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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All.
Some advice please if you would be so kind. Recently acquired a nice 900, 1998 2.0 non turbo, noticed that the clutch bite was low so after a little research found it was a common problem and could be down to the clutch cable. I took my car to a garage with the new part (Borg & Beck) and asked them to do the work. Just been to pick it up and after I had paid tried to drive away but the car wouldn’t go into gear, now I know the clutch was low to start with but the gearbox action had previously been very very smooth. When I pointed out the problem to the garage owner he forced it into gear and is trying to tell me that it it probably in need of a new clutch kit, now this may be the case but I could not help noticing a graunching noise at the bulkhead whenever the clutch pedal was being depressed, again this was not happening before I took the car in for the work.
Is there anything particular to this model that the garage owner’s mechanic may have got wrong at the pedal end to cause this graunching noise?
Any advice you can offer me will be much appreciated, apologies for the rambling first post.
Regards.
Colin.
 

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A 1998 should have a hydraulic clutch, not a cable. At least going by what we got in North America.

If it is a cable, it needs to be adjusted. The garage may be right about the clutch wear....or it may not.

The OEM cable is self-adjusting. I don't know about the cable the garage installed, but there should be an adjustment procedure to get the length right.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi EdT.
Thanks for your reply, this one definitely registered in April 1998 so maybe different specs for different countries. Yes the original cable and the replacement are both self adjusting. Am just a little disappointed that the car is worse now than when I took it in. Maybe it is leaving me with no option than to pay for the full clutch replacement, on the plus side at least I know it should come out of the garage in good order.
thanks again.
Colin.
 

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The cable mechanism is visible where it connects to the transmission. Have someone step on the clutch pedal and make sure that you see full travel. It's a bell crank arrangement if I recall. And when the clutch is not being pressed, the cable still should be a little tight.
 

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FYI - In the EPC under 1998, they list the RHD 1998 as a cable, 4901740, so it looks like Saab didn't bother to do the hydraulic update in the UK (RHD) market until the 1998 9-3 came out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the replies, I left the car at the garage as I wasn’t confident it would get me back home. Given that I drove it there without any bother, I don’t think I would be unreasonable in asking the garage owner to check the installation of the cable. The mechanic who did the work even took it for a test drive before telling his boss it was all done, I dread to think of the abuse the gearbox took, when I tried I couldn’t get any gear without force. Not happy!!
Thanks again all.
 

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If the shop isn't familiar with Saabs, having the Workshop Information System on hand can be useful. There is a section on installing and adjusting the OEM cable in WIS.

It's a big download, but like I said, it's useful. It's under the general topics/Tech II/WIS and EPC for windows area here.
 

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The Borg & Beck cable looks like it's a self adjusting type, just like the original. A lot of times with the Saab cable, you have to grab the spring that's on the outside of the cable and give it a few tugs to set the adjusting mechanism. Otherwise, it just won't work correctly.
 

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My UK August 1998 9-3 has a hydraulic clutch.

In the UK, 1998 cars badged as 900 have cable clutches and those badged as 9-3 have hydraulic ones

OP: The clutch cable for a Vauxhall Astra of the same era is a drop-in replacement & upgrade as long as you also fit the Astra clutch pedal, as the Vauxhall version has a vastly superior self-tensioning mechanism

This is a common mod on UK and Australian spec RHD 900s (anywhere that an equivalent Astra is available, USA never got the Astra & LHD 900s dont have such bad clutch cable problems anyway ) - you'll find details on how to do it in the UKSaabs forum
 

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Clutch cable adjustment is a pain in the A with the 900s. I was fortunate to have had a tranny problem and picked up a 9-3 tranny/axles and the salvage yard threw in entire hydraulic set-up from the pedal to the slave cylinder connector wicked cheap. Great investment. Definitely a bit of work installing the pedal but what a wonderful difference driving.

If you're stuck with the cable, check where the cable goes through the firewall to see if there is any significant rust or damage to the firewall and that the cable seats correctly. I think there is a big washer that should sit flush against the firewall or housing. I recall having to cut a notch in a huge thick washer so I could slide it over the cable to sit between cable/firewall. I can't recall if mine was missing or if I was trying to mickey mouse a little extra adjusting. You can try to adjust the auto-adjust cable yourself, it's something simple like pulling the outer cable back from the firewall (find a how to post to confirm - it's been a while). You might even try a manually adjusting cable before opting for a full clutch job.

BTW, I've driven the 900 and 9-3 without a clutch and find they are some of the easiest cars to slide in and out of gears without a clutch. 1st gear is obviously the toughest and you may need to to start the car with it in 1st gear which won't make your starter happy. Once rolling just gently rev the engine while applying slight pressure on the shifter to slide out of gear and rev again to slide into the next gear (up or down) when your at the appropriate speed for each shift point. It's kind of fun. If you're worried - pick up a triple A membership first and see how far you get before you need to get a free tow. At least you will get it out of the garage.
 

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Clutch cable adjustment is a pain in the A with the 900s. I was fortunate to have had a tranny problem and picked up a 9-3 tranny/axles and the salvage yard threw in entire hydraulic set-up from the pedal to the slave cylinder connector wicked cheap. Great investment. Definitely a bit of work installing the pedal but what a wonderful difference driving.
I never had to adjust the clutch pedal cable on my NG900, in over 160,000 km of driving. But it did snap once!
 

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I had the cable adjuster take a dump on my '97 900 several times. The old trick of grabbing the spring and tugging it back and forth a couple of times always worked. I ended up converting it to a hydraulic clutch after the release fork jammed while taking a friend to the airport. We had to bum a ride from a rental car shuttle, and then I got my mom to drive down with my baby niece, after finding a 3' long socket extension in the garage that I used as a prybar to free the release fork up. I had tried a couple of manually adjustable clutch cables, but the clutch never felt right, no matter how I adjusted them.
 
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