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The place for you to start a thread about and show us your car.

(Please stick to one thread, rather than starting several threads for the same vehicle).

Your Cars is the place for telling us about your new cars, minor upgrades and mini projects.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:02 pm
Posts: 11
Car Model: 9-3 OG
Hi, this is project Silver a thread where I want to share my 9-3 SE Coupe and get thoughts and suggestions along the way. It's turned into a mini restoration but here's the pictures and story so far...

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Here she is back at the start of 2018 I took a gamble after seeing this for sale and it ticked a few boxes. I wanted a coupe but with a b204 engine, no sunroof and I really wanted silver if possible. I'd been keeping an eye out and this one had good MOT history with no mention of corrosion and the rear arches still looked in good shape. The bulkhead had been repaired by the Saab main dealer back in 2008 and it had also had a top end rebuild for the head gasket again by Saab with some eye watering receipt bills.

250mile trip home was great, really enjoyed it and made a note of some niggles:
- It had a moment on a country road veering off to the nearside by itself.
- Side and rear windows kept steaming up the whole journey presumably had a water leak somewhere.
- Near home I had some fun boosting and smiling away. Worked great, then one pull near home I experienced the dreaded fuel cut. The hose had come off the turbo actuator, but I won't forget that jolt fuel cut gives lol.
- It had a cheap boost gauge very roughly cut into the dashboard panel. Quite like that location for a boost gauge but they hadn't re-located the light switch. They simply switched the headlights on and stuffed it behind the dash.
- Engine light was on for an evap fault (according to previous owner)

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It had some modifications some of which I liked and others that needed to go. The roof and all the black exterior trim were coated in carbon fibre effect vinyl. To be fair it looked quite good from a distance, but the application was poor and not my taste. It quickly went in the bin along with the blue interior light bulbs.

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On the positive someone had fitted front and rear aero bumpers. I really like the looks of the aero but wanted the b204 engine, so this was a good start. The aero badge superglued onto the tailgate however wasn't a good addition and pulled some paint off when removed too doh!

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First job was to sort the water leaks and as the interior would need to come out, this seemed like a good opportunity to upgrade. Contacted Peter at Rawsaab and within a few days I was there staring at the treasure trove of parts. The car was packed for the journey home, just enough room to see out the passenger window and move the gearstick. Good day that and top bloke, highly recommended for any OG spares.

I bought nearly everything for an aero look interior in that trip:
Front seats (from aero vert)
Rear seats (from aero coupe with turbo embossed on them)
Black aero coupe carpet
Black glove box, console panels and sill plates
Aero door cards front and rear.
Carbon dash surround
Aero steering wheel
Loads of other bits and bobs like space saver and tool tray.

It was dark and raining so didn't get a picture of the car when I unpacked but here's a seat and carpet from the rawsaab trip.
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Newly purchased black Carpet cleaned up a treat and so I set about prepping the car.
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Cleaned out the scuttle drain that was full of dirt. It was causing water to back up and go into the heater box opening in the bulkhead. From there it looked to be entering via the re-circulation flap and behind the sponge. Unfortunately the seal on the cabin filter holder had perished, you can't buy that so I made one with closed cell tape copying the original.

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Took the interior out and got a good feel for the condition of the car. Bit of rust around the boot floor bungs that someone has painted emulsion over. Water evidence around fuel filler floor area where some rust is present at that seam and bracket. Could see evidence of the bulkhead repair covered in seam sealer and grinding dust that had rusted on the drivers floor area.

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Removed a load of extra wires that once belonged to parking sensors, towbar and hands free kit. Started looking at wiring diagrams for the new seats but something was niggling away at me...

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Yep you guessed it, that dirty great patch of seam sealer on the bulkhead. I'd been researching more about the repair and that slight brown crack and tinge in the seam sealer didn't look right. Poked it with a screwdriver and heard that horrible rust cracking sound "noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo". Few choice words and a brew later I started chipping away see how bad it was from the inside.

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Couldn't see much from the engine bay side due to the bulkhead insulation and tight access. The insulation however was wet in the bottom corners and holding water. That decided the fate of the bulkhead insulation which was removed and could see the steering mount area was very rusty.

