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greetings all,

This is a great site. My hat is off to all who ask and to those
who take the time from their schedules (their Saabs, family & friends)
to answer & help those who take the time to inquire.

I am a great fan of the project cars thread --- phenomenal amount
of knowledge & the learning curve just gets better! I hope those
contributors in this thread will continue to post their progress with
photos & words ----- working on cars is a lot of work, working on
the words & the pics of that work is even harder. I am very appreciative
of your efforts.

Ok-- what about when one cannot afford a "project" . . . . .
This is a story about my local mechanic (not a saab mechanic).
Very quickly:
I read here, & I sense the vibe on this forum --- that
the Saab fraternity of owners for the classic 900s are staunch advocates
of the self help result. I do not disagree with this value. But what happens
when constraints exist to bring "risk" to this value . . . .? my problem was
many fold --- weather (very cold), space, 1 car transport, no bicycle
(stolen) and my 1st Saab as owner/operator. I researched here first.
Discovered the ramficiations of my problem and deemed the next step
was my local mechanic & his lift. Result was swift & confident --- he
deemed the leaking oil problem to come from the passenger side of the
transmission housing where the front axle connects. "Looked possibly like
bad seal, while all else looked fine." A search of this forum cross checked
his finding with almost 100% confidence. A call to my local midwest
Saab dealer (George's) and Bobbi's entertaining help confirmed same result
and the lip seal, O ring combo was dispatched.
I was almost afraid to ask my mechanic for a cost estimate ---- 4 weeks
back I asked --- and he quoted "ballpark $200."
Today, I picked my car up. Mechanic Bob pulled all relevant parts and
soon found the culprit --- "a very hard, very ugly conditioned lip seal".
the O ring was still in excellent shape (still resilient), but was replaced
anyway. Mechanic Bob, also took more than a few minutes to walk me
through the repair process & the eventual assembly process.
He explained how he cleaned all the oil off the entire areas to condense
his concerns to the affected area. In doing so he also discovered a very
small coolant leak from my water pump (that I could not find!) His test run
on our local highway proved his repair process had not harmed the CV
member bearings and he felt the repair was ship tight. But just in case, he
asked that I continue to watch "down below" just to make sure all is still well.
Finally, I had to ask --- "how much do I owe you?" . . . . . . . . .. . .
Mechanic Bob showed me the final bill for $160.00
I had an offer from a good shade tree mechanic friend at work of $75 to
help me fix this problem. Neither one of us had any prior knowledge
of the Saab intricasy for such a repair process. We had no indoor work
area. He had no air compressor for air tools while I had no time for a
problem or set of problems if we hit them. Realistically, I had to cost out
this repair of Bob's at $85. I think I got very good results for my money.

For now, my story of the local mechanic is a good one. My Saab ownership
is a good one. I will still be a self help value oriented owner and I know this
forum and my fellow members will be an invaluable resource for my future
efforts. But today, my local Mechanic Bob gets all the credit for my pleasure to own a Black 1991 Saab SPG.

thanks for being here,
scott
 

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you got a smoken deal! I had my right driver seal replaced almost 3 years ago and man was it expensive. And I know I didnt get ripped off either. If you are familiar with saabnet they list some saab shops in your area, as mine. and I called almost all of them. the best (most expensive) shop wanted 1000 bucks to do the driver seal. I got it done for about 800. he had to take the engine out of the car and bla bla bla. it was an experience. Some bolts were messed up and had to be repaired. a bunch more seals and the oil pump and harmonic balancer were all replaced. as were all hoses. you got a good deal
 

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Mechanics get a bad rap as a bunch of swindlers because people only tell the bad stories, but there are still plenty of decent folk out there - good story, glad it worked out :D
 

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Thats the thing. when you find a good mechanic that you can trust. you go back. so it is in their best intrest to do a good job. not always does that happen. I have found a few good mechanics that I take my car to when the work is too daunting. and even with certain jobs they will give me print outs of the saab dealer how to's really nice.
 

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TheRedBaron said:
Mechanics get a bad rap as a bunch of swindlers because people only tell the bad stories, but there are still plenty of decent folk out there
Agreed. Whilst there's definitely thieves and scammers out there, the problem is often simply that the layman/customer just plain doesn't appreciate how much work can be required because of a seemingly small problem.

A few years ago, I was over at my mate's workshop when somebody came in to pick his Pug 306 up. It'd had the rear brakes done - but the drum hadn't wanted to come off - the wheel bearing had seized onto the taper. In the end, the drum and bearing had to be cut off, with several hours of work. He'd done a decent deal on the invoice - I think charged him for half the time plus the parts at cost - but this bloke spat the dummy. "I thought you were meant to know what you were doing?! <shout, rant> I'm not paying a penny of that extra work or parts!"...
 

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Sounds like Mechanic Bob is worth keeping. Particularly if he's willing to listen to you when you tell him about the saab-specific stuff that he may not be familiar with...
 

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Sounds like that deal is quite the steal! Having replaced the inner driver myself, I can attest that it is a lot of (dirty) work!! My local Saab Master mechanic was quoting $500 per side to replace a driver... And another place was quoting around $400-500 to replace the two engine mounts that I ended up doing myself...

The best mechanic I know here is Tibor Ambrus of Swedish Car Service in Bound Brook, NJ. Alas, he's a long drive from me, so I go for "sensitive" things when I know he'll do it right.

Most other mechanics I've been to still overcharge, in my opinion, and then other things start breaking...
 

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Welcome to SaabCentral


My Saab mechanic is great too.
 
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