Clamp & Brace - bad news and a lesson? [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: Clamp & Brace - bad news and a lesson?

T9 dreamer
24th August 2004, 04:23 AM
'98 Abbott'd 9-3 with MP Performance clamp & brace.

I've been running with just the clamp of this mod as I couldn't get help to fit the under-the-wheelarch bolt of the brace. I had no problems running the car like this and the difference the clamp made was fantastic. However, at the weekend just passed I was forced off the road and up the kerb. It wasn't big kerb and I came off the brakes as I went up, but the impact (~20mph) must have put a huge load through the steering assembly and into the bulkhead. I now seem to have nasty cracking noises when I park - ie the cracking bulkhead issue mentioned here in other threads.

Originally I didn't think getting the brace on was too urgent a job as I don't drive particularly agressively (the MP Performance site didn't suggest it was essential & you can buy the clamp on it's own). However this little incident has reminded me about 'expecting the unexpected'. I don't know that the clamp + brace would have fared any better under the circustances, but I'm certainly wishing now I'd done both at the same time. :roll:

This hasn't changed my mind on the effectiveness of the mod (it's superb!), but if you're considering doing the clamp and brace I'd strongly recommend doing both parts together (or neither). You never know what's gonna happen out there!

Cheers - T9

24th August 2004, 07:38 AM
Bad luck m8, sorry to hear about your misfortune. I'm new to Saabs (A Vauxhall man) & want to carry out this mod on my 9-3. I've heard it makes quite a difference & will deffo follow your advice when I get round to it.

24th August 2004, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the advice ...

Ill be doing the mods this weekend. So now I know that I don't quit the garage without both part on ...

Sorry about your badluck :roll:

24th August 2004, 08:46 AM
Bad luck m8, sorry to hear about your misfortune. I'm new to Saabs (A Vauxhall man) & want to carry out this mod on my 9-3. Then you'll know this is the same problem that can occur to Vauxhall Cavaliers then.
T9, if it's that bad have a MOT tester take a quick look at it, they'll know what to look for, it isn't that hard to weld up [I did a cavalier about 4 years ago with a bulkhead tear] the cracking [usually] occurs where the steering column passes through to meet the rack, keep us posted.

edit, forgot to say, the cracking is a fatigue issue and requires a fair amount of time to develope, I doubt one major knock will have cuased such a failure, I'm thinkings its more like something is bent [like an alloy lower front arm] or something lose/dislodged. Hope its nothing serious.

24th August 2004, 10:44 AM
also check to see if the rack is now moving through the clamp, as the forse could have bent the clamp so it is not holding the rack tight, my rack moves though the mp clamp and it makes a cracking sound when moving

T9 dreamer
24th August 2004, 11:48 AM
Thanks guys - your moral support much appreciated!

Now it's finally stopped raining :o, I'll be getting in there with a torch after work to check the edges of the bulkhead steering-rack hole. The clamp is the newer version with the improved adhesive so I wouldn't expect problems, but I'll check that too as you suggest.

Interesting to note the fatigue issue - the car's been running on lowered Abbott suspension and 17" alloys since new. That's 6 years since Aug '98 - could it be the rack clamp is the last straw?

If I do find a tear at the bulkhead I'll see what SAAB have to say. Some threads on here seem to suggest they've worked up a suitable fix. Anyone any experience of that? Probable cost?

Cheers - T9

T9 dreamer
24th August 2004, 05:14 PM
Well, I've been out for a good butchers at this now - the upshot is there's good news and there's bad news....
(Oh, and big thanks for the heads-up Boxman!)

The good news is that there's no cracking around the bulkhead! :D :D :cheesy:

The bad news is that I'm now back on the stock "coat-hanger and a shoulder pad" steering-rack clamp. :-?

It looks like the kerb impact has punted the steering rack sideways sufficiently hard to twist the rubber out of the 'U' clamp and also badly shear the rubber on the backplate. After this I assume the 'cracking' sound I was hearing is the sound of the clamp itself twisting left to right and the exposed metal edge hitting the metal of the rack it's holding.

This clamp is the type that has the improved adhesive yet still the rubber has twisted out. However I think this is perhaps more to do with the force of the impact rather than the new adhesive. On the backplate the adhesive has held well and it's actually the rubber that has sheared. (BTW I think this is related to how well the clamp grips the rack - I don't think the addition of the brace would have made any difference is this case).

Anyway, good news for me - no cracking bulkhead! :cheesy: I'll get back in touch with Chris at MP and see what the view is from there. Keep you posted.

Cheers! - T9

T9 dreamer
26th August 2004, 03:29 AM
Good news!

I've got some feedback from MP now they've seen the pictures. Seems like the clamp I have is not the new adhesive but the old stuff with which they know there are issues. A new clamp with 2500psi adhesive is on it's way. Fantastic!!!
(and why can't my local dealership have service levels as good as this? :-? )

Anyway, what could have been a nasty week has turned into a good one - no dents, no cracks and a new clamp on it's way soon! :D :D :D

Cheers all and big thanks to Chris at MP.


26th August 2004, 07:49 AM
that seems like a satifactory result :lol:

T9 dreamer
26th August 2004, 08:30 AM
that seems like a satifactory result :lol:
It's got to be said that I'm highly relieved there's no cracking. Thanks V much for the pointer at the clamp rubber - I know of the adhesive issue, but I probably wouldn't have seen it without the poke in the right direction. :wink:. Cheers!

26th August 2004, 08:52 AM
Sorry to hear of your trouble. I've fitted the clamp and brace last weekend and have to say that it has improved things no end. I asked at the time of purchase whether it was the clamp with the new stronger adhesive and they said that it is but how do I know?? There are no real clues with adhesive is there?

26th August 2004, 08:49 PM
Brings new meaning to the phrase, "Do it right, or do it twice." Doesn't it.