I did some car work today

Because AestheticsInMotion guilted me into it... or because it was next on the list and I’m finally recovered from Halloween.

One of the two... or maybe a little of both.

Anyway! First up was the Alfa, which is perfect in every way... except as of last writing the turn signals had packed up. One $40 relay later, and we were back in business!


So I pulled the Alfa out of the garage and started taking a look at the Saab (one of my bays is double deep). When I last drove the Saab, it did two bad things. The first was lurch on the highway when at high throttle... or something like that. It has been long enough I don’t REALLY remember. The second is a warm/tepid restart problem.

The latter was, or rather I hope, was solved by fixing the fuel leak at the pump. My guess is if the car sat long enough I’d eventually get vapor lock and be unable to start, but if it sat until cold it wasn’t an issue. Just a guess, but certainly the most plausible explanation.

The surging issue I’m not so sure about. It SOUNDS like a fuel metering/delivery/mix or vacuum leak issue, but it sorts itself out after a few surges... so that doesn’t really make sense. After reading about someone having the same issue that was solved by replacing the plug wires with special Saab-people approved ones, I decided to give it a shot.


The good news is while pulling the wires, I certainly found a problem, if not the problem.


When I pulled the #3 wire off I noticed some of the wire stayed with the plug!

German quality for you, I guess.

That done, I went to replace the king lead and immediately noticed it didn’t fit. The insulation on my cheap aftermarket coil was too thick to allow the boot to get around. If I forced it, the conductor didn’t make good contact. Keeping the old king lead would sort of defeat the point of the exercise.


So I jumped in the now mostly functioning Alfa and drove over to Bughaus, a local air-cooled parts supplier. Why? Because Eric, the owner, is a cool guy, for one, and also is fastidious about part quality and carries the coveted “Bosch Blue” coil.

Or rather, he usually does. Apparently he only had one in stock and it was spoken for. He DID have one that was, apparently, just as good just not... blue. Also it didn’t come with the VW mounting bracket, which as you might imagine wasn’t a deal breaker for me. Also it was $20 cheaper.



Back home, you can really see the difference!


That in, I decided to do the valve cover gasket “while I was at it” as it was clearly seeping.

To do that you either have to remove the distributor, for which I don’t have a new O-ring, or turn the engine to TDC and remove the valve cover with the dizzy intact. But, because Saab I couldn’t actually get at the crank nut/bolt to do the latter...



I tried a number of things, none of which worked, and then decided to call it for the day.


I’ll try jacking up the front and using the wheels to turn the engine tomorrow. Or ignore it.

Either way, not a bad wrenching day as I now know all of my cars start, run, drive, and stop.


I think it might be beer-thirty.

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