Who Needs a Truck When You Have a SAAB?

lawn-mower-duty

The honeymoon is officially over. If you follow the site, then you know I had a lapse in judgment the other day and bought a 1987 SAAB 900 for $1,600. People warned me, but I didn’t listen. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate many of the car’s virtues. Being enclosed in a layer of armored-truck-thick steel does make you feel safe and you really can carry a wagon sized load in the back. With 6 feet of flat depth, this wagonback design has proven its utility on multiple occasions. Now if only I could keep her running…

hot-rod-raceOne of my favorites songs is Hot Rod Lincoln by Arkie Shibley. If you have never heard it, you should. Arkie later released a sequel to that song which was also a goodie. There is a verse in that song that hits a little too close to home though:

Now she rattles and smokes like an old diesel truck,
I made it home though, I guess it was luck,
’cause my bearings were busted, my radiator too,
and my fan belt was broke ’bout half in two.

The rattling started not long after I bought the car and I almost didn’t make it home yesterday. A specialist deemed that the jarring could be caused by a scored inner driver and the rough idle could be from a bad mass air flow sensor. Well, yesterday while waiting at a stoplight, a puff of white smoke billowed out from under the hood on the driver’s side. I quickly switched off the ignition and prepared to exit the car.

With no extinguisher on hand, I waited half expecting the car to become engulfed in flames. The smoke dissipated so I popped the hood, but couldn’t find the source. When back inside, I noticed the power windows would not roll up or down, but the car did start so I headed towards home. Well, I didn’t make it very far before the engine decided it would rather not run. After pulling into an alley, I disconnected the MAF and was able to limp back home.

maf-cleanerThis morning the windows worked again and the engine ran better after a fresh tank of premium. It still stalls out and dies on occasion, but I can keep it running with a jab of the throttle. I already cleaned the mas airflow sensor, idle air control valve, and throttle body the other day. It helped, but obviously we have a few faulty sensors and possibly some bad window switches. Some of the jerking on acceleration and deceleration may be from that inner driver or even a worn motor mount, but it is hard to diagnosis when the engine isn’t running properly.

I should have learned my lesson after our GTI project. The CV joints were a pain and we agonized over that FI system for weeks. After that we vowed to stay away from FWD and FI. I feel a bit disenchanted right now, but I can still see why these cars were loved by so many enthusiasts all over the world. The engineers were not afraid to do things differently and sometimes they really nailed it. I’m confident that a brand new 900 was a revelation. A second-hand one, not so much. The Triumph derived engine may have been bullet-proof, but there was just so much going on out front.

Image Credit: Jalopnik
Image Credit: Jalopnik

Like all front wheel drive cars, a lot is expected of those front wheels. Not only are they carrying the weight of the engine and transmission, they also have to propel, suspend, and turn the car all at the same time. With the suspension moving up and down, the steering turning, and the axles spinning, you are bound to have a lot of wear and tear. Bushings wear out, rattles begin, and the next thing you know everything is starting to fall apart. I know a lot of this could have been avoided with proper maintenance, but the truth is, some of the needed parts are expensive or just plain hard to get.

Take the turn signal switch for example. There are little stops inside that hold the stalk in place while you turn. Well, these wear out on all the 900s and and you either get used to holding the stalk, or you find a used one that still works. Good luck with that though. That may not be a big deal, but parts like the inner driver I mentioned above are not cheap. $300 per side and you may still need the tripod bearings that go inside those. Our car probably also needs a new mass air flow sensor ($160), idle air control valve ($120), and a good tune up.

Image Credit: Old Cars Canada
Image Credit: Old Cars Canada

There are many old cars on the market here so the temptation to jump ship is strong. Sometimes going from one lemon to the next is cheaper than fixing one and sticking with it. As long as you are upfront about any problems when you sell, you could probably do so with a clear conscious. Right? There is a certain Japanese car that caught my eye the other day. So, anyone in the market for a SAAB 900? It would make a great work truck…

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Comments

  1. C Bryant

    Other then these things,what the heck is wrong with it? You know what they say.When you got your health,you got everything.

  2. koolpenguin

    Yup…it is all sounding VERY familiar…cv joint issues
    rough idle
    Testy window mechanism
    But could swallow lots of stuff in the back….and swallow big chunks of money to boot!!

