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92, 93, 95, 96 & Sonett Workshop - covers *only* vintage models (1949-1980) prior to the 99 92, 93, 95, 96 & Sonett Technical Forum Covers *only* vintage models (1949-1980) prior to the 99

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  #1  
Old 7th May 2010
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Default Fixing up my 1973 96

I recently purchased a 1973 96. It has a little under 50,000 miles on the clock, but mainly because one of the previous owners (second owner I think) took it off the road because it failed inspection in 1984 because the shock towers rusted through. The third owner fixed the shock towers, but never put it back on the road, instead he kept it mostly in his garage with some days of it's life spent outdoors. I bought it on May 1, 2010, so more rust had built up, but mostly underneath and in the floorpan. The third owner also fixed much of the body rust, his body work isn't pro-quality (the whole car has been painted with Rustoleom Enamel, among other things), but is far better than letting it rust away. It currently isn't drive-able due to a bad ball joint, and I'm currently in the middle of fixing that, just to get it on the road.

My goal with this is not a full restoration, that is way out of my league (money wise and skill wise). I bought the car to learn to work on. I can do the usual things like brakes, wire in a trailer/tow kit, install a trailer hitch, minor engine things, but I want to learn more, and this car has been a favorite of mine and was a great price.

My first step is to get it back on the road, so I'm working on fixing the ball joints so I can get it out of my Dad's spot in the garage, and hopefully inspected and back on the road so I can store it somewhere else.
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Old 7th May 2010
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The ball joints have been a slow project. With 37 years of rust, the bolts were a pain to get out. The two bolts holding the lower part of the ball joints took about 2 hours, some bashed knuckles, and a lot of PB Blaster to get them out. The last nut, that holds the top of the ball joint to the wheel hub took somewhere inbetween 4-5 hours, a lot of cursing, a couple of smashed thumbs, and a sore back from squatting down there for so long. I tried ever trick in the book I knew, I started out with a long wrench for more leverage, and letting it soak in PB Blaster for a while, while I did other things. Come back every so often, give it another spray. After a day of that, still didn't work. So I put the wrench back on and started hitting it with a hammer, no avail, only started to strip the head of the bolt and the nut. From here I heated it up with a MAP gas torch, and tried again... nothing. So I decided to cut the nut off. This didn't help at all, so I decided I'd drill down the middle of the bolt, and increase in size a little bit, then try some PB Blaster. That didn't work. So I tried the heating process again... nothing. So I just increased the drill bit in size until the entire bolt was drilled out, and I cut off the top of the bolt. It worked pretty well, but the pinch clamp thing was rusted shut, so the top of the ball joint still couldn't come out. So I got a series of wedges, and wedged it open just enough to where I could get top of the ball joint out. After some hard work, I finally got it out. Here is where I am at now...
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Old 7th May 2010
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Here's a picture of the interior. It's in surprisingly good condition. Just a little dusty, and the radio and speaker is missing, along with two or three unknown bits.

(Some major rust is right below the carpet where it meets the wheel-well.)

Here is one of the things missing (I think something goes there). Anyone knows what goes there? There is an identical hole like this, just on the passenger side.

Anybody know what goes there? It's right inbetween the cigarette lighter and the "Fasten Seatbelt" light.
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Old 10th May 2010
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Great looking car... wish mine was that far along!

I am not 100% positive but I think that first hole in your dash is part of the heating and cooling system. Specifically, I think it's to defrost the side windows.

Not surprised that there is rust under the carpet. Don't let the pretty interior fool you... you'll still need to remove it all to make sure you don't have more rust, especially along the firewall.

Can't wait to see more picture. Best of luck.
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Old 10th May 2010
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I am not 100% positive but I think that first hole in your dash is part of the heating and cooling system. Specifically, I think it's to defrost the side windows.
That was my guess, I haven't really had much time to mess with it with the engine running. I've got one of the front axles taken apart as I wait for a CV boot to be shipped (my local guy with a couple of 96's and 95's is 94, and seems to having a bit of old people grumpy-ness or forgetful-ness and hangs up when I call for parts).

