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So, in an effort to A) build a little bit of a post count, B) Prove i'm a real person on the forum, and C) waste time at work, I figured I'd start a thread here documenting my build of a 2008 9-5 wagon into a Lemons car.

If you've never heard of the 24 Hours of Lemons, it's a racing series for cheap cars. You get $500 to buy and mod a car (plus an unlimited budget for safety gear), and then you bring it endurance racing and hope things don't blow up. I've been doing this for almost 5 years at this point. My previous car was a 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby that was gloriously terrible.

Enter the new car. My dad finally retired his daily driver, a 2008 9-5 Aero with 254k miles. He's been a team mate in Lemons since the start, and decided the saab would make a good family car so that my siblings can join in on racing. If I pull some super fuzy math on the car's value and what's wrong with it, and what I could sell off, it's totally a $500 car.

Goal is to enter the October Race at NHMS. We bought 94ft of 1.75"x.120 DOM tubing, borrowed a friend's tube bender, and brought the car up to my apartment this weekend to start the surgery. Step 1 is to strip the car, then build a cage, then swap in all the safety stuff from my last car to make it fully legal for the series. Starting the stripping process tonight, at which point I'll have more pictures. I'll also have about 70% of the interior for sale.




Picture of my old car for amusement.
 

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It's up there. There've been a few modern cars, and they get stupid numbers of penalty laps, and then you just go racing anyway. We're not going to win, so who cars. This is all about getting my siblings into a "racecar" and having a good weekend.

Next year I'll debut my E36 with terrible engine swap to get us back into the typical lemons madness.
 

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Spent 2.5 hours tonight stripping the car. I love stripping cars. Almost everything is out. Need to pull the headliner, the dash, and the passenger front carpet. And finish moving all the parts to my basement. Then I get to play the fun game of removing the sound deadening glued to the floor where I plan on welding in the cage.

I also pulled a stupid move and removed all the antenna bits for the key. Wasn't even thinking, so I got a lovely "Key not accepted" message and couldn't start the car. I'll have to find those pieces tomorrow.

Few pictures of the disaster state of the car. Amazingly we broke almost nothing pulling the interior out.



 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good luck. Never again.
I am no stranger to failure. Did I mention I used to run an 80's Turbo Dodge?

I have no doubts the Saab will eventually destroy itself in spectacular fashion. That's half the reason we're doing this. It's a viking funeral of sorts for a car that my dad drove a quarter of a million miles. My job is to get it to last at least one full race first. And we have some really good ideas on how after that freaking daytona.

Basic rules for making any car survive in lemons:
1. Do Not Rev To Redline. Just don't, it's not worth it. If redline is 6k, you shift at 5k, every time.

2. Temps are king. Ignore every OEM gauge, install aftermarket gauges to watch water temp and oil temp. Do not let them get too hot. If required beef up your cooling system and add a bigger oil cooler. My favorites are RX7 oil coolers because they're freaking massive. Really good for turbo cars.

3. Do not ever let the oil pressure drop. Install a gauge, then realize that no one watches gauges, so install an idiot light that triggers at ~15psi and links to some huge impossible to miss light. If that light ever goes off you turn the engine off (yes I realize idle might trigger that level when the oil is hot, use your brain there).


I've managed to get engines to survive catastrophic oil loss. I popped an oil cooler line off one race. The oil coated the tires mid-turn and made me slide around real good. I had the sense to look at the oil pressure gauge, notice it said zero when 2 turns ago it said 50 and I smacked the kill switch. Got towed in, fixed the line, refilled the oil, and the engine ran the rest of the weekend with no drama.
 

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This looks interesting, keep us posted.;ol;

Also let me know when you are ready to part it out. I'd like to get the plastic trim around the rear hatch as well as the plastic plugs that hold the headliner up in the rear (if they didn't break removing them). Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This looks interesting, keep us posted.;ol;

Also let me know when you are ready to part it out. I'd like to get the plastic trim around the rear hatch as well as the plastic plugs that hold the headliner up in the rear (if they didn't break removing them). Thanks
Almost ready. I need the min post count before I can post any for sale threads or deal with PMs.

I'm pulling the headliner tonight, so I'll see what I can do about those. The trim around the hatch came out nicely. I've tried to take pictures of everything, but I need to consolidate them all.
 

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Didn't get to the headliner. Pulled a few more things out, bolted the driver's seat back in so it can be driven. Also trying to figure out if I can use the motorized seat bases, but right now the seat sits too high. I may have to either ditch the height adjust, or tear it apart and re-engineer it. I also put all the relevant ignition bits back in so the keys work again.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
I will get a for sale thread up as soon as my account gets permissions. I have the post requirement, but it's still yelling at me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I cant believe you did that to that beautiful car! Sacrilege!!! And it is a rare hard to find stick!
several lols. It's a car, that's lived a long happy easy life. And now we're letting it go out with a bang while letting me, my dad, and my siblings do something together. And you're right, it's a stick. Dad searched long and hard to find that car new. And when he says "lets make it a family race car", we do it.
 

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I'd like to get the plastic trim around the rear hatch as well as the plastic plugs that hold the headliner up in the rear (if they didn't break removing them). Thanks
I struggled with these plugs for a while until I realised you twist them 1/4 turn and they fall right out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
For the record, the car has some issues that would be annoying. Backup sensors don't work, auto leveling headlights don't work right, the fancy headlights have had flickering issues forever, the gas gauge doesn't work, tire pressure sensors don't work. It would have taken a lot of money to fix those systems, and then you're still stuck with a car that has 254k miles.....




Didn't get a ton completed this weekend. But some. Dash is out. sunroof is out. I pulled out the sound deadening in the areas I'd need to weld to the floor. That part was fun. Mix Dry ice with Isopropyl alcohol to make a slurry, then lay on the material and freeze it. Doing so makes it brittle and separates it from the floor making it easier to remove.






Tonight I hope to bend the main hoop for the cage. that's going to be fun.
 

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Sweet project. In for updates! :)

Wouldn't the seats be best bolted to the cage as opposed to the factory seat bases?
 
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