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Project Updates

May 2nd, 2017: 

Removed the rear window motor mechanisms, fitted the lightweight brackets I made in their place, and moved the lightweight racing battery into the rear passenger footwell to shift the weight as low as possible, removing about a kilogram of battery cable in the process. I felt that having the weight as far back as possible was no longer necessary after changing from a standard battery to a lightweight one. 

Normally I wouldn't include the removal of something originally fitted by me in the weight loss total but since I had the car weighed after moving the battery to the boot it is helpful for my records.

 1.0kg: Excess battery cable

 3.3kg: Rear window actuators

-0.2kg: Window fixing brackets

 New weight loss total: 186.5kg

April 24th, 2017:

Made some threaded brackets to hold the rear lexan windows up so I can remove the original winder motor mechanisms.

Painted the rear footwell to give it some protection.

April 18th, 2017:

All hoses are now silicone as far as currently possible.

New Air/fuel gauge fitted that I can actually read in the daytime now...

Got fed up with the floor mats coming out for track days and back in for shows and journeys, so I cut and bent some custom aluminium kick-plates for the footwells and fitted them in with stainless bolts. Very happy with how they turned out.

Started removing sound deadening, starting with the rear left footwell, waiting for paint to arrive to give the resulting bare surface some protection.

 1.2kg: Sound deadening removal

-2.6kg: Aluminium Kick plates              

 New weight loss total: 182.4kg

May 9th, 2016:

Wings are back on, stainless bolts all round. Brakes and clutch have been bled with high temperature racing fluid (right), new rainsport tyres are fitted on my new wheels and she has her MOT.

Best of all? those new wheels are on, we are now all ready for show season!..

January 19th, 2016:

Wings have now been etch primed, fibreglassed over any thin spots then primed again.

This was followed by painting them, then a layer of underbody seal to give that extra layer of protection.

The whole process took about a week, as I wanted to make sure the paint was completely set before covering with the sealant.

While the wings are off I decided she may as well have a new air filter, I'm glad I did.

I'll probably also do the aux belt and tensioner, and maybe the water pump while I've got easy access too, hey we've gone this far!

January 6th, 2016:

Bodywork jobs have started, we have de-rusted the inside of the front wings and painted them with Kurust. Next is to Fibreglass the worst parts (there aren't many) and paint and protect everything.

Once these are done, maybe I can start putting the front end back together again...

...Or maybe I'll find yet another thing to do first, you never know!

December 17th, 2015:

Long gap since the last one, reason being that since the last entry we moved into our new house. It's been a very busy year, both with the Saab and otherwise.

This does mean of course, she now has her own Garage!  

I have had the lovely Ronal multi-spoke alloy's refurbished proffesionally and they are now back on the car as the main wheels, whilst the three spokes are now the track wheels with new(ish) semi-slicks fitted.

I have finally managed to source a set of my very favorite alloys, the Azev A series, sadly this was not too long after I got the "spokeys" done so now I've spent out on TWO lots of refurbing... oh well.  


Our perspex sunroof (above) has been revised with a proper rubber window seal, We have fitted a lightweight racing battery (left) and the red harnesses that came in a bundle with the seats have now been changed for decent OMP ones.  (below)

Rear brakes have been rebuilt, because the last set were finished off at a track day at Snetterton, also changed the front pads from Ferodo DS3000 to EBC yellow stuff, as the DS3000 compound was just too harsh and ruined the discs, making the car unusable on the road. it also took me two days to get the dust off the newly re-conditioned wheels. The Yellow stuff is working incredibly well as a replacement!

The picture on the left is where the hard work started, I removed the front end and radiator in preparation for a lot of jobs over the winter months.

Below left: She was beginning to blow a little oil smoke on overrun so I gave the turbo a rebuild.

Below: I was having issues with slow starting sometimes, I had put it down to a weak battery but when the brand new one made no difference I could only put it down to the motor itself, so that got an overhaul too. (it worked!)