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Not surprised that there is rust under the carpet. Don't let the pretty interior fool you... you'll still need to remove it all to make sure you don't have more rust, especially along the firewall.
Yeah, From what I've seen so far from looking under the car, and lifting up the carpets as far as I can, I've got about a hole the size of my fist (maybe bigger) where the driver side wheel well meets the floor pan, I've got just some surface rust on the other side in the same place, and I've got about a golfball size hole in the rear near the bottom of the backseat on the passenger side. I'm still a little confused on how I'm going to do it, but I think I'll figure it out (and certainly improve my welding skills).

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Can't wait to see more picture. Best of luck.
Thanks, I've been following yours on your site... lots of good info you've got there.
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Old 11th May 2010
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Did Rob ever give you that number of the guy with the parts?
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Old 11th May 2010
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Did Rob ever give you that number of the guy with the parts?
Yeah, the guy is 94 years old and I think he might be losing it a little. I called him before I bought the car to make sure he still had some parts, and he did, and told me the price of things like a new windshield. I called him about four days ago, asking about parts, but he hung up before I could say what I was calling about, and he said he wasn't who he really was (I checked the number 3 times, same number as before). I called back, and got his answering machine, and left a message, I've gotten nothing back yet.
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Old 12th May 2010
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All i have to say is - WOW...
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Old 12th May 2010
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All i have to say is - WOW...
Haha, he seems like a nice guy, I just wish I could get a hold of some of the parts he's got... I'm not even sure how much he has. Rob said he has a couple tow-behind trailers full of stuff.
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Old 12th May 2010
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Anybody happen to know where I can get a bearing cap for the axle? They are the little caps with the little needle bearings in them that go on the ends of the "T" of the axle. I'm missing one, must of fallen off during transportation to my garage.

Last edited by Shazam; 12th May 2010 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 13th May 2010
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http://www.skandix.com/
Best place i know of for parts for the V4's. it would help if you are German fluent (or even have a German-English dictionary) as that one has a bigger inventory.

I know there where a few places in the UK that where parting 3 V4's out about 3-4 months ago...may still have some things if you need a hard to find part.

The owner of Impact Motors (SAAB specialty) in Rochester owns an old 2-stroker so i am sure he could answer a few questions too if need be.
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Old 13th May 2010
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Scandix doesn't have it. I called a guy in West Virginia (West of Sweden Saab) and he (very helpful and nice) doesn't have any, and he told me that he's always looking for more because they don't make them any more, so if I found a stash, to give him a call back. The guy at Impact was great, he only has his own personal 96, and doubts that he has any, but he is going to look and give me a call. I'm going to try a junkyard that I heard might have a few old Saabs. Thanks Troll! I'm finding that most people with these cars only want to help, and are super nice.
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Old 13th May 2010
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Found a guy in Macedon that has a Sonett III and extra parts. He sold me some, and his car was AWESOME! He had a turbo on it, amongst other things, and it was just an incredible car. And once again... very nice.
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Old 14th May 2010
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Originally Posted by Shazam View Post
Anybody happen to know where I can get a bearing cap for the axle? They are the little caps with the little needle bearings in them that go on the ends of the "T" of the axle. I'm missing one, must of fallen off during transportation to my garage.
I may well have one
amsnare@comcast.net
I detest throwing things away. Particularily some of value, I have lost/dropped these little roller bearings. The Saab "sticky grease" is best as a prevent. Substitute motor honey??
The one or two that I have are probably for a 99/900. These may be interchangible.
Great pic
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Old 14th May 2010
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Originally Posted by earthworm View Post
I may well have one
amsnare@comcast.net
I detest throwing things away. Particularily some of value, I have lost/dropped these little roller bearings. The Saab "sticky grease" is best as a prevent. Substitute motor honey??
The one or two that I have are probably for a 99/900. These may be interchangible.
Great pic
Thanks, but I managed to find a local guy that had a few spares. I bought three of them, needed one, and gives myself two spares because they are so hard to come by. And I'm the same way about not throwing stuff away.
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Old 15th May 2010
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Finally got some more time to work on the car today. I finished putting on the new ball joint, took some use of the new spring compressors (first time using ones) and a little force. I still have to put on my new CV boot, and new axle cap bearings. I've also been fiddling with getting the water pump (it's cracked somewhere I can't see) out, and it's been a pain. Two of the five bolts are in an impossible to reach place, so I'm going to have to remove some other things to get to it. Once I fix all of those, I should be able to take it around the block for a quick test drive. Then I'll have to replace the windshield so I can have an attempt of passing inspection.
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Old 17th May 2010
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Finally got some more time to work on the car today. I finished putting on the new ball joint, took some use of the new spring compressors (first time using ones) and a little force. I still have to put on my new CV boot, and new axle cap bearings. I've also been fiddling with getting the water pump (it's cracked somewhere I can't see) out, and it's been a pain. Two of the five bolts are in an impossible to reach place, so I'm going to have to remove some other things to get to it. Once I fix all of those, I should be able to take it around the block for a quick test drive. Then I'll have to replace the windshield so I can have an attempt of passing inspection.
So I've been tinkering around with the waterpump, but I can't get it off. I've undone three of the five bolts, and the other two (the ones on the far side of the pump, closest to the engine block) are next to impossible to get to. Any tips on getting those two bolts out?
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Old 19th May 2010
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So I finally got the water pump out, and it's pretty bad. There isn't really any good way to get it out, besides taking out/moving all the coolant tubes that are in the way. I've read about a way to change the two "hard to get to" bolts into a nut/bolt system so you can get to it from the front. I plan on doing that, and I'll post the link once I find it.

