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Discussion Starter #1
I told myself once the clutch starts slipping, I would start working on the transmission, and I think it's starting to slip. Wanted to get the stage 3 done before end of year, and I still might, but I think it's time for me to start finishing up the last major repair on the wagon.

03 Aero wagon 5spd 128k

To help "cull the herd" as far as potential non-transmission related problems, here is all of the work done to the car since I've owned it:
CPS
Starter
Aeromotive pump
Injectors
Subframe + Bushings
Front control arms
Ball joints
Tie rods inner+outer
Steering pump+belt
GS Open intake
GS Turbo Inlet
Krona catless turboback
ECT sensor
Brakes
GFB Diverter Valve
Vac lines
Evap vac system overhaul
Throttle body
Front+rear complete suspension assembly replacement
Sway bar bushings front+rear + end links
All motor/transmission mounts
Transmission fluid flush
Window rollers+guides
Battery
T6 5W-40
Dogleg+Fender rust repair
D1S+666 mod
Weathertec mats front+rear+trunk
Do88 Intercooler
O2 sensors
Coolant flush
Seafoam treatment intake, gas, oil (it does work)
Plugs + DIC
Various vac line+boost leak fixes
Etc.
So yeah, basically everything that could go wrong with a 9-5 went wrong with this one. The amount of times I got frustrated and attempted selling the car were plentiful, but in the end nobody bit and I stuck with it. Now, It's running better than ever, and I'm an FPR away from a stage 3.

Symptoms:
Drivetrain noise, kinda like the sound of straight cut gears, but not nearly as loud. Whine frequency dependent on wheel speed, gear doesn't matter and it'll do it in neutral.
Coasting downhill in gear, you can hear the gears in the transmission jumping around, like there is play in there and it's not balanced.
Before I put on the turboback, the car would chug at stop lights every once in a while when putting it in first. Hasn't done it yet since installing it.
Reverse is hard to engage after: starting the car, putting it in neutral and attempting to go back into reverse. Have to rock it forward a bit to get it to slide in.
First is hard to engage sometimes.
Before turboback, going to third was tight. Don't think I've had that problem since.

I'm located in South Carolina, and my local saab specialist quoted me at around $1k just for labor, though I did say new trans+flywheel+clutch. Don't think I'm doing the flywheel unless it looks like I need one, and like I said in the beginning, I think the clutch is starting to slip. I told myself once the clutch starts to slip that I would start on getting this transmission job done.

I would like to get mine rebuilt, but nobody I can find locally will touch these cars, and the saab guys only want to put in a new one.

I have the WIS and a list online, and the steps to get this thing in and out looks to be really challenging for me. I can do the simple stuff like the stuff in the list above (minus subframe+bushings and bodywork), but I don't really have the resources to do a transmission job on this car.

Local transmission shops won't touch this car with a 10 foot pole. Here in SC, the only cars transmission shops will really work on are your common japanese and domestic cars, and they favor auto gearboxes. They ask you what car you have, and when you say saab there's a pause and a "yeah, we don't work on those."

Esaabparts show a new one for $1,800 which is pretty expensive. Ebay has used ones for around $450, and I haven't called the local salvage yards for a quote on theirs, but it's likely in that ~$400 ballpark. Getting a used unit is a risk, and getting a rebuild is unfortunately unlikely unless there's a guy around here that can help me out with that as shipping costs will really eat up the savings. It seems like if I don't live in up north our out west, it's hard to get work like this done conveniently.

So, what would you do? Thanks for any input guys.
 

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If you can find a shop to help you get it out, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this outfit rebuilding clutches: http://www.southlandclutch.com/. If you do rebuild and replace the clutch, plan on replacing the slave cylinder with new as well. I live up in the Northeast and ordered the parts from eeuro parts. Had the removal and reinstall done by a local shop. I don’t recall what the total cost was, but in the end it was worth it.
 

