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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I drove the 1990 SPG back from PA today. What an awesome day in the Northeast for a trek across a few states. Windows down, sunroof open...

Here's what I noticed about it on the drive back, and I wanted to know
what everyone thinks might need attention on it... Now, this is my first time driving a 900 since 1991 (the year after this one was made)...

Rattles, lots of 'em. Major one is from the back hatch. I know hatchbacks (ANY make/model) are notorious for rattling. Don't know if I can tighten it any. Rattles are when I hit rough pavement. Otherwise, suspension is nice and tight. Quite a bit more body flex in the car than I remember though.

Green dash light seems dimmer than I remember, even all the way up.

Problem with the gearshift -- Shifting from 4th to 5th, it feels like the "gate" has moved, and I can move the shifter WAY to the right of 5th. I have to sort of make sure I'm pushing the shift almost straight up into 5th, but I have to be very careful not to hit 3rd again. Feels like there's no "guide" to the right to let you know where 5th is. This is probably the most glaring issue that I hope has a fix. No popping out of gear, and car goes easily into all gears.

Engine doesn't feel quite as powerful as I would've thought. Probably a bunch of things that need to be done, including a full tune-up. Seems the turbo takes a long time to spool, and is only effective from maybe 2500rpm up. The car seems to "shake" a little as the turbo spools up, almost like the shake you might get if the car is starting in 2nd gear from a full stop. I'll have to check the motor mount, but could this be the turbo going? I didn't notice any smoke, but the car was running when I arrived at the old owner's house (bad sign, I know). I'll see how it is tomorrow morning.

I also notice a "chirp chirp chirp" from the passenger side of the car while driving. Very faint, might be from the rear wheel. Brakes are nice and tight. Clutch is heavier than I remember.

I'm bringing it to the jerk who is the local Saab specialist for the NY inspection and I'll have him give it a once-over. Hopefully his work is better than his attitude (supposedly, it is). Anything else I should have checked out?

Other than that, what an absolute BLAST it was to drive this back... The car is every bit as comfortable as I remember. I LOVE the seating position -- like you're sitting up in a chair.

I was happy to find the first owner kept all oil change records from 1990-2006. Looks like he did it every 4-5K miles religiously. That's a very good sign, and was a very nice find.

I'm thinking of ditching the $1300 Alpine/Eclipse stereo the guy put in and returning the old stereo. I only listen to AM radio pretty much anyway, and anything else I can use a cassette adapter. Hmmmm....

I am SO happy to have a classic 900 again!!!!!

Aaron
 

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Aron that is awsome!


Glad to hear you're back in a 900!

A New memeber gets a 9-5 for the wife and before we know it he is selling the speed6 and buying an SPG. Somebody with some taste!:D

Aren't you getting a 9-5 Aero too?

Welcome to c900 land, there is no turning back.

Let us remember that this car is old and will likely need some work, the PO can be very good...however, as you age with a car you can start to let things go because they happen so gradual.

The shaking I'm I'm stumped...what would cause this I do not know. I'm thinking a worn inner c/v joint?

As for squeeks and rattles, a c900 trait at this age. Most can be cleared up by going around and adding some thick rubber washers between screws and interior panels. Some new grease is always a good idea in thoes squeeky places.

These cars don't start boosting till 2,200 and peak above 3K. These cars you can redline all day and it will not hurt them. Most of us are havin fun at 4,000RPMS:cheesy: Just part of the experience. I woudl redline my old 89' T16 on the original engine and turbo all day sometimes! Nearly 400,000kms.:eek:

I doubt your turbocharger is bad at all!

As for power loss, Vacuum leaks!

I'm sure you will notice that the build quality on the older stuff is a bit higher; however, when it does finally go it can be a little harder to find bits. Hope you do not have a cracked dash, thoes are hard to find!

WE NEED PICTURES!
 

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woywitka said:
These cars don't start boosting till 2,200 and peak above 3K. These cars you can redline all day and it will not hurt them. Most of us are havin fun at 4,000RPMS:cheesy:
Actually, I believe '90 SPG's have the mitsubishi turbo, which behaves a bit differently than the T3 you've had experience with - less lag, but less top end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
woywitka said:
A New memeber gets a 9-5 for the wife and before we know it he is selling the speed6 and buying an SPG. Somebody with some taste!:D
Thanks! I think I just got my sanity back. I took a drive around the area, just because I couldn't wait for my drive to work in the morning. I am LOVING this car.

