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Discussion Starter #23
Just wanted to walk through some of the items on my initial purchase to-do list…
  • Smog
  • Registration
  • Restore black plastic exterior trim (would like to do a second pass in a few months)
  • Replace roof aerial
  • Purchase rubber cargo and floor mats
  • Buff and restore headlights
  • Wash, wax and detail
  • Purchase windshield washer reservoir cap (it is in my cart on eSaabParts.com)
  • De-badge trunk (still debating whether to keep the “Aero” or take everything off)
6 month tasks:
  • Window tint (planning on November timeframe)
  • Rims? (Bought some yesterday, post coming soon!)
  • Suspension refresh (struts & springs?, bushings, motor/trans mounts, tie rod ends, etc)
  • Diagnose engine ticking (thicker oil? switch to 5w40?)
  • Purchase OB-II scanning tool
  • Purchase specialty tools for repairs (Torx socket/drivers, trim pullers, etc)
  • Vinyl wrap roof? (sun damage)
  • Remove roof rails? (decided to keep them on for the rest of 2019)
So, one of the remaining tasks is replacing the roof aerial. I have seen a few examples where people have used an aftermarket aerial that fits over the stock one, but it looks bulky and cheap. Granted, a faded and crumbling aerial doesn’t look great either, so maybe I just need to suck it up and buy the faux carbon fiber one and call it done.

Next up is de-badging. Definitely a controversial topic. I pulled the “3” from “9-3” to test and see what kind of adhesive we would be working with. Unfortunately, 20 mins of rubbing with isopropyl alcohol wasn’t enough. I’ll try again with goo-gone, but if the area isn’t perfect afterward, I will be putting the “3” back on and not continuing with the de-badging.

Last up is the suspension refresh. I have been browsing the parts websites while trying to research and compile a list of parts to purchase. Sway bar end links seems like a great place to start. $35 each, 2 bolts to replace. That’s my kind of repair. In the next couple of weeks, I will try to get the car up on jacks to go through the suspension and document everything with pictures.

Also, I have new rims on the way! Stay tuned!
 

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Unfortunately, 20 mins of rubbing with isopropyl alcohol wasn’t enough. I’ll try again with goo-gone, but if the area isn’t perfect afterward, I will be putting the “3” back on and not continuing with the de-badging.
Try using a plastic razor blade. I've had pretty good results using them in the past to scrape things off of cars without causing paint damage.

You'll probably still need some kind of solvent to soften that black goo up though.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
New rim time!

After searching for a couple months, I finally found what I was looking for…a used set of OEM SAAB “5-Spoke Twin” rims. I don’t actually know what the official name for them is, but I saw them listed that way somewhere...I think it was eSaabParts.com. I also really liked the “5-Spoke Double Bridge rims”, but I felt that they were too “Audi-ish” (not a bad thing!) and I wanted something that highlighted the uniqueness of SAAB.



I was able to find these rims used on Craigslist for $170! Now, they are beat to absolute hell, but I love DIY projects and this will definitely be my most involved car project to date.









I recently discovered a Youtuber named “Chris Fix” and his rim restoration tutorial really made me feel confident that I could get decent results if I applied myself and took my time.



So over the next couple months, I will be restoring these rims in my free time. I already went through and washed the rims with soap/water and agitated with Bar Keeper's Friend. I think they are already starting to look good!

 

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Discussion Starter #26
Rim Progress Update:

I think the results speak for themselves. This was quite easy to do, but it did take a significant amount of time. I tried using a Dremel tool with a 240 grit flap wheel, but it just didn’t feel right. Hand sanding is the way to go, especially considering these rims have damage along the entire circumference, so hand sanding gives me the opportunity to “re-shape” the edges and maintain an organic curve. I use a soft drywall sanding block as a tool to help plane the spokes flat. The cramped area around the bolts will be challenging to sand. My fingertips are sore just thinking about it.







I still have a long road ahead, but I'm happy with the way things are progressing.

My plan moving forward:
  • Continue sanding with 240 grit until all scratches are gone. Areas with damaged clear coat must be sanded to expose primer or bare aluminum. I don't think I will need a chemical stripper. I think proper sanding prep is enough.
  • Prep areas for Bondo by using a Dremel tool with a steel brush attachment. The goal is to clean out the deeper scratches, exposing bare aluminum. This will ensure an ideal bonding surface. Hopefully, I will only have to use Bondo in a few places (or maybe not at all).
  • Apply Bondo and spot putty where applicable. Wait for everything to fully cure.
  • Sand and plane the repaired surfaces to match the shape of the rim.
  • Sand entire rim with 400, 600, 800, 1000 grit sandpaper. I might be able to stop with 600 or 800 if I can find a suitable primer/filler spray paint.
  • Prep for paint by wiping entire rim with isopropyl alcohol and a low lint towel.
  • Apply Primer/filler
  • Color – Not sure on the brand yet. I am thinking Duplicolor GM silver. I am definitely going for an OEM look.
  • Clear Coat – Not sure on brand. I definitely want a specially formulated product that will stand up to acidic brake dust deposit and UV rays.
I did notice that these new rims are 7" wide and the rims that are currently on my car are 7.5" wide. I assume I will still have acceptable clearance around the brake calipers? I think its the offset that really affects clearance. I'm still new to the wheel/tire game.
 

