The list of work needed to get this thing back on the road is growing.

For $600, you can’t expect much. Back at Ron’s, we had hooked up a jumper battery and shot some ether into it to get it started. But beyond that, we pretty much just eyeballed the rest of the car to try to anticipate what else it was going to need. In addition to there being a fuel delivery problem, we saw flat tires, a dragging exhaust, and of course, rusty brakes.

But that’s not all. A second attempt at starting the car resulted in a sudden failure somewhere in the ignition switch assembly. Something had physically broken loose, and the key just rotated limply back and forth in its cylinder.

So we removed the seats and console to investigate. Saab’s ignition switch assembly consists of three major components: the key barrel, a set of gears, and then the contact switch cylinder. Lo and behold, two little ears atop of one of the gears had broken off, rendering the key barrel unable to turn the switch.

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Key barrel and contact switch removed

As a temporary measure to get by until we can get a new gear, I went ahead and built a temporary ignition switch box out of an old gum container. Meanwhile, my brother went to the local junkyard to pick up a cheap used battery, so that we wouldn’t have to keep using my jumper box.

Just like the OEM switch, the START position kills some of the non-essential circuitry.

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With a battery and a functional ignition switch, we started investigating the rest of the electrical system. With the switch allowing power to the accessories, we found inop horns, inop headlamp wipers, inop brake lamps, and TWO problems with the fuel system.

The fuel pump would not kick on at all. Partly because no power was being sent to it, and partly because the pump itself was dead. Even with a direct supply of power jumpered to it, it still wouldn’t turn on.

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Saab built a wonderfully organized and labelled fuse panel that handles most of the power distribution. But even though it contains the fuel pump fuse, the two fuel system relays are tucked underneath the dashboard with the LH Jetronic module. Unable to figure out a way to easily access those relays, my brother set about pulling the dash apart.

Jetronic module and relay bracket partially unbolted and rotated for better access

Good thing too, because the brake lamp switch was no walk in the park to get to, either. Not only was the plunger stuck inside the switch, but the switch body was a little warm (!). And once we had it out, we could see a melted spot right in the middle.

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Switch guts (except for the main plunger) pulled out of the switch housing

We’re going to try to leave the other obvious stuff for later. Exhaust can wait, and there’s no need to get brakes and tires until we’re ready to get the car rolling. Top priority right now is getting that fuel delivery issue sorted out. Once the engine can run under its own power, we can see how it runs, and find out if there are any issues with the cooling system. *fingers crossed*

For now, we’ve got the first round of parts to go hunt down, and some circuits to trace. Stay tuned!