  3. Robert J

    Sell it and get a Ford Falcon, Dodge Dart or Volvo Amazon. Simplicity is one of life’s finer pleasures.

    • Brian

      I had a ’65 Volvo 122S – it was great except for those stinkin’ SU carbs. Not unlike Jesse and his VW, a move forced it’s sale. I often wish I had brought it along and just bought a nice Weber set up. Heck, even the Lucas electrics didn’t give any trouble!

    • Jesse Staff

      All on my short list Robert! Particularly in wagon form. It’s just a matter of time before we find one of them. I agree, the simpler the better.

  4. Robert J

    All of the above are available in wagon form too.

  5. Brian

    Just today, I found a deal on a 94 Saab 900 non turbo that needed a bottom end overhaul. The body looked great, even the black paint, and the interior was sound! At times like this, I wish GM had just thrown a Cavalier engine in them, and it would have been a slam dunk! Yeah, that Cav engine had plenty of issues but they built billions of them and parts are cheap and plentiful! As it is, I will pass and keep looking…

    Jesse, sorry to hear about your troubles! Any luck finding a junk yard with a Saab line and some decent prices in your new area?

    • Jesse Staff

      I would stick to pre GM cars Brian. They lost most of what made them special when they changed hands. The new generation cars were basically rebodied Opels.

  6. Dave

    They run like crap on anything except premium. You could part it out and recoup your cost. What color interior and what condition? The window switchs are in a location where they are abused by beverage spills. Sometimes just removing and cleaning with contact cleaner will resurrect them. Nice to here your S.O.B. story.

    • Jesse Staff

      Yep, premium makes a big difference! It is silver over blue. Nice looking car actually and I don’t think things have gotten bad enough to part it out.

  7. MikeW

    My Mustang has a hatch too. HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY MUSTANG!

  8. Dan Farrell

    Yes unfortunately I have two sob, er Saab stories. They are wonderful driver’s cars until they break, then God help you.

  9. Mark E

    My parents didn’t have a wagonback but still we were able to haul a cord of wood with the back seats down… ^_^

  10. Chris in Carlsbad

    I had a couple of ’91 900 hatches over the years. Best instance of hauling stuff was when I went to pick up a new clothes dryer at Sears. The guy wheeled the box out, shook his head and said “no way”. Well, after spending a few minutes shedding the cardboard, the dryer fit just fine, with the hatch fully closed.

    I later brought a washing machine as well as an electric range home in the same car.

  11. Pj

    Wimp. Fix it. Used good parts are cheap and the fi is dead simple on the 87. And the effort is worth it as they are very reliable cars once you get it back in shape. Join turbo@googlegroups for great support and parts.

  12. ConservativesDefeated

    I think in the future you should consult with the BarnFindserati before you pull the trigger the next time.

    Clearly yur Mojo is not workin :)

    • Jesse Staff

      I will be sure to run the next one by you guys! This car wasn’t even meant to be a project for the site, but so many people showed interest after my first post that I figured it might be interesting.

  13. Sean Tennis

    Quit panicking at the first sign of an issue (or non-issue), the car is very easy to work on!

    Idle issue could be as simply as a vacuum leak, dipstick not seated all the way… or vacuum line that connects to fitting at brake booster hose fell off, or even a plugged PVC small fitting at valve cover (clean with a wire or drill bit by hand). Low idle speed will cause “rattling” sounds.

    Windows could be the switches but each switch is independent so the odds of both being an issue at the same time is small unless someone spilled coffee into them. More likely the windows are related to the 3 major electrical connectors near the hood release lever ( power from fuse/relay control panel pass into car at these 3 connectors, these connectors plug into the fuse/relay panel from inside the car). One can reach up and unplug them, spray some contact cleaner in them and reinstall, takes a few minutes… Also It is a good idea to clean with compressed air the ignition lock tumbler with compressed air and then lubricate, if the switch gets stick the key act up and keep starter engaged (burnt smell around starter).

    Inner driver would act up under load accelerating/climbing a grade or overtaking on hiway. Gives a “galloping” feeling in the frontend… It is easy to fix even with hand tools maybe a couple of hours… But it may not be that… Could have a bad front motor mount, watch gear shifter lever under acceleration deceleration (on/off throttle) for a lot of movement is so front motor mount is probably the issue bad or loose… A little more info and description would help narrow this down.

