This guide describes installing a set of Eibach front springs made for a 1999-2002 Saab 9-3 onto a 1995 900. I decided to install these to match the rear Eibachs that were installed on my car earlier as my old Intrax springs did not work well on the convertible. This document can also be used as a general guide for fitting 9-3 front springs to an NG900. One possible reason to do this is better availability and wider product choice of 9-3 suspension parts compared to the aging NG900.

While the front suspension on the 9-3 is mostly identical to NG900, they use different strut mounts and spring seats. As the result, the spring design differs too: 9-3 springs have a constant coil radius along the entire length, while NG900 springs have their end coils tapered to a smaller radius. It turns out, however, that it's still possible to use 9-3 springs on a NG900 with minor modifications and part exchange. You need upper spring seats from a 9-3, new or used, part 4779310.

Tools and supplies:

  • 32 mm (1¼") socket: axle nut;
  • 24 mm wrench: retainer nut on top of the strut;
  • 18 mm socket: tie rod nut;
  • 18 mm wrench: ball joint nut;
  • 17 mm socket: wheel bolts;
  • 16 mm socket: stanchion arm to subframe bolt (optional);
  • 15 mm socket: control arm to subframe bolt (optional);
  • 13 mm socket: lower sway bar link nut, strut mount nuts;
  • 11 mm socket: top of the OEM damper rod;
  • 11 mm open wrench: upper part of sway bar link;
  • 10 mm Allen key: caliper bolts;
  • 7 mm Allen key: top of the Bilstein damper rod;
  • 5 mm Allen key: rotor index screw;
  • torque wrench;
  • car jack and axle stands;
  • ball joint separator;
  • spring compressor;
  • C-clamp: for tightening tie rod ends;
  • breaker bar;
  • vice-grips;
  • large screw extractor (6 mm);
  • hammer and rubber mallet;
  • loctite, anti-seize, rust solvent.
11.05.2007
Axle nut

While the car is still on the ground, pop the cover in the middle of the wheel and loosen the axle nut using a 32 mm socket on a large breaker bar.
11.05.2007
Jacked up

Raise the car and remove the wheels. Take your time spraying the fasteners with a rust solvent.
11.05.2007
Axle nut

Remove the axle nut completely. If you find the rotor spinning, block it with a screwdriver inserted through the caliper bracket.
11.05.2007
ABS sensor

Unplug the ABS sensor from the connector on the fender wall. Take extra care as the brackets get brittle with age.
11.05.2007
Caliper spring

Remove the caliper spring and the rotor screw. Those are notorious for getting stuck, you might need a screw extractor.
11.05.2007
Caliper bolts

Unbolt the caliper (10 mm Allen socket) and suspend it on a wire so there's no strain on the brake line.
11.05.2007
Brake rotor

Remove the rotor and undo the tie rod end nut (18 mm socket).
11.05.2007
Tie rod end

Use a ball joint separator on the tie rod end.
11.05.2007
Sway bar link

Unbolt the sway bar link from the control arm. Hold the upper part with an 11 mm wrench and undo the nut with a 13 mm socket.
11.05.2007
Ball joint nut

Loosen the ball joint nut (18 mm wrench). If you pull the axle out slightly, it might give you more room for the wrench.
11.05.2007
Ball joint separator

Split the joint using a ball joint separator. Don't use fork type separators - that would damage the rubber boot.
11.05.2007
Suspension arms

If the ball joint won't budge, or if you don't have a proper separator, proceed with unbolting the arms from the subframe.
11.05.2007
Axle

The lower end of the strut is now free, so you can swing it sideways and pull the axle out.
11.05.2007
Strut mount

Unbolt the final three nuts on top of the strut mount and lower the strut to the ground. Be careful - it's quite heavy.
11.05.2007
Strut

The strut on the ground, ready for disassembly.
11.05.2007
Spring compressor

Attach a spring compressor and tighten it until the spring releases the tension on the strut mount.
11.05.2007
Top nut

This is a proper way to undo the damper rod nut on top of the strut mount. The big nut needs a 24 mm wrench, while the rod itself has an 11 mm hex head on the top (my Bilstein dampers call for a 7 mm Allen instead).
11.05.2007
Impact wrench

However, in real life the top of the rod will be rusted, and attempting to use a small wrench on it will likely end up with a stripped head. The solution is to grab the rod with vice-grips and use an impact wrench on the nut.
11.05.2007
Strut mount

The spring support, thrust bearing, strut mount and related hardware.
11.05.2007
Upper spring seat

The 9-3 upper spring seat is integral with the dust cover. On the NG900 they were separate.
11.05.2007
9-3 spring support

The old rubber spring seat is detached from the support plate. The plate is the right size to match the seat from the 9-3, but the inner rim diameter is too small.
11.05.2007
Spacer

A solid rubber spacer will solve the problem of keeping the upper spring seat centered. These silicone rings I had were just the right size. A piece of used accessory belt could be a good fit too.
11.05.2007
Lower seat

The lower spring seat needs adjustment too. The coil stop is too narrow and close to the center to hold a wider 9-3 spring.
20.05.2007
Coil stop

The lowest point of the spring seat is in the back, so that's where the new spring stop should be. Insert a short bolt into one of the drain holes and secure it with a nut.
20.05.2007
Spacer

The shape of the lower spring seat does not quite match the spring profile, so a spacer is needed to gradually raise the first coil. I used an old rubber piece of the top mount.
11.05.2007
Springs

A stock NG900 spring vs Eibach 9-3 spring vs Intrax NG900 spring. You can see the differnce in length, as well as tapered vs full size ends on NG900 vs 9-3.
11.05.2007
Spring compressor

Compress the spring to prepare it for installation.
20.05.2007
Spring

Place the spring onto the strut so the last coil rests against the modified stop. I put an old piece of hose on it so the spring doesn't rub against the seat metal. This should protect the spring coating and keep it from developing rust.
11.05.2007
Upper seat

Insert the upper spring seat with a dust cover, install the bump stop if applicable and slide the metal support plate over the rubber piece.
11.05.2007
Strut mount

Install the strut mount and tighten the upper nut on the damper rod.
11.05.2007
Assembled

Here's a finished strut with a 9-3 spring. The installation is the reverse of removal, see this document for additional details and torque specs.
11.05.2007
Finished

The car on the ground. The right height is about 1" lower that stock, the old Intrax springs were even lower than that.

  [expand all]

 

 

 
Copyright © 2000-2013 Dmitry Platonoff
All rights reserved.