You didn’t think that a car could sit for ~13 years and not have rust issues, did you?
So I’ve been holding out on you a little, Oppo. There’s just been so much else going on, and we weren’t quite sure when or how we would be dealing with the rust. We knew it was going to need attention, and now that the engine’s out, there’s no better time to do something about it.
Wounded as this car is, it’s a survivor. Which is more than I can say for some of the other cars that Ron had to get rid of:
Throughout all the wrenching we’ve been doing these past few months, I’m pleased to say that very few fasteners have broken. There have been some casualties, the most expensive of which being the stuck bleeders on the rear brake calipers that necessitated sending them in as cores for rebuilt units.
But for the most part, the body has been in pretty good shape, rust-wise. There’s a bit of rust bubbling up from behind the paint in a couple of spots, but all things considered its not terrible.
Saab’s decision to route the rear brake line through the interior of the car has been a blessing, as well as their coated exterior brake lines. I was prepared to have to throw some NiCopp at this thing, but it appears that that won’t be necessary after all. Some spots of rust are peeking through, but it’s far from the catastrophic flaking & breaking I’m used to seeing on domestic cars.
Even the unberbody looks pretty good, for the most part. Not much that needs attention there, except for one hole in the trunk floor and maybe some exhaust heat shielding.
The worst of the rust can be found on some critical parts, though. Thanks to their close proximity with the ground as this car sat for so long, there is some substantial flaking on various suspension components. Perhaps not enough to warrant total replacement, as there’s still a LOT of material there, but enough to give it some attention before it rusts away any more so.
The most serious concern is the framework up front. The area where the RF lower control arm attaches to has all but rotten away. This CANNOT be ignored. It’s still holding on, and since the control arm hasn’t torn away yet, we still have a chance to reinforce it before it goes. I couldn’t help but cringe when I saw that area flexing as I jacked up that corner in order to pull the axle-shaft prior to engine removal.
It didn’t have a battery when we got it, but I can’t help but suspect that battery leakage may have contributed to this. Especially when you look at how relatively clean the left side is:
It could still use some reinforcement, though:
Come to find out, this is not unique to the car having sat for an estimated 13 years. This is apparently a common problem area on all classic 900s, regardless of whether they’ve been sitting in fields or driven through rain & salt. There are even repair kits available that can be welded right in.
The classic 900 has a substantial design flaw that allows dirt and mud to collect inside the frame rail right where the lower control arm attaches. Add to that the location directly under the battery, and you have the potential for disaster. We have had them in here after the lower control has ripped right out of the frame. We designed this kit to repair that rusted area.
My brother might actually end up fabricating his own repair panels, but it’s nice to know that kits like this exist. We haven’t finalized plans for just how much we’re going to have to clean up and/or cut out, but at least the work will be easier now we’ve gone to all the trouble of taking the engine out.