    One more thing, the description of all the possible issue’s with front wheel drive because the wheels are doing multiple things went out in the sixties when FWD cars were dominating the Monte Carlo Rally, actually most rallies of the time… There are literally million upon million of FWD cars on the road the world over. No need to spread the same “fears” the American car manufacturers were saying at that time… FWD has its place, is well proven, and for typical driving is safer, and of course in racing/rallying long proven too…

  14. Jesse Staff

    Clearly a few of you didn’t catch my humor!

    I’m going to start going through everything next week. We will get it fixed, but you can’t have an “after” without a “before”! I do appreciate any advice you guys can give me along the way.

    There really is a car from the land of the rising sun that I have my eye on though…

    • Brian

      Don’t let that meatball maker send you packing for some rice burner just yet. I have faith that you can master the machine!

      • Jesse Staff

        Good one Brian! I haven’t given up just yet.

  15. Earl

    I put a riding mower in one once. Some disassembly. Hatch closed!

  16. DT

    my advice :Dump the Eurotrash ,cozy up to some Japcrap

  17. DT

    if a Cavalier motor is an upgarade,youre already in trouble

    • L Bowden

      The Saab H-motor is incredibly tough. The only way someone had a bad
      lower end was that they drove around a long while with a bad head gasket
      and got water in the oil.

      The cavalier motor would be a serious downgrade in terms of reliability,
      longevity, and power.

      The turbo cars run forever and make as much torque as a 5.0 V8 of the
      same era.

      This one sounds like it was neglected but you fix a few things and you’re
      ready for 100,000 miles of fun & practical driving.

      • Brian

        Thanks for the info L, but I am gonna keep shopping. As Jesse said, I’ve just heard too much negative about the GM Saab, and I’ve been finding quite a few of them on the cheap with major problems, so I’m abit afraid of them.

        I just pulled the Cavalier engine idea outta the air because I know they are cheap and plentiful! I’m just not the “car snob” that I once was! If I could find a plan for an easy engine swap from a mass produced engine (cheap parts supply) into a GM Saab, I would probably jump on it. I’ve been reading that 350 engine swaps into old Jag XJ6s are pretty straight forward. I know the Jag guys hate them, and once I did too, but now it just seems like a good idea and a fun cheap process! I like the style of those old Jags, but I don’t love them enought to put up with breakdowns and expensive replacement part prices! Feeling the same way about the Saabs, Bimmers, and Benzes. Twenty year old me would be so ashamed of the 42 year old me! Getting older just does something to you…

  18. Alex

    I had a 1992 900 convertible as my everyday car for about 3 years in here in Cornwall, in the UK. it was amazing car, that could shallow an immense amount of stuff and still look great with the roof down. Luckily an old school friend had trained as Saab tech and ran a small garage business. I spent more money on that car than any other, and in the end lost most of it when the gearbox lay shaft went.
    I love classic Saab’s, but sadly would never touch another.
    There are money pits and there are Saab’s ….

  19. Dino7

    So here we go with the predictable outcome being “all Saabs are junk”.
    Ignorance is bliss when it comes to these cars. People would rather bash them than put any effort into understanding them.
    If you bothered to do any research before you purchased your 900 (or any car for that matter) you’d have learned that Saab has one of the best online communities for helping each other out with parts and troubleshooting/repair. Parts are readily available for the most part with breaking yards all over the US. Saab peeps often help each other out with swapping parts etc. well just because.
    When maintained 900’s can rack up 200 to 300,000 miles easy. They are fun to drive, powerful, very practical (the hatch is like having a pickup bed) get great mileage, durable, and have a “soul”. Name another car from the 80’s (besides honda) that are known for being this sturdy and long lasting? Yes I said durable.
    And the issues with the front end components are issues with all front wheel drive cars.
    I will say that you need to make certain that the 900 you purchase is properly maintained, otherwise you are asking for trouble.
    Jesse if you want info on these cars drop me a line, otherwise enjoy driving your vanilla Honda.

