. Before replacing the door lock actuator you need to be sure that the door panel is not binding the lock button. If it is then the actuator will not be strong enough to move the lock rod.

NOTE: The central lock module is located above the clutch-brake pedal. There is silver bracket that the silver control module slides into.

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Convertible Door Glass Adjustment

[Saab 900]

Click here for Information regarding Convertible Door Glass Adjustment!

Click here for Convertible Top Components!

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Convertible Fuse Location & Relay Issues

[Saab 900]

It is fairly common to see issues with the convertible top not working because of a blown fuse. The fuse is located under the hood just to the right of the fresh air intake. There will be a little black fuse holder that will hold the fuse. On cars prior to 1990 the fuse holder will need to be twisted to get it apart. On cars later than 1991 a different fuse holder was used and houses a glass fuse.

NOTE: Another issue that exist is that the convertible top relay will fail. When this fails you will find that you will hear a clicking noise from under the rear seat. Replacement of the convertible top relay is the cure.

Pricing for CONVERTIBLE TOP RELAY (convertible parts)
Pricing for CONVERTIBLE TOP RELAY (relays)

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Convertible Top Closing Bulletin!

[Saab 900]

Click here to view the Convertible Top Improvement Bulletin which installs 2 new style Bushings!

Click here for Convertible Top Components!

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Convertible Top Cylinder Failures

[Saab 900]

Convertible top cylinder failures are common on the Saab 900 and Saab 93. What generally occurs is that one of the cylinders begins to leak causing pressure on the opposite side which usually causes more than one piston to fail. The on the 900 there are two pistons and on the 93 there are 4.

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Convertible Top Information Fluid Specifications

[Saab 900]

Click here for Information regarding Convertible Top fluid and checking the fluid!

Click here for Convertible Top Components!

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Convertible Top Issues

[Saab 900]

Most convertible top issues on the Saab 900 79-94 are from issues with the hydraulic cylinders leaking. This can usually be identified by noting that hydraulic fluid is leaking under the rear seat around the actual pump.

NOTE: Remember that the handbrake must be pulled up to make the top go up and down!

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Convertible Top Manual Operation

[Saab 900]

Open the trunk and look to the middle right lower section of the rear seat and there is a valve that must be opened up in-order to manually raise the top up and down. In some cases you may have to remove the tonneau cover to access the valve. You simply manually raise/lower the convertible top after opening the valve.

Click here for Convertible top components!

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Convertible Top Piston Failures And Replacement

[Saab 900]

Failure of the convertible top pistons on the Saab 900 79-94 can generally be identified by noting that hydraulic fluid begins to fill up the right rear floorboard behind the passenger from seat. This is an indication that the right rear piston has begun to leak. Replacement of the convertible top pistons can be accomplished by removing the small screws and matching colored washers from each panel beside the rear seat. Removal of the rear seat will make accessing the screws for the panels an easier task. Once the panel screws are removed you will be able to lift the panels straight up. You will then be able to remove the pistons from each opening behind the panel. You may need to move the top with the top switch which will swing the top pistons into view. The top pistons that we offer on the site will typically be quieter than the original pistons due to technology. We have seen that replacement of a weak piston will lead to failure of the opposite side as well because of the change in pressure as well.

Pricing for CONVERTIBLE TOP HYDRAULIC CYLINDERS (convertible parts)

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Convertible Top Piston Repair

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Jim Pescosolido for contributing to this FAQ!

The 900 convertible 1991-1994 hydraulic piston can be rebuilt, as most failures are from the o-rings at the ends of the cylinders. Read the faq on how to remove them from the car. They are fairly straight forward to disassemble and the o-rings can be replaced for a few cents on the ends of the pistons. 30 weight motor oil works great for hydraulic fluid as well. Be sure to bleed the lines of air bubble. A bit messy, but will save quite a few bucks.

Pricing for CONVERTIBLE TOP HYDRAULIC CYLINDERS (convertible parts)

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Convertible Top Relay and Fuse location

[Saab 900]

The relay of your convertible top is under the rear seat on the passenger side. The fuse for the convertible top is on the right hand side of the engine bay under the hood by the fresh air intake.

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Convertible Top Replacement Information

[Saab 900]

The Saab 900 79-94 Convertible top is in two pieces. If the glass does not need to be replaced then you will only have to replace the front half. If the glass needs to be replaced you will have to replace the glass and material which surrounds it. Most people think that the top is one complete unit but it is not. You can remove the front 3/4 section of the top and when you do you will expose the glass in the rear half top section which shows that that are separate.

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Door Mirror Glass Replacement

[Saab 900]

In the bottom of each door mirror there is a small hole in the middle center of the mirror at the bottom underneath. There is a small white keeper that you must turn to the left or right in-order to release the mirror itself from the fastener back. You can release it by using a small flat screwdriver and forcing the white section to the left or right. Once released you will see exactly what holds the mirror.

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Door Panels Peeling

[Saab 900]

On the classic 900 cars it is common for the door panel material to peel back or get loose. This occurs because the material backing releases from the material itself causing the panels to look bad. Saab has discontinued the majority of the panels. You can replace the material yourself depending on your level of ability. The panels remove by taking of the plastic door handle and pulling the panels toward the bottom. Most upholstery stores will sell you material for pennies and auto supply houses sell spray glue. This method actually works very well.

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Doors Rattle

[Saab 900]

Question: The doors are chattering quite badly from the hinges. I am reluctant to replace with hinges from a scrap yard as I may get the same problem. Replacing the pins though is what I'd really like to do.

Answer: The pins knock out but cannot be sourced by themselves. You must replace the hinges and some of them are now obsolete so the only option might be used.

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Emblem Replacement Tips

[Saab 900]

Remember Feeler Gauges? Gently slide a lubricated 4 thou feeler gauge under the emblem, carefully push it through the adhesive. Do it again slightly further round. When you've done about a third, move up to a 6 thou gauge (easier, more sturdy). When you've done about half, use a thin bladed screwdriver to lever it up a bit (I padded mine with some thin plastic). You can then easily cut through the rest of the pad. Took less than 10 minutes, and no marks on hood at all. I then removed remainder of adhesive pad with on old face cloth and petrol (not recommended I know, but that is all I had to hand). Worked a treat. Less than 15 minutes after starting, a perfect finish.

Thanks to Rob for contributing to this FAQ!

The easiest way to remove your faded emblems is to use a cordless drill or power screwdriver and screw in a 1/2" wood screw until it bites firmly into the emblem. Then take some pliers, get a good grip on the screw and yank that emblem off. Clean up the residue with Goof Off or a similar product. Should only take a couple of minutes and you're ready to apply the new emblem!

TIP: Remember that front emblem have tabs on them and pop into slots so this will work on them BUT YOU CAN DRILL INTO YOUR HOOD! Only go in about 1/8 inch. I would NOT recommend doing this on rear emblems as they are put on with double sided tape!

Thanks to Morley for contributing to this FAQ!

Emblems attached with double faced adhesive: generally pretty easy to cut through the adhesive with dental floss, just pull it back and forth, you may go through 2 or 3 pieces of dental floss, will not damage your paint.

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Pricing for RIMS FACTORY SAAB (rims & related)

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Hatch Opening Issues

[Saab 900]

Rear hatch opening failures can be attributed to the white nylon piece on the rod that contacts the open handle horizontally gets out of adjustment which causes the rod not to pull tight enough to open the rear hatch. Other times the horizontal arm that connects the two falls off. You can access both pieces by getting the hatch open (by crawling through the rear seat and opening it at the base with a screwdriver). The failing pieces are located under the brown cover that you see when you open the trunk and look at it from the trunk. You can remove this piece to access them by taking out the plastic screws located on each corner.

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Headliner Sagging Fix

[Saab 900]

The reason that headliners sag on the Saab (as with many cars) is because the foam between the headliner material and the glued portion of the material erodes with time causing the white portion of the headliner to sag. The only repair is to replace the headliner material by removing the headliner, pulling the old material off, cleaning the fiberglass headliner and gluing new material on. Your local upholstery shop can re-do your headliner for approximately $400.00

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Hood Cable Removal & Issues

[Saab 900]

Hood cable failures are common on the Saab cars. The typical issue with the cable is that the end breaks off causing the cable to no longer open the hood. In-order to open the hood when this happens one must push a screwdriver between the hood and the grille and push the hood release back in-order to release the latch. Replacement of the cable is the only cure.

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Hood Removal

[Saab 900]
STEP 1 Place a blanket on top of the car and close the sunroof
STEP 2 Open the hood and remove the two 12 mm screws at the hood base
STEP 3 Remove the washer hose to the hood washer squirter
STEP 4 Have someone help you slide the hood towards the front bumper to get the hood off the front core support. Flip the hood upside down and slide the onto the top of the car where the blanket it. Place the painted part of the hood onto the blanket. Refit in reverse

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Kick Panel Removal

[Saab 900]

Removal of the kick panel can be tough. The most difficult thing is gaining access to the 2 10mm bolts under the hood. They are located under the hood up close to where the door hinges are. Look in the holes against the body and you will see black gummy looking material that covers the two bolts. Remove the 2 10mm bolts, remove the center console by removing the 14mm bolt behind the ashtray. Once you get the console removed then remove the 10mm bolt that holds the kick panel in. Once the 3 bolts are loose you can wiggle the kick panel toward the front seats to remove it.

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Lower Facia Bolts

[Saab 900]

Question: Trying to remove the lower fascia panel (knee bolster) tan colored, I can not find the bolts to remove it. Do I have to remove dash panel first. 1989 900 convertible

Answer: There are 2 bolts 10MM bolts that are located in the openings just below the windshield corners with the hood up. They are usually covered by black goo to keep water from leaking in. Remove those two bolts and the 14 mm bolt in the console (or the ashtray if you don't have a console). Once you have removed those 3 bolts the knew bolster should slide out

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Odors-Smells from Interior

[Saab 900]

Interior Smells: Leaking evaporators or Heater cores can cause coolant leaks to soil the carpets causing musty smells. Leaves in the false bulkhead under hood cause AC/Heater drains to clog causing odd interior odors. Clogged sunroof drains can cause water to backup and leak through the interior.

Clogged drains can be cleaned out by accessing them through the false bulkhead (in some cases where the cabin filter is). The sunroof drains are most often located in the same place under the false bulkhead but can also be located just below the windshield glass under the hood. AC drains are typically in the right from fender well. You can clean most drains by CAREFULLY pushing a bent coat hanger up the drian to begin clearing the debris.

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Repairing Loose Vent On The Saab 900

[Saab 900]

Loose vents on 79-94 Saab 900 are a pretty common problem. The issue is that the vents become loose in their slots & they won't stay pointed in the right direction. Remove the vents by putting a small screwdriver at the top and prying out the vent. Put a small o-ring at the top of each vent and re-install them.

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Seatbelt (Automatic Passive Restraint)

[Saab 900]

There are several common problems with passive restraint systems. Seat reel micro switch failures are common and can only be serviced by replacing the lap belt assembly. Another common failure is the micro switch in the transport mechanism. This micro switch can only be service by replacing the transport mechanism as well. Testing of the Passive restraint system can only be done by pin testing the electronic control which is located under the rear seat.

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Seat Collapse & what is needed to repair

[Saab 900]

On early model Saab 900 cars the seat platform was made of burlap material with rubber strips down the sides. What generally happened is that the rubber strips would break due the pressure from a persons weight. To correct a collapsed seat platform simply install the seat webbing kit PART # 7872948.

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Seat Liftback Knob Failures

[Saab 900]

Seat lift handle failures on the Saab 900 79-94 are quite common. The handle usually breaks inside causing it to come off the seat lift metal arm. Replacement of all three pieces is the cure.

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Seat moving up or down

[Saab 900]

There is a handle on the front lower section of the front seat. You can release the handle which allows the seat to be moved up or down. In some cases you may have to get out of the seat to release this handle. If you look closely at the back mounts of the rear seat you will see two sets of grooves which the seat can be positioned in to raise or lower the seat. When you release the seat handle you will see that the seat beomes very loose and this will allow you to push down on the rear of the seat so you can place the seat in the lowest position height wise.

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Seat Removal Front

[Saab 900]

Removal of the front DRIVERS seat can be accomplish by removing the 2 front Allen bolts that secure the seat to the frame of the car. Remove the two allens and tilt the seat toward the rear of car and lift out the seat (be sure to unclip any wiring that may exist under the seats for the seat heater or electric seat.). The passenger seat also has two allens in the front of the seat that secures the seat to the frame but the rear of the passenger seat is secured by two 13mm nuts. The passenger seat can be lifted straight out as well. (be sure to unclip any wiring that may exist under the seats for the seat heater or electric seat.)

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Seat thread failures

[Saab 900]

When the seats tear at the seams nothing can be done other than removing the seat covers and having them resown or replacing them used. Finding used seats or seat covers that are not worn out can be tough. We have access to them new but the cost of new seat covers is high to say the least. They usually range from 500.00 to 800.00 just for the top or bottom.

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Seat Track will not go back

[Saab 900]

The most common thing to cause the lower seat to stop on the way back is coins in the seat track. When this happens it can cause good bit of trouble depending on the position of the seat which many cause one to have to remove the seat track to get the coin out. We have also seen power seat control modules cause the stop and go of power seats. Check the connections to the motor to see this is your issue.

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Skid protectors missing behind spoiler

[Saab 900]

All Saabs have protective shields that must be removed in-order to drain the coolant. Those shields provide protection against road grit getting into the engine compartment as well as keeping road debris from damaging transmission lines or radiator hoses which could result in damage to your engine or transmission. ALWAY PUT THESE BACK ON. Many people leave them off because once they are damaged they can be difficult to re-install.

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Spoiler Rods break during top R&R

[Saab 900]

There are wire/rods that hold the spoilers down through the extra thick areas of the side spoilers. Often when the spoilers are removed the wire/rods end up breaking. Most of the pieces for the side spoilers are no longer available including the spoilers themselves. The only cure is to have those pieces braised back together from a local muffler shop.

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Sunroof Failures & how to repair

[Saab 900]

Electric sunroof failures occur on a consistent basis. A Great percentage of the time sunroof failures can be attributed to 2 8mm screws backing out of the sunroof motor. This failure can be identified by noting that the sunroof motor sounds like it is working but the sunroof will not move forward or backwards. The motor is located under rear deck board to the right of where the spare tire is located (look down and toward the rear bumper). If caught early enough, reassembling the motor with new and larger screws will cure the problem. If not, replacement of the motor will be necessary! Sunroof switches also fail and when they do the motor will not run at all.

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Sunroof Leak & how to repair

[Saab 900]

In Most cases the sunroofs leak because the small side ramps come off and slide back into the sunroof rail. The ramps actually ramp up the sunroof to allow the sunroof to mesh with the upper roof of the car. Without the ramps (or one of the ramps) the sunroof panel will rest about 1/2 inch or so below the top of the car allowing water, wind etc.. to get in. Replacement./reinstallation of the small nylon ramp is the repair. The part number for 86-94 900 cars is 9293010 & this part can only be purchased from Saab.

The major water leak is typically the sunroof ramps but if a leak exist that you can't find it is usally because the drains are clogged and when it rains very hard the clogged drains cause the water to backup to a point where water would pour out from whatever excessive clearance it can find. Both drains run down the a pillars and can be cleaned out from either the fenders or the false bulkhead depending on the car.

Thanks to Mike King for contributing to this FAQ!

I've had this problem, the immediate fix is, I think, to get a 4-5 foot length of round electrical cable and keep pulling back and forth 'till itfinds it's way and clears a way through. I used some boiling water from a kettle, once the cable was in, to soften the way, and it helped. Job done.

Thanks to ohn Croker Sydney AU for contributing to this FAQ!

The sunroof is designed to leak water inside the car where there is a drain system - one drain nozzle from each corner connected to a hose. The front sunroof drain hoses in a 9000 terminate in the outer section of the 'aquarium' up under the windscreen beam. They have rubber crosscut nipples on the end of them. The nipples hold dirt mud water sludge etc etc they need a milking (literally)once every 2 years and your roof will never leak!

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Sunroof leaks

[Saab 900]

Thanks to JOHN GLAS for contributing to this FAQ!

The classic 900 sunroof rear water drains attach to the pan with rubber grommets. These grommets tend to disintegrate over time and allow water to drain directly on the headliner. Remove headliner and use silcone to seal drain to pan.

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Sunroof Manual closing

[Saab 900]

In the event of a sunroof motor failure you can shut the sunroof manually. There is an Allen key in the overhead console where the sunroof motor is located which can be inserted into the sunroof motor and turned manually to close the roof itself. On 1979-1994 Classic Saab the sunroof can be closed from the trunk.

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Sunroof Seals and Leaks

[Saab 900]

Sunroof seals tend to shrink with time causing water drips and air leaks at the sunroof. In most cases you can adjust the sunroof to take care of leaks and rattles but in some cases you must buy the seal and replace it. When referring to water leaks one thing that you need to check is the sunroof drains. If the drains are clogged then the sunroof may leak because the water will drain using the path of least resistance.

NOTE: On most newer model Saabs the sunroof seals are built into the sunroof glass meaning you have to purchase the glass in-order to get the seal itself. On cars prior to approximately 1995 the seals could be purchased seperately for replacement. Please check the weatherstripping sections to see if this applies to your Saab.

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Sun Visor Removal

[Saab 900]

Remove the sun visor by removing the two screws and pulling the visor down and toward you. On some cars you may have to remove it by pressing the locking tab with a screwdriver and pulling the mount toward you.

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Trunk leak

[Saab 900]

A mis-aligned trunk hatch can cause water leaks. In the event you have water in the trunk you can drain it under the tire below the board in the back.

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Water Leak in Passenger Floorboard

[Saab 900]

2 things happen here. One is an issue with the fresh air intake getting full of leaves and debris causing the water to backup in the box. This can generally be corrected by cleaning out the debris in the drain tube that exits in the right front fender well. If you do not see blockage then you may need to add another drain for the AC just below the fresh air intake. Saab had a kit for this on the earlier cars with instructions as well.

