Posted in how to on January 10th, 2012 by Econmancer
The lift support socks on my Saab went out awhile back and I had never got around to replacing them. I wish I had done it sooner because the removal and installation took less than five minutes.
The aftermarket part number from StrongArm for Saab 9-5 hood lift supports is 4800. It lists as being for a 280ZX, but it fits the Saab 9-5 hood. I got the set for my hood from Amazon. There is also a set of lift supports for the trunk. They are StrongArm 6143; don’t get the two numbers confused because they’re not interchangeable.
Start by opening the hood and propping it as wide as possible. An additional person can be of help here, but I used a screw-type hood stop on the opposite shock from where I was working instead.
Use a small flat-head screwdriver to slightly pry up the metal tabs at the ends of the support. Don’t remove completely. They only need to come out a little before the support will be free. Do this on the top and bottom and set the old support aside. The new lift support installs the say way. Again, don’t totally pull the metal tabs with the screwdriver. A little movement goes a long way. Start at the bottom and then clip on the top. You may need to lift the hood a little higher to get the end of the shock up to the little ball connector on the hood. Do the same thing for the other side. I kept the hood propped open until both sides were installed so one side was not holding all the weight of the hood at any time.
The replacement lifts come with new ball style connectors for the hood. You can use them or set them aside.
There you go. Reading this will take longer than the actual repair.
I got new tires for the SAAB. They’re P205/60R-16 91T. The Hankook Optimo H727 were highly rated by Consumer Reports. They’re narrower than stock (205 v 215) and not as high performance as my previous tire choices. I felt I’ve got to a point in my life when I’m never going to need tires rated to speeds of 149mph ever again. I instead looked for comfort, quietness and an all-season that handles snow/ice okay.
Here are the various tire sizes (from narrow to wide) that fit a stock 2000 SAAB 9-5 with 16″ wheels:
Posted in how to on August 17th, 2010 by Econmancer
The idea behind the project is to reduce some of the heat soak on the SAAB 9-5. I think every 9-5 owner in a warm climate has exited the highway in the heat of summer and found the car lacked power once they tried to enter street traffic. It’s especially scary when making a left turn and finding the car will barely move. This is a simple and cheap project that only takes an evening to install and can hopefully reduce or eliminate the heat soak symptoms for many of the 9-5 owners out there.
To be clear, the better solution is to replace the stock intercooler (located behind the radiator) with either a drop-in performance model or a custom FMIC (front mount intercooler). I understand that both options are expensive and could be mechanically difficult for some people, so I looked into this easy and low-cost water spray system.
The cost of this intercooler water spray system is about $50.
You’ll have a lot of options on this project. Feel free to experiment with other parts and see if you can improve on this basic design. Leave a comment on this post if you discover something that might help others.
You can purchase all of the Toro “Blue Stripe” parts separate, but I found it costs less to just get the “starter kit” and the fogger heads. If you don’t get the starter kit you will need some blue stripe tubing (maybe 10 feet worth), four “Blue Stripe” fogger heads, and five of the “Blue Stripe” T-connectors. The heads that come with the starter kit will not work in this project because they are designed to drip and not spray.
The washer kit listed gets you all the parts you need on that end of the system. You could pick up used parts and save some money. You’ll need the water reservoir, a pump (able to create 10-30psi), a switch, related wiring, and some extra tubing if you decide to buy the parts separate.
These instructions are for a four spray-head system. It could be adapted to a two head system that only shoots water on the lower part of the radiator and intercooler. This could be a good option if you have trouble getting to the area behind the front grill of the car. I don’t have first hand experience with the 2003 and newer 9-5s, but they look like a pain when it comes to grill removal. On the ’99-02, you can just pop the entire grill off with a little pressure.
Instead of the momentary switch that comes with the washer kit, you could use a mercury switch attached to the accelerator pedal or a Hobbs-type pressure switch that will automatically activate the spray at a specific turbo pressure. One issue I can see with more automated switching systems is the amount of water in the reservoir. I get about 1 minute worth of spray per 2-quart tank. You’d quickly run out of water if you weren’t careful.
Lift and prop the hood
Detach the battery during installation. We’re working with electricity and water here.
Remove the front grill or whatever it takes to get get access to the area in front of the radiator.
Roughly measure the length of tubing needed to go across the front of the radiator, down both sides to the lower part of the system and across again. For me, I cut two 1’6″ lengths of tube and two 1′ lengths of tube. This left me with plenty to trim for an exact fit later.
Cut four tiny 1.5″ lengths of tubes. These will connect the fogger heads to the T-connectors.
Gather the four fogger heads, five T-connectors, the check valve, and some zip-ties
The check valve works as show below. Be careful that you have the flow going the correct way or the water won’t move when you press the button.
What you’re going for is something similar to the above. The tubing is in tan, the foggers are “O”, the T-connectors are “T” and the check valve is the “L” shape.
Start at one fogger, attach the tubing and zip-tie it to the car, then work around to the next fogger. I tried to do all the plumbing and then install, but I had to trim just about every piece of tube once I got it behind the grill. So I recommend building it in place and only trimming the tubes once.