    • Brian

      Most of the cars I’m seeing already have 2-300,000 miles on them and are either worn out or have experienced catastrophic failure due to abuse or just being worn out. I hate to see a nice looking car go to car heaven because an engine or trans is shot, I enjoy problem solving and I like to bring things back, but the parts are high and there just doesn’t seem to be a cheap aftermarket parts source for them. No doubt they are good cars, but too bad some of them just aren’t financially worth repairing. Maybe someday cars like these can be converted to practical electric, but we are not there yet!

  20. Jim-Bob

    I normally view European cars with disdain, seeing them as an inferior product to anything from Japan (Ferrari 458< Nissan GTR, etc.). However, a SAAB is a bit different, in much the same way that a Citroen is different. It's technically quirky, which means it is worth fixing. For me at least, the sorting of an old car teaches me things and many times I will get lost in the lesson and so wrapped up in it that I will even forget to eat! So far as it goes, it doesn't sound like anything more than typical wear parts have gone wrong here. I usually expect to do a suspension overhaul on anything over 10 years old and will usually throw in all new brake hoses and fuel hoses as a matter of course. I also replace the cooling hoses-especially on oil leaking cars as they are cheap insurance. Now with the turn signal switch, have you tried a U pull it type junkyard (LKQ, etc.)? Many times they only charge like $20 for one. I would also consider reconstructing the worn down piece with something like JB Weld. Then again, you could also get a 3D printing pen and run nylon weed whacker line through it to rebuild the nylon piece (if it's anything like a Saginaw column) and then shape the resultant plastic with a file, Dremel and some sand paper. (This is just an idea though as I have yet to try it. It just came to mind because I am building a Reprap 3D printer right now and I came across the pens in my research.)

    I also looked up the price of the drive axle assemblies for your SAAB over at Rockauto.com, and they were only $45 each, about what they cost for my Geo Metro. Usually, I consider drive axles a once every 50,000 mile job as I tend to have to do them every 2 years or so. With mine, I get them from Autozone since they come with a lifetime warranty (which I use every 2 years!). I don't know about a SAAB's system (it may be completely different than my Suzuki), but on the Geo I can usually swap two of them, change the axle output seals and the fluid in about an hour. Some cars are a bastard though and require a special procedure to change them (on some Sentras, for example, you have to pull one side first and then put a screwdriver though the diff to hit the other axle and then hit the handle of the screwdriver with a hammer. You don't want to know how long a B14 Sentra was up on stands in my driveway until we figured that out thanks to Google.) Most cars though just require you to pull the hubs and pop the axle with a big flat head screwdriver.

    • Jesse Staff

      Hey Jim-Bob, I have looked around for the turn signal switches, but most are already shot. I have thought about pulling it apart and trying to cut new indents. That wouldn’t be a permanent fix though as it would just wear down too. I like your idea of using a 3D printer though. That might be a little more involved than I want to get, but after doing all the footwork, maybe I could sell kits to fellow Saab owners with the same problem? Probably not much of a market left, but it’s a good idea.

      As far as axles go, I wish the half-shalf assemblies were all I needed. The inner driver actually goes directly into the transmission. It is the piece that the tripod bearing on the half-shaft slides into. Here is a link to give you an idea. They shouldnt be hard to change, but I think I will focus on getting the fuel/air system right first. If the engine is stalling, there is no sense in putting $600+ into the axles!

      • Jim-Bob

        I wasn’t thinking of using a whole 3D printer though, just a 3D printer pen. It is basically just the hot end of a printer in a hand held piece that lets you “write” new plastic in place. They run about $80 on E-Bay.

        I see what you mean about the drive axle now. I am used to them coming as complete assembles and have never had to assemble that section. On most modern cars that section comes already attached to the boot and just gets exchanged with the old one. What I would do is check it the way you usually test a RWD driveshat’s U joints. Namely, take the load off the axle (jack the car and take the parking brake off… SAAB put it on the front axle!), put it in gear to lock the inner driver and grasp the axle shaft with your hand. Next, try to rotate it and see if it has any play. You should be able to observe a difference in movement between the inner driver and the shaft. If no play exists, it probably isn’t the problem. It will be only a slight movement though as usually what fails first is the needle bearings. If it is a significant movement I would stop driving it as when it takes up the slack it could break it from an excessive shock load.

