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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was planing on getting a 9-3 convertible next year but I couldn't pass this deal up: 1990 Saab 900S for $250.00. New tires and the spare looks great too! It runs, starts great, all 4 electric windows work and almost everything else seems to be functional.

The transmission: To get the (3-speed?) automatic transmission to shift I have to let up on the gas and then proceed to keep accelerating once it goes into second. Third seems to come on fine without coaxing. My thought on this is that perhaps flushing the transmission and changing the filter would remedy this. I would think that if there's a problem with the transmission (clutch packs?) that it would slip out of gear. As the car warmed up the need for letting off the gas was a bit less. I didn't get it fully warmed up (like a 15 min. drive incl. one stop for gas).

Should I be more concerned?

What do you all think this slow shifting might need to fix it?


Exhaust: From the manifold to the resonator the exhaust pipe looks pretty rusted. In fact, after the resonator the pipe with (catalytic converter?) fell off during my test drive! Things are loud as expected. I might just cobble on a patch (like fliexible tubing to tie the ends together) just to get it quieted down until I find a more permanent solution.

What do you all suggest as a budget minded but permanent replacement for this system?

Will the engine run better/stronger with the former back pressure is in place?

This is just the start. I intend on making sure everything will last a while and ultimately, I'd like this charming little car to be my winter car from now on once I get my convertible.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wow...

I didn't think my post was so boring as to not get any responses. Perhaps I'll post one question at at a time. Maybe put a title on them like "It broke" to get lots of hits.

It's my very first Saab. My very first foreign car after only owning Ford products for 23 years. I'm excited folks!

Honestly, I know you don't know me but whenever I learn something new or have knowledge about a subject I'm happy and eager to share. I like to think I'm helping somebody that was in the same spot I was and that she or he will in turn, pass that knowledge along. You'll see, I'm going to be a very good Saab-er! Promise.
 

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Hey you have to give it some time.


The moderators in here (and other people) are higly dedicated and very few posts will get passed by. Understand that some people have really pressing issues and can chew up lots of our time to sort through.

Your auto trans experience is consistent with what I have largely felt with the Borg Warner. They wear out and get somewhat clunky and frustrating. Take it easy and it should last ok.

You can try a front end band adjustment adn a fluid change, this could help improve the "perfomace" of the box.

In general the 3-speed auto is quite slow in non turbo form and they tend to no last quite as long and are prone to driveability issues but not failing so much.

You could swap in a 5-speed to get a better kick in the pants; however, it is a bit of work.

Feel free to post some pics.

eeuroparts.com is great for chepa parts. Check for exhaust pricing here. Hope you held on to the CAT and possibly muffler, then can often escape without trouble.
 

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the tranny might just need the bands adjusted.Or some internal seals could be leaking which would explain the not going into gear when cold...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the replies. Sorry for being impatient. I read that link on adjusting the bands and I think it's something I can do. Hopefully the tranny isn't too far gone.

I'll have pics posted soon. I had to clean up my garage today to get enough room to run around working on the car this winter. I won't drive it much until I get the band adjustment and the exhaust patched back on first.

Nothing like a new addition to the car family to get me motivated to clean up the garage!
 

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I just clicked through 22 pages of pictures of "man castles" (garages) on a different forum (don't worry, not saab related) and drooled the entire time. I really want to go out and clean the garage now!!
 

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If its really hanging up on the 1-2 shift then there isn't much hope. If its hanging up on the 2-3 shift then the band adjustment will fix it. Are you sure it isn't hanging up on the 2-3 shift?

Go ahead and do the band adjustment anyhow, its easy enough and will give you the chance to get some of the old fluid out.

Once you get the band adjusted set the TV cable. This is probably the single most important setting on your transmission, right up there with the band adjustment.

If you are still having problems, adjust the selector cable where it attaches to the selector inside the cab. Over time this cable stretches or slips and can get to where its not selecting the gears completely or properly causing problems, on my car, it was manifested as no reverse gear when cold.

