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  1. #1
    Moderator Shazam's Avatar
    Join Date
    30 Jul 2010
    Rochester, New York, USA
    1973 96
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    Saab 96/95 Buyer's Guide

    I'll mostly concentrate on the V4 96 here...The first thing you need to decide or know, is do you want a two stroke, or do you want a four stroke. The two stroke are a lot more unique (cooler if you ask me), are over all lighter, the engines are much simpler, but parts for the engine are much harder to get. The two stroke 96's were made from 1960 up until 1968ish. The early 96's were also called "bullnose" 96's because they had a much shorter front end for the smaller size engine. I believe the last year for a bull-nose 96 was around 1965. From 1965 to 1968ish, they made "longnose" 96's; regardless if it was two-stroke of V4.

    Because of the two-stroke engine, Saab implemented a free-wheel. The free-wheel is much like one on a bike. You can coast on your bike without pedaling, and in a free-wheel Saab, you can coast (the engine is "disengaged") even when you are in gear. This was because the two-stroke engine could seize from oil-starvation when coming down big hills or other cases when engine braking is used.The two-stroke is a very simple design.

    It is a three-cylinder engine, and only has about seven moving parts. This engine stayed roughly the same, but with variations of the 96/95 (such as a Monte Carlo) some things changed like carburetors.The V4 96 came out in 1967 or 1968. The V4 gave more power, and most parts are easy to find; save for a few. The V4 is a German engineered Ford engine known as the Ford Tanus V4.

    The engine (and mostly the car) would stay the same for the rest of production, with the change of carburetors and some other mostly emission parts. Some other changes over the years include bumpers, head lights and things like molding strips and interior updates, but all are relatively the same-ish. Also, the US got different headlights than the rest of the world, which got square ones; this resulted in a slightly different looking front end.

    What to look for

    • If you really want a two stroke, make sure it's running, or you have the parts to get it running. While the parts are hard to come by, with some digging and calling around, you should be able to get the parts you want. But, be prepared to pay.
    • Rust. These cars have a big problem of rusting; mostly floor rot. The most common areas are where the footwells meet up with the front wheel-wells. Another common area is underneath the gas tank and on the long noses check behind/around the front corner/signal lights. You should be able to clearly see it. If it has floor rot, can you fix it? Is it enough to make the car not structurally sound? These cars have a monocoque design, so the floor gives it strength; there is no "frame" per-say. Also, right below the rear window can be a problem area, and takes skill to fix if it's bad. Highlighted in red are the most common rust areas, but don't check just there. Thanks 72sonett3 for the diagram.

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    • If the car isn't running, why? Are you sure it's just because the current owner can't get the carburetor tuned right. Make sure you know why it isn't running, and what it will take. Always expect the worst, and don't necessarily take the previous owners word for it. I have found vintage Saab owners to be one of the nicest groups of people though.
    • If the car has been sitting for a long time, definitely check fuel filter if you can. These tanks have a tendency to build up rust inside them and clog up your fuel lines and gum up the carburetor. This can cause a lot of pains, but it's normally pretty easy to fix.
    • Overheating. The V4's are prone to overheating, especially in warmer areas or when idling. Usually something is clogged somewhere, but often enough, the cooling system just can't handle it. There are several good cooling upgrades out there, most use a C900 radiator and fan.
    • For a V4, check the balance shaft (the bottom pulley on the engine). If it's loose, it will require costly rebuild, and those parts are typically hard to come buy.
    • The freewheel is prone to freezing/seizing up. The car will (should) still run fine this way, but just know your freewheel doesn't work. It should be able to stay "On" and "Off".
    • The clutch often is worn, but clutch kits aren't very hard to come buy, but can are pretty costly.
    • Front suspension: The ball joints have been know to seize up or wear out. Check those out. The ball joints that don't have grease fittings usually need replacing. Ball joints with grease fittings can sometimes just be regreased. The difficulty of replacing those depends on the amount of rust you have on your suspension. Can be a quick job, but can be a hard one too.
    • The water pump is prone to leaks on the V4, and is a job I hated. The bolts were near impossible to get to, and just took for ever because you can only do one click at a time with a socket wrench. There are ways around this, but prepare to be frustrated with this job.

    If I've missed something or am wrong, let me know, I'll do my best to fix it.-Shazam

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    Last edited by Shazam; 14 December 2011 at 02:06.
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  2. #2
    72sonett3's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Nov 2010
    '72 97, '77 96, '79 96, '91 900i, '95 900SE
    Thumbs Up:   0
    These are the spots to check for rust:

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