The sump was dropped for a clean out as well, this turned out to be a very worthwhile task, as it appeared to be full of what I could only assume was paint flakes. this was not a job I fancy doing again in a hurry.

At the point of writing, the car currently looks like the picture shown below; the engine is back together and running, everything has been cleaned up while apart, and quite a few parts were painted while accessible (see the engine mounts for example). By the next entry I hope to have done some body panel work.

  20kg: Standard battery

-5.2kg: Lightweight replacement                             New weight loss total: 183.8kg

August 17th, 2014:

Package full of goodies has been fittted!

We spent pretty much a whole day fitting all the shiny new parts, and we ache, but the bits are in!

Initial signs are encouraging; the suspension is really stiff and the brakes are just pure evil now, just waiting to try them in anger at the track day at Snetterton...

Also, more stickers!
August 8th, 2014:

Package full of goodies has arrived!

  • Sports shocks
  • DS3000 racing pads
  • Poly rear shock top mounts
  • Discs
  • Wheel bearing hubs,
  • Front shock top mounts

All to be fitted before the next track day at Snetterton in September.

In other news, we changed the hydralic engine mounts, one was in two peices, that would explain a lot...
July 7th, 2014:

Washed out, etch primed and underbody sealed both rear arches to give the car a bit of protection from stones, water and salt. took all day, because I had to let them dry thouroughly before painting, and let me tell you, it was not fun washing those out, as I had to lie underneath at the time!
In the time I was allowing the arches to dry out, I popped out the rear windows and fabricated new ones out of lexan plastic, with quite a weight difference. I now need to find a way to hold the lexan windows in and remove the rear window actuators altogether, as that would be a lot more weight removed.

 5.6kg: Glass rear windows

-2.0kg: Lexan replacements

New weight loss total: 169.0kg

0.8kg: Doorhandles and clippy bits

New weight loss total: 165.4kg

June 17th, 2014:

Spent an evening removing all the little metal thread inserts and plastic clips that used to attach the interior to the bodywork, along with the rear interior doorhandle assemblys (no longer used of course). I finished by going around the entire inside of the car and cable tieing down anything that was remotely loose.

The purpose of this was to stop a bit of the rattling noise when driving, and also to remove a little more weight.

June 16th, 2014:

Brands killed my fuel gauge, I finished the evening with almost no fuel (as expected) and got home with half a tank... without filling up.  the previous weeks It's been sitting constantly at 3/4 of a tank and I've been estimating by mileage instead.

Removal of the pump/gauge assembly revealed the culprit! (shown left)

Turns out the circuit board the wiper arm sweeps on had shattered, presumably just from age and fatique, and that the arm was jamming on the broken edge, or just running off of it altogether.

An unscheduled 2 and-a-bit hour round trip to a friends provided me with a much happier looking eplacement pump assembly, and with the aid of a cup of tea the new pump and float assembly was in and working in no time, fantasticque!

19th May, 2014:

Great evening session at Brands Hatch back in April (see the gallery), very hard on the tyres, I've now had them switched so that the edge with chunks missing is now on the inside of each one.

A few bits of touching up have been done:

  • Front strut brace re-painted (and left to set properly before fitting this time).
  • Wiper arms removed, sanded, primed and re-sprayed in satin.
  • Tatty road wheels restored
Restoring the wheels was hard work, but I wanted to make a worthwhile job of it.
I sanded all imperfections out of the wheels, and filled any that couldn't be sanded out. This was followed by etch priming, painting, and laquering the wheels in pairs.

All considered, they came out pretty nice!
February 18th, 2014:

The good man doing the welding work has sent me some pictures of the ongoing work, so many holes!

Looks like he's doing a great job so far!
February 17th, 2014:

Nothing since october? well the winter really does hinder things, doesn't it!! (happy new year etc...)

Go to work in the dark, come home in the dark... No time for climbing around in and under the SAAB.

