A gearshift linkage upgrade on the 1996 Saab 900. The old linkage is replaced with a newer design, offering superior shifting feel and curing the difficulty of engaging certain gears. The updated linkage is found on 1997-1998 900 and 1999-2002 9-3, Saab part #4626321. Should you come across this part on eBay or a local scrap yard, don't pass the opportunity, it's a worthwhile upgrade.

To remove the linkage, do not forget to lock the transmission in fourth gear. For more information, see the shifter alignment procedure and the old linkage removal instructions. The only difference from the above procedures is that you need to raise the front end of the car.

Tools:

  • 16 mm wrench;
  • 13 mm socket;
  • Torx T40 socket;
  • long socket extension;
  • ratchet handle;
  • torque wrench;
  • two L-shaped 3 mm Allen keys;
  • car ramps or jacks and stands.
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Seal screws

Lock the transmission in fourth gear and raise the front of the car. Since your car is likely a 94-96, the topmost screw on the differential seal retainer will probably be rusted or stuck. Take your time to soak it in rust solvent.
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From below

Undo the 13 mm nut securing the linkage to the gear rod at the firewall and move the shifter into third gear to pull it out of the linkage. Undo the bolt on the transmission end of the linkage and remove the linkage assembly.
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Screw undone

Pull off the rubber boot and the plastic bushing from the engine bracket, you won't need them anymore. Unscrew the top bolt on the differential seal retainer (Torx T40).
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Stud

Bolt on a new linkage stud in place of the old retainer screw (16 mm wrench). The stud has a little ball joint on its end.
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Bracket

Inspect the bracket that connects the engine to the rear mount. There's a round lug on top of it, which used to be occupied by the plastic bushing of the old linkage. Cut the lug off.
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Bracket cut

This is a very tight location even for a hack saw. Be careful not to damage any hoses while cutting the bracket. Thankfully, it's made of aluminium, which is easy to cut.
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Lug

This little saw is almost as old as I am. My grandfather gave it to me when I was learning to work with mechanic's tools as a kid. It belongs to my son now. Today, it proved to be a perfect tool for the job ;P.
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New vs old

The ball stud is still pictured attached to the linkage to show the complete assembly. It's the same stud you bolted to the differential a few minutes ago.
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New vs old

The new linkage has a much more sophisticated design. The tilting movement is performed by a separate set of levers, while the base remains centered on the transmission rod and attached to the engine on another end.
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New vs old

The result is a much greater movement accuracy and a more precise shifter feel.
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Transmission end

Put the new linkage on both the transmission rod and the shifter connection rod at the firewall. Tighten the 13 mm bolt on the transmission side.
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Connecting pin

If you are installing a used linkage, check the condition of rubber bushings and clean inside the ball joint sockets on both ends of the connecting pin. Put some grease on the balls before installing it.
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Shifter end

The pin connects the far end of the linkage to the ball stud on the differential body. It holds the linkage better than the old lug with a round plastic bush, while allowing sufficient freedom of movement.
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Tightening

Finally, align the shifter position and tighten the nut on the linkage. Lower the car on the ground and go for a test drive to check how the new linkage works.

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