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SierraMikeHotel's chod: From 3 to 250 BHP


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#121 ONLINE   rantingYoof

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 11:49 AM

I wish I'd had a chance to drive a 9-5 Aero which wasn't fucked.

 

A few months after buying my 9-3 Aero and already well deep into regret at swapping a solid-feeling V70 estate for a plasticky cheap-feeling Vauxhall, a cheap 9-5 Aero came up for sale down the road. It was in a gorgeous colour, manual 'box, fully loaded etc. I knew the 9-5s weren't subject to such stringent cost-cutting and down-to-a-price interior fitting as the 9-3s, so my interest was piqued.

 

Arrived, had a hole in the grille. Would come with another and was very cheap anyway.

 

Took it for a drive.

 

Now, I'm an astonishing simpleton when it comes to car mechanics and knowing how things work and have virtually no initiative, or rather had much less back then. But even I could tell that the gearbox was completely and utterly shagged, to the point where you could almost sense the power being lost through the horrific whirring/grinding noise that would come from the just under where the gearstick entered the car, and would accompany any brisk acceleration.

 

It wasn't faster than my 9-3 Aero at all, despite having 40hp more and considerably more torque. The only good thing about the 9-3 Aero was that 2.0 16v engine...the only car which delivered a true kick in the back when dumping it in 2nd and 3rd gear.

 

Well bought sir - it even looks like the badge on the bonnet has survived so you know it's a good 'un! :-D


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Cure for insomnia #57812: rantingYoof's Historic Car Fleet Information History...Thing


#122 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 04:45 PM

I've just been and read your thread, brilliant stuff! I'd be very happy to have a go in any of your previous cars.

I noticed a lot of disintegrated bonnet badges during my search... Is it the Saab equivalent of one of the Citroen chevrons being missing?

Went down to the coast for some fresh air and got to know the 9-5 a little better. The interior needs a really good clean and there's a split in the fake wood, which is only a little thicker than wrapping paper. Never mind, a previous owner has applied an invisible* sellotape repair. Also the PAS pump is a little noisy, but the steering doesn't go heavy so I'm not going to worry about that yet.

I generally dislike any hint of Barrying but I've decided the prancing mooses can stay. Swedish Ferrari!

2018-03-24 11.16.32.jpg
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#123 OFFLINE   Talbot

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 05:47 PM

If my history with Saabs continues this will shortly be upside down and on fire.


True, but it will be through no fault of your own, it'll just happen one day *for no reason*.

Because SAAB.
Current fleet:  Mercedes.  Xantia.  Berlingo.  Discovery.  Forward Control.  Nova. Historic shite.

#124 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 06:03 PM

True, but it will be through no fault of your own, it'll just happen one day *for no reason*.

Because SAAB.

For others who don't know, there's a bit of a running joke where my dad and I have owned four Saabs between us and they've all come to a bad end - therefore all Saabs implode of their own accord.

I'm operating on the theory that this one has already had its catastrophic failure so it'll be fine with me.

The radiator failed in a way that allowed water to mix with the ATF in the gearbox, with predictable results - hence the lower mileage gearbox and new rad I mentioned.

It'll be fine. I'm sure it'll be just fine.
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#125 OFFLINE   mnde

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 04:21 PM

**First post for years alert**
Fcuking hell Stuart!! 250bhp?!? :D

...As you were
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#126 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 04:31 PM

**First post for years alert**
Fcuking hell Stuart!! 250bhp?!? :D

...As you were

Yup.

It really, really moves. Considerably faster than the Merc.

Good to see you here :)

#127 OFFLINE   mat_the_cat

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 10:53 PM

Seconded - it's like old times again!


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#128 OFFLINE   Ghosty

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 04:37 AM

Broken horn you say?

 

If it's the unit itself and not a wiring fault go and get one of those £23 Ring twin air horns from Halfords:

 

 

that's on my old Rover 200, confused the fuck out of people! Always cheered me up when I had to use it for what a great sound it made too.


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#129 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 08:30 AM

Broken horn you say?

If it's the unit itself and not a wiring fault go and get one of those £23 Ring twin air horns from Halfords:

https://www.youtube....h?v=xhuhdhOjf4Y

that's on my old Rover 200, confused the fuck out of people! Always cheered me up when I had to use it for what a great sound it made too.

That's very cheerful indeed!

None of the buttons on the steering wheel work, and a bit of browsing on Saab forums leads me to the clockspring as the prime suspect. It will have to go to the garage for this, as I have nowhere to work and can't really immobilise the car by removing the steering wheel when it's living on the road...

A town centre flat sounds great but sometimes it's massively inconvenient.

#130 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 01:37 PM

And so I return my attention to the little Honda. I'm sure the fuel leak is probably just a split hose but I'm not willing to work on it by the road side. After I move...

