'85 Turbo TSD Rally car [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: '85 Turbo TSD Rally car


DanComden
11-01-08, 02:26 AM
In 2006 I did major work in my '85 900 Turbo to get it ready for the summer Alcan rally. That project included a rebuilt transmission, complete suspension overhaul, and a large list of replaced parts. It made the journey there and back just fine, except for a spark plug ejected from the head that was repaired on the road in Alaska. Lots of pics of that trip at my photo site. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcomden/sets/72157594256464692/)

Now we're getting ready for the winter Alcan 5000 Rally 2008 -- a jaunt that starts here near Seattle, journeys well north of the arctic circle and ends in Jasper, Alberta. After 18 months of brisk gravel Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) rallies in the western U.S. and Canada, there are quite a few items that need refreshing, replacing, or general attention. With the help of co-driver gorper (http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/member.php?userid=1221) I've completed some floor pan rust repair and prevention and now it's time to get some work done before we leave in less than six weeks. Here's the current to-do list:

reassemble interior
locate a new passenger seat that flips forward
obtain and install a 9000 alternator
obtain and install block heater
new battery (and maybe battery blanket)
Rewire accessories (ham/business radio, inverters, rally computer)
Install roof rack
wire high-viz rear lights
fix windshield leaks
fix/replace window seals
install non-wiggly bumper brackets
New driving lights (?)
spare parts gathering
The list is probably longer than that. Not probably, let's be honest.

First challenge is to get the car road-ready in the next week in prep for ice driving practice. Wish us luck. Once the event starts you can follow our progress along with our team at www.teamd.org (http://www.teamd.org)
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/123/398494418_ed15f05700.jpg

DanComden
11-01-08, 02:48 AM
On the last rally up in B.C. (http://www.rallybc.com/archives/2007/2007_Totem.htm) on the last couple of sections we started hearing a clunk from the left front. Sounded like a loose or busted shock. After making it home and removing it (and breaking the lower mount off the control arm) it was clear that the shock was not the problem.

Tonight while reinstalling the washer bottle I noticed that the bolt on the right side that holds the core support to the fender as well as one of the horns was loose. After tightening I looked on the left side -- it was completely missing. Hmm. That seems like an important fastener. Maybe now that it's replaced the mystery clunk will disappear.

Oh, and with the help of a local Saaber, we have a replacement reinforced control arm installed. Thanks Squaab99t (http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/member.php?userid=14088)

The left side window defrost tube came disconnected from the dash fascia quite some time ago. That is hard to re-affix unless you have delicate hands. I lack that tool, but it's back on. Needs more tape though. A crisper headlight switch was also installed.

Even better, I found a switch to put over there that I think is kind of rare. Now what should I connect to it?

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2413/2184316933_f85aa9653d.jpg

Now it's time to get serious about refastening wires and taping stuff down. We're putting in an extra layer of floor insulation because it might be kind of cool where we're going.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2081/2185102746_101c0c84a4.jpg

ejenner
11-01-08, 03:42 AM
The 'Extra' switches aren't that rare. They're basically a switch for dealer-fit accessories such as spot-lights or sometimes air-conditioning (on early cars) - I suggest you use it to power something cool. If I'd remembered they existed I would've used one for my nitrous installation on my 8v... but because I stupid forgot about them I used a blue illuminated push button instead - which was quite cool - but not as cool as 'Extra' would've been - i.e. switch on the nitrous and you get 'Extra' :lol:

gorper
11-01-08, 12:23 PM
http://bluesedan.com/temp/lasers.jpg

Oh, and here's a link to a map of the route: http://www.alcan5000.com/pdf/08AlcanRt4.pdf

woywitka
11-01-08, 01:17 PM
The 'Extra' switches aren't that rare. They're basically a switch for dealer-fit accessories such as spot-lights or sometimes air-conditioning (on early cars) - I suggest you use it to power something cool. If I'd remembered they existed I would've used one for my nitrous installation on my 8v... but because I stupid forgot about them I used a blue illuminated push button instead - which was quite cool - but not as cool as 'Extra' would've been - i.e. switch on the nitrous and you get 'Extra' :lol:


We didn't get them on this side of the pond. Instead we just got a blank.


My first 900 was full of blanks, the convertible has none:cool:

DanComden
11-01-08, 01:18 PM
Nice! I could've used that on my morning commute.

How about a button that installs a limited slip diff: "Hit the BITE button!"

Now if you could photoshop us an assembled interior, that'd be most excellent.

IronJoe
11-01-08, 01:54 PM
Good luck guys! I will be following this closely.

PM me if you're looking for any parts, I am almost always scrounging the yards down south.

saabismi
11-01-08, 03:11 PM
We have like 5 extra switches.so we dont think its rare...Tho we havent seen them on any other saabs here...

DanComden
14-01-08, 03:13 AM
The aftermarket alarm has never worked in my history with the car. Whoever installed it was a real lunkhead. Not only did it appear randomly assembled, with zip ties everywhere and wire nuts for connectors and even some masking tape on one connection, but the majority of wires running throughout the car are generic speaker wire. Kind of hard to trace. And did I really want to snip the wire marked "to starter" ?

But since the interior was out, it was time to tackle some wiring cleanup, turning this:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2281/2192074074_c8bb8bbe02.jpg

Into this:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2083/2191286045_2c58445dff.jpg

After that satisfying job, it was time to add some insulation. Up in the front footwell we put in another set of stock foam and rubber pads. In the back we added some shiny stuff on top of the stock pads, which perhaps gives us the look of a lunar rover, but it will be covered with carpet anyhow.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2345/2191287305_503da759e8.jpg


Other wiring was cleaned up as well and the console is ready to install along with the accessories and their wiring. Ran a new accessory wire to run an inverter under the passenger seat -- we'll be needing some AC power regularly.

New brake pads up front. Other work included discovering that the front left brake caliper was rotting from the inside out when I was putting in new pads. Fortunately I had picked up a new one on ebay a while back. I really don't love those old style calipers but they hold no more mysteries at least.

Need to re-think all the extra wires going to the battery. Right now there are at least seven non-stock connections there. Time for a solution that is less messy.

RallySaab=68=
14-01-08, 06:15 PM
I think the same lunkhead that wired your car did our 86 SPG. We had to remove a similar mess from under the backseat. Is that Reflectix that you're using for the insulation? We used that on the 86. It looks like 2 layers of bubble wrap sandwiched between aluminum.

gorper
14-01-08, 09:52 PM
Is that Reflectix that you're using for the insulation? We used that on the 86. It looks like 2 layers of bubble wrap sandwiched between aluminum.Yep, that's what it is. Cheap @ Home Depot. How did it work on your 86?

RallySaab=68=
15-01-08, 08:26 AM
We aren't sure how it works yet. We just put it in the 86 a few days ago. The car is a work in progress and most of the interior is still appart, so you will probably find out how it works before we do.

DanComden
19-01-08, 04:55 AM
ODO: 258522

Reassembled and back on the road! All the patches and insulation are now hidden away and the car is definitely quieter inside. Now if I could just get the sunroof and rear shelf rattles sorted we'll be cruising in quiet comfort.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2123/2202778759_08619f1615.jpg

A separate noisy item has been the starter. It's been screeching at an increasingly demanding pitch so it was time to swap it out for a freshly rebuilt one that gorper and I found at the local wrecking yard. Before heading to BC this weekend for some ice driving practice I thought it might be a good idea to install the good'un. After removing the turbo plumbing, I discovered that metal fatigue had done in the intercooler bracket:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2094/2203572614_7b479e8181.jpg

It was too late to excavate my welder from under the stack of seats, misc. parts and other detritus. The yard queen -- also known as the '86 we're fixing to sell to recoup Alcan costs -- is missing this part so I resorted to JB Weld for the interim. Shouldn't be too hard to find a replacement somewhere as we're still seeing 900 Turbos in the local pull-a-part yards. This weekend's activities will be relatively gentle so not too worried.

Moving on to the the Department of Electrons, here is proof that feature creep is not only found in the software world:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2094/2203572012_9a70880f99.jpg

Please worship the newly installed Optima battery. I know I do. The Interstate battery that was in here didn't last a year. Yeah, probably some wiring leaks in that dependable '85 nervous system but ... we want to have some cranking power when it's cold out and this was the best solution without moving the battery to the valuable cargo area.

Now to address all the crap that's been bolted on to the battery... One of the cool things about the Saab is that it's easy to pull wiring for accessories through the firewall. Maybe not such a cool feature for me; it's gotten a little out of hand here. A brief tour of that wiring will showcase power for: rally computer, three outlet cigar plug, ham radio, driving lights, fog lights, map light, stereo, and I haven't yet hooked up the new inverter circuit that I ran wire for last week. I ordered some parts today to help move all this off the batt and the 8 point distribution block (http://www.delcity.net/delcity/servlet/catalog?parentid=790101&page=1) should serve nicely.

