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Hi Everyone,

I am the proud owner a 1993 900 Turbo Convertible 5 speed with about 193k. I have had a soft spot for the cars and after years of searching for a rust free example in the northeast, I finally found one last November. I did the basics to get it on the road for last summer, but decided to dig a bit deeper this winter. The car needs some interior love, but the paint represents decently and the usual Saab rust is nonexistent due to it being a California/Colorado car. Engine runs/boosts strong and has service records dating back to 1993.

The biggest issue I noticed after getting the car was the transmission. It crunches shifting into second, third, and reverse is tricky to catch without grinding. I have commissioned a rebuilt trans and should have it sometime this month.

In the meantime, I have pulled the engine and separated the engine and trans (what a weird setup!!). I have years of hobby mechanical experience, and with the help of the Bentley manual and some learned patience, things went very smoothly. This is definitely one of the more interesting cars I've worked on.

I have developed a list of "while it's out" items to replace-
All hoses
Belts
Alternator/mount bushings
Power steering pump/mount bushing
Power steering pressure/return hoses
Knock sensor
Axles

On the fence-
Power steering rack- it's working smoothly and not leaking
Clutch- work receipt shows it only has about 1500 miles on it.
Timing chain and guides- not sure about the history of these with these cars
Main seals

I'd love to hear any recommendations about what else I should pay attention to since the engine is out.

Oh, and some pictures!
270536
270537
270538
 

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Awesome you are off and running! I'd say while the engine is out, do all the bushings on control arms and other bushings on sway bar and so forth. Replace motor mounts. On engine, do the oil pump seal and check all the pulleys. Consider the power steering pump too. All those things would be so easy with the engine out of the way.
 

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The biggest issue I noticed after getting the car was the transmission. It crunches shifting into second, third, and reverse is tricky to catch without grinding.
Check the clevis pin on the clutch pedal and clutch master cylinder. The holes can wear oblong.

Measure the timing chain wear.
 

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100% control arm bushings.

With 193k, I would STRONGLY consider jumping in and doing the head gasket and timing chain, plus chain guides. Do the front seal, maybe even the rear one too. The parts cost there is tiny, and you will hate yourself if it springs a leak in a year or two.

You might consider replacing the steering rack too. It's very annoying with the engine in the car, very very easy when it's out. And I suspect rebuilt units will dry up in the coming years, so spending that $300 now and then not worrying about it ever again is a good deal.

Yeah, this is all mission creep but my strong opinion is that c900s are quite reliable, and if you tear them down every 15 years or so you will get another problem free 15 year run, and nothing beats driving a totally reliable old car.
 

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Eh... while I'm spending your money...

Consider hitting up Jordan at modernclassicsaab.com and get one of his Trionic flywheels. You don't need Trionic now (although it's great!) but in a few years you will need a new distributor, find they are impossible to find, and then you will panic as many folks have. That flywheel means your T5 conversion is a pleasant afternoon's work! (Plus it's a few lbs lighter and adds a little something to the drive.)
 

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Eh... while I'm spending your money...

Consider hitting up Jordan at modernclassicsaab.com and get one of his Trionic flywheels. You don't need Trionic now (although it's great!) but in a few years you will need a new distributor, find they are impossible to find, and then you will panic as many folks have. That flywheel means your T5 conversion is a pleasant afternoon's work! (Plus it's a few lbs lighter and adds a little something to the drive.)
I never would have thought of that, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses thus far. I've added all front end parts (including control arm bushings) to my parts list. The rack I was heavily leaning towards replacing, so that will also go on my list. Main seals as well and I love the flywheel idea.

I'm a bit hesitant to do the head gasket since there aren't issues now and I'm reluctant to open the engine if it isn't needed. That said, I can see it being a major pain in the *** with the engine in the car. I will think about it.

I'm not saying there isn't a budget, but I want to do it right also. I'm also planning on keeping the car for some time, and even if I don't, I'd like the next enthusiast to know everything was done correctly.

Side note- does anybody know if there's supposed to be a woodruff key on the alternator? I was swapping pullies and the fan, washer, and shaft all are notched for it. There wasn't one on either the new nor old alternator though.
 

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Thanks for the responses thus far. I've added all front end parts (including control arm bushings) to my parts list. The rack I was heavily leaning towards replacing, so that will also go on my list. Main seals as well and I love the flywheel idea.

I'm a bit hesitant to do the head gasket since there aren't issues now and I'm reluctant to open the engine if it isn't needed. That said, I can see it being a major pain in the *** with the engine in the car. I will think about it.

I'm not saying there isn't a budget, but I want to do it right also. I'm also planning on keeping the car for some time, and even if I don't, I'd like the next enthusiast to know everything was done correctly.

Side note- does anybody know if there's supposed to be a woodruff key on the alternator? I was swapping pullies and the fan, washer, and shaft all are notched for it. There wasn't one on either the new nor old alternator though.
HG isn't too tough in the car, I honestly have had no issues doing them (I've done over 10, all in car). Regarding the alternator, I cannot ever remember seeing a woodruff key on a factory C900 alternator, however I usually just slam new brushes / regulator in them and call it a day as the bearings tend to last forever. Saab EPC doesn't seem to show a listing for a woodruff either.
 

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No key on any modern alternator AFAIK... not Bosch, Valeo, Ford or GM.

The HG is not awful in the car, TBH the c900 head gasket is one of the easier ones I've done. But, it's 30-45 frustration-free minutes of work with the engine out, and several hours (my record is five) with it in. Parts cost is around $100, though you would be well advised to drop it off at a machine shop so valve train can be inspected. They're robust, but 200k is 200k.

If you opt out, consider at least yanking the exhaust manifold and replacing the hardware there. Virtually every c900T I have ever owned has killed one or more of the lower studs, and fixing that requires removing the head. You have access now, and studs & nuts is $20. (Plus if one breaks now... do the head gasket :) )

Replace the turbo return pipe o-ring and manifold->turbo gasket while the manifold is off.

If you go this route, I would recommend not using Saab nuts. Buy copper coated locking nuts from atpturbo.com - they are $1ea, but virtually never seize in place. On the east coast.........

For whatever it's worth, I've done this dance a dozen+ times... buy a c900, pull the drivetrain out, go to town. It's incredibly rewarding when it's done. A freshened c900 turbo is like nothing else.
 
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