Saturday, November 29, 2008

SAAB 9-5 Photo Source

I take a lot of photos while I am working on my SAAB 9-5 and I'm happy to share them with anyone who needs an image for a message board post or whatnot. I frequently run into posts by other people using my images to help someone with a car problem and I think it's great.

I just want to make this formal invitation to everyone in case some of you felt awkward about borrowing the photos without explicit permission.

This is a link to my Flickr account.

I am in the process of changing the user rites and organizing the images, but I will put this post under the stickies on the front page so it can be found easy; feel free to bookmark the Flickr link for quick access.

Linking images back to this blog or my Flickr page are appricated, but not in any way necessary.

Inside the SAAB Information Display, SID

I don't have any advice about repairing the SID, or "SAAB Information Display", on a SAAB 9-5 except to say that I only made mine worse by trying to make it better. There are several methods for DIY repair of missing pixels on the information display. I tried the foam spacer and warm iron methods and only ended up with more missing pixels.

There is a reputable company called BBA that will repair the SID and garentees its work.

SAAB Central has a thread about SID repairers that is worth reading before choosing a company.

My SID will be off to BBA soon for repair and I will post about the results at that time. For now, here are images from the inside of the SID for your entertainment:

K&N Drycharger

Open air intakes are a common modification on the SAAB 9-5. Removing the cold air box really releases the sound of the turbo. The one complaint people have about having an exposed filter is the threat of water soaking and possibly entering the air intake.

Many people fabricate splash guards to help prevent the bulk of puddles from spraying the air filter. I personally have been driving around with an exposed filter for a year and a half with no issues.

I do have some protection from water. I installed a "Drycharger" from K&N. It is a mesh cover that fits over the filter and repels water using its treated material.

K&N says the addition of a drycharger only decreases airflow by 10% over an uncovered K&N filter, not too bad for the piece of mind and of little worry on a forced induction vehicle like the SAAB 9-5. It is actually more translucent than this image shows.

It fits snugly over the air filter and also helps to keep dust and larger particles out.

From Amazon:
K&N Drychargers

Coolant Change and Thermostat Install in the SAAB 9-5

You might as well change out the thermostat when you flush the coolant on the SAAB 9-5. Both are easy jobs. It's a little messy, but satisfying when you are finished.

Symptoms of a thermostat stuck in the open position includes a lack of heat inside the car and the temperature gauge on the instrument panel never reaching up to the 9 o'clock position. Symptoms of a thermostat stuck in the closed position includes the temperature gauge reading extremely hot and possibly a repair bill for thousands of dollars sitting in your seat when you pick the car up from the dealership after it stops running due to overheating.

I encourage you to pay the few extra dollars for a thermostat that is build to lock in the open position when it fails.


I purchased the MotoRad fail-safe thermostat from my local Autozone, the price was $6.

You will need a pair of pliers, a pan to catch the coolant, two gallons of undiluted coolant, at least four gallons of distilled water, a running garden hose (if you are the adventurous type and your tap water isn't too terribly hard otherwise buy some extra distilled water and skip the garden hose part), 13mm and 10mm sockets with matching extender and a socket wrench.

The system holds -7.4 liters- of coolant/water total. You will want a mix of between 50/50 and 75/25 coolant to water when you are finished. You won't have to over think it, the car is built to make this mixing automatic, the reservoir and radiator will drain half of the liquid while the other half stays in the system. I'll explain this part in detail when the step comes.

Start by losing the protective plastic panel from under the front bumper, like you would for an oil change. Slowly unscrew the lid from the coolant reservoir. Let any pressure release before completely removing the cap.

On the driver's left side of the engine bay, near the headlight, at the bottom of the radiator is the the green plastic petcock used to release the coolant. Place the catch pan under this green petcock to catch the coolant.

Reach down from above and turn the green petcock counter-clockwise a quarter turn and then pull it out to release the coolant. Pliers can be gently used if it won't turn by hand. The part is made of plastic, so care should be taken not to tear it apart. You can push the petcock back in at any time to stop the flow of coolant.

Let all the coolant drain out while you move on to the thermostat part of the project.

The thermostat is on the back corner of the engine. There is a large coolant hose that goes from the radiator to the thermostat housing.

The hose can be seen in the bottom right corner of this image.

Follow the hose to the thermostat housing and use pliers to release the clamp and pull the hose free. Some coolant will spill out.


The thermostat housing is attached by two 10mm and two 13mm bolts. Remove all four of them. The 10mm bolts hold a ground wire and a bracket, the 13mm bolts clamp the house to the engine. The space is tight so use an extender and take your time.

