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wae
wae UltimaDork
6/4/24 10:21 a.m.

Sonofa...  While coming back from picking up her Honda's block from the machine shop, a stone came off the road and put a chip in the windshield smack in the driver's line-of-sight.  I assume it can be repaired - I've already submitted the claim and am waiting for the glass shop to call me back.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA UltraDork
6/4/24 5:58 p.m.

More than anything else, your car needs an exorcist.

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/18/24 7:33 a.m.

Last week, the positive cables came loose from the terminal and my daughter had to perform a field repair in the Target parking lot.  After that experience, the car needed a jump to get going a couple times, but it was without any real driving.  Thinking that the problem was simply that it hadn't been charging the battery properly due to a loose connection, I drove it around a bit, let it sit and idle for quite a while, and threw the 6amp charger on it for a bit on Saturday night.  Everything was fine until last night when the car needed a jump again while she was out.  About 15 minutes after she got home, I put a multimeter on the battery and it was sitting at 12.44 volts and with the car off was only drawing about 1.5mA.  This morning she went to start it to go to work and there wasn't enough juice.  She told me after the starting attempt the battery showed 12.3 volts which really seems like it should be "enough".  I figure one (or possibly more!) of three things is going on:  There's somehow still a bad connection somewhere; the two-month-old battery is fried; or the alternator is flaking out.  I know that the idiot light on the dash works, but I don't know at what threshold it will illuminate.  I'm going to go up to her work when she's off at 11 so that I can do some testing.  First, we'll determine the static voltage in the battery, then we'll watch the voltage when we try to start it and see what it does under load.  After that, I can try running the jumper cables from the battery to the starter to see if the problem is a bad connection.  If none of that starts the car, then we can jump it and check the voltage at the battery and at the alternator with the engine spinning.

I have an alternator for it sitting on the shelf at the shop along with new bushings.  What I don't have is the slightest clue on how to get it off the car - the last time I tried, there was not enough clearance (Clarence) for the bolt to slide out of the bracket all the way before hitting the firewall and I couldn't see a way to get to the bracket mounting bolts.  I believe I was given the suggestion here to put a jack under the engine to try to adjust the angle a bit, so maybe I can try that.  I can also pull the A/C compressor off to see if that gives me more access.  We had to mount the engine backwards, didn't we?

On another note, way back in February when I was trying to repair the crash damage, I came across an '88 in Louisville that had been advertised for sale for $975 for about 2 years.  On a lark, I sent a message to the seller asking if there was any chance the car was still for sale but didn't hear anything.  I wasn't sure what parts would be compatible, but I figured it was worth a shot at that price.  The guy hit me up the night before last and said that he had been traveling for work so he couldn't get back to me, but that the car is actually still for sale.  Must have been one hell of a work trip, is all I can say.  I don't really have a place to keep an "extra" car right now, but if I can get the Biturbo out of the way, I might be able to make that work if there's anything worth salvaging from that.

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/18/24 7:46 a.m.

The Saab 9-3 ('03-11) FB groups are very helpful, I would assume the same with the classic 900 groups. Someone will be able to give you the way to get the alternator changed out.  I know for my 9-3, I had to remove a motor mount, slightly jack up the engine, and move the engine side to side to get the serpentine tensioner bolt to clear.  I know yours is completely different, but I think Saabs in general require a level of creativity to work on them.

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/18/24 8:26 a.m.

In reply to dj06482 (Forum Supporter) :

I call it "swearing", but, sure, we can go with "creativity" :)

Powar
Powar UltraDork
7/18/24 10:24 a.m.
wae said:

