By Fabergé Greggs
There was a blurry period somewhere around the end of November where I wanted that purchase feeling, and wanted it bad. The Favorit had served me very well but it was never going to be a keeper… I’d gone a bit loopy and was considering all sorts of unsavoury vehicles.
Bramz’s Saab came up for sells, and having missed out by a ball hair on its 3 previous sales, snapped it up. I also thought fuck it and agreed to buy HMC’s Xantia, though sadly FJ said NO to that particular pairing.
I also bought SMH’s Honda Vision somewhere around this time, and had to abort the collection due to OMG fuel leak, now resolved and awaiting a nice sunny day for collection mk2.
So you know, feeling bit overwhelmed by all of this, I subsequently got a text from Ken saying I’d won his raffle E46 beemer. FUCK!
Anyway, some deals where done. Dollywobbler drove off in the Fav, Bramz drove off in the E46 and I ended up with the Saabre tooth tiger.
It’s so bloody NICE. The engine and box is a great combo around town, just the right amounts of laziness and torquiness. Out on the open road, the fairy low top ratio of the 3 speed box is a little tiresome, but not too bad as long as you ignore the MPG’s.
How are the MPG’s? Well, I started to gather some data on how much fuel I was putting in and how miles I was doing but then I suddenly thought FUCK NO! So I’ve just been doing loads of miles in it anyway.
I’ve been up to Scotland in it twice, all over the shop really. I think I’ve done about 2500 miles in a month, putting in loads of fuel. Loads and loads.
But it’s ace! It’s so comfy, so solid and surefooted. What with winter tires and headlight washers, it just feels so right blasting through the hills of Scotland in freezing temperatures. At times it was so wet a Saabmarine might have been more appropriate, but it just kept on keeping on. And once you’ve finished doing that and you’re heading back down the motorway to London, it just feels so nice and cosseting once you hit London traffic. Fuck me it’s thirsty though..
Knowing that I was going to be doing a bunch of miles in it I put in some really nice front speakers, a head unit that I got from Sims for £20, and an underseat subwoofer. The fronts I used are the https://www.alpine.co.uk/p/Products/SingleView/SPG-10C2. Having tried a bunch of speakers I've come to fully understand that you need to pay for silk dome tweeters. They just sound fundamentally way better before any EQ’ing or whatnot. These I paired up with one of these:
https://www.caraudiocentre.co.uk/product_m-in-phase-usw10_p-25817.htm?gclid=CjwKCAiA9qHhBRB2EiwA7poaeKsYbxnqsJmH1-qU6P4Jzoq0NW-1kURd-D5mUW2TFHm0LOdVoCVzNRoCkEcQAvD_BwE. I recommend it- not the lowest extension ever, but a massive improvement on a stock system. What made wiring this in particularly pleasant in the Saab was discovering that I already had a 12v source rated to 30A under the seats for the optional electric seats. I discovered the fuse box for this under the rear seats, popped a fuse in, and voila!
One thing that I really love about this car is the smell. My mum tested a second hand one of these on a dealers forecourt back in the day, and I swear to you I can remember the smell, and it’s EXACTLY THE SAME. Other smells that I can recall are limited to 2 stroke, the slightly oily smell of the x1/9 at full chat and MB-tex on a sunny day.
Aside from the FUEL CONSUMPTION, one downer is that it seems quite eager to scrape it’s belly on those central speed humps that you get everywhere in London. It’s got quite a low bit under the engine, perhaps something to do with the auto box or whatnot.
Any way, I love it. I'll accept no Saabstitute. Hats off to all former keepers, Vantman, Holbeck, Bramz.. Onwards!
It’s filty at the mo, so I’ll do a wrong ‘un and get some snaps for y’all.
Rather than starting a topic for every car I reckoned it might be better if I just dumped my motory musings in here.
The fleet is rather unexciting these days, currently consisting of the camperised ex-roofer's van Hiace and the ex-Cavcraft/dieselnutjob Rover 420.
First off, the Hiace, it's absorbed a fair amount of my life (and income) in the last few months. I've managed to turn it from a tatty, scruffy old roofer's van to a slightly less tatty basic camper van.
It had a thread here:
Which I had completely forgotten about. It started out like this...
