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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The 900 Turbo I just bought has a history of gearbox and clutch problems, i'll tell you exactly what I know and hopefully someone will have a flash of insight and give me some infos ;)


First off, it was for sale for £2000.
Then, upon inspection by the buyer he knocked it down to £1200 because it had a stiff gearbox and a high clutch.

Gearbox was found to be emptyish and filled with oil - then it worked fine.


Few hundred miles later cannot go into gears (excepting crunching into reverse) with the engine running.

Now I've bought it for £235.


I reckon the original problem was just low oil, which has knocked some life off the gearbox, but not "damaged" it per-se.

Now I suppose the new problem will be the slave or master cylinder, ancient fluid, or wear in the pedal-slave piston link or master piston-release mech link, nothing with the gearbox.


Anyone, I'd like to know if that's the most likely problem or there's something else - EG, maybe the 900 can make a knackered box look like a dragging clutch - that's my biggest fear.

Thanks.
 

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Can you get gears with engine off? I assume that's what you're saying 'cant get gears with engine running'

If you can't there are a few possible causes for inability to select gears that are worth checking even though they're unlikely based on what you've told me.
- damaged engine mounts - can tell if they're leaking oil or sagging - excessive engine rock when blipping the throttle. (unlikely if you can't get any gear- common when you can't get one or two)
- broken shift coupler - you didn't say what year your 900t is so can't go any further with that until you give me a year.
- incorrectly adjusted or broken reverse lockout mechanism in shifter. (unlikely)


No clutch pedal pressure is most likely to be a faulty master cylinder, you can check by having a look in drivers footwell under kickboard for fluid leaking out of master - bolted into firewall, you can also check for play in clevis but I doubt this is entirely your problem, it may be contributing a little bit.

You can also have a look at the rubber flex line that goes to the slave cylinder at the front left side of the engine make sure it doesn't bulge or weep when you use the clutch, pull the flywheel/clutch cover off and check for fluid weep from the slave. As I said masters tend to fail more regularly.

Low gearbox oil will cause damage, perhaps what you mean is it's not destroyed, although if it's been driven for any period of time it's probably pretty unhealthy. I don't think it's linked to your inability to select gears right now. If the car still moves in gears the gearbox isn't toast. What's likely is your master has sucked a lot of air past the seals due to the recent driving you've done.

Ancient fluid can contribute once it absorbs enough water but I'd look more to a master, to lose all your clutch activity from old fluid is pretty uncommon but you could bleed it anyway to get the air out, if it comes back within a couple of pumps of the master you have more of an idea that it's toast. Easiest method is pressure bleeding, the pedal pump and undo/tighten the bleed nipple doesn't work well on 900 clutches.

In short, try a bleed, then try a master (after visualising both master and slave for leaks etc) master is most likely, and does suck air past seals more readily than slave I believe.

Hope this helps
 

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What year is the car? £235 can't be bad whatever the condition. It should be worth a lot more than that as spares. The 900 has a reputation for weak gearboxes especially if abused and it's a worry that the car has a history of transmission problems. If the clutch is not releasing properly you will certainly have problems getting into gear. The box may actually be OK, but it may be the gear selection as the gears selection coupler can fail. Easy to see at the rear of the engine. I would certainly direct your attention to making sure the clutch is working properly. The clutch in the 900 is easier than many cars to service as it's at the front of the engine. This thread by Matt on the clutch is worth a read as it has lots of pics. http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35662
 

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Depends on what you want to hear............
Clutch master cylinder sounds like it is bypassing under pressure. This can be sometimes be cured by a good clean out and a seal kit and new spring..........or best, a new master.
Slaves are known to weep and can let go.......better off to have a new slave instead of resealing the original.
Clutch flex line can and will eventually let go if original and aged and not sitting comfortably with no strain.
Clutches themselves are pretty typical for longevity depending on how much of a racer the previous owners have been.
Clutch pedal linkages in the car can become a little loose but that can tightened up a little with a new clevis pin.