Last week, the positive cables came loose from the terminal and my daughter had to perform a field repair in the Target parking lot.  After that experience, the car needed a jump to get going a couple times, but it was without any real driving.  Thinking that the problem was simply that it hadn't been charging the battery properly due to a loose connection, I drove it around a bit, let it sit and idle for quite a while, and threw the 6amp charger on it for a bit on Saturday night.  Everything was fine until last night when the car needed a jump again while she was out.  About 15 minutes after she got home, I put a multimeter on the battery and it was sitting at 12.44 volts and with the car off was only drawing about 1.5mA.  This morning she went to start it to go to work and there wasn't enough juice.  She told me after the starting attempt the battery showed 12.3 volts which really seems like it should be "enough".  I figure one (or possibly more!) of three things is going on:  There's somehow still a bad connection somewhere; the two-month-old battery is fried; or the alternator is flaking out.  I know that the idiot light on the dash works, but I don't know at what threshold it will illuminate.  I'm going to go up to her work when she's off at 11 so that I can do some testing.  First, we'll determine the static voltage in the battery, then we'll watch the voltage when we try to start it and see what it does under load.  After that, I can try running the jumper cables from the battery to the starter to see if the problem is a bad connection.  If none of that starts the car, then we can jump it and check the voltage at the battery and at the alternator with the engine spinning.

I have an alternator for it sitting on the shelf at the shop along with new bushings.  What I don't have is the slightest clue on how to get it off the car - the last time I tried, there was not enough clearance (Clarence) for the bolt to slide out of the bracket all the way before hitting the firewall and I couldn't see a way to get to the bracket mounting bolts.  I believe I was given the suggestion here to put a jack under the engine to try to adjust the angle a bit, so maybe I can try that.  I can also pull the A/C compressor off to see if that gives me more access.  We had to mount the engine backwards, didn't we?

On another note, way back in February when I was trying to repair the crash damage, I came across an '88 in Louisville that had been advertised for sale for $975 for about 2 years.  On a lark, I sent a message to the seller asking if there was any chance the car was still for sale but didn't hear anything.  I wasn't sure what parts would be compatible, but I figured it was worth a shot at that price.  The guy hit me up the night before last and said that he had been traveling for work so he couldn't get back to me, but that the car is actually still for sale.  Must have been one hell of a work trip, is all I can say.  I don't really have a place to keep an "extra" car right now, but if I can get the Biturbo out of the way, I might be able to make that work if there's anything worth salvaging from that.

Check the ground wires on the alternator. They may be the issue (especially if your bushings are bad). I VERY seriously doubt the alternator is bad, as I've never encountered a bad one in 22 years of messing with these cars. The brushes on the voltage regulator (removable from the back of the alt with two screws) wear out and can cause intermittent charging issues as well. They're also really cheap and easy to swap.

There's no need to raise the engine to remove the alternator. That long bolt doesn't need to be completely removed, as you're going to remove the alternator and the mount as one assembly, then separate them on the bench.

1) Remove the adjuster and belts.
2) Remove the bolts that hold the alternator mount to the engine. You'll use an allen socket to do so.
3) If your car still has the A/C system in tact: unbolt the coolant reservoir and flip it and the hoses out of the way. Be gentle with the connections at the heater core, but you probably won't have to remove them if the hoses are good. If you need to replace the coolant anyway, just drain some and remove the hoses from the heater core. You should now have enough space to wrangle the alt and bracket out of the engine bay. If you don't have the A/C compressor in the way, you can probably get the alt and bracket out through that empty space.

Reach out if I can help in some way.

Powar
Powar UltraDork
7/18/24 10:34 a.m.

Also, lol @ Dallon and that red 900 for sale in Shepherdsville. I looked at and test drove that car 10+ years ago. I sent him a message when he listed it (2+ years ago at this point) and offered to help him get rid of it, but he needed to temper his expectations on value. He was originally asking $3k-ish for an n/a car with a bad auto trans and bad paint. I see that he's dropped the price to under a grand now, but its likely worth half, sadly. Keep in mind that it has sat outside this entire time. I really wanted to see that car get manual-swapped and put back on the road, but now he says the brake lines are rotted and it overheated the last time it was driven. Sad stuff.

I'm not sure what would be useful from it for your convertible, unfortunately. The trans is the same as yours, but bad. The interior and exterior are fairly roached. Let me know if you decide to come look at it. It is 15 minutes or so from my place.

procainestart
procainestart SuperDork
7/18/24 11:07 a.m.
Powar said:
wae said:

Check the ground wires on the alternator. They may be the issue (especially if your bushings are bad). I VERY seriously doubt the alternator is bad, as I've never encountered a bad one in 22 years of messing with these cars. The brushes on the voltage regulator (removable from the back of the alt with two screws) wear out and can cause intermittent charging issues as well. They're also really cheap and easy to swap.

