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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright guys, I know there are a lot of Saab geniuses on here…any advice/help would be greatly appreciated.

The story:
I’ve always loved classic Saabs but never owned one until a few months ago. I came across a literally pristine, inside and out, 1984 900s (auto trans unfortunately). It had been parked in a guy’s garage for 16 years and has well under 60k original mi. It had not been started or moved for those 16 years (long story but it’s legit). I am not a mechanic and didn’t want to start messing with it myself so I took it to a guy that was supposed to know Saabs. He siphoned the old gas and got it started. He did a tune up and it was running really strong. It needed a new brake master cylinder which he put on. I drove it the 8 miles home. As I was driving the fuel pump began wining and the car tried to stall a couple times. When I was almost home the wining in the trunk got much louder and as I pulled into the drive way the car died. After letting it sit for 10 minutes I started it again and it started right up, I let it idle for a few minutes with no problems. The next day I tried to start it and nothing happened. It didn’t try to turn over or anything. Every time I try to start it I can hear the fuel pump go on for a second and when I shut off the key some air releases under the hood. I want to start fixing whatever I can myself, but I might have to take it someplace for bigger issues.


My questions:
  • Do you think it won’t turn over now because of the fuel pump, or might it be something else?
  • Does it sound like the fuel pump needs to be replaced or is there something I can do to get it working again?
  • If the Fuel pump does need to be replaced should I attempt it or is it a really complicated task?
  • What fluids should I replace since it’s been sitting so long? Do they need to be flushed or will simply a drain and refill be sufficient?
  • I think the shocks are also really stiff. Do they need to be replaced or is there something I can do to bring them back to life?
  • What repair manual should I get to help me fix things on my own?
  • What else do I need to check/do to bring a car that sat this long back to life?
Thanks guys, any input would be great.
 

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16 years parked=rotten fuel/clogged pump/clogged filter.
Bank on it.
I would pull the tank, clean it, dry it, replace the pump and filter....and blow out the lines with compressed air.

The starter turns the motor over.
If it is not turning when you turn the key, there may be a problem.

Start with the battery and connections.


Buy a Bentley repair manual for that car. $40 on Amazon.
 

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I agree, but I wouldn't remove the tank. Flush out the big pieces of crud and change the filter.
You need to be clear about "turn over". Most people mean the Starter isn't turning the engine, some people mean it won't start and run; this can cause confusion.
If it runs at all, add a bunch of Techron-like injector cleaner after cleaning out the old gas.

There is a sticky at the top of this forum that has links to the real SAAB manuals (maybe not your K-Jetronic Fuel Injection system though). They're more likely to be accurate than the Bentley thing. Search separately if you really have K-Jetronic troubles, many here have much experience.
 

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With 8 valve cars that sit for ages the rubber holding the fuel pump and fuel pump pickup in the fuel tank rot and fall into the tank. This rubber goo then gets sucked up and blocks/destroys the pump. Mine sat for 8 years and this is what happened, countless others have had the same problem with the rubber fuel pump filter pickup assembly on 8 valves.

I would carefully remove the pump and inspect it to see if the fuel pump pickup has rotted and fallen into the tank.

The pump is under the left disc in the left side of the rear of the car under the false floor.

To help identify this as the cause, how much fuel do you have in your tank? Try putting another 5 gallons in and see if it starts, I'm willing to bet at this stage that your car wont start because the fuel pump pickup is sitting at the bottom of the tank and the fuel cant get to the engine.

Your mechanic should have changed the oil and filter before starting it. 16 year old oil would be absolute crap. I'd also drain the coolant out of the engine and refill with new coolant, 16 year old coolant is essentially water and will probably have corroded the pants out of the system (unless it was drained for storage) Brake fluid should be completely replaced as well (this is a difficult job) because it's hygroscopic it absorbs moisture and causes corrosion in the brake lines. 16 years is too long for any brake fluid. You need to push 500ml or a pint minimum of fluid through each brake to flush properly.

You should buy a Bentley manual. They're on amazon/ebay, just google it.