I have however done a couple of small things.
Air fuel ratio meter fitted, in preperation for a manual boost controller setup so that I can make sure she doesn't lean out under full boost and get melty piston syndrome (ouch!)

I was going to get a chip done but her year model is too early and not much can be done, so manual control it is! I just have to be very very careful.

Aaaand finally, new piggy back anti-roll bar for the back of the car, this certainly seems to have sorted some of the rolling around, although I can't say much until weather conditions improve.

She's off for welding now with a couple of bits on the rear quarters that have needed sorting for some time; more to follow when she returns!

October 26th, 2013:

New exhaust! (See picture on left)...

No, not really.
I have made a new straight tailpipe from steel tubing and a flexi pipe, (all stainless) and cut it to size. (right)

The old one was beginning to look like swiss cheese, and when I un-bolted the mountings, the rest just twisted off... I also put a new downpipe on and replaced all the mounting rubbers... again... Why? Well you'll just have to wait for the upcoming Cadwell write-up.
September 14th, 2013:

Camber bolts fittted; she feels very strange now, very light on the steering under normal use, however when you go round corners a bit quicker the tyres reallly start to grab more as they roll onto more tread. We will have to see how they play out at Cadwell.
September 13th, 2013:

Perfomance exhaust hangers, yes, really, it was moving around a bit too much, so I did the front and back with these.

EDIT: they are rubbish,one split at Cadwell, causing the back to drop and the downpipe to fall off of the turbo, leaving its flange in place (see news for details of the day). A hammer was required.

Strut brace added, home made and painted by me and lesley (in the correct SAAB talledega red and everything!)

Next: camber bolts, before Cadwell.

August 22nd, 2013:

Lexan sunroof fitted.

Silicone sealed around the underside, then vinyl strip run around the top; the corners were all carefully custom cut by my partner Lesley.

Underneath is a kind of "Leaf spring" assembly that I built on my lunch breaks at work, this helps keep the sunroof curved with the roof line, it is bolted to the roof at both ends, and has three stainless bolts holding the panel to it, sealed with rubber o-rings and tidied up with a little more vinyl stripe.

The large sunroof assembly that came out weighed a surprising amount, measuring at 14.9kg on the calibrated bathroom scales.

New weight loss total: 164.6kg

5.7kg: Sunroof Panel

9.2kg: Sunroof mounting and mechanism

-2.3kg: Replacement lexan panel and support strut

Next up: 

  • Piggyback rear anti roll bar DONE!
  • Fit newly aquired camber bolts DONE!
  • Make a strut brace for the rear of the car DONE!
  • New rearmost exhaust pipe DONE!

Not neccesarily in that order.
July 17th, 2013:

Brake ducting fitted!

Formed some intakes to fit the foglight holes in my lunch hour at work, using some scrap lexan, a 70 mm round can and a heat gun.

The results were pretty pleasing, as you can see. I wasn't sure painting them red would work, but it actually looks a lot better than I was expecting.

From the intakes I ran neoprene ducting to the wheel arches, as shown in the picture on the left.

Space was a little bit more limited than I was expecting, but I managed to work it out.
I then used a hot knife attachment on a soldering iron to cut a hole in the wheel arch liners, where I then ran the outlets of the ducting.

Some would say that I'd get better results if I just removed all the liners and plastic bits (including me), and I would, but a large part of this project is that the car can still be used on the road, and these are the bits that protect the car from all the dirt, water and salt that come with that.
July 12th, 2013:

We have cut a section out of the bumper to allow more air to the intake cone filter (which is situated just inside and above). fitted a mesh grill in the hole.

Brake cooling ducts are next!

July 11th, 2013:

Calipers and braided hoses have been fitted by my freind and SAAB owner Dougie P, (see links page), complete with a change to 5.1 fluid.

We also painted the front calipers too, they look alright through the spokey wheels, will have to see how the other set look at some point too.


Now if I want the car to stop, I just have to look at the pedal, quite a change.

July 5th, 2013:

It's been a while, what a busy month!