Went over the whole car and found a few more areas of concern. The drivers strut tower looked a bit crusty and I managed to poke a hole in the area behind the battery tray.

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The car was always going to get some attention, but I had dreams of engine rebuilds and power mods. The dream hadn't factored in rust, bodywork or the MOT expiring about the time I found these issues. Typically other things took priority and had to park this for nearly a year and come back to it February 2019. During that time I collected parts mainly off people on the conversion side who break these cars for the b204 engine. Couldn't resist test fitting this strut brace that someone had re-enforced. No laughing at how rough that engine bay looks especially that air filter.

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posting part 2 in a few mins...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:02 pm
Posts: 11
Car Model: 9-3 OG
Part 2 of the story so far...

Someone doing an Astra Saab conversion had bought a 1998 b204 coupe and were scrapping the shell. They put a message out there to see if anyone wanted anything before it went. Took a gamble and bought the whole rolling car minus engine, ecu and odd bits they use for the conversion.

I bought this thinking I could remove metal and parts for the silver one, but it threw a right spanner in the works. The car had only done 70k and potentially in better condition than my silver one. However the car is a cat C write off and been hit in the rear corner creasing the quarter and bulking the boot floor and rear rail. The car had a dent in the bonnet and a few dings and scratches that really showed on the black paintwork. I was undecided as it might be cheaper to have the black one jigged and end up with an excellent shell in terms of rust.

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Whichever shell I decided to use the engine had to come out of the silver one so cracked on with that.

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Engine out the bulkhead corner was looking rusty but hoped the chassis rail would clean up. Took the screwdriver to some suspect areas in the inner arches that had been hidden by the plastic liners. This revealed some more rot that would need fixing.

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Needed the pedal plate removing from the bulkhead and all the pedals out the way too. This quickly turned into a lot of dismantling, labelling and picture taking. Now I had good access to the complete bulkhead although the boot was looking a bit chaotic.

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When it had the bulkhead repair 10 years ago they welded in the extra triangle fillet at the top but also braced the bottom of the steering plate to the chassis leg. To be fair that's not a bad idea except they also enclosed the side creating a water trap. Water shouldn't really go in this area but the seam sealant on the scuttle joint has dried and cracked (more on that later). This combined with the insulation and added restriction has retained water causing advanced corrosion.

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Started removing sealant, drilling spot welds and cutting out the steering plate. Tried cleaning back the rust to fresh metal but it was deep into the chassis leg and could poke a hole or two in it.

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Posting part 3 in a few mins


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:02 pm
Posts: 11
Car Model: 9-3 OG
Part 3 of the story so far...

At this point I was gutted and thought the car wasn't worth saving and it would make sense to continue with the black shell. Told everyone I was scrapping it and started removing the interior wiring loom complete and other spares. About this time Gary from Hillfort Garage (ProWorx on facebook) was on a similar quest to find a Saab 9-3 OG Coupe with a b204. He ended up buying a few coupes that all turned out to be real rust buckets and recorded what he was finding. This was the kick up the backside I needed to realise that actually mine were quite good but it gave me a few more areas to check.

Taking the sill covers off both cars revealed both had some slight rot in the drivers sill. Oddly the passenger side on both cars is fine but the black Saab was worse in this area.

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The floors seem to go where the depressions are in the footwells. I suspect leaking water or condensation collects here on the inside. They looked fine and rust free until I started scraping and fairly similar rust wise on both cars.

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This had confused things I now had two less than perfect shells both with pro's and con's and a decision to make. I liked the silver one and that seemed to make more sense financially although more work in terms of rust repair. Now I was back on track and time to start repairing, cutting the outer chassis leg back the rot had only damaged the outer skin.

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The seam where the steering plate attaches on the inner arch didn't look too clever either.

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I started building up the chassis leg and lower bulkhead. The 2mm was hard to form so I had to do the lip in a separate section and weld the two parts in place.

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No laughing at that tab welding on the lower bulkhead. Wasn't happy with that and cut if off later when I decided to beef up that area.

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At this point I was looking online for strengthening ideas off the Astra mk2 guys and needed some metal from the black car now the official donor. This is the donor with seam sealer removed and spot welds marked up. It looked perfect before I started but you can see splits top and bottom in the steering plate near that inner wing. It had also started splitting behind the plate where movement seems to tear the spot weld near that lowest bolt. That's the crack people usually weld up from the inside.