Bentley is ok for K jet, but I stress now before you jump in to DIY, do not go touching the fuel system in the engine bay (post fuel filter) without any knowledge, don't go undoing lines or playing with this or that unless it is 100% clean, and I mean CLEAN. Ask on here first. Changing the fuel filter is a great idea, make sure the banjo fittings are corrosion free and dirt free before you undo them. 1 tiny spec of dirt post filter can ruin your fuel distributor and they're $400 to have remanufactured. Ask me how I know.
 

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Since you are in the USA, you should familiarize yourself with sites like www.eeuroparts.com , and www.thesaabsite.com.
They sell just about everything you could ever need for these cars, and a lot cheaper than you might think.

Flush every fluid in that car. You'll be glad you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info guys! There are a couple things I forgot to mention. The mechanic did replace the fuel filter when he did the tune up. Also, the power steering is leaking. One mechanic told me it needs a new rack and pinion but another said to try some "leak stop". I've read about the "Lucas Oil Power Steering Leak Stop" but I'm not sure if that is a good idea...any comments?

Update: When the car would not turn over the other day, I mean the starter would not even turn over. Nothing would happen. All the electrical seemed to work though. One thing was really strange though....the parking lights would turn on but the headlights would not. The brights would turn on but the normal headlights would not.

So, today I tried to start it again and it started right up. I did have to step on the gas a bit to get it going all the way. The idle was good but hesitated a bit a couple times. I have no idea why the starter would not even engage one day and then it would start all the way up the next. The funny thing is that after I got it started today I tried the headlights and they turned on. It sounds like there is some weird electrical stuff going on.

Since it is starting and idleing, does that mean that the fuel pump might have a chance to come back to life? One mechanic told me to put a fuel system cleaner like BG 44k and let that loosen up the fuel pump. I think I will try that unless someone on here thinks it's a horrible idea.

Any recommendations on what brand/type of engine oil I should use? I want to treat this thing right.

Thanks for the comments...I'll take as many more as anyone wants to give. I'll be out of town most of next week but I'll keep this posted on what progress I make.
 

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There is a ground connection(pile of wires) right by the radiator on the passenger side. Spin the bolt out and wire brush everything. Might help.

Check that you have 12v to the small wire on the starter when you turn the key. If you do, the starter is likely bad.

Personally, I use Mobil 1 synth 10w-30 in the engine and gearbox. Probably a significant reason my 84 will not die.

Stop leak will do nothing for your P/S.

You have garbage in the fuel.
If you keep running it without cleaning the tank, expect failure soon.
 

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I really strongly recommend you check the fuel pump filter. I think it is highly likely it has disintegrated based on most people I know with 8 valves that have sat for long periods. If it has your pump will be sucking up rubbish from the tank including this rubber goo .This will kill the pump. Pumps are expensive, check to make sure it's fine. It takes 20 mins.

If the rubber assembly of the fuel pump has disintegrated, no fuel system cleaner will remove it, you'll need to remove it manually. I'd check. But again up to you.

You can confirm my suspicions if you tell me how much fuel you have in there.

Use any 10w30 or 10w40 oil you like, I use magnatec, people use mobil 1 synthetic it really doesn't matter.

Its about oil and filter changes, not what oil you use.

Check the main earth on the battery. That's what it sounds like (your car wouldn't turn over, no lights etc)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Finally got to the pump...

Hey guys, I really appreciate all your comments. I finally got to the pump and this is what I found. The car started to turn over again which was good. It would start and idle for a minute or two as long as I pumped the gas. If I stopped pumping the gas it would die.

So, we took the fuel pump(s) out of the trunk and we found that the rubber holder for the main pump was still good and intact. there was a small rubber hose in the gas tank that returns fuel to the tank from the pre-pump reservoir that had deteriorated and pieces of it had fallen into the tank and started to disolve.