We've been on the Peaks and Dales, been on holiday, Showed at the Two Counties, and done a track day! (Not necessarily all in that order...) Inbetween all this somewhere there was the expense of a new Ignition cartridge and spark plugs in a hectic week full of tracking down a misfire problem, which eventually was soved by cleaning the air intake meter; this of course was the week leading up to the track day, sods law strikes again!)

So, the track day went very well indeed, the SAAB behaved beautifully after the preceeding weeks issues, and we were overtaking more than we ever have before. She felt much lighter and stiffer. Please take a look at the pictures!

It did show, however, that there is more work that can be done. she still rolls around a fair bit, the front has nowhere near enough camber on it, and we finished the old hard bridgestones off on my dry set of wheels (they were about 5 years old anyway); more on that later.

Well there's a few updates for me to speak about, but the question is where to begin... Calipers, lets start with calipers.

After shearing off the rear bleed nipples two trackays ago, and therefore being unable to bleed the rear brakes, I can definitely say the brakes have become a little spongy...

After two failed attempts at removing the remains of the old bleed nipples (in one side shearing off the tool I was using as well... sigh.) I gave in and bought two re-manufactured calipers, with a set of stainless braided hoses and some dot 5.1 fluid. (hey, if I have to do it, I might as well do it properly.) they are hopefully being fitted in a week, I will update when things advance.


We painted the strutbrace for the two counties show. much better than the scabby black paint that was on it before. (click the picture for the full engine bay.)
I mentioned finishing my dry tyres off earlier...

Well I bought a new set, A set of Marangoni Zeta Lineas, and they look smart! They are used in the BMW compact cup championship so they should perform to a reasonable standard. first impressions are good, but I haven't pushed it yet as they were only put on yesterday and were still settling.

They are a lower profile than the standard tyres. standard size for the Saab is 195/60/R15, while these are 195/50/R15.

This means that with these new dry tyres, my wheels are 93.6% of the original circumference, in theory this should give me better acceleration, while the lower profile should also give better grip round corners. unfortunately it also means that when my speedo says 70 I'm actually doing 65 (thereabouts)...

I can tell you're interested...

So the new tyres should improve things no end, I still need to sort the camber thing out though, I must order a set of bolts...

Speaking of which, here's what I hope to do over the next few months:

  • Get some camber bolts so that I can adjust the front camber angle. DONE!
  • Get the rear calipers and brake hoses fitted with 5.1 spec fluid all round. DONE!
  • Find a second anti roll bar and piggy back it with the original rear. DONE!
  • Remove the giant girder sunroof assembly from the roof and fit a Lexan panel. DONE
  • Fit intake ducts where the foglights used to be and run cooling to the front brakes. DONE!
  • Cut out the left hand side of the lower front bumper to allow more air to the induction. (It will match the other side where the tow point is, but it will have a mesh covering. DONE!

More to come soon!

May 30th, 2013:

1.1kg of Central locking removed, new total 152kg.

The last week or so has been most productive, the saab is now kitted out with full poly bushes on the front arms, roll bars and drop links, minus the front bushes as we did not have the specialist tools for the job. I'll get those done next time she goes into a garage or something.

oh and something else happened...

Yes... Racing stripes.

Oh and I painted the turbo badge red, you can just see it on the grill.

May 5th, 2013:

The car has had a complete going over with blending paste and a rotary polisher to revive the paintwork. followed by a layer of opti-seal to protect the new finish!

Me and Lesley spent the morning applying stickers and she looks the part a bit more now! very pleased indeed.

Oh also, see the news, a track day has been booked... Time to test her out!
April 23rd, 2013:

A few things done, changed the grill for my mesh one without lights, Much lighter indeed.

The front anti-roll bar bushes have now been done and the final gauge (oil pressure) wired in, so the dash is now completely fully functioning! I will update with a weight total soon.

April 14th, 2013:

Another Productive day!

