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Discussion Starter #1
So I just picked up an 87 900s with 160k, its very clean and the engine runs well but it wont go into gear. It just grinds when you push the clutch and try to put it in gear...this is all gears.
I checked the clutch and it appears to be engaging and releasing, I even bled it just to be sure.
My initial research points to the pinion bearing, is there other tests/checks I can do to see whats going on without pulling the motor?
I would like to save the car, it was parked in 99 and kept in a garage, its really clean, red 2 door, the PO replaced all the vacuum lines, fuel lines, fuel pump/filter, hoses, injectors to get it running but the trans is messed up. Help is greatly appreciated!
 

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It's possible that the clutch plate is seized and corroded onto the flywheel after standing for so long. One possible solution is to try to start the car in gear (5th) with brakes applied and clutch fully depressed. This often breaks it free. In extreme cases you can break the plate free by driving a wooden wedge between the flywheel and plate after removing the cover. You can sometimes do this through the access hole. The plate may also have also seized onto the clutch shaft.

PS It's not the pinion bearings. It would still go into gear if that was the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The car was parked in 99 in a pretty nice garage. I will double check the clutch and see what happens when doing what was suggested....I will make sure there is nothing in front of the car when I do it haha.
Anyone have an idea where I could pick up a passenger headlight mounting bracket? Its cracked and the headlight is just flopping....other than the trans I think that is the only other problem with it. Really hope to get this thing back on the road!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I tried starting in 4th with the e-brake and brakes applied, it must of worked since I can now shift in and out of gear without grinding. However, it grinds when I release the clutch. I tried holding the throttle at around 1200 and easing the clutch out and same thing. Any thoughts?
 

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Sounds like you may have solved it and you had a seized clutch plate. The flywheel surface may still be rough and causing your problem. I would drive it and see if it improves with miles. You may also have a sticky clutch shaft. You could probably improve this by oiling the shaft up near the plate carefully with very small amount of oil. This can be done through the inspection cover with a can with a long spout. Don't get oil on the plate.

Doesn't really help much that I don't understand your description.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So original issue was with the engine running I couldn't put it in gear, it would just grind.
After trying the recommended test - it will now go into gear with the engine running and clutch pedal pushed in.
However, when I'm in first, engine running, and try to release the clutch it grinds as I release the clutch pedal like the gears are not meshed. Not sure what to check next.
 

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Remove the plastic clutch cover (you can be rough with it) and squirt some penetrating oil on the clutch shaft. The next day, add some light oil to chase the penetrating oil down the splines. A few hours later, start it in gear with pedal to the floor. Rev it a few times. You can do this with the cover off if you secure all wires. Repeat as needed.
While you're there add a few drops of oil on the T/O bearing.
It sounds like it was stored in a high-humidity environment. Change the Brake Fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Finally got back to this project this weekend....found out the back half of the transmission case is cracked and flexing. Anyone have any leads where to buy a used 5-spd trans or new/re-manufactured?? If not, what about a turbo motor/trans swap since everything is going to be pulled. I've heard there are a few junkyards in the north east that have saab stuff, I am in Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia and willing to travel up north to get a trans or engine/trans to get the ole girl back on the road.
The car is in really great shape so i hate to see it not get fixed and back on the road. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I located a transmission case (bare) fairly cheap in good condition. Im going to pull the motor trans and attempt to rebuild the trans. Would a blown pinion bearing eventually cause the case to crack? Anyone have input on parts for the rebuild or mods while the trans and engine are out?
The engine is in decent shape - no leaks, PO replaced a bunch of bolt on parts. Being new to these Saabs, figured I would ask if there is anything i should do maintenance wise while the motor is out.
Thanks,
Caleb
 

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Rebuilding is very difficult without the Special Tool that measures pinion depth in your new case. I could talk you through the other obstacles, but pinion depth is a crucial first step. You may need an undamaged Ring & Mainshaft too.
I suggest you check out Eriksson for the best choice (http://www.erikssonindustries.com/Saab1.htm), or find a good used one.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So i found a running 5spd/turbo convertable that has a rough body and leaking top. Im thinking about buying it and using it as a donor to get a good transmission and possibly do a turbo conversion.
Any thoughts on swapping the turbo onto my NA engine vs. pulling all the wiring to convert it properly?
 

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If you just want a turbo, bolting it on is probably the way to go. But if you need a transmission then keeping the engine attached it a solid approach.

You can run a turbo motor at low boost without much of the APC system so that's an easy approach. But, it's not that hard to jettison EZK and swap in basic ignition and APC. If you have access to the full donor Turbo car, yanking that wiring out is pretty trivial.
 
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