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Three Speed Thread - one out - one expected soon


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11 hours ago, Three Speed said:

The alternator on the Saab was making getting very noisy. I had already had the "pleasure" of changing the water pump which I originally thought (hoped) ws the culprit. The alternator is on the back of the engine. The HBOL says you have to undo a couple of bolts and out it comes. Not true. You have to take the tensioner off before you can get to one of the bolts and taking that off is not easy. Having got the tensioner off and the alternator bolts out it took a full size tyre lever to get the thing to move. So far, so easy. Now the thing was free - but too big to get through the gaps. A helpful post on a forum told me you had to take a bracket off to make room to get it out above the drive shaft. So I did that and it still wouldn't go through. I had to drop the exhaust in the end. Anyway all done now and tranquility is restored - apart from the small blow in the exhaust which I think will seal up with a bit of goo and a jubilee clip.

I've been hanging onto the Saab in case we wanted to do another banger run but I don't think that's likely in the near future. So - if anyone fancies a Saab 900 2.3 NA automatic convertible with less than 70k miles, MOT until November for not much money let me know. The bad points are that the roof is manual only, it has been keyed down one side and the door on the other side has a dent. The bumpers are a bit scruffy and it generally looks a bit tired. It had 2 advisories on the MOT - a leaky front damper and a front tyre worn on its shoulder. The other front tyre loses pressure. It needs the tracking doing. the cassette player does not work - nor does the AC, in fact I've fitted a the non-AC belt to avoid a seized compressor. The good bits are most of everything else. 

Next job the Traction brake pipes unless I can find something else to distract me.

How do you do the roof manually? Mine no longer operates electrically but I can’t seem to lower it manually.... 

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How to do the roof manually? I had thought I had some photos that would help illustrate this but I don't. So words will have to do.

I think some 900s have hydraulic pumps - mine is not one of those. It's all electric motors and mechanical linkages. 

I don't know the history of my roof, It was fubar before I got it. The car came with a big stack of Saab service notes of the various upgrades and repairs for the roof which had been well thumbed through. I thought I'd have a good at fixing it myself. I found at least one wood screw had been used instead of the original plastic rivet so I think I know how it originally failed and that amateur efforts to fix have rendered it unfixable. 

I think it helps to know why your roof will not operate because you need to know how the 5th bow (what we Saab roof experts call the bottom of the rear of the roof) locks and releases to the tonneau, and how tonneau locks and releases from the body. These were the areas that were buggered on my car. I think the root cause was a sliding rod in the tonneau locking mechanism seizing in its guide which resulted in it bending and breaking off a plastic rivet. That meant neither the tonneau nor the 5th bow would release. So, when I got the car, some of these parts were no longer in position or doing anything useful and the tonneau was held down by string.

If the locking mechanism under the tonneau is working properly, then it should release and lock when you operate the switch. If it doesn't some fixing or mullering will be required. 

Once mullering has begun, there is no way back.

I have modified mine so that I can operate the 5th bow catch electrically by a switch. I have also taken off the linkage to the tonneau locks to the body (they were broken already - hence the string) and replaced them with bolts and wing nuts. 

So anyway here's how to do it on my car:

To open:

  • Release the roof catches and open the windows.
  • Drop the rear seat back (you need the ignition key for this) and pull the roof emergency handle - there is a slit in the fabric on the drivers side. The red handle is behind it. Pulling this handle disconnects the linkage from the motors.
  • This is when I operate my switch to release the 5th bow catch - the motor is under the tonneau. It slides two catches. It should be the first thing that happens in the opening sequence so may well happen if you operate the normal switch.
  • Now I can manually raise the rear part of the roof far enough so that the tonneau can be lifted up.
  • Next I remove the wing nuts and lift up the tonneau.
  • Now drop the rear part of the roof about half way and then comes the heavy part.
  • Lift the front of the roof - it helps to have 2 people for this but I can do it alone. It's a bit of a sequence to get the rear part into the roof well and then follow it with the front part of the roof.
  • Then put the tonneau back and, in my case, refit the wing nuts.

To close is, more or less, the reverse of the above. The only thing to add is that, lifting the roof out of the well is very heavy. If I'm alone I find it best to stand on the back seat to pull it directly up. That's not necessary when Mrs Speed is helping.

So that's how I do it.

According to the Saab documentation, you can raise the roof manually just by releasing the red lever. But this does assume the problem is the main motor or one of the bazillion microswitches in the system and that the unlocking mechanism is still working. It says that once you have used the lever you need to get the system reset but I don't really see why -  other than it needs the fault to be fixed. 

I wired a couple of switches into the circuit to drive the motors directly and bypass all the microswitches - and it turns out at least one of the two main motors is not working. So, manual it will remain.

I hope that helps. I can add pictures next time I get the roof down - maybe next weekend.

