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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Jacked up
Raise the car and remove the wheels. Take your time spraying the fasteners with a rust solvent.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Brake rotor
Remove the rotor and undo the tie rod end nut (18 mm socket).

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Tie rod end
Use a ball joint separator on the tie rod end.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Axle
The lower end of the strut is now free, so you can swing it sideways and pull the axle out.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Strut
The strut on the ground, ready for disassembly.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Spring compressor
Attach a spring compressor and tighten it until the spring releases the tension on the strut mount.

 

Click to see the next picture
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).

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Strut mount
The spring support, thrust bearing, strut mount and related hardware.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Upper spring seat
The 9-3 upper spring seat is integral with the dust cover. On the NG900 they were separate.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Spring compressor
Compress the spring to prepare it for installation.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
11.05.2007: Strut mount
Install the strut mount and tighten the upper nut on the damper rod.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

 

Click to see the next picture
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.

  [return to index]

 

 

 
Copyright © 2000-2013 Dmitry Platonoff
All rights reserved.