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Water leaks in floor

[Saab 900]

Water leaking into all 4 floor boards can usually be attributed to the AC drain coming off on the right hand side of the firewall but can also be caused by the following issues. They are listed in order of importance to check:

1 - AC Drain tube has come off in the firewall on the right side (refit to repair)
2 - Sunroof drains are clogged causing water to seep in around the seal (unclog by blowing air through)
3 - Sunroof seal has deteriorated causing it to leak (replace the seal)
4 - Body weatherstrip mouldings have come off causing water to come in
5 - Antenna drain is clogged causing water to get into the trunk. Refit or unclog the antenna drain (usually in the trunk area)

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Whale tail Still Available?

[Saab 900]

On the 1979-1994 Saab 900 there was a larger than normal extended whale tail that was offered by Saab as an accessory for years. They were discontinued in the mid 1990's but they were still offered by several companies into the late 90's. From what we can see the are now obsolete although you may see one show up on ebay from time to time. The original spoiler is has also been discontinued from Saab as well.

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ABS Brake Definition

[Saab 900]

The term ABS means Anti-Lock Breaking System. The ABS System automatically controls braking at the front wheels individually and the rear wheels as a unit (in most cases) preventing the wheels from locking during a hard braking situation. This enables the driver to maintain STEERING control and also shortens the distance to a complete stop. In cars without ABS, the brake master cylinder actually applied steady pressure to each wheel when the brakes were applied causing the wheels to look under heavy breaking. This led to wheel lockup, loss of steering control & lengthy stopping distances. ABS systems use a hydraulic pump that applies modulating pump pressure during heavy braking. The ABS system in effect pumps the brakes for the driver a consistent frequency. This pulsing is considerably faster than even the most experienced driver could accomplish if he were to attempt to this manually!

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Brake Booster Diagnosis

[Saab 900]

Brake Booster failures can often be identified by noting that you hear a slight air leakage inside the vehicle that seems to change tone when applying the brakes. When the brake booster fails you will often note that the brake pedal feels hard and more force is Needed to stop the vehicle. Brake booster replacement is the repair!

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Brake Dust & how to prevent

[Saab 900]

Black dust on the rims usually comes from the type of material that the brake pads are made of. Most factory pads are made of a very soft material to prevent brake squeal. The real problem with that is softer means more dust. Harder usually means more noise. The absolute best thing we have seen to prevent dust is ceramic pads. Keep in mind that there is NO such thing as a pad that does not create dust. They all do. Some less than others. Ceramic pads seem to be the best overall combination to prevent noise and dust.

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Brake Fluid Disappears

[Saab 900]

When you have an issue with brake fluid disappearing but you cannot seem to find a leak then take a close look at the back of the brake master cylinder to be sure that the master is no leaking into the hose that leads to the intake manifold. When this happens likely need to replace the brake master cylinder with a new one. This can be difficult to diagnose because the brake fluid will seem to disappear because the engine will burn it upon initial startup. This basically applies to cars prior to 1989 or prior to ABS brakes coming onto the schene.

Pricing for BRAKE BOOSTER (brake components for Abs)
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Brake Hose Problems

[Saab 900]

Almost all cars have steel brake lines until they reach the moving portions of the wheels. Once the metal line reaches the wheel something has to flex which is generally rubber type line that connects to the caliper. What generally occurs is that the inside diameter of the Rubber brake line swells after many years of being subjected to different brake fluids etc... You then press the brake pedal and the fluid is forced from the master to the wheels but because the line is swollen internally the fluid can only move one direction causing the brakes to stick. Replacing the rubber flexible lines will generally cure these type brake problems.

Pricing for BRAKE HOSE (brakes & related)

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Brake Lights Stay On Once I Exit My Car?

[Saab 900]

In Most cases brake lights switch failure is the cause of brake lights staying on once you exit the car. What usually occurs is that one of the tabs gets broken off of the switch itself. In some cases the bracket that houses the switch gets bent which prevents the pin in the switch from touching the pedal arm. Replacement of the switch is the repair.

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Brake Pads don't clean rotor

[Saab 900]

There is a couple of things that could cause your brake caliper not to clean the brake rotor correctly. The caliper piston is stuck meaning the caliper must be replaced. The 2nd thing it could be is that the hydraulic line leading to the caliper has gotten swollen inside meaning that the fluid can longer enter or exit the caliper correctly. Replacement of the line is the only cure.

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Brake Pedal is hard

[Saab 900]

In Most cases the problem with a hard brake pedal can be attributed to a faulty Brake Booster or Faulty ABS pump. When the Booster fails there will be a small hissing noise in the dash where the pump and the pedal are attached.

When the ABS pump fails the pedal gets hard because the pump is no longer assisting during the braking process. In most cases the pumps are included in the ABS hydraulic units and cannot be replaced separately. The cost of the New complete units range between 1500.00 to 2500.00 and used units are usually around 350.00 depending on the model.

A Saab Story Contribution 1999 Saab 95 had a hard brake pedal. Check Vacuum lines for restrictions first! Hard pedal, no hissing with the brakes working at first then getting hard. First thought was a booster but it turned out to be an issue with a piece of debris in the line causing the flow of air to stop under suction. Removed the broken piece in the hose and brakes are now fine. Moral of the story is to check the line for broken pieces that can obstruct the airflow to the booster.

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Brake Rotors and Turning them

[Saab 900]

Saab does not recommend turning rotors because the majority of time after turning them they are below Saabs recommended minimum thickness. The recommended minimum thickness is generally stamped on the rotors! This is not to say that Saab rotor cannot be turned. They can be turned one time but will generally warp within one year because of how thin they become!

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Brake scrubbing noise

[Saab 900]

One of two reasons. Reason 1 - The pads that were used are an inferior grade pad. Usually, an inferior grade pad will make its presence known by noting a very high pitch squeal when applying the brakes. Reason 2 - The brake pads that were used are hard use pads which contain a type of material which will cause this noise to occur. It does not mean that there is a serious problem. It simply means that it is the type of materials contained within the brake pad. Only cure - replace the pads! Hard use pads will generally not cause damage to the rotors but the noise can be somewhat consistent!

NOTE: We have also noticed that brake scrubbing sound could come from a worn wheel bearings. Although the sound is different it does sound close enough that one could confuse the two.

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Brakes pull To The Left Or Right When Applying The Brakes

[Saab 900]

Pulling left or right can be caused by numerous issues which include: Sticking brake calipers, faulty brakes hoses (that are swollen from within) and faulty brake master cylinders. In most cases it is caused by a sticking brake caliper. Depending on the application some calipers can be rebuilt and in other cases the faulty caliper must be replaced. If your vehicle is equipped with ABS brakes you may find that the valve body in the ABS system is malfunctioning or a proportioning valve is bad.

Warning!ABS brakes are HIGH PRESSURE & should only be worked on by Authorized mechanics!

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Brakes smoke after Handbrake use

[Saab 900]

On 1987 and earlier model 900 cars Glowing or smoking front brakes will be caused failing front calipers. This usually occurs after putting down the handbrake handle after the car has been sitting overnight. What happens is that the handbrake lever is lowered (loosening cable tension) but the caliper arm which controls the handbrake will not disengage. This causes the brakes to remain on. The symptoms are glowing or smoking calipers because the pads are actually not released off the rotors. In those cases one can simply manually pull back the handbrake lever are to get the calipers to release the pads but the only repair is to rebuild the calipers with seal kits or to replace the front calipers entirely.

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Handbrake Adjustment Cars w/Rear Handbrake

[Saab 900]

You adjust the handbrakes by removing the 14 mm bolt in the rear caliper and adjusting the Allen inside to a point where the rear wheel will freely spin one turn and stop automatically. The 14mm bolt is located on the inside rear of the caliper itself.

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Handbrakes Sticking Or Leaking

[Saab 900]

When the Handbrake calipers on the rear fail the rear brakes begin to drag because the caliper piston is no longer moving in and out of the caliper housing smoothly. This causes the brakes to drag on the rotors and to not release. It is also quite common to see the calipers leak because the seals get worn out allowing the brake fluid to leak around the caliper pistons. Replacement of the calipers is the only repair.

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Clutch Bleeding Instructions

[Saab 900]

The easiest way to bleed the clutch is to use a pressure bleeder. You apply pressure to the reservoir with air and loosen the nut on the line to the master first. Second, make sure solid fluid with no air comes out of the line. Third, tighten the line back down at the master cylinder while the fluid is still coming out. Follow the same procedure to bleed the slave as well.

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Clutch Information and how it works

[Saab 900]

The Saab clutch is hydraulically operated and self-adjusting. The unit compresses a helper spring, master cylinder, connection pipe and slave cylinder. The master cylinder is fitted in the bulkhead and connected to the clutch pedal by a piston rod. The slave cylinder is an integrated unit fitted in the clutch body that compresses the cylinder housing, divided piston and release bearing. The slave cylinder cannot be taken apart (93 only). The pressure from the master cylinder passes to the seal, which then presses the piston and release bearing against the pressure plate. A spring fitted between the cylinder housing and the release bearing ensures that the release bearing is always in contact with the pressure plate, reducing the play in the clutch pedal. To prevent dirt from entering parts of the piston and seals, there is a rubber below fitted between the cylinder and the release bearing. A hydraulic line with snap-on couplings at both ends connects the master cylinder and slave cylinder damping pipe (to prevent pedal vibration).

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Clutch Line Replacement and tips

[Saab 900]

There are several tips that would be helpful when replacing the 5 speed clutch line. They are below:

1 - Remove the brake master cylinder on NON ABS cars.
2 - Loosen the clutch Master cylinder as this will allow the fitting (at the clutch master end) to line up more easily. This seems like a waste of time but it will actually save you time and reduce the risk of cross threading the new line.
3 - You DO NOT NEED the factory Saab tool in-order to remove and re-install the clutch line at the slave cylinder. You can use a 13 mm wrench and turn it sideways. You then use a screwdriver in the round end of the wrench to loosen and tighten the nut up on the slave end of the line.

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Clutch master or slave or line issues explained

[Saab 900]

If you bleed the clutch master it and connect get fluid at the tip of the master you cannot get fluid then a seal in the master is broken. If you get fluid out of the master tip but not at the slave then the line is clogged either in the metal line is clogged/crimped or the rubber parts of the line are swollen up. If you get fluid to the slave and it works temporarily then likely have a slave sucking air occasionally and must be replaced.

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Clutch Master Rebuilding

[Saab 900]

Rebuilding the clutch master cylinder is a fairly easy job allthough you many have to torque your body a bit to be able to access the master because the base of it is located under the dash. To rebuild it you can approach it two ways. One is the remove the master circlip from the back of the master under the dash AFTER suctioning the fluid out with a turkey baster, put a big towel down as well. You then remove the internal parts of the master and rebuild it with our kit.

The second method is remove the two bolts from the master, remove the line by removing the 14mm line head and remove the master. You can then rebuilt or replace the master as needed.

NOTE: When attempting to bleed the master you are better off using some type of compressed air bleeding device when trying to bleed the master because many times an air bubble will get trapped at the line causing it to not bleed correctly. If you do not have a compressed air bleeder you can put an air hose in a rag and slowly blow air into the reservoir which will force the air bubble out.

Warning!Becareful when working with the brake fluid as it will ruin paint and carpet!

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Clutch Noise

[Saab 900]

Noise coming from the clutch area can most often be attributed to a faulty throwout bearing. When the bearing wears it is common for it to make noise especially during start conditions. Once the bearing itself warms up the noise will typically go away. In most cases this noise could last for years but should be addressed at some point by replacing the throwout bearing.

NOTE: One other area of squealing during cold start is a faulty starter drive. The bendix in the starter is the part of the starter that triggers into the flywheel itself during starter to flywheel engagement.

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Clutch Pedal Engages Close To The Floor

[Saab 900]

There are several factors that can contribute to your clutch pedal engaging close to the floor. The most like cause is worn out seals in the Clutch Master cylinder. Clutch Masters can be rebuilt but a more reliable method is replacement. Mechanics often replace the Master cylinder with out taking a look at the pedal. What generally happens is that the pin that attaches the Master cylinder fork to the clutch pedal will cause elongated holes in both components. This will cause the pedal to become active much closer to the floor. In-order to restore the clutch to original condition both components should be replaced.


NOTE: If you do not have a pressure bleeder you can open up the slave nipple and gravity bleed the air out for 30 minutes or so. Just before tightening the nipple back down have someone push the pedal to the floor and then tighten the nipple down once the pedal is depressed.

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Clutch Pedal Function causes Poor Shifting

[Saab 900]

In most cases poor shifting or poor clutch function on cold mornings can be attributed a failing clutch master cylinder. Air is usually pulled in from the backside of the failing clutch master which causes the throw of the clutch slave to be to small. This condition causes shifting issues or poor clutch operation. Replacement of the Clutch master is the correct repair!

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Clutch Replacement Instructions

[Saab 900]

In-Order to remove the clutch in a 900 or 99 car, the pressure plate spline must be compressed fully to achieve the correct clearance that will allow for pressure plate, slave & disc removal. The Factory Saab tool is a circular metal spring that is about 1/4 inch in height & is designed is to be installed in the edge of where the spline on the pressure plate and the pressure plate housing meet (when the pressure plate is compressed) With the slave working you can have someone press the clutch in and while the clutch is in you can install the circular metal spring around the rim of the pressure plate. For removal and replacement with a new clutch kit including slave this works fine but we really recommend using the Saab tool during the install so you don't overextend the new slave and have to replace it again. Once you over extend the slave you can score the end and it will have to be replaced again. Some people get by with this but slaves are not designed to be extended far enough to pull OUT the ring. They extend just to the outer edges of its capability which teters on the edge of blowout if attempting to remove the ring during the install.

Click here for a photo example and complete clutch removal instructions!

Once the person lets their foot off the clutch, the spline of the pressure plate will stay in when the tool has been installed. There are numerous schools of thought regarding alternative things to use when the tool is not available. A thick 5 gallon bucket handle, Sparkplug wire, a hood latch cable, 4 AWG electrical wire, basically anything with a 1/4 inch diameter that can be made into a circle can be used but you want to be careful that you use something that will compress the spline enough to get full clearance. If not, the clutch assembly will not come out as smoothly. When the hydraulic slave fails, you simply have no way of compressing the spline. There are numerous ways to compress the spline of a clutch pressure plate when the slave fails but none are easy. There is a long handled tool that Saab specifically designed to pry on the back of the throw out bearing to accommodate such an occurrence (but the average consumer does not have this). One way that I thought was very creative was: manually pushing each spline in with a screwdriver and installing pennies between that spline and the pressure plate housing until you work your way around the entire pressure plate. Another way is to remove 5 (and loosen the others but not all the way) of the pressure plate bolts and pry the right side of the pressure plate back against the slave and install the wire on the compressed side. Then, reinstall the compressed side 5 bolts and remove the opposite bolts and the repeat the procedure above until the spring is completely installed.

Another contributor says to try this: I have another method for depressing pressure plate fingers in order to install the spacer if the slave cylinder is not functional. I used a small threaded adapter (from the plumbing section of the hardware store) to match my grease gun to the hydraulic line inlet on the slave. I then pumped it full of grease and it held long enough to slide the spacer in. Often a failed slave isn't completely failed, such that the thick grease will not seep past the seal, at least not quickly. Obviously it ruins the slave, but you wouldn't need to do this if the slave wasn't already lost. This is much quicker than the penny trick, and I could never get all the way around the clutch to use the bolt swapping trick.

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Clutch Slave leaks clear fluid

[Saab 900]

A clear or slightly brown fluid toward the middle/front area of my Saab generally indicates that there is a problem with the clutch slave cylinder. Clutch slave cylinder leakage can be seen coming from the bottom of the transmission just above where the engine & transmission comes together. There is a small opening where the flywheel teeth can be seen. Leakage can be seen from this area.

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Pricing for CLUTCH SLAVE REBUILD KIT (clutch & related)

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Cruise Control Diagnosis (2)

[Saab 900]

Cruise control problems can be created by a number of components. The most common cruise control component to fail on the Classic 900 cars would be the cruise switches. What generally occurs is that the cruise switch (or switches if Manual transmission) will become maladjusted or will often need to be replaced. Another very common problem is that the hose leading from the cruise switches will become cracked and will cause vacuum leaks. One can test the entire hose vacuum system by applying suction to one of the cruise hoses at the cruise switch.

Warning!DANGER! MAKE SURE THE VEHICLE IS OFF! IF NOT, THE IDLE WILL INCREASE DRAMATICALLY!

If the throttle plate opens and will stay open then the hoses and switches are OK.If the switch (or switches) check ok then the most likely cause is the Speed sensor (located in the back of the instrument cluster) or the Cruise control module (located under the dash just to the left of the brake or clutch pedal.

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Cruise Control Failures

[Saab 900]

There are several common cruise control failures on Saabs. The pedal switch failures are the most common problem. What generally occurs is that the pedal switches become mis-adjusted or the ears get broken off the switches causing a no contact condition. Another common problem is that the cruise vacuum hose leading from the vacuum pump under the false bulkhead begins to crack where the vacuum fitting is located at the firewall.. The third most common failure is an intermittent functioning cruise control module. This can often be identified by noting that the cruise will work intermittently (900 & 9000 only).

Another Issue: On turbo models, there is a vacuum controlled switch, located near the pump (red cap) that cuts the signal to the APC solenoid valve when the cruise control is on (switch opens). If the switch is faulty (I broke mine on rough road), it can keep turbo boost at the "basic" level even if the cruise is turned off. The APC boost gauge will only go half-way into the yellow region, and performance will suffer. Either replace the vacuum controlled switch or pull the pigtail connector below the switch and short the ends of the yellow/white wire going to the APC solenoid valve and
proper turbo boost should return. Be aware that if this second fix is employed, your turbo is not limited in boost when in cruise control.

A Faulty wheel speed sensor (WSS) will also disable the cruise control due to it's ability to monitor vehicle speed. In addition, faulty WSS will also disable ABS function, traction control (TCS) and the speedo; all relying on the signal from the WSS

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Airbag Light Reset

[Saab 900]

Air bag lights (SRS) are often triggered by the horn contact ring in the steering wheel or because of faulty sensors. The only way to turn out a Air Bag Light is to take the car into your local Saab dealer and have them turn out the light and diagnose the problem. After struggling with the airbag light for a long time I found out, that by isolating the control unit (below hand brake lever) from the car body (negative) my system functions without errors.