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Started building up the lower bulkhead chassis leg area taking metal from the donor.

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Mocked up a strengthened repair section that would use 2mm plate. The steering plate is plenty thick but they mount it to a 1mm bulkhead and inner wing. The inner wing does have a seam so in that small overlap it's 2mm but that's not great for a rack mount. Even with the bulkhead repair you're still just welding in the top section to 1mm inner wing. The idea was to tie this 2mm plate into the chassis leg and give the lower part of the steering plate something solid to mount against.

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Here is the result with the inner wing patched up too and some stich welds on the bulkhead for good measure.

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Continued the strengthening idea by plating the inner arch with 2mm that ties back into the chassis leg and bulkhead 2mm section. This got some epoxy primer and later seam sealer before the plate goes back on.

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The steering plate wanted tweaking for the thicker inner wing and added the extra top bit found on a traditional bulkhead repair.

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Had to remove epoxy around the weld areas and use weld thru primer in those places. Temporarily installed the pedal plate and brake pedal to ensure correct alignment of the steering plate before welding up.

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That's nearly up to date I finished that lower bulkhead seam and gave it a splash of temporary etch primer which finishes the bulkhead repair. It will get a nice coat of epoxy once the inner arch repairs are complete.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:52 am 
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Full Pressure Turbo
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Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:10 am
Posts: 713
Location: Longton
Nice work and good to see someone lavishing some love on an OG 9-3.

Your pictures do make me scared to poke around my 52 plate Aero 'vert too much though. Bulkhead still seems rock solid on that at 89k miles, no pedal movement at all but the chassis leg under the servo does look a bit "brown"...

Good to see Saab never forgot how to make a car rust though! And people say the OG 900 /9-3 wasn't a "proper" Saab!! :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:53 pm 
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Saab Nut

Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:05 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Wirral
Car Model: GM900
Rule 1, don't poke! The less you know the better!

Love the 900/93 so will be following, I already inhaled sharply at them pics

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:02 pm
Posts: 11
Car Model: 9-3 OG
Mark_A wrote:
Your pictures do make me scared to poke around my 52 plate Aero 'vert too much though. Bulkhead still seems rock solid on that at 89k miles, no pedal movement at all but the chassis leg under the servo does look a bit "brown"...


Thanks Mark_A I believe mines a combination of factors but I've seen worse. Both of the coupes didn't have a rack brace either which would've at least halved the stress on that one mount. Yours is quite low mileage for year and probably got a brace on it?

WheelyBigCheese wrote:
Rule 1, don't poke! The less you know the better!


lol that is so true although I just can't help myself. Still, considering its never been treated to stone chip or cavity spray she's done well. I used to own a couple of Mk1 focus, now they could rot!

Meant to say during the bulkhead repair it rained and I noticed water dripping all along the seam above the pedal plate. The seam sealer inside the scuttle drain area was completely dried up and cracked allowing water though.

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Removed all the old cracked seam sealant...
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Bit of acid etch as the scraping exposed some metal
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Seam sealant applied will go over with epoxy and paint and tidy up that surface rust where the clips go at a later date
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Annoyingly I got the sealant line a little high on that first black bung used to access brake servo bolts. Water stopped leaking from the seam but dripped from that black bung :wall:. I've sealed over the bung to keep it dry for now until attempt 2 is done. Will probably seal over the bungs just for good measure when it's properly assembled.

This sealant fault probably explains the rust in this area because water would get trapped between the bulkhead insulation. Add in that water trap bulkhead repair and insulation that had degraded and was retaining water in the corners and we have rust heaven. Might be a good heads up for others that, when your're clearing the central scuttle drain have a look at the seam sealant.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:25 am 
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China Charger

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:21 pm
Posts: 11778
Location: All over town.
Car Model: Mapped S60 D5
Some project this. I admire your commitment. Well done.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:46 am
Posts: 5029
Location: suffolk
Car Model: 1993 9000 2.0 cse
yeah what he said

9000s came with a 204 :D and less rust you know you want one right

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