Tidied up the battery wiring, fitted the new tow point, fitted the temperature gauge sender (replaces the sump bung) and ran the wiring for that sender.

We also went for a little photo shoot of the car; Lesley took some lovely photo's for me. (see the gallery page).

Left: The new tow point, with my blanking plate for the towbar hole fitted above it.

April 6th, 2013:

Well what a productive day this has been...

Towbar has been removed, had to drop the bumper to do so, but as you can see it was a success!

I was very pleased to see so little rust Behind the bumper.

I am now left with a few holes of course, so I will be making a blanking plate and covering some of them with vinyl.

I have a new tow point from OMP, and will make a plate for it next week.

The second thing we did today was finish moving the battery to the boot, (remember the wiring I mentioned in a previous post?). Two jobs done in one day, woo!

The connectors I used are quick release connectors, which make life a lot easier indeed.

Now the power can be completey isolated by the master switch on the dashboard. (shown left), guess I might as well remove the rest of the central locking now...

New weight loss total: 150.9kg

2.4kg: Battery tray

8.6kg: Tow bar and wiring

3rd April, 2013:

The Dashboard is on!

I spent three days on and off over the bank holiday weekend doing the job, there was a lot to do what with all the wiring, fitting, and adapting that had to be done. I also took the opportunity to run the battery wires from the boot. (you'll see why sometime later.)

New weight loss total: 139.9kg

2.4kg: Stereo, wiring, speakers

1.2kg: Now unused dash parts

1.1kg: Remote Central locking

Left: "Engine start" button

Right: turbo timer, allowing the engine to run for a set amount of time after the ignition is cut so that some cooler oil is passed around the turbo before the engine stalls.

Right: Oil light I engineered for this dashboard, lets just say I want to know if I lose oil pressure on track, so I made it... Noticeable...

Four superbright LED pointed at your face noticeable...

24th March, 2013:

Headlining and final trim peices removed from the interior, only the stereo and speakers left, but those will come out with the dashboard change.

NEW TOTAL: 135.2kg

Roof handles and other trim: 1.2kg
Sunroof panel: 0.8kg
Headlining: 3.2kg

Yes, that is snow on the windscreen, I am that crazy. Of course, what I have now found is that there is a massive mass of metal bolted to the roof, the sunroof mechanism. It's fine as it is, It's probably pretty structural so we have decided to leave it intact.

When the weather brightens up it'll be time for a clean up, sorting out loose wires and so on.

20th March, 2013:

Test drive a success! It feels great; I have so much more feeling for what the car is doing now! There's only a couple more important things to do before it's time for a track day now, namely removing the towbar and creating the new dashboard.

New total for weight removal: 130kg

37.2kg - Original Front Seats

-30.7kg - Bucket seats (weight added)

2.4kg - Front seatbelts

1.2kg - Front seatbelt height adjusters

1.2kg - Various bits

1.2kg - B pillar panels

On the subject of the new dashboard, work has begun, I have taken delivery of a new (black) dashboard, which I have begun modifiing (shown right).

I have cut some blanking panels and a main switchplate. The next stage is to order the electronics, such as the kill switch and starter panel, after the next paycheck, naturally.

15th March, 2013:

Spent the day fitting my seats, (well, most of it, the Yeti had her service in the morning and it took a while.) It was a bit of a job.

Having realized recently that the sliders for the new seats match the car's original mountings in no way whatsoever, I chose to manufacture my own adapter plates during the week on my coffee breaks and lunchtimes..

Above you can see the finished plates; Using 8mm thick stainless steel bar I drilled holes in the appropriate places and, for the new seat mountings, tapped some threads to bolt the seats to. Stainless steel is hard work, and by the time I was done I had covered the pillar drill, the plates, the workshop and of course myself in WD40 (in this case used as a cooling agent), cutting fluid and metal swarf.

On the left you can see the plates bolted in position.

So the seats are in! luckily the harnesses even reached the rear seatbelt mountings. I am really pleased with the results!