        With regards to the engine, so long as it has good compression it should be possible to make it run well again. I would try to find a good set of factory service manuals and a SAAB forum to get some in depth knowledge. Every old car has it’s tricks to get it to run properly and these are usually known by those who run them on a regular basis. There may be a cheaper way to make things work or something you won’t see that is simple and known to the community. With idle issues, the general rule is that it is either a clogged IAC valve circuit or sometimes a bad EGR circuit. However, not seeing your car I can’t tell for certain. I would also check for any post- MAF air intake leaks as they would make it go dead lean and stall. This could be anything from a cracked inlet hose to a bad brake booster.

  21. Jocaj

    I have ’90 9000 turbo and had a problem with stalling at some point. Turned out to be fuel faulty pressure regulator. It was easy to replace and solved the problem.

  22. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Swedish Auto Always Broken

    (dons flamesuit)

  23. jim s

    a bad gas cap can cause idle problems on these also ( a cheep fix, maybe ). there is nothing wrong with have the car “always for sale” at a small profit while you fix it up. turn and earn your way to a car you buy on the profits only and money back in the bank. it will be interesting to learn what it takes to fix this car up. great fun. even greater fun since i do not have to work on it or spend my money, sorry!

  24. Gary Fogg

    Years ago I worked on a SAAB 900s to impress a certain young lady, well she was impressed that after two brake jobs and it kept eating calipers that I knew the brake hoses were collapsed internally from age and corrected that issue, and figured out the alternator was bad and discharging the battery when the ignition switch was off [ backwards mounted engine with alternator up by the bottom of the firewall was a first for me ] but for all the “benefits” I got for being her hero did not quite outweigh the pain in the a$$ it was to work on that machine. Don’t get me wrong, it was an easy way to get a young lady to be all over me [ in retrospect ] but after my third round with the SAAB I found it easier to just buy a young lady at a bar a lot of drinks instead ! I found another adventurous young lady with a Subaru to be a much better companion because her car was easier to work on !

    • Brian

      Which is easier; finding a young lady who is a respectable companion, or stuffing a Subaru engine into a Saab?

  25. Jon

    Heh, Cavilier engine in a Saab? Asking for trouble! The Million Mile Saab went 1 million miles on the original engine *WITHOUT* opening the engine. The turbo! was original and what went into the Wisconsin Auto Museum in Hartford, WI was the same turbo! as the trolls installed. The engine in the million mile Saab did have a preemptive timing chain & guides (wear item) and head gasket (known problem on high mileage engines) replacement every 300,000 miles. I put about 3,500 miles (at 730k and 850k) on the 1MM Saab and thought it ran/drove as well as my under 100k mile 900s. I’ve owned several 900s, currently have a ’85 900Turbo! and ’86 900S (normally aspirated).

    AFA your running problems, premium fuel only masks the problem(s). The engine is designed to run on “regular” or 87-89 octane. If some parts of the fuel injection system need replacing a junket to a bone yard should supply replacements, at minimal price, to either solve the problem or identify which part is the problem. Yes, this is sort of a change parts until the problem goes away situation, but is doable DIY fix. Alternative is to find a repair shop and have a competent mechanic have a look see and diagnose the problem. Then replace only the problem parts. Just throwing parts (and $$$) at it without having a “plan” is a sure way to empty your wallet but undermine the utility of the car. Problems with the brakes, Girling on your ’87, are common with that single piston “floating” or sliding yoke design. I was getting around 40k on a set of front pads, using EBC semi-metallic pads. The yoke needs to be lubricated occasionally. Another problem with the ’87 and earlier brakes is the handbrake doesn’t always release. The handbrake acts on the front brakes on the ’79-’87 900 models. When the handbrake drags it heats up the rotor, yoke and caliper essentially burning off the lubrication. For the CV joints, I have never replaced the CV joints, tripod bearing in a 900. The weak point with the CV joints is the boot covering the joint. Open CV boot, spits out the grease, water gets in and causes more problems. Check the CV boots for holes or grease on the chassis by each of the CV boots.

    Just thought of this, change the fuel filter! Use *ONLY* a Bosch branded filter, it’s located near the fuel tank. The car needs to be either on a lift (preferred) or jackstands to access. Simple fix and under $20 for the filter.

