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  1. #1
    Renato Piereck
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    24 Jul 2011
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    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Classic 900 purchase in France - rpiereck - Germany

    1987 SAAB 900i Benelux model, 8v non-turbo


    Today I drove all the way to Sarreguemine, France (3-1/2 hour drive each way!) to look at a 1987 900 for sale. The guy who is selling it has been a died in the wool SAAB guy for 13 years and right now owns four SAABs. His first one was a '98 9-3 convertible, then he got the 900, then a '71 99, and now a newer 9-3 sedan for a daily driver. He is selling the C900 because he was using the 900 as a daily driver and recently replaced it with the new 9-3, and he might be selling the convertible too, and is thinking of buying a Mustang (midlife crisis he says...).

    The 900 is an 8 valve, fuel injected car, hatchback, white with a red interior. When he bought the car it needed work, and he has been fixing it up ever since, and frankly, you wouldn't be able to know unless he told you, the car looks great. Not a show car, but a good driver. He had some rust removed from the rear hatch, from the rear right fender, and the right side inner firewall, behind the right fender. I looked at the usual C900 rust spots (battery tray, fuel door, under the doors, plus the whole underside, etc.) and couldn't find anything other than surface rust around hot pieces under the engine. All body panels are straight, no dents, no paint chips, no big scratches, just regular wear and tear stuff.

    When he bought it the car had a worn out blue interior, and he swapped for the red, which looks terrific. The dash is black and uncracked. All the gauges work, the only one that doesn't is an add-on VDO engine temperature gauge, the original engine temperature gauge works fine. Besides that VDO gauge there are also engine oil pressure and voltage gauges. All the electrics work (rear defog, fan, lights, seat heater, etc). The headliner was redone in 2005 and it's mostly good, there is some minor sagging on the edges (see picture below). The car comes with aluminum rims, plus he has prefect steel wheels to come with it.

    After inspecting the car for a while we took it for an extended drive, I drove the car for a good 45 minutes, from cobble stone streets to rural roads, a steep uphill where the car felt strong, then we drove around some farm villages, and then on a French autoroute and a German Autobahn were I got it up to 70 mph and it felt sure and drove straight. Shocks and brakes are good. Overall the car felt great, the gear shifts are good, it doesn't pop out of gear, first and reverse engage well. The front wheel bearings make a bit of noise, a very light hum, but nothing worrying.

    So it looks great, no (apparent) rust, drives well, has a seemingly good transmission, and started up quickly from cold (I checked). The car was driven in 2010 to the IntSAAB in Switzerland with no issues. He said he usually drives the 99 to IntSAAB but the 99 was down that year. This year he is taking the 99 to Belgium.

    The bad: the car has 257,000 kilometers (159,000 miles), and when I asked how old is the engine chain and the clutch he wasn't sure. There was a bit of a language barrier between us so maybe he didn't quite understand me. He is German, if he were French I would be OK as my French is much better than my German. His English was OK. I asked about the chain tension, but apparently he doesn't do much work on his car and instead takes it to an old SAAB mechanic guy who does it all for him. He has some receipts for the work he has done, the receipts of course are in French and German (he lives right on the border). He is the third owner and doesn't have any receipts from before 2001. The car also needs two new tires, the front ones are worn.

    He is asking 1200 Euro or best offer for the car. Plus he is sending the complete blue interior, a set of genuine SAAB fog lights with the SAAB covers, the steel wheels, and some assorted parts. I told him I am not interested in the blue interior as I have no place to store it (my garage is tiny). He also made the mistake of telling me he is having a hard time selling the car as most French and German SAAB enthusiasts are looking for a museum-quality car and don't even want to come see the car when they hear the mileage. Also, the car is originally from Belgium and has no catalytic converter, which would mean higher road taxes in either France or Germany. For me it doesn't matter as I would register the car with the Army and there is no emissions test.

    I am thinking of low balling him and offer 700 Euro for the car minus the blue interior. That's 917 dollars for a very good looking, nice driving '87 SAAB 900i 8v hatchback with 152,000 miles, with unknown clutch and chain life (I will replace the chain as soon as I can, clutch I will probably do a bit later: the one on the car felt just fine when driving). How does that sound? I am prepared to pay up to 1000 Euro without the interior. I have seen only one other 900 for sale here for less than 2000 Euro and it was a Turbo, a rusty bucket, not a driver.

    Few questions, these cars have mechanical valve adjustment, right? How hard is it to do? I have adjusted valves on VWs and Mercedes before, it's just a matter of how complicated it is to get it done, and if special tools are required. Also, the front wheel bearings on these cars, any harder/easier to do than on another front wheel drive car?

    Also, the car has a cool ANA SAAB of Trollhättan license plate frame

    Here are pictures of the car (the pictures are almost a year old but the car looked the same when I saw it today):













    And here is the original ad, in German: Saab Cars.de (needs login at saab-cars.de)

    What do you guys think?