Ok, now it's time to pack for ski trip and ice laps!

DanComden
19-01-08, 05:07 AM
Talking of electrons, I'd like to install a voltmeter in this car. Four years ago on Alcan I rallied with a guy who had a digital voltmeter in his WRX that saved us from being stranded in a very remote part of the world when his aftermarket alternator went TU. I haven't found anything that's inexpensive -- anyone have any suggestions? (inexpensive <= $50 and illuminated)

Squaab99t
19-01-08, 12:03 PM
Talking of electrons, I'd like to install a voltmeter in this car. Four years ago on Alcan I rallied with a guy who had a digital voltmeter in his WRX that saved us from being stranded in a very remote part of the world when his aftermarket alternator went TU. I haven't found anything that's inexpensive -- anyone have any suggestions? (inexpensive <= $50 and illuminated)

Great work on the car. I was really eyeing the Nordskog digital street guages, but went with old school analog needle and number face. I friend convinced me that it was quicker and more accurate than trying to read the number, calculate if that number was good or bad from the normal. You can put a white tick mark or spin the guages so neddle is at 12'oclock when you are golden. The idea was you could glance at the meters on a straight section and decide to keep the hammer down or shut it down. The volt meter is probably the only exception. quick look "14.2" okay.... well back to your question; Summit racing, Nordskog digital, $65.
I went with prosport excellent quality and great price.
I see the offer digital too. combo voltmeter/ air fuel NB. which is not much help.
http://www.fastwrx.com/prairame.html

DanComden
22-01-08, 02:17 AM
ODO: 259278

Thanks Squaab! That 52mm one is rather large. I like the idea of an old school look that matches the other gauges. Will have to think about it. Maybe I'll just keep the multimeter handy on the dash :lol:

Back from ice racing practice earlier today. Most of the car came back but the Hella fog lights and some bits of trim were sacrificed to the gods of the lake. Someone else (not gorper) did the honors but I think they would've been lost when I had a BIG off later in the day. Video and photos of today's training coming soon. Here's a preview
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2411/2210978877_45e3d7108f.jpg

The car ran great and started without complaint this morning when the temp was a balmy 7F (-13C). The new battery/starter combo is excellent.

Ice and snow impacted in the rear wheels caused vibration due to unbalance on the way home. Not as bad as a prior experience with mud/ice coming home from a rally, but very uncomfortable and the noise from the very worn and squeaky hatch hinges turns it into quite an unpleasant experience. At least we could keep up with traffic until we got to a place where things melted and smoothed out. My snow tires are mounted on those ugly manhole cover style wheels that are impossible to clean without removal. On the track it's not noticeable -- it's when you're doing 65 on the pavement that the wheel hop gets bad. Before it's been bad enough that 50 mph was pretty miserable.

I think we're pretty buttoned down as far as major prep. Now it's electricity to which we turn our attention in the next three weeks. Would be nice to replace the leaky oil cooler line but not sure if that will happen.

DanF.
22-01-08, 11:52 PM
ODO: 259278

Thanks Squaab! That 52mm one is rather large. I like the idea of an old school look that matches the other gauges. Will have to think about it. Maybe I'll just keep the multimeter handy on the dash :lol:



Here (http://www.sasab.com/DisplayItems.cfm?CategoryID=%22%26%5C%5C%20%0A&SubDepartmentID=%22%27%3CP%20%0A&DepartmentID=%21%270%20%20%0A), its 52 mm though (2 1/16")

http://www.sasab.com/images/gauges/vdo.jpg
See the volt gauge on the right side of the gauge cluster. I have that one, a 30psi boost gauge, and the oil pressure gauge located where the stock radio would be, like in that pic. works well enough.

Good luck with it all.

DanComden
23-01-08, 06:03 PM
Here's a little video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUVhjVle90Q) of gorper and I having fun doing laps at our top secret ice training facility. If you turn the sound up you can hear the background music of the squeaky hatch hinges. Hoping to replace those and the alternator in the next few days. That and a desparately needed cleaning so we can get the sponsor decals installed.

New wiring parts arriving early next week. And a new stereo -- the current Sony's buttons either don't work or offer unexpected results. The Sony lasted about 18 months. Detachable faceplates and bumpy roads don't go together well.

DanComden
04-02-08, 03:17 PM
ODO: 259400 miles

As is usual with this car, we found some additional work that needed attention.

Swapping in the 9000 alternator was not plug and play. Of course the 900 pulley needed to be installed but if you want to be able to access the voltage regulator while the alternator is mounted, the case needs to be clocked about 90 degrees. Couldn't find an obvious spot on the case to attach the ground cable, so I used the upper mount bolt. Need to add another ground or find a better solution.

While the alternator was off, discovered that the water pump was not moving freely. We'd been hearing a whining chatter during some rallies but not much sound at other times. That was a relatively new unit (Laso) that began failing before 20k miles.

Another premature failure was the rear link bushings (front) that disintegrated on both sides of the car -- approx 10k miles on those. I believe they were Scantech brand. While investigating that rear area of the car, noted that the right side wheel bearing was making crunchy sounds. Replaced with a good used part and another is in the spares bin for Alcan.

Many many thanks to gorper for doing the above repairs while I was in Florida last week. He also arranged to have the folks at Scanwest Autosport do a once-over on the car and fortunately they didn't find anything major that needs attention before we depart.

The Yakima rack and storage basket is installed, and the high-mount aux taillights are wired. I was going to affix an aux reverse light to the hatch but couldn't find a simple way to fish a wire up through the hatch door. Will explore some other mount options, but really the best place for it is the hatch next to the license plate.

Our vinyl sponsor came through last week and provided decals for the entire team as well as some of the other sponsors. Looking forward to the usual 5 hp performance increase from those.

On deck: e-code headlights from rallylights.com, old school fog lights, and a list of 20 or so other things needing attention before we depart on Feb 17, most involving wiring. Oh, and an oil change to either synth or something lighter.

obligatory photo: new Dual stereo with USB, HD radio, MP3, aux input and bluetooth capability, all for $120 shipped. The biggest drawback? The display doesn't dim so we'll have to come up with a shield for night driving.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2199/2222956433_497dc220ee.jpg

DanComden
05-02-08, 06:13 PM
ODO: 259,415 miles

Knocked a few items off the "to do" list last night. Coolant was removed and replaced with a fresh 60/40 ratio which should offer protection down to -50F. It is possible to remove most of the coolant without using the block drain but an unconventional method was required. The block heater now obscures the block drain plug.

The H4 headlights (http://www.rallylights.com/hella/200mm.asp) are in. Really quick install -- about 20 minutes tops, and the only regret is not doing these sooner. I used the 70/65W Hyper (http://www.rallylights.com/hella/H4.asp) bulbs and the difference is amazing.

Before:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2321/2243982834_8be3897b6a.jpg

After:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2257/2243983254_5dacdc520a.jpg

The photos fail to fully convey the dramatic difference. The H4 lenses take away the right side high illumination and put much more focused light down the road. Also there's a nice sharp line between light and dark on the upper side of the beam. The high beams are a similar improvement. Too bad we have been stuck with such crappy headlights in the US for so long.

Lastly new bolts were put into the transmission/downpipe bracket with red Loctite -- hopefully that will keep them from departing the vehicle for the third time in two years.

ejenner
06-02-08, 08:22 AM
Those bolts can snap the gearbox casing. Maybe Saab should've put a flexi pipe into the exhaust as it exits the engine bay. My 99 has a flexi... but that's just because it's a custom exhaust and the guy at the shop decided to install one. Traditionally a flexi is only needed for transverse mounted engines like the 9000. In the 900 the exhaust 'shouldn't' need to flex and the bolts 'shouldn't' fall out - but they do!

DanComden
11-02-08, 02:07 PM
ODO: 259,528 -- five days before Alcan.

FR shock: Fixed a front end clunk that was driving us crazy. Replaced the upper right shock bushing, still noisy. Finally got under the car while the wheel was up on a couple of 4x4 blocks and we rocked it to zero in on the cause -- a worn lower shock bushing. I installed polyurethane bushings about 18 months ago and it was hammered out of shape pretty badly. Replaced with a rubber one to see how that holds up. Left side is still poly. A complication was that the lower shock mount threads on the control arm were in very bad shape -- needed a nut splitter to get the nut off the stud. I was able to clean up enough of the threads that a nylock nut and a couple of extra thick washers could go back on to secure the shock. That control arm will need replacement someday though.

