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