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  #1  
Old 21st May 2011
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Default Series of Unfortunate Events

No, it's not Lemony Snickett. It's ME!

I pulled out of my driveway this morning to take my son to school some 30-ish miles away. I had just adjusted my seat, so my "feel" of the clutch was off. I popped the clutch.

I heard a noise, and the car decided it wasn't gonna run anymore. I opened the hood and found the distributor cap loose, and the rotor in pieces:


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 1 by DurocShark, on Flickr

I looked further and found both flanges on the front motor mount were broken:


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 2 by DurocShark, on Flickr


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 3 by DurocShark, on Flickr

I had my old distributor with a good rotor in the garage, so I ran in and grabbed it. Did a quick swap and timing, and we were running again. My son ended up being only 20 minutes late.

As I pulled out of his school's parking lot, I heard a new buzzing noise. I had no idea what it was, but the car stopped again two blocks away. I managed to get it into a parking space in a gas station.

When I got out I found this bulge in the hood that wasn't there before:


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 4 by DurocShark, on Flickr

I opened the hood and was presented with a window where one shouldn't be:


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 5 by DurocShark, on Flickr

Through that window I could see:


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 6 by DurocShark, on Flickr

I called my wife to come haul my butt to the parts store to get a new cap and rotor so I could get home. This was after I tried to call AAA and they said my account was expired for non-payment. GAH! The wife is repsonsible for the bills... Grrr... Anyway...

I still had the good distributor in the car from the earlier swap. I installed the rotor on that one and swapped the distributors again. New cap installed and wires swapped. I discovered the reason for the grenading distributor cap... I failed to hook up the ground wire when I swapped the distributor. My own !@#% fault.

I'm still not clear on how popping the clutch shattered the first rotor. Maybe the combination of the shock of popping the clutch and the shock of the motor mount flanges snapping was enough to shatter that rapidly spinning hunk of plastic.

Regardless, I do actually have a question: Do new motor mounts come with those flanges? Or am I going to have to hit the junkyards?
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  #2  
Old 21st May 2011
JeffCullen JeffCullen is offline
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You mean that thin black wire I've seen on some cars which goes back to the coil, with a ballast resistor?? Most 900s I've worked on don't have this...
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  #3  
Old 21st May 2011
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I don't think a ground was your main issue.. It looks like your front, and possibly both of your side mounts were in such bad shape, coupled with a rotting bracket, that when you popped the clutch the force broke the mounts, and thereby your engine's connection to.. anything.

New mounts do not come with a new bracket unfortunately, so you're going to have to source one from a breakers, but check your side mounts as well. Any trouble shifting? Can you take a picture of the ground wire? I don't ever recall seeing one on either of my 16v's in that area other than the radiator support/battery leads.
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  #4  
Old 21st May 2011
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I'm off to the junkyard to see if I can get some flanges. I'll try to chase that wire when I get back.
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  #5  
Old 21st May 2011
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vsfoxe vsfoxe is offline
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I would guess that the car gave you several warnings of this impending failure, and you ignored them all. I think the bracket is a separate piece. Vern
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  #6  
Old 21st May 2011
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Deleted my previous response. It was rude and unnecessary. My only excuse is I'm back from the yard without a part. I needed a cherry picker, and am fighting a flu at the same time. Decided to give up and come home.

What warning signs did I ignore? The loud noise that signaled the failure of the mount? Or the stupidity of me leaving the condenser wire dangling?

I have no idea where the connection between the mount and the first failure could be, but I'm pretty damn sure the second failure was my leaving the condenser detached. The distributor that was in there was fully functional when I swapped it out. The only problem was the broken clips for the hall plug.

I looked at a couple of distributors at the junkyard. Some, but not all, had the condensor wire attached to the distributor body.

Last edited by DurocShark; 21st May 2011 at 08:29 PM.
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  #7  
Old 21st May 2011
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To answer an earlier question, no trouble shifting. I can feel the engine/trans rocking but that's it. Shifting's the same.