Thats about all you can do. If you are still having problems at this point then you are probably looking at a rebuild job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Matt88S said:
If its really hanging up on the 1-2 shift then there isn't much hope. If its hanging up on the 2-3 shift then the band adjustment will fix it.
Nnnnoooo! I spent 1,800 bucks two years ago having my T-bird's tranny rebuilt! If I can just put that off a couple years I'd be much happier. Seems like automatic trannys (in general) are just plain weak the second they start to show signs of failing.

Matt88S said:
Are you sure it isn't hanging up on the 2-3 shift?
I'm not 100% but the rpm's shoot up fairly fast in the beginning so that might be what's happening. I saw somewhere on CC that a guy said his was going from 1st to 3rd. That may be what's happening here as I only felt it shift once and the rpm's looked good at 55mph. What should the RPM's be in 3rd for this car?

Matt88S said:
Go ahead and do the band adjustment anyhow, its easy enough and will give you the chance to get some of the old fluid out.
Should I have the transmission fully flushed or might that be a waste of money as the partial flush w/ filter should show me if I'm headed down the right path?


Matt88S said:
Once you get the band adjusted set the TV cable. This is probably the single most important setting on your transmission, right up there with the band adjustment.

If you are still having problems, adjust the selector cable where it attaches to the selector inside the cab. Over time this cable stretches or slips and can get to where its not selecting the gears completely or properly causing problems, on my car, it was manifested as no reverse gear when cold.
I will try both of those as well. Couldn't hurt at this point. I'll gain some experience for the next time/tranny.

Matt88S said:
Thats about all you can do. If you are still having problems at this point then you are probably looking at a rebuild job.
Oh well, at least it costs no more than my T-bird to have done. Maybe I can swap it myself?

Thanks a bunch Matt88S!
 

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I'd start by just changing the fluid as normal - who knows what's in there if it's a new car - then reassess the situation. The band adjustment can't hurt...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As this is my first real thread to this site I thought I'd add some more comments not necessariy related to my original post.

Tonight I took it out for a real drive and gave it it's first bath (in a long time...you should have seen the bird droppings!). The windows didn't leak at all. No surprise as it looks like the 900 inheirited it's rubber from aircraft brethern. That rubber seems thick and TOUGH!! The sunroof didn't leak a drop either.

I'm pretty sure I don't have a second gear. Sort of a bummer but I'm still going to drive this car through next March without any tranny work other than new fluid, filter and possibly me adjusting that 2nd to 3rd band.

The motor seems strong. Besides the lack of the exhaust (except for up to the resonator) it seems devoid of mechanical noise except for maybe some low-key pully noise. I need new belts so perhaps that will dampen that area.

I WILL get the exhaust fixed soon as it is going to make my ears bleed. Very loud.

Last, I love this car. I love the way it rides, handles, and the view out the windows. Nobody else knows how cool these cars are other than other Saab drivers. I'm very happy to have been bitten by the Saab bug. Now.. if it doesn't get too expensive too fast I'll be a huge fan.

ps. the cruise still works!
 

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Vespa said:
As this is my first real thread to this site I thought I'd add some more comments not necessariy related to my original post.

Tonight I took it out for a real drive and gave it it's first bath (in a long time...you should have seen the bird droppings!). The windows didn't leak at all. No surprise as it looks like the 900 inheirited it's rubber from aircraft brethern. That rubber seems thick and TOUGH!! The sunroof didn't leak a drop either.
Be careful with the horizontal rubber strips on the outside of the door glass. They will degrade with age and sun exposure, and the strip of steel they attach too which is part of the door structure can develop rust from the ends in, but the door sealing rubbers are generally quite long lasting.

Craig.
 

