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Dabooka’s Topless Swede; all the fun of the Saab 9-3


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8 hours ago, Wgl2019 said:


I also recommend joining the UkSaab forum and utilising the 10% discount code....... 

Done, well signed up but not posted yet.

Popped the n/s front wheel off to clean up the callipers and see if I can undo the binding. This is about as far as I got, got stuck on the bolts holding the calipers in place. Got the bottom out but started to get concerned about damaging the upper.  Think I need to get it into my local garage, partly for that but partly as I want to be use it (and keep the missus sweet). Unlike the Cougar, we want to utilise this as a runabout.


Mind whilst I was there and noticed these so not all bad;


Finally the screws for the scuttle panel have arrived so plan for later in the week is to remove wipers and paint them, and clean up / back to black the plastics including said panel.

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Mixed day. I replaced the pads for the front after stripping the calipers down and replacing the slider pins and rubbers (Good old Bigg Red to the rescue).  All greased up etc but they still seem to bind.  Could this be because they’re wearing in against the existing discs?

A few other little things. I had a quick polish of the headlights and cleared them up a little. I need a better kit really but some of the grime / yellow has gone.  Also adjusted the handbrake so as long as the missus stops trying to get it to point to the sky that should be a bit better too. She has a history of overdoing the handbrakes on all of our cars.

Finally topped the tyres up as they were a bit low.  Starting to think I may get the wheels refurbished and replace the tyres for some better rubber. Maybe in the autumn.


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2 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

I find that once a caliper starts seizing the only long term solution is to replace it.


Yeah, I was hoping with these being fronts I may have gotten away with sorting out the slider pins.  The rears were all gunged up with the rubbers perishing and I hoped that would be sufficient  to sort the fronts out.

1 hour ago, Jazoli said:

That disc looks knackered, or is it just the photo?

No, they’re pretty screwed up but I can’t get them off. I was at real risk of rounding a nut off and hoped this would work in the short term.

May need to cut my losses here and just upgrade them! 

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Took the opportunity to buy a new battery at the weekend, I was getting one for the wife’s 2008 anyway (as the stop/start had ceased) and thought why not. I’d had one need to boost it, possibly after using the roof with the engine off but figured it’s not worth the risk.

I’ll charge and swap at the weekend but would anyone know if there’s a procedure for Saabs? I know some cars can be a bit weird.

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Cheers chaps, another small task for this weekend.

Took it for a short spin to the beach tonight seeing as it’s so lovely out there..  Mrs and I, top down, all very nice.   Well until notice a distinct ‘burny’ smell at a roundabout and see  whisps of smoke emanating from the rear o/s.  Quickly  pulled over and it looks like my adjustment of the handbrake has kept some pressure on the new discs and pads.

I’ve loosened it off and all was good again, now it’ll wait until I get it checked over on Tuesday at the local garage. Silly sod!

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Quite a reasonable day.  Started by swapping over the ICM1 for a upgrade* to the ICM2, this one having the Aux in enabled. Swapping over was fairly straight forward with only the routing of the cable to the armrest cubby proving to be a bit fiddly.  See below for green screen awesomeness, with the pretty pointless ICM1 beneath.  I’m not sure of the difference to be honest other than the screen, they seem to have the same functionality.  I’m sure there’s something otherwise why would Saab have bothered?


The previous owner decided to hack the cable up and patch in a 3.5mm jackplug which he routed to the space beneath the ashtray and plugged in his whatever (phone I assume).  The ‘patching’ was appalling so as I wanted to increase the length of the cable I sorted that out.  I still only a jackplug in the cubby box as I don’t have the pieces needed, I’ll probably get a panel mount socket and put it in the correct location and I’ll figure out the power outlet in there too.  Then I’ll concoct some kind of Bluetooth widget to stream some tunes.

This is what awaited me under layers of insulation tape and heat shrink;


Here it is all of it’s glory.


Somewhat randomly I now have the heated seat option. Score! Oh wait, I still have no heating elements or buttons. Oh well…


Also replaced one of the key fobs for a genuine* Saab item from China and fitted proper button cells from Panasonic. Pound shop specials just never seem to last.


Blade is bit wrecked on both so might look at getting a few new ones cut for niceness.  I’ve cleaned  up all the gunk but the rubber finish has perished.


Last job was replacing the car battery.  I’m certain the other was on the way out as twice it’s gone flat after working on the car so for forty odd quid why risk it?  (Also did the one on the Peugeot family bus but these Stop Start jobs are a lot more than forty odd quid…!)

It’s into the garage on Tuesday to get the brakes a proper once over.  I’m not happy at all and need some confidence in the car before I let the missus out in the wild, so for peace of mind we’ll let the professionals have a look.

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Well tonight after seeing off some friends we notice a nice red LED flashing on the top of the dash, alarm active I assume.  Neither of us can recall seeing this previously, is this just us being not very attentive or has it recently been activated?

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1 hour ago, Dabooka said:

Well tonight after seeing off some friends we notice a nice red LED flashing on the top of the dash, alarm active I assume.  Neither of us can recall seeing this previously, is this just us being not very attentive or has it recently been activated?

Nope they all have them so it's probably you. 

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A bit of time spare today so I thought I’d check out the seals on the rear clusters. Once I’ve had a bit of water ingress into the boot and although there’s no evidence of a long term problem i want to know why.