Side mounts look ok, but I tore a rad hose with the engine's shifting. No fun.
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  #8  
Old 21st May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DurocShark View Post
I have no idea where the connection between the mount and the first failure could be, but I'm pretty damn sure the second failure was my leaving the condenser detached.
When the front motor mount is broken, the engine moves on hard acceleration. When it does, the distributor cap hits the hood, the rotor hits the cap, and the car stops. Often, you can see the mark left by the impact on the inside of the hood.
The condenser is meaningless.
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  #9  
Old 21st May 2011
N.E. Swede N.E. Swede is offline
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Quick temp fix til you get a new bracket: remove those 2 bolts and add a couple big washers to hold what's left down. Or a quick weld if you've got the means.
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Old 21st May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Mesthene View Post
When the front motor mount is broken, the engine moves on hard acceleration. When it does, the distributor cap hits the hood, the rotor hits the cap, and the car stops. Often, you can see the mark left by the impact on the inside of the hood.
The condenser is meaningless.
Hmmm... There was a dent in the hood. It's in the pics in the OP. But it's a very thin straight line, about the size of the chunk of plastic that flew off. That being said, the insulation is in place and may have prevented the cap from denting the hood itself.

Good, I was going nuts trying to figure out how the condenser would cause the thing to melt down like that.
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  #11  
Old 21st May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N.E. Swede View Post
Quick temp fix til you get a new bracket: remove those 2 bolts and add a couple big washers to hold what's left down. Or a quick weld if you've got the means.

I was thinking steel bar stock with holes in it. I don't have a welder (anymore), so that's out of the question.

I'm gonna head to the BORG and see what I can scrounge up.
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  #12  
Old 22nd May 2011
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Here we go. Steel and fender washers. That steel was a bear to bend!

This is gonna make for a rough engine, but I think it'll hold until I can do better:


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 7 by DurocShark, on Flickr


Saab Series of Unfortunate Events 8 by DurocShark, on Flickr
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  #13  
Old 22nd May 2011
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BTW: I've been looking at the ears that broke off. There's no sign of rust or corrosion. One of the mounting holes was really stretched out.

I just can't figure out what caused them to break like that. Simple metal fatigue? Perhaps. It certainly isn't the massive horsepower and torque of my N/A engine...
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  #14  
Old 22nd May 2011
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Just took it for a test drive. Every bit of anything in the car buzzes! It's like driving a bee hive!!!

This should hold for a bit. It's darn solid.
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  #15  
Old 22nd May 2011
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S900t8v S900t8v is offline
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If the mounts loosen over time then the small amount of flex/knock will put excessive strain on the metal and fatigue it causing it to break.
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  #16  
Old 22nd May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S900t8v View Post
If the mounts loosen over time then the small amount of flex/knock will put excessive strain on the metal and fatigue it causing it to break.
That makes sense. Since the hole on one side was all wallowed out, the explanation fits.

Thanks!
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  #17  
Old 27th May 2011
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UPDATE:

The 14 gauge steel held! HUZZAH! After inspection, I think it would have held for years.

I got a mount from Cooper-Davis and installed it today. The rubber in the mount I had was in far better condition than the one I got, so I swapped the bracket in. The bolt on the new (to me) one was rusty, so apparently I bent it getting it out. Whoops! Of course, I didn't notice until I was trying to align the thing in the car. Took some fidgeting but it's solid now.

After the mount broke, I heard an exhaust rattle as well. I assumed it would go away when the engine was properly aligned again, but it didn't. So I crawled around and found:


Saab muffler by DurocShark, on Flickr

That muffler is less than two years old. As you can see in the pic, the thing broke cleanly at the welds. The downstream end is just as clean.

Since the main muffler upstream is still good, I'm thinking on just cutting this off and putting a straight tailpipe in.
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