Rattles and Squeaks: There is still a very annoying rattle in the rear body, around the parcel shelf support/speaker area on the right side that is not solved. Lubing the studs that secure the hatch shock got rid of some significant squeaks but there is still something loose that is not obvious. Bad enough that the stereo has to be turned up pretty loud to mask it on anything but the smoothest roads. It almost sounds as if it's coming from inside the hatch. Riding around with one of us in the rear of the car did not get us close enough to find the issue.

Hatch adjustment: There's an adjustment for the hatch handle mechanism inside the hatch door that improved the point at which the latch gets released when pressing up on the handle. The rear vinyl inside cover needs to be removed to access it (applying spray silicone/Vinylex on the back side of this where it meets the metal hatch also resolved some squeaks). It's a square plastic nut that can be screwed up or down to change the activation point of the latch. We also adjusted the side standoffs to improve the hatch fit and adjusted the position of the latch itself. It's quite worn after getting banged around on thousands of miles of bumpy roads so a nice used one is on the "to find" list.

Lube: Mobil 1 5/30 and a new filter changed in to replace the 10/30 non-synth chevron oil I've been running since I got the car 25K ago. I believe the sound of the engine has changed. Seems like it's noisier now or maybe that's my imagination. Gorper was interested to see the original 16mm drain plug is still in the car and that nobody, including me Mongo, has cracked the transmission case with it yet.

Interior: Fabbed a bracket/red LED to illuminate the rally computer. It's hooked in to the lights for the HVAC controls so is somewhat adjustable. Well it would be if the existing rheostat wasn't so old and tired. But at least we can turn it on and off. I have a strip of red LEDs that I want to install in the headliner as aux illumination -- hopefully will find the time to do that in the next couple of days. Gorper also troubleshot and fixed the connections on the main heater knob so now we'll get maximum blast heat when needed.

Wiring: That disorderly nest of wires on the battery has been moved up on the inner fender to an eight point distribution block. It's a much cleaner install and virtually invisible tucked under the wiring that runs through that area. Found and removed what I believe is the final relay from the alarm system.

Front bumper: The old bumper brackets were ovalized and caused a lot of play in the bumper, leading the aux driving lights to be very wiggly. Fresher brackets installed, and the broken Hella fogs (RIP) were replaced with OE Bosch lamps. Still some adjusting to be done on the bumper and all the lights need reaiming which I will do with a "normal" load in the car.

DanComden
13-02-08, 01:19 PM
ODO: 259,566 -- Alcan start in 3 days

Most of the vinyl for the rally has been applied. Should get the event door decals later today. We were fortunate to get a few sponsors and are happy to have their names on the car.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2108/2262451735_cb95eb6b7f.jpg

I'm pleased with our position in the start order. We'll be car #8 unless someone entered higher than us drops out in the next few days which is pretty unlikely. Official start time is 0800 next Sunday, which means we'll be flagged off at 0808. Anyone who wants to come by at that early hour is certainly welcome -- we're going to try to be there at least an hour early to get the routebook and set our clocks to official time. www.alcan5000.com (http://www.alcan5000.com/) has info on start location in Kirkland WA.

Looks like we're the sole 2WD entry.

Squaab99t
13-02-08, 02:04 PM
ODO: 259,566 -- Alcan start in 3 days

Most of the vinyl for the rally has been applied. Should get the event door decals later today. We were fortunate to get a few sponsors and are happy to have their names on the car.



I'm pleased with our position in the start order. We'll be car #8 unless someone entered higher than us drops out in the next few days which is pretty unlikely. Official start time is 0800 next Sunday, which means we'll be flagged off at 0808. Anyone who wants to come by at that early hour is certainly welcome -- we're going to try to be there at least an hour early to get the routebook and set our clocks to official time. www.alcan5000.com (http://www.alcan5000.com/) has info on start location in Kirkland WA.

Looks like we're the sole 2WD entry.

I even got a plug. :lol:
Good luck guys. I think I'll get up early Sunday to see you off. Being it is only about 20 mins from the house I have very little excuse. Take some great pixs and video of you adventure.
4wd is no substitution for brains.

DanComden
18-02-08, 11:52 PM
ODO: 260,676

Safe and sound in New Hazelton British Columbia

Yesterday was end of day 1, we were sitting in 6th place overall and haven't seen scores from today but think we've done ok. Lack of drive wheels hurt us on some sections early today but I think the conditions hurt everyone on some checkpoints. Hard to maintain 40 mph or so when there are icy hairpins and checkpoints that are uphill. FWD is really one real drive with a stock transmission.

Thanks to Squaab99t for seeing us off -- I think he may have taken some good pics as well. Lots of folks at the start and we sure appreciated it.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2021/2273790996_e475633fc4.jpg

Yesterday we had a crowd cheering us just before the US/Canada border. Mostly from a local rally club. Our friend Eric got the above shot. The car is no longer anywhere that clean now.

Gorper had a fun time today on the Blackwater road. A very rural route between Quesnel and Vanderhoof, it features some crazy fun twists and turns. I handed over the wheel at about the halfway point and it was clear he had things well in hand until we got to the "easy part" and hit a downhill sweeper that had seen sun for much of the day. Instant lack of friction and a couple of spins -- the jury is still out as far as whether it was two or three or four -- but no damage except pride and quite a lot of snow stuffed up and around the air filter, intercooler and other interior spaces. What got exciting was the following cars avoiding us.

Tomorrow is a big day. I hear we're doing about 800 miles up to Whitehorse with a TSD or side trip along the way.

Squaab99t
19-02-08, 09:15 PM
You guys are doing great.

http://www.saabphotos.com/gallery/albums/album767/IMG_3814.sized.jpg
Where did we pack that?
http://www.saabphotos.com/gallery/album767

DanComden
20-02-08, 02:04 AM
Thanks for posting those!

Big day today -- we tested the fuel range of the car. Even with the roof rack and some ... spirited driving ... we got 295 miles on a tank up the Cassiar highway, then 255 on the Alaska highway. That stuff up top and the gear in the back really sucks the miles/gallon. This is the first time I've seen the low fuel light twice in one day.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2073/2278456141_b12f8fc07e.jpg
Now we're in Whitehorse, Yukon. Tomorrow is an ice slalom where we're hoping to beat at least a couple of AWD car times, then we head further north to Dawson City. Temps are quite warm for this time of year -- low 30s right now (F). That will make the ice driving challenging as cars are on the track throughout the morning. We should get a couple of good runs in before it gets too slippery.

We did catch a 900 sighting in the hotel parking lot here, what looks to be a 83 S model in nice shape.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2183/2279247768_302d4b3a8b.jpg

DanComden
22-02-08, 02:31 AM
ODO: 262,350

We are a couple hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle. Car is running great though the belts get very noisy when the temps drop. Some new rattles and clunks but 450 miles of the Dempster highway over ice, snow and frozen gravel will do that to a car, esp when we're trying to stay on schedule.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3132/2282727529_7801592925.jpg

Thanks to our friends back home in Seattle and here at Saab Central for making this possible. We couldn't have done it without all the help!

DanComden
23-02-08, 09:37 PM
ODO: 263,385

We made it to the end of the road. Not the end of the rally, but the furthest north one can drive in Canada. The feeling of sailing across the ice of the Beaufort Sea was surpassed only by the beauty of the sunrise and the amazing views as we headed back down the Dempster highway later in the day. Here's the car in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2329/2283979751_f10c71794d.jpg
(large version here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamdrally/2283979751/sizes/l/) -thanks to teammate Eric for the shot)

Car is still running great. Lost a headlight and much of the grill due to an argument with a snow bank but otherwise no harm to anything but pride. Tomorrow is another ice slalom day.

We consistently use less fuel than our teammates and other cars, despite extended periods of cruising at high speeds on the transits and with that luggage basket on top. This is important because the price of fuel that far north can be depressing when you're filling the tank three times in a day. Another competitor who is using a brand new Honda CRV was surprised when we compared fuel consumption numbers for yesterday -- our 23 year old car bested his while also keeping up with the Subarus and other AWDs.

PaulH
24-02-08, 07:58 PM
you guys rule. who would have thought that a 260k mile 85 turbo could be so reliable! :lol:

Paul

gorper
26-02-08, 02:32 AM
The car is running great -- as Dan mentioned, I stuffed it into a snowbank a few hours after the picture he posted above was taken and wrecked a headlight and the grill. We've also had some squeaky belts -- big woop. Other than that, this car rocks!

http://www.teamd.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/p1130008.jpg

And here's a shot of the car and a full moon, just before we reached Tuk:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3199/2292278267_0bedb58433.jpg

We haven't had temps below -10*F but at that temp, we run the heater on low fan, 1/3 heat, to the feet only. My feet sweat. The other non-Saab cars on our team are running much more heat to stay warm.

