The summer's near, and here's a great way to celebrate it:
a 1995 Saab 900SE turbo convertible. The car came from a local auction,
with the body and interior in
surprisingly good shape.
Unfortunately, it was not that good mechanically. It needed work in
many areas, including the engine, transmission, suspension and soft top.
Therefore the goal of this project was to build a better Saab convertible.
The work started with interior.
The seats and dashboard were removed, the side panels and carpeting
stripped. The next step would be to clean everything up and prepare for
soundproofing and audio upgrade.
Suspension removal. The front end is
up on stands, the wheels are off, and the front struts together with
suspension arms and calipers are being removed from the car. Then I find
that I need to fiddle with the soft top to get to the rear shock towers,
and finally the whole rear axle meets the floor.
Powertrain disassembly. The headlights,
grille and bumper come off to allow the access to the intercooler. The
intercoler is then removed with all the pipes, and the airbox follows it.
The exhaust system is easy to remove as it's held together with only
rubber hangers and clam clamps. The gearbox gets unbolted from the engine
and lowered to the floor. And finally, the engine comes out with a help
of a friend and a 3-ton shop crane.
The engine is being replaced with a
2.3L block from a Saab 9000 Aero. The replacement engine came from a
scrap yard, so it first gets stripped, disassembled and sent to an engine
shop for machining and polishing. All accessories and manifolds are
also refreshed and cleaned.
Paint and finish
New finish for all kinds of parts: valve cover, engine block, suspension.
Dmitry in the garage
All parts have finally arrived, and the assembly work begun. You can
see there's a space issue. The garage is pretty tight, so keeping all
the parts and tools around is a bit of a problem.
Out in the sun
The car is out of the garage for the first time. Engine and suspension
installation finished, wheels and bumper on. The front seats are installed
temporarily so the car can be driven. Here's a
video [YouTube] of the car rolling out of the garage.
Soundproofing is the last step before the final interior assembly.
A layer of B-Quiet Ultimate sound deadening material is applied on the
inside of the door and the outer surface, footwells, floor and side panels.
The stereo system is upgraded with a more powerful four-channel amplifier,
all new wiring, Infinity Reference component speakers in front doors and on
the dashboard, and larger speakers in the rear for increased bass output.
A final shot of the car. It already covered about 5000 km since the rebuild.
There were zero problems (aside from this
suspension issue). The car established itself to be solid and reliable, easy to
drive in everyday traffic, and fast and capable when you want to have fun.
A torque and horsepower graph from a Dynojet dyno, taken at ambient
22°C (71°F), 29.4 in-HG. The shop only had a small portable
fan, which limited the car's performance on the dyno. It only held
15-16 psi of boost instead of its usual 18-19 psi, and started to drop
off at just 4300 RPM. As the result, the top figures measured were 246
whp and 309 ft-lbs at the wheels. Accounting for a 12% drivetrain loss, it
gives 280 hp and 350 ft-lbs at the crank. The real world performance
in more favorable conditions is estimated to be around 300-310 hp.
A four-point roll bar built to
I had to do this to make the car admissible to local driving events and
high performance driving schools. Fabricated by
CSC Racing - one of the best roll
cage builders in Ontario. It is removable, and fully clears the roof when
installed. The bar bolts to the floor and the torsion box, and only
requires the removal of rear interior panels to fit.