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skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:20 AM

1992 Saab 900S Renovation / Upgrade
I started work on this project in March 2013 and have been plodding on with it as and when I find the time between my offshore work rotation of 6 weeks on 6 weeks off. Progress was very slow to begin with and I was restoring spare parts I already had in storage but since 2014 I have been making substantial headway. I hope to get it completed before 2015, but only time will tell. Anyway, quick background: I bought the car in question, a basic 1992 900S LPT back in 2007 for an absolute steal. My intention at the time was just to use it as a spares car for another Saab I was restoring back then, but after inspecting the car I found it to be in way too good a condition to break so ended up using it as my daily driver until 2009! I took it off the road in 2009 and lost interest in it and it sat, looking very sorry for itself until I decided to begin this restoration project in 2013.
The restoration plan is as follows:
Replace the tired 220,000 mile engine with a freshly re-built unit. Strip, inspect and clean the original gearbox (which is just about the best 900 gearbox I have used, very smooth and silent) and fit type 7 primary gearing to the box to replace the 6's in there just now.
Fit the larger 9000 Aero calipers, discs and pads to the front.
Replace every suspension component with brand new or newly re-furbished replacements. All bushes will be replaced by Powerflex. Springs will be Kilen lowering 30mm, shocks Bilstein yellow HD. Front ARB delete.
Fit a 9000 Aero 240mm clutch / flywheel combination.
Strip the car, clean, remove / repair / treat all corrosion issues and finally put it all back together after a full body re-spray!
Other additions to the original car will be Aero kit, Carlsson arches, Carlsson rear bumper, whaletail, new headlining and custom leather seats (or maybe just standard Saab seats, not decided yet). I will also fit a new standard exhaust with custom Carlsson style tailpipe. I have a full JT system but will only fit that after I have run in the 'new' engine.
I fitted an intercooler to this car when I first got it, so will be keeping that but replacing the plastic end tanked one with an older style fully aluminium one.
The rest of the interior will be replaced with better quality components than were in the car and all other components will be re-lined / re-furbished as necessary.
OK, here is the car as she was in 2007: by Angus Smith, on Flickr by Angus Smith, on Flickr

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:21 AM

After planning out the job the first step I decided to do was re-build an old T16 engine I had in my shed from a previous Saab. The engine had a low mileage of 120,000 so it was as good a base for a mild re-build as any. I think I will just let the pictures do the talking here as it's pretty standard stuff really. I did do some mild porting on the head and a gasket match (Saab 9000 2.3 litre gaskets) on the head, inlet and exhaust manifolds though. Here we go!

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:23 AM

Next stage of the job was restoring a full set of suspension I had in storage. I also fitted the powerflex bushings to every component here (pics of this will come in a later post) . After doing the suspension I refurbished some brake calipers I had - a set from a 9000 Aero for the front and standard rears. Finally at this stage I refurbished the headlights. This time I had to use the original lights from the car and I replaced the reflectors with a like new set from my spares. The pic of the old reflectors explains why I had next to no lights previously! There are before and after pictures of most things here.

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:25 AM

Moving on, now at Nov 2013 I started stripping the car down for the initial rust inspection. I started at the rear as I suspected it might be worse than the front (ha ha, wrong again as you will see later). On initial inspection my heart sank quite dramatically. I was presented with massive areas of the underside encrusted in rust bubbles, some visible holes and lots of blistering around the seams. For some strange reason I thought the amount of welding on this job was going to be minimal, but I was definitely proved wrong here! Being entirely new to welding (I bought my first MIG especially for this job) the reality of what I was getting myself in to almost put me off at this point, but thankfully I continued. Anyway, here are some pics of the rear underside and the beginning of the stripping of the car.
These pictures do not show the full extent of the corrosion - that was revealed after attacking everything with the knotted wheel...

