Sunday Snippets

My apologies to all who had trouble accessing the website yesterday.

My hosting company, Media Temple, did some major server maintenance to upgrade power supplies, or something like that. I knew there might be some interruptions to service, but it seems the site was offline for around 8 hours or so.

On the positive side, it allowed me an early night, and after a day trying to rid our garden of some of the most stubborn plants i’ve ever met, I needed it.


It’s a beautiful day here today. It’s the ideal day to grab your new digital SLR camera (bought last week), take the car for a wash, head on over to Drew’s and shoot some photos…..except my 900 still has fuel problems.

I had a new fuel pump installed last Tuesday and on Friday night it started exhibiting the same issues again (I don’t drive it every day, hence the delay).

It’s like the car is starved of fuel. It’s idling really low but when you get going, it just seems like there’s not enough juice there. I hate being non-mechanical. Any ideas?

Fuel filter? Injectors?


And another Swade-vehicle update, the Mrs and I chatted the other night about the Viggen.

My argument with the insurance company is now in the hands of the Insurance Industry Ombudsman and I think there’s definitely an argument there to be had. It all hinges on whether Australia’s motorsport governing body, CAMS, actually had jurisdiction over the event. My policy says I’m not covered if they did. I’m saying that they didn’t because they have no guidelines in place to govern the conduct of such an event.

Anyway….should that argument be unsuccessful, I was hoping to raid our mortgage to fund a quick repair. My wife has agreed that this plan would be absolutely out of the question. It didn’t matter that I didn’t agree. She did, and as it’s the only position she’s willing to accept then eventually I’ll come around. Married men know what I mean 🙂 .

She figures that having bought and sold two 99T’s, bought our 9000, the Viggen and my current 900 in the last five years or so, we’ve spent enough on cars. My opinion that one can never have too many cars, or spend enough on buying them didn’t seem to wash.

So it looks like I’m scrimping, saving, calling in favours and owing people new favours for the next 6-8 months. A new blog may even be started to cover the fixing up issues and any advice on sourcing good, cheap parts will be welcome. That car is part of the lifeblood of this site, so the fix is going to be covered in detail. Might even learn a few things along the way.


There’s a new Turbo X button in the left sidebar, which will take you to the everything you need to know about the Turbo X article I posted earlier this week.


And speaking of the Turbo X – I emailed Autoblog about the fact that they hadn’t covered its US debut this week, and I sent them a link to the abovementioned post, and they still haven’t covered the US launch. I’d have thought it was newsworthy given that pricing for the car and US availability dates were finally made known.


And speaking some more about the Turbo X, I’ve published a bucketload of articles since the US launch last Tuesday, the most notable being the press release with pricing included and Johnny Del’s excellent photos and review of the event. But the one thing I haven’t had to show is video.

Saab History recorded the unveiling on video, so if you’d like to see that, click here.


And in a final bit of Turbo X-ery, Mike B has swapped in some 19-inch Hirsch rims for the standard Turbo X six-spokes. I’m still partial to the original wheels because they are just that, the original rims, and they’re so unique.

But these are definitely alright….

Turbo X with Hirsch rims

And by the way, several commenters ho have investigated the matter have mentioned that Hirsch will be doing a tune for the 280hp engine in the Turbo X, and presumably the XWD Aero as well. I’ll publish details as soon as they’re forthcoming.

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  1. Hmmmmm… Rough idle/low idle speed and no power at the mid range to top end. Sounds like a possible plugged exhaust from this side of the world. Not so sure how easy it is to uncouple the exhaust from the manifold on that car to prove that – but a quick and dirty way to do it is to remove the exhaust O2 sensor and see if performance improves. Depending on the severity of the restriction this may or may not work as described.

    If the car has a mechanical boost gauge on it I would expect pressure (boost) to be maybe higher than normal as you simply would be flooding the manifold with pressure. Simply put, to get fresh air into the engine – you have to get the old (exhaust) air out.

    I have never experienced a plugged exhaust on a forced induction vehicle, but on a normally aspirated vehicle a simple vacuum gauge attached to the manifold will verify this as described above. On a normally aspirated engine the gauge will stay close to zero (or a bit higher than atmospheric pressure) as the engine is simply not breathing when the exhaust is corked.

    A restricted fuel filter usually does not affect idle quality as fuel demand is low at idle speeds, but symptoms are nearly identical under load…. Fuel injectors – I would be surprised if they all plugged at once unless there was some foul play involved.

