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Try removing the studs from the turbo that connect it to the exhaust manifold. If you're lucky and can get the studs out of the turbo, then removing the exhaust manifold is a piece of cake. Just make sure you have a new metal gasket for the turbo.
 

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No MAF on T5.

Broken studs are easy to remove because i can just weld a nut on them and remove, but the problem is that there's a whole exhaust manifold in the way and removing that is a pain from what i remember.
My point was that removing the manifold probably means more broken studs :-(. The drill method avoids that. But, it you don't mind that risk, it's not too bad a job. There's a bit of stuff that has to come out with it and it takes a while because of that. But, its not a bad job, epecially if you have a torch to heat up the nuts. Plan on new studs for everything - downpipe, turbo, manifold.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #83
Try removing the studs from the turbo that connect it to the exhaust manifold. If you're lucky and can get the studs out of the turbo, then removing the exhaust manifold is a piece of cake. Just make sure you have a new metal gasket for the turbo.
Totally forgot about the turbo gasket, damn. For my NG900 i actually made my own metal gaskets because i couldn't buy any locally and shipping from china takes like a month.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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222 Posts
Discussion Starter #84
271624

Got some paint and according to the store this can should be color matched to my 9-3.
Looks like it has some metallic fleck to it.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #85
271675

Gonna paint it today, hopefully it will be finished by tomorrow evening.
Just waiting right now for the sun to warm the air up a little.
Also while wet sanding i didn't notice any metallic fleck in the paint so that's kinda ... yikes.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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222 Posts
Discussion Starter #86 (Edited)
271676

Sprayed a few coats of primer and i'm super pleased with this new 1k epoxy stuff i bought.
You can go full auto with this stuff and it won't run.
Now all that is left to do is to wait for it to dry and to stick on some filler. I had bught a whole 1kg tub of filler (yep i did that 😅) but in reality i won't need anything more than 200g.
You can also see a big dent near the bottom and thats on purpose. I did it to shrink the metal, othervise it would bulge and if you pressed on it it would pop to the other side.
If i tried to fill it with filler the filler would crack and fall out as soon as the metal popped out.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #87
271682

Started filling but before i could finish the filler came off because it didn't stick.
So i'm kinda bummed right now, an entire day of work wasted.
Upon a closer look the can of filler was made by the same manufacturer who made the crap primer. It was right there on the tin, i should have known it was just some more garbage in a can.
I already have a new can of filler made by the same company that made the epoxy primer which i liked so much, so here's hoping it doesn't come off.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #88
Ps: the part of the filler that fell of was the bottom part below the bodyline yet the top part is still in place, should i also remove the top part even if it's still holding?
 

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Ps: the part of the filler that fell of was the bottom part below the bodyline yet the top part is still in place, should i also remove the top part even if it's still holding?
If there was a difference in the surface (i.e. one was primer, one was bare metal) that accounts for some of the filler sticking, I would probably leave it. But if there's no reason some of it stuck and some didn't, I'd take it all off. You don't want to go all the way through final finish to have it fall off a month later.