And now looks like this...
Radical difference, I know. Two proper windows professionally installed and a set of hubcaps plus a new towbar socket and a bit of cleaning. Most of the changes are on the inside, I will eventually gather all my photos together for the work done to line and insulate it and do a proper post if anyone's interested.
So, the Rover - bought with suspected HGF due to a problem with coolant bursting out of the header tank every time it warmed up, no wipers and a broken door handle, it has been perfectly reliable since after replacing the ill-fitting aftermarket header tank lid with a proper one and changing the knackered wiper mechanism. It has a brief thread here...
Mostly all I have done is make it dirty and add over 800 miles to it. Finally, this weekend it was time for some maintenance. First off, a trip to the local tyre centre and the slow puncture was repaired by re-sealing the wheel.
Investigation underneath showed nice newish brake pads and discs on the front and very little rust underneath. They confirmed that the noisy, rattly exhaust is down to a blowing manifold gasket and broken up rear silencer and cat insides. Most of the noise can be reduced with a new gasket and back box so I'll get around to that eventually, it's not bad enough to be a real problem yet.
I had a spare hour so started to get servicing bits sorted, it hasn't had one since 2014 so it's long overdue.
New spark plugs and air filter...
Plugs didn't look too bad but shiny new ones are an improvement. Next up, cam cover gasket which seems to be the source of most of the oil caked onto the block.
Finally, the thermostat needs changing as it never gets above 1/3 on the gauge and takes a long time to get there. This is where things went wrong. I took the housing pipework off and was greeted by this...
There is a thermostat wedged tightly into the rubber pipe, causing it to bulge, and nothing in the housing. It doesn't look right to me and the 'stat is properly wedged in there, I couldn't get it out. I think I'm going to have to replace the pipe in its entirety which is annoying, unless I'm barking up the wrong tree here. More annoyingly, I removed the plastic bleed screw on top of the pipe to see if it would help in pushing out the stat but it didn't and now the screw won't go back in - it seems to have been threaded onto a nut inside which has now dropped into the pipe. Bugger.
This is the new thermostat I have, which I now think is wrong for this model (it is the same one as correctly fitted the older 220SLi).
I suspect I need this one...
Any thoughts on that? Anyway, with the screw not going back in, it's stranded on the driveway for now until I can sort that particular little issue out.
To finish the job, it needs an oil and filter change plus a full coolant flush as the stuff in it now seems to be mostly brown water. The lumpy idle hasn't been fixed by the new plugs so I'll also change the ignition leads as they're possibly the originals and are caked in oil where they're attached to the ignition module. Removing and cleaning them seemed to improve matters slightly but it still sounds crap. That said, it revs cleanly and pulls very well, with plenty of power and smooth delivery so it drives extremely well despite this.
As some of you may have already seen over on the For Sale forum, somehow I managed to win @barefoot's Renault Vel Satis. This is a remarkable outcome, seeing as I didn't actually buy any tickets for it. @loserone clearly identified how much these things terrify me, and bought me two randoms. Normally, at this juncture, I'd be overwhelmed with gratitude. After all, it's a free car. But it's also a remarkably fragile french land whale, constructed almost entirely from unobtainium, which answers a question that nobody asked. I have five cars here, one out on long term loan and two jobs. I got the mother of all bollockings from Mrs Identity; unjustly seeing as I didn't participate in the raffle and I need this like a married man needs a second cock.
Oh, and I've just realised the road tax is a kidney per year.
Notwithstanding, I intend to run the car until the precise moment something breaks - at which stage I will raffle it off for charity.
Firstly, does anyone fancy bringing this down from the land of 'cobs' and 'ducks' to my place in Cambridge? @Ohdearme did come up with a scheme, but I'm not sure if timings will work out (perhaps they will). I'm happy to go myself - but if someone wants a day out with it then I can cover expenses (my train and petrol would be about £50) and run you back to the station in a Ford Sierra bASe.
Don't worry if it doesn't work out. I'm just keen to get it out of Barefoot's way, and start the adventure nightmare of VEL SHARTis ownership tenancy.
NB: It's Castle Donnington to Cambridge, effectively.
(Reposted in the right forum - duh!)