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  • Clear Coat – Not sure on brand. I definitely want a specially formulated product that will stand up to acidic brake dust deposit and UV rays.
I did notice that these new rims are 7" wide and the rims that are currently on my car are 7.5" wide. I assume I will still have acceptable clearance around the brake calipers? I think its the offset that really affects clearance. I'm still new to the wheel/tire game.

Will fit fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Some goodies came in!



I had some time to do an oil change and swap out the front sway bar end links this morning.

I decided to replace the front sway bar end links to remedy the clunking noise coming from the front suspension. I also purchased the sway bar bushings as well, but it looks like a royal pain to put them in, so I think I’ll wait on that for now.





As you can see the bushings are completely worn out.

You can always count on Alvin to help!



The new end link:



I did struggle to find concrete info about torque specs. Most places say 7 ft-lbs, but that seemed weird. In addition, I think the process called for the suspension being loaded before tightening. I ended up tightening to about 26 ft-lbs, which was the lowest setting on my torque wrench. The nuts go on the end link threads pretty tight and the nut felt quite snug at 26 ft-lbs, so I feel ok about leaving it that way.

I took the car on a short drive afterward and I could barely hear/feel any clunking. It could be my imagination, but the car feels more stable now. I definitely didn't think a $35 part would make this much difference.

Oil change was pretty straightforward. Mobil 1 0w40 with a Mann filter. Owner’s manual says 6 quarts, but it took well over 6 quarts.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I’ve been reading lots of battery-related threads recently and I’m not sure if its coincidence, but I experienced my own (possible) battery problem on Friday morning. The car failed to cold start on the initial attempt, but fired up fine the second time. It started fine throughout the day and over the weekend.

I experienced this once or twice before early in my ownership of the car, but I dismissed it as me not being used to the center ignition and letting go of the key a fraction of a second too early.

According to my records (yes, I compiled the original owner’s service receipts into an Excel tracker…nerd), the battery was first replaced in 2009, then in 2014 (5 years!), and most recently in November 2016.



So after 3 years, I think it’s probably a good idea to replace the battery. From a bit of quick research, here are some things I have learned:

Most guys are getting 2-3 years out of a battery in the Aero. A 48 or 91 will fit. Regarding the 91, the positive lead may not fit completely over the terminal, but no long-term issues have been reported as long as the lead is secure.

Looks like I’ll be heading to Walmart to pickup a new battery this week. I am a bit concerned about the possibility of stirring up electrical gremlins during battery installation. I am aware that my steering lock may take a few driving cycles to return and that my mirror compass will need to be reset.

Can anyone elaborate on the battery change process for these cars? Are there any special steps I should take to ensure nothing happens to my ECU, CIM, etc? Obviously, I‘m not going to leave my key in the ignition or anything weird like that but I just wanted to know if there were any special things I can do to make the process easier. Maybe borrow a batter tender so that I don’t need to reset anything?

This may be a stupid question, but do I need to charge the new battery before putting it in the car? I can’t find any info on that. I would imagine that batteries come charged, but they may lose charge if they sit a while.


Also, P0089 code (Fuel Pressure Regulator A Performance) returned today. Tried opening and retightening the gas cap, but that didn’t clear the code. I guess I got lucky last time. I decided to clear the code and see how long it takes to return. After clearing the code, I restarted and ran the car for a minute or so and the CEL stayed gone. We will see what happens tomorrow. Car seems to be running fine though.

Lastly, replacing the front sway bar end links has completely fixed the clunking noise from the front end but it has make some other flaws more noticeable. I might replace a couple more suspension components in the future.
 

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take out battery
put in battery
 

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Discussion Starter #31
take out battery
put in battery
This is what I wanted to hear!

So, the car failed to start this morning :/ It half-cranked once, then nothing. It didn't crank at all the second time. As stated in my previous post, I have experienced a slight hesitation upon startup in the past, so I'm hoping it was just the last straw for the battery.

I picked up a Walmart battery on the way to work, so we shall see if replacing the battery fixes the problem.

I'm pretty sure that the P0089 code from yesterday is unrelated to the failed start.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
Quick Update:

She's alive! I just finished putting in a new battery. I did just like Diggs said.