We are in the boost, literally, almost all day long: the car has a lot of extra drag and we drive at slightly extra-legal speeds when not doing competition legs, so the turbo gets a work-out.

Right now we're barely in 5th place overall; hope to hang onto that position. With one more TSD tomorrow, we're nearing the end of the event, in Jasper tomorrow.

http://www.teamd.org/blog/

idiot_saabvant
26-02-08, 09:17 AM
Keep up the BOOST! Jasper and that fresh tapped beer is just around the corner.


pierre

99sven
26-02-08, 10:27 PM
Thanks for posting. I have loved reading about your adventure. Great job. Arrive in Jasper safely.

Gregg

DanComden
28-02-08, 12:57 PM
ODO: 265,321

Arrived home in Seattle last night, just in time to catch the end of the evening commute. After thousands of miles of fairly traffic-free driving, it was surreal having to deal with hundreds of other cars on OUR road. We wished for an ice storm to make the road nice and slippy and put us at an advantage after ten days and thousands of miles of recent practice.

Apart from needing a good cleaning inside and out, the car is running quite well. I suspect the belts picked up dust from previous rallies which is why they've been noisy since we left home. Other than that, no problems to speak of except the bits and pieces we left along the way that were human error, not the car's.

Results: Because we were the sole 2WD entry, first in class was a no-brainer. Overall the Saab finished 7th out of 24 cars. Our team had all four cars in the top 8 overall positions.

More important than scores, we achieved the goal of prepping and piloting the car through a challenging competition and ended up having more pure fun than just about anyone else along the way. If we managed to beat a few AWD cars on the ice track, that was icing on the cake so to speak. But really, it was the trip along the Mackenzie river out onto the Beaufort Sea that was the crowning point of the last 11 days.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2396/2293065460_2696d2f087.jpg

Palmer1980
28-02-08, 01:09 PM
What a great story.

TheRedBaron
28-02-08, 01:39 PM
Wow, that looks like it was fantastic!

DanComden
11-01-10, 12:18 PM
No, the car hasn't been in a barn since getting back almost two (!) years ago...
No mods to speak of, just regular maintenance and replacement of wear items, primarily rear link and panhard bar bushings. Those seem to take a real beating -- I wonder if it's going sideways that ruins them.

Poly front shock bushings did not stand up to repeated pounding on rough roads -- only a couple thousand miles out of them. The stock rubber ones seem to last quite a bit longer.

With gorper's help, replaced old tired manual sunroof with the power one from my totaled '90.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3652/3738081388_f7a6c749ff.jpg

It does MUCH better at staying closed on the bumpy roads. Very nice to not have the roof open up in the winter.

A while back on a BC rally we lost on the very last section due to worn studded tires (The Nokians purchased for Alcan) and a very steep and icy road section. Most of the 2wd cars couldn't get up the hill. The tires were replaced with General Altimax Arctics, much less expensive than the Finnish tires and very satisfactory performance on a recent event.

What would really be nice for the car is a limited slip differential. There are too many times where I can make it louder, but I can't make it faster! Anyone have any spares lying around?

ooopseyesharted
11-01-10, 05:00 PM
I just read this entire thread. Nice job.
Looks like an amazing time.
I was curious. Where did you get your roof rack?
I want a nice rack with a basket like yours.

DanComden
11-01-10, 07:01 PM
Yakima was one of our team sponsors. (http://www.teamd.org/sponsors/) For over twenty years, I've used their rack systems on a variety of vehicles and they've never let me down. I currently have three different sets of bars for the three vehicles at home.

While working the 2006 Summer Alcan I combined Thule bars with a Yakima basket for a YakiThule hybrid rack -- it also performed well, even when exceeding the rated load.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/87/231400973_e0319da1d2.jpg

ooopseyesharted
11-01-10, 08:39 PM
have an extra set of feet laying around?????

DanComden
11-01-10, 09:17 PM
No spares. Got my last rack parts from a combo of ebay and craigslist

ooopseyesharted
11-01-10, 09:58 PM
do you know what part number i need?
for the feet.
i am having trouble finding them

DanComden
12-01-10, 10:35 AM
You'll want the raingutter towers, part 1A. You can get all the info at the Yakima web site

ooopseyesharted
12-01-10, 01:17 PM
ok. i will look again.
i have been everywhere.

thanks alot

DanComden
04-02-10, 12:42 PM
ODO: 277,191

Replaced front motor mount -- previous one lasted less than 30K miles. Added some polyurethane to a new stock mount -- hopefully will be a little more durable. Figured out something was wrong when on the last rally the transmission wouldn't stay in 3rd on rough sections.

Fabricated some custom bits to make removing and installing the skid plate easier. The crossmember anchor point for the plate under the transmission is very difficult to access on the left side. I welded some nuts to long pieces of metal so there's no need to get a wrench in there to hold the bolt while tightening. Also made a similar piece for the front of the skid plate so no need to remove the bumper to access those fasteners. Also made up a grille replacement out of expanded metal to protect the radiator and leave enough room for driving lights.

Also performed the annual cleaning of the tail light lenses. They get VERY dirty inside and haven't found a source for new gaskets to keep the dust and moisture out. Now the tail lights will be much more visible -- at least, until the summer events when they'll get grimed up again.

This weekend is the Thunderbird Rally (http://www.rallybc.com/archives/2010/2010_tbird.htm) in British Columbia. We're hoping for a good result and look forward to the excellent roads, snowy, icy, muddy -- bring it on. One more year and this car will be eligible for historic class in Canadian events. There'll be one other 900 and really looking forward to seeing the '72 95 in action.

DanComden
08-02-10, 01:36 PM
ODO: 278,313
Back from Thunderbird Rally. Decent results and some challenging driving. Apart from some misses due to ignition wires working loose, the car performed well. Really loving those new tires. Congrats to our TeamD friends for their first place finish.

Sadly the '72 95 was turned away at the Canadian border and didn't make the start. The '86 900T dropped out halfway through the second day with a clutch failure.

Thinking about a limited slip more than ever.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4059/4340231542_41eefe4826_b.jpg

Squaab99t
08-02-10, 07:45 PM
Excellent, way to represent. Dude what is with the Mad Max grill? :D LSD I think one of the folks on SaabRally had one for sale a few months back. Gripper with gravel and tarmac ramps. It is hard spend more for a single part than what the car is worth.:roll:

DanComden
09-02-10, 12:05 AM
Heh. The first thing Hans said when he saw the new grille was "what are we putting on the barbecue?"

Yeah, for a car that cost $250 it's very difficult for me to justify throwing a bunch more money at it for a single part. However our score at the last event would have been better with two drive wheels instead of one. There's just no way to make up time uphill in the conditions we saw last weekend.

Do you know if the problem with the Gripper diff install was resolved? I quit following that forum about the time people got theirs and were having problems getting them installed.

Squaab99t
09-02-10, 01:03 AM
Heh. The first thing Hans said when he saw the new grille was "what are we putting on the barbecue?"

Yeah, for a car that cost $250 it's very difficult for me to justify throwing a bunch more money at it for a single part. However our score at the last event would have been better with two drive wheels instead of one. There's just no way to make up time uphill in the conditions we saw last weekend.

Do you know if the problem with the Gripper diff install was resolved? I quit following that forum about the time people got theirs and were having problems getting them installed.

Since this is the Pacific Northwest, Salmon of course for the BBQ.
I think they resolved it by lower the crown bolt's head height. I don't think they ever found bolts with low profile head, so they chucked the OEM bolts on a lathe and skimmed off the top of the head to gain the clearance.

DanComden
09-01-11, 10:43 PM
ODO: 282,877

Finally, limited slip (Quaife) is installed in the car. (photos) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcomden/sets/72157625633683627/with/5329545242/) Thanks to Rob at Scanwest for installing the differential. He had to go through dozens of shims to get the backlash set, and that's not a resource we have available.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5165/5329545242_b87cea25fe.jpg

With the engine out, 'twas a good time to check the side mounts. Both were in bad shape after 25K or so miles, so fresh ones were injected with additional polyurethane and installed. Slightly more vibration but not too bad. A-arm bushings also refreshed.

The engine oil cooler lines leaked since I acquired the car. A new used cooler with new lines is now installed. That'll be less rustproofing in the left side of the engine bay...

I could never find the signal wire for the power antenna under the dash so I finally got the motivation to just run a new wire back to the antenna. Sometimes it's the little things that take forever.