Firstly our drive is downward, meaning rain water pools on the ridge of the boot and then gets to surge backwards when driving on the level (or least that’s what I think is happening). To start off I removed the lights to clean out the gunk there. It isn’t too clear on the photograph but that’s all underneath the seal and mis-shapen it;


Here’s a better picture of the deformed shape;


Next I popped the plastic and rubber trim off, treating it a rub down of Autoglym’s rubber seal spray (or snake oil maybe but it seems to work).  Popping it back was fiddly as it didn’t want to sit right. I think I’m going to leave it for a day or two and see if it returns to normal. I think it’ll need some kind of sealant applying under and around it?  I assume I want any water to drain over the top of this?

Repeated the same on the O/S light but that wasn’t mis-shapen.


I know chasing leaks is an annoying task so I also placed some kitchen roll strategically in the wheel well to help identify where’s it getting in.  Back to work tomorrow so nowt much will happen until the weekend anyway.

Oh and I think I’ll replace the boot struts at some point as one is cracked at the top socket. Not leaking mind.


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  • 7 months later...

Well after a few months under cover I put it in for her (now lapsed) MOT. Well, last Friday actually.  I suspected it needed a ball joint anyway but got a fail sheet much worse…. 

Well I’m not in a position to fix anything at the minute so got it back in yesterday and just got it done. Not too expensive actually and it’s bought another year although I will get under it at some point and see what the welding actually was, maybe slap some chassis paint or something on it.


Now a few small jobs to do. I’ve swapped the headlight switch over as the other was getting all tacky as the coating was breaking down, and I’ve bought a cheap spare n/s wing mirror as mine isn’t adjusting correctly. Whilst that’s off I’ll get them in to work and get them painted up.  Got to get the old girl looking the part.


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That'll be the floor brace. They all rot out. Some garages miss them or don't bother though.

This was what @GingerNuttz cut off the drivers side one in my previous black 93 which had been MOTd a few months earlier.


So he rebuilt it, removing the open section which would have allowed muck to get in and cause the rot in the first place:


Weirdly, the nearside was perfect.

I'm dropping off my red one to him on Saturday for exactly the same job, again, weirdly the nearside is fine.

It's great that the garage just welded it for you. There are no garages for literally miles around my house that will touch welding. 

Roll on spring time!

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  • 1 month later...

Well maybe I’m using it as an excuse but I’ve never been quite settled with the brakes on this so  pounced on the chance for some bargain* calipers for 314mm discs. Result! Now I just need new backing plates, discs, hoses, possibly rebuild kits… Anyway I’ll be getting these stripped and painted shortly before getting them installed and getting the old girl back in use.

Mind I did NOT realise how big/ heavy these things are. Crikey.





Lego man for scale. Mind the pads might be alright at least.  I also need to find if they;re a straight swap or not.

Also need to dye the roof but need much better weather for that

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4 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

Those are huge!

I find the brakes on mine to be very good indeed.

Yeah… seems all a bit OTT to me!

However the brakes aren’t quite right for me so rather than just simply and cheaply get new standard fronts I thought I’d be a bit daft. TBH I may yet change my mind and flog them on (I did this with the Forester) and replace the standard ones but getting them stripped and painted won’t cost me anything in time or money so why not?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a small parcel arrive today and a few hours in between showers allowed me to add my Bluetooth widget to the Saab 93.  A small adapter that connects to the Aux input on the headunit and allows streaming from your phone.


A doddle to fit, pop out the ashtray, HVAC and CD player and hook up the power to the cigarette lighter feed. Pop the Aux adapter in, insert a single cable to the multi plug and you’re sorted. You can add a mic (supplied) but I can;t be arsed to rip the dash apart so haven;t bothered with that yet.  Will do one day though.



Start to finish took about half an hour and although control has to be done on the phone it is a far neater job than what I had before.   Next up the n/s mirror needs looking at over the weekend if the weather holds up.

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4 minutes ago, gadgetgricey said:

Purchased one of those as well. (not yet fitted)
Good to know easy installation. Might try the weekend.

Honestly it’s a doddle.  I used two trim removal tools, a thin screwdriver and an old ‘garage towel’ to protect from scrapes etc. Most awkward part for me was being an auto having to take it out of park to free up space to work.

If you install the microphone post back as I’d appreciate to see how it goes.

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Do you have the aux port in the armrest cubby ? I just plugged a bluetooth aux receiver in and powered it via the handy 12v port that's also in there on mine. Works a charm.

I realise this information would have been handier before you took the dash apart 😂

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/14/2023 at 8:15 AM, SRi05 said:

Do you have the aux port in the armrest cubby ? I just plugged a bluetooth aux receiver in and powered it via the handy 12v port that's also in there on mine. Works a charm.

I realise this information would have been handier before you took the dash apart 😂

Kind of. First upgrade I did was the ICM1 to the ICM2 which had the Aux port enabled, and came with a cable (a badly butchered one that terminated in a 3.5mm jack plug). I installed it to the cubby box and planned to add the 12v socket and convert the cable to a 3.5mm socket, but then found this instead. The cable is still there, I just couldn’t be arsed to remove it until I add the 12v supply

On 4/14/2023 at 8:21 AM, Split_Pin said:

Do you need Tech 2 for this? I quite fancy doing this myself.

You will need it to activate the Aux socket if not already done. I have a Tech 2 but can;t get it working, I should probably post up about that 😂

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