There's no need to raise the engine to remove the alternator. That long bolt doesn't need to be completely removed, as you're going to remove the alternator and the mount as one assembly, then separate them on the bench.

1) Remove the adjuster and belts.
2) Remove the bolts that hold the alternator mount to the engine. You'll use an allen socket to do so.
3) If your car still has the A/C system in tact: unbolt the coolant reservoir and flip it and the hoses out of the way. Be gentle with the connections at the heater core, but you probably won't have to remove them if the hoses are good. If you need to replace the coolant anyway, just drain some and remove the hoses from the heater core. You should now have enough space to wrangle the alt and bracket out of the engine bay. If you don't have the A/C compressor in the way, you can probably get the alt and bracket out through that empty space.

Reach out if I can help in some way.

To be clear, you don't need to remove the alt to pull the VR -- just use driver extensions.

The brush length spec is in the manual. Bosch replacement part will be better than Chinesium, ProParts.

Agree with Powar on the ground also being suspect, especially if the alt bushings had degraded at some point, allowing the alt to jump around and fatigue the ground. (Saab increasingly beefified the ground: in the beginning it was a thin, braided, un-insulated strap; by the end it was a super-beefy wire you could barely bend.) 

Note that a junior EE designed the alt warning circuit: if the ground wire breaks, instead of the alt light coming on, you'll blissfully drive along until the car drains the battery and stalls, because the ground wire must be intact for the alt light to...light. 

Finally, I have had one dead alt since '98, mainly two cars but extensive wrenching on a half dozen others. But if you do have to pull it, see my post earlier in this thread with a pic of the mounting bracket, to complement Powar's EZ instructions. I probably mentioned it, but if not, make sure you use a good quality hex socket, not a rounded POS from Harbor Freight. Stripping one of the bolts will ruin your day (ask me how I know). 

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/18/24 12:17 p.m.

Okay, just got done with some testing.  After jumping it, my daughter drove the car 5 minutes to work, shut it down, and it sat for 5.5 hours.  When I got there, the battery was at 12.3 volts.  Low, but should still start, right?  While cranking, though, the battery voltage dropped to 6.  We jumped it with the jumpbox and once running, the battery posts measured at 12.8.  Not great.  We looked for voltage drop on the battery positive to the starter terminal from the battery negative to a bunch of places on the chassis and engine and didn't see anything amiss.  Voltage between the top adjuster nut on the alternator to the starter terminal, however, was 13.8-14 volts.  That's way more betterer!  Voltage drop from that same place on the alternator to the battery is about 1.5 volts. 

I don't know that I've ever had a vehicle that had a ground wire on the alternator before - everything I've ever messed with just grounded through the mounting bolts, but I guess if they're using rubber bushings, that wouldn't work.  Also, I only found one rather thin, insulated wire coming off the bottom of the alternator and running to an attachment point sort of behind/under the alternator near the mounting bracket.  Is that really all it needs?  I'm contemplating using a much heavier gauge wire, putting some terminals on it, and going from the adjuster nut to the mounting bolt for the A/C compressor right above it.

Full points for the tip on the ground wire, thank you!  While I had my head in there, I looked for the regulator and can definitely see where that's bolted in.  the voltage at the alternator itself was pretty stable, though, so it's safe to assume that the regulator is doing okay at this point.  The ground wire seemed to be fairly well secured, but I wasn't really able to get my hands - or my multimeter probes! - in there to test it directly.

Right now, we've got the battery on the 6A charger.  After a few hours, we're going to take the charger off, let everything sit for about 30 minutes, and then watch the battery voltage during cranking again to see how far it dips.  The battery is a cheap Everstart from Walmart which is mounted about three centimeters and a plastic shield away from the turbo and its exhaust, so I wouldn't be totally shocked (ha!  get it?) to find that in addition to the grounding issue, the battery is also malfunctioning.  Especially if we haven't been charging it correctly for a while now.