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Reverse is hard to engage after: starting the car, putting it in neutral and attempting to go back into reverse. Have to rock it forward a bit to get it to slide in. First is hard to engage sometimes.
How old is the transmission fluid?
.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
If you can find a shop to help you get it out, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this outfit rebuilding clutches: http://www.southlandclutch.com/. If you do rebuild and replace the clutch, plan on replacing the slave cylinder with new as well. I live up in the Northeast and ordered the parts from eeuro parts. Had the removal and reinstall done by a local shop. I don’t recall what the total cost was, but in the end it was worth it.
Perhaps I wasn't clear about the ordeal. I'm getting drivetrain noise from the transmission and I think the synchros are going out in it as well. I've been driving it like that since I purchased the car. I told myself that I would get around to the transmission whenever the clutch started to slip since I didn't really want to fix it immediately, and now that time has come I think. Still haven't done pulls on the highway to really convince myself the clutch is slipping. but yeah. Just trying to plan the best course of action here and trying to see if there are any other options that I'm not seeing.

I'm going to replace the clutch with an OE/Sachs one, and I think a new//used/rebuilt transmission will come with the slave included. Then again, if it's used, I'll probably replace that slave while it's out. Didn't think about that one. Thanks for the reply.

How old is the transmission fluid?
The fluid was flushed and replaced less than 10k miles ago. No leaks.

Edit. all the stuff in the list was done within 10k miles.
 

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I just did this job last Fall, it's a thrill. Don't bother trying to have someone try to rebuild your gearbox, for as my mechanic friend states, "even if there is nothing wrong with your gearbox, they will find plenty of things wrong with it", in other words, you will get ripped off. Go here to search for a used gearbox: www.car-part.com. I upgrade my gearbox from a FM55-B05 to and FM55-B12. Plan on replacing a lot of stuff while you're at it, like the Slave Cylinder, Clutch Hose, Clutch Tube, Shifter Shaft Seal, Drive Shaft Seals, Clutch, rear main seal, (do not consider anything but stock parts, ask me why) I also replaced all of the Subframe bushings & drop links. One of the mistakes that I made was not replacing the shift linkage with a fresh, new one, (ask me about the lousy design of the linkage part). I started the project myself and I have to say that you can do it yourself if you are working on your car in the right environment / situation, meaning doing it myself, outside off of an alley in the city did not work for me, ( I got about 70% of way through the tear apart), because I was working outside, hauling tools up and down three flights of stairs every day with my tools under constant threat of being stolen. In the end, we paid my mechanic around $1500 to put everything back together and he wasn't a Saab specialist.

I should note that one surprise that my mechanic ran into was in removing one of the two bolts that hold on the power steering rack. According to him, one of the metal sleeves that runs down the center of one of the bushings in the steering rack was rusted to the bolt holding the steering rack to the subframe, so he couldn't actually get that bolt out, so he just left the subframe hanging down from that one bolt and got the gearbox in and out without having to fully remove the subframe.

I should also note that the reason I replaced the gearbox was simply because when I drained the gear oil, a chunk of a roll pin came out with the fluid, I didn't feel I could trust the gearbox after find a broken piece of a roll pin. Gearbox cost, about $350
 

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You might try asking this question in the performance mods forum, there are people that hang out there that have rebuilt their gearboxes. It does require some special tools so you doing it yourself is probably not in the cards.

finding a good used one, preferably with the later model upgrades (that will require as photousa says) some new parts to be compatible with the new gearbox.

also, you have another decision to make: If you need subframe bushings, now is the time to do them since taking the transmission out the bottom requires removal of the subframe. If you think you might need timing chains taking the power plant out the top will give you the opportunity to do the chains with the engine out of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, good news, turns out I was just experiencing wheelspin. When it happened, I had traction control off, and I spun in second and third. I never knew a stock map could cause wheelspin in third. This gives me more time to plan this overhaul and enjoy a stage 3 in the meantime.

I just did this job last Fall, it's a thrill. Don't bother trying to have someone try to rebuild your gearbox, for as my mechanic friend states, "even if there is nothing wrong with your gearbox, they will find plenty of things wrong with it", in other words, you will get ripped off. Go here to search for a used gearbox: www.car-part.com. I upgrade my gearbox from a FM55-B05 to and FM55-B12. Plan on replacing a lot of stuff while you're at it, like the Slave Cylinder, Clutch Hose, Clutch Tube, Shifter Shaft Seal, Drive Shaft Seals, Clutch, rear main seal, (do not consider anything but stock parts, ask me why) I also replaced all of the Subframe bushings & drop links. One of the mistakes that I made was not replacing the shift linkage with a fresh, new one, (ask me about the lousy design of the linkage part). I started the project myself and I have to say that you can do it yourself if you are working on your car in the right environment / situation, meaning doing it myself, outside off of an alley in the city did not work for me, ( I got about 70% of way through the tear apart), because I was working outside, hauling tools up and down three flights of stairs every day with my tools under constant threat of being stolen. In the end, we paid my mechanic around $1500 to put everything back together and he wasn't a Saab specialist.