I placed the top two sprayers beside the horns, using the horn brackets to hold the sprayers in place.
The bottom two sprayers I attached to the lower grill area.
Once all four foggers are in place and connected to each other, you can roughly aim the heads where you want the water mist to hit. You then fine tune the aim once everything is up and running.
Follow the instructions that come with the washer kit on how to plumb the reservoir to the motor and connect the wiring.
Now is a good time to install the switch. The location and whatnot are up to you, obviously.
There is a nice space for the water tank between the battery and the headlamp. Use your favorite method to secure the tank into place.
Run a length of tube from the check valve to the washer motor and then fill up the reservoir with water. The system should be complete. I found that I had to run the washer pump motor longer than I expected the first time to get water flowing into the system, but the check valve will keep the water in the tubes once it’s there so you won’t have to prime again.
You should see something like this:
The videos doesn’t do justice to the amount of water being sprayed. It’s a very fine mist, so you’re only seeing the largest drops in the video. I plan on putting butcher paper on the radiator and recording the spray again so you can see where all the water is going. It sprays at about 2-quarts per minute.
Fine tune the direction the water sprays and check for leaks. I had to zip-tie the tubing where it attaches to the pump because it shot off from the pressure the second day I tried it.
I haven’t used the probe thermometer to check for exact changes in temperature, but I can get the radiator water temperature gauge down to what should be about 195 degrees* with the spray system (9 o’clock on the gauge), this at highway speeds on a 100+ degree day. It’ll take a real thermometer to find out what is truly going on, but the basics are there.
*I had the dealer change the sensitivity on my stock water temp gauge with the use of a Tech II a few years ago so there should be little to no dead spot in the gauge reading. Still not ideal for real data, but gives a rough estimate about changes in temperature.
Special thanks to a certain SAABCentral member that helped me with this project, but wishes to remain anonymous.
I’ve just installed a turbo intercooler / radiator water spray system on my SAAB 9-5. I want to see if it reduces the heat soak that the 9-5s suffer from in hot weather and after a spirited drive (sometimes even when the weather isn’t that hot). I think every 9-5 owner has at least once tried to make a left turn and found that the car suddenly had a total lack of power. I hope to correct that issue cheaply with the water spray.
The setup cost me $45 and took one evening to install. I want to test it out before I post a detailed how-to, but I thought I would show a couple of videos as a teaser.
There are many people online that said they’ve cured the heat soak by upgrading the intercooler, either with a larger one in the OEM space behind the radiator or a smaller FMIC behind the lower grill of the bumper. This would be the ideal solution if you are having real trouble with heat soak, but it’s expensive and takes mechanical knowledge many people do not have. I hope after I test this system to have a simple and cheap way of combating the heat soak in the SAAB 9-5 specifically for people not looking to drastically modify their car.
Posted in how to on January 10th, 2010 by Econmancer
Replacing the brake pads on the SAAB 9-5 is easy. I’d suggest 2.5 hours for this job if you aren’t in a rush. Most of the time seemed to be spent jacking up the car and removing the wheels.
The first step is to raise a wheel like you are changing a tire. Be safe and set the parking brake, block the wheels you aren’t raising, use jack stands, all that good stuff. You’ll then need to remove the wheel. On the front brake pads, it helps if you turn the wheel so you can get better access to the back of the caliper before you raise the car. Open the brake fluid reservoir and put a rag around the fill hole to pick up any fluid that may spill as you work on the calipers.
Once the wheel is off, you should see something like this-
The metal spring clip on the front can be removed with a screwdriver. There are two bolts holding the caliper. You can access these bolts by removing the plastic dust caps with the screwdriver.
The bolts are E-20 torx size. It might take some pressure, but they should loosen without too much fuss.
You can see in the above image where the top bolt is unscrewed and ready to be removed. Once both bolts are removed you can work the caliper loose. You’ll want to push the piston inside the caliper a bit to give you room to wiggle the caliper free. You can do this with the screwdriver. Once freed, the caliper can be rested on a box or step stool to keep pressure off the brake line. The old pads are wiggled off and the new ones are installed. Push the piston inside the caliper all the way down to make room for the new pads. I used an oil filter wrench to do this and it worked perfectly, but they make a tool designed just for pushing the caliper piston (if you want to get fancy). Installation is done in reverse and the metal spring clip is installed as seen in the top image.
The rear brake pads are replaced in the same way. I found the clearance tight because of the rear suspension, but an extension on your socket wrench should give you room to remove the two bolts from the caliper. My rear pads still have plenty of material when my front pads were nearly bare, but I still replaced all four at the same time.
The tension spring is installed as seen above. Check the brake fluid level and replace the lid to the reservoir before you drive away. The new pads will need to be bed-in. There are several techniques to doing this and they are found on the internet. It’ll be several hundred miles before brake performance is maximized. Be careful a give yourself plenty of braking distance while the pads are getting settled.