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Alarm Remote Battery Change

[Saab 900]

The Alarm remote communicates with a control module located under the drivers front seat. The range is typically around 25 feet depending on the type of transmitter that you have. The left button is used to arm or disarm the car. The right button is used to lock or unlock the trunk.

The battery life is about 3 years under normal use. Use the distance at which the remote functions to determine the battery strength. On the newer cars the SID unit will read "REPLACE KEY BATTERY" when the battery warning is activated by the remote. To replace the batteries simply push off the back housing by pressing downwards. On the newer remotes you may have to insert a small pin on the side of the remote housing to release the cover or remove screws on the back side of the remote. Remove the batteries and replace them. Most newer remotes are powered by a 3V lithium battey. You can buy them at radio shack. After the batteries have been changed you must press the remote 5 times in a row to re-activate the remote.

NOTE: If the remote is being replaced by a new one you will have to marry it to alarm unit by going to your local dealer and having them program it to the alarm module allready in the car.

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Alternator Not Charging Because of Grounding Issue

[Saab 900]

The black wire at the bottom of the alternator should be about 8-10 gauge. Make sure it is connected to the body of the alternator. In some cases people put a larger wire to the body of the alternator and to the block basically anywhere but most of the time the ground is put to the bracket for the compressor. You can check to see if the alternator is grounded correctly by using a volt ohm meter. Set the meter to ohms and check to the body of the engine and the body of the alternator. The ohms should be very close zero.

NOTE: Keep in mind that if the ground is grounded correctly that the issues also exist with the Voltage regulator brushing getting worn down to a point where the regulator no longer charges. If this is the case you must replace the voltage regulator to cure the problem.

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Alternator Shakes and is loose

[Saab 900]

Alternators shake on the classic 900 because the rubber bushings (2 Needed) tend to erode or harden after years of vibration. Replacement of the bushings can be accomplished by removing the oil filter housing and removing the long bolt that secures the alternator to the housing. You then replace the 2 bushing and re-install the alternator.

NOTE: When replacing the Alternator bushings on the classic 900 make sure that you re-install the alternator ground wire to the engine block. If not, you may have charging problems!

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Alternator Wires and where they go

[Saab 900]

Green/white wire - Exciter wire has a plug on it which matches only one connector on the alternator
small black wires go to the right side ground postof the alternator
Thick ground wire goes from alternator to the AC compressor bracket. This is the wire that typically causes the most problems in the charging system. If it is not connected well enough then the reistance between the alternator and the engine block with be greater than 0 Ohms.

NOTE: When the green/white exciter wire is not connected the Alternator will NOT Charge. It must be connected for the system to charge.

NOTE: If the charge indicator in the instrument cluster glows dimly then the issue is diodes in the alternator. Replace the alternator to cure the problem.

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Audio Amp Hook up On Cars W/Manual Seats

[Saab 900]

I've also found an interesting way to get power for amps, Ham Radios, etc. If you have manual seats on the 900, the wiring for the power seats is there. Just add a fuse up to 30A and use regular female spade leads to connect to the lugs under each seat. You may have to fish around under the seat near the heated seat connector block to get it up from under the carpet. There is a separate fuse for each seat side. The power is keyed to be 'on' only when the ignition is in the 'on' position. (Matt Hoffman contributed this info. Thanks Matt)

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Battery Cable Issues (positive)

[Saab 900]

Positive Battery cable failures can often be identified by noting that the cable itself (inside the red covering) is greenish in color. This is an indication of corrosion inside the cable. The symptoms of failure is usually low voltage to the starter or a no start condition. Replacement of the cable is the repair.

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Battery Drain - Alarm Malfunction

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Robert Van Durme for contributing to this FAQ!

Symptom: Alarm malfunctioning, battery drain, and/or Interior Light remain ON in timer mode (Position 1): Car: 1993 900S Ruby Red Convertible. Alarm goes off ~ 45 seconds after closing all doors and activating the alarm and/or excessive battery drain. Interior lights remain ON when interior light switch is placed into timer mode (Position 1)
with all doors closed.

Solution: Check to make sure all sensors/switches that would activate the alarm (doors, hood, trunk, and glass breakage) are operating properly. If you are experiencing all of the issues above, remove the back seat and remove the interior light relay (yellow). If this is defective, it will cause the above problems to occur and will be warm. Replace the relay with a genuine Saab replacement part or OEM replacement from Stribel. To save money, I ordered the OEM replacement and switched the yellow covers so the relay appears to be a genuine Saab part (only difference between the genuine Saab part and the OEM placement is the stamping on the yellow cover)

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Bulbs cause Major electrical Issues

[Saab 900]

Here is a list of problems occured to my Saab 900 SE Talladega Sensonic of 1997, caused by a dirty light bulb:

- Check engine light on (air/fuel mixture)
- SID with all the possible messages of the rear taillights
- Can't run over 2800 tr/min, the engine goes down
- Can't press down the gas pedal, the engine goes down
- Cant use reverse gear, the engine goes down -can't use the brakes, the engine goes down
- Direction lights always on, if I use it the engine goes down
- Headlamps always on, if i shut off the switch, the lights don't shut down, but the engine... Yes: It goes down!  

After one day of terror, I decided to replace all the bulbs: The bulb of the rear foglight was wrong! I cleaned it, I refitted it, and all the car returns to normal! It happened in March and the car still run perfectly.

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Burning Smell From Engine On Initial Startup!

[Saab 900]

Here is what a faithful customer had happen to him: Tonight while driving home I had a very small engine fire. When I got in the car to leave for home I noticed that the Brake & Parking Lights were not full bright but everything was still operating OK so I headed for home. I made it just about all of the way when I started hearing a slight whining engine noise & smelled something burning. Then the lights started to go out & then the engine died.

Solution: The most likely problem here is an issue with the ignition switch sticking causing the starter to stay engaged. What generally occurs is that that the ignition switches get gummed up with drinks, etc... When you turn the ignition switch it sticks in the start position causing the starter to stay engaged in the flywheel/flex plate while driving down the road. This usually burns out the starter as they are not designed to turn RPMs with the engine. Replacement of the ignition key: lockset & electrical portion and starter is the cure. (you actually only have to replace the starter and the key assembly but know issues exist in the lockset so replacement of the lockset and electrical portion makes more sense)

Here is what Jeremy Crooks contributed as well. I had a sticky ignition switch in an 88 900s. The cylinder was fine, but the grease in the switch gummed up. I disassembled the switch and oiled it up with dielectric grease, it works great. Many times you can spray WD40 in the lock cylinder to free it up.

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Pricing for STARTERS (starters)

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Cabin Fan Noise & Cabin Fan Removal Information

[Saab 900]

A low pitched clicking noise that comes from the cabin fan is an indication of bearing failure within the cabin fan inside the dash. In-order to replace the cabin fan one must remove the switches located in the facia, remove the steering wheel and tilt the right side of the dash toward the passenger seat in-order to access the cabin fan. A photo is below & can be enlarged by clicking on it:

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Central Lock Module Fuse Repair

[Saab 900]

Click here for the Fuse repair information sheet!

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Charging Problems from the Alternator

[Saab 900]

In many cases the voltage regulator brushes wear down in the 900 causing charging issues. The graphite brushes have spring tension on the back of them to keep me them seated to the commutator of the alternator. What generally occurs is that the brushes wear down to a point where spring tension is lost causing the voltage to be incapable of charging correctly. The repair for this is the replacement of the regulator. A easy way to get the regulator screws out is to use a penny and file the edge slightly. This will enable you to remove the screws easier.

NOTE: In some cases the battery light on the dash will glow dim and can only be seen at night time. This is most often caused by a faulty diode in the alternator and alternator replacement is the cure.

NOTE: One other VERY COMMON issue is that the black wire that grounds the alternator to the engine block gets burned through. This wire MUST BE ATTACHED because the alternator sits in rubber bushings. Without this wire the alternator will not charge correctly. You can test to see if this wire to see if it is ok by simply checking the resistance between it and the engine block. The resistance should be 0 or very close which will indicate that the wire is grounding the two together.

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Check Engine Light On 89 900

[Saab 900]

Intermittent Flashing of "Check Engine" Light: Application: 1989 900 and 9005 Only Some 1989 900 and 900S models may experience a sporadic flashing of the " Check Engine light. If no faults are found and there are no drivability problems. The flashing light may be related to the EZK ignition system. Check the date code on the EZK ECU. If the date code is 945 or below, the flashing light may be attributed to a programming sequence in the EZK control unit that has since been modified. Disconnecting wire 655A, as outlined in the procedure below. will have no adverse affect on the EZK system nor will it affect the LH fuel injection system diagnostic functions or the ability to register an LH fault via the " Check Engine'. light. The fault tracing of the EZK ignition with the EZK Tester is also not affected. It will however , cause the Check Engine light to no longer respond to EZK fault codes Locate the six-pole connector on the right side of the engine bay near the fresh air in- take. There are two six-pin connectors in this area. The one in question has a yellow wire in position 1 .Unplug the connector. Open one side of the connector from the back and remove the yellow wire from position 1. Insulate the loose end. Reconnect the plug, but leave the insulated yellow wire out. Road test the car to verify that the" Check Engine" light no longer flashes while driving.

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Dash Light Issues (instrument lights as well)

[Saab 900]

Dash light problems are common on the Saab 900. There are two rheostats. One is located in the right side of the instrument cluster & it controls the two lights in the cluster. There are also know issues with those lights going out because the contacts get loose. You simply remove the speaker grill to access those bulb sockets. Many times you can turn the sockets left or right to get them to come back on. The second rheostat is located to the left of the steering wheel and it controls the lighting to all the instruments including the radio. You can access the bulbs for the instrument housing by removing the radio and pull the wires to the bulbs out through that hole.

NOTE: Another VERY common issue on the 900 cars is a problem with the Instrument cluster lights go out. There are two bulbs located at the top back of the instrument cluster that can be accessed through the speaker opening on the left side of the dash. If you remove that speaker holder you will see the two lights at the top of the instrument cluster. Most of the time you just have to turn those bulbs and they will come on.

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Diagnostic Port Location

[Saab 900]

There are several diagnostic ports on the Saab 900: The 1979-1994 General Diagnostic port location is under hood in fuse box. The 1986-1994 Airbag Port location is behind change holder behind auto-shift handle below the radio.

Thanks to Tom Whitaker for contributing to this FAQ!

In the convertible 900, the port is found in the console near the shift. Applies to earlier years.

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Door Component electrical failures

[Saab 900]

Electrical door component failures. What we mean here is that more than one electrical component on a door fails at the same time. For Example; window won't go up and down, door mirrors won't move, door won't unlock, central lock won't work, etc..... When this happens you will likely find that the connector where all the wiring runs to the door is either broken or just pinched. Some cars have a connector and some cars just have wires that run through a rubber grommet. Checking the wiring and repairing it should cure the problem.

Thanks to KD for contributing to this FAQ!

Sometimes a low battery in the key fob can cause these issues. Replacing the battery is an inexpensive first option to see if that fixes the problem before getting the dealer involved.

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Electrical testing for Battery Drain

[Saab 900]

In-Order to test for electrical drains on the battery you need to place a Test light between the negative battery terminal and the Actual battery cable with the two disconnected and then pull one fuse at a time until the light goes out. What ever fuse or combination of fuses that causes the light to go out will tell you where the drain is coming from. This will tell you where the problem is and you can address whatever component or relay that is causing the issue.

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EXH Dash Light & How Do I Turn It Off?

[Saab 900]

There is a red button located just above and to the left of the clutch/brake pedal. It is located on the bracket that holds the black vent with a screw. All of the above components are located behind the drivers kick panel. Simply push the red button and the EXH light will go out. The EXH light on the classic 900 comes on every 30,000 miles to alert you that a Major Service is necessary.

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Flasher Relay Issues & Location

[Saab 900]

Most of the time when the flasher relay fails the turn signals will just stay on when turning the signals on.

The Flasher Relay is located above the clutch/brake pedal. If you lay down in the drivers floor with your head at about the brake pedal (with a flash light) and look up behind the kick panel. There is a screw in the vent over close to the hood pull. Remove that screw and pull down the vent tube and put it behind the brake pedal to get it out of the way. The metal bracket that you pulled that screw out of is where the 3 pronged flasher relay is located on top of.

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Fog Light Bulb Replacement

[Saab 900]

Replacing the fog light bulbs can be more difficult than people think on a Saab but it is not terribly hard. In most cases the bulb is located in the back/bottom of the fog light itself. The difficult part is removing the skid panel just below the fog-lights. Skid panel screws located in the fog-lights must be removed to access the bulbs. The skid plates and screws are under the car which means they can be tough to get out....

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Funny lights issue

[Saab 900]

I just got the A/C working, for the first time, in my '87 900 turbo. Then, at random, the compressor would cut off, and the windows would stop working. The parking brake light would also illuminate. It was driving me
insane for weeks. Then, by accident, I figured out it was the ignition lock relay causing the problem. Swapped it out, and it hasn't done it since. I just got the A/C working, for the first time, in my '87 900 turbo. Then, at random, the compressor would cut off, and the windows would stop working. The parking brake light would also illuminate. It was driving me insane for weeks. Then, by accident, I figured out it was the ignition lock relay causing the problem. Swapped it out, and it hasn't done it since.

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Gearshift Indicator Light Out?

[Saab 900]

The most common problem with the gearshift indicator light being out is that the power supply wire gets broken where it connects to the bulb socket. The correct way to do this is to add wire by soldering additional inches and covering it with heat shrink tubing.

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Hazard relay location

[Saab 900]

The flasher relay (sometimes referred to as the blinker thinker) is located ona metal bracket above the clutch-brake pedal. When the relay fails you will often find that the turn signals just stay on when activating the stalk switch. Keep in mind that a faulty cruise switch as well as a faulty hazard switch will exhibit the same symptoms.

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Headlight Beam adjustments

[Saab 900]

Almost every vehicle has headlight adjusters on top and bottom of the back of each light assembly. Most dealerships and independent repair shops use headlight aimers to adjust the headlights. It can be done without aimers by adjusting the beam of light to be directly in front of the assembly and about 24 inches off the ground. You can measure this by aiming the lights at a garage wall and making the adjustments. You will find that one of the adjusters will adjust the light beam vertical and the other adjuster will adjust the light beam horizontally. Some headlights have levels located in the lights assemblies. These levels should be adjusted at 0 unless otherwise specified by the owners manual.

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Hood light issues

[Saab 900]

When you open the hood of a Saab a light will come on. There are two ways the lights are turned on. One is manually turning on the light by moving the switch to the on position (much like the trunk lights). On later models, hood lights are activated by a mercury switch that is built into the light assembly itself. If your hood light will not come on you likely need to replace the light or the bulb.

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Ignition Key Hard to Turn

[Saab 900]

Ignition switches generally begin to bind up because of drinks that are spilled down into the ignition lock assembly. What happens is that the fluid that is spilled begins to act like a bonding agent in the lock cylinder and causes the cylinder (lock & keys) to fail. Sometimes pouring about 3 or 4 ounces of very hot water will free up the lock for a short period. Occasionally, the spring that allows the reverse lockout mechanism to work fails which also causes you not to be able to turn the key or get the key out of the ignition. It is highly recommended to replace the lock assembly w/keys, the gear set and the electrical portion of the ignition switch when these problems occur. The job of replacing the complete assembly can be time consuming and replacing all of the components within the shift box will assure a correct fix! However, There are occasions that replacing just the lock assembly w/keys will cure the problem without having to remove the complete shift box. You can access the key lock assembly plug by removing the drivers seat.

NOTE: Replacement of the Lock assembly w/keys will cause you to have different keys for the door locks unless you have a lock smith re key the locks!

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Ignition Switch Electrical Portion Issue

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Malcolm Sharp for contributing to this FAQ!

I had problem with electrical portion of Ignition Switch, no dash lights etc, starter would work but not start, removed ignition switch, stripped down and cleaned contacts with points file and electronics spray, reassembled using small self tappers to replace "riveted" section and presto a perfectly operating Ignition Switch. Took around 45 minutes. This may only be a temporary fix but it may get you home! Replacement of electrical portion of the ignition switch is the best fix!

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Interior Lights Not Working

[Saab 900]

The first thing to remember when attempting to diagnose a failing interior light system is to be sure you are familiar with the way it is supposed to function. Position number one on the light switch means that the interior lights will only come on with a door open. Position 2 means that the light will come on anytime the light switch is pushed to the # 2 position. The middle position of the switch means that the lights will not come on at all, even with the door opened. The most common failure in the interior light circuit is the switch itself. You can sometimes toggle the switch back and forth to make the interior lights to begin to work. Another common failure is the door light switch contact. A small contact in the door tells the interior light relay that the door is opened or closed (in position one only) by providing a ground to the relay. The screw that holds the switch in often gets loose. When this occurs the light relay will not function correctly.

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Interior lights work intermitently

[Saab 900]

Interior lights that work intermittently can often be attributed to a faulty ground at the door pin switch. At the front of the door frame there will be a small push in pin with a rubber housing around it. Peel back the rubber housing and tighten the screw to the frame. Check to be sure the screw to the door frame is tight. If it is then replace the switch.

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Interior Switches Work When Manually holding

[Saab 900]

When trying to use the defrost/AC/Fog light or hazard light switch in my 900 I have to manually hold the switch in in-order for the switch to work correctly. The reason for this is that the switch is faulty. A small tab on the bottom of the switches will wear to a point where it cannot keep the switch from returning to the non-working rest position. Replacement is the repair.

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Onstar Going Digital

[Saab 900]

It appears that Onstar is going to a Digital system (instead of analog) on Jan 1st 2008. Here is why, FCC rules require that cell towers support both digital and analog signals until the end of 2007. But starting in 2008, the cell towers will no longer have to support analog so OnStar is hanging up on the 500,000 of its 4 million OnStar customers who have older analog units. Consumers with a 2003-2005 vehicles will need to update their OnStar system using an adapter that will cost approximately $200. (At this point we are not aware of an adapter for Saab but once there is one we will carry it and list it here.) Unfortunately there is no adapter available for cars prior to 2001 which means that you cannot use onstar any longer.