 

 

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On 7/4/2020 at 10:37 PM, Three Speed said:

My Herald is currently wearing 5.5J steel wheels but it is supposed to be on Avon Safety alloys. The reason it isn't is that they're a bit scruffy and the tyres are seriously old. I have started cleaning them up with a glass fibre brush. I plan to order some new tyres but I don't think tyre fitters like these Avon Safety Wheels. I have heard the ring is hard to fit and remove. So, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look inside and see what I can do to make it easy for them. I've never taken a tyre off any kind of car wheel before. First challenge - break the bead. I tried the trolley jack method - using a ratchet strap and a couple bits of wood. Result? One broken ratchet strap. 

So I tried something more substantial which was more successful.  IMG_9052.thumb.jpg.4a1f2ef1560ca3a121cc40aebf3fc612.jpg

 

The first one I tried had an inner tube fitted - and no metal band covering the well inside. No rim tape either. I don't know why it had a tube - I hope it is not because the wheel is porous. And why no band? Maybe the band was not fitted because  the fitter didn't think the tube would last long if it was. But I'm not sure it would sit well on top of the exposed well groove either. And it seems a bit odd having a tube in a Safety Wheel - blowouts and all that. I wonder if my uncle (whose car this was) knew about this - he was very particular about things. I wonder if I can get another band.

I tried to get the tyre off the rim but gave up as I didn't want to cause damage.

The other three wheels don't have tubes - so I had a look in one of them and found the band in place.

IMG_9053.thumb.jpg.540b65c00d1d62b814e039ee676d8201.jpg

To get it off you "just" have to loosen the screw - it's not that easy to get too with the tyre in the way but I came off in the end.IMG_9055.thumb.jpg.220d8959efaa3b0057d44c820f5ea604.jpg

I assume the other two wheels have them fitted so I'll get them off too. 

So, now we know what the inside of an Avon Safety Wheel looks like. 

Handy tip: Use your DS suspension to break a tyre away from the rim :)

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8 hours ago, Three Speed said:

How to do the roof manually? I had thought I had some photos that would help illustrate this but I don't. So words will have to do.

I think some 900s have hydraulic pumps - mine is not one of those. It's all electric motors and mechanical linkages. 

I don't know the history of my roof, It was fubar before I got it. The car came with a big stack of Saab service notes of the various upgrades and repairs for the roof which had been well thumbed through. I thought I'd have a good at fixing it myself. I found at least one wood screw had been used instead of the original plastic rivet so I think I know how it originally failed and that amateur efforts to fix have rendered it unfixable. 

I think it helps to know why your roof will not operate because you need to know how the 5th bow (what we Saab roof experts call the bottom of the rear of the roof) locks and releases to the tonneau, and how tonneau locks and releases from the body. These were the areas that were buggered on my car. I think the root cause was a sliding rod in the tonneau locking mechanism seizing in its guide which resulted in it bending and breaking off a plastic rivet. That meant neither the tonneau nor the 5th bow would release. So, when I got the car, some of these parts were no longer in position or doing anything useful and the tonneau was held down by string.

If the locking mechanism under the tonneau is working properly, then it should release and lock when you operate the switch. If it doesn't some fixing or mullering will be required. 

Once mullering has begun, there is no way back.

I have modified mine so that I can operate the 5th bow catch electrically by a switch. I have also taken off the linkage to the tonneau locks to the body (they were broken already - hence the string) and replaced them with bolts and wing nuts. 

So anyway here's how to do it on my car:

To open:

  • Release the roof catches and open the windows.
  • Drop the rear seat back (you need the ignition key for this) and pull the roof emergency handle - there is a slit in the fabric on the drivers side. The red handle is behind it. Pulling this handle disconnects the linkage from the motors.
  • This is when I operate my switch to release the 5th bow catch - the motor is under the tonneau. It slides two catches. It should be the first thing that happens in the opening sequence so may well happen if you operate the normal switch.
  • Now I can manually raise the rear part of the roof far enough so that the tonneau can be lifted up.
  • Next I remove the wing nuts and lift up the tonneau.
  • Now drop the rear part of the roof about half way and then comes the heavy part.
  • Lift the front of the roof - it helps to have 2 people for this but I can do it alone. It's a bit of a sequence to get the rear part into the roof well and then follow it with the front part of the roof.
  • Then put the tonneau back and, in my case, refit the wing nuts.

To close is, more or less, the reverse of the above. The only thing to add is that, lifting the roof out of the well is very heavy. If I'm alone I find it best to stand on the back seat to pull it directly up. That's not necessary when Mrs Speed is helping.

So that's how I do it.

According to the Saab documentation, you can raise the roof manually just by releasing the red lever. But this does assume the problem is the main motor or one of the bazillion microswitches in the system and that the unlocking mechanism is still working. It says that once you have used the lever you need to get the system reset but I don't really see why -  other than it needs the fault to be fixed. 

I wired a couple of switches into the circuit to drive the motors directly and bypass all the microswitches - and it turns out at least one of the two main motors is not working. So, manual it will remain.

I hope that helps. I can add pictures next time I get the roof down - maybe next weekend.

 

 

This is incredibly helpful!

I think mine is the fifth bow, as the tonneau won’t raise, that’s where mine gets stuck. The roof moves forward but then the tonneau does nothing and check roof appears. The first time it failed one side released and the other didn’t, to get it to close I ended up having to take part of the clip off or it would’ve been far from watertight! I need to take some more time to look at it I think, and will follow your guide! 