Next step is to get a temp gauge for the transmission installed, hopefully in the next couple of days. I have a gauge pack that needs installing as well, but really don't want to put more wires into the console. Has anyone done a clean dash-top mount? I am considering making up a box that will velcro to the dash.

Thunderbird rally in BC (http://rallybc.com/archives/2011/2011_tbird.htm) in just a few weeks. We'll be in historic class for the first time.

nuclear944
10-01-11, 06:44 PM
I just read your whole project thread and it was wonderful to read.
I am just barely stepping into the realm of c900 snow rally driving.

But from what I am seeing so far, it's an incredible car for rallying.

Glad you're having a good time up North- I'd much rather live there than here in "colorful" Colorado. Props to you for taking on the Alcan-seems like an ultimate test for reliability & skill. I hope I get to see the North wilderness before we trash and pollute it...

I'd love to hear some tips from you on snow driving that are specific to the 900..

This is what I've been driving in the narrow and treacherous Rocky Mountain roads (after I overhauled the suspension):
http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff85/nuclear944/dsc026.jpg

TunnanXWD
10-01-11, 07:10 PM
Nice! ;ol;

Question? Why so spartan with the lamps? :confused:

Next question? What series Hella are under those covers?

I am about to buy 3000 Compact or 1000 Black Magics?

DanComden
10-01-11, 07:38 PM
Hey Nuclear, this car originally was purchased in Colorado, two or three owners before it came to Seattle. I suspect it was the Subaru of the '80s out there.

I MUCH prefer the old 900 in the snow over the 9000, that's for sure. There's gobs more feel of what's going on. One thing I have learned over the years is that tires are supremely important. With superior rubber you can out-brake many modern cars, at least on the ice, even without ABS because it's lighter. That's my theory, anyhow. I believe that is what let us stay up with the AWD cars on Alcan. But yeah, don't skimp on winter tires.

And like other FWD cars, don't be afraid to put the right foot down once you're into a corner. You can do some steering with brake and gas -- it takes a little practice. Just don't practice on city streets :)

Some day I would like to try a four door or notchback and see if it's any stiffer than the three door. That hatchback is one big hole in the car's body!

I just read your whole project thread and it was wonderful to read.
I am just barely stepping into the realm of c900 snow rally driving.

But from what I am seeing so far, it's an incredible car for rallying.

Glad you're having a good time up North- I'd much rather live there than here in "colorful" Colorado. Props to you for taking on the Alcan-seems like an ultimate test for reliability & skill. I hope I get to see the North wilderness before we trash and pollute it...

I'd love to hear some tips from you on snow driving that are specific to the 900..

This is what I've been driving in the narrow and treacherous Rocky Mountain roads (after I overhauled the suspension):

DanComden
10-01-11, 07:48 PM
I would love to run larger driving lights but the forward-opening hood presents an obstacle to have anything truly massive. Most events do not allow (due to state/provincial regulations) mounting lights above the hood line. Pro ralliers have attached lamps to come down from the hood, which I may consider for the next upgrade. But I don't want to have a mounting system that interferes with easy opening of the hood, something we tend to do with some regularity on a 25 year old car :)

Installing the e-code headlamps helped with lighting considerably. Very easy to do with the old headlight style and so very worth it.

Right now we're only running FF500 for driving and the old stock Bosch lamps for fogs. I do miss the 550 fogs but they got smashed too many times to justify putting anything too nice below the bumper. Snow snakes bite from the snow banks, ya know.

You'll enjoy your aux lights, I'm sure.
I found that true lighting superiority comes from having something as big and as round as you can get mounted. I had micro FF driving lamps and they weren't nearly as effective as the 500s.

Nice! ;ol;

Question? Why so spartan with the lamps? :confused:

Next question? What series Hella are under those covers?

I am about to buy 3000 Compact or 1000 Black Magics?

mmoe
10-01-11, 07:54 PM
I can say from my personal experiences that the 4-door does have a great deal more rigidity than a hatch. But is that a trait that is desirable in rally racing? My 4-door had a tendency to drift around corners a little more easily than I cared for once I installed an antisway bar. Without the swaybar the whole car tended to roll more than I liked. IMHO, the hatches are almost perfect on snow and gravel. When you go from a 'vert to the hatch, you really see how rigid the hatches are, even with that big hole in the back!

DanComden
10-01-11, 09:16 PM
I struggled to get the car to rotate easily when I first started with it. It had no sway bars, fore or aft. After installing a bar on the rear it improved.

I do not do pro/performance rally so I can't speak to what's desirable for them, I just know that getting the back end to kick loose when needed works for me. A little more rigidity would help that I think.

Plus, that opening is so huge and loose huge amounts of dust get sucked in through the rear which gets all over the interior, under the panels, just everywhere. I think a trunk instead of a hatch could be much easier to seal.

mmoe
10-01-11, 09:35 PM
You would definitely experience more drift with the 4 door, and presumably the notchback. I've not had much trouble with the '89 hatch on gravel in terms of dust, but the '86 SPG does suffer from a little bit of a cloud in the back at times. The sedan was OK, I'd call it about equal with the '89 hatch, but maybe the later hatch has better seals. The '86 convertible is a nightmare with the top up, remiding me of the smokescreen scene in Canonball Run, but fortunately the problem usually occurs most when it's sunny (ergo, top down anyways).

By the way, looks like a pretty sweet transmission. What gearset are you running in there? Did Rob build it up? I'm very interested to hear how the Quaif works in snow/gravel.

TunnanXWD
10-01-11, 09:39 PM
That fine gravel dust must play havoc with the electrics? :o

euromobile900
11-01-11, 12:58 AM
I do not do pro/performance rally so I can't speak to what's desirable for them, I just know that getting the back end to kick loose when needed works for me. A little more rigidity would help that I think.
Stiffer springs (SAS overload coils) and some SAS spring spacers in the rear have helped give my car's back end some more "kick loose" on loose surface. It's been enjoyable, but I think I need a sway bar back there too.

Plus, that opening is so huge and loose huge amounts of dust get sucked in through the rear which gets all over the interior, under the panels, just everywhere. I think a trunk instead of a hatch could be much easier to seal.
Another advantage of a four door or two door sedan/notch is that the tail lights are a much more modern design. You'd probably not experience near as much dust/mud contamination in there, and the contacts for the bulbs are much harder to foul up.

DanComden
11-01-11, 09:39 AM
You would definitely experience more drift with the 4 door, and presumably the notchback. I've not had much trouble with the '89 hatch on gravel in terms of dust, but the '86 SPG does suffer from a little bit of a cloud in the back at times. The sedan was OK, I'd call it about equal with the '89 hatch, but maybe the later hatch has better seals. The '86 convertible is a nightmare with the top up, remiding me of the smokescreen scene in Canonball Run, but fortunately the problem usually occurs most when it's sunny (ergo, top down anyways).

One nice thing about the hatch design with spoiler is that the back window stays very clean. We never washed that rear glass once during Alcan, while everything below the 'waist' of the car was pretty grimy. Other cars I've been in need a lot more attention to the rear glass in the winter.

Anyhow I'm on my third hatch seal (used) in five years and should probably quit being cheap and find a new one, if it's available.

By the way, looks like a pretty sweet transmission. What gearset are you running in there? Did Rob build it up? I'm very interested to hear how the Quaif works in snow/gravel.Rob rebuilt the transmission in '06, I don't know what gear set is in there -- whatever was stock in '85 for turbo cars. It has not been strengthened or shot peened and seems to be holding up well. I've not felt the need to increase the car's power as it already spins the wheels more than desired in the loose stuff. Perhaps the LSD will change my mind.

DanComden
11-01-11, 09:47 AM
That fine gravel dust must play havoc with the electrics? :o
Compared to the wire insulation rot inherent in '85 model years, the dust is less of a worry. :lol: But yes, I do try to clean the rally computer regularly and any cameras or computers we try to keep in plastic bags during dust season.

Stiffer springs (SAS overload coils) and some SAS spring spacers in the rear have helped give my car's back end some more "kick loose" on loose surface. It's been enjoyable, but I think I need a sway bar back there too.

I installed SPG springs with home made spacers and that also helped stiffen the suspension (and raise the front end, also important). Maybe someday some rally springs will fall into my lap. There's a rumor some are available around here...

Running slightly lower tire pressure in the rear also seems to assist with bringing the back end around.

Another advantage of a four door or two door sedan/notch is that the tail lights are a much more modern design. You'd probably not experience near as much dust/mud contamination in there, and the contacts for the bulbs are much harder to foul up.

That is an excellent point!

DustinS
11-01-11, 01:54 PM
you by any chance going to the 100 acre wood rally in salem, mo?

