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Hello everybody. I look forward to joining your ranks, just as soon as I get my Saab back in one piece. I bought a 1998 Saab 900 SE Convertible from a slimy jerk down in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I felt the transmission was a little "sporty", but for my first time driving a turbocharged car I thought it was normal. I drove it all the way home (~40 mile trip), happy as could be, until the clutch blew into pieces 1 mile from my house. Since then, the Saab has been in a corner of my garage getting worked on when we can. I'm only 20, but my dad and I are constantly turning wrenches on one car or another. We accepted the challenge with no other options and began ripping apart the 900. So far, we've installed a new slave cylinder and clutch kit, and slid the transmission back in. Next, if I recall all of it completely, is to bleed the transmission, reinsert the gearshift linkage, get all the air-intake and turbo pipes back on, and reinstall the subframe. I'm about to head out to my garage right now, but in the mean time I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me.

1. We noticed that it definitely had a front end collision before I bought it. The evidence? Freshly painted front end, and painters tape left on the top of the fog lights. How likely is it that the damage from the collision is going to quickly turn this Saab into a lemon?

2. What's the deal with the convertible top? I was told not to try and use the button to lower the top until I take it to a professional. I was told "it starts to go down, but it appears to jam up at a step of the process." I can live if the top never goes down (heck, my last car was a 1984 Fiero. I'd be stoked with a Geo Metro at this point). The only thing is, it would be REALLY nice if the top did go down, and I wouldn't mind spending some money to get it to happen. I'm not below having to take the top down manually, but I read in the owners manual that repeatedly doing so will damage the top. Is this true? If it's not going to be a problem, can you help me learn how to raise and lower the top by hand? I can't seem to figure it out, or find it on the internet either.

3. I accidentally filled it up with 87 for the ride home (I didn't know any better.). When I get it running, should I siphon the 87 out of the tank and run it to get a higher octane? Or just run the 87 through the tank and remember to get higher octane on the next fill-up?

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. If I have any further questions, I'll most likely post them in this thread instead of congesting these forums any further.
 

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Its too late now for you to read up on all the things one should know BEFORE buying used...
Probably best to cut the losses and sell.
I think the convertible top can be closed manually...that it...
Read up on the top.
 

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3. I accidentally filled it up with 87 for the ride home (I didn't know any better.). When I get it running, should I siphon the 87 out of the tank and run it to get a higher octane? Or just run the 87 through the tank and remember to get higher octane on the next fill-up?

Thanks for any help you guys can offer. If I have any further questions, I'll most likely post them in this thread instead of congesting these forums any further.
The great thing about these Saab's is they will adapt to whatever gas you put in it.
So you are fine, maybe a few HP less at full throttle but you are not going to hurt it.
 

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My top is starting to catch on the, a picture would explain better but ill try, the part that lifts up over the trunk that covers where the top folds down into. It just started doing this recently so i havent had a chance to work on it since ive been working on my friends 900. If thats not the problem I would guess, from reading on here, that its possible the gears are slipping. Something about where the motors mounted to twists and the gears no longer engage. From what i understand theres a brace for it, but i havent looked into this yet either. Gonna deal with my top after i get the suspension done.

Luckily though these cars are easy to work on and ive found quit a few in junkyards around us, nice to see someone else near pittsburgh here also.

IDK if you reattached the block where you bleed the tranny, but be careful that nipple doesnt pop off. i just had this happen to me and that tube is on 2 month back order. I just got one in so if it does happen to break let me know I can part with the one i have. It broke when i tried to loosen the bleed screw, barely any force on it and it pulled right off.
 

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From where you're at, bleeding the clutch is likely going to be the big headache in getting the car back on the road.

There's a process (to late now) of manually pumping all the air out of the slave cylinder before installing the trans back into the engine bay.

If you did not catch that, I'd suggest a long length of tubing over the nipple that sticks out of the transmission and a vacuum brake bleeder.

Pop the tube onto the nipple (not the bleed nipple, but the one the end of the hose with the bleed nipple pops onto) and mostly fill it with brake fluid.

Use the vacuum pump to pull as much air from the slave cylinder as possible and then release the vacuum so the fluid is pulled down into slave cylinder. Repeat until you cannot get any more air out of the system.

For bleeding the clutch master cylinder, care must be taken or you're run around in circles and never get it bleed. There's a side reservoir in the brake fluid reservoir for the brakes. Only fills from the very top, or from a very small hole much lower -- keeps a clutch failure from stealing all the fluid and causing a brake failure.

It's very easy to empty the clutch portion of the reservoir while the rest of the reservoir still looks full.

Best option is to fit an e-z bleeder to the clutch and route a hose from the e-z bleeder back to the reservoir. Keeps from emptying the fluid. Well worth the few dollars the e-z bleeder costs.

The top has a number of steps:

The 5th bow under the window unlatches and folds up.

The Tonneau cover unlatches and folds up (to the rear)

The 5th bow followed by the rest of the roof folds down into the area behind the seat.

The Tonneau cover folds forward, down and latches.

Where does yours start to hang up?

There has been one guy here that has simply used hard wired switches to do the job. Takes like 4 or 5 switches but it was inexpensive and reliable.

Another guy here has worked out a way to make the top only manual, another option if you can't find and repair the cause of the problem.
 

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+1 - what win-k said on the top. Try to run it. See what it does. Document it and post it here. Take a video if you can and post it for viewing somewhere. Most problems are failures of the tonneau motor mechanism and the repair is well documented.

If it jams, there is a magic red handle behind the rear seat that you can pull. It will allow you to close the top. You won't be able to latch the rear (at least without a little custom engineering) but it's not a show stopper. I drove for months with an unlatched rear roof while I worked out the details.

Don't try to repair the roof without instruction... we may be able to save you a trip to a dealer for a reset if you follow some rules before repair.
 
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