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:28 AM

Next I attacked the car with chipping hammers, scrapers, wire brushes, knotted wheel and so on. I removed all blistered under-seal, loose rust and the worst of the thin steel that was virtually corroded away. This exposed around 25 - 30 places that needed welding, nothing too major, just small patches mostly. So, step by step I worked my way around the car cutting out the rotten bits until good thick steel was located, then cutting, shaping and drilling new bits of steel to fill the gaps, then welding it back together. My welding in the beginning was quite poor, but after grinding back I found the welds had good penetration so were more than adequate. Thankfully my welding skills improved with each new piece of steel I fitted though! The below pictures show the underside cleaned up, and some of the welding progressing. Here's the pics:

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:29 AM

OK, the next installment in from June 2014 when I finally got the rear of the car completed. The basic process was grinding, cutting, shaping new pieces of steel, welding, coating the newly welded pieces with anti rust primer, then going over any parts that were not welded with an acid rust killer followed by Rustbusters FE123 rust convertor on any pitted rust that was left. All seams or potential water traps I filled with seam sealer replacing any I had removed in the initial knotted wheel grinding etc. I then applied Rustbusters 2 pack primer to the treated steel followed by a top coat of 'International' black gloss enamel. The final steps in the process were to apply a generous coat of overpaintable stonechip coating over the whole rear end of the car from behind the engine bay all the way aft. After that I applied 4 coats of metallic green topcoat on all sills and exposed areas to make it look like new. The final step was to inject waxoyl in to every enclosed area such as the panels inside the rear wings, the beam forward of the fuel tank and inside both sills. Hopefully this level of protection will give the car another 15 years on the road and keep the rust well at bay!

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:30 AM

Here's some pics inside the rear inner wings. These areas are extremely hard to access (and photograph!) but there was very slight visual corrosion on the inner surfaces so it needed attention. The way I dealt with it was to clean the area out with wet cloths and compressed air, then I injected Rustbuster FE123 convertor in to the panel gaps and crevices, then applied more FE123 with a sponge to all areas I could reach. After that had dried off I sprayed the inside of these areas with Waxoyl. Hopefully this will do the trick. The pics just show the FE123 soon after I applied it.

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:31 AM

Moving on, I finally got to put some stuff back on the car. This is the most satisfying part of the job as you can really see things taking shape again. I got the rear suspension assembled with all new powerflex bushings. The arms on the rear anti roll bar I had removed from the car were literally paper thin in places so this needed to be repaired. The solution here was to give it to my father who is a retired welder / fabricator. He took some measurements from what was left of the old bar and measurements from the car and produced an exact copy of the original salvaging some of the original bar. He used 6mm flat bar and bent / shaped it all up. Needless to say it was a perfect fit. Unfortunately I have no 'before pictures' of the bar or of it fitted, but I will add these to the thread when I return home from my current trip at work. The other things that required repair were the fuel tank straps. When I removed these from the car I had to use the grinder to cut the nuts as the threaded hook was just a solid mass of rust. Thankfully the straps themselves were still in good condition so all I did here was replace the rusty hooks with new threaded rod and then welded them to the old straps. They turned out like new. Here's some pics:

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:32 AM

Right! Now that the rear of the car was virtually finished I moved on to the front. As mentioned in a previous post for some deluded reason I had convinced myself that the front couldn't possibly have been as bad as the rear.... Well, I was wrong. The pictures below show the engine bay and all suspension being removed and the initial rust findings. The front panel was completely shot but I had a good spare to replace that with. Lots of pics here to try to show all of the worst areas:

skyegtb 04-08-2014 04:33 AM

With the engine out I was able to begin de-greasing the bay to get a clearer picture what I was up against. For this I use an excellent water based degreaser but unfortunately I can't remember the name of it... You simply spray it on with a hand sprayer, leave it to sit for about 30 minutes then agitate it with a stiff paintbrush. Leave it for another 30 minutes then rinse it off. I use my pressure washer for the rinsing and the end result is always completely grease free surfaces! Great stuff. Anyway, with all the crud gone and a lot of the worst flaking paint and rust things were already a lot clearer as can be seen:

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