Naturally it started raining as I started the work, I haven't test driven her yet, I was a bit wet and miserable when I was finished so I decided to leave that for another day. I will report back on that soon!

March 9th, 2013:

More stuff has been removed:

1.6kg: Headlight wipers and fog lights (they were naff anyway)

5.2kg: Drivers footwell soundproofing

1.4kg: Drivers carpet and footrest

2.5kg: Rear carpet

4.5kg: Rear soundproofing

4.5kg: Passenger footwell soundproofing

2.3kg: Various plastic parts

5.8kg: Front door cards

2.1kg: Aerial and rear wiper

0.6kg: Small plastic parts and screws

0.8kg: Passenger footwell carpet

New total: -117.5kg

March 5th, 2013:

Seats have arrived!, (see the news page!) so we have set about stripping out the interior.

so far we have removed a massive total of 87.8kg! that's a lot more than me! here's a rundown of what's been removed:

Boot floor tray: 6.3kg

Side shelves: 6.4kg

Boot carpet: 2.5kg

Rear seats: 30.7kg

Various interior trim: 2.5kg

Rear door cards: 5.4kg

Various covers etc:1.2kg

Screws etc: 2.5kg

Small parts (inc. rear seatbelts): 5.3kg

Floor mats: 7.2kg

Center console: 3.5kg

Spare wheel:11.0kg

Incorporated tool kit: 3.3kg

It's no wonder SAABs are so heavy when your boot carpet alone weighs nearly 3kg...

more to come soon.

February 25th, 2013:

Steering wheel boss has arrived; I have fitted the steering wheel, and it looks great!

I am aware that the wooden dash is a little mis-matched, but that will resolve itself when I make a new track dashboard anyway.

Click the image for a larger version, might have some news on the bucket seats soon so check back!

Steering wheel is here, the boss and bucket seats are on their way, so check back soon!
February 16th, 2013:

Needed to spend an amazon voucher and needed better lights on the car, so me and Lesley fitted a set of High intensity discharge bulbs along with a set of LED sidelights. They look great!

February 7th, 2013:

New downpipe received and fitted, I painted it red.


Because red!

February 2nd, 2013:
Fitted poly bushes to the rear anti-roll bar, attempted the front but failed due to space issues (will try again soon),

Removed the drive belt to find out which pully has gone squealy (it was the tensioner) and have a new downpipe arriving on tuesday, updates soon!
January 29th, 2013:

Finally got to fit some new clear indicators from PFS. I have been waiting for a LONG time to get some of these. they completely change the looks of the car. I'm very chuffed.

I also have a new belt and some anti-roll bar mounts to fit this weekend, along with a new downpipe (a scar, lingering from the previous trackday) as my beer-can fix finally gave up!

January 19th, 2013:

I have spent the last week cleaning up a spare throttle body I was given as it turned out that was the cause of most of my idling problems... It runs so nicely now, still a little high but I think the old butterfly valves are just too worn, so I think that's some "character" I will have to live with...

Above: Re-conditioned clean valve next to the one off the SAAB. I plan to clean that one up too.

Right: Valve fitted; "Gosh guys, I can't tell, which part did he change again?"

January 12th, 2013:

Painted the engine, It goes a lot faster now!

(Seriously though, I'll do something that improves the functionality soon, promise!)

I think it does look better for it.
January 4th, 2013:

Stickers Added! these were bought for me for christmas.

Left: from my sister, Jenni.

Right: "Turbo Loading, please wait" sticker from Lesley.

December 11th, 2012:

Old perished hoses changed for new red silicone hoses, the car runs so much better now there is not holes everywhere, go figure! (and of course, the coolant stays in now...)

There is a few more to do but the major culprits have been replaced.

November 2012

Fitted a strutbrace, the steering is much more responsive now. this has made the steering, shall we say "somewhat light" in the rain.

We also fitted a new rocker cover, she was beginning to weep oil a bit.

August 2012

Lowering kit fitted. (ok, fitted again...)