I should note that one surprise that my mechanic ran into was in removing one of the two bolts that hold on the power steering rack. According to him, one of the metal sleeves that runs down the center of one of the bushings in the steering rack was rusted to the bolt holding the steering rack to the subframe, so he couldn't actually get that bolt out, so he just left the subframe hanging down from that one bolt and got the gearbox in and out without having to fully remove the subframe.

I should also note that the reason I replaced the gearbox was simply because when I drained the gear oil, a chunk of a roll pin came out with the fluid, I didn't feel I could trust the gearbox after find a broken piece of a roll pin. Gearbox cost, about $350
Awesome info here, thanks!

There's a local ace salvage that has a B05 with 103k on it, but I have to call for a quote. I do feel hesitant about buying a used unit, though. My 9-3 gearbox is fine, but unfortunately you can't bolt that on up to these cars. That'd be perfect if I could. Funny you mention those steering rack bolts. My mechanic also had trouble with those suckers. They ended up pulling off the subframe with the steering rack attached to it. Unfortunately, the frame broke at the control arm mount, so I had to order another one. Damn rust.

If I do end up going the used route, is there a comprehensive list of stuff on it that I should refurbish prior to installation? I saw the items you pointed out earlier, but I just want to make sure so when I'm ready I can order the parts and know that's all I need. Are there different things needed for a B05/B08 versus a B12? I know the linkages are different, but that's all I know. One might pop up in the future.

You might try asking this question in the performance mods forum, there are people that hang out there that have rebuilt their gearboxes. It does require some special tools so you doing it yourself is probably not in the cards.

finding a good used one, preferably with the later model upgrades (that will require as photousa says) some new parts to be compatible with the new gearbox.

also, you have another decision to make: If you need subframe bushings, now is the time to do them since taking the transmission out the bottom requires removal of the subframe. If you think you might need timing chains taking the power plant out the top will give you the opportunity to do the chains with the engine out of the car.
Definitely the latter for me since the bottom end is basically brand new other than steering knuckles, wheel bearings and cv axles. I'm also leaking oil in #2, and I'm thinking it's the valves since compression is 210, 210, 195, 195. Fixing the head and doing the tensioners while the gearbox gets replaced would really streamline things. I didn't think about taking it out the top, so this will likely end up being the route I take to do this overhaul. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
All tires recently replaced too. Just your typical firescam indy 500s. Really strange though. Never had a car spin so gracefully before. Not going to jinx it though. I wanna play with a stg 3 first, haha.
 

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Definitely the latter for me since the bottom end is basically brand new other than steering knuckles, wheel bearings and cv axles. I'm also leaking oil in #2, and I'm thinking it's the valves since compression is 210, 210, 195, 195. Fixing the head and doing the tensioners while the gearbox gets replaced would really streamline things. I didn't think about taking it out the top, so this will likely end up being the route I take to do this overhaul. Thanks for the advice.
Make sure you get yourself a good load leveler because the pull has to start out really steep to get the crank past the body and then you have to level it out to get the gearbox over the front of the car.

You can pull with most of the accessories on the engine. Turbo, cobra pipe on the front, alternator and starter on the back along with the intake manifold. (take hte throttle body off so you don't break the limp home solenoid) Crank pulley has to come off, both axles out so drain the transmission or you'll make a mess. leave the AC compressor in the car hanging on a ratchet strap and the power steering pump pushed to the side and out it comes.

and if you really want to make some power you should seriously think about putting a set of forged pistons into the engine while it's out. Anything over 300 is going to cause the factory pistons to break.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Duly noted. Thanks for the information. I'll probably leave the engine alone as it is right now, though. It ain't broke enough to fix lol. Hell, I might just live with the noise and see how long this trans will last. It has new mounts and new fluid, so that should prolong its life somewhat. But I'll bookmark this thread since you guys have really gave me a lot of good information that will help when I do eventually do the overhaul.

Thanks again everyone.
 
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