Aren't you getting a 9-5 Aero too?
I was going to... After the Mazda's gone, I basically need a 4-day-per-week commuter car. It was a decision between a $400 a month payment for another certified pre-owned 9-5 Aero, meaning it would hopefully be a totally reliable daily driver, or $100 a month for this SPG knowing it would probably need some work now and then. I opted for the SPG. I figured there was already a 9-5 in the family, time to go back to a 900!

Let us remember that this car is old and will likely need some work, the PO can be very good...however, as you age with a car you can start to let things go because they happen so gradual.
Sure. That's what I figured... Little things people forget over the years.

As for squeeks and rattles, a c900 trait at this age. Most can be cleared up by going around and adding some thick rubber washers between screws and interior panels. Some new grease is always a good idea in thoes squeeky places.
Great idea... I'll have to get on that first thing this weekend...

As for power loss, Vacuum leaks!
I'll put that on the list for the weekend as well.

Hope you do not have a cracked dash, thoes are hard to find!
Previous owner worked for a dealership, found a NOS one through the dealer network and had it installed. That, plus the headliner.

WE NEED PICTURES!
I'll post more over the weekend. Here's a pic from the trip home (wife brought me in the 9-5, then followed me back).

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TheRedBaron said:
Actually, I believe '90 SPG's have the mitsubishi turbo, which behaves a bit differently than the T3 you've had experience with - less lag, but less top end.
I was told it is the Mitsu. Is that the only difference?

As for winding the car up, is it really OK to do that? The transmission has 130K miles on it, and I'm a bit worried about pushing the car hard. Should I be?
 

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volswagn said:
I was told it is the Mitsu. Is that the only difference?

As for winding the car up, is it really OK to do that? The transmission has 130K miles on it, and I'm a bit worried about pushing the car hard. Should I be?
As long as you're in 3rd gear and up the fun BEGINS! Take it easy from 1st to 2nd, you can punt a little in 2nd, in 3rd you can go all out! 3rd gear is so much fun in these cars, 5,500 rpms with the boost guage well into the red:cool:

NO sludge issues in these cars, and without mad boost I don't think I have even heard of a snapped timming chain or nothing.

Most of us on here go punting these things around every single day!

My 20 year old convertible is ALL aroginal and I got a Red Box APC, 3 bar FBR, and tweeked boost. I get half way into the red and pull my car up to redline daily! The car loves it!

Aside from the initial frame reapair from a leaky battery:confused: I have spent about $500 on this car in 1 year and about 18,000kms.:suprised; :D I did the brakes, replaced the old muffler, 2 balljoints, and just some oil.

You will love driving a C900 again, fixing them up is a DIY thing and thy are SOOOO easy to work on. With NO DI cass, no sludge, and not much in terms of fancy electrical stuff they just keep going and going.

130,000miles!!! WHOA! you can stop the break in oil and start boosting her! These cars love RPMS and a good boost uphill (given the boost levels are reasonable).

How do you like the 9-5 too? I hope to pick up my 2001 9-5 Aero Wagon on Friday and the convertible gets tucked away for winter.:cool:

PS

Some c900 unique things:

Always select a foreward gear before selecting reverse. Reverse will grind otherwise.

These cars need ot idle 10 second after starting before you touch the gas. Always let teh turbo idle down for at least 20 second before switching it off after unspirited driving. 1-2 minutes after a hard run is manditory. I just go easy before I arrive and back into parking spots then let it idle 10-20 seconds...this is fine too.

Keep in mind the transmission is the weaker point; however, with proper care they can last decades no trouble. You need the "2 second shift" pull it out of a gate......brief pause....then let is do the 2 notches into the next gate with even gentle pressure into gear. Once you get the hang of it these cars shift like butter and you will become very quick. Double clutching and double de-clutching is what I do and gearchanges have no resistance. If you get really good at double clutch action you can make your gearchanges quicker.

Watch these two videos and you will be hooked:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=prvMuCTSvJY&mode=related&search=
Peter Gilbert also still had the original turbo too in addition to the original engine. simply put, a working example of old Saab engineering excellence.

