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Front End Banging - What Part Has Failed?

723 Views 14 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jotzgr
1994 NG 900 5-Door. I've got a constant banging from the front end, even on relatively smooth roads. It used to be only when it was cold, now it's all the time. When I pop the hood, and press down on the either side of the car, the center section of the shock/strut assembly, that has the big cupped washer and nut attached to the end of the strut, moves completely up out of the strut mount and does not appear to be attached to anything at all, on both sides, i.e., it is rising up and out as the car and spring seat are going down. When I do the same test on one of my other NG900s that has no banging, this part does not move up and in fact moves with the rest of the strut mount as it should. Is this bad strut mount assembly/upper spring seat? How horrible is taking all of this out? The struts inserts themselves were replaced previously and are not showing signs of needing replacement. I've disassembled and replaced strut assemblies before on Chrysler products which are only a few bolts getting them out, but I see something has to be separated with a ball joint tool on this one.
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You need new strut mounts. Replace the strut bearings when you do it. If those large washers are still available from Saab, they would be good to replace as they often bend in use.

If you will be going DIY let us know. There are some other bits you need. Also, we can guide you.

The job is a little long and you will need a spring compressor. Autozone will loan you a nice one. You do have to "split" (separate) the ball joint as well as the tie-rod end. There are also some other bits to undo. I'd figure at least 4 hours if this is your first time.
FYI- is your friend for many of the Saab Specific parts. See below in text for alternatives.

FYI 2 - If you haven't downloaded the WIS & EPC and installed it locally, do it. It will help you tremendously. The EPC has zoomable breakouts and all part #'s. WIS and EPC for Windows - SaabCentral Forums

  • Strut Mounts
  • Mount Bearings
  • Upper washer #4646634
  • Axle nuts
  • Ball joint nuts
  • Tie rods or Tie rod end nuts
  • New bolts for ABS sensors
  • Zinc "Spacer" rings under springs 3 4689378

Check the bellows / bump stop before replacing them . They last a long time. They are also expensive. You might be able to customize a generic bump stop to fit the bellows if the stops are rotted. Bellows is # 4483897 and $80 each. Amazon has some, maybe others.

The 4646634 washers are right on top of the mount.If they are bent (center humped) you can rework them with hammer and anvil. Replacement is a good option but a few bucks.

Axle nuts are one time use. NG900 used the short (standard hex nut appearance) ovealized nuts vs. the OG 9-3 castellated type.

Ball joint nuts are one time use. They are ovalized lock nuts and shorter than standard lock nuts. Best bought as a Saab parts but available in hardware stores with mega-selections of those little bins.

If your tie rod ends haven't been replaced lately, check them out for play and for torn boots. Replace if needed. Or replace just because you're in there and need to do most of the job with the strut. Alignment req'd if you replace them. If you don't replace the ends, then get new nuts. (Replacement ends will come with new nuts.). For those nuts you can use standard Nylock type nuts. However, the ends seem to come in both standard and fine thread variations, so bring one nut with you to the hardware store.

The plates @Saaberachi mentioned are still available for the NG900. Part # 4689378.

The ABS sensors can be a pain. Ideally you'd just unbolt the sensors from the mounts and let them hang. Or unbolt the mounts from the struts and let them hang. Unfortunately, the plastic "locating" pin is usually rusted into the strut (cast iron). So the mount itself doesn't come off easily. Sometimes you have to make a new "locating pin" if it breaks coming out. I replace the bolts that mount to the Strut and thebolts that mount the sensor to the mount with stainless parts from the local hardware store.

One option to avoid dealing with possibly stuck mounts or perhaps mount stuck bolts is to unplug the sensor cables and leave the units on the Struts. That works, but you have to be uber careful with the strut once it's out. The strut is very heavy and one slip will break the mount right off. But it's doable if you're very careful.
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Bob that pt number brings up spring spacer for 9-5. Are they same as early ng900? The diagram on esaab looks like the 9-3 until you click on it then goes to a different design spacer
I'm going by the EPC. But if you look at esaab page, they seem to have reused the same part from the NG900 in the 9-5 for a number of years. The OG 9-3 was definitely a different part.

I haven't been inside an NG900 strut in ten years... so I don't recall the exact part appearance. I'll defer to others.

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This is probably going to turn into a double header, so going to order 4 of everything. Besides this one that is banging, my 97 convertible desperately needs the front struts replaced at 175K. I have been putting it off way too long. No noise at all, but pretty much like driving a 60s Buick around, actually nauseating at times because of the bounce.
Well, the good news is that it will be a joy to drive when updated! My experience with stock struts is that they go about 80K. The car will always pass the age-old "bounce test", but the struts will have zero resistance when you pull them out of the tubes.
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