So, into the back of a rental van with you. I couldn't find anything suitable to use as a ramp but it turns out I am strong enough to lift a Vision into a Transit.

a1220fbd850e02848c32482ced53bcb0.jpg

It felt a bit strange dropping it off at the garage... I always worry about it, as if the bigger bikes are going to pick on it. Silly, I know.

a38c041a7ac4e0e1e2888e2cd587004b.jpg

Verdict on the Transit: definitely slower than the Saab.
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#131 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 07:53 PM

Picked up the Honda today, with a fresh MoT, a fresh little bit of fuel hose, and some compliments from the mechanic.

 

It always divides opinion with bike people - the mechanic was enthusing about it, said it was a brilliant Vision, and another customer drily interrupted with "Well, as brilliant as a Vision is capable of being..."  I don't care.  I mean, look at the thing: it's guaranteed to attract piss-taking, so I'm happy whenever other people like it and riding it makes me very happy indeed.  It's a daft little thing but it brings me a lot of pleasure in return for a very small amount of money.  If it brings a smile to other people then that's a bonus.

 

The bill was £60: an MoT is £30 and the other £30 accounts for half an hour of labour and a very small length of fuel hose.  I'm a little annoyed that I wasn't able to do the job myself, but I really can't at the side of the road.  That will change after I move.

 

The journey from Brighton to Lewes is not one of life's great epics (I normally do it on a train, in 13 minutes, while reading my book) unless you're doing it on a 49cc moped.  Then it's a 45 minute epic, with brave manoeuvres through traffic, a few minutes of elation in the stretch where you're allowed to use the bus lane past the big traffic jam, some sea views, some big hills that see you down to 25mph then up to nearly 40, and finally a real country road with scenery, villages and some open road.

 

Only a few people tried to kill me, and a similar number actually moved over to let me through, so there's some human interaction that you don't get on a car journey too.

 

It's a stupid machine, I have no justification for owning it, but I love it.


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#132 OFFLINE   mrbenn

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 08:36 PM

It looks like a great little thing :-)

 

Congrats on the MOT pass!


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#133 OFFLINE   Exiled_Tat_Gatherer

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 08:42 AM

Well bought on the SAAB - one of my shortlisted estates that is tagged to replace the T5 when I've had enough. My 93 is fantastic and has never let me down at all..... some exist!
I think - elsewhere on here - someone mentioned the Rover estates as the best looking made (the only other estate on my list) but I think the SAAB is just as fine a looking beast with the go to match the show......
Sadly I'm a manual type of guy.... but would love to know how good the flapppy paddles work on these.....

#134 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:51 PM

Well, I've had better days...

 

The intention was to drive up to that there London, have lunch with one set of parentals and visit my sister in hospital, with an appropriately amusing* package of chocolate/magazines/puzzles to stave off the boredom and keep her roughly this side of sane.

 

Any car can feel good on a nice day, but when you're getting used to a new-to-you car you get a really good impression of it when you're on a mercy dash, worrying about someone, and it's shitting down with rain.  The M23/M25 run could never be described as fun but the Saab felt strong and confident, even through well-known patches of standing water that unsettle even the brand-new Merc.  One of the things I always do with a "new" car is new wipers and I'm really pleased that I did that last weekend.

 

I'm still learning how the car behaves though, and today I learned that it's entirely possible to spin the front wheels at 50mph in the wet.

 

I'm still undecided about the Bilstein shocks.  I've always preferred comfy cars, but I've learned to accept that there simply aren't any more comfy cars since Citroen gave up on their unique path to the zen of ride quality.  The 9-5 rides about how the modern Merc does on its first sport setting: the ride is firm, but not crashy.  You feel the bumps but you don't get an aftershock bounce.  And then, it isn't a wafty Citroen... it's a stupidly fast car and it needs the handling to cope.

 

My Dad really enjoyed crawling all over it and I think this is the first time one of my three-figure cars has actually impressed him.  When he saw it was an auto though, his first question was: How do you like the flappy paddles?  Mine doesn't have them, they came on the following year, and I think I really disappointed him by saying that I've never seen the point in the things.  I've driven a number of cars that have them and I've always tried them out, realised it's a stupid idea, and never touched them again.  Dad, however, claims to drive his Skoda Superb DSG in manual mode most of the time.

 

I reckon he's totally unique and most people never touch the paddles.  Thoughts from the floor please!

 

I didn't get to see my sister because she got moved to a different unit in west London this afternoon where she will hopefully get a better standard of treatment.  I don't actually believe in the power of thoughtsandprayers but, well, I'm sending my good thoughts her way...

 

Home down the scenic route, which includes a stretch of road heading through Southborough and into Tunbridge Wells which appears to have been hit with Paveways.  This made me wonder about the Bilsteins, and indeed about the whole concept of running a sporting car in the UK in 2018.  But then the road surface totally changed, and the last stretch was one of the most beautiful bits of driving I've ever done.  A really familiar bit of road, but drying out, still light, no traffic whatsoever ahead, and more power than I would dream of using....  Lots of fun.

