If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

Saab Project - 0 days to go - Redefining Success

Well, the title probably gave it away, but, as you might expect, things didn’t really go to plan.

Thursday (PM)

Following my morning’s floundering, my first start was Harbor Freight for a metric shit-ton of tools, or perhaps a imperial shit-ton of metric tools. I’m not sure what the conversion ratio is.

Yes, I know they’re crap, but they are plentiful.

Yes, I could have saved money by actually like... finding my tools, but with the exception of the basic combo wrench set I didn’t actually own any of this stuff and if it saves me even a little aggravation or time at this stage, I’m calling it worth it.


Speculation through the day led me to thinking it could be one of only a couple things: Air obstruction (unlikely), exhaust obstruction (possible), fuel pressure (likely) or fuel flow (?).


After work I set to getting the alternator back in place, which only took like… 2 or so hours, and then set to verifying the fuel system.

Flow and pressure were both good and though we randomly blew a fuse along the way, I didn’t find any smoking guns.


Yup. An entire night’s work can be summed up in two paragraphs. Oh the joys of vintage car ownership.

The last revelation of the night is that the injectors were going hard even with no air flow. I know, because even with the fuel pump jumpered and the engine off I could hear them injecting (they have a whine at high throttle). So… that is bad.


Friday (AM)

While speculation on torn fuel distributor diaphragms ran rampant, a good nights sleep gave me a much more reasonable explanation: probably all that (dumb) dicking with the mix screw that I did. A quick lean out confirmed all was silent from the injectors.



The loose alternator wasn’t charging the battery, which wasn’t a problem initially, but as I proceeded with my test drive and subsequent investigations (with the headlights on) the battery was becoming progressively unable to power the vehicle beyond idle. This looked like mix issue, but even at the time I knew it wasn’t. My (dumb) messing with the mix only served to create more problems once everything was running.


Friday (PM)

After about an hour at work the toll the last two weeks had enacted on my soft, frail body was apparent. Stomach doing back-flips, breakfast requesting a re-do, and feeling really, extraordinarily tired.

View from the office today. I DO have another dog, but he is just very... cat-like.

After heading home and sleeping for another five hours, I was actually feeling pretty OK. Acceptable enough to wander out to the car and take stock.


Time to go back to basics. This is CIS, so fuel pressure is life. I slapped the fuel pressure gauge on the line/ control pressure.


90 psi is a little high for line pressure, but shouldn’t be causing problems, and it probably wasn’t. Because that is the control pressure, which, depending on temperature, should be between 35 and 55 psi, not the same as line pressure.

So yeah... if you’ll recall, this was the problem I was trying to solve by replacing the warm up regulator. Since the pressure relief valve is also new, the next step seemed pretty obvious: the fuel distributor needed to come out.


Honestly, I’d been avoiding it because it looks like a complete pain in the ass, but it actually wasn’t! Minutes later I had a fuel distributor in hand. Nothing obviously wrong, so time for the carb cleaner!


A lot of stuff ended up in the bottom of the box, but I’m not certain how much come from inside. While I was in there, I pulled the pressure regulator/ pressure relief valve to adjust the line pressure down to be more normal. It was here I discovered an actual problem! The o-ring on the valve seemed to have... expanded? It was very loose and unhappy.

Also discovered the orifice for the control pressure is TINY. Like... could be blocked by a bad thought (or some loose paint).


I swapped out the o-ring, removed 22 psi of shims, and reassembled everything.

And... LIFE! The car started, the pressures were good, if a little low, and I could finally rev again! The Saab was going to make it! All I needed to do is fix the brake lights and take it for a test drive.


The test drive didn’t go poorly... but it didn’t go well. Power delivery was still not great, and I had a few intake backfires, but the engine was pretty happy.

But, as you might expect, not everything was. The clutch still felt like it wasn’t fully disengaging (I have some speculation there) and/ or one of the brakes might have been dragging. Also, the turbo made a terrifyingly unhappy noise and then tore the intake hose off, so I’m thinking I have a wastegate issue.


Calling it

That is right Oppo, I decided to call it a night.

Even if I could get the brake lights working, I wasn’t entirely sure what was wrong with the clutch. Furthermore, I hadn’t done any road worthiness checks, had no HVAC, no registration, and 12 year old tires.


Furthermore I was tired, still not feeling well, and really didn’t fancy getting up at 6AM to nurse an ancient Saab 120 miles, one way.

Nope. Couch time.

Redefining Success

I will say first off, yes I am very disappointed in myself. I spent basically every free minute, plus many more, working on this thing over the last two weeks and ultimately was unable to accomplish my goals.


But that said, I started with a completely useless wreck with no clutch, no brakes, unspecified ignition issues, interior disassembled, a couple bad windows and switches, and may other issues. Now I have a car that has four working windows, can move and stop under its own power, and will likely be ready for the road within the month.

Is this the end for the Saab?

What? No! Why would you think that? I missed an arbitrary deadline. That is pretty much it. The next deadline is 5/4/17 as that is when I must have it registered by before I start taking penalties.


To be continued...

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