We took both pumps out and tested them the pre-pump did not work so I got a new one and put it in. The filter screen to the pre-pum was also torn so I replaced that. Since it was torn pieces of rubber could have easily gotten into it. We syphoned the tank and took all the little pieces of rubber out of it. We also wiped the tank down as best we could, put new gas in and some fuel system cleaner. We also blew the fuel line out with air from the tank to the filter.

We put it back together and tried to start it. The starter would turn over but the car would not start. We took the pump out again a couple times but could not get it to start. It appears that the new pre-pump is working but the main pump is not pulling fuel from the pre-pump resivuor to the fuel line. The valve at the top of fuel pump does not seem to be engaging, but it will move manually if you stick a pin up it.

So, the main fuel pump is not pumping gas to the line even though it does sound like it is running when we took it out and hooked it up directly to the battery.
Do you have any suggestions on what I need to do?
Do I need a new pump or is there some way to clean it out or something?
Does it make sense that it would run but not pump?
The little screen on the main pump inside the pre-pump reservoir is not torn so no big pieces could have gotten into it.

Any advise would be apprecieated. I posted a picture of the car and the main fuel pump.
Thanks!
 

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It looks gorgeous from that one pic you posted. What a lovely flat nose with pristine bumpers!

Regards,
James
(who is more interested in the lovely looks at the moment than the problems you are having with your fuel pump... That's how shallow I am...:eek:)
 

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With 8 valve cars that sit for ages the rubber holding the fuel pump and fuel pump pickup in the fuel tank rot and fall into the tank. This rubber goo then gets sucked up and blocks/destroys the pump. Mine sat for 8 years and this is what happened, countless others have had the same problem with the rubber fuel pump filter pickup assembly on 8 valves.
on a similar note, we have an old 81 eight valve and it was fine, rubber was fine etc, but then started using the e10 ethanol mix and the rubber just disintegrated, same with a 84 16v turbo.
 

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what you need to do

- remove the fuse box cover over the left wheel well

remove the top right most relay (silver) fuel pump relay

jumper pins 87 and 30 with a 25amp fused wire (this will run the pumps with engine off)

pinout of fuel pump relay socket

... _
|....... | ........ |
... _

(ignore the ... the stupid forum won't accept spaces as characters unless they start AFTER a character, the _ and | are the relay female spades in the fuse panel

the top and bottom ones (with pin config facing horizontally not vertically) are pin 30 and 87. check by using DMM one is a fixed live...

Run the pump with engine off, check for at least 11.5v at the pump terminals, then peel back the rubber boot and get the DMM onto the wires that go to the feed pump, check for voltage here, you can also easily hear if they're running without the noisy starter.

thats a 1 way valve to maintain fuel pressure, if the spring loaded valve seat isn't stuck (can push up fully with a match stick etc) then it is working fine.

If you are not getting fuel pressure after the check valve the main pump is dead. (a bit late now, but running it without fuel for more than a second or two can kill an already worn out pump as it overheats)

If both are running next you need to see if you have fuel getting to the cylinders. check the plugs for signs of fuel... there are more accurate ways, plugs is quickest and easiest.

If you are not getting fuel to cylinders most likely fuel distributor piston is stuck from varnish due to evaporated fuel) report back and we'll go from there
 

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If you pull the injectors out of the head, put them in a bucket, turn the key to on and then pull up on the bolt of the air flow plate with a pair of pliers (under the rubber bellow that connects to the throttle body) you will be able to see what sort of fueling, if any, you're getting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the help (Cleanest 900S in the world)

Thanks for the advice everyone. We figured out that the main fuel pump was bad. Got a new one and she is running great now. Now I just need new tires and might have to put in a new steering rack...fluid is leaking a bit.

I'm sure I'll have more questions later but got it running good for now. Here's some more pics for everyone. This has to be the cleanest 84 in the world.
 

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Make sure that you check the gear oil in the car. Your car has an auto trans but it takes gear oil as well. There is a plug on the exhaust side of the engine that allows you to add/check the gear oil. My first Saab was an 84 auto destroyed the trans after years of driving without checking the gear oil costly learing lesson. Love the 8v engine but the K-jet and brakes can be an issue.
 
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