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9000 at last! (aka, where's my E16 socket?)

5702 Views 201 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  jvanabra
Between '95 and 2003 I had a slew of 9000s and I drove them everywhere. I'm a c900 guy at heart, but the ability of 9000s to gobble up highway miles can not be overstated. My last one was killed by a dude in a Lexus LX.



I loved that car!

I've been looking for the right 9000 for a long time... probably 10 years but it's never quite right. Usually what I find is a perfect car... that's an automatic. Or a high-priced car whose cosmetics don't justify the price. I thought I was being too picky and nearly pulled the trigger last month on a white '94, but I took a weekend to think about it, and then it was gone.

But, finally, patience paid off and I think I got The RIght One.

Being in California, there are two things to consider: -1995 cars means the smog requirements are quite low, and there's no practical limitations on modifications you can do. I mean, there are plenty of limitations but they wouldn't be issues for me, so whatever. But, earlier car probably means TCS, which sucks. OTOH, 1996+ cars get rid of TCS but then you have a pile of OBDII restrictions to deal with. No great answer.

So, this is a '95, and I gotta deal with TCS. :)

But first, it needs a head gasket...



That's not worth complaining about!

I've got a head from a '98 900SE in the garage, so I'll drop that by the machine shop. Hopefully have this car back on the road in a week or two.

It would be great if it I could find some non-TCS parts in the interim, but if I've gotta make two passes I will. Working on little B234s in big-*** 9000 engine bays is not a big deal!
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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
Last week I made a midnight run to San Jose - about 120 miles each directly. It was the first trip of any real distance made in the Aero, and of course it did great. 80-90mph for 90 minutes is just no big deal for these cars even damn near 30 years later. The only issue I had was the stereo... being stuck with the radio for three hours was rough. Especially since they apparently killed my favorite bay area radio station. Bah. Stupid national radio conglomerates.

I still gotta fix the passenger seat recline, and I'd really like to fix the front bumper. It's letting down an otherwise really nice looking time capsule.





But, it's great on the inside and a hell of a runner, so there's nothing to actually be mad at.
 

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The recline swap is not a quick job. It's best performed on the edge of a table that you can sit the seat down on upside down at waist height. Don't wait on finding a replacement assembly with the brass drive bushing and updated cable sheaths. They're getting more rare each day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #144 ·
I went ahead and did this repair on Saturday. It was really not bad at all.

1. Removed the seat from the car
2. Removed the motor (two 8mm screws) - the tubes were broken, so the motor came out by itself. ;)
3. Used a 10mm wrench to turn the recline gears to "fully reclined" - one turn on each side at a time to keep the back from tweaking
4. Unhooked the seat bottom cover from the webbing to avoid stretching or tearing the cover
5. Popped the plastic cover from each "gearbox"
6. Removed the 8mm screws securing the "gearbox" from the recline gears
7. Fished the "gearbox" out from under the seat

Installation is the reverse, being super careful to avoid damaging the replacement drive.

I was really dreading the work, but it couldn't have taken an hour.

Obviously, these drives all fail in the same way....



I know folks have fixed these (before they catastrophically fail) by slipping thick rubber hose etc. over the broken plastic tube, but I wonder if another solution could be replacing the plastic tube entirely with something like right-sized copper tube. Obviously the copper would be a PITA to get into place, but it would be easy to form by hand and would not fail again. That'd be predicated on right-side tube even existing, though.

Both seats work now, and I rarely touch the controls so they're likely to keep working for a very long time... but, it would be nice to be able to build some backups with the parts I've got... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #146 ·
One thing I noticed on the drive coming out of the car is that a pile of grease was right at the motor output and the rest of the tube was bone dry. I don't know if that's problematic or by design, but I assumed the former, so I withdrew the cable on the new motor and greased it a bit before installing. Maybe I will check back in a year or two and see if it's moved again. ;)
 

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I would not grease the cable as it is not a bearing or wear surface and does not need it. The only place that really needs it is in the gearbox and on the bushings of the gearbox output. A light oil coating to protect the cable is all it really needs. If you used moly or red high-temp remember that it will eventually drip out from heat and most likely onto the carpet.
 

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There is a surprising amount of damage to the wire harness on this car. I used to see this sort of damage a lot and always theorized that random mechanics struggled with the "weird European connectors" in the '80s, but I usually don't see random failures on '90s+ cars. Nonetheless....