THis video is my fav, just love it!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=WdC9i7jK2S8
 

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Happy to hear about your adventure.. sounds a lot like mine.. Picked it up in Oakland, and drove it to Seattle....


volswagn said:
Green dash light seems dimmer than I remember, even all the way up.
Easy to fix. The dash bulbs tend to fade to almost nothing over time. Fairly easy to fix (behind the left front speaker). I'm looking into some LED replacements to give me a little more light.



volswagn said:
Problem with the gearshift -- Shifting from 4th to 5th, it feels like the "gate" has moved, and I can move the shifter WAY to the right of 5th. I have to sort of make sure I'm pushing the shift almost straight up into 5th, but I have to be very careful not to hit 3rd again. Feels like there's no "guide" to the right to let you know where 5th is. This is probably the most glaring issue that I hope has a fix. No popping out of gear, and car goes easily into all gears.
I had the same problem. Took some serious work to find 5th. Mechanic I took it to solved this easily. He said the gear shift wasn't quite "centered" and lined it back up. 5th, while taking a little practice compared to say, a Honda, is much easier since he did that. I shift into 5th as, up, over, up, and I have no issues. On the drive up from CA it would take me sometimes a full minute of jerking around to hit 5th.



volswagn said:
Engine doesn't feel quite as powerful as I would've thought. Probably a bunch of things that need to be done, including a full tune-up.
I highly recommend that. I had the full 120k service done, and it's much smoother. How far up the boost scale is your car going under full throttle, in say 5th gear? should go up to the end of the yellow. Anything short of that indicates something to hunt down...





volswagn said:
The car seems to "shake" a little as the turbo spools up, almost like the shake you might get if the car is starting in 2nd gear from a full stop. I'll have to check the motor mount, but could this be the turbo going?
More likely something with the frontend. Try the old forward/reverse full steering-locks at parking-lot speeds to listen for joint issues.



volswagn said:
Other than that, what an absolute BLAST it was to drive this back... The car is every bit as comfortable as I remember. I LOVE the seating position -- like you're sitting up in a chair.
Totally agree. I had the same experience. I'd come into a corner, hold my breath a little bit, the car would hunker right down, come out the other wide and say "geez.. is that all you got?"


Makes you wonder why you didn't do it a long time ago, eh?
 

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Nice find! Tom has lots of good points about your new SPG. (woywitka)

Since you have the water cooled turbo, the cool down period isn't as vital as the oil cooled unit used up to 1988, but I'm sure it doesn't hurt.

Wow, Tom, you really give 'er in the convertible hey? I don't think I've ever had this car past 4000-4300rpm. My redbox is untouched stock, and it holds just into the red section of the gauge barely. I'm torn between playing with things or leaving it all beautifully stock as it's running so well!

See you at the meet on Sunday with your new wagon?

-Rob
 

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volswagn said:
Rattles, lots of 'em. Major one is from the back hatch. I know hatchbacks (ANY make/model) are notorious for rattling. Don't know if I can tighten it any. Rattles are when I hit rough pavement. Otherwise, suspension is nice and tight.
All the rattles from the back end of mine are - I think - in the knackered bushes in the suspension. Re-bush-day is tomorrow!

Problem with the gearshift -- Shifting from 4th to 5th, it feels like the "gate" has moved, and I can move the shifter WAY to the right of 5th. I have to sort of make sure I'm pushing the shift almost straight up into 5th, but I have to be very careful not to hit 3rd again. Feels like there's no "guide" to the right to let you know where 5th is.
Silly question - do you need to lift the collar to get into reverse? I'm wondering if either the lock-out isn't doing it's thang, or you're subconsciously lifting the collar in the normal change?
 

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My wife has the same problem with 5th as the lift collar is not functional so it can go past 5th. I never ever have the problem because I'm very used to where 5th is. I had to disable the lift collar because she can never find Reverse :D Or 3rd....or 4th.... :confused:
 

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You need to PM me fellow NYer... I keep my car in Bay Shore LI and live on Fire Island and happen to have a really great mechanic. Unfortunately, he's in St. James, but he has customers coming from NH for work on their cars.
They really know their stuff and he drives a saab himself (over 30 years).
Either way, let's get a few folks together and have a SAB roll before this fall is over. A run to Montauk would be nice, but even a shot to Moriches area and a munchdown at the park would be neat!
Congrats on the SPG, I'm envious... But I'll swap you a drive in my vert??:D
 

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I had the same problem with 5th gear when I got my car. The problem is the adjustment of the latch stud on the end of the gear lever. If the adjustment of that is wrong, it will either stop you engaging 5th and/or reverse, or as you have it, lets you go right through 5th.

