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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:08 pm
Posts: 11
Hi. I'm Stuart and I've got unfinished business with Saabs.

I was carried home from hospital in an early white 99 when I was born in 1979. I don't remember it, but something must have imprinted on me - or perhaps it's because my dad still enthuses about it. He'd had a 95 as well, before my sister and I were born, which he credits with saving his life by simply steering around a Triumph Herald that had spun out in front of him in snowy conditions.

Dad felt that both of those cars went before their time - the 95 rusted out while still quite young, and the 99 was destroyed by an incompetent garage.

Fast-forward 25 years and I'm in a position to finish that unfinished business... except that I did it terribly, terribly wrong.

Saab One: A brown 99, bought for £250. This turned out to have a *very* dodgy MoT on it that had failed to notice the fact that one of the rear suspension arms had pulled out of the bodyshell. I realised when the second one pulled out and started dragging along the road kicking up sparks.

Imagesaab by stuart_hedges, on Flickr

Dreadful example, clearly, and at the time it was only fit for scrap but I bet someone would have saved it now... I loved being in it and immediately fell for that classic Saab dash. As a design I don't think the basic layout has ever been bettered.

A couple of years later I dipped another toe in the cheapskate Saab waters and bought a 900 for, I think, in the region of £100.

Imagetayfront by stuart_hedges, on Flickr

Again, that interior is just perfection. There's never been a clearer dash layout (and this from someone who likes mental old Citroens).

It didn't have an MoT when I bought it so I chucked it straight in and it failed on really simple items like tyres and bulbs. Then I took it back for a re-test and somehow the emissions had gone sky-high while sitting still waiting for tyres and bulbs. I lovingly rebuilt the carb but just couldn't get it through, and lacking time and money for further investigation I put it back up for sale. I got my money back but the car's never been taxed or MoT'd again so I guess it went for parts. That does make me a bit sad.

So, to the present. I *need* a cheap estate car for dog transportation duties. I *want* something interesting. Those search criteria keep bringing me Volvo V70s, Subaru Legacys and - to my surprise - Saab 9-5s. I was expecting them to be out of budget, but it seems that there are plenty still out there. I saw a rough one, then came across this on this very forum.

Image2018-03-23 18.28.00 by stuart_hedges, on Flickr

It's lurvely. The seller clearly knows what he's doing with mechanical stuff much more than I do and it's very well looked after in that regard, with the result that I have a car that appears to be very solid where it counts (touch wood, especially given my history with Saabs) but has some niggles that are within my ability to fix.

So, jobs to do:

*SID is typically broken. I've read up on this and I'm confident I can replace the tricksy ribbon cable.
*AAC display panel also has some dead sections. I haven't read up on this yet, is this also an easy fix?
*Electric door mirrors only go down, not in any other direction. This must be the switch that lives in the driver's door. I'm hoping this can be sorted with contact cleaner, but if not is the part readily available?
*Indicator stalk is all floppy. Are these available? I can live with it if not, but I'd like to sort it.
*Slight vibration on hard braking. I've been given a pair or rear discs, so this is easily sorted if it's because of a warped disc. Needs investigation.
*No travel left in the handbrake. Not urgent but it may cause the next MoT tester a raised eyebrow.

I'd also like to replace the stereo with something more modern - sat-nav and DAB radio with a USB port would be ideal. I'll probably post something in the ICE page about that though.

The car has Bilstein shocks and dampers which make the ride a little firm for my taste but it's not terrible... the jury's still out and I'm unlikely to spend money on removing them, and it's probably not a bad idea to have more body control on a car with this much power, not that I rush about. There seems to be a lot of travel in the brake pedal before anything happens, but from reading contemporary road tests I think this comes as standard. It would be nice to uprate that, but it can wait.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:10 pm 
Put a SOC in it!
User avatar

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:48 pm
Posts: 21617
Location: Fliptop Towers, North Yorks...the flat bit.
Car Model: One or two...
Nice one, Stuart! That's a nice looking and late registered "phase 1" 9-5 you have. I'm guessing it's a 2001 car registered in 2002?

Keep the Bilsteins! Do you know if they are B4 (black), B6 (yellow, standard length) or B8 (yellow, shorter length)? If it's firm/crashy, look at your springs (Eibach help massively) and bushes.