Also, my dad was trying to help, and he ended up mashing the threads of the axle nut that I had to take off to get the axle out to replace the CV boot (a dirty job). Turn out, I ended up just pulling the CV boot over the "T" of the axle, so I didn't have to take it all apart, but it did make it much easier to pull over (didn't rip either!). I must admit though, I had a moment of complete stupidity, I put the boot on the wrong way. It was easy getting on the wrong way, but not easy getting it off, and I was worried about ripping the boot. But it ended up working out, after I kicked myself in the *** about ten times.

As a plus, my dad told me to look through his collection of old license plates to see if there are any 1973 era ones (for NYS, it was either the blue, with orangish-yellow writing, or orangish-yellow with blue writing--there was an overlap). In NYS, they allow you to put "vintage" plates from the era of your car on, if you supply the plates, the number is not taken, and you have the correct number of plates for the era. I managed to find some blue ones, and they are in decent nice condition too. I checked www.nysdmv.com and the numbers aren't taken either. So as soon as I get my title problems fixed, I'll have the car registered with some awesome vintage plates!

Oh, and those needle bearing caps I was looking for, and found after about a week and a half of searching? Well, I found the other one underneath the carpet in the car. I had gone over the entire car before, so I don't know how it got there, but there it was. Good thing about me getting the new ones though, the one I found is missing some needles.
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Old 3rd June 2010
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Finally got some time to work on it again. I got the water pump in, and now I'm in the middle of replacing the worn water hoses. I had to pull the radiator (actually pretty easy) to be able to replace the one that goes from the radiator to the water pump. The hose I used for that actually goes to a Mercury boat engine or something... the guy at my new favorite car supply shop did some searching in the back and found a bent hose that would fit, I just had a trim off a 90 degree bend on one end, and it fit perfectly! Lots of the hoses have been a PITA to replace, ripping when coming off, and then the new ones don't want to go back on, even after sanding the parts clean/smooth. I also finally got the axle back together, I had to use an impact wrench on the axle nut to get the axle back through the bearings in the hub, and it took about 30min of fiddling with that to get it set. To get it drive-able I just need to put the brakes back together (I need a schematic of the caliper assembly if anyone happens to know where I can find it online... I think I'm missing a couple parts) and finish getting the hoses back on, and I'm set for cruising around. To get it legally back on the road I've got to replace the windshield (rather large crack) because it won't pass NYS inspection without a new one.
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Old 3rd June 2010
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Nice! i am really regretting the fact that i did not go through with the deal. i hope you are happy with her

Instead of tracking down a windshield why not call ray sands glass first to see if they can repair the one on there now? just a tip...
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