Look in the C900 workshop FAQ's, here's the link:
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showpost.php?p=456289&postcount=4

An easy fix and works a treat.:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks so much for all the suggestions, folks...

BlammoSPG: Boost only goes part way into yellow. Looks like I'll be hunting for leaks over the weekend. As for the shake, someone else said inner driver in the CV? I did notice it at speed as well, so that's probably it. I don't know how much actual maintenance this car had other than oil changes.

Woywitka: I'll have to check out those videos tonight when I get home. Thank god for YouTube... Found some great Saab stuff on there already, including that bit about making 900s in the factory. I'll also have to look into this "red box" think of which you speak. :) As for the 9-5, I LOVE IT!!!!!! So does the wife. Every day we drive it, we're like "now THIS is a CAR!!" She was worried she was going to miss her Forester (which the stepson is now driving). I think she's forgotten all about it!

TooMany: I'll have to check about the shift collar. I always use it when shifting into reverse. Didn't even think to check if it would go in without using it. I'll have to check it during lunch.

Scuba: Went to PM you, but your mailbox is FULL!! :) If you're talking about Paul at Star Motors, check out my other thread:
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112134

I am planning on giving him another chance, mostly because everyone says he's the best. :) And yeah, I am definitely up for a cruise before the winter hits. Is there a big Saab fan presence on Long Island? I haven't seen many classic Saabs here.

Ianrobbo: Will try that before I drop it off at the mechanic... Thanks for the link!!
 

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RM '92 SPG said:
Nice find! Tom has lots of good points about your new SPG. (woywitka)

Since you have the water cooled turbo, the cool down period isn't as vital as the oil cooled unit used up to 1988, but I'm sure it doesn't hurt.

Wow, Tom, you really give 'er in the convertible hey? I don't think I've ever had this car past 4000-4300rpm. My redbox is untouched stock, and it holds just into the red section of the gauge barely. I'm torn between playing with things or leaving it all beautifully stock as it's running so well!

See you at the meet on Sunday with your new wagon?

-Rob
Seriously Rob, in these cars as long as your remember how much torque it can create you're fine to be pushing high levels of boost at redline or even slightly over. Never in 1st and 2nd, if your boost is above stock specs watch it in 3rd a bit. If you lose traction on wet and then hit dry at 4k with full boost you WILL DESTROY the gearbox. Well this applies at stock boost. I pushed my old blue one a bit harder than the vert and despite nearly 400,000kms it just loved the 5,000 mark!. I take good care of my car with religious 5K kms oil changes, good turbo warm up and cool down periods and so on. After I have pulled hard for a period of time the car just seems to run better and better! With Honda MTF in the gearbox high temperatures increase shift performance (unlike with regular 10w30 in there).

Keep this ^^ in mind and you will be fine!- My 20 year old trans is fantastic!

I doubt I will be in the new wagon sunday. It will be up to two weeks before I will be driving it daily, I have to wait for all the papers and inspections to clear and so on. The c900 is a much cooler car to bring to the meet anyways! I think cars like yours and mine can really show off automotive engineering at its best and all the work we put into these cars!

Plus I don't have the Aero just yet, tomorrow is the big day. I still reserve the right NOT to take it if it isn't exactly what the current owner made it out to be over the phone. If I take it during the few weeks I can drop the sump too if I take it....this is CRITICAL! If I started driving it right away I can easily see myself putting off this important task.
 