Mirror switch is easy to come by secondhand, and is a GM parts bin special common to many Vauxhalls since the early 90s. Likewise, get an indicator stalk from one of our friendly breakers like James Vey or Pete Raw.

Brake judder - check all discs/pads and calipers - usually it's pad material burned onto the disc.

Handbrake adjustment - get a Haynes or WIS CD-ROM for details but it's "easy" (fiddly, but not hard) to adjust the shoes in the rear "drums" within the disc bells. Don't be tempted to tighten cables etc.

Brake pedal travel - they're not that bad...check the front pad retaining springs are located correctly.

S4 Avant 3.0 V6T - For Sale
9-5 Aero 600Nm FB3
900 T16S track hack

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:36 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:08 pm
Posts: 11
Thanks Fliptop! No, the brakes aren't terrible and I'm getting used to the long travel.

I haven't been under the car but according to the advert it's B8 with Eibachs... I think! I meant to save a copy of the ad but it's gone.

It's unlike anything I've had before... most of my cars have been wafty cruisers (with a number of them being hydraulic Citroens) so I'm probably being overly critical of the ride quality. My wife has a company Merc C-class so that's my point of the comparison at the moment, and I'd say it rides like the Merc on its first sport setting.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:08 pm
Posts: 11
Another question!

None of the buttons on the steering wheel work, except that the Volume Up button turns the volume down.

This was mentioned on the for-sale advert so there's no complaint, but I didn't realise that the horn was included in this. I'm not bothered about the stereo controls, but the horn does need fixing! Some googling suggests that the clockspring is at fault (which again the seller mentioned as being the likely cause). It will be going into the local garage for this because I'm not confident mucking about with modern airbag-fitted steering wheels, but it would be nice to be armed with some knowledge.

What's a sensible price for this job?
If they suck their teeth and say "can't get the parts for these any more" where should I buy a clockspring from? And what should I expect to pay?

Thanks again all.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:47 pm 
Light Pressure Turbo

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:57 pm
Posts: 324
Car Model: Saab 95 2.3t estate
I wouldnt worry about the air bag side of things, just leave battery disconnected for a good 20mins+ before you do it

Sent from my LG-H870 using Tapatalk

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:24 pm 
Saab Nut

Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:18 pm
Posts: 1164
Car Model: saab 95
You are best to disconnect the battery with all things airbag related I've never done it and swapped and fiddled with airbags many times without incident ,maybe I'm just lucky.think I will start doing it it possible that someone has put a phase1 front end on a phase2 ??maybe they preferred the look of the older one

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 6:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:08 pm
Posts: 11
A few small updates.

The local garage sorted out the steering wheel buttons: the volume controls still don't work, but after some serious contact-cleaner work the left side (forward and back) and most importantly the horn now do work. They also gave the brakes a good dose of looking at, and pronounced them safe: the front discs have a very slight warp from when the car was standing, but everything's in good working order. With a few hundred more miles on the car the vibration has almost gone.

It's also been to a Saab specialist (Bourne Motors in Eastbourne) for a new key. It only came with one (which is not in good condition, the battery cover tends to pop off) so I've been worrying about losing it or it breaking. I know it's a big problem if you lose all the keys on these cars so it was worth the money to get a spare. They also confirmed that this is a late-registered ph1 car - the computer only worked in its 2001 configuration, despite the 02 reg.

Best of all, we've been on a little adventure. Five adults plus luggage on a long weekend to Ostend - I just love the Channel crossing and the sense of freedom when you bump down on the other side and the whole continent is ahead of you! Three of the five of us had fond childhood memories of Saabs so it was very much the happy bus for the weekend.

Image2018-05-06 12.32.28 by stuart_hedges, on Flickr

It has also attracted much favourable comment at a meet-up for another car forum that I'm active on: haven't made it to a Saab Club meet yet but I'm sure I will soon.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:08 pm
Posts: 11
I want to do something about the dead pixels on my SID. I've seen a YouTube video and it looks like a job I'm capable of.

EBay is full of repair kits but how do I know if I have a SID I or a SID II?

Has anyone done the job, any tips or pointers I should be aware of?

1985 Saab 900 Auto

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:39 pm 
Luger Lout
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:00 pm
Posts: 21082
Location: Swindon
Car Model: Estella. 2008 Manual 9-5 D
SID 1 has fewer buttons and functions on it. SID2 has eight functions (I think) and one more button...


Dancing on a Highway Somewhere..

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