Transmission/clutch question (rattle and popping out of first gear) - SaabCentral Forums
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  #1  
Old 23rd May 2008
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
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Default Transmission/clutch question (rattle and popping out of first gear)

I just got a '97 900 SE with a 5-speed. The engine feels fine, sounds decent (other than a little noise coming from the pulleys, but pretty quiet) and everything else is in good order. But...

If I put the car into first when it's rolling, let off the clutch and start giving it gas, it'll pop out of first gear. It's almost like it's spring loaded or something. I'm not sure if this is normal, and it only happens about 15% of the time. Could this be bad syncro's or a bad throw-out bearing?

Also, I'm getting a lot of chatter from the clutch or somewhere around it, mainly under initial load from about 1k-2k rpms and then it goes away. It will also make a little bit of noise when decellerating in gear. I've found a few threads that say it's a bad spring somewhere in the clutch assembly. It sounds to me like a twin-disk clutch, if anyone has ever heard them before. It's like the clutch or a spring is slapping around.

Last thing: I have to depress the clutch peddle all the way to the floor to switch gears. There is a little bit of play near the floor before it grabs, but it just seems like it has to be pushed in really far. I just assumed this is normal for saabs, unless someone can tell me otherwise (which I would be greatful for).

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 23rd May 2008
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
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I should also add that the clutch holds just fine. Easily enough to spin the tires, so I don't think it's worn out. The car has 108k miles and hasn't had the clutch changed, so it might be approaching time to do that.
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  #3  
Old 23rd May 2008
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
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After reading a bit more (under the stickies of all places *slaps forehead*), I've found that the bad clutch peddle might be the automatically adjusting cable (just went out and looked, and sure enough, it was the same one). I'll probably fiddle with it tomorrow and see if I can't fix it. If that fixed the rattles too by some miracle, I'd be a happy man.
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  #4  
Old 23rd May 2008
jstrowe jstrowe is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antithesis
I just got a '97 900 SE with a 5-speed. The engine feels fine, sounds decent (other than a little noise coming from the pulleys, but pretty quiet) and everything else is in good order. But...

If I put the car into first when it's rolling, let off the clutch and start giving it gas, it'll pop out of first gear. It's almost like it's spring loaded or something. I'm not sure if this is normal, and it only happens about 15% of the time. Could this be bad syncro's or a bad throw-out bearing?
Welcome to the forum and to the world of Saabs!

I'm guessing here, but I'm wondering if the shift linkage may need to be adjusted. It sounds like it might not be engaging all the way in first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antithesis
Last thing: I have to depress the clutch peddle all the way to the floor to switch gears. There is a little bit of play near the floor before it grabs, but it just seems like it has to be pushed in really far. I just assumed this is normal for saabs, unless someone can tell me otherwise (which I would be greatful for).

Thanks.
As you noted in a later post, this is not normal for Saabs. It indicates a failed auto-adjusting cable. This is a common failure. There are those who have replaced the self-adjuster with a Nissan cable or an after-market manual adjusting cable. If you search the forums, you will find instructions. A properly adjusted cable will have 2-3cm of free-play at the top before you feel resistance. If you have more than that, the clutch will engage too close to the floor.

There is a slight chance that a bad cable will keep you from going into first properly but you'll have to see what happens when you change the cable. I'd start there.

Good luck,
John
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  #5  
Old 24th May 2008
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
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Yeah, it seems like that's the problem. I'm going to lift the fuse-box tomorrow and see what the cable is doing. If I can adjust it, it'll be nice. I'm actually getting quite a cramp in my leg from having to push the peddle so far.

I am quickly falling in love with the car though. I am starting to get a little more into the powerband and am enjoying it quite a bit.
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  #6  
Old 24th May 2008
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
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Is it pretty challenging to do a clutch install on these cars? I'm thinking I may just dive into it in the next couple months and get a decent clutch for it (swedish dynamics most likely), and maybe do a manual adjusting cable while I'm at it. I really don't like that noise very much, even though it's probably not doing anything.

I do have quite a bit of wrenching experience, but what all would make it an easier job?
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  #7  
Old 25th May 2008
flyhop flyhop is offline
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It's not hard at all. Some links around here can assist you.

http://photo.platonoff.com/Auto/
Look under the Transmission section. Almost everything you need to know. Be sure the scribe where the subframe meets up with the frame BEFORE loosening the bolts.

Getting transmission off without hurting yourself or the transmission is a bit of a challenge. I plan on trying this:
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=124614
I really don't see how a bad throw-out bearing could be the culprit. Start with the easy stuff first, like checking the shift linkage and the auto-adjust cable.

As for what can make this easier...
Make sure you have the uninterrupted time to do this. Get all of the tools together (see top of each of Platonoff's site for list of tools needed) and all of your materials, such as new clutch (pretty obvious there), clutch spline tool, right grease for throw-out bearing sleeve, threadlocker for bolts, torque wrench and a list of torque settings for various components.

FWIW, I would go ahead and replace the main oil seal while you've got everything apart. Under the same heading, I would also think about replacing the differential seals too (really fun to get on and off).

Last thing, have fun doing it.
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  #8  
Old 25th May 2008
Antithesis Antithesis is offline
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Actually, while I took it in for inspection the guys said there is a very slow leak in the main seal. Nothing to worry about, but he said if I ever want to replace it, it's $440 parts and labor. I wonder, if I had the parts for the clutch how many more hours it would take to throw it in while the transmission is out.

Or I could just do it myself. I would want to use an engine hoist though. The scariest part seems like the lowering of the transmission. One of my friends has replaced a clutch with no more than a set of handtools, a flashlight and jack that came out of the trunk, in the dark and rain no less. I'm pretty sure I can figure it out if I decide I want to save $400. I may end up spending nearly that much in tools and tool rentals though.
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  #9  
Old 25th May 2008
flyhop flyhop is offline
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With the transmission out and the clutch removed (friction disc and pressure plate), there are 8 bolts holding on the flywheel. This should probably be removed and resurfaced (decent machine shop would charge you about $30 for a two-step resurfacing of the flywheel. It may not be necessary, but as long as you are in there....

Getting the main oil seal off is about as simple as driving a couple of screws into the seal (180 degrees apart from each other) and then pulling seal out by grabbing onto the screw heads and pulling it out (sounds easy, but it takes some effort). That's the easy part. Getting a new seal back on takes either a trick I don't know about or a series of trial and effort attempts. Again, not that hard.

My only comment about tools is this. If you own an old Saab, either have a really big checking account, or make a small investment in some good tools and learn to do it yourself. The DIY route will pay for itself time and again. If you feel the need to get an engine hoist, you can typically find one for about $200 or less. For this kind of a job though, an engine "brace" is better (see Platonoff's site again). You just want to be able to keep the engine suspended; a hoist is really made to remove the engine. As for the brace, here's what I made; works pretty good. And before anyone else warns me, yes, I know that I've got an oil leak at distributor plug. That comes after I get MY transmission back in.

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  #10  
Old 25th May 2008
flyhop flyhop is offline
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BTW, don't risk your life like your friend did. I may make a good story, but there's no amount of money anyone could offer me to climb under a car with only an emergency jack holding it up. Safety first man. You don't want to have your transmission's serial number stamped into your forehead. Be careful, and then you can have fun. Someone out there loves you...(we don't know why).
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