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Sorry about Star Vols,
Paul has his cranky moments.
It's just him and his assistant/second master mechanic (superintellect) Justin.
The first few visits were tense, but as I have gotten to know these folks, things have changed. They are super busy and do not wast time chatting, unless it's the end of the day and it's nearly time to go and even this is rare.
There a couple of very funny folks actually and joke around a lot, but can be seemingly abrasive to folks who might slow down progress of the day's work.
Perhaps not the best interpersonal trait, but they are good.
Paul is a bit of an if it aint broke dont fix it guy, so when I go in, I ask them to do stuff with a list that can be what is seemigly overgoing the visit.
Replace a ball joint? Sure, but do both!!
Why, the other is fine? Yep! Thanks, do em both, I have $$ for it just in case.
I like my steering parts symetrically worn in:cheesy:
Tell him John Chase sent you and he's sure to abuse:eek::lol: Just kidding...
But you are welcome to use me as a referrence!
 

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My mechanics advise reserving heavy acceleration for 4th gear, and using 5th for cruising. 5th gear is said to be weaker than 3rd or 4th. My turbos have seen 95 in 4th without touching redline, so there is plenty of room.

When downshifting, matching revs before releasing the clutch will make it easier on the gearbox.

Enjoy!:cheesy:
 

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Hi, welcome to the SPG club. These cars are great, and get even better when you start modding them... .and you will want to start modding them soon enough. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Checked the collar during lunch. Not pulling on the collar appears to let the shift go way to the right as well, but I wasn't able to put it in reverse (car was off, don't know if that matters). I didn't force it, but did try 1st/reverse, 1st/reverse, no dice.

DAMMIT... Just got notifcation as I'm writing this that the 900 Bentley Manual for this car is on backorder (tried to order directly from publisher, it was cheapest). Ugh.

I noticed a couple more things -- the boost does seem to go about 2/3 of the way into yellow. Guess I was wrong. I thought it only went maybe 1/4 way into it. Still feels a little sluggish though. Of course, I'm going from a 274hp/268ft.lbs. @ 3000 car to this, so some adjustment will be necessary. No regrets though, even if this is all I'm going to get out of it. I'm sure a full tune-up will do wonders.

The other thing is the engine temp. It seems to fluctuate pretty wildly. When I'm crusing at 70mph, the temp needle is about 1/4 of the way up. When I'm sitting in traffic (no A/C on), it can go up to about 3/4 of the way toward the H. Then the car bogs down and I can hear the fan kicking in. Is that normal? Thermostat replacement will fix it?

Took the car around a bit for lunch, still love it, although the sloppy transmission is a little annoying. I can just feel the potential for the whole car though. This is gonna be fun. Little by little, she'll just get better and better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
DanF. said:
Hi, welcome to the SPG club. These cars are great, and get even better when you start modding them... .and you will want to start modding them soon enough. :lol:
Uh oh... The slippery slope... :)

Just went through Keene this weekend with the family to see the parents in NH. Colors were awesome!
 

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volswagn said:
Checked the collar during lunch. Not pulling on the collar appears to let the shift go way to the right as well, but I wasn't able to put it in reverse (car was off, don't know if that matters). I didn't force it, but did try 1st/reverse, 1st/reverse, no dice.

DAMMIT... Just got notifcation as I'm writing this that the 900 Bentley Manual for this car is on backorder (tried to order directly from publisher, it was cheapest). Ugh.

I noticed a couple more things -- the boost does seem to go about 2/3 of the way into yellow. Guess I was wrong. I thought it only went maybe 1/4 way into it. Still feels a little sluggish though. Of course, I'm going from a 274hp/268ft.lbs. @ 3000 car to this, so some adjustment will be necessary. No regrets though, even if this is all I'm going to get out of it. I'm sure a full tune-up will do wonders.

The other thing is the engine temp. It seems to fluctuate pretty wildly. When I'm crusing at 70mph, the temp needle is about 1/4 of the way up. When I'm sitting in traffic (no A/C on), it can go up to about 3/4 of the way toward the H. Then the car bogs down and I can hear the fan kicking in. Is that normal? Thermostat replacement will fix it?

Took the car around a bit for lunch, still love it, although the sloppy transmission is a little annoying. I can just feel the potential for the whole car though. This is gonna be fun. Little by little, she'll just get better and better.
Yeah you go the right idea for sure...little by little, tis the name of the game.

A tranny flush to Honda MTF can work wonders for shift performance. You can also check the condition of the shift linkage bushing. Your 5th gear troubles can be fixed easily with a linkage adjustment for sure.
 
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