DanComden
11-01-11, 02:00 PM
Nope, that's a performance rally, we don't do those. I've had fun working at similar events out here, though.

The TSD rallies we have fun with are much more affordable/accessible than the performance events. Much less chance of bending something important, in the car or in the humans, no need to build a cage, cheaper entry fees, etc.

you by any chance going to the 100 acre wood rally in salem, mo?

mmoe
11-01-11, 03:14 PM
Rob rebuilt the transmission in '06, I don't know what gear set is in there -- whatever was stock in '85 for turbo cars. It has not been strengthened or shot peened and seems to be holding up well. I've not felt the need to increase the car's power as it already spins the wheels more than desired in the loose stuff. Perhaps the LSD will change my mind.
I'll be curious to find out, but I suspect that the LSD will add strength to the system by the fact that there should be less twisting at the differential due to uneven load.

As much as we all gripe and worry about these transmissions, I've yet to have one fail that had a good set of bearings in it. In my experience, the transmissions seem to give plenty of notice that they are needing some work prior to failure. The only transmission failure I've ever had while driving was back in 1995 in an '83 turbo. The pinion bearings failed, but back then I would not have known what to even listen for. I probably took the pinon whine for just a normal Saab transmission sound and no one in rural Montana could have told me otherwise back then (no internet).

nuclear944
11-01-11, 03:36 PM
Interesting info here..I do agree that the SPG seems to be harder to get sideways.
Since main roads are always cleared here in Colorado for most of the time (unless there is a rogue storm), I have not bothered to get new tires for it yet.
I am running on very good but quite worn all season tires with the rear ones having much less tread than front.
This causes the rear end to be very anxious to break loose and makes for fun driving. The problem is that you can't go faster than 40-45 mph without losing stability.
I think this method may be better if you want more "break loose".

saab_speed_maniac_2k6
18-01-11, 07:28 AM
I am from texas and remember seeing snow like twice in my life, but I found proper left foot braking to be very useful in rain. I assume understeer is there alot more in snow. When I go playing in the rain (in my stock 87 na and modded 90 t) I charge the corner at a moderate speed and once I feel understeer, I lightly left foot brake without changing my throttle input. This usually also lets the rear come out controlably. Once i counter steer to the point that the wheel is straight I gas it enough to just let the front tires pull me out of it. hope this helps a little. I also cant wait to see how the diff works out. I might push it up higher in my to-buy list.

gorper
28-01-11, 08:02 PM
ODO: 282,877
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5165/5329545242_b87cea25fe.jpg

NICE BOX but get a better hand model

Perhaps the LSD will change my mind.It certainly did for Timothy Leary.

nuclear944
28-01-11, 11:16 PM
Since there are some experienced people participating in this thread I've decided to post about something I did today.

I had a less-than-cordial encounter with ditch in the sedan. It was entirely my fault.

It was on a downhill, very sharp corner. No ice, no snow. Dirt road but had dry sand applied.
I was going at 45mph at the time, applied too much brake, oversteered and over corrected subsequently. Smashed into the ditch rearwards (at a very high speed). Also, I think the car additionally lost traction due to the incline.

Nothing was damaged with the exception of a undercarriage packed with dirt.
I checked very carefully for damage to the bushings, wheel bearings, and ball joints. Nothing. There is no difference in handling or tracking.

However, I had to "re-flate" all tires. The inside of the tire where it meets the rim got packed with debris and gravel.

I didn't even get stuck. I simply reversed out of the ditch.

It was foolish. Not enough tread at the rear, incorrect control inputs. Poor tire pressure. Lesson(s) learned.

DanComden
29-01-11, 06:48 AM
...
It was foolish. Not enough tread at the rear, incorrect control inputs. Poor tire pressure. Lesson(s) learned.

Downhill=more weight forward=less grip on the rear=easier to rotate unexpectedly.

I think it's easy to think about the rear of the car not doing much and hence not pay much attention to the tires back there, but they need to have at least the grip of the front, if not more. This is why most tire shops will refuse to mount snow tires only on the front wheels of a FWD car.

Glad you're ok and it sounds as if nothing more than pride damaged.

DanComden
29-01-11, 07:02 AM
Preliminary testing of LSD and my own foolishness to report.

Last week I traveled north to evaluate the car's performance in severe winter conditions. I forgot to pack a tool kit and of course this time it was sorely needed. I won't go into all the details, but the experience involved the car being towed due to distributor/hall sensor wire failure. Add to that having the ignition cylinder break loose and I was in screwdriver start mode. A failed distributor and ignition module, plus needing to leave the car in Bellingham two nights, and I don't think I'll ever forget that tool kit again.

Thanks to Squaab99T we now have a shiny new shielded hall sensor wire set up for the newer square distributor plug, which should make it easier to locate spares. mmoe provided not only a temp wire to get the car home from Bellingham, but a replacement ignition cylinder with matching door lock set. They are now official sponsors! ;ol;

Just a couple of weeks and we'll be up north again for the Thunderbird Rally in BC. I'm loving that there are four Saabs on the entry list (http://rallybc.com/archives/2011/Tbird/2011_tbird_entries.htm), including a Sonnet and a 95.

Oh, the Quaife definitely makes a difference -- the car pulls much straighter on the ice, pulls through corners tighter than ever. Quite enjoyable. More testing to come at T-bird.

Squaab99t
29-01-11, 01:37 PM
P

Thanks to Squaab99T we now have a shiny new shielded hall sensor wire set up for the newer square distributor plug, which should make it easier to locate spares. mmoe provided not only a temp wire to get the car home from Bellingham, but a replacement ignition cylinder with matching door lock set. They are now official sponsors! ;ol;

Oh, the Quaife definitely makes a difference -- the car pulls much straighter on the ice, pulls through corners tighter than ever. Quite enjoyable. More testing to come at T-bird.

I'll have to get Squaab Works vinyl decal cut to put on the side of your car.

I've been driving with the quaife for the past 3 years and it rocks...

nuclear944
29-01-11, 09:10 PM
Preliminary testing of LSD and my own foolishness to report.

Last week I traveled north to evaluate the car's performance in severe winter conditions. I forgot to pack a tool kit and of course this time it was sorely needed. I won't go into all the details, but the experience involved the car being towed due to distributor/hall sensor wire failure. Add to that having the ignition cylinder break loose and I was in screwdriver start mode. A failed distributor and ignition module, plus needing to leave the car in Bellingham two nights, and I don't think I'll ever forget that tool kit again.

Thanks to Squaab99T we now have a shiny new shielded hall sensor wire set up for the newer square distributor plug, which should make it easier to locate spares. mmoe provided not only a temp wire to get the car home from Bellingham, but a replacement ignition cylinder with matching door lock set. They are now official sponsors! ;ol;

Just a couple of weeks and we'll be up north again for the Thunderbird Rally in BC. I'm loving that there are four Saabs on the entry list (http://rallybc.com/archives/2011/Tbird/2011_tbird_entries.htm), including a Sonnet and a 95.

Oh, the Quaife definitely makes a difference -- the car pulls much straighter on the ice, pulls through corners tighter than ever. Quite enjoyable. More testing to come at T-bird.

What is a Datsun and Ford mustang doing on that list?:nono;

And yes, from now on, my speed limit will be 25 mph on any loose surface cornering. Until I get new tires of course.

It was quite an amusing situation, now that I think of it. I was yelling at my passenger "oversteer" "oversteer"! I kept yelling even after the impact.

That hall sensor is starting to scare me. It seems to be a frequent failure on 900t's. Probably a good idea to keep a spare if its age is unknown.

I am anxious to see you in the rally. Take pictures and maybe video if possible.

DanComden
16-02-11, 05:48 PM
Back from Thunderbird Rally

Summary: The car ran perfectly. Gorper was a star navigator. On day #2 I managed to go straight when the road curved right. Fortunately it was a soft landing so no damage, except for pride. I blame the LSD, which had helped us maintain a great score to that point, then it then got me into trouble.

But really, it's all my fault.

Was great to see a number of historic class cars in this famous rally. I managed a few photos (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcomden/sets/72157626069193040/with/5445696122/). I never seem to take enough.

Lesson learned: bring TWO digging implements. Twice the speed, twice the snow removal.

The tools only came out to adjust the seat and to assist other ralliers.

The two other Saabs did great; the Sonnet nabbed 2nd Historic with a score of 3 and the '86 900 had a very respectable 15. Sadly the 95 couldn't make it north.

More of the story at the TeamD blog (http://www.teamd.org/2011/02/16/three-plus-three-hundred-car-9s-thunderbird-rally-report/)

DanComden
05-10-11, 01:15 PM
Odo: 290,xxx

On the way to the Night on Bald Mountain rally last weekend, we rolled past 290k on the odometer. The event started at the top of Snoqualmie pass and would use forest service roads east and south of that point.

