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My wife's beloved 1994 (UK) 900 SE is on death row. The clutch has always needed a lot of effort but her new job means 4 hrs driving in heavy London traffic so now she has RSI in her knee. Now she wants to sell the old boy on.

Does anyone know if these models are known for a really stiff clutch? Is there a workaround?


Now I think of it, this is a really important post - I could end up shelling out for a new car and I'd really miss our Saab - t's been an absolute rock of a car!

hoep you ccan help. My first post - seems like a really good community here.


B
 

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Welcome to SaabCentral :cool:

When I replaced the clutch in my 900T16, I immediately noticed the pedal action was so much lighter than with the old and worn out components. The car was much better to drive.

Compared to a new car though, the 900's clutch isn't lightweight. Modern cars have over-servoed everything (which personally I detest) so a comparison isn't totally fair.

Having said that, "needing a lot of effort" isn't how I'd ever have described a 900's clutch action :)

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A Saab has a heavier clutch than say a Volkswagen or Honda, which have light little clutches... :roll:

Might want to get her a Honda or something autotragic.
 

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94' SE is a newer-than-classic model, isn't it?

No manual tranmission car I have even driven has a heavier clutch than my Saab.

Most of the time I can't belive how light other cars are. I hate it, since I'm used to mine, I don't even know I'm pushing anything.

Friends 1997 Camaro SS - Lighter
Friends 1998 Ford Ranger 3.0 - Lighter
My old 1990 BMW 525i - Lighter (not by much)
Everyone's Accords and Civics - Lighter


I consider my clutch to be very firm, as far as clutchs go
 

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Basshead said:
1994 900 SE
Is it a convertible? 1994 was a changeover year, and only convertibles were the old 'Classic 900'. Otherwise it's a GM900, also known as NG900.

Welcome to Saab Central :cool:
 

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Matthew said:
Perhaps retrofitting a hydraulic clutch would lighten pedal action.
That's supposed to make a huge difference, from what I've heard, but it's also very expensive if you have someone else do it. If you do it yourself, you're looking at about $650 for a new clutch and the retrofit kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah - it's definately a cable. Hydraulic clutch sounds expensive - anyone ever attempted this retrofit?
 

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Basshead said:
Yeah - it's definitely a cable. Hydraulic clutch sounds expensive - anyone ever attempted this retrofit?
I think Asia Skyly has.
And it is a very expensive proposition ; better to spring for a new NAPA adjustable unit..
Saab used a cable(absolutely reliable) up to '64, then switched to a leaky, troublesome , but a little lighter and smoother hydraulic unit in '65..
So now in '94 the old cable setup returns , IMO, a cheapening of the product as this cable seems to be most balky and non-durable...

As a clutch ages, the feel should become somewhat lighter as the pressure plate springs lose tension. This may be countered by greater friction in the cable and the mechanics - but this should be very slight.
Volkswagen used a very long cable at one time. This was subject to twisting and binding due to improper adjusting... I think hydraulics would have been better, but more expensive - not good in an economy car.

All Saab clutches that I have know have always been reasonably light and smooth.
For a heavy feel, try an American car/truck - no difference - too heavy with poor ergonomics to boot..
 

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You can decrease the pedal effort by putting lube on the throwout bearing and adjusting the clutch cable. There is a little black access panel that can be removed from the bell housing to apply spray lube. Use something light like Superlube. (WD40 is worthless and not really a lube). The heavier grease tends to attract dust and make the action stiff again. Be careful not to get the lube on the plates and have someone work the clutch as you spray.
If these tricks don't work, then go with the hydraulic replacement if you really like the car.
 

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Try this Basshead; there is a chance the clutch is dying but try just a new cable first [this will need to be changed if it's the clutch assembly anyway as it's been strained] but it could be the cable sleeve lining failing cuasing excessive friction in operation, once the new cable is in [not difficult to do but ensure the route is exactly correct] you may find it feels good as new - fixed for 30quid and an hours work; this is exactly what I did a couple of years ago with my Cavalier, very heavy clutch - then the cable failed, fitted a new cable and I got a delightfully light clutch even though cable actuated.
 

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No! As the clutch plate wears, and thins, the pressure plate levers loose mechanical advantage, and clutch effort INCREASES. For some reason this effect is particularly pronounced on NGs, and, when added to several other minor problems in the clutch linkages, makes the clutch get stiffer and stiffer until it starts breaking cables on a regular basis, or does in your knee, even though the clutch plate is only maybe 3/4s worn.

If the current clutch has over, say, 70K miles on it, a new cable is unlikely to resolve anything, so the money a new cable will cost is better applied to the cost of an entire clutch job.

Sorry. I hoped it wasn't so, but learned the hard way.




Let me guess. Her car probably has 80K to 120K on it?
earthworm said:
IAs a clutch ages, the feel should become somewhat lighter as the pressure plate springs lose tension.
 
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