    And yes, I’m prejudisted, I’ve owned 21 Saabs, everything form a ’73 Sonett III to a ’00 9-5.

    Lastly, GM did change Saab, some good, some bad. GM did brand the image but gave us better cars. GM bought into Saab in late 1989 at only 50% and the rest in 2000. The 900 you own was 100% Saab, all 900s until 1993 (’94 for the convertible) were 100% Saab.

    My soggy line is: 21 Saabs in 35 years….and counting….both the Saabs and the years!

  26. Jesse Staff

    Tough crowd, tough crowd! No, I appreciate everyone’s comments. Truth is, those of us who have used an old car as a daily driver know that there are days when you just want to drive it to a dealer and trade it in for something newer and more reliable. Hench that Japanese car wisecrack.

    After cooling off and reading everyone’s encouraging words, I’m ready to tackle things again. My plan has always been to fix all the problems that could take this car off the road in the near future. Remember, our whole mission here at Barn Finds is to rescue forgotten classics and I think this SAAB qualifies. It can be intimidating to share our adventures with everyone here. We risk looking like idiots when we put everything out there, but I think the feeling of community here makes it all worth it. We can motivate each other and even make some good friendships. So, thanks guys!

    There are no Hondas in my immediate future, but I have started the process of acquiring another BF project car and actually it is Japanese… Bet you can’t guess what it might be!

    • jim s

      1990 miata?

      • Jesse Staff

        Funny you should mention a MIata. I have been longing for one of those again!

    • Brian

      I am picking up vibrations from the Datsun spirits!!! 620 pickup maybe? 240-80 Z?

      Glad to hear your climbing back on the horse! Sometimes its best to close the garage door for awhile, lick the wounds of bruised pride, regroup, and get into it with a new attitude another day! Always works for me, but sometime I have to do it a few times before things actually get fixed!

  27. Jon

    Cuppola nits to pick……

    The images are incorrect:
    1) The first image is a 1979 model with the “B” engine. The “B” engine was similar to the Triumph derived engine of the first 99 models. In 1974 the Triumph engine was replaced by the “B” engine which its’ later iterations was the first Turbo!charged engine in a production coupe. The only thing shared with the “B” engine and the Triumph based engine was the form factor – a sloped in 4cylinder installed with the clutch at the front of the car and sitting on top of the transmission. The way to identify that drawing is the front seats, the seat has the hoop style headrests, which were replaced with moveable headrest in 1980. Other way is the cam cover which in the

    2) Second set of three images showing the configurations in the hatch/trunk/boot area are of the 99 CombiCoupe model. This one being the 5 door 99 model ’76-’78. How to identify: the short nose or everything in front of the “A” pillar and the style of the wheels, in this case steel wheels only available on the -75-78 99s. Later 99s used a different style steel wheel which did not fit on earlier 99s.

    And yes we’re a tough crowd. My Saab is better than your tractor engined Ovlov!

    FWIW, use only the specified NGK spark plug. IIRC, the correct plug is BCPR6ES. You could try the BCPR7ES for a different plug, but I’ve always had good luck with the “6” heat range. From some reason NGK plugs run best in Saab engines, going back to 2 stroke days. Installing any other plug brand in a Saab is a recipe for a rough running engine. Don’t ask why, just do it!

    • Jon

      I need to proof read these things before I mash the send button!

      Other way is the cam cover which in the illustration is painted black indicating a stamped sheet metal cover. Later “H” engine cam covers were unpainted cast aluminium. The illustration was presented in a number of sales and technical manuals. I’d like to get a wall sized poster of that illustration!

  28. Clay Bryant

    Jon,
    Your memory is fading.Hot Rod Ford was about a Ford and a Mercury.It was written in 1950 by George Wilson(Mr Wilson of Dennis the Menace fame?) and Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys recorded it for Gilt Edge Records.(Does this mean they were on the edge of guilt for publishing it?)
    No Lincoln in it but there was a Ford(dig the jive)with twin pipes and a Columbia Butt.And to top that off for attempted land speed records,two carburetors and an overdrive.
    There was a Hotrod Lincoln song .Different song.
    Maybe one of these nights when my digits have some strength in them I’ll send the words to Hot Rod Race to ya’ They’re a real hoot.If you find Arkie’s guitar out there,it’s not a Gibson or Fender but you’ll recognize it as Arkie took a stencil kit and stenciled his name on it.
    I’m 69 now and go into uncontrolled sobbing each time I read Hot Rod Race.I mean,how can you not?I have an original copy of this sheet music up on my alter dedicated to cars.