The car was pulling poorly from first gear starts and we couldn't come up with a reason. Otherwise, performance was normal and though our rally skills were very rusty -- the last event was Thunderbird back in February -- we felt we were doing an acceptable job.

That is, until we had a slight mechanical problem.

The Bentley manual clearly states that when replacing or installing parts with nylock fasteners that new fasteners should ALWAYS be used. The instructions are perfectly clear.

And perfectly ignored. I've run the car tens of thousands of miles, all over the western US and Canada, and never had an issue with nuts coming loose. We just replace the nuts, torque them to spec with an extra grunt and call it done. If a part comes with new nuts, we use them, but we have never purchased new replacement nylocks.

So we found ourselves on a logging road in the Cascade mountains, at night, on a twisty gravel road with what is known as "exposure" in the rally route books. Exposure means that if you go off the road, you will deeply regret it. You will roll, maybe for a while. We've seen lots of exposure, especially on this event. The mountains are very steep in this region, and drops of hundreds of feet are not uncommon. They don't really bother me much, and typically the forest service speed limit is low enough that the event wouldn't have us driving at unsafe speeds for these conditions.

However, when the tie rod end decides to part ways with the wheel spindle, things get ... interesting.

Fortunately this all happened on a straight stretch of road after passing an exposed section and I was able to get the car to the shoulder with enough room for competitors to safely pass. At first I thought the right front brake caliper had seized. But when we got out of the car to take a look and saw the RF wheel pointed as far to the edge of the road as it could go, it was obvious something more dramatic had happened. The nylock nut that holds the tie rod end to the spindle had disappeared and with the moderate washboard road conditions, the tie rod end came unstuck from the spindle.

A few deep breaths later, gorper figured out that a lug nut would replace the missing part. I carry a few spares in case they get lost in the mud or snow on a wheel change. About fifteen minutes after that the car was off the jack and ready to drive, but we were out of the event. We safely transited to the start location, where level pavement let us get another used nylock on the tie rod, firmly snugged and sufficient to get us home.

I can't say for certain how many times that nut had been reused. At least two, maybe three, possibly four. But from now on, we will have a stock of new nylock nuts to install any time we work on steering/suspension parts.

While I know that most other folks aren't subjecting their rides to the vibration and conditions my '85 sees, it's just not worth it to ignore a part that costs pennies. The possibility for something going dreadfully wrong is a silly trade off that is not worth the savings in time and cents. We were lucky. Very.

Oh, and the poor off-start performance -- I think the clutch is slipping. This one lasted about 70k miles. I was hoping for more but can't say I'm surprised. At least it's an "easy" job.

Stay safe!

SPGreg
05-10-11, 02:00 PM
Yikes, that's a bit scary. One wheel yawwing for a cliff could definitely leave you "exposed." Glad you stayed safe.

I previously reviewed some of your rally pix - looks like a blast. On the subject of spares, what do you carry on your rallies? Guess you have to be very strategic to manage car weight.

I think you and I have actually met once. I was with MMOE at the Arlington Pic & Pull in the last year or so. You and your racing partner (don't remember his handle on here but he said he's an engineer) were picking parts for your rally car, if memory serves.

Cool post!

li Arc
05-10-11, 03:43 PM
We do take for granted the importance of nylock nuts, even if you think torquing them to spec (or even a little above) is suitable. The biggest hesitation I have with using new nylock nuts, however, is the material grade, which seems to not be spec'ed most of the time. Most of the bolts on the c900 are grade 8.8 bolts, which is important because they high a higher tensile strength for higher torque, which also makes them generally more durable. Before doing my research into nuts and bolts, I never really thought about it, and had bought a generic metric bolt kit at a local shop. It turned out that the entire bolt kit was 4.8 grade, which was not only much weaker but also much less corrosion-resistant (stainless bolts are weaker than steel bolts even if they are corrosion-resistant). I don't quite remember what happened that woke me up to this, but I do remember after it did I shunned the 4.8 bolts forever. Nylock nuts are usually used on external parts such as tie-rod ends, ball joints, shifter coupling pin, etc. so corrosion can also play a large factor in their effect service life.

I do have a nylock nut set, I just wish I knew what grade they are. If you can keep a kit around and know they are 8.8's, that would be the ideal situation!

li Arc

li Arc
05-10-11, 03:54 PM
Oh, I wanted to ask the experience of the LSD and how you're using it. I read that an LSD can produce a lot of heat, and it is generally advised to run a transmission oil cooler if you install an LSD. This is not a trivial installation, though, in my mind because you need fittings, lines, a switched electric pump, a cooler, fuses, and preferably an oil filter. Did you have one installed when you installed your LSD?

Driving in Calgary in the winter time can be akin to rally driving in the snow, a lot of the times. Although the c900 is a car very superbly tailored to snow driving, it does have you wanting when it comes to drive traction sometimes. One of the best defenses for snow driving is very high quality winter tires in a market saturated with mediocrity. But if you think about it, the cost of an LSD is similar to the cost of a good set of tires. I've co-driven on a TSD with a rally buddy before, and have done some winter autocross, and know fairly well the limits of the traction tires can get you in the snow, and have been considering an LSD just even for regular winter driving here. I have also raised the following question to him, since he was also considering an LSD (FWD): is an LSD worth an extra set of good tires? I wouldn't substitute it for good tires, of course, but it can give you double the traction of a good set of tires?

li Arc

DanComden
05-10-11, 06:09 PM
Hi Greg,
Yes, I recall meeting you with Mike. Hans and I don't hit the yards often enough, but then again we're all busy.

As for parts, the spare tire compartment is pretty well packed. In there I have a selection of fasteners, spare distributor padded within a box, ignition module, distributor cap and wires, tubing, hoses, wires, clamps, multimeter, tire repair kit... the list goes on. There may be a fuel pump buried in there, I can't recall at the moment. All that and for summer events, two spare tires strapped in as well. Unless it's Alcan, we try not to carry huge amounts of spare parts.

My tool kit has pretty much been halved in weight and now I only carry tools I know I have used on the car in the past so I no longer have a complete set of metric wrenches, full screwdriver kit, etc.

Yikes, that's a bit scary. One wheel yawwing for a cliff could definitely leave you "exposed." Glad you stayed safe.

I previously reviewed some of your rally pix - looks like a blast. On the subject of spares, what do you carry on your rallies? Guess you have to be very strategic to manage car weight.

I think you and I have actually met once. I was with MMOE at the Arlington Pic & Pull in the last year or so. You and your racing partner (don't remember his handle on here but he said he's an engineer) were picking parts for your rally car, if memory serves.

Cool post!

DanComden
05-10-11, 06:39 PM
Hi li Arc,
Hans (gorper) has picked up some high grade nylock fasteners -- I haven't seen them yet but they should be as strong or stronger than stock. They were acquired from Tacoma Screw (http://www.tacomascrew.com/) -- you probably have a similar outlet in your area.

After installing the LSD, I put a temp gauge on the diff cover and have been monitoring the temps over one snow rally, hooning around on a frozen lake, highway driving, and spring/summer/fall gravel driving. The temps have not exceeded 260F and that high was reached on a paved highway mountain pass with the engine timed incorrectly. The turbo and retarded spark was contributing as much or more heat to the system than the diff in that case. It does get warm on extended work in the snow, but not dramatically so -- maybe 240F max.

I have some of the bits to install a cooler and have planned where to run the lines and such, but for the moment I am thinking I will put off installing it. I know the pro-rally and track guys use them but for TSD I don't think we're subjecting the system to as much stress. For TSD sections I spend a lot of time in 2nd gear and am not boosting much. And it's prolonged boost that raises temps in the heat sink of the transmission, from what I can tell, at least as much as the work that the diff is doing. That's my opinion after using it for a year, for what it's worth. I'll be changing the oil soon and maybe my tune as well but for now I have other projects to address.

With the LSD I would not say the traction under power is twice as good as stock, maybe an extra 50-75%. It does help the car turn in easier on curves but then it's also sometimes more work to keep the car straight under power when it's slippery. It does require more attention than an open diff.

For daily driving I would not bother installing a limited slip. I spent more than the price of quality of winter AND summer tires just for the part and that doesn't cover extra parts and time involved with getting it installed. And that was free shipping from the UK (only available if you have a friend willing to schlep it in his luggage). I would prioritize on excellent tires long before doing an LSD install. That will be helpful not only in performance under power, but for stopping and cornering as well where the LSD is of less benefit.

