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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 1997 900S convertible, with manual trans has been getting progressively harder to shift. The car has 124,XXX miles, purchased 18 months ago with 98,XXX.

I don't know the age of the clutch, but have had a new cable installed since the old one snapped. I've tried to get the @#$%^& self-adjusting beastie to self adjust using information I found here. Don't know what else to try there.

The clutch seems to work pretty well from a stop, i.e. smooth predictable engagement. There's no slippage and it makes no unusual sounds. I have noticed, however, when starting the car on a level garage floor with the clutch pedal on the floor and trans in reverse, that the car will creep back slightly once the engine fires. Maybe the clutch is not completely disengaging ?

The shifter seems balky at other shift points too. The problem seems to come and go, but over time is getting worse. Sometimes it's near impossible to wrestle the thing into gear, but then on the next shift it'll drop right in. I've done the shifter alightment thing, based on the DIY article. After the alightment, I tested whether I could upshift and downshift smoothly without the clutch by matching revs to vehicle speed. This worked just fine, running 1st thru 5th and back to 1st several times, at a relaxed pace though, obviously. Shifting this way was at least as easy/smooth as shifting normally using the clutch but no rev matching. From this, it seems to me that the shifter must be choosing gears pretty well, since I felt no slop or inaccuracy.

I've checked the trans oil level. Topped off, taking maybe 1/3 of a quart quart. No BIG problem there, right?

So do these symtoms point to bad syncro's maybe?

Or is the problem really the clutch? My experience has been that when a clutch goes, it starts slipping, but my experience is not in Saab vehicles.

What else might be the problem here?

Can anyone advise?

I'm afraid I'm running out of inexpensive fixes !!!
 

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jack the car up so its off the front wheels (drive wheels), push the clutch in and start her up, have a friend watch to see if the wheels move at all

although this may not conclusively prove that the clutch IS completely disengaging, it may conclusively prove that the clutch IS NOT completely disengaging.

I'm not familiar enough with the NG900 to tell you how to inspect hte clutch or how difficult it is to do so, so this is a simple test that will work on any car
 

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If you jack the front wheels up and run the car you had better have an obd2 scan tool to clear the check engine light it dose sound like your having clutch problems here is something you can try if you get help from a friend have them press down on the clutch while you look at the clutch linkage on the top of the transmission with the peddle fully pressed down grab the linkage and see how much farther the linkage will go if it moves a lot the cable has stretched this would make the clutch drag and the car would be hard to get in to and out of gear if the clutch is hydraulic look for leaks around the master cylinder with the milage the car has its probably the clutch
 

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Transmission Fluid:

My shifting improved when I drained and flushed the transmission. No guarantees, but that is what I would do first (cheap if it helps).

Drain while on stands, refill with regular 10W30-40 oil, run through the gears while elevated on stands a few times, drain right away. Then refill w. fluid of your choice.

Saab consider the transmission "filled for life", but what came out of mine after 100K miles was not fit for Navy bunker fuel.

The snapped cable is common on the NG900, mine went two Decembers ago on an on-ramp, with a Christmas tree in the trunk and five o'clock traffic. Fun times... :roll:

Shift Linkage:

On models with the old-style shift linkage, you can get some improvement by doing a manual alignment of the linkage:

http://photo.platonoff.com/Auto/20050325.Saab_NG900_Shifter_Alignment/

Not sure if this also applies to the new shift linkage which can be found on '97 and later models, but I believe the procedure is the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback guys. It's been a taxing week at work, and I haven't had a chance to thank you all sooner.

Dirtybird . . . There's no slack in the clutch cable, as far as I can tell. While my wife held the pedal on the floor, I tried to move the lever a bit further by hand. This was impossible. Is the lever movement normally pretty stiff? Maybe I need to get some leverage on it? The cable's new so it can hardly be the dreaded cable stretch already, but are there other possible causes for the same symptom?

As for jacking the car to do some tests, I'll take a stab at this over the weekend.

Thanks again . . .

BustersTurbo
 

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BustersTurbo said:
I tried to move the lever a bit further by hand. This was impossible. Is the lever movement normally pretty stiff? Maybe I need to get some leverage on it? ...
Normally you can't move the lever by hand, even with a new clutch. Most people (including me) have to use a pry bar to move the lever enough to install a new cable (although there is supposed to be a trick that allows you to do that with the lever in its rest position).

Having said that, the lever (and pedal) get progressively more difficult to move as the clutch wears down, something I have observed on my car. As the force required to operate the clutch increases, the cable is more likely to break. So, a stiff clutch pedal often precedes a broken cable.

Some people have had limited success with lubricating the parts at the other end of the arm (the end in the transmission). I have not tried that myself, but there are threads which describe how it was done.

If you plan to keep the car for a while and can affor to spend the money, a new clutch will eliminate bothe ht stiff feel of the pedal, and the breaking cables.

Good luck, and let us know what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
This is not a happy day. It's Friday night and the freakin' cable snapped on the drive home from work. It snapped while in gear and moving, so I was able to limp home without the clutch. It was only a few miles, on side streets.

This is the second busted clutch cable in just over a month. The first happened at 12X,XXX miles, but the new one is only a couple thousand miles old. Aaaaarrrrgggggh!

Now, after a few whisky/rocks, I'm calmed enough to seek advice. I'm just glad that when it happened there were no sharp ( or blunt/heavy ) objects close at hand. I could've done myself or the 'vert an injury.

Anyway, I guess I'm finally out of cheap options. So please give me the benefit of your collective experience.

I'm in the midwest ( St. Louis, MO area ). So what do you think I can expect for the cost of a clutch/cable replacement. I'll have to start calling around on Saturday, but probably won't find much information 'til Monday, so I thought I'd try getting input from the always-helpful SAABCENTRAL folks.

I've got a Haynes manual by now, and I've replaced clutches before, but I'm older/wiser now and this looks like more that I want to tackle on my own this time.

Thanks in advance . . .
 

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BustersTurbo said:
SniP
It snapped while in gear and moving, so I was able to limp home without the clutch. It was only a few miles, on side streets.

I'm in the midwest ( St. Louis, MO area ). So what do you think I can expect for the cost of a clutch/cable replacement.

SNip
. . .
Hmm. The day that mine went out it was 107 in St. Louis as I drove through on the way to Denver.

I thought that mine a was a bad clutch cable, but ended up being something else - probably a bad throwout bearing, or debris in the clutch housing or throwout bearing sleeve. I left the new manual adjust cable in there, and lubed it up thoroughly with white lithium grease before installing.

A clutch kit is roughly $300, and labor at least $400. If you're lucky, you can get away with putting in a new clutch cable, and cleaning out all of the gunk around the clutch lever, and inside the transmission housing.

With a search of this site you can find a great detailed post with pics on how to clean out the gunk via the inspection cover.

After mine went out, I bought (but did not install) a new clutch kit and drove a few times without the clutch.

Then the car magically fixed itself and shifted fine. That was a few weeks ago. So now I'm taking my time before eventually replacing the clutch, hoping to find a low mileage transmission to toss in there at the same time.

Good luck!
 
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