After the four bolts are removed, pull the house off and take out the old thermostat.


The rubber washer that comes with the thermostat has a valley on the inside so it can be placed around the metal disk as shown.

Stick the new thermostat back into place, taking care to point the little hole in the disk towards the top. The disk may also be labeled to show which direction is the top.

Bolt the housing and ground wire back on and securely reattach the hose. The coolant will be drained by this point.

Temporary close the petcock and fill the system up with water. The correct method is to use only distilled water in the system, but I used the garden hose to flush the system because I like to tempt fate. Use your own judgment, tap water can plug up your system with minerals.

Wear gloves while working with the hot engine and coolant to prevent burning yourself.

Once the system is filled with some water, and with the reservoir still open, start the car, turn on the heater inside the car, and give it a few moments to warm up so everything starts flowing. Now is the time to check for leaks on your thermostat job.

Once warm, open the petcock to start releasing fluid while adding fresh water to the reservoir to keep the system full. Do this until the liquid from the petcock runs clear. (if you are like me and are using a garden hose, switch to adding your four gallons of distilled water.) Close the petcock, shut the car off, and allow everything to cool down. You now have water in your entire coolant system. Let the car stand until cold.

Here is the secret to mixing 50/50 coolant. The car, when cold, holds onto half of fluid and release half of fluid. Open the petcock one more time and it will release half of the water in the system. Close the petcock and lock it with a quarter clockwise turn. Add your undiluted coolant until the reservoir reads full and you now have a 50/50 mixture in your system. Isn't that neat.

The water and coolant will mix quickly as the engine runs. Once the coolant is given time to mix and any air is released, top off the reservoir with more undiluted coolant.

A day later you will want to check the coolant with a "coolant tester". These can be the simple eyedropper like devices that use specific gravity to check the coolant mixture or strips of paper treated with chemicals that offer more detailed results. My eyedropper type tester was $1 from Walmart.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My $50 Craftsman Tool Chest

I just got this Craftsman tool chest today. My wife's co-worker sold it to us for $50. Now I finally have a place to put my tools instead of on any open surface in the garage.

From Amazon:
Craftsman Tool Chest

Friday, June 27, 2008

crankshaft position sensor installation

How to remove and replace the crankshaft position sensor or "CPS" on the SAAB 9-5

Start with a completely cold engine. You will be right against the exhaust during this repair and it's going to be uncomfortable enough without adding some 2nd degree burns to your hands.

Unhook and remove the battery and battery tray from the car. Removal isn't essential, but it will make it easier to route the wire bundle at the end of the install. Unhook the battery to prevent electrical problems at the very least.

Remove the diverter valve (DV) from the intake and the aluminum recycle tube from the turbo. Remove the aluminum heat shield between the engine and turbo. There is one nut and two clips holding it.

The CPS is located on the lower left front of the engine, near the transmission and behind the catalytic converter. You might spray the one Torx screw with some liquid wrench.

Use a T30 Torx bit and whatever contraption you can find in the way of a wrench setup that fits the area to remove the one screw on the lower right of the CPS heat shield. I used a small ratcheting "L" shaped screwdriver to loosen the screw and then used my fingers an a 3/8in Torx socket once the screw was loose.

The heat shield will come off with the screw. The Crankshaft position sensor will come out with a slight twisting/rocking motion as you pull. Follow the cable to the right of the throttle body near the firewall. The connector was the first of three in a row (light blue in the photo below). It unhooks like all SAAB connectors, with a small screwdriver prying the red lock loose. There is a metal cuff that holds the cable to a pipe midway between the CPS and the connector. It can be pulled off with your fingers.

Clean the hole where the CPS goes and make sure the rubber washer on the old CPS is out. You don't want two washers in that hole.

Push the new crankshaft position sensor into the hole. It will go most of the way with little effort, but a hard push/twisting motion will be needed to completely seat it. Really cram it in there and line up the screw holes as best as you can. You will want to thread the screw without the shield first, just to make sure your holes are lined up first. Then remove the screw again, add the heat shield, and re-thread the screw back into place. This will take some effort and time. The screw will not want to start threading and the area is really tight.

Once the screw is finger tight, use your T30 size Torx wrench setup to tighten it the rest of the way.

Re-route the wire bundle back to its cradle next to the throttle body and install the metal cuff  onto the cable/pipe. Reconnect the cable to the car, install the battery, heat shield, and everything else removed for this project. Clean up the area, put your tools away, and start the car.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Craftsman Torque Wrench

I borrowed a torque wrench from my father. He had the original packaging, including the insert card.

