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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I am not new to saabs but I am at a stand still with this issue. A little back story:
I purchased an 88 saab 9000 turbo 16v that is rust free 99.9 percent. It had transmission issues(auto).
Upon purchase I replaced the fuel filter and drained all the gas out of it as it had been sitting for a few years (5 or so). I started the vehicle and it had trouble staying on and a big chain rattle noise. I replaced the chain, top guide and tensioner. Then I replaced most vacuum lines in the engine bay. Replaced the fpr and bpv with stock items. Replaced the IAC with a known good one. Replaced the distributor with a known good one. Replaced the valve body with a known good one, but no fix to the transmission issue. The car now starts beautifully and stays on, however there is trouble else where.

The anti lock light is on and the brake pedal is super stiff.
When driving the car:
- shifting is very vague, sometimes pops out of gear while standing.
-the main issue is that you have to build up revs for it slam back into gear.
-while accelerating in gear the car has trouble going over 3000 rpm and in general over 35 mph
- The car also has trouble revving past 3-4k, in neutral or park. It will but very very very slowly. Sometimes breaking up while doing so.
-when idling the turbo needle sits between the white and yellow and when revving in N or Park it goes into the yellow about 1/3. The cat is clean, i checked.

I mainly want to start with fixing the engine issues like the revving and the hesitation/ lack of power. I have replaced the pumps with my 900 pump assembly which was in working order and no change.

My question is where do I even start now? Which gremlin am I chasing?
fuel/timing/spark/boost leak/ computer issues?

If somebody could chime in I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks a lot in advance i know its a lot to read, but im sure that somebody must have had similar problems.

Cheers

Ivan
 

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re the transmission, its probably broken springs in the transmission valve body. There is a saab bulletin on this.
 

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does the 88 have the check engine light that can give you error codes (by flashing sequence, need to rig a wire to activate). i would start there if so.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The car has no check engine light on. The light works, i checked when i unplugged the amm.
What would the reason be for the apc turbo gauge needle to be sitting in between the yellow and white on idle. like its ready to spool?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have a problem with acceleration and at idle. When idling the turbo needle sits between white and yellow. 0 vacuum on the turbo gauge and separate boost gauge, when it should be negative or vacuum. When i rev in park or neutral the gauge goes into yellow and the car hesitates to rev to 3000 and then is breaking up and backfiring. Backfiring hard at 4000. Does anybody have any clue what it could be?
I replaced the fuel pumps and fuel filter. Tested the fuel pressure, its good. Have all new vac hoses. the idle is smooth by itself

I need to fix this issue and dont know where to start again...
 

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Plugged up catalytic converter?

I am blaming all performance issues on exhaust system obstructions tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Plugged up catalytic converter?

I am blaming all performance issues on exhaust system obstructions tonight.
Thank you for your reply,

I wish it was that!! I actually had it off tonight and it still did the same thing with only a downpipe on. Its so frustrating.
I thought maybe the cam timing was off a tooth but both the cams are lined up the same upon inspection with the valve cover off
 

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Just thinking out loud here - also all my experience is with the 1994 model year and later, so forgive me if I make false assumptions.

The turbo gauge is teed off of the actuating line to the air by-pass valve - correct?

This line is connected to a port on the intake plenum - downstream of the throttle plate. There are periods when high vacuum is created within the manifold - and high pressure is developed within the charge air piping.

This most commonly occurs when there is an abrupt closure of the throttle plate while the engine is operating under heavy load. The sudden negative pressure on the downstream side of the throttle plate is used to open the by-pass valve. This action reduces the stresses on the turbo that would occur if no by-pass or blow-off valve was incorporated.

Do you have access to an accurate gauge? It might be wise to first determine the actual pressure within the intake plenum at base boost:

Basic boost pressure should be 0.45±0.03 bar for the R engine and 0.40±0.03 bar for other engine versions.
After adjustment, the push rod must be pre-stressed (tightened) at least 2 turns (2mm) (on hook).
The purpose of this is to ensure that the wastegate is completely closed when not activated.

You could calibrate the dash boost gauge as part of the test as well.

I seriously doubt that you are over boosting at 3000 rpm. It really sounds like you have air flow issue - but you stripped the exhaust down to just the downpipe and saw no improvement... so there goes that theory.

Wastegate is attached to the stem - not floating around an causing a blockage? The actuator and linkage are intact and free to move full stroke.

You probably don't have a Trionic system but here is the diagnostic chart - the basics still should apply:


 

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Is the replacement distributor the "right' one ?
Very Important that it's the exact version.
Turbo gauge should be close to the left edge of its range at idle... max suction ... nowhere near boost and really shouldn't get to yellow under free revving.
Mc Master Carr sells V inexpensive 'quality' Boost gauges, far better than aftermarket dross. A useful toolbox item for turbo owners. Otherwise it's all guesswork.

IS? the fuel pump getting full voltage? Connector corrosion takes a toll, beyond that : Is the pump actually flowing/pressurising as it should ?
ABS pump is likely seized ? Is your booster functional?
Can't remember what ABS variant an '88 had.. Clearly tho it needs attention.

Trans governor seals are likely crumbled. Google for the 'in car' DIY procedure..A couple or 3 to choose from, a fairly straightforward exercise.
Nice driving cars ..when healthy.
Persevere is the only advise:)
 
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