FYI - Body filler is easily removed by heating it slightly with a torch. You can also use old-school paint remover. Much nicer than sanding it off into dust.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #90 (Edited)
Checked the weather next weekend and it predicts more rain so i asked a friend of mine if i could use his garage and he agreed.
Meanwhile i had to find other ways to get my hands dirty so i went back into the engine bay to investigate the lean A/F mix.
Noticed the bodged wires and a rather new looking O2 sensor so i decided to rewire the wires thinking maybe there's a bad connection.
I immediately dediced to just replace the no-name O2 sensor with a genuine BOSCH O2 sensor that i had bought for my NG900.
You can see how much bigger the BOSCH sensor is below.
IMG_20200307_120150.jpg
And the bodged wires.
IMG_20200307_115100.jpg
The BOSCH came with this neat waterproof terminal block, which i used to reconnect the wires.
IMG_20200307_121242.jpg
After i changed the O2 sensor the A/F ratio didn't change so the issue was elsewhere.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #91 (Edited)
While looking for things to fix i noticed some rust near the shock tower.
From the looks of it SAAB did not apply enough seam sealer, which left the seam exposed and it started rusting.
IMG_20200307_122840.jpg
I thought maybe my fuel tank is empty resulting in low pressure, so i drained my NG900 and got about 2.5l of gas from it, which should plenty to make a car run right.
But it didn't so my problem was elsewhere.
While i was at it i also removed the fuel filter, which i had replaced not long ago. I'll put it into the 9-3 because the filter should be almost new.
IMG_20200307_130400.jpg
Next thing to check was the fuel pump, the 9-3 much like the NG900 did not have an eccess hole to replace the fuel pump so i cut a new one.
Managed to bump my finger on the sharp edge and it immediately sliced it open so i had to take a half hour break because remove bloodstains ir hard.
IMG_20200307_144330.jpg
It's evident by the broken ring nut and yellow retainer that someone had already been in the fuel tank. I pity the guy who had to drop the tank out.
Anyways, this made me question my faulty fuel pump theory, more on that in next post.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #92 (Edited)
Pulled the fuel pump assembly and noticed the rubber hose.
IMG_20200307_160353.jpg
Took out the fuel pump and it's pretty bad, not in terms of condition but rather in build quality. Here it is next to the fuel pump that came from my NG900.
You can clearly see the metal burr on the metal case.
IMG_20200307_161201.jpg
The other end looks to be of much lower quality as well. Both pumps had the exact same markings, model numbers, part numbers even the walbro logo.
Something smells fishy.
IMG_20200307_161327.jpg
Before i pulled the pump i checked the static pressure and it made 3 bar.
So based on all of that i conclude that this pump is a counterfeit/relabeled generic 3 bar fuel pump.
Good thing the pump in my NG900 was perfectly fine because i only replaced it with a 8.5 bar fuel pump to handle 1.25 bar of boost.
IMG_20200307_155431.jpg
My NG900 pump gives a stable 4.2 bar pressure.
IMG_20200307_163237.jpg
With all of that work done and the counterfeit pump replaced the car had to run amazingly well now, right? Nope.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #93 (Edited)
Despite my best efforts the engine was still running lean, so i had to find what else on the loop could be causing this lean burn.
Fuel infectors are ok, even with a bad spray pattern they wouldn't run this lean, rather they would run slightly rich.
Fuel filter could be bad but it can't be bad enough to make the engine run this lean, especially at idle RPM.
So my next spot to check was the fuel regulator. First i pulled the vacuum hose and hooked it up to a big syringe.
With the syringe i could give it either vacuum or "boost" and check if the AFR changes.
And it did, but i had to give alot of pressure through the syringe to make it go into about +10% fuel trim area.
So based on that i decided to swap the fuel regulator out with the one in my NG900 since i know that one is good.
After all the engines are the same, so the FPR's should be the same as well right?
Nope, nope and nope, they are completely different.
IMG_20200307_171304.jpg
So i was kinda bummed out because this meant i would have to replace the entire fuel rail, which would be a massive pain, especially because of those quick connect fittings, or i would have to buy a new FPR and i know noone has those for sale (at reasonable prices).
But then i noticed that if i left the vacuum hose for the FPR open to air it would fix my lean burning issue and the fuel trim would start hovering in the +15~+20% range. So i'm thinking the 3 bar FPR is more like a 2 bar FPR, that or it's just stuck open :) . There's seemingly no end to the plot twists in this car.
But this would also explain why the car ran so much worse after i replaced all of the old perished vacuum hoses.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #94
Also, usually when going down a rabbit hole like this you end up fixing things you didn't have to and that's how it becomes expensive, but fortunately in this case every fix had a fault and the parts only cost me some time and all that is left to do is to get a new FPR.
 

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Great detective work... even if it ended in needing another part.

You should make or buy one of the fuel line holders to put on top of your pump. It's a simple piece of metal that you could bend up: [12806113] SAAB Clip Retaining Screw - OES Saab Parts - eSaabParts.com . There's a screw hole in the top of the pump already that the screw goes into and the "wings" hold the fuel lines into the pump to make sure they don't blow out.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #96

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #97 (Edited)
Since it rained so much i checked for any more water in my 9-3 and found a whole puddle sitting in the trunk.
IMG_20200308_103656.jpg
There were no signs of leakage through the tail lights so it had to be somewhere else and it was.
Turns out there's some seam right under the trunk seal that's leaking water inside.
IMG_20200308_104111.jpg
I swear just about every seam in this 9-3 is either leaking or rusting, what a massive step down in quality compared to my NG900.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #98
Pulled the trunk seal and found a bunch of dirt behind it.
I wanted to take a look at the seam but didn't see any way for it to be leaking, rather i think the water comes from up top and makes it's way down, then exits through the seam area.
i'll have to clean that area out once the weather gets better but now it's still raining.
 

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There are a number of posts on hatch leaks coming from a few different areas around here. I haven't paid much attention to them as I didn't have the problem at the time they went up.

Did you install the fuel line retainer on the NG900? At some point they seemed to start coming stock on the og9-3, but they were not on the NG900.
 

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'96 SAAB NG900 SE (R.I.P.), '99 SAAB 9-3
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Discussion Starter #100
Did you install the fuel line retainer on the NG900? At some point they seemed to start coming stock on the og9-3, but they were not on the NG900.
Yes, the yellow one with two hooks, same as the broken one in the 9-3, just not broken, of course :) .
 
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