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Radio Codes & Resetting them

[Saab 900]

Upon disconnecting the battery the radio will flash code until you enter the code. If you enter the code incorrectly you must either hold the band button down until the word code reappears or leave the key on for one hour until the word code reappears. This procedure depends on the year of the car. If you do not have the radio code and would like to get it you must call your local Saab dealer with the serial number off the top of the radio. Many times radio owners will write the radio code on top of the radio once you have the correct code. Typically the radio code is in the owners pouch and is a small card with the numbers on it.

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Radio Lights Out

[Saab 900]

Lights are out on the radio: You can often find the leds that go out on Saab radios at Radio Shack but the success rate of the repairs are minimal on this do it yourself job because the radio must be disassembled to do the job.

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Radio Low Volume

[Saab 900]

Low volume from the radio is typically an issue with amplifier being faulty or a cracked board on the amp. Replacement of the amp is the only repair. New ones are no longer available but some can be sent to the amp manufacturer for repair depending on the part number.

Thanks to Jeremy Crooks for contributing to this FAQ!

NOTE: With Clarion stereo, the amp plug in the back has what looks like a cap. This is actually a jumper which bypasses the amp out/ in and just utilizes the onboard amp of the sterio. Plugging in the cap on to the external amp plug may restore the sound level.

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Radio reception poor

[Saab 900]

Poor radio reception can usually be attributed to a poor antenna connection at the radio itself or at the antenna in the rear. The cable typically plugs into both components and if it comes loose the reception would be poor if at all. Remember, if you remove the radio you will need the radio code to get the it working on again which requires a code from the dealer. FYI, many techs use to write the radio code on top of the radio to prevent them having to find the code for the installation.

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Relay pin corrosion

[Saab 900]

If you are experiencing odd electrical issues in a single circuit such as lights, ignition, switches etc.... be sure to pull each relay and look for faulty connections where the relay plugs into its holder. It is common to see corrosion where the connectors and the relays meet. This is usually caused by poor ground connections to a the relay. This can be fixed by cleaning or replacing the connectors and securing the grounds correctly.

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Switch Replacement

[Saab 900]

Removing square switches such as the AC switch, Hazard switch, etc... can be tough at times. The correct way to remove any of the switches is to remove the Radio, ACC panel or SID unit and push the switch out from the back but in the real world its not that easy to remove switches that way. Another workable solutions is to remove the switches from the front. Try taking a towel and putting it under each side of the switch and prying the switches out from the front. It will likely be easier to remove a switch by prying on both sides. Be careful not to scratch your dash!

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Tail lights Go Hay wire

[Saab 900]

4 door 900 taillights that go haywire can generally be traced to a faulty ground wire at the left rear taillight. The problem can easily be identified by looking at the wiring connector at the left rear taillight. There will be signs of excessive heat where the Black wire connector and the bulb housing meet! There are two possible remedies. One is to replace the bulb housing and the other is to drill a hole in the bulb housing socket and solder a ground wire directly to the brass ground circuit of the bulb holder and then remove the ground connector from the connector housing and solder the grounds to the wires that you soldered to the bulb Housing. If you are NOT MECHANICALLY include then have a professional do it.

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Turn Signal Issues

[Saab 900]

Turn signal issues are fairly common on most vehicles. The problem can come from something as simple as the bulbs being burned out (usually noticed by the turn signal flashing fast) or by the turn signal just not feeling right inside the car. If the turn signal switch does not feel normal then it is likely broken and must be replaced. Another issue that does occur is the failure of the flasher relay or blinker thinker. In most cases the relay failure will cause the turn signal to come on solid without blinking.

Rh indicator intermittent would come on some times using hazard light on off checked all bulbs etc wound up being flasher relay. Just and FYI>

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Turn Signal Stalk Switch Not Working

[Saab 900]

If the turn signal stalk does not cancel properly check the front wheel alignment, and see if the screws holding the switch to its carrier are slightly loose. The stalk cancels based on the wheel coming back to center, so if the wheel is not centered when the car is driving straight the signal doesn't 'know' to cancel - but only in the direction the wheel is toward. Tightening the screws that hold it to its carrier to remove slight amounts of play will make it feel a lot more positive, the same is true for the washer control stalk. If you find that the stalk switch is not cancelling correctly and it is tight to its bracket then you likely have a problem with the switch itself and it must be replaced. (Matt Hoffman contributed this info. Thanks Matt)

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Turn Signal Switch Replacement

[Saab 900]

Turn signal switch issues are fairly common on all cars. They typically exhibit issues with lights not functioning correctly or turn signals inoperative. Replacement of the switches can be accomplished by removing the bottom cover and then removing the side switch screws. A tip here is that almost all turn signal swithes have wires in the back that are held with tie wraps to the steering column. You may have to remove those before being able to pull the wires far enough out to replace the turn signal switch.

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Voltage Regulator Location

[Saab 900]

The Voltage Regulator is located in the back of the alternator and can be removed by taking out two screws in the back of it. The normal issue with the voltage regulator is that the brushes wear down to a point where the regulator will no longer function properly

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Washer Pump Failures

[Saab 900]

Washer pump failures are typically caused by debri that gets into the washer tank and gets pulled into the pump when turning on the washer squirters. We have seen tons of issues with both the washer pumps failing and the valves that protect the pump as well. You can test the pump by removing the hose from the pump and pulling the handle to activate the washer squirters. If water squirts then the pump is good, if not you can test it further by removing the pump and applying voltage directly to the pump to be sure it works.

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AIC Motor Testing For Lh 2.2 & 2.4 Fuel Systems

[Saab 900]

Troubleshooting an Automatic Idle Control Valve is easily accomplished using a digital Voltmeter. Follow the procedures on the following page links:

AIC Motor Testing Page 1

AIC Motor Testing Page 2

AIC Motor Testing Page 3

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Air Filter Replacement

[Saab 900]

8 Valve Air Filter Replacement

STEP 1 Remove the screws where the black bottom of the fuel distributor meets the round bottom housing
STEP 2 CAREFULLY pull the fuel distributor up and away from the filter housing
STEP 3 If you break the lines they are no longer available!
STEP 4 Replace the filter and re-install the top.

16 Valve Air Filter Replacement

STEP 1 Remove the Air Mass meter and housing
STEP 2 Remove the 3 metal holding clips on the black housing
STEP 3 Remove the air filter and refit in reverse

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Alternator Belts won't tighten

[Saab 900]

Question: I just bought a 92 900. Yesterday, I tried to tighten up the alternator belt to get it to stop making a high pitched whining noise on cold starts. Couldn't get it very tight, but seemed to tighten it up a little bit. Last night on the way home I stopped for gas and the car wouldn't start. Got it jumped. Got home and this morning the car was dead. The alternator bracket bushings definitely need to be replaced - could that be causing the problem? - but I would like to get the car running today so I can use it until I get the bushings (no one local carries them). Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong? Or, do I just need to get shorter belts?

Answer: Check the crank pulley for separation. Separation won't cause belt looseness but it will cause the morning noise. You need to check the alternator bushings to be sure they are not worn-out. I bet they are. If so, the bushings are on the alternator page.

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Chain Issues Cause Stalling

[Saab 900]

If your Saab stalls and then will not restart, then you should take a look at the timing chain to be sure it is not broken. When the timing chain breaks then engine will usually spin over by the starter but will not "start". When the chain is broken the engine will turn over faster (and sounds different) because the valves were likely bent during the break. The only cure to this situation is to remove the head and proceed with the dis-assembly of the engine ro repair the broken chain. In most cases the chain breaks due to a guide being broken or a problem with the teeth on the gears not being capable of holding the chain any longer

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Check Engine Light Flashes 4 Times

[Saab 900]

Does the check engine light flash 4 times in your 900 Classic? It means that your knock sensor has problems. Replace the sensor with part number 7568801. The sensor is located directly under the intake manifold. Note the angle that the sensor is on. It is pointing at the driver side headlight, about 20 degrees off center. Use a socket and extension to remove it and slide it, along with the wiring harness, out along the front of the car. Disconnect the sensor from the clip. Check to make sure that there is no corrosion. If there is, clean it out and spray it with some electrical contact cleaner. The wire that goes from the sensor to the EZK (non-turbo) APC (turbo) is a shielded cable that is no longer available. The shielding is there so that other noises are not picked up by mistake. Look to see if the insulation around the wire is cracked or broken. If it is, get some foil tape from some place like Home Depot. It is used to seal up metal ducts. Cut about 18 inches off and then slit it into 3 strips. Peel back the backing and start spiral wrapping the wire from the plug back. Start on the plug, making a good seal. Do this with the other 2 strips, but reverse the rotation on each strip. Clean the surface of the block where the old sensor was. Plug in the new sensor, snake it back to its original place, set the angel and re-torque it to 10 ft lbs. Do not over tighten. There was a recall on the bolt many years ago. The correct part number for the bolt is part number 8125197. Your flashing check engine light should now go away.

Thanks to Randy Kirk @ Kingmailing.com for contributing to this FAQ!

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Check Valve (PCV) Information

[Saab 900]

The white & gray check valve located in the upper hose going into the valve cover is a one way check valve. The purpose of this valve is to prevent boost pressure from going into the intake manifold when the turbo starts to spool up. To determine if you positioning it correctly simply blow through the valve. No air should go into the valve cover after the valve is inserted into the vacuum line. Incidentally the valve is not a PCV valve. Many people think it is so we put that info in the title for search purposes

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Clean Engine Look

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Larry for contributing to this FAQ!

How to achieve that "Like New" car engine compartment look is as easy as lifting the hood, spray and hose off.

For 15 years my 1999 SAAB 95 and other cars now and over the years, uses diluted Simple Green concentrate cleaner found almost every where. Simple Green is an enzyme based product that is completely safe 9and non-toxic to humans and animal)for your under the hood periodic cleaning and more. It will NOT degrade your hoses, plastic or metal finish. In fact it will bring out the lost luster and detail back to your engine compartment for that Wow look, guaranteed!

It works great on brake dust and tires too. You will be amazed the dirt and grime that will shed from your car on the first simple try.

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Crank pulley bolt removal

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Merrill Smith for contributing to this FAQ!

When met with trying to remove the crank pulley bolt on the Saab 900 and others just put the box end wrench on the bolt head and brace it from turning in the direction of engine rotation, then simply engage the starter. The bolt will loosen and come right off most of the time. Don't grind on the starter just bump it quickly. If it will not break loose then you may have to use a much larger wrench for leverage. This saves many broken knuckles. And does not require any swearing. Enjoy

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Crank Pulley Replacement!

[Saab 900]

You can remove the crankshaft pulley and replace it without pulling the engine. One the earlier models you must remove the outer part of the crank pulley by removing the 3 10 mm bolts and the ac pulley (outer pulley for the crankshaft) you then access the pulley bolt to remove the crankshaft pulley. On the 90 models and up the area to work in is much smaller which really makes the tool more necessary. The tool is a very narrow piece of metal that looks like a big wrench with a socket that fits into the end of it. When you have the tool you can simply install the tool on the crank pulley nut and lean it against the ac compressor and carefully bump the engine over until the nut breaks loose. You can also stop the flywheel by inserting some into the teeth on the bottom of a 5 speed transmission or at the starter of an automatic transmission. Definitely replace the Seal behind the crank pulley and the O-ring seal behind the oil pump when replacing the pulley as both of these areas are major leak areas.

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Crank Pulley Squealing Noise

[Saab 900]

There have been many issues with the crank pulley's on the Saab 900 cars. The main problem with the pulley is that they are of a two piece design. There is an inner and out section that is separated by a rubber gasket. When they begin to fail they squeal during startup or under load until the rubber seal heats up an catches making the two pieces are one again. The way to test for this is to mark the face of the crank pulley all the way across with chalk and see the two mark move. This is an indication that the pulley has separated and must be replaced. Replacement of the crank pulley is the only cure. When replacing the crank pulley it is a good idea to replace the oil pump seal and o-ring as well.

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Crank Sensor Location

[Saab 900]

The crank sensor is located behind the crank pulley. Replacement of the crank sensor requires that the crank pulley be removed. See below for information on how to remove the crank pulley:

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Cylinder Head Bolts Size

[Saab 900]

Saab uses an inverted TORX socket & E16 is the size.

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Drain Plug tightening and being careful

[Saab 900]

5 speed Saab transmissions are rather fragile around where the drain plugs are made. Saab recommends tightening the drain plugs to 21 foot pounds of torque which is the equivalent to hand tight! OVER TIGHTENING WILL CAUSE THE TRANSMISSION CASING TO CRACK! Because the transmission and oil pan are contained within the same unit a transmission overhaul would be Needed to replace the oil pan!

NOTE: In the event that this occurs you can have a mobile aluminum welder come in and fix this problem by welding the crack in the casing. The repair should cost somewhere in the $150.00 range.

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Engine 8 Valve to 16 Valve

[Saab 900]

We have been asked a number of times can you install a 16 Valve engine in the place of a 8 Valve engine. The answer is yes but not without a good number of modifications. The engine harness must be replaced as well. The harness alone makes it a much bigger job than expected.

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Engine Compartment Cleaning

[Saab 900]

Cleaning the engine compartment is fine as long as several necessary precautions are taken. Be careful not to pressure was directly at the distributor or directly into the wiring harness. Don't use carb cleaner or items such as this around the harness as harsh abrasives will peal back the wire coating in the future. Try not to spray directly into the harness where water will collect and stay for long periods. If you feel that you have gotten the wiring connectors wet simply remove them and squirt a small amount of dielectric grease into them and reconnect.

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Engine Designation 8 Valve Or 16 Valve

[Saab 900]

You can determine if it has a 16 valve by opening the hood and looking at the valve cover. (Just above the exhaust manifold) The 16 valve engines will have a black valve cover and they will say 16 VALVE on them and the 8 Valve engines will have a silver valve cover and say 8 VALVE.

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Engine Idle Poor After Oil Change

[Saab 900]

Classis 900 cars are all enclosed crankcase ventilation therefore if the Oil filler tube is left out or not correctly installed it will make the engine basically non-drivable, poor idling, stall, etc.... If you will note the earlier model dipsticks have a small o-ring on the top to seal them and the ones with red or yellow tip dipsticks have a core/rubber seal in the cap! The comments below are what happened to a gentleman in London who was kind enough to remind us to add this FAQ. "Whenever any of my 900's idled out, it was because the engine oil dipstick wasn't screwed back in properly. this always happened after an oil change at a chain like jiffy lube. The first time this happened, I had all the valves and my fuel filter replaced and stopped just short of junking the car when one of my customers asked me if I had an oil change recently. I answered yes, and he asked for my keys. Before I knew it, my car was capable of idling again (without feathering the gas). A lot of time and money could have been saved if someone had just screwed the bloody dipstick back in...

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Engine Idle Too High

[Saab 900]

Excessive engine idling can be attributed to several faults. The most common failure would be a sticking Adaptive Idle Control valve (AIC). There is a small motor inside the AIC that fails causing a stuck shutter. This usually causes a very inconsistent idle and you can sometimes tap on the motor to make the idle change.

NOTE: Another common failure is with the Coolant temperature sensor. What typically happens here is that the sensor reading begin to get excessive which fools the fuel control module into thinking the engine needs more fuel. The resistance reading causes the idle to stay at around 1500 RPM and usually cannot be adjusted down. Replacement of the sensor is the cure

NOTE from customer: My fix to this similar 1500 rpm problem was a simple little vacuum leak. Check the section on vacuum leaks before you spend any money on parts, you will be glad you did.

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Engine Mount Cause Clunking

[Saab 900]

A Clunking that comes the front end from a dead stop can usually be attributed to a broken Lower hydraulic engine mount. The engine mount that usually breaks is located at the front end of the engine just below where the belt's) are located. The engine will raise up and drop quite violently when giving the vehicle gas while in gear with the handbrakes on! A broken mount can also be identified by noting fluid (a thick viscous fluid) will be seeping from the broken engine mount. BE CAREFUL! not run over someone's foot when checking to see if the mount is broken!

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Engine Oil Consumption Normal

[Saab 900]

Engine oil consumption is an indication that something is wrong either with an engine oil leak, internal engine ring problem or Turbo issue. The most common problem is excessive bushing clearances in the Turbo causing oil to leak into the intake manifold. Replacement of the turbo is only cure. Engine ring problem means replacement or rebuilding of the engine. External engine oil leaks would require locating the leaks and repairing them.

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Engine Oil Leak

[Saab 900]

Oil leakage from beneath the car in the area of where the hood and the windshield meets (C900) or below the belt area (NG90, 93, 95) can generally be attributed to a faulty oil pump seal and O-ring. What usually happens is that the oil seal falls out of the oil pump housing allowing oil leakage to occur. When replacing the oil pump seal replacement of the oil pump O-ring is also recommended!

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Engine Oil Light Comes on

[Saab 900]

There are many issues that could cause the engine oil light to come on. The first thing to do is to check the oil level. If it is full then you likely have a problem with the oil level sending unit. What generally occurs is that the unit goes bad causing the light to come on even when the oil pressure is fine!

NOTE: There are occasions where the oil pickup in the bottom of the oil pan will become clogged causing poor oil pressure. This generally will not cause the check oil level light to come on but it will cause major engine damage. To check this simply check the oil pressure with a gauge to see if this is a problem.

Thanks to Paul Arnold for contributing to this FAQ!

Another cause of the oil light coming on after starting from cold is the pressure relief valve sticking open. This is normally accompanied by noisy tappets. This has happened to me twice on B202 engines. Easily remedied by removing plunger and cleaning thoroughly. Very fine abrasive does help.

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Engine Oil Quantity 4 Cylinder

[Saab 900]

They typical engine oil quantity that is required to fill up a Saab 4 cylinder car is about 4-4.5 quarts which includes the oil filter replacement as well. The 8 Valve engine actually takes 3.7 Quarts.

Thanks to Roger Kelsey for contributing to this FAQ!