From Amazon:
Craftsman Torque Wrench

Saturday, June 7, 2008

SAAB Related Roundup

I've been bad about having things to post here, but not getting around to posting them. A lot of these items don't really need their own post. I figure I'll post them all and save some time.

New Direct Ignition Cassette:

My cassette was not part of the recent recall, but I was getting the usual misfire codes that signal a DIC on the way out. So I bit the bullet and purchased a new cassette. No more CEL and the car now runs so much smoother that I'm embarrassed I let it go without repair for what little time I did.

Update on Harrah's Car Museum Shirt:

I received a brown envelope that was either originally purchased along with the t-shirt or it came with the t-shirt, I'm not sure which. I'm updating that post, but wanted to share anyways.

Tornado Warning:

I'm what I suspect is one of the few people in the world who have worked on a SAAB during a tornado warning. The sirens went off as I was installing the ignition cassette. I finished up, went inside, turned on the TV. I found my wife in the basement, but she was unaware of the tornado warning because she was playing video games very loudly at the time. Naturally I also went outside and took some photos of the "scary looking clouds" overhead. We got horizontal rain, light wind damage, and a little road flooding; but the radar indicated tornado never materialized. Not that I'm complaining.

And finally,

Reverse Diverter Valve

I purchased some silicone vacuum line along with the new ignition cassette so I could replace the line on the DV. This also gave me the extra length I needed to install the DV in reverse, as recommended in THE GREAT Diverter Valve FACE OFF. This has made a huge improvement in the sound of the DV releasing. I suggest anyone looking to get that "turbo sound" from their T7 SAAB to first get an open air intake, and second get a performance diverter valve installed in reverse. I'll be updating my DV and intake posts to add this information.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Free DIY Dent Repair

A video about repairing dents with canned air was posted on SAABCentral. I went out and got a can of air and tried the technique on a door ding I had collected a few weeks ago.

The dent is about the size of a nickel.

I heated up the area for about a minute with the hairdryer and then sprayed the air upside down until the spot was frosted over. The dent is not gone, but it is more like a shadow of what it was before. There was no damage to the paint as far as I can tell.

This would be a good thing to try before sending the car to the body shop and would be interesting to see on a larger dent. Anyone willing to give it a try on a larger dent?

At any rate, you might be satisfied with the results and would save some money. If you aren't happy with the results, then you aren't really out anything and can get the car fixed by a professional afterwards.

The two images look strange because I ran the photos through some filters to enhance the dent area. Both photos had the say filters applied. The dent doesn't show up well in the untouched photos. I marked the spots so you can at least look in the correct area. See the dark spot on the right edge of the dent in the "after" photo? That's where it didn't change and can still be seen when looking at the door in person.



So, the bottom line- the dent didn't disappear; sort of flattened itself out around the edges instead.

I guess it is really a $5 repair, since I had to buy the air, but it would be free if you have a can of compressed air sitting next to your computer already.

From Amazon:
Memorex 10OZ 152A AIR DUSTER ( 32028021 )

Friday, April 25, 2008

SAAB 9-5 Cabin Air Filter Replacement

I replaced my cabin air filter as part of my 90k mile service. The cabin filter is not part of the standard 90k service, but I had a feeling (which seems to be proved) that my filter was original to the car. Now was a good time to correct that issue.

I won't go into great detail about the removal process because there are several good sites that explain in detail how to replace the cabin filter in the SAAB 9-5.

Old filter, possible from 2000 with 90k miles on it.

Brand new filter from TheSAABSite

I was shocked how large the filter is, it's about has the width and length of a sheet of paper. I always imagined it to be maybe 4x6 inches. I thought they had sent me the wrong filter when I opened the package and saw how big it was.

You start by removing the carpeted cover on the passenger's side foot-well, there are a few plastic rivets holding it on.

Then the plastic dash panel and glove box are removed, around 6 or 7 Torx screws are holding them in place. The glove box has an air duct and two wires that will need to be pulled off before the entire box can be removed.

There are about eight Philip head screws holding on the black plastic panel that seals the cabin filter. The panel is in the lower right side of this image

Once the panel is gone, remove the old filter by moving the cable bundles to the side and sliding the filter out. You might want to put something down because my filter was host to a handful of tiny leaves and damp rotten foam chunks.

The new filter is installed in reverse, the supplied foam goes in first, at the top with the holes fitting over the two pipes. The new filter can then be slid in with some delicate pressure. The black plastic panel is reinstalled, the wiring and ductwork for the glove compartment is reattached and the box is installed, the dash panel is returned into place and the carpeted cover is riveting back. That is all there is to this project. It was easy to do and only took about twenty minutes to complete.