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Vespa said:
I'm pretty sure I don't have a second gear. Sort of a bummer but I'm still going to drive this car through next March without any tranny work other than new fluid, filter and possibly me adjusting that 2nd to 3rd band.
Don't do this. You will kill the tranny if you don't address the problem now. Do the fluid, filter, band adjustment and TV cable adjustment promptly or you won't have a running car by march.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
cdaly said:
Don't do this. You will kill the tranny if you don't address the problem now. Do the fluid, filter, band adjustment and TV cable adjustment promptly or you won't have a running car by march.
I hear you loud and clear. Based on what I've said do you think that the fluid/filter/band/cable maintenance will get me back to three gears or will this procedure only limp me along?

I'll still do it just to get me by but if it's actually a fix I'm going to do it this as soon as possible. Thank-you for stepping in before I made a grave error and put this off.
 

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Welcome to Saabland - sounds like you got yourself a nice car that just needs a little TLC -


For the exhaust system & CAT - eeuroparts -
Exhaust system
http://www.eeuroparts.com/productdetail.aspx?searchResults=1&code=7001
Cat
http://www.eeuroparts.com/productdetail.aspx?searchResults=1&code=5559

For less than 300 bucks you'll get the complete (and I mean complete) kit delivered to your door - free shipping - with all the hangers, clamps and gaskets you'll need for the install - and it's an easy DIY job (especially as the worst part of any exhaust job, removing the old stuff, has already been done for you by our good friend gravity!) -

For the autobox - change the fluids and filter, adjust the bands and hope for the best - are you certain the fluid level is correct? Slow shifting can sometimes be attributed to low pressure and low fluid levels -

Enjoy your new ride - after 20+ years of Fords you deserve a break!:cheesy:

Steve
 

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Vespa said:
I hear you loud and clear. Based on what I've said do you think that the fluid/filter/band/cable maintenance will get me back to three gears or will this procedure only limp me along?

I'll still do it just to get me by but if it's actually a fix I'm going to do it this as soon as possible. Thank-you for stepping in before I made a grave error and put this off.
Once an automatic transmission starts to slip or hang up its usually a matter of days/weeks though sometimes hours :D before it quits. You need to address the problem now. The clutch packs inside of an autobox are not like those in a manual, there really isn't much to them, the same with the bands, the friction material on them is only about as thick as a penny, let it slip for long and its all gone and once its gone the only thing to do then is rebuild.

If its really your 1-2 shift that is slipping, and the adjustments we told you to do do not help, as a last ditch effort you might try cleaning the valve body and seeing if perhaps its a sticking valve, or try cleaning the gov'nor and see if that helps. If not though and its the band, then its going to quit on you pretty soon. By quit I mean you won't be going anywhere.


I'm wondering if it isn't your 2-3 shift, it can be kind of hard to tell sometimes. Most n/a's don't have much trouble with the 1-2 band wearing, the turbo's do, but the n/a's are pretty easy on the autoboxes.
 

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There are many cases when 2nd gear will disappear completely and it will shift from 1-3 all on its own. In most cases this is a "quirk" (for lack of a better term) and the tranny will go for several years this way. It doesn't mean the tranny is fine, it just means it has serious issues but is not necessarily going to die the next day.

But yes, change the fluids, adjust the cable, and adjust the band and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
philbert said:
There are many cases when 2nd gear will disappear completely and it will shift from 1-3 all on its own. In most cases this is a "quirk" (for lack of a better term) and the tranny will go for several years this way. It doesn't mean the tranny is fine, it just means it has serious issues but is not necessarily going to die the next day.

But yes, change the fluids, adjust the cable, and adjust the band and see what happens.
I know it seems a little late in the game but where do I get a guide on repair for this? I've seen the occational Bentley manual on eBay that everybody covets but I'd be happy with a 25 buck Haynes or Chiltons just to get me by on these adjustments (pictures mostly as you chaps have really fed me a lot of good instructions). I've checked Amazon and there's this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Service-Repai...d_bbs_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196392908&sr=8-9

Will that tide me over until I land a Bentley? The way I've heard people complain about Bentley's lack of pics might the Haynes fill in the gaps?
 
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