Oh, I wanted to ask the experience of the LSD and how you're using it. I read that an LSD can produce a lot of heat, and it is generally advised to run a transmission oil cooler if you install an LSD. This is not a trivial installation, though, in my mind because you need fittings, lines, a switched electric pump, a cooler, fuses, and preferably an oil filter. Did you have one installed when you installed your LSD?

Driving in Calgary in the winter time can be akin to rally driving in the snow, a lot of the times. Although the c900 is a car very superbly tailored to snow driving, it does have you wanting when it comes to drive traction sometimes. One of the best defenses for snow driving is very high quality winter tires in a market saturated with mediocrity. But if you think about it, the cost of an LSD is similar to the cost of a good set of tires. I've co-driven on a TSD with a rally buddy before, and have done some winter autocross, and know fairly well the limits of the traction tires can get you in the snow, and have been considering an LSD just even for regular winter driving here. I have also raised the following question to him, since he was also considering an LSD (FWD): is an LSD worth an extra set of good tires? I wouldn't substitute it for good tires, of course, but it can give you double the traction of a good set of tires?

li Arc

99sven
06-10-11, 01:01 AM
It is an expensive upgrade but the performance in snow is amazing. I do a lot of driving in snow in the winter while pursuing powder skiing in Washington State and British Columbia. With the Quiffe and Hakka's you get both tires gripping the snow. I really notice that at low speed. I never get stuck in parking lots anymore. I would do it again in a heartbeat. One of the best upgrades to my c900 ever. For dry pavement and cornering it is maybe not the most cost effective upgrade but for snow it is the cats meow.

li Arc
06-10-11, 01:21 AM
It is an expensive upgrade but the performance in snow is amazing. I do a lot of driving in snow in the winter while pursuing powder skiing in Washington State and British Columbia. With the Quiffe and Hakka's you get both tires gripping the snow. I really notice that at low speed. I never get stuck in parking lots anymore. I would do it again in a heartbeat. One of the best upgrades to my c900 ever. For dry pavement and cornering it is maybe not the most cost effective upgrade but for snow it is the cats meow.

That's how I feel as well; it won't really do much on dry pavement or track racing, but when it's on loose gravel or snow it'll make a dramatic improvement, even if it's regular street driving. It's unbelievable sometimes the amount of snow one sees here, and it's amazing enough that most regular drivers are willing to brave it every day. For most other countries, maybe not as much, but for Canadians and other northerners who see as much snow as we do, I'd consider it an improvement on the car more than a performance upgrade.

li Arc

classicsaab
06-10-11, 10:16 PM
Man, the Alcan 5000. I just read through all five pages and it has again, without fail, made me want to be a part of it. I have a well sorted Audi 5000 quattro turbo wagon, a Saab 900t that is becoming sorted, and I grew up in AK to boot! Signs are blatantly telling me I NEED to do this. Great story, hopefully one of these days I can have my own. Cheers!

DanComden
07-10-11, 01:10 PM
There's still time to prep for and enter the 2012 Alcan!
www.alcan5000.com (http://www.alcan5000.com)

There are a number of 2WD entries; the ice slalom events should be a blast.

I've done the winter event twice, and drove the summer version as a worker. We won't be going in 2012. Would be great to see a Saab out there!

DanComden
15-02-12, 12:37 PM
ODO: 293,xxx
We're back from the Thunderbird Rally in British Columbia.
Unlike last year, I avoided getting stuck in a snow-filled ditch. Hoorah.

The car ran strong for both days and the limited slip was just the ticket for keeping us on the road in conditions that ranged from inches of slimy mud over frozen gravel to rock hard ice and compact snow. There are a few new rattles, somewhere along the exhaust and most apparent on overrun. The persistent right front clunk when unweighted is still a mystery. On Sunday morning the latch mechanism in the hatch disassembled itself *just* after we packed for the day but was an easy fix at the finish.

Our teamwork in the car was our best effort yet, and resulted in a tie for 2nd place in Historic class and 3rd overall in a field of 60 entries. Hans (gorper) did a star job in the navigator seat keeping our odometer adjusted so that we stayed mostly on time. We had only 30 penalty points over both days. The team we formed with friends from Seattle, Portland, and BC placed first in the team competition.

Overall winner, also Historic class, was a '69 Sonett. They schooled everyone with their sweet Pirelli tires, awesome driving, and epic navigation. In the top five spots, three were held by Historic class cars, including our friends we tied in an '83 Audi Quattro. Other cool cars included a '70 Datsun 240Z, a '70 Volvo 144, an '84 Porsche 911 Carrera and my fave, a 1989 Skoda 135 GLi.

The work list expanded a bit as I made a new checklist and let Hans take the wheel for the five hour drive home. Here's what is on deck:


Secure rear latch
Re-affix dash velcro for rally computer
Check rear link bushes
Trace/fix short in sunroof wiring
Trace/fix exhaust and front end noises
Dash clock is dead, fix connector or replace

A Checkpoint worker got this shot on day 2 near the end of the event


http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7061/6881769185_d66b44bb2f_z.jpg

SPGreg
15-02-12, 02:00 PM
Congratulations! That's awesome.

Your to-do list seems pretty manageable really (I would have expected worse!). The car must have performed pretty nicely. Well done!

nuclear944
15-02-12, 02:03 PM
I wish I was with you! Love the car- got more pictures of the season?

ejenner
15-02-12, 02:57 PM
I had similar trouble with a rattle on the front left of my convertible. Sometimes it can be a few rattles, as I think it was in my case. Either that or I wasn't able to find the rattle on the first attempt.


The things to look for are:

1. Loose nuts holding the bottom of the engine mount bracket to the top of the driveshaft tunnel. Access from below, extension bar needed to reach nuts.

2. Control-arm ball-joints. I thought when I had jacked up the control arm and put the support under the upper control arm to stop the spring forcring the control arms down that I would be able to feel play in the ball-joints. In fact, even with the upper control arm supported the play in the lower ball joint wasn't at all obvious. It wasn't until I'd removed the steering knuckle from the car that I could feel the obvious play in the lower ball-joint.

3. The inner track-rod-end. The ball-joint between the end of the steering rack and the track-rod.

4. Wheel-bearing.

5. Brake pad spring not secure in front brake pad. Front brake pad is rattling.

DanComden
15-02-12, 05:19 PM
I wish I was with you! Love the car- got more pictures of the season?
The best I got from the event (some were taken by Hans with my camera) are here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcomden/sets/72157629305460661/).
Others by Hans are here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamdrally/sets/72157629325089807/), actually more of the dirty Saab at that one.

I forgot to mention that the event organizer led the entire event in his pro-rally prepped Saab 96. This was his 25th year organizing the event and competitors made a surprise award presentation to him on Saturday night.

On the way to the rally, as we were driving down the east side of the Coquihalla pass, we spied in the distance what looked like the back end of a Saab 99. When we got closer, it was pretty clear it was something unusual.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7056/6871231039_ddaf46053c_z.jpg

DanComden
15-02-12, 05:39 PM
Thanks for the hints. The front end noise has persisted through having the engine out and back in, including new ball joints and engine mounts. At one point I was missing one of the bolts that holds the front clip to the fender but replacing it did not make the noise disappear.

The front end sound is a hollow clunk that appears only when the RF is unweighted as in washboard or other bumps.

Latest theory is that it's the washer fluid tank that is not properly fastened. That should be simple to check.

I had similar trouble with a rattle on the front left of my convertible. Sometimes it can be a few rattles, as I think it was in my case. Either that or I wasn't able to find the rattle on the first attempt.


The things to look for are:

1. Loose nuts holding the bottom of the engine mount bracket to the top of the driveshaft tunnel. Access from below, extension bar needed to reach nuts.

2. Control-arm ball-joints. I thought when I had jacked up the control arm and put the support under the upper control arm to stop the spring forcring the control arms down that I would be able to feel play in the ball-joints. In fact, even with the upper control arm supported the play in the lower ball joint wasn't at all obvious. It wasn't until I'd removed the steering knuckle from the car that I could feel the obvious play in the lower ball-joint.

3. The inner track-rod-end. The ball-joint between the end of the steering rack and the track-rod.

4. Wheel-bearing.

5. Brake pad spring not secure in front brake pad. Front brake pad is rattling.

ejenner
16-02-12, 04:41 AM
When you say 'unweighted' you mean not cornering hard on that side? - my convertible had the same sorts of symptoms and it could have been a number of different things as mentioned above. The last thing I changed was the lower ball-joint. I only found the problem with the lower ball joint after I had removed the hub from the car to fix the wobbly inner tie-rod end. The play in the ball joint was impossible to detect while the hub was mounted to the car. :roll: