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Martin's T16S ongoing project...

29034 Views 112 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  ejenner
Inspired by Matthew's incredible white T16 thread I'm decided to start my own here.

First of all, let's get things straight. I am no mechanic. In fact the idea of changing the oil terrifies me. I am afraid I am a tinkerer and a chequebook tuner :roll:. Generally when tinkering I break more than I fix, but I live in hope.

Anyway, I bought my black T16S in July 2004 from Dave Parry who was at the time Chairman of the Peterborough area of the SOC (Gripen Saab). Lovely standard 1991MY 90H T16S with 3 previous owners and 116k miles. Leather/suede seats, aircon, etc. Only obvious faults were droopy headlining and driver's door bottom rust.

It was my daily driver until March 2007 when I bought a Eunos Roadster to take the weight off (doing 15k miles a year).

Had a couple of early teething problems with it (Hall Effect sensor died on distributor, and pedal box weld broke on clutch), but after the first year nothing major went wrong. Only things I remember are air con being converted to R134a and the windscreen wiper linkage packing up.

Back in April 2005 discovered the rear shocks were leaking so took the plunge and went for a Bilstein / Kilen setup which held the road much better, but dragged the middle silencer on every speed bump I touched.

I acquired a set of 16" Carlsson alloys in late 2005 and got them on the car Jan 2006 fitted with 195 profile tyres, although they do scrape the rear arches from time to time.

Got a JT 3" exhaust fitted around Feb 2006 which sounded great and helped with the speed bump clearance problem.

In December 2006 got the rear n/s wheelarch repaired as the rust was beginning to show through. Looked gorgeous, but within a month I had a huge (1p piece sized) chip out of it - I suspect one of my ******** neighbours. Thankfully I have moved since.

Recently (before Christmas) I noticed the clutch was biting right at the bottom and it was difficult to change gear without a crunch. All my work up to now has been done by the excellent West Midlands Saab Specialists, but they are on the other side of the country so I have taken the plunge and dropped it off with Rowan at South East Saab.

Unfortunately he seems to have been majorly busy and I have been without the car for over 2 months now, but hopefully has managed to finish it off over the Easter weekend so I will have it for the London to Brighton run next weekend.

I asked him to have a good check over of the car, which he reckoned was in reasonable condition, and came up with the following:

  • clutch problem caused by wear on master cylinder assembly pivot, enlarging the hole
  • rust in driveshaft tunnel :(
  • crankshaft pulley separating needing replacement
  • engine mount missing a bolt :eek:
  • questionable thermostat
  • bulge in top hose
  • APC solenoid held to slam panel with gaffer tape (I *may* have had something to do with that :roll::lol:)
  • oil leak from cam cover
  • air con not functioning (could have sworn blind it was OK but maybe gas has escaped after not being used for a few weeks)
  • exhaust manifold gasket leak
  • uneven tyre wear (edges of front tyres in an "overinflation" pattern - I know about this but it has done it since I changed the wheels and they're not overinflated...
  • brake fluid / belts need changing
Gulp. Don't want to know what it'll cost :(

Anyway. Was running nicely before that after a full WMSS service in October so here's hoping. I don't think it's been as happy since I've been sharing the miles with my other car :confused:

So, my philosophy for the car has always been for a practical fast road car without hacking about original fittings too much.

Things that I need to do:

  • 900aero APC mod with knock LED. Already have spare APCs but need to determine where base boost is set. I have done a couple of dyno days with poor results (152bhp and 165 bhp after WMSS tweaked base boost). Ideally would like to see 200bhp useable at crank.
  • Still under consideration are: chargecooler, and replacement recirc dump valve / wastegate actuator.
  • Change the springs. I don't know what is special about my car but the -25mm Kilen springs make compressions on B roads too much and I often end up scraping the sumpguard when in full attack mode. Also it makes life difficult when I'm using the boot in the way it was intended. Still unsure as to which way to go (see recent thread in "Mods" section). Malbrads OE T16S replacements (sound good but pricey), PFS ones, or go custom...
  • Get chipsaway to attack that bloody stonechip!
  • refurbish Carly wheels (polished lip, silver/grey centres)
  • get whaletail sprayed and fitted
  • Get door bottoms welded up
  • remove rear bumper and attack rust
  • remove removeable towbar and wire brush/por15
  • touch up rear wing where hole drilled for old phone mast
  • waxoyl nasty bits (bonnet corners starting to show signs of rust)
  • Replace door glass with unscratched ones
  • Get stitching repaired on seats
  • Headlining (held up with upolstery pins currently!
  • New speakers front & back, replace wires, new head unit.
There's a fairly complete list of things I have done/had done to the car here:

Since I've been without the car I have missed it like crazy and decided to stop being so lazy and get some of the things on my list done.

The plan is to get the car really nice for the summer season (hopefully for the Bromley Pageant of Motoring).

Anyway, this is more of an aide memoire for me than anything else, just thought I'd post it up.

A picture to be going on with...

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bring it to kodak! :cool:

bring it to kodak! :cool:

bring it to kodak! :cool:

bring it to kodak! :cool:

bring it to kodak! :cool:

bring it to kodak! :cool:

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I have just checked the date and I'm not sure - I'm supposed to be away that weekend and I'm doing loads of car related things in the next few weeks (London to Brighton run, UKSaabs RR day, MX5 Brands trackday, possible other car meet, possible Goodwood Breakfast club...).

It's not out of the question though, we'll see... ;)
Pah... to hell with all that - bring it to Kodak! :cool: :cheesy:

I'll bring my boost gauge so we can check and adjust base boost on the car :D Might be the wastegate actuator's getting weak and blowing open under boost at higher engine speed - common problem.

I like the plan of attack you have for the car :D

I'd get the rop rad hose replaced ASAP. It'll burst real soon!

More pics please! :cheesy:

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Difficult to say really - I went from knackered 15" P6000s / Dunlop SP Sports to brand new T1Rs on 16" wheels :roll:

They don't seem too bad at all, pretty grippy, not too much understeer, good in the wet.

I do seem to be getting a lot of wear on the shoulders of the fronts but I should add a 4 wheel laser alignment to my to do list...

They do look nice though :cheesy: and they're MUCH cheaper than equivalent sized Eagle F1s. I don't really corner the car hard enough to be able to comment on their "on the limit" handling. They do seem very well thought of though.

My only concern is that the load rating is slightly lower than the c900 should have - having said that, I very very rarely run with more than 1-2 people and a small boot load.

Got them from but my local tyre place has closed down. Since used my local etyres franchise who were excellent and very cheap. Fitted on your drive too!
They do look good :D

Do you have 205/50s? W speed rating?

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I honestly can't remember and I don't have the car at the moment.

They're 195 profile (still get rubbing from the rear arches though) and the speed rating was definitely high enough ;)
Matthew - the T1's are good tyres. I had them fitted all-round on the beemer before I sold it. Wasn't getting through an MOT without a tyre change. The Michellins which were on it had cracked with age and were a bit suspect wear-wise. Fitting the T1's made a massive difference to comfort, quietness and grip. Hate Perelli P6000's - they get so hard and useless after a very short amount of time. And for some reason (which I can't explain) the tred-pattern really annoys me - probably because it remindes me of useless Perelli's?
Time for a quick update!

Got the car back after nearly 3 months and unfortunately the clutch felt exactly the same. My fears were confirmed and I had exactly the same gear selection issues as before :( I can only assume that he didn't test drive it before returning it. Not really the place to go into it here but it was the final straw - I had to chase repeatedly and more promises were broken and deadlines missed than I care to remember. I always said that if a good job was done and a fair price charged I would be happy, but the main problem that it went in for remained unfixed - meanwhile I missed 3 separate meets :(

Anyway, I couldn't face losing the car again for another indefinite amount of time so nursed it up to the Midlands to West Midlands Saab Specialists. Big thumbs up to them as they fitted it straight in, diagnosed the clutch, replaced it (& the slave/flexi pipe), regassed the a/c (which had stopped working after 3 months of sitting!), and fixed the cruise (pressure switch on pedal must have got dislodged with original clutch work) - all within 3 days! Very impressed with Stuart's work.

Car is a dream to drive again after 4 months being very sick, so I'm going to enjoy it for a month or so before I start to look at some of the wishlist items from above ;)
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WOW, your car looks amazing :cheesy: I wish that my spg was in that kind of shape.(recently rear ended/totalled). I am excited to watch this project progress though, good work ;)
Thanks :D As said there's stuff that needs doing (rust is my main concern at the moment) but basically a decent solid car I think (certainly hope so as the last six months has cost me nearly £2000 in servicing/repairs and I've only done 2k miles!! :roll:

Just so pleased to have it back!
Great news :D Three cheers for Stuart!

If you fancy joining some Saab nuts, GWS are at the Whel Nuts event in Stroud on 11th May and Lazy Sunday on 18th May, plus a few others.

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So what did they have to do to fix it? Weld up the peddal linkage or was it something wrong with the clutch hydraulic circuit?
Hi Emmett,

It turned out that the clutch was slipping very slightly, but not in the usual "revs suddenly shooting up when you floor it" way, more revs just rising a little more quickly on full bore acceleration. I'd not noticed as it happened gradually and because I'd been gentle with the car!

Feels much better now!
Been a while so a quick update!

Unsurprisingly I have been too busy to get much done on the car until the last couple of weeks.

The air con stopped working within a couple of days but when the pressure switch was shorted the compressor kicks in so I guess there's a leak somewhere. I like a/c so it will have to be fixed! Couldn't find a leak with a u/v light though, and it was charged with dye...

Ever since I got it back from SES it's had on occasional misfire on acceleration (not necessarily full bore) where the power comes in and out very suddenly, like a kangaroo. Not on boost so my first thoughts were ignition, it feels a bit too "digital". Anyway, replaced rotor arm and distributor cap. Felt better for a week but was really giving me some grief on a long drive a few weeks back.

Next thing that happened during that drive was the alt light coming on dimly :eek:. Had a poke about, cleaned up earth points and alt earth point, used a jump lead to earth alt, etc. Seemed OK when I set out home but after a while it came on brightly, and after a bit more time even revving the engine didn't help... Decided to plough on but had some major misfiring just before the Blackwall Tunnel, and rather than risk blocking the tunnel I dumped it in the central reservation.

A nervous hour waiting for the AA followed:


He duly showed up, chucked in a fresh battery and followed me home (amazing how hot those batteries get when the heat shield isn't there!!)
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Initial diagnosis was of course alternator - flat battery, alt light. Definitely not charging as it was a solid 12.4v when the car was running. All connections were good so that just left the alt. Struggled to get it out and decided in the end that just replacing the regulator would be easy and would probably solve the problem.

I elected to remove the v-belt from the alt in the end to aid access, and the regulator came out OK. Pretty clear that it was at least one cause of the problems!


Had a bit of a nightmare trying to find a replacement - the Bosch p/n of the one I removed was 1 197 311 022 but I couldn't find anybody who could supply the same part - not ECP, not Saab, not any number of local car factors. Eventually found a place who said they could get it. When they did, it turned up as 029!! Bosch confirmed that it's a direct replacement though so in it went.

Was a bit of a *** to fit - didn't really slot in, but in it went, and after some grief with the belts got it all back together with 14.4v result!!

Quite chuffed to have sorted it myself!

At first I thought it might have sorted the misfire but it did it once more so have now replaced the HT leads too with Bougicords from PFS (although interestingly they seem to be a different p/n from the OE Saab ones). No repetitions so far but we will see. I have a new set of NGK plugs to go in next, followed by a new coil.
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Over the last couple of days I decided to get stuck into some of the rust that has been worrying me.

- surface rust in engine bay
- scabs on sills
- door bottoms
- rust beneath lock on tailgate
- rusty removable towbar
- bonnet edges
- bubbles on the wheelarch that was filled and sprayed 18 months ago :roll:
- wiper arms going rusty

Sprayed the engine bay with some thin waxoyly stuff that should stop the surface rust getting worse.

Scraped off the rust scabs on the sills, Kurusted and then used Hammerite rustproofer/undercoat until I can get some Saab black to spray over it.

Unfortunately found this in the LH sill:

Slightly alarmed, although I don't think it's structural so will get a bodyshop to weld it up.

Door bottoms - pass door hasn't got any worse so cleaned it up with Kurust and hammerited them. When I have a mo I will fill and spray it as it's only a small hole.

driver's door not so good! :lol: Again, cleaned it up and hopefully it won't get any worse. Not too worried as I will get a panel welded over it and at least it's under control now.

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Poked around beneath tailgate lock and above bumper and made a hole :( Cleaned it up, filled, and sprayed with hammerite.

Dropped towbar (most bolts rusted up!), cleaned up and hammerited.

Sprayed that waxoyly stuff down the bonnet edges

Left the wheelarch as there's nothing I can do except get a new arch welded in. I'll keep an eye on it. There's also an aerial hole on the RH rear wing that is messy so I will have a look at that at some stage.

Wiper arms - primed and sprayed satin black, a bit messy but better than rust!

Did discover a fair bit of rust behind the tailgate lock in the hatch - can't get the lock apart though as the bolts are rusted up. Kurusted what I could and sprayed full of waxoyly gunk.

At least my power to weight ratio has improved: :lol:

Whaletail being sprayed in the next few days and ready to go on (nuts rusty so can't get rubber bit off so will have to be masked)...

Hopefully getting a/c sorted too.

If you reckon you have rust issues it's worth getting stuck in sooner rather than later IMHO - if it's non obvious places it's easy to do without making the car look crap. Wish I'd got stuck in to that 4 years ago when I bought the car :(
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