    Of course there is a chance mechanical or ignition timing is off…. Maybe no ignition advance if it is intermittent?

    I guess I should ask – does this happen all the time or intermittently? What year is the car again and what engine is in it?

    Just thought I would throw some quick thoughts out there, so hope they help. Off to dinner and then finish putting up the tree. Gotta love car problems! 🙁

  2. Swade: I’ll lay odds that it’s the fuel pressure regulator (either malfunctioning or vacuum leak on the regulator control) OR that the fuel pressure regulator bypass back to the fuel tank is blocked.

    Check that. Page 240-3 of the Bentley.

  3. “It’s like the car is starved of fuel. It’s idling really low but when you get going, it just seems like there’s not enough juice there.”

    It sounds exactly like the problem I had with a Volvo 360. No problem starting it, run even and fine, but as soon you stepped on the gas – no power. I checked everything but couldn’t find a damn thing. I gave up and took it to the Volvo dealer. I descibed the problem, he verified it, and then changed the ignition cables. Everything was fine. “Common problem, gonna happen again”. It did. In fact, during the 10 years somebody I knew owned the car, the ignition cables were changed at least 4 times.

  4. Thanks Gents,

    I’m pretty sure we’re looking at B202 engine here, Ted. i.e. 2.0 litre 16 valve turbo and it’s a 1985 Saab 900 Aero. I should have got Steve the mechanic to check other things when he installed the fuel pump on Tuesday. It is a somewhat intermittent problem, but seems to be happening more often than not now.

    Eventually the car will stall, but always starts again, and after I let it idle for a few minutes it’ll get me where I need to go.

    Frustrating, especially when I have to cross a bridge quite often. Break down on the bridge and you get towed and fined.

  5. BTW, I assume you checked all tubes (hoses?) in the enginge very carefully. Even a small leak could cause havoc when you step on the gas.

  6. My suggestion was going to be what tedjs already explained. I had a catalytic converter core break up and plug the exhaust once. Top speed dropped to 35 mph but it seemed to run fine below that.

    You caused a minor panic with the downtime swade. There’s a thread on saabcentral (lounge) about it with a suggestion we start mirroring important Saab websites. 🙂

    And, is it just me? There’s no header image on the home page. But there is on the comments page.

    About the “agreeing”, I understand. Whenever I hear the words “We need to discuss…”, it’s code that means I’ll have to agree with the more common sense opinion (hers).

  7. Regarding the problem with your 900 -if the symptom is intermittent, than I would have to say that my original thoughts on the plugged exhaust would not apply to that problem. A restricted exhaust is a fairly consistent failure and would not just go away at times.

    The Air Flow Meter suggested by saabologist does make sense based on your description. To elaborate on his hypothesis, if the sensor is ‘reporting’ to the ECU that less air is entering the engine than there actually is – the ECU will not add the proper amount of fuel – which would make the engine feel like it is fuel starved. A similar condition can also be caused by the throttle position sensor.

    GM used a similar ‘barrel’ style MAF (or Mass Air Flow) sensor back in the ‘80’s as well and I remember that you could ‘tap test’ it with a screwdriver handle. A light tap on a faulty sensor would produce a stumble/stall at idle. I am not sure if this is a valid test on that style sensor.

    Intermittent problems are always frustrating, but if it is becoming more consistent – that is actually a good thing (as long as you don’t get stranded) in that your mechanic or saabologist (sounds like he might be close to you) can pinpoint the faulty component and repair the car.

  8. I’m gonna comment about the marriage part 🙂 to any of you who is about to take the leap, just a thought: marriage is a contract, read the fine prine, i am sure somewhere in the contract it states that upon signing, husbands are willingly giving up the right to any opinions that matter to them, if these opinions are expressed, the wife will have all jurisdiction over the outcome. It also states that the husband forfeits the right to be right in an argument 🙂 it just will never happen.

  9. Ted, sounds like it could have been the problem. Matt (Saabologist) does indeed live nearby and he popped around this afternoon in the fudgemobile.

    A bit of tweaking and a few taps on the airflow sensor and we took it for a drive, picked up a couple of cokes, all with no problems. I’ll keep an eye on it this week.

  10. Seem to have been cut off there. Stupid blog!

    Anyway, most of those Bosch AMM’s that I’ve seen fail on the 900 have done just the opposite; run OK but won’t idle.

    Check basics first, including flow test on outlet side of fuel filter. Volume should be 750mL in 30 sec if I remember correctly. Hall sensor might also be worth a check.


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