Installation was easy. The terminals were in great shape. Suspiciously good shape considering this car lived 200 yards away from the ocean for the past 13 years. Anyway, the only corrosion was on the bolt that secures the battery locker block. It was in terrible condition, but I reused it.

The car started after a handful of tries. I let it run for 5 minutes and then took it around the block. It ran fine, but I'll have to double check tomorrow. There was a small victory in the fact that the mirror compass didn't die and now I won't have to reset it. I can't remember 100%, but I think the steering column lock is also working.

Furthermore, the CEL from the P0089 code remained off, so that's also good. I have a feeling it will be back though.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
That's a good looking car. I'm jealous you guys over there seem to get the roof rails.
Believe it or not, when I first got the car I wasn't in love with the roof rails. I have since changed my opinion. I think they look great. It's funny, I'm just the right height to where they hide the sun damage on the roof. It's a nice added bonus!
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Just wanted to give a quick update regarding my last battery related post. Since swapping out the 3 year old battery, I haven't had any issues with cold starts. Furthermore, the P0089 code hasn't returned since clearing it (same day as battery installation). I do think it will return, but I'm hoping its just a semi-annual thing that just needs to be cleared and forgot about. I don't notice any performance related issues when the P0089 code is present.

I was able to get a full wash/wax in this past weekend. I decided to use Meguiar's G18216 Liquid Ultimate wax. I was pretty happy with the application/removal process. It was way thinner and easier to use than conventional carnauba wax. Hopefully, the coverage will be the same (if not better) considering this is a synthetic product.

Also, I did another round of "Forever Black" trim restorer. I am still happy with this product and highly recommend it. It works great on every surface except for the rear diffuser. That plastic is just too far gone and won't absorb anymore product. I think I may need sand/paint or try using a heat gun to get it back to it's original splendor.

The progress on the rim restoration is going ok. It's a ton of work, but I'm steadily making progress. I think I might time it perfectly to where I will finish the project right as the current tires need to be replaced (2-3 months?)

Lastly, I'm am closing in on the decision to purchase 15mm front/25mm rear spacers (H&R or Eibach hubcentric only) . My only concern is the additional wheel bearing wear that it might cause. My intuition tells me that the additional wear is indeed real, but probably minimal. That being said, I can almost guarantee that my wheel bearings are original and I'm concerned that any additional wear might be the last straw. Thoughts from anyone?
 

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Glad to see things still progressing, the forever black looks to have done a pretty good job on your trim. The faded trim pieces always drive me nuts so its good to see something actually work for once.

I can't comment on the spacers as I've never had them but if I had to guess if the wheel bearings don't seem to be an issue now try giving them a shot. It may speed up the timeline of having to replace them but sometimes those are the things we deal with in order to get the look or performance we want, worst case you replace them. If the funds aren't there for that, hold off for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Glad to see things still progressing, the forever black looks to have done a pretty good job on your trim. The faded trim pieces always drive me nuts so its good to see something actually work for once.

I can't comment on the spacers as I've never had them but if I had to guess if the wheel bearings don't seem to be an issue now try giving them a shot. It may speed up the timeline of having to replace them but sometimes those are the things we deal with in order to get the look or performance we want, worst case you replace them. If the funds aren't there for that, hold off for a while.
What you say makes sense. I have actually been looking at some videos on how to replace the wheel bearings if it came to that. Seems medium difficult but not impossible. Especially considering I have a second car at my disposal. I could take a week or so to work on a project like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Rim Progress Update:

I just wanted to show some progress since my last posting. I made an initial pass with 220 grit on all 4 rims. I have been pleasantly surprised with how well sanding works. I've been able to get rid of significantly deep scratches (1-1.5mm) with relative ease. I know 1.5mm doesn't seem like a lot, but running your finger over a 1.5mm gash in a rim makes it feel like a canyon. I am being mindful to not focus on any area too much and to stay away from the edges of the spokes so that I don't round any of them inadvertently.


Here is where I am at so far. I need to work the outer barrel, crown and also the tight corners where the spokes connect to the outer barrel. It is a royal pain to do the dirty work and get the entire surface properly sanded, but I know that prep work is 80% of the paint job.




Here you can see some of the heavily damaged areas after a bit of sanding. These are the areas where I plan to use Bondo. I think I can clean the area above with a steel wire brush and force Bondo into the channels and the job should be pretty straight forward from there. The areas pictured below will be a bit harder to repair. I think I can sand out the bottom one, but the middle one is going to be tough. There will be some shaping and artistry involved.

And lastly, here is the area that is most heavily damaged. There is a huge 2" x 1/8" long gash out of the edge of the rim. I'm not sure it can be saved and I'm 50/50 on leaving it or fixing it.
 
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