 

Home, and I've spent the evening googling the minor issues that the Saab has. The digital displays are all fucked but they all seem to be fixable, and I think I've sourced a dog guard.

 

The previous owner seems to have been a competent mechanic - which I'm not - and I think he's sorted all the mechanical stuff, leaving me with a car that's sound underneath but has lots of niggles that I am (hopefully) capable of dealing with.



#135 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 04:03 PM

There's no real update, I just wanted an excuse to post this picture!

637ff3fcd90a372b9967f4bc8a86476f.jpg

It's the first time the two vehicles have met, now that I'm not living in a town centre flat and hunting for parking spaces, and I couldn't resist a snap of two very, very different animals together. One is spacious, well-equipped (by the standards of its time), comfortable and very, very fast. The other is the opposite of all those things.

They're both hilarious in their different ways. I doubt I'll ever sell the moped now, even though it will only do tens of miles per year for the foreseeable future, and I'm rapidly warming to the Saab. I'm still not convinced by the lowered suspension but the ride isn't terrible and the car makes up for it in other ways. It's now kitted out with dog guard and National Trust sticker so it could even be a giffer-mobile until you press the loud pedal.

The Honda moped now has a lovely dry shed to live in, just like it did under giffer ownership (I bought it from a friend's Grandma) so hopefully it will continue to survive with minimal problems and minimal mileage.
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#136 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 25 April 2018 - 07:17 PM

The Saab has a number of minor issues, but the only ones that I deemed safety-critical were the lack of horn and the vibrating brakes (which have improved somewhat with use).

It's the designated vehicle for a trip to Ostend in a couple of weeks with myself, my wife, her brother and two close friends on board so I'm quite keen for it to be as safe as it can be before then.

As is normal for company cars, the Merc isn't allowed to leave the country. I used to think the insurance industry was very behind in terms of European integration but with recent events maybe they were forward thinking? Anyway. The new Merc can't go, so we're travelling in the oldest and most mileagey car that any of us own.

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that it went to the local garage this morning. My worst fears would have been a need for a new steering wheel, and new discs and pads which would have totalled something near the value of the car.

Two hours after dropping it off I got a phone call that made me very happy though: the horn and some of the stereo controls came back to life with some vigorous cleaning of contacts, and the vibration under braking is caused by very slightly warped front discs, probably because the car was standing for a while before I bought it. They're satisfied that it's safe so left well alone. I'd mentioned that I'd only just bought it so they too a good look around underneath and didn't find any immediate causes for concern.

Some garages would have taken the opportunity to change the discs and pads and charged me accordingly, but I'm very lucky to have a local garage that doesn't take the piss: and that's why they get word of mouth recommendations and repeat custom.

Bill: £55. Customer: satisfied.

#137 OFFLINE   SierraMikeHotel

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 02:01 PM

Safely home from Ostend, where the Saab performed admirably.  Three out of the five of us have some serious Saab nostalgia, with parents owning them when we were little, and my future brother-in-law especially enjoyed himself as his parents had an identical 9-5 estate when he was younger.

 

It's not exactly far from here to Ostend (the car only put on 350 miles over the weekend) but when it was aimed down the autoroute with the cruise control set at 130km/h it felt like I could drive it all day long.  It swallowed five adults plus luggage (plus bedding as the Air b'n'b slightly bizarrely didn't provide any) and still felt quick and poised.

 

2018-05-06 12.32.28.jpg

 

I still have a hankering for a classic-shape 900 though...

 

So, what's Belgium like?  Ostend isn't packed with tourist attractions, but the beach is amazing and the town centre is very pleasant.  I imagine it would be a really good place to live: very clean, good public transport, very laid-back and peaceful.  We liked it a lot, especially after finding an excellent local bar with home-made Avocaat.

 

2018-05-05 22.39.51.jpg

 

We had a day out in Bruges as well: again extremely pleasant and very chilled-out, but very touristy indeed.  That's fine, if you're a tourist, but I couldn't imagine living there.  Beautiful place though.  The food isn't great, Belgian waffles and chocolate are amazing but we only had one really decent main meal (here, if you're interested) with most menus seeming to be heavy on the deep-fryer.

 

There's a certain atmosphere there which I really liked... very unhurried, chilled-out, laid-back... There's no need to rush about everywhere, just slow down and enjoy life.  And why not?

 

We were there for the UCI Paracycling event in support of my sister-in-law Liz Saul, I don't honestly know anything about bike racing but it was good to go and cheer her on.


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#138 OFFLINE   Tadhg Tiogar

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 02:10 PM

....We had a day out in Bruges as well: again extremely pleasant and very chilled-out, but very touristy indeed.  That's fine, if you're a tourist, but I couldn't imagine living there.  Beautiful place though.  ....



F*ck your Honda Civic, I've a horse outside,
F*ck your Subaru, I have a horse outside.
And f*ck your Mitsubishi, I've a horse outside,
If you're lookin' for a ride, I've got a horse outside




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