For 03-07 Saab 2.0t the oil capacity, with filter change, is 6.3 quarts of Mobil 1 0w40

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Engine quits running after loud pop

[Saab 900]

Here is what a faithful customer had happen to him: "While accelerating from a dead stop, a loud pop was heard and the engine slowed measurably without lowering the accelerator. The engine stalled during a shift from 1st to 2nd gear. The car would restart but only stall once the accelerator was released. An inspection of the engine revealed that the air intake tube leading into the turbo (the short black hose on the compressor/silver side with the bypass valve in it) had gotten blown off the turbocharger because the clamp had loosened up. Replacing and retightening the clamp resolved the problem. (thanks Greg Palmer for the info)

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Engine Smoke Black at Tailpipe

[Saab 900]

Black Smoke streaming from the tailpipe is generally an indication of a faulty Air Mass Meter! What generally occurs is that the small platinum wire gets so thin that it begins to give incorrect readings causing the fuel system to run rich. These symptoms occur most often when sitting with the car running at idle!

NOTE: There are occasions when a faulty fuel pressure regulator will cause the same symptoms! In-order to test the fuel pressure regulator you will need to hook up a fuel pressure gauge to the fuel line. The pressure should be about what the number reads on the regulator (2.5 or 3.0 bar)

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Engine Smoke Caused by Head Gasket

[Saab 900]

Saab engine smoke from the tailpipe can be coming from a number of issues. First, crank the car up and pull the hose to the valve cover and see if any blowby or smoke comes from the valve cover after warm. If it does smoke a tiny bit then it is likely normal. If it smokes alot you either have an issue with the rings (which is allowing oil to be pulled from the crankcase because of excessive wear) or an issue exist with a pinched/clogged hose in the crankcase ventilation hose that is not allowing the engine to breath correctly causing the smoke. You could also have a problem with the Turbo Charger. Typical Turbo failures can be identified by noting puffs of smoke comeing from the exhaust when coming to a stop.

NOTE: If the engine is only smoking during cold start and you have a sweet smell coming from the tailpipe check the headgasket to see if it is leaking down overnight. You can often check this by pulling the spark plugs and looking at the piston tops. If they are silver then they are likely getting steamed cleaned because coolant is leaking into the combustion chamber during the cooldown process.

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Engine Smoke Caused by Valve Seals/Guides

[Saab 900]

If you crank your car up after it has been sitting for several days or overnight and it smokes out the tailpipe for a few seconds upon initial start up then the problem is more than likely leaking valve guides/Valve stem seals. What generally occurs is that the guides/seals wear due to the stress of the valve moving up and down so many times. This basically causes excess clearance between the valve guide and the valve stem. Minor seepage occurs during the rest period allowing oil to leak into the combustion chambers leading to morning smoke!

Another problem that will cause your car to smoke or steam after sitting overnight could be a faulty head gasket. A faulty head gasket will allow the cooling system pressure to bleed coolant into the combustion chamber overnight causing the vehicle to blow white smoke and create a sweet smell from the exhaust until the exhaust has become hot enough to burn all of the antifreeze away. The gasket usually blows between Cylinders # 2 and # 3.

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Engine Throttle Sticks

[Saab 900]

A common problem on the mid 1980's Saab 900 cars was an issue with the throttle cable sticking which cause the engine to rev way up. In extreme cases you could actually blow up your engine. The mid 80's cars came from the factory with a metal style heater control valve which was located under the drivers speaker and over to the right. The metal style valve was gold in color and was superceeded to a plastic black valve because of binding issues. The newer black plastic valve was larger in size and required one to grab the top of the gas pedal arm and bend it over to the left about 2 inches. This would allow the pedal arm to clear the new valve. If you did not bend the arm you could have a problem with the throttle arm getting stuck against the side of the new valve when pressing the gas pedal down over half way.

NOTE: The newer black valve did prevent binding issues but created other issues when this valve failed. In some cases when the new version failed coolant would seep right onto the brake pedal causing obvious problems when applying the brakes.

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Engine Ticking Noise From Engine

[Saab 900]

Ticking noise that occurs when first cranking the car can be caused by several issues. The most common issue is a problem with a hydraulic lifter not getting the proper oil supply to the lifter or a faulty lifter itself. The oil pickup tube that sits in the oil pan gets clogged up due to improper oil changes which causes the lifter area to be starved for engine oil. When this occurs the lifters will tap, tap, tap when first cranked and once the diminished pressure pumps the lifter up then the lifter noise goes away. On 86-88 models the lifters are actually supplied oil via oil tube that connects each cam bearing journal together. On 89 and up heads are internally oiled and the oil tube kits no longer are needed. Trying to find ONE faulty lifter can be like looking for a needle in a haystack because the noise resonates throughout the engine making it very difficult to locate. When one faulty lifter is suspected replacement of one bank of lifters is the most economical process.

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Engine Vibration In Drive Or Reverse

[Saab 900]

Engine vibrations while in drive or reverse can often be attributed to failing engine mounts. What usually occurs is that the rubber portion of the engine mounts deteriorate causing the vibration from engine rotation to travel through the vehicle. In some cases you can move the shifter from drive to reverse to load and unload certain engine mounts to help guide you to the faulty mount.

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Gasket Sealant Information

[Saab 900]

A word about Anaerobic sealant. If you touch it on the outside then it will always be tacky because by definition the word Aenorobic means "pertaining to or caused by the absence of oxygen" this means that it will never cure until oxygen is removed. Saab began to move away from common engine gaskets in approximately 1993. They began to replace timing cover and oil pan gaskets with anaerobic sealant. These types of sealants work well on machined surfaces.

NOTE: When using these types of sealants you don't want to slide components together you want to apply sealant to both items and then apply them together. As mentioned before the outside edges of the two pieces will likely never harden.

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Head Gasket replacement cost

[Saab 900]

The typical cost to do a head gasket Job is around 10 hrs labor by most shops. The hourly rate will determing the actual cost

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Hydraulic Hose Repair

[Saab 900]

Leaking Hydraulic hoses can often be attributed to a leaky clamp which cause the hose to be able to be turned. You can repair some hoses temporarily by cutting a small 1/4 slice of the metal fitting out (being careful not to cut the hose) then put a adjustable hose clamp over the (now cut) fitting and tighten down the clamp. What happens here is that you cut just enough of the metal clamp out that when you put the hose clamp on and tighten it down that is basically creates a new clamp over top of the one that started leaking. This is a great quick fix and may last a bit but replacement of the hoses with new is the best long term solution.

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Intake System & How it works

[Saab 900]

The intake system is composed of an air filter, mass air flow sensor, connecting pipes/hoses, turbo unit and intercooler. The system is connected to the throttle body on the intake manifold. The air filter, which is located on the right-hand side of the engine bay, removes particles from the incoming air and also acts as an intake silencer. The mass air flow sensor provides the engine control module with continuous information on the amount of air consumed by the engine. The mass air flow sensor signals are processed by the control module, which monitors the air-fuel mixture of the incoming air.

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Noise from Belt Area

[Saab 900]

A roaring noise during belt rotation (without the A/C on) will often be caused by an idler pulley bearing going bad. There are occasions where Alternator bearings will also create a roaring noise during belt rotation. In-order to diagnose either of these problems simply remove the belt and rotate each of the pulleys by hand. The pulley failure will make itself apparent by noting that the noise begins when rotating the faulty pulley.Belt Removal should be done by authorized personnel only! Danger!

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Oil Change Instructions

[Saab 900]

Changing the oil on the Saab 900 is fairly easy but there is a couple of things you should keep in mind when doing this for the first time. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER over tighten the drain plug on a 5 speed car. You can crack the transmission case if you over tighten and if you do this you will have to remove the transmission and disassemble it completely to repair it. . The drain plug is a 13 mm plug (you can also use a 1/2 inch wrench but it will be tight to get on). The engine will hold about 5 quarts of oil when changing the oil and filter if the engine is completely drained. To avoid cracking the case you only need to tighten the drain plug to about 15 to 20 ft lbs when changing the oil. The oil filter should be installed only hand tight but check to make sure no leak exist.

NOTE: We have seen guys who do portable welding be able to repair this crack in some cases. The key to repairing this crack by welding is to get the oil 100 percent out of the transmission case prior to attempting the weld job.

On automatic transmissions we have seen repair facilities remove the transmission SCREW & drain the transmission fluid (thinking it was the engine oil) on more than one occasion. When they do this they will typically fill the engine oil back up with 5 more quarts of engine oil. The outcome will be that the engine will begin to smoke terribly and then the transmission will begin to slip. If you catch it quickly enough then no damage will be done but we have seen circumstances where massive oil leaks occur due to excessive pressure.

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Oil Leak cause by crank pulley keyway Crack

[Saab 900]

We have seen some issues with the crank pulley cracking at the keyway where the crankshaft key lines up with the keyway on the pulley. We suspect that the reason for the crack is because someone overtightens the crank pulley bolt which causes the crack. Once the pulley is cracked and the bolt is tighted it will provide a way for the oil from the oil pump to seap out of the crack to the face of the pulley which in-turn slings the oil over the outside of the pulley and engine belt. Replacement of the pulley is the cure.

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Oil Leak from Valve Cover

[Saab 900]

One of the most overlooked oil leaks is cracked valve covers. If one is not very careful when using an impact wrench on valve cover bolts they can actually crack the cover itself right around where the bolt goes into the valve cover. When this happens it can cause a very bad oil leak that is difficult to trace because the leak would only happen when the engine is running. You can usually spot the crack by looking very closely at the hole in the valve cover. If a crack exist there will usually be a little of colored line leading the bolt head. Replacement of the valve cover is the only cure.

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Service Recommendations

[Saab 900]

Recommended service intervals really depend on what year and model that you have. The earlier 99, 900 & 9000 used the 30,000 or 60,000 intervals and in the mid to late 1990's the intervals changed to 35,000 & 65,000 intervals. In the 2000 and on era the 10,000 miles service intervals seem to be the standard. We typically recommend just changing the oil at no greater than 5,000 miles and doing major maintenance at about 30.000 mile intervals. We have developed service kits that help you get all the part without having to look them up individually.

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Smoke from engine compartment

[Saab 900]

The most common problem with smoke coming from the engine compartment is a leaking valve cover gasket. The rubber gasket hardens which causes it to leak on the exhaust manifold (depending on the Saab you have). The only cure for this is to rpelace the gasket.

NOTE: When replacing the gasket you should only use sealant at the front base of the valve cover gasket.

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Stalling due to throttle body dirty

[Saab 900]

The throttle when shut should have a very small gap which allows a little air through when idling. What generally occurs is that the throttle gets coked to a point where there is no longer a gap. When this happens it can cause the car to stall when coming to a stop or when letting off the throttle quickly. Cleaning the throttle body with carburetor cleaner and a tooth brush can cure stalling if the throttle body is dirty but vacuum leaks are the most common cause of stalling.

Thanks to scott chrismon for contributing to this FAQ!

I have noticed that if you turn the throttle body manually from under the hood without aid of the cable, the low idle gets altered and can cause your car to idle too low causing it to stall upon take off. A quick disconnect of the battery will appearantly allow this to reset and idle correctly. Hope this helps someone. 2002 9-5 Arc 3.0 V6 wagon. I found out that my throttle body was in limp home mode which locks the cable to the butterfly instead of the drive by wire settings . This overrides the normal settings, causing the car to idle too low and stall on take off. The Throttle Body Replacement article by the Platonoff's explains this and was very helpful in me resetting the throttle body. One thing to note is that the CEL codes must be reset in order for throttle body to operate correctly . A quick and easy way to do this is to pull the number 17 fuse from the fuse panel, wait a few minutes then replace it and start the car. Otherwise the computer will pop the little wire on the throttle body back to limp mode and you are back where you started. Thanks for the great how too articles. I was able to change my thermostat and waterpump myself last weekend, saving me 1,300 bucks!

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Stalling Problems from vacuum leaks or AIC Valve

[Saab 900]

The most common issue that causes stalling on the Saab 9000 is vacuum leaks caused by faulty vacuum hoses. A general rule is if you can reach up and pull the hoses off from the manifold easily the hoses probably need to be replaced. Another problem issue that will cause stalling is faulty AIC motor. The motor in the AIC goes bad and begins to stick causing issues with inconsistent idling.

AIC Motor Testing

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Tightening Bolts in General

[Saab 900]

Tightening torques are important in certain situations but not quite as much as most people think. In general most engine gasket torque for bolts is around 12-18 psi (not headgaskets). The truth is most bolt positions do lend to one being able to torque the bolts to the correct specifications in the first place. A general rule of thumb is that if you tighten the bolts with regulator hand wrachet and you have tightened the bolts to a point that you cannot turn the wrachet anymore then you are pretty close. The most common issue with any typical backyard technician is overtightening the bolts not undertightening. Remember to use gasket sealant only in places that seem logical to have it like corners of pans, covers etc..... We have seen issues with people overtightening valve cover & oil pan bolts and breaking the covers themselves.

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Timing Chain Breaks And What Happens

[Saab 900]

Are Timing Chain Failures Common: Timing chain failures on Saabs are quite common. What generally occurs is that the chain stretches due to the millions of revolutions. As the chain wears the gears take a beating as well. Once the chain cannot stretch any further it actually breaks causing the valves to hit the pistons resulting in costly engine repairs. Generally speaking, worn chains can be identified by listening for chain slap at idle. Replacement of the chain can be done without engine removal if caught early enough. Another school of thought regarding these failures is that the engines overheat causing the guide material to soften which causes one of the chains to slap causing excessive clearance issues with the chain causing it to break.

Timing Chain Damage when they break: If the Timing Chain breaks there is usually damage to the valves. We have seen a few incidents where the valves are not being bent but only if the chain brakes at idle. There are two chains on most Saabs, One chain controls the timing area and one controls the balance shaft components. Typically when there is an issue with chain noise or chain failure the engine will need to be pulled apart for inspection which would include head removal. Make absolutely sure that you inspect the balance shaft area once the head is removed. Both the timing chain area and the balance components are susceptible broken components when the chain brakes. In-order to do the repair you would need a head set and what ever components are broken as well.

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Catalytic Converter Fault Diagnosis

[Saab 900]

In Most cases faulty Converters can be identified by noting that your car will not accelerate or seems to have severely diminished power. Many times converters that are clogged up will glow red when the vehicle is running. The reason for the Glowing is because of the amount of heat and unburned fuel that collects in front of the clogged up converter. Converter replacement is the only option. A quick way to be sure that the converter is the problem when it is suspect is to disconnect the exhaust system at the header and allow the exhaust to flow without going through the converter. If the converter is the problem the cars power should be restored with the header pipe disconnected.

NOTE: There is always a cause for a clogged converter, either excess fuel from a faulty part like and ECM, Injector, wiring issue, Oxygen sensor etc....... We have seen issues with the platinum in converters breaking loose which causes a rattle but other than that converters that get clogged have to be related to a failure in the fuel system or possibly the ignition system.

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Exhaust Diagnoses & Purpose

[Saab 900]

Exhaust Diagnosis: The most common Exhaust failures are mufflers. You can often easily diagnose issues with the exhaust system by placing a rag or towel over the tailpipe hole (Just for a few seconds). BE CAREFUL AS THE EXHAUST MAY BE HOT!!!!! When you cover the tailpipe hole up for a few seconds pressure builds in the exhaust system and a whistling noise will begin to occur wherever your exhaust leak is.

Exhaust Purpose: The exhaust system is designed to carry away the engine's exhaust gases with a low flow resistance, low noise level and a long operating life. The exhaust system is composed of two parts: a front part with a catalytic converter, and a rear part with two mufflers. Both mufflers are a combination of resonance and noise absorption material. The system is delivered seamless via one unit. For spare parts there are three different sections: a front section with flexible pipe, a center section with a front muffler, and a rear muffler. The exhaust system is held up by six rubber mounts from front to back. The exhaust system is protected against corrosion because of all the parts except the outer plate of the front muffler are made of 12-18% chrome steel. The outer plate of the front muffler is aluminized. This combination gives very good corrosion stability. Heat shields are fitted above the exhaust system's most heat intensive zones to protect exposed parts where the heat radiation can otherwise cause problems.

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Exhaust Gasket Questions

[Saab 900]

On just about every Saab made the gaskets that go between mufflers and the header pipes have the flange gaskets built in. Chances are that if we do not have them listed on our site in the picture diagrams then they are not needed. You can generally assume that about 1989 they are built into the pipe (all but the Classic 900 cars 1979-1994)

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Exhaust Manifold Cracks

[Saab 900]

On early Saab 900 and Saab 9000 models there were issues with cracks in the exhaust manifolds that caused issues with exhaust coming out from the cracks. About the only think you can do to repair the cracks is to grind out the cracks and have them brazed by a welder.

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Exhaust Smells Like Rotten Eggs

[Saab 900]

A harsh smell coming from the exhaust can usually be attributed to the use of fuel that contains methanol (Although in most places it is not supposed to be sold). When using this fuel, a sulfur smell can be emitted from the exhaust which can range from a mild odor to a rotten egg smell. To avoid this smell try changing the place where you purchase fuel! Catalytic Converter failures can also cause this same smell!

Thanks to Nathan for contributing to this FAQ!

In the north eastern part of the U.S. as well as other locations there is a "winter gasoline" and "summer gasoline." It's the additive package that determines the type. Thus is do e for em musings purposes. When the two are mixed (which occurs commonly when seasons change)the same smell can occur. Try to be aware of the timing when the odor occurs.

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Exhaust Stud Removal

[Saab 900]

Some Saabs have Studs in the exhaust manifolds and in the Turbochargers. These Studs tend to rust and break off when attempting to remove them. If they break off the easiest thing to do is remove the studs and simply put bolts in their place. If you are going to replace them be sure to use lock nuts on the bolts to prevent them from backing out. If the studs break off flush with the head or turbo you will have to use a easy-out tool to drill them out and remove them. If the stud breaks leaving the stud sticking out you can use a stud removal tool to simply back them out.

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Exhaust Whistle

[Saab 900]

Thanks to H. G. Frautschy for contributing to this FAQ!

If you have a whistle that rises and falls with acceleration under load you should check the stud bolts on the turbo between the turbo unit and the exhaust manifold. IN many cases 3 of the 4 will be loose. Re-torquing the nuts will instantly cure the noise!

