Things I've done (or had done) to the car
I'm starting to get into this car repair thing. For the big stuff, my
mechanic is John at JG Specialized Saab Service in Lunenburg, MA - that man
is an amazing Saab repair artist of the highest caliber.
- John replaced my 5-speed transmission with a rebuilt one. Pinion
bearing failure (perpetual whining in 5th gear, with the whine eventually
progressing into 4th and much popping out of any gear.)
- John replaced the alternator with a rebuild. My alternator light would
come on above 4.5K RPM at first, but gradually worked it's way down to being
on all of the time.
- The brakes. I needed to use the parking brake where I lived, and both
front end calipers, pads and rotor were eventually frozen together with rust.
- The hood release cable and release latch mechanism. The hood was
always hard to open, then one day the cable broke. Eventually, beer in
hand, in my driveway, I completely R&R'ed the latch mechanism to get all the
grime out of there and replaced the hood release cable with one off of an
'86 in the junkyard. It's frictionless now.
- The driver's side window regulator. I lived for about half a
year with the window not going up all the way because teeth were sheared off
of the gear in the regulator assembly. I WD40'ed the hell out of a used
one, installed it, and it's great.
- Pulled the dashboard out to clean everything. Mostly easy,
except for the big rubber and nylon connector on the back of the interior
ventilation distribution control, where all the vacuum hoses connect to. I
ended up having to grease the nylon retaining ring with Vasoline to
get it to go on.
- Replaced the front speakers with some from Radio Shack. They
make a full range 5" speaker that will drop right in. Sounds a whole lot
better than the original, dried out paper cone ones.
- Replaced the front tires with BF Goodrich Comp T/A's. Great
- Fixed my inoperative rear hatch latch with four strategically
placed zip ties.
- 8/12/98 My SEAT gave out! Replaced the rubber and
burlap seat suspension system with a "Seat Repair Kit" from the dealer. $45.
- 10/10/98 It's the vacuum advance. See my Suicide Solution. (Short version: )
Replaced the vacuum advance mechanism at the distributor after I determined
the diaphragm was shot.
- Spring '99 The alternator went. I noticed
the alternator light would come on when the engine was spinning more
than 5500 RPM or so. Eventually, it was 5000, then 4000... Pretty
soon, I couldn't drive without the thing coming on. For an idiot
light though, it's kind of clever. It's wired so that current flows
through it when the potential at the alternator terminals drops below
the battery voltage - meaning, yeah, the thing isn't charging. John
replaced it with a rebuilt one. Golden.
- Summer '99 What do you do when you're pressing the
brake pedal down and it's slowly sinking to the floor? Replace
the brake master cylinder. Or, rather, have John replace it.
- Summer '99 Can't take the looseness of the front
end anymore. John did a ball joint and some of the suspension
- August '99 It goes to my sister! See my 1990 900 SPG. New toys, but the new one is
really lacking in soul. I'll miss it, but it isn't going
- Fall '99 Four new BF Goodrich Comp/TA's so my
sister doesn't kill herself.
- Winter '99-'00 The SPG goes in
for a new head gasket (ughhh) so I get this thing back for a couple of
weeks. Seems a bit sluggish. Too cold and not enough ambition to
really do anything about it, I dump a bottle of fuel injector cleaner
in it with a tank of 93 octane gas. After some time on the highway,
she's feeling all right again :)
- Spring '00 Yeah, the window regulator didn't hold
up - the gear was stripped again. I'm betting that it was
getting rusty and gummy in there from water let in by the cracked
weatherstripping on the door. My sister had the motor and regulator
- June '00 New front brake pads.