You know...  When I first saw that car on FB back in Feb, I kind of figured that it was in pretty sorry shape since it had been listed that long and wasn't in your collection yet!  I definitely wouldn't pay what he's asking - I can only imagine how much it's decayed in the last couple years - but I could see spending a couple bucks for it if there was enough to harvest before getting almost all my money back at the scrapyard.  I might have been willing to get closer to that when I needed collision repair bits and a radiator and stuff - if that would have been compatible, even...  I never got to the point of really looking hard at it - but since I've already got all that, its value to me is quite a bit less.

I've got to figure if you did round those bolts off, you're pretty screwed.  I've replaced all my 12-point HF specials with 6-point Tektons for that reason. 

procainestart
procainestart SuperDork
7/18/24 1:05 p.m.

A spare ground wire I have from '93 is 6 mm in diameter; eyelet IDs are 8 mm. Come to think of it, this may be for a 9000, so eyelets may be sized for it, but the wire diam. is the same as later 900s. No idea what the actual gauge is. Yes, it just grounds to the block behind the alt. And yes, no reason to excavate the alt just to get the OEM install. 

Powar
Powar UltraDork
7/18/24 1:28 p.m.

MCS sells a beautiful solution to the unorthodox alt grounding. 

https://www.modernclassicsaab.com/products/p/c900-aluminum-alternator-support-arm-bushing

I have one on the shelf for the engine swap I'm working on right now.

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/18/24 1:46 p.m.
procainestart said:

A spare ground wire I have from '93 is 6 mm in diameter; eyelet IDs are 8 mm. Come to think of it, this may be for a 9000, so eyelets may be sized for it, but the wire diam. is the same as later 900s. No idea what the actual gauge is. Yes, it just grounds to the block behind the alt. And yes, no reason to excavate the alt just to get the OEM install. 

Wow..  Well, according to Pelican Parts, I should have this:

But the wire I found was, at best, 14 gauge.

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/18/24 1:48 p.m.
Powar said:

MCS sells a beautiful solution to the unorthodox alt grounding. 

https://www.modernclassicsaab.com/products/p/c900-aluminum-alternator-support-arm-bushing

I have one on the shelf for the engine swap I'm working on right now.

Oh wow..  that's slick.  I'm going to have to see about upgrading to that in the future.  Before I could put those in, though, I should freshen up the bushings and before I can find the time and space to do that, we've got this Honda Civic taking up my garage bay while it waits on us to get its motor rebuilt.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/18/24 1:56 p.m.

I made a new ground wire for the alt in Tyler's car when we were chasing a no charging issue, it ended up being the wrong bulb in the alt light in the dash.

I would be willing to split the price on the 88 if you end up getting it.  I don't have room to store another car but if ther are enough decent parts left on it a weekend of pulling it apart wouldn't be too bad.

procainestart
procainestart SuperDork
7/18/24 2:02 p.m.

In reply to Aaron_King :

Oh, that's a good point. The alt bulb has to be 2 watts; lower wattage will fit, but Saab says "no bueno," but, you know, in Swedish.

Been a while, but I think the bulb has a red socket, while the others are black?? Would need to look at the manual.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
7/18/24 4:59 p.m.

In reply to Powar :

I have spent a decent amount on that site.  

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/19/24 8:07 a.m.
Aaron_King said:

I made a new ground wire for the alt in Tyler's car when we were chasing a no charging issue, it ended up being the wrong bulb in the alt light in the dash.

I would be willing to split the price on the 88 if you end up getting it.  I don't have room to store another car but if ther are enough decent parts left on it a weekend of pulling it apart wouldn't be too bad.

I'll keep that in mind!  I also don't really have a spot for an extra car at the moment, but as projects get wrapped up (and sold), that may change.

wae
wae UltimaDork
7/19/24 8:12 a.m.

I got a bit distracted last night so we didn't have a chance to load test the battery, but after having it on the charger for 10 hours and then letting it sit overnight, it started right up this morning.  While I was at O’Reilly to borrow their piston ring compressor, I saw that they had a $10 battery cable that is the right gauge, probably the right size bolt holes in the lugs, and the right length.  Even though I had some cable and some lugs back at the shop, it was worth the $10 to not have to screw around with making the cable so I bought that.  Today is getting ready for Rallycross, tomorrow will be participating in Rallycross, so I'll come back to getting that cable in place on Sunday.

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