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Back Firing during acceleration

[Saab 900]

Back firing during acceleration is typically caused by a problem with the Air Mass meter. This is usually accompanied by black smoke which is an indication that the fuel mixture is too rich. One thing to check prior to replacement of the meter is to check the fuel pressure. In most cases the fuel should be in the 36 tp 40 PSI range depending on the vehicle. If it is more than this then you may have a broken diaphram in the regulator itself. These two problems are the most common failures when it comes to back firing.

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Car Stalls When Turning

[Saab 900]

The mid 80's Saab 900 and 9000 fuel pump housings are designed to be sitting in the tank with the opening to the right rear taillight. If the pump bottom is not positioned in this manner the car will cutoff when turning left because the fuel to the pump looses fuel when turning left. There were also issues with the bottom sections of the pump falling off due to a rubber deterioration problem. So of the components are no longer available but in most cases you can repair them by going to a later style pump or making your own bottom half.

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CIS Fuel Injection System malfunction after car sits

[Saab 900]

Many cars that are equipped with CIS fuel system will not start after they have been sitting for a while. The most likely cause of this problem is a stuck fuel distributor piston. You can remove the piston from the bottom of the fuel distributor, clean it in gasoline and reinstall it. In most cases this will correct the problem and restore the system to working condition but in some cases the Fuel distributor must be replaced.

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Extended Crank Time Caused by Check Valve

[Saab 900]

There are many issues that can cause extended cranking time during startup. The most common problem is the failure of a check valve located in the top of the fuel pump. What generally occurs here is that the check valve in the fuel line sticks open causing lack of fuel pressure. This usually occurs after the car has been sitting for a while or overnight. The fuel pressure leaks down causing the fuel pump to have to work very hard to push the fuel from the tank to the fuel rail. Similar to vapor lock but not quite. The solution to this is to replace the fuel pump check valve which can be difficult in itself. Another issue that can contribute to extended cranking time after the car has been sitting is a problem with a fuel leak. A leaky fuel system can also cause the exact same symptoms as above with the addition of the fuel smell. Placing a fuel gauge in the fuel rail is the correct way to test to see if the system is leaking down or if a problem exist with the fuel pressure regulator. If a problem exist with the fuel pressure regulator a gauge would show excessive fuel pressure which would also cause starting issues due to a flooding situation.

NOTE: When doing this job be careful. If you break the link with no check valve in the fitting you will have to replace the entire fuel line because Saab does not offer the fitting by itself. Being a "Bull in a china shop" would not be a good idea here.

Warning!Be very cautious when attempting this repair because of the dealing with the fuel system FIRE HAZARD!!!!!!!

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Fuel Accumulator Issues On 8 Valve Cars!

[Saab 900]

Fuel Accumulator failures usually cause hard starts or extended cranking time because a failed accumulator causes the inline pressure to the fuel distributor to bleed back to the tank causing a fuel "vapor lock simulation". In most 8 valve Saabs the fuel accumulator will not actual fail internally but they will begin to leak out of the small hose at the back of the accumulator. Replacement of the component is the proper repair

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Fuel Control Module Issues

[Saab 900]

Fuel control module failures on Saabs have been an issue for many years. The are many symptoms of a failing fuel control module and basically depends on the year model but in most cases fuel control module failures can be identified by noting that the car starts and stalls, starts and stalls and will eventually stay running fine. This usually occurs in the AM and will not occur again until the car has sat overnight. However, This is not necessarily an indication that you have to replace the module or you will break down, in some cases the cars will run for years only gradually getting worse. Complete module failures can be diagnosed by pin testing the control modules to see if the ground supply to the fuel relays exist.

NOTE: The fuel control module is located on the right kick panel in the passenger side behind the carpet where the passengers foot would rest.

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Fuel Control Module Location

[Saab 900]

The fuel control module location depends on the car, below is the locations:

Saab 900 - Right passenger inner fender inside the passenger cockpit
Saab 9000 - Under the false bulkhead remove 8 screws & it is just to the right of the wiper transmission.
Saab 93 - Under the drivers seat
Saab 95 - Under the drivers seat

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Fuel ECM Issues

[Saab 900]

Watch out for ECU problems on 1988-89 saabs. Mine went haywire. The engine ran, but idle control was lost, and it ran very rich. Failed emission test. Testing of all fuel injection system parts revealed no problem with any part. Check engine code was "fuel mixture too rich". I replaced fuel injectors and fuel pressure regulator but did not fix problem. Finally found no control voltage from ECU to idle control valve. Put in a used ECU unit and bingo, all problems went away. I've never seen an ECU go bad on a car until this. I have heard from other sources this is a known problem with these models and years. So if you think your problem saab could never have a bad computer

Thanks to Jeff Barnell for contributing to this FAQ!

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Fuel leak at Banjo Fitting

[Saab 900]

Fuel leaks at the fuel line fittings can often be attributed to pitting of the banjo fittings. The small pits that develop can be fixed in most cases. To repair the pits simply lay the fitting on a piece of wood with 1000 grit sandpaper between it and the flat side of the fitting (be sure to put a cloth insde the fitting to keep the sand out of the fuel line) then move the fitting back and forth on the sandpaper to remove the pits. The completed repair should reveal no lines in the side of the fitting.

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Fuel Pressure Regulator Issues

[Saab 900]

A bad FPR-fuel pressure regulator or (leaky diaphragm) will cause excess fuel to be sucked into the intake via the vacuum line (from FPR to intake manifold). This can cause extended crank times and hard starting issues. May lead to oxygen sensor malfunction and cause check engine light to come on, which might flash intermittently due to the rich mixture from the excess fuel. Replacement is the only cure.

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Fuel Pump Access & location

[Saab 900]

If you open the trunk and lift up the back deck lid to expose the spare tire there will be two screws toward the front. Simply remove those two screws and lift out the rear panel above the spare and then remove the front panel by sliding it toward the rear. Underneath the front cover is a round silver cover that hides the fuel pump!

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Fuel Pump Relay Location

[Saab 900]

The fuel pump relay and system relay are located to the just above the fuel control module. If you sit in the passenger seat and tap your right foot over to the right you will be tapping on the fuel control module. You should be able to see the outline of it on the molded carpet. You must remove the black metal strip that secures the carpet via 3 screws. Once you remove that you can pull back the carpet, remove the fuel control module and the relays are on a bracket just above where the module is.

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Fuel Smell

[Saab 900]

If gas is seen or you can smell it at the fuel pump an easy $3 fix is the fuel check valve or o-rings (depending on the type of Saab). Replace with new o-rings if they look flat and worn from the ethanol, or if gas is seen coming out of the port when connected especially on the pressure side. To remove the fuel check valves WITHOUT BREAKING softly grasp the fuel check valve with vice grips to the right of the yellow tab that holds it in, on the thick flat portion. Turn the valve counter clockwise/clockwise and wiggle out as you hold the tab back so the valve can come out. The wiggle will slowly let it come out with minimal/ almost no pulling force.

First - Use boiling water to loosen the 1/4 old style fuel line to get the old valves out and to get the larger diameter newer valves in. Don't let water get into the port of the fuel pump or down your fuel line or it will end up in your combustion chamber eventually.

Second - Buy the o-rings before fuel pump replacement to avoid leaks caused when you disconnect the fuel check valves to get the pump out

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Fuel Smell Inside Car

[Saab 900]

Most fuel smells inside the car can be attributed to the o'ring for the fuel pump being deteriorated or positioned incorrectly. We have also seen issues with the charcoal canisters being clogged which causes the fuel vapors to back up into the car.

Thanks to Mark Saunders for contributing to this FAQ!

I had a fuel smell in my 1988 Saab 900, the smell was worse when I had the windows rolled down. By accident, I replaced the gas cap. When I replaced the gas cap the fuel smell went completely away. I looked at the old gas cap and noticed that the rubber ring at the base of the cap was cracked. Check the rubber gasket at the base of your gas cap, if it is cracked, replace the cap. This could be the cause of your gas smell and it would be a cheap easy fix.

Thanks to Dwight Miller for contributing to this FAQ!

The 1986-88 charcoal canister can only be found in junkyards. Check yours by sucking on the upper line which starts at the throttle body--it should not pass air. This line opens a diaphragm valve which then lets the vapors be sucked into the intake manifold through the lower hose at engine speeds higher than idle. If the diaphragm is broken or dislodged, the upper hose will pass air when you suck on it. Replace or straighten the diaphragm by popping off the top of the valve. On turbo cars, add a check valve in this line to keep boost from pushing the diaphragm--it should only feel the pull of the vacuum (design flaw). If the valve is working correctly, sucking on either line alone will not pass air, but sucking on both will pass air in the lower line. Take the top off the canister and replace all the charcoal with activated carbon from your local pet store. It is used in fish tanks ($10-20). Clean the foam filters with carb cleaner, reassemble and replace into fender.

Thanks to Contributor 1 for contributing to this FAQ!

Been working on a 1993 Saab 9000 CSE to rebuilt the head and turbo. Replaced and drove it for about 4 months. Then the car started hesitating badly from stop, as the gas peddle was being pressed. The severity increased as the next couple of months went by.

Replaced the fuel pump, all of the sensors and gas cap as noted… checked timing, injectors, pulse from the control module. With no net effect on the problem of pushing the accelerator peddle slowly down the car would slowly increase in speed, normally. If pressed even remotely hard, it would hesitate but never stall.

Desperate, I looked at the engine compartment while it was idling. The smell of gas was bad. Also, noticed gas was disappearing, from where, I didn't have a clue. Thought it might be some prank being pulled by a neighbor.

Finally noticed, while looking in the engine compartment, a stream of gas running down the gas feed line.

I checked again and indeed gas was running down the feed line. This explained the smell of gas inside and outside of the car, loss of gas and hesitation up acceleration.

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Fuel System & How it Works

[Saab 900]

The fuel system begins with an electric fuel pump located in the fuel tank pumping fuel from the tank into the fuel lines thus building up fuel pressure in the system. The level of pressure is determined by the fuel pressure regulator, which maintains a constant fuel pressure in relation to the pressure in the engine intake manifold. This way, the injected fuel quantity will only be affected by the injection timing. A fuel filter fitted in the fuel pump helps clean the incoming fuel from any contaminates. Gas is injected by injector valves (electric solenoid valves) fitted in the cylinder head close to the intake valves and connected through a common fuel rail. The injector timing is controlled by electrical pulses from the engine control module.

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Idling Problems due to Low battery

[Saab 900]

I have a 1995 Saab 900SE 2.0 turbo. The car would be slow to start. The idle would bounce up and down between 1000 and 2000 rpms when at a stop light.I changed the bad vaccum hoses and checked for air leaks. The car still had idle problems. I had to replace the battery. With the new battery the car now runs correctly. Check the battery for charge when idle problems occur. The electronics for the fuel system can be affected if the current is incorrect. Typically the section that requires the most current will be the one to starve the most. The first to surfer is the ignition then the fuel system.

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Oxygen Sensor Locations

[Saab 900]

In the early Saabs the sensors were located in the exhaust manifolds and could be removed from under the hood. As the engines evolved the sensors were repositioned to the header pipe and then later moved to just before or after the catalytic converters. In every case you can count on the sensors being located in the exhaust because that is where the oxygen content in the fumes can be measured from.

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Roll over Valve & its Purpose

[Saab 900]

The Rollover valves have been something Saabs have used for years. They are typically located in one of the rear quarter panels (usually right rear). They are designed to shut the fuel pump off in the event of accident which causes the car to rollover.

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Blower Motor Resistor Alternate Location

[Saab 900]

The blower motor resistor for a Saab 93-se convertible is located under the hood near the windshield wipers or behind the glove box depending on which one you are looking for.....

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Coolant Amount

[Saab 900]

The typical Saab cooling system holds about 1 gallon of antifreeze mixed with distilled water 50/50. This is a general rule and may be slightly different depending on the year vehicle you are servicing.

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Coolant Draining

[Saab 900]

Thanks to JWright for contributing to this FAQ!

2003 Saab 93. To minimize the draining coolant mess, push a 2 foot length of 5/8" heater hose on the loosened radiator petcock. Rotate the hose counterclockwise to increase draining the coolant from the radiator and dispense in a drain pan. When done only tighten the "PLASTIC" drain cock 1/8 to 1/4 turn after seating. I broke mine to learn this. Just drain by the lower radiator hose.

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Coolant On Brake-Clutch Pedal

[Saab 900]

Noticing Fluid on the pedals or on your feet is an indication that the HEATER CONTROL VALVE is leaking. The Heater Control Valve is located in the dash just below the left speaker grille on the 1979-1994 Convertible 900. Faulty Heater Control valves should be replaced Immediately because this can cause your feet to slip off the pedals when trying to break quickly! This is VERY DANGEROUS and can cause an accident.

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Cooling Fan Failure Causes Fuses To Blow

[Saab 900]

Tow things cause the fan fuse to blow. Either the drivers fan bronze bearings in the back of the drivers fan or the passenger fan motor is coming apart causing the armature to short which blows the fuse. There are guys out there that say that you can replace the bearing in the fan to save money but we have not seen the bearing available yet. Replacement of the fans are the cure.

Thanks to Mike Blackwood for contributing to this FAQ!

I had the issue of cooling fan fuses blowing, i was not aware until i overheated in traffic. I replaced the relay in the main fuse compartment & to date all seems well with cooling fan cutting in & out

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Cooling Fan Runs Continuously (make both fans run)

[Saab 900]

This is the bulletin that shows how to modify the relay circuitry to enable the A/C cooling fan at the same time the radiator cooling fan is actuated. This modification along with changing the coolant temp. sensor and the thermostat allow the engine to run cooler

Click here for heating and cooling fan modification bulletin!

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Engine Overheating

[Saab 900]

Most of time, Overheating can be attributed to a faulty thermostat. Thermostat failures can be identified by noting that no heat exist or that the hose leading from the thermostat does not feel as though water is flowing through it. This is an indication that the thermostat is not opening! Replacement is the repair!

NOTE: Another Major problem with the 94-98 900 cars is that the fan resistor on the cooling fan itself will fail which will not allow the fan to come on. Most of the time when the resistor fails the fan will begin to come on later and later until the car is overheating before the fan comes on. Replacement of the complete fan assembly is the only solution because the resistor is not offered separately.

TIP: DO NOT replace the fan with a used one. Every fan in junk yards also have the same problem. There are guys that remove the fan resistor and attempt to replace just the resistor by going to radio shack and matching up the resistor but until now we have not found a suitable solution to this problem other than replacing the complete fan assembly.

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Engine Overheating (High Temperature Reading 2.1)

[Saab 900]

On the 2.1 liter cars (91-94 900 NT) The gauge temperature may read excessive and can be changed by following the procedure on the following page: Click on the link below to view the Saab Bulletin:

2.1 Liter High Temp Reading SI Bulletin

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Radiator Drain Plug Location

[Saab 900]

In most cases the radiator drain plug is located at the bottom of the radiator on the passenger side. You will usually have to remove the plastic skid plate below the radiator to access this plug. Another way to drain the radiator and in some cases and easier way to flush the system is to pull the lower radiator hose.

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Crank Sensor Issues

[Saab 900]

Failing crankshaft sensors will often cause intermittent missing from the engine and can be difficult to diagnose because they usually ocurr intermittently. A good way to test the crank sensor is to put a timing light one the number 1 plug wire (or the number 1 wire for the DI systems which is usually orange but check your wiring schematic first). On a properly functioning ignition system the timing mark will stay reasonably still when looking at it with a timing light or strobe tool. If the mark on the flywheel is moving erratically you may have a crankshaft sensor issue or a possible issue with the reluctor in the ignition distributor (if your car has one) causing a problem.

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Distributor Black wire from coil

[Saab 900]

The small black wire that runs from the ignition coil to the side of the distributor is a noise suppressor for the radio. Its purpose is to eliminate any noise that comes into the radio speakers due to non-resistor type spark plug use.

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Distributor reluctor wire quickfix

[Saab 900]

I had the wires get cut by the metal rotor in my distributor after the plastic plug cracked and fell apart. After towing my Saab 900 Spg home. I took apart the top part of the distributor and soldiered wires back together and heat sink them. I then got a rubber wire holder from the auto-parts store pinched it between plug opening and wrapped it with nylon tape. Put every thing back together and vehicle fired up. I have had no issues. I am going to order the rebuild kit soon. This was to get me back on the road. I followed the instructions on this site about taking apart the distributor.

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Distributor Rotor button removal problems

[Saab 900]

Some distributor rotor buttons are glued on and can be very difficult to get off. You might have to carefully crush the base of the rotor button with pliers and peel it off. Becareful not to bend the distributor shaft while doing this.

Thanks to martin Gill for contributing to this FAQ!

I moved my glued rotor by lifting the plastic cover, placed a large screwdriver behind it and levered from the distributor body.

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Ignition Amplifier Proper Handling Procedure

[Saab 900]

If the ignition amplifier (power stage} is removed or disturbed for any reason, high dielectric silicone grease MUST be applied between the amplifier and the heat sink. This grease is necessary to ensure proper heat transfer from the amplifier to the heat sink. High dielectric silicone grease is available at auto supply stores or Radio shack!

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Ignition Distributor Black Plug

[Saab 900]

The ignition distributor has a black plug on the side that holds the 3 wires for the ignition system. There is a common issue with that plug getting broken and pulling the wires out of the plug itself. When this happens the car will not start. The plug itself is only available in the distributor rebuild kit itself and some of the kits are no longer available which means the only other option is to epoxy the one you have back together.

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Ignition Distributor Leaks

[Saab 900]

The Saab 900 has a fairly common issue with the ignition distributor leaking oil onto the top of the turbo exhaust gasket located below the distributor. The real issue is that the distributor contains a cotton type material inside the base of the distributor where the taper of the distributor begins to narrow. That material over time begins to shrink due to heat which causes a leak onto the base of the distributor which seeps out the distributor cap. The new distributors were forsale for years but now Bosch and Saab have discontinued them. Rebuilding the distributor will not cure the problem either as the material is not contained within the kit. We are looking for something to replace this material at this time.

Thanks to saabreur for contributing to this FAQ!

There is a plumbing product that might be used to replace the cotton packing around the distributor shaft. It does not shrink, and should be well wearing and reasonably oil tight. The product is a graphite string used to re-pack the bonnet of faucets or screw type water shut-off valves. Simply wind the graphite string around the stem/shaft and tamp tight, but not too tight so the stem still fits.