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@brownnova if the rear roof raises itself but the tonneau doesn’t it suggests the 5th bow latch motor and the 5th bow motors are all working. 
If the tonneau is not moving there are a few possibilities.

One is that the motor is not getting power because a micro switch does not register the process has got far enough yet.

Or it might be that the motor is U/S. 

Another possibility is that the mechanism under the tonneau that links the motor to the latches at the B-post are jammed. Do the flaps at the top of the B-post raise? I think they should before the tonneau can rise.
The troubleshooting guide for “5th bow raises all the way then top stops other movement” lists 3 causes:

a- header switches closed by dowel pin. This seems to be that the roof has renengaged with the header rail  enough for the switches to think it is still latched.

b- 5th bow potentiometer will not reach high limit.  Since this relates to a potentiometer reading rather than a limit switch it needs reprogramming with the SID box.

c- tonneau motor disengaged. This is the gears becoming unmeshed at the motor. So the motor will be whirring but not driving.

 

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@Three Speed this is all incredibly helpful! I don’t think the flaps raise, but you’re right they definitely used to. I’ll need to check though as I haven’t looked at it in about a month.

I think we can rule out c on that list, the motor isn’t whirring. But a is a possibility especially since the first time it went wrong one side seemed to be still engaged and I then had to fiddle about extensively to get the other side to sit down (sort of) flush. I do wonder if the fact that it has been mainly stood for the last few months and the battery was likely quite low may have something to do with it. 

Where is this trouble shooting guide if I may ask? It may be very helpful to try and diagnose the problems. 

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@brownnova the troubleshooting guide is about 60-70 loose leaf photocopied pages of Saab “ troubleshooting information and service information bulletins” that came with the car. I don’t know if they are available online anywhere.  I’m thinking I should show the upper half of my face at work soon (first time since October). I can scan it there.

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Thank you @brownnova!

And now - what's under the tonneau?

Well first - here's the emergency release lever behind the rear seat back. You can see the bolts and wing nuts I've added to hold the tonneau down.

1490051347_emergencylever.thumb.jpg.283ebda0f45b6279b260e315de09fde3.jpg

Underneath the tonneau you can see the motor which drives the latches. It drives 2 rods sideways from the motor.

1580635533_underthetonneau2.thumb.jpg.571b0d8506de02edb05d7b89f27378b1.jpg

These rods have hooks which connect with the brackets on the bottom of the 5th bow. That's what pulls the 5th bow down. 

990727773_5thbow.thumb.jpg.b400f9315064b68aa594885fb658d4c3.jpg

They also have roll pins which rotate rods at right angles which run forwards and drive the flaps up and down and operate the catches which hold the tonneau down.  1176543293_tonneaupin.thumb.jpg.1559abac32d1c9005cad772e9293a817.jpg

The flaps have been broken off this car and the catches removed. That's how a previous owner released the tonneau. I have removed the pins so the rods no longer rotate - that reduces the load on the motor.1427410688_tonneaupinremoved.thumb.jpg.14d72810f3cbe79edce9458c35875cc4.jpg

So  - how to release the tonneau without breaking off the flaps? A small child could be encouraged to get under the tonneau through the opening behind the rear seat. The rods can be rotated against the spring to release each catch - at least I think so. I can't check on mine because they've gone. And to release the 5th bow you can operate the motor by getting to the grey and brown wires as described in the "tips" document. I've wired the motor directly to a switch that I power from the cigarette lighter. I hope that helps.

Tomorrow the Saab will have a new owner. 

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Call me Mr Nice Guy.  Yep, I'm the one who hoovered this little beauty up.  In an almost too-good-to-be-true transaction Mr. Three Speed delivered a mechanically flawless but dented Saab 900 Auto to my door and then made his own way home!  Now for a bit of Summer fun.  First stop was to pick up some South African friends who've just moved over here on work permits and who were released from quarantine on Saturday.  Bought some fancy Costa Coffees, dropped the top, stuck the heater on full blast and took them on a 10pm - 1am night drive around the sights of central London (Regent Street, Buck Palace, Tower Bridge, Harrods, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben...all that stuff).  They were over the moon and it was such a success that we did it all again 10pm to midnight last night too!  (Well I'd already paid the ULEZ for that day so wanted my money's worth.)   Seriously though, a million thank-yous' to Three Speed for selling this to me and for bringing it over.  I definitely owe you one.  I've done 500 miles in it already.  

IMG_20210405_234241.jpg

IMG_20210405_000709.jpg

IMG_20210405_003738.jpg

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@Alan_Green very pleased it all worked out! Looks like a lot of fun. And I look forward to reading more over the Summer (good job it has a good heater). Pleasure to do business with you. Would sell again.

Of course the Saab-sized space on the drive had started upsetting the Feng Shui round here but my son has worked out how to fix that. Expect news of incoming in a few days.

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  • Three Speed changed the title to Three Speed Thread - one out - one expected soon

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