richardf8: (Default)
Just changed the oil in the Saab. First time I've done my own oil in over a decade - the 70.00 bill from Jiffy Lube because of the Synthetic upgrade is what urged me to do it myself. Jacking a 9000 needs a good floor jack, and I bought a bad one that didn't lift the car high enough; I wonder if I might have been better off with a good bottle jack, but I borrowed a good floor jack from the neighbor and that did the trick; I think I might get a 3 ton bottle jack and see how that works out.

Some notes
22mm spanner for drain plug
Decent Filter Wrench needed
Decent Jack needed.

The biggest time consumers were the Jack, sorting out which spanner to use, and laying hands on a decent filter wrench. These are notes for next time, which will be October or November.
richardf8: (Default)
I'm calling the bodywork done, basically - just a final bit of sealing. I'm not totally happy with it, but its as good as its getting on the budget I have to give it. I paid Gregg of Gregg's autobody to do $400.00 worth of metalwork. Told him what my priorities were, and he met them. I was very impressed with his work. After he was done, I threw a pound or two of Bondo on a dent, ground it down, and primed and painted. It doesn't look great, but its a damn sight better than before. It looks like something bad happened to it, ans someone did what they could to fix it. Which is true. Making in look new would cost twice what the car's worth. I'm really happy to be able to write that off and move on
to more normal tasks, like the check list I posted way back when.

I replaced the radio with a vr3 VRCD500SDU gathered from Targe for 80 bucks. It's a fun little unit with Tuner, CD player, and the ability to mount a USB drive or SD card and play MP3s/WMAs off of it. It can also play them off a CD. So here's a quick review of it

Sound Quality - Quite good, really. It drives the four built-in speakers quite nicely.

User interface - too damn fussy There are lots of buttons with lots of shift states and context dependencies. But simple user interfaces are hard to come by. I've learned what I need to know of it.

USB/SD playback - the feature I bought it for. The file handler is a brute - it does recursive navigation of each folder, playing the contents of that folder in the order it was written to the flash memory. Or it can randomize. You can skip to the next song, or you can skip the next 10 songs, but you cannot just skip from one directory to the next. It cannot cope with DRM, and if the filesystem on the device is to badly fragmented, it acts . . . strange. All that said, I'm thrilled to be able to load stuff on my USB drive and listen to it in my car. The next toy I want is one of those USB turntables that [livejournal.com profile] debg clued me into so that I can start listening to my vinyl in the car.

Another quirk - the "Automatic Antenna" line on the stereo just goes hot whenever the stereo is on. I wish it would only go hot when the Tuner is in use - no need to have the antenna up if I'm not listening to the radio (dang antenna needs work - or replaced - anyway.)

Finally, refitted my old Thule Gutter Feet to fit the hank nuts the Saab harbors for the factory rack. It can now carry canoes.

Next up, I think I might actually do some work in the - gasp! - engine compartment. It needs a new serpentine belt, the present one is a bit worn.
richardf8: (Default)
So, after running a variety of medical and school related errands with Morgan, I thought I would do some work on my Saab, which was rear-ended a week and a half after I bought it. I was backing, the other driver was skidding, and the Insurance company assigned fault to me, because she had a broken headlight, and I had about $2000 in damage.* So fixing my damage is on me. I've been working on it bit by bit, reshaping the panel, and today I needed to pull the antenna (an electric antenna). In doing so, I pulled on it with some force, it released, and remainder of said force drove my pinky into some sheet metal which sliced it open deep and wide.

I went upstairs where Morgan and I pressure-dressed it, staunching the rather profuse bleeding. She then drove me to the urgent care, which of course made her knees hurt worse, and the doctor noting that I was fortunate to have missed nerve and tendon, sutured me with seven stitches. I am rather uncomfortable at the moment.

Anyway, today was an experience.