The ECT sensor connector was in similar condition... both are being replaced. I also found this at the ABS unit:



I don't know what this wire is for, but my fingers are crossed it's the cause of the ABS/TCS codes. It would be nice if it were that easy! :D
REG, ABS/TCS errors, I replaced all 4 of the wheel speed sensors on my '93 9000 CSE and all of the codes and occasional LimpHome mode disappeared. Check Rock auto for the speed sensors & decent pricing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #151 ·
The Aero continues to perform wonderfully which is, you know, wonderful.

I should be thinking about servicing the AC while it's cool out... it doesn't work at all and I've no idea why. But, I didn't really find the lack of AC a problem this past year so I'm not super motivated. I rarely use it, but the Aero is "the big 4 door" and probably other people would prefer if that worked.... but....

I'm really struggling with AM/FM and not sure next steps. I feel like the stereo is an all or nothing operation... I gotta replace the receiver, the amp, and the speakers all at once or it's not worth doing. Really, there is nothing wrong with the amp, but, you know, it's 30 years old.

I wonder if there is a way to replace the in-dash CD player with some other device. Would the head unit know?

 

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Discussion Starter · #152 ·
Perhaps this is an angle?


I don't know what (if any) bus the 9000 had for the CD player or changer... Maybe it's just C Bus? Seems like the right timeframe.
 

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Put a gauge on the low side and see if it's charged first. I have to replace the schrader valves on both service ports. Slow leaks keep causing issues on mine.

Put an Alpine BT head unit in it and leave the clarion amp and speaker setup if they aren't damaged. They are not that expensive and the sound quality is pretty good. I got this for the corolla so the girls will have BT phone and audio when driving. I'm pretty cheap when it comes to audio builds but I also don't buy crap. Fill the second DIN with a gauge set. I'll send you the STL to print a holder.

 

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Discussion Starter · #154 ·
The system is totally discharged right now... I haven't done anything right now except verify it's empty. I don't know whether it's a slow leak or a fast leak... I didn't vacuum it. This time last year, AC wasn't important and then summer was over before I knew it. ;)

I'm really hoping to retain the, um, stockness of this car to a high degree. Dropping a single DIN whatever isn't so much the challenge, but not losing the interior vibe is. Unfortunately, I'm not throwing away $500 on a retro Blaupunkt Bremen no matter how much I want to! I have two decent Kenwood receivers in the garage, I just don't want the look. :/

I seriously entertained buying this:


I bought a similar utter crap head unit a couple years back for a '93 900S and... it worked pretty darned well. For $30, it's hardly a costly experiment.

I wish VDO made theirs with green illumination:


In any case, the real challenge here is that everything is old. 30 year old speakers just don't sound good. Putting in anything new, listening to anything that isn't FM, I'm confident the weaknesses will move front & center. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
Oh, and I don't want to do this multiple times because replacing the head unit will require hacking wires... I don't believe there is an adapter for the HK head unit -> amp (H10-8 IIRC) connector... and the AMP/TE part number isn't in production or available. I don't want to buy 500 of them. :D
 

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You will have to build your own by scavaging off broken HUs. I think my cassette HU still is in intact but it has a busted display. The CD player was dead. The only wiring I had to cut was the amp wiring due to it being a round DIN and I didn't want to cut up the amp board. It still works, even though I upgraded to an Alpine V-power for the rear deck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #157 ·
Yeah... so it seems. I'm really surprised nobody on the VAG or BMW front has an adapter for the Clarion, as the ISO connectors were used for years. It's just that pesky 10-circuit "C" connector that never seems to appear in aftermarket harnesses. :/

That's why I get to "replace everything" - if I replace the amp I can just run RCA etc. But, I'm sure a modern amp is going to blow up my 30 year old speakers. ;)

I'm not thrilled with the sound from this car. It's fine, but the bass is awfully boomy and the mids a little mushy. It could definitely stand to be replaced... but it's a lot of work and a lot of money I don't wanna spend right now.

I'm working on a lame experiment to get me where I wanna be. We'll see how that goes. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #160 ·
Meh, the failure scenario isn't catastrophic... trial and error is a quick approach that saves dismantling. ;)

That said, I don't have any great ways to test anything. It turns out I have exactly zero portable audio sources with analog out. I could only test from my cell phone or laptop using a USB C->3.5mm adapter. That works, so I'm plowing ahead to Phase 2. :D
 
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