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Ignition Firing Order

[Saab 900]

The firing order is 1342. What that basically means is that if you are standing in front of the distributor then the plug wires should oriented in a 1,3,4,2 manner. If you remove the ignition distributor cap and look at the rotor button it should point toward a little line on the base of where the cap goes. That should be number one cylinder. That means that the plug wire for number one cylinder should be in the same line at where that line and the point of ignition rotor button is. The number 2 cylinder goes below that one etc... You basically line up number one and the other wires follow that wire in a counter clockwise manner being cyl 1, 3, 4 2.

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Ignition Lock and Door Lock Cylinders

[Saab 900]

Graphite powder is an excellent lubricant and seems to remove gummy substances from ignition lock or door lock cylinders. Lock cylinders typically come with grease in them so don't clean them unless absolutely necessary. If they are gummy then clean them first with substance such as contact cleaner then put dry graphite into them. The cylinder should begin to work properly unless damaged internally. If it is damaged internally replacement is the only cure.

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Ignition Switch Failure Symptoms

[Saab 900]

If the ignition switch is bad, not only may certain electronic devices not automatically turn off, some may not go on. I had a bad ignition switch, and the remotes would not work, and the alarm would not go on. The radio would also stay on after the car was shut off and the doors were opened.

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Lock Cylinder turns 180 degrees

[Saab 900]

There is a "nipple" on the side of the cylinder that can break or the housing may be wallowed out that causes the lock cylinder to turn 180 degrees. Replace the lock cylinder to correct the issue or replace the housing that the cylinder fits into.

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No Start caused by bad ground (buzzing noise)

[Saab 900]

A Saab 9-3 will sometimes show a buzzing noise coming from the relay panel under the dash (usually a no-start issue). This problem was traced specifically to a loose ground wire to the system computer. The ground wires (2) are attached to the underside of the intake manifold on the engine (2.0 or 2.3 engine).

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No Start due to incorrect light bulbs

[Saab 900]

Be very careful when replacing bulbs in the turn signals and taillights. We have seen issues when people install multi filament bulbs in single filament bulb sockets and visa-versa. One of the issues that we have seen is that the vehicle will run on when turning the ignition off or will not start at all. Keep in mind that different symptoms could occur with different cars. This may or may not apply to your particular Saab.

Thanks to Andrey Y for contributing to this FAQ!

I can verify this problem in my 2003 9-3 linear with different bulbs in the rear tail lights the entire car lighting system from the exterior would flash like a police cruiser and my car would not start. Once the bulbs were replaced with the correct bulbs the car started fine.

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Spark Plugs Pre-Gapped

[Saab 900]

Whether or not a spark plug is pre-gapped is determined by the manufacturer of the spark plug. In most cases the plugs come preset but I would always check them to be sure they are correct. It would be silly to have to pull each one out because you did not take a few seconds to check them for accuracy. Remember that an "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

Thanks to Daniel Powell for contributing to this FAQ!

I would gap them to 1.05mm for most NGK variants and then grease the whole thread with copper grease, taking care not to overdo it so it leaks everywhere! 28Nm Torque when you tighten them with a proper torque spanner.
11Nm on the DI cassette star screws.

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Starter Noise During Startup

[Saab 900]

A whining or high pitched whirring noise that occurs at initial start up can often be attributed to a faulty starter assembly. Most of the time when starters fail you will begin to detect a funny odor coming from the starter area. The smell comes from the wires on the armature or shorting causing the epoxy on the wiring to melt within the starter.

Thanks to Rick Blake for contributing to this FAQ!

Starter noise continuing after engine starts, or a higher-pitched grinding can be caused by the ignition switch not returning to the 'Run' position. If the ignition switch binds in between the 'Start' and 'Run' positions, the starter is apparently still engaged. Another symptom to look for is that the power windows won't go up or down.

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Starter Replacement Happening Often

[Saab 900]

If you are having to replace your starter very often the likely problem is an issue with the ignition switch sticking causing the starter to stay engage even after the engine is running. This is usually caused by soda being spilled down in the ignition and never being cleaned out. You can pour very hot water into the ignition cylinder to try and fix it but most of the time you will need to replace the ignition switch kit which includes the lock cylinder, gear set and electrical portion of the ignition switch

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Startup Noise when first cranking

[Saab 900]

A whining or high pitched whirring noise that occurs at initial start up can often be attributed to a faulty starter assembly.

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Tachometer Bounces

[Saab 900]

A bouncing Tachometer is usually an indication that the RPM Signal from the ignition amplifier is not being generated correctly. Replacement of the ignition amplifier module is the only cure.

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Water in Distributor cause rough engine

[Saab 900]

If your run through water or spray your engine and water gets into the distributor then the car may run rough until it is removed. To get the water out you can spray the cap with WD40 lightly and it will remove the water.

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Front-End Alignment & Diagnosis

[Saab 900]

There are several ways to tell if your vehicles front-end is out of alignment. One, is that the steering wheel may appear to be of center (an indication of something bent or tie rod ends off center). Second, your car may pull to the left or right when on flat ground (an indication that the alignment is off). Third, Front tire wear is an indication that problems exist in the front-End. This could mean that the caster or camber is off and in need of adjustment.

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Front Suspension Loose over bumps

[Saab 900]

A loose feeling or rattle when going over bumps can often be attributed to faulty lower ball joints! In-order to test the ball joints you must UNLOAD the wheel by jacking up the car. Then place a large pry bar or screwdriver between the steering knuckle and the ball joint and pry up and release. There should be no movement in the joint itself! By doing this you take the pressure off of the ball joints which will allow you to test them for excessive play or movement!

NOTE: Check the the shock sleeve nut is not loose i had this problem on my ng900. Contributed from Joe Walton. Thanks Joe

Thanks to Braden for contributing to this FAQ!

Make sure the strut mounts are not bad by doing a bounce test with the spring cover off. This can also contribute to a loose suspension over bumps.

On front ends is check the sway bar links and the mounts (rubber bushings that hold the sway bar) for play. this will make a rattling. We have seen the links broken and this causes a loose feeling along with the front end being out of alignment.

Thanks to Darren Cook for contributing to this FAQ!

I had the same issue ifter about 150000kms. I have just replaced all the control arm and tie end bushings on my 93 Viggen with an aftermarket Poly
bushing set (purple colour). I also replaced the tortion bar tie ends and front wheel bearings. I didnt need to replace the bearings as it turned
out. The bushings however have transformed the car into something better than ever. You can also keep your original control arms to do this. However you will need to butcher out the old bushings. I also had to fix worn subframe mounting holes on the rear subframe/radius arm. The holes had grown over the years and made the entire connection sloppy. Plug weld and grind flat all surfaces before installing new bushes. Well worth doing I would suggest for all 93 saabs over 150000kms. Its made a new tight car again.

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Front Wheel Bearing Noise

[Saab 900]

Front wheel bearing issues can often be determined by loading the wheel that is suspect for the bearing to be bad. By turning the wheel left or right this will place the weight of the vehicle on or off of the suspect side. If the noise increases with load then you must replace that wheel bearing.

If you hear a grinding noise while driving and turning slowly check the dust shield and the bearing. Most common is bearing and should be replaced if needed. Also check to see if the tires are cupping on the inside as this will be noisy.

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Grinding while turning

[Saab 900]

Question: Hello, I have a 01 9-5 aero, and now that it is nice out I'm driving with the windows down, and have notice that when I turn left it makes a grinding noise like my tire is rubbing on something. From as far as I can tell the tire is not rubbing on anything. So today while I was putting some wash fluid in I banged on the tire and heard it rattle, this kind of alarmed me. So here are the symptoms. Only makes a grinding noise when my steering wheel is at/above a certain left turn. DOES NOT make the noise on right hand turns. any ideas please help!

Answer: 3 things to ck is to look at the dust shield if it is rubbing take a screw driver and push it back then look at the pads make sure they are not to the wear indicator. The last thing to look at is the wheel bearing if they go bad you will hear noise when loading the weight of the car on that bad bearing while turning.

See more about this topic at Saab 95 (9-5) 1998-2008 Forum

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Lower Control Arm Failures

[Saab 900]

Lower control arm failures on the Saab 900 79-94 are quite common. They usually break at the welds because the vehicle has hit something but we have seen some of the arms break at the welds. TW

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Popping When Turning Left or Right

[Saab 900]

A consistent popping noise that can be heard when turning hard left or hard right can be identified as an outer Constant Velocity Joint failure. Be sure that when trying to diagnose this that the noise is consistent or a continuous pop! This means that the shell or housing that supports the Balls in the CV joint has broken or has excessive wear!

Thanks to Daniel G for contributing to this FAQ!

Another possible issue is a worn strut bearing. This happened to me. Turning at low speeds, there would be a thump and you could tell which side was bad. It is not very easy to access, as you have to remove the strut and disassemble the strut assembly. Air tools will be very helpful, if not necessary, to remove the lock bolt.

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Power Steering Fluid Leak At The Upper Hose!

[Saab 900]

One of the most common leaks on a Saab 900 is the hose clamped hose on the power steering pump of 16 valve 900 cars. The common issue is that the clamp manually works itself loose and caused fluid to run down the hose onto the suspension on the passenger side of the car. The common cure is to simply tighten up the hose clamp to eliminate the leak.

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Power Steering & How it Works

[Saab 900]

The power-assisted steering gear your Saab is known as a rack-and-pinion steering assembly. It consists of a control valve and servo cylinder which are placed in a similar housing, along with the power steering pump and reservoir, these are the main components of the system. Power steering fluid is pumped from the power steering pump to the control valve where, depending on which way the steering wheel is turned, it is directed to either the right or the left side of the servo cylinder. The power steering fluid then applies pressure on the rack's piston, thus providing power assistance to the rack-and-pinion steering gear. The mechanical components of the steering gear are lubricated by high-viscosity grease and sealed from the hydraulic circuit and other parts of the system by seals and rubber gaskets.

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Power Steering Noise

[Saab 900]

The most common cause of power steering noise is a fluid leak. Leaking fluid causes the pump to whine due to lack of lubrication in the pump. In most cases the whine can be fixed by locating the leak and repairing it but in cases where the pump is ran dry for extended periods the pump may have to be replaced. The lines are the the most common leak area. They usually leak where the rubber line turns into the metal line. If you can turn the two parts of the lines seperately that is where the leak will be in most cases.

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Rear Suspension Problem

[Saab 900]

Thanks to Terance Love for contributing to this FAQ!

Many do not realize that one of the effects of negative camber - toe in. All wheels that are tilted will tend to go in a circle around the point at which the projected line of their axle touches the ground. Hence negative camber produces the same effect as toe-in. Worse, with a wide tire, this results in a tension across the tire (due to each side trying to cover a different distance) resulting in a slip-stick wear of the inside third or so of the tire. The slip-stick effect (which is cyclical) is likely the main reason for the scalloping typical of 9-5 rear tires with its associated noise and high tire wear. The solution is to make the tires more vertical (i.e reduce the negative camber significantly). The adverse effect will be that the car will tend to change its under-steer/over-steer behavior. From reading the forums and measuring my own Saab 9-5 it's clear that the Saab 9-5 rear suspension tends over time towards excessive negative camber. The solution would appear to be to reset the camber to the middle of the recommended range by shims or by replacing the bushes on the lateral arms. The latter, on feedback from the forums, appears to be only a very temporary solution. Presumably the bushes distort quickly to result in increased negative camber. Perhaps harder bushes would resolve the issue with different problems!

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Rear Suspension Rattles Going Over Bumps?

[Saab 900]

The likely cause of the problem is the trailing arm bushing probably came out of the trailing arm. On the earlier model cars this was a common problem. Replacing the trailing arm or bushing is the cure. You may also want to check the rear shocks to be sure the problem is not there.

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Shocks, Struts, Springs Should I replace

[Saab 900]

Shocks-Struts Trying to determine if you Shocks-struts need to be replaced can be difficult. Most of the time when the shocks get worn out you can tell by pushing down on each corner of the car. If the car bounces more than once when it returns to the rest position then it likely means that the dampening effect of the shock is worn out. This would mean that you would need to replace the shocks. Replacing them in pairs in not required but is preferred in-order to keep the dampening the same on both sides.

Springs Most spring failures can be identified by noting that ride height has changed. If you notice that the height of the front or rear or even one corner is not correct then the likely problem is a broken/worn spring. Replacing them in pairs in not required but is preferred in-order to keep the ride height the same on both sides.

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Tires for Less Money

[Saab 900]

Tires for less money: Next time you need tires on your 900NG or 9-3 (1998-2002) you may save up to $160.00 or more with this information. Saab specifies a "VR" rated tire (130mph ) and tire shops may require that you purchase a VR if they install your tires on the car in their shop at the time of tire purchase. But if you just use the car around town or do not exceed freeway speeds for extended periods of time, a "HR" rated tire (up to 130mph) will fit and work fine and save you up to 35% when you go to purchase new tires. The tire shop MAY require you to bring in the rims OFF the car at time of purchase to install and balance the tires, but then you can drive the car back to the shop with the new tires so the shop can verify the installation and activate the warranty for the tires (I already did this). I discovered this last time I purchased tires from a major national warehouse chain for my 900NG [with over 200K miles] that we use as a spare car around town. I saved $160. off the purchase of 4 Michelin-Brand tires buying the HR vs. VR (OE size). I have about 10,000 miles on these tires with no sacrifice to handling or ride quality. Additional information: I do NOT tow with the car and I do NOT operate the car at maximum load capacity.

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Automatic Thermostatic Valve Leaks

[Saab 900]

The automatic transmission thermostatic valve for trans cooler is located just in front and to the left of the battery just below the radiator fan motor. If it begins to leak it could be the oring in the valve itself or it could be the hoses. Disassemble the block to repair the oring if the leak is coming from there or replace the hoses if the crimps have failed.

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Automatic Transmission Leaks

[Saab 900]

Oil leaks that appear to be coming from the transmission pans may not always be the case. There is a common issue of an (engine) oil leak between the two halves of the transmission case that is often confused as a transmission leak. The only cure to this issue is remove the transmission and replace the seal between the front and rear half. This will require complete disassembly of the transmission in-order to do this job.

NOTE: Another very common issue with transmission leaks is the pans themselves. If you do NOT have metal bands around each pan with green gaskets then you likely need to upgrade your pans. The metal bands will help keep the pans flush to the bottom of the tranmission which will keep them from leaking. The original pans did not have the bands around them and when you tightened the 10mm bolts, the bolt heads would indent the pans causing leaks. The only cure is to replace the old style pans with the updated versions which come with the green gaskets.

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Automatic Transmission Oil level check

[Saab 900]

The transmission fluid is held in two different locations. The front half of the transmission holds the ATF fluid (app 5 qts). The dipstick for it is at the front of the transmission just in front of the passenger cooling fan on the radiator.

The rear of the transmission holds the differential fluid. You can fill the rear differential fluid (gear oil) by pulling out the side drain plug on the passenger side and filling the fluid until it runs out the fill hole.

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Axle Assemblies & Why We Don't Sell Them

[Saab 900]

Outer CV joint failures & inner driver failures are quite common on the Saab 9000 cars and there are companies out there that sell rebuilt complete axles assemblies that end up being a little cheaper than buying the outer joint & inner driver components separately. Saabs are specifically designed to have axles that weigh a certain amount & they should be certain lengths for balance reasons and most rebuilt axles are done without taking this into consideration. We have seen issues with these rebuilt axles flying out of the inner driver causing transmissions to get torn up as well as other severe damage.

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Clutch Pedal Problem on Cold Mornings

[Saab 900]

In most cases poor shifting or poor clutch function on cold mornings can be attributed a failing clutch master cylinder. Air is usually pulled in from the backside of the failing clutch master which causes the throw of the clutch slave to be to small. This condition causes shifting issues or poor clutch operation. Replacement of the Clutch master is the correct repair!

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Hydraulic Hose Repair

[Saab 900]

Leaking Hydraulic hoses can often be attributed to a leaky clamp which cause the hose to be able to be turned. You can repair some hoses temporarily by cutting a small 1/4 slice of the metal fitting out (being careful not to cut the hose) then put a adjustable hose clamp over the (now cut) fitting and tighten down the clamp. What happens here is that you cut just enough of the metal clamp out that when you put the hose clamp on and tighten it down that is basically creates a new clamp over top of the one that started leaking. This is a great quick fix and may last a bit but replacement of the hoses with new is the best long term solution.

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Inner Driver Failures

[Saab 900]

The inner drivers connect the transmission to the drive shafts. They can fail from lubrication issues or from wear and tear, the thrust surfaces can develop depressions inside the carrier above on the mating surfaces. A very small depression in the driver mating surface will cause a vibration problem under loads or acceleration as the tripod bearings rides in and out of the worn area. If you want to do this job right then replace the worn inner drivers, the tripod bearings and replace the boot. Castrol Wheel Bearing Grease NLGI ( a lithium based grease) seems to work better for long term lubrication..

Saab 900 79-94 - Right side failure is more common than left (especially on 900 Automatic cars) Due to exhaust location
Saab 900 94-98 - drivers side tends to go bad more frequently than the passenger side.
Saab 9000 86-98 - Drivers side tends to fail more often
Saab 93 98-2003 - Passenger side failures are more common
Saab 95 98-2009 - Drivers side failures are more common

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Inner Drivers Cause Vibrational Issues

[Saab 900]

Netherlands Saab contributor says: When I went trough your FAQS I found this question about Vibrations front end and maybe I have a Solution.

I had the same problem for a long time and I also discovered that the inner drives were worn out, the car shakes between 75 and 90 Km/h (50-60M/h). The bigger problem was" where to get spare parts" so I started to phone all the Saab Experts I knew one of them told me to switch them (the left to the right and v ). The car is driving smoothly again (no vibrations when acceleration) the only thing.......when you slow down on your engine you feel a little shaking in the front end. I hope this will help some Saab drivers it's worth trying. The drives come out very easy, just use a big screwdriver or a tire-lifter and they pop out. Best regards Ago Grave (the Netherlands)

NOTE: Keep in mind that swapping the drivers are an option but I have also seen where guys are having the cups rewelded and ground down to where they should be as well.

