Just do it. If you have any intention of enjoying trouble-free time in the car, bust out the jackstands and pull the engine out. You don't need to touch the bottom end, but replace every seal and gasket and wear part and then run it for 3-5 years without ever picking up a wrench again.
The most annoying c900 ownership experience is fixing things as they break. The cars are 30 years old. Everything is gonna break. If you get ahead of that, you're golden. And do it now, not after a year of limping along when you're finally so fed up you just want to fix it and sell it.
Frighteningly, there's only like $1000-$1200 worth of parts under the hood, and they can be dealt with in 4-6 weekend days of disgusting old grease.
Good advise, I just put it up yesterday after a bath due to today's snow, and what's yet to come
for the next 5 months. I've had to do a few things, shift linkage joint, front shocks, but outside of
that I've been just driving it on & off with out real issue......had it up to 120mph yesterday on the
highway, seemed like she just wanted to keep pulling.....runs well for what it is and it's 160hp....
Just coming off a 4 year dating relationship with a Land Rover D1, talk about a messy relationship,
she left her marks everywhere made me mentally unstable.
The reason why I asked is being at least the third owner, and having 212,000 on the
clock........I wasn't sure if someone had been in that motor since it runs so well, and
thought red would be an odd factory color by Saab.....but I guess not.
The B202 - especially the turbo - is a very stout motor. You seriously have to try and break it. With basic maintenance they seriously last forever, they are grotesquely overbuilt. If you manage rust and are nice to the transmission about the only thing that can (and will) let you down is the ABS system. Everything else about c900s is truly remarkable IMHO. A time goes on, I find the only threat to my c900s is trim and such that wears out from exposure and cannot be replaced. It kills me to think I'll probably end up having to trash my SPG someday because the window seals can't keep the rain out. Granted that's probably 5-10 years from now, but I still worry. Not having a c900 would be like not having a lung. I'd live, but it wouldn't be great.
I've been warned about the transmission, and have read some things here about it.
This forum dates back pretty good, usage seems to have been very high back in the
day. I'm lucky as my trim is good, except for the wrap around spoiler (foam/rubber) and
reading about repairing that here, the info is pretty out dated as there are numerous new
products now a days that weren't around when those posts were made. I jumped on this
thing as I learned it was used very little in the winter months so I'm 99.9% rust free, which
is very, very rare up here in the great white north of Maine. I do have plans to modify the
900, I don't see any 'Build' threads on the forum......Those are always good for 'do's & don'ts'.
What's some of the more popular starting off modifications for these? I'll probably need to
start a new thread with that question........
If so, then my personal recommendation - assuming local emissions laws aren't a roadblock - is to just bite the bullet and convert to Trionic.
Tuning LH means you're in for at least a tweaked APC and some sort of distributor modification to support better timing control. If you're lucky, LH doesn't complain; if you're unlucky, you gotta find a way to modify it... and LH is pretty inflexible so options are limited. In the end, you're really limited to 220hp, maybe 240 lame hp.
Converting to T5 trades distributor, APC, and LH modifications for engine management tunes you can pay for or DIY with T5 suite. Much better drivability across the board, and adjustments are mouse clicks and not messing with resistors or vacuum modules. There's no functional limit to Trionic, since virtually everything can be fixed in software. And even if you're not pushing it, 220 Trionic hp is much more drivable than 220 LH hp.
The other thing - and really the reason I converted - is that even though Trionic parts will eventually dry up, most of the stock c900 parts already have. Finding a spare LH ECM, distributor, APC solenoid, APC pressure transducer, APC box... that's tough these days. Just moving away from the distributor is reason enough, even if you never plan to tune it.
Start with water injection for a quick, easy, cheap place to start. It will go faster and also protect your pistons if you get a little too sporty with your subsequent modifications.
A lighter flywheel will make it feel quicker.