  29. Clay Bryant

    I almost forgot.MGM Records also had Arthur(Guitar Boogie)Smith and his Cracker-Jacks put some hot licks on a record of this too.

  30. Pål Fjeldberg

    I had 4 of those. (-86 carb-fitted GL, -87 i8, and 2 x -93 2.1i)
    My fuelfilter did not let enough fuel through it, and it caused a leak and the engine started stalling. Just stopping and starting again gave 2-3 miles of driving. The old filter caused “vacuum” in the lines.
    Keep the car!! I now have a -97 9000. Also a great car, but og900’s are special!
    Greetings from Norway.

  31. Chris H.

    It always pays to find the best example you can, and this instance is no different. Sadly, with each successive owner, the maintenance tends to dwindle, leaving you, as the enthusiast, left to track down the gremlins. SAAB’s are great cars in all their iterations, even the GM era stuff, and generally are performance bargains if you’re willing to turn a wrench from time to time. Seems like the Japanese have set the bar for everything these days, nobody wants to work on their cars anymore.

  32. Brian

    Lesson learned: never, ever again post the idea of putting a Cavalier engine in anything on this forum! As a matter of fact, I am now considering buying a Cavalier and putting a Saab engine in it!

    • Jon

      Now you’re talking!

      Best if you put a “B” engine with 4 speed tranny. Love that in-line design with the engine sitting on the transmission. No way to make it rear wheel drive.

      • Brian

        Just joking.

  33. Panda

    My guess for the new Japanese car is a Subaru BRAT

  34. Jon

    Subaru = Poor man’s Saab.

    BTDT got the Scoobie t-shirt. Brats are nice if you want to haul dirt and messy stuff. I moved RR ties and broken concrete for home remuddling projects.

    Saab hatchbacks (’74-78 99 , ’79-’93 c900, ’94-’97 ng900, ’98-’02 og9-3, ’86-’98 9000) & wagons (’60-’76 95, ’00-’11 9-5) can carry more stuff than you think, in closed & conditioned comfort.

    A Brat or Brumby for those from the Land of Oz, are nice, small two seaters with a lot of cargo carrying capacity. For the dirty stuff it’s really nice to clean out the leftover dirty stuff by turning a garden hose loose on the bed. Other plus for the Brat/Brumby is the switchable FWD/AWD. AWD when you need it, but only at low speeds. AWD above 35mph a Brat gets rather squirelly, but fun along the lines of Ken Block.

    • Panda

      IF i were someone who could have two cars (I don’t have even one car at the moment, just my moped), I would want one of them to be a Brat or a VW Caddy. I’ve driven both and liked them (although I don’t know about having one as a daily driver….).

  35. cory

    Jesse,
    if you have free time venture out to jalopy jungle in nampa on garrity. they seem to always have a couple of 900s kicking around. no reason not to try used parts first.

    • Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Thanks for the tip Cory. I was actually there yesterday! Great place and I actually scored a few much needed parts. I will do an update tomorrow.

  36. Ian @ Jewel or Jalopy

    An inspection might have helped, but then for $1500 you know it will be a project. I normally just take a chance at that price point, you really don’t have much to lose.

    I’m still a fan of the later GM Saabs. We had a 199 9-3 SE Convertible which was a hoot, and currently have a 2002 9-5 with the 2.3l turbo. I love getting 30 MPG on the freeway and being able to pass effortlessly. It’s still super solid with only 106k miles, and was reasonably priced since people are scared of them. Makes an awesome and fun daily driver. And whoever at Saab calibrated the sport mode on the transmission didn’t it beautifully, it really wakes up the car.

    Jesse – good luck with the Saab. Replace as many vacuum hoses and rubber lines as you can, that will probably help. Get her running and enjoy it!

  37. Seth D. Bengelsdorf

    Jesse: I am wondering if I could use some of your writing in NINES, the magazine of the Saab Club of North America. Please reply by e-mail and let me know. Thanks!

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