Gearboxes?
again..........how hard has it been driven for the last "x" number of years.
Others here can fill you in on what can be experienced with the issues to look out for.
Known to weep - if losing 3 litres of oil quickly, that should be rectified as soon as possible.

and anything above.......3 replies in 5 minutes......... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<steve>It is that one.

<everyone else> Thanks for all of the replies people, I'll take a roll of strong tape to temp bodge the rubber hose if it's bulging;ol;.

One more rescue tactic, Thanks.
 

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<steve>It is that one.

<everyone else> Thanks for all of the replies people, I'll take a roll of strong tape to temp bodge the rubber hose if it's bulging;ol;.

One more rescue tactic, Thanks.
And take a bottle of DOT 4 brake fluid with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
already have some fluid.
and the saab has it's original toolkit, so no need to take a pocketful of spanners.
--
You know, I'm worried this car has something majorly wrong with it.
£235 for a car advertised for £2000 earlier in the month,


either way, I'm buzzing with excitement. If my money would kindly appear in the bank i can get going:cool:
 

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already have some fluid.
and the saab has it's original toolkit, so no need to take a pocketful of spanners.
--
You know, I'm worried this car has something majorly wrong with it.
£235 for a car advertised for £2000 earlier in the month,


either way, I'm buzzing with excitement. If my money would kindly appear in the bank i can get going:cool:
It may well have something majorly wrong with it, worst case scenario the gearbox is toast after being run dry.

That's a lot of dollars there, if you don't have you could make the same by passing it on (with a new headliner etc - fixing up the costmetic side)
 

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already have some fluid.
and the saab has it's original toolkit, so no need to take a pocketful of spanners.
--
You know, I'm worried this car has something majorly wrong with it.
£235 for a car advertised for £2000 earlier in the month,


either way, I'm buzzing with excitement. If my money would kindly appear in the bank i can get going:cool:
You will need a 13mm ring spanner for the bleed nipple. This is not in the OEM toolkit. Also you will need to remove the front turbo pipe to get at it, unless you have really skinny double-jointed arms. Turbo pipe held on with hose clips (screwdriver job) and no big deal anyway.

PS Try to keep all your questions in one thread instead of separate ones. Makes it easier for us guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I wouldn't dare break it for parts, there's hardly any left.

Plus, I do semi-jokingly believe in (and suffer from) car-karma. -> I scrapped a Jaguar XJ40 and within the week in a proper curtains-moment got knocked off a bicycle by a car :eek:, headbutted the windscreen.

Since then I've been volunteering on AllExperts (Uk autos), fixed around 300 problems.

Now I've won this for an absolute steal, there's gotta be something in it:confused:

Therefore.
If it needs a box or clutch, parts, anything - it will get them.
(the bodging ideas are just to get it home), I've bought it £1000 cheaper than it was sold only a few weeks ago and the insurance is so cheap, even for a classic. Interior is second to the mechanics but by no means something I will ignore.


I am an accomplished mechanic, my work at 14 was described as highly competent. Don't presume I'll go at this like a bull in a china shop.
 

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I am an accomplished mechanic, my work at 14 was described as highly competent. Don't presume I'll go at this like a bull in a china shop.
You will have no problem then. The 900 is a thoughtful, tough, well-designed and put together car although many on first acquaintance can find it odd, especially with, what many people regard as, an engine in the wrong way round. You also will find the turbo power intoxicating, but keep off it 'till you've sorted things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That was my first impression! "SCORE!"

Only problem is my wages are late in the bank, seller is getting cold feet.
DAMN BANKS!
 

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The problem is in the clutch. Either the master, the slave or the line between them is the most likely culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We're back on again!
this is a rollercoaster ride already and I haven't SEEN it even, never mind driven it!.
 

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If you're meant to have it, you will get it. He either wants to sell or he doesn't. It's worth what someone will pay for it.
 
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