*Both the other driver and I were with Farmers. Neither of us carried collision. They chose to fix the car that was cheaper to fix. The reason for the disparity in the amount of damage is that she was driving a Nissan Pathfinder, which has a ridiculously high front bumper, even for an SUV, and it passed COMPLETELY over my bumper and went straight into my quarter panel. Had the bumpers met, I don't think either car would have sustained damage.
richardf8: (Default)
Late last week, Morgan was perusing the Bulletin Board at work, one of which was a Saab 9000. She thought of me, shivering in my snowpants on my 24 mile commute on the 0 degree days we had last week in my heaterless Cavalier wagon with the stink that makes her sick. She alerted me to it, and I test drove it.

Long story short, I am now the owner of a 1600 dollar 1995 Saab 9000. It is not a 1000 dollar Saab. It is not a 2000 dollar Saab. It is a 1600 dollar Saab, and as such it comes with a worklist:

1) Radio does not work. I actually fixed that this evening by reseating its face plate and giving it its anti-theft code. It still has the annoying issue of the backlight for the display being out - that's a project for another time, but right now I have tunes!

2) Dashboard Lighting flickers. This is supremely annoying at night, most likely culprit is contact corrosion on the light control switch. I will aim to get to it on Sunday. This took some reseating of the Rheostat and Headlight Switch.  Still flickers occasionally, but better than before.  The rheostat either needs component cleaner or else to be bypassed, since I always like Dash-lights at full intensity.

3) Climate control has trouble coming on when the engine is cold. I suspect a bad relay here. But the Climate Control DOES come on and the heat is strong.

4) Needs driver's side sun visor. Previous owner removed it because it wouldn't stay up, and her mother lost it for her. This will come from a pick-n-pull.  Driver's side sub visor arrived.  Cleaned it up and installed it.  I think it may have come from a different model year, but the differences are minor.  Point is, I can now guard my eyes against a low sun.

5) Saab Logos missing from steering wheel and shifter. I guess someone really wanted a memento.

6) Saabs apparently like Stop Leak in their coolant. I will get some.

7) AC does not work. I will have the system pressure checked, but my suspicion is that the problem is to wide an air-gap on the compressor clutch.

On the bright side, the clutch, starter, and heater core are all fresh, and the ride is solid and assured. Mobil 1 has been the oil used, and I will stick to it. I need a shop manual, and I think I will need to order it online.

When all is said and done, I think the car is real nice, and worth the work it wants. The improvements over the Chevy, most notably in Morgan's ability to be in it, are significant. It has cruise control, which is a nice accomodation for Morgan's knee on long journeys. So, pretty much, its everything I was looking for in Schtinky's successor. It is yet unnamed.
richardf8: (Default)
The Saturn has died, at least to me anyway, because I no got money to fix. Mechanic who looked at it told me the block was cracked, but since the estimates he gave me were BS of the highest degree, I'm not sure I believe that 2500 for a used engine, 3500 for a rebuilt. That's a difference of 1000 dollars between used and rebuilt (I expect the labor would be the same) when I can get the part for 825 delivered. How can the delta between used and rebuilt be more than the rebuilt part unless someone is snowing me.

The symptoms, BTW are oil in the coolant, coolant in the oil, and a bit of oil/humidity out the tail pipe, but nowhere near the "billow" stage. Seepage where head meets block was evident as well.

So neighbor lady gets wind of it, offers a diagnosis of a blown head gasket, and says that she wants to fix it. She will either buy the car off me for the cost of the tow, or fix it of the course of 6-8 weeks for between 400 and 800 bucks, plus parts I furnish.

This would be a great deal, except I cannot afford the parts right now and I am not confident in the longevity of an engine that has had Prestone-Valvoline aioli coursing through its crank case - I hear seals and antifreeze make poor bedfellows. So for a hundred bucks, she has a weekend project for the next month on which she will turn a 10 or 20-fold profit, while I make up some of the immediate costs of this fiasco to the household budget. It's a raw deal, but in many ways these days I find I have all the options of a butterfly pinned to the cork.

Could I have done it myself? Perhaps. But I'm not completely certain the block isn't cracked, and it would be a first time for me. So I get the cost of the tow back and it becomes Someone Else's Problem.

I feel bad about it. If I were more flush with cash, I would have had a trustworthy mechanic (i.e. not the guy who looked at it when it first broke down) do an engine swap. I'd have done that for that car, if I could.

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