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Manual Transmission conversion from automatic?

[Saab 900]

You can swap from a automatic transmission to a manual transmission. The job is really not that big. You have to swap out the transmission, flywheel & shifter box in between the seat. The shifter box components can usually be purchase from our used parts division for a reasonable price.

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Manual Transmission Fluid Level

[Saab 900]

On cars prior to around 91 models there was a dipstick that went up to the exhaust and you could check the fluid there. On 91 on cars the dipstick was in the side cover of the transmission. The dipstick is there you just have to pull out the 19mm bolt in the side cover below the exhaust to check the fluids on the manual transmissions.

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Manual Transmission Noise On Deceleration

[Saab 900]

A whining noise from the transmission during acceleration and deceleration can often be attributed to faulty pinion bearings in the transmission. Generally, what happens is that the bearings begin to get pits in them due to excessive wear or dirty transmission oil. Catching the pinion bearings prior to complete failure will result in less cost during a transmission repair!

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Manual Transmission Oil Leak

[Saab 900]

Under the front of the Saab 900 5 speed transmission there is a small weep hole that you can see the flywheel from. If you look at this hole and notice fluid leaking from it the fluid could be coming from two different spots. The most common leak would be a slave cylinder leak which could be caused by a faulty slave or a slave that was scored/scratched during the installation. The other leak source could be black seal behind the slave that the input shaft goes through.

Warning!NOTE: We have also seen leaks from the allen screws that hold the slave to the transmission. There are 3 screws and if you do not tighten them all the way then the oil slinger for the transmission will build pressure pushing oil out of the bolt holes.

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Manual Transmission shifting hard

[Saab 900]

Several things that can cause difficult shifting in the classic 900 cars: There is a thin rod that runs the length of the shifter shaft (it actually sits in the mushroom that you pull up on) This long, thin rod is attached to a pin in the bottom of the shifter rod and can be adjusted (by turning clockwise or counterclockwise) to make the pin length longer or shorter. The pin length actually controls how the shifter assembly moves in the preformed gate located in the shift box. If the pin length is not correct then you may have Problems with the shifter going into reverse without lifting up on the mushroom.

Another problem that can cause difficulty in locating the gears is bushing failures in the shifter box. There is a nylon bushing and a rubber bushing both of which are located in the front section of the shift box on the 5 speed cars. Unfortunately both of these parts can only be purchased directly from Saab. 8375156 is the rubber bushing & 8373078 is the nylon bushing.
On 1991-94 model Classic 900 car shifting problems can be caused by a shifter joint separating between the shift rod inside the car and where it attaches to the actual transmission shifter rod. Shift Joint failure can generally be identified by noting that there is no shifting pattern when attempting to locate gears.

Click here for a Photo of the shift joint!

Click here for Transmission Components!

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Manual Transmission shifting Issues

[Saab 900]

The most common shifting issue is that the shift coupler at the transmission gets loose or broken which causes the shift lever to feel loose. When this happens you cannot find gears easily. Replacement of the manual shift joing is the cure.

Note: We have also seen issues with the shift rods and ball companion flange breaking as well.

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No Start due to Neutral Safety Switch

[Saab 900]

Neutral Safety Switch issues can cause no start conditons on the 900 and 9000 cars. What generally happens is that brass contacts on the switch itself get worn out causing the car to crank only when prendle (shifter) is moved back and forth. In Most cases you can move the shifter to neutral and the car will crank. Replacement of the switch is the cure.

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Shifter Pops Out Of Gear When Decelerating

[Saab 900]

The shifter lever popping out of gear generally means that a Syncro ring in the transmission is worn and in need of replacement. Second and third gear Syncro are the rings that begin to wear on the classic 900!

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Speedometer Noise

[Saab 900]

Speedometer noise can come from either a failing speedometer cable or a faulty speedometer head. Replacement of the cable is the usual failure and would be the best place to start when trying to diagnose this noise.

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Transmission Automatic Drain tool

[Saab 900]

The tool to use to remove the Saab 900 automatic transmission drain plug is a Drag Link Socket - which is a flat-tip screwdriver blade that hooks onto a 1/2" ratchet. They come in several widths; a 3/4" wide one is fine. If you have to make the tip thinner to get it in the slot, be sure NOT to grind it to a point else it'll cam-out of the slot when you try turning it.

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Transmission Automatic Drain tool (copy)

[Saab 900]

The tool to use to remove the Saab 900 automatic transmission drain plug is a Drag Link Socket - which is a flat-tip screwdriver blade that hooks onto a 1/2" ratchet. They come in several widths; a 3/4" wide one is fine. If you have to make the tip thinner to get it in the slot, be sure NOT to grind it to a point else it'll cam-out of the slot when you try turning it.

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Transmission Id Tag Information

[Saab 900]

Click here for Transmission ID Tag Information!

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Transmission Leaks On Right Below The Exhaust

[Saab 900]

Most transmission fluid or oil leaks come from the guide pin hole on the right front side of the engine towards the ignition distributor where the engine and transmission guide hole is. Most techs don't put a bolt in that hole and seal it with sealant. If you do not put a bolt in the hole the transmission will push fluid out of the hole and you could ruin your transmission!

Saab 900 79-94 Auto Transmission parts click here!

Saab 900 79-94 Manual Transmission parts click here!

NOTE: It is also common for the Auto transmissions to leak engine oil between the primary and secondary transmission cases. If this occurs the Automatic transmission must be replaced!

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Transmission Oil Leak Diagnosis

[Saab 900]

On the 900 cars there are several key areas that transmissions leak from. They will be listed below:
Automatic cars: There are several places that Automatic transmissions leak oil from. The most common place is the front and rear transmission pans. In the late 80's Saab introduced a set of transmission pans that used reinforcement by placing steel inserts around the outer edges of the pans. This basically eliminated any oil leaks that were prominent on the automatic transmissions. In some situations the automatic transmissions can leak just in front of the engine oil drain plug where the primary and secondary transmissions mate. Under these circumstances the transmission must be completely disassembled and resealed with new gaskets. What generally occurs is that the gasket that seals between the two halves develops a small crack allowing oil to leak out.

5 Speed Cars: There are several key areas to look at when trying to locate oil leaks on a 5 speed transmission. The most common oil leaks come from the side and rear gaskets on the transmissions. Another key area to look at is the Allen bolts that hold the clutch slave cylinder to the transmission. In many cases people do not tighten these bolts enough which allows oil to leak over the bolts and slowly drip down the primary casing causing oil to leak out of the peep hole at the bottom of the 5 speed.

One of the most common oil leaks that occurs (and usually the one most overlooked) is that someone replaces the transmission and forgets to install a bolt in the front right (just below the exhaust manifold) dowel pin hole. There is a bolt hole in the middle of the dowel and many people forget to place a bolt in that hole. If the bolt is not there then the transmission oil is slung up through the hole and leaks down the side when driving down the road.

Click here for Manual Transmission Components!

Click here for Automatic Transmission Components!

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Transmission pops out of Gear when backing

[Saab 900]

Severely worn Reverse gears and Reverse gear idlers can be identified by noting that the transmission shifter jumps out when backing or that the transmission makes a loud clicking noise when backing. Either of these symptoms are an indication that one of the gears has a broken tooth and is in need of replacement. Either the Reverse Gear, Idler Gear or possibly both have chips in them. Saab uses no Syncro rings for Reverse gear so what generally occurs is that the Reverse gear and Idler gears do not mesh well and develop cracks over a period of time. These cracks eventually lead to not enough contact area which results in popping out of gear. In most cases the transmission must be rebuilt and both the reverse gear and Idler gears must be replaced! We off both the gears and complete transmissions both of which can be found on the following page:

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Transmissions and Buying Used

[Saab 900]

We don't typically suggest buying used transmissions because of the amount of wear associated with its moving parts. Transmissions typically last around 100-175,000 miles but anything after that is a "gift". This is not uncommon with any car as all transmissions have the consistently moving parts which wear out quicker than stationary parts. We do have a used parts division that can supply used transmissions but the warranty is no more than 90 days in most cases.

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Transmission Stops Car When backing

[Saab 900]

If your car begins to just STOP when trying to backup, chances are the pinion bearing has dropped or is beginning to drop in the transmission. When the pinion begins to drop it causes binding against the Ring gear in the differential thus resulting in the car stopping abruptly. You can prevent this from occurring by listening to the transmission. Pinion bearings that are in need of replacement can often be identified by listening for a whine on acceleration or deceleration in the upper gears.

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Vibration On Hard Acceleration

[Saab 900]

Vibration on hard acceleration can often be attributed to excessive wear to the inner drivers on the transmission. They tend to wear on the edges that are in direct contact with the inner carrier bearing. Front end vibrations often occur because of lack of tire rotation as well. One can identify cupped or poorly rotated tires by rubbing your hand down the outside edge of the tire and noting whether or not the outer edge of the tire is smooth.

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Engine Performance Modifications

[Saab 900]

There a tons of companies that claim to be able to get 5 more horsepower out of every performance they sell. The reality is that Saabs will run exceptionally well with a couple of basic modifications. The two that we recommend the most is an upgraded APC Control Unit (red box on the 900) and a upgraded fuel pressure regulator. Many other modifications can be done but in most cases these two will help your car run with just about any other Saab. Keep in mind that cubic inches=Horsepower and that is the bottom line. The turbo cars have tremendous power capabilities but you must compare apples to apples.

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Octane Requirements & What I should Run?

[Saab 900]

Depending on the Saab you have, Saab Cars uses a system call APC (Automatic performance control) which detects knock when low octane fuel is used and retards the ignition timing to prevent engine damage. This is what I call a Grandmother clause. In-other words, grandma can use low octane fuel and not do any harm or a youthful speed conscious person can put higher octane in and get more performance. With a normally functioning APC system the basic rule is the higher the octane the higher the boost pressure will go because less knock will occur in the combustion chamber.

Thanks to Aaron Kidder for contributing to this FAQ!

After moving to Colorado from the east coast with my 2002 9-3 at about 20K miles. I stubbled on a very important piece of information...I saw two similar cars in the dealer with the cylinder heads off. The pistons were badly damaged from detonation. To make this short, there was a Saab bulletin that owners above 5000 feet elevation should use gas with an octane rating that is higher than the baseline 87 to prevent this type of engine damage in turbocharged engines. I never got this bulletin, but read the shops copy and now use 91 at every fill up as we live at 7000 feet and drive up to 9000 feet very often. I hope this may help someone prevent an engine failure if you also live at high altitude.

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Turbo Addition to a Non-Turbo Car

[Saab 900]

It is possible but not feasible to add a turbo to a non-turbo car. You would have to add the Turbocharger, add the APC system which would require wiring modifications or complete wiring replacement. In any case it would be huge undertaking and would require extensive modifications. Without these modifications to prevent detonation a Non-Turbo engine would surely suffer internal engine damage due to the increase in combustion chamber temperatures that accompany turbo charging.

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Turbo APC Solenoid Location

[Saab 900]

The APC solenoid is located on the top of the radiator and has 3 hoses coming out of it going to the turbo and related turbo hoses.

NOTE: the APC solenoid can be checked by simply unplugging the wires. if the car runs good with it unplugged thats the problem.I actually blew mine apart with compressed air, had my fingers over all 3 holes. it pops back together nicely by pressing together. This was the problem that caused turbo "misfire" under heavy acceleration on my 1987 900 turbo.

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Turbo Boost Gauge Reading

[Saab 900]

Reading the Saab boost guage is pretty simple. When in white zone that means that the engine is creating a vacuum only (usually between 10-15 inches of vacuum. When in the orange zone the boost pressure is approximately from 1-10 PSI of boost pressure. When in the red zone the boost pressure is typically above 10 PSI.

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Turbo Bypass Valve Diagnosis

[Saab 900]

A broken bypass valve can also present with hissing. It will stop when the vacuum line coming from the turbo bypass valve running to the intake manifold is pinched off/squeezed. Unplug the vacuum line at the intake manifold port. See if there is resistance when you suction to the hose at the top of the valve, if there is no resistance the diaphragm in your Turbo Bypass Valve is broken. Replacement is the only cure.

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Turbo Bypass Valve Testing for Failures

[Saab 900]

One can test the bypass valve to see if it is faulty by removing the vacuum hose from the intake manifold and applying suction to the hose. If the valve is faulty the suction applied will not hold creating a vacuum leak. A leaking bypass valve will often cause the car to stall when coming to a stop!

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Turbochargers and Rebuilding Yourself

[Saab 900]

Rebuild kits are available for most turbochargers but rebuilding them yourself with these kits can present more problems that most are aware of. In-order to rebuild a turbocharger correctly you must balance the turbo shaft and impellors to keep the turbo from failing prematurely. We have all the neccessary tools to do this correctly and most individuals do not. We do not offer these kits because we feel they cannot be built correctly without these tools.

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Turbo Gauge Not Working and Reading

[Saab 900]

Turbo Gauge Not Working: non-working turbo gauges can be attributed to vacuum hoses failures. When the hoses crack then the vacuum created from the intake manifold will no longer pull down the needle on the boost gauge. Cracked hoses must be replaced to cure the non-working gauge.

Reading the Turbo Gauge: The White is the vacuum in inches meaning that there is vacuum only in the intake manifold while in the white zone. The yellow means that you are in boost (pressure in the intake). In most cases the red color is noting that the boost pressure is exceeding approximately 10 PSI of boost pressure. As the red part widens the pressure is increasing.

Thanks to Jeff for contributing to this FAQ!

The turbo gauge in the saabs, at least the new 93, is more of a torque request gauge. You can nail it from a dead stop and it will shoot to red, obviously the engine is still pulling vac at that time.

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Turbo Oil Leaks into intake

[Saab 900]

When a turbocharger fails it ususally pulls oil into the engine from the compressor side of the turbo because of the suction that is created there. This engine oil can filter into the intake, the intercooler and all the hoses on the intake side. You typically will not have to worry about getting it out because the replacement turbo will push that oil out of the engine with pressure. There are cases where a very large amount of oil will be pushed into the intercooler and will not come out. you can remove the intercooler to get it out but in the majority of the cases this will never be an issue.

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Turbo's & Allowing them to Idle down

[Saab 900]

Allowing the Turbocharger to slow down after driving hard and shutting the vehicle off quickly is something that Turbo owners began to realize was very important when turbochargers came into production back in the late 1970's. As a matter of fact, Saab posted this on the back of the upper visor on production vehicles for years. The fact is, this was done because Turbochargers spin at maximum spin rate of approximated 40,000 revolutions per minute and when you drive hard and then stop the engine abruptly the oil supply to the turbocharger is taken away causing something called "Coking". This process occurs because the Center section of the turbo continues to spin without oil causing the oil to actually burn and coat the bearings/bushings with an coating that would cause the turbo to fail prematurely. In approximately 1988 Saab introduced the Water cooled center sections (actually the bearing section is lubricated by Oil and the section around the oil section is cooled by antifreeze). This, coupled with downsizing the turbochargers considerably has dramatically reduced the number of Turbo failures. Slowing down moderately and coasting to your home for about one/half mile or so would still be a good idea but not mandatory.

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Turbo Whistle During Acceleration

[Saab 900]

Turbocharger whistling is often caused by excessive bearing wear. What generally happens is that the center section bearings tend to wear allowing the impellers to rub against the compressor housing of the Turbocharger causing a whistling during acceleration. This is not to say that all Turbochargers that whistle need to be replaced. Some Turbochargers whistle for years without failure. Frequent oil changes will help prevent Turbocharger failure!

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Water leak in Passenger Floorboard

[Saab 900]

Water leaking in the passenger floorboard can most often be attributed to a clogged drain under the fresh air intake (the opening the right of the hood. In most cases leaves get in there an clog up the drain at the bottom causing water to fill the area. Once this happens there is no option but for the water to spill over into the passenger floor because the drain will no longer allow the water to drain on the outside.

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Wiper Alignment off on Headlights

[Saab 900]

The most common issue with headlight wipers going in the opposite directions is that the nuts under the wiper arms get loose causing them to not synchronize correctly. Make sure you test the wiper blades with them off the glass to make sure you have them tightened down in the correct spot. If you don't pull them off the glass to test them by turning them on then you could damage your bumper cover.

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Wiper Arms Go Opposite Directions or stop in wrong position

[Saab 900]

Wiper arms going in opposite directions can usually be attributed to loosening of the 13 mm nut located at the base of the wiper arm. Simply realigning the arms and tightening the nut will usually correct the issue. One tip when doing this is to pull the wiper arm off the windshield when first checking the alignment so that the arm does not hit the hood or trunk. It is also common to see issues with the arm nut being loose so long that the arm it self gets stripped out which means that you must replace the arm to cure this issue.

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Wiper Arms Will Not Move

[Saab 900]

When your wiper arm (windshield, trunk wiper or headlight wiper) won't move the most common issue is a loose nut under the wiper cap at the base of the wiper arm. When the nut gets loose the arm cannot move the because their is no compression to hold the arm tight to the shaft of the motor. In most cases you can tighten the nut and it will start working again. There are situations where the arm has been reemed out to a point where the wiper arm will need to be replaced to correct the problem.

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Wipers only Work on one side

[Saab 900]

The basic problem with the wipers not working is normally the 13 mm nuts working loose under the wiper arm covers but the wiper transmission can also come apart which may necessitate the replacement of the wiper transmission.

Click Here for the repair procedure

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Wipers will not shut off

[Saab 900]

Failures with the wipers not turning off can often be attributed to faulty wiper stalk switches. The internal conacts of the stalk switch will get burned which causes the switch to malfunction.

NOTE: We have also seen issues with the intermittent wiper relay failing which leads to the same fault. This may be the best place because it is much cheaper than the stalk switch to replace.

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Wipers work intermittently

[Saab 900]

The Saab 900 has a intermittent wiper relay located on a metal bracket above the clutch/break pedals which controls the intermittent wiper function of the windshield wipers. Depending on the position of the wiper stalk switch will determine the interval between the wipers working and them being in the rest mode. When the intermittent relay fails often times the wipers will not work at all. In most cases the relay is the cause but the actual stalk switch can cause similar failure issues.

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