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  2. #2
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    24 Jul 2011
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    My C900 is home now

    Me and the Classic on a French parking lot



    Woke up this morning, had a quick breakfast, showered and called my Haitian buddy, Joseph. He's a car guy through and through, he flips cars for a hobby, buying junk cars, fixing them for nothing, and the selling them for a small profit. He was really excited about me buying the C900, and wants me to sell him my NG900. Not so fast....!

    The reason I called him is because yesterday I was checking the train prices from where I live to the French city where my C900 was at, and I found out that a tank of gas is actually cheaper for me than a train ticket. It would cost 75 Euro in train fares and the trip would take almost six hours. A gas tank on the NG900 cots me less than 70 dollars. So I called Joseph last night and asked him if he would like to come with me to France to pick up the C900, and he could drive the NG900 on the way back. He was as happy as a fat kid in a candy store, and of course agreed. He is an older guy, a family man, and has a commercial driver's license, so I trusted my newer SAAB with him at the wheel.

    After calling Joseph this morning I picked him up and we hit the Autobahn, we basically took the A6 all the way to Saarbrücken in Germany, then it's another 15 minutes following the river Saar to the French city of Sarreguemines. Arriving in France we met the PO, Thorsten, whom I met on the saab-cars.de website. We had some coffee at Thorsten's place, had a good conversation about things in general and soon got to the business at hand: exchanging money and car. I had to sign a few documents that made me the owner of the C900, went outside to check the car, and within a half hour I was driving out in my new (to me) white classic 900. I was giddy, I love picking up a new car (who doesn't?). Joseph and I were hungry so we had some food in France, then hit the Autobahn. We refueled at the first Esso station in Germany (I get gas at US prices on German Esso stations), then drove the 339 km home.

    The 900 couldn't have ridden better. For a 249000 km car she rides straight, brakes surely, and has enough power to easily go up a steep incline on the Autobahn at 110 km/h. I pushed her to 165 km/h at one point to see how she felt at that speed and it was fine, but I backed off anyway. I drove home at a speed hovering from 110 to 130 km/h, and a half tank of gas was burned.

    Joseph really enjoyed driving the NG900, I told him if he wanted he could have pushed it to 140 mph, but being a gentleman he never went faster than me on the Classic. He just followed along. I dropped him home on the C900, then went for a car wash, to clean off the bugs on the windshield, and to check for water leaks. After a real good spray around doors, windows, and the hatch I found no water inside. Good! I took a few pictures before it got too dark and then drove home. Driving in the dark I realized the headlights are out of whack, and I imagine Thorsten rarely drove the car at night.

    One thing I felt is that the idle seems low, and sometimes the battery light comes on when idling. A quick dab of the throttle and the light goes off. Another small thing I realized is that sometimes when I reverse there is a light clunk coming from the front right suspension. On Monday I will be putting the car on a lift to change the oil and will probably go over the front suspension with a wrench, tightening everything up. Then two new tires and she will be ready for the US Army road inspection. As well as she rides I am sure she won't need anything else.

    Two questions: how do I raise the idle on this car, and how do I adjust the headlights, I imagine with the hood popped up but not opened, correct?

    Obligatory pictures:

    Joseph in Sarreguemines, he is always smiling, this dude is forever happy


    Fueling up my Swedes on the Autobahn


    The Nardi steering wheel


    248,955 km when we left France


    After washing in Germany




    Cool license plate frame and the prancing moose magnet


    She was there!


    Well, this SAAB was made in Arlöv, but Trolhättan is the spiritual home of all SAABs, so we'll let it slide...






    I'll get better pictures tomorrow with the sunlight.

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  3. #3
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    C900 extras

    Here is some of the documentation that came with the car:

    Plastic SAAB folder


    Lots of stuff inside


    First owner


    Telephone number for Skandix, SAAB parts supplier in Germany. "You need to keep this number" said Thorsten.


    TüV Inspection print out from 1996


    Complete 1987 C900 wiring diagram




    Owner's manual in German, some prior owner did plenty of highlighting and note taking inside


    The car was originally purchased through SAAB International and Diplomat Sales, on 30 June 1987


    SAAB European Service Guide 1987-1988, in English. Lists all SAAB dealers and service shops


    Service book in English


    Some brochure


    I'll be scanning those documents above into pdf later.

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  4. #4
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    24 Jul 2011
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Headlight adjustment and spark plugs on the C900

    That EXTRA button turns the radiator fan on manually, and that red light to the left will light up when activated


    Headlights are straight and adjusted now, it was pretty easy, did it in a dark supermarket parking lot, against a wall, had a flashlight to help me find the knobs. Pretty easy job!

    Well, yesterday I also noticed that when I cruise at slow speeds, like 20 or 30 km/h the engine was hesitating. On the Army base here the speed limiuts are low, so I do a lot of driving on base at those speeds. I had a set of NGK BCPR6ES-11 spark plugs, with 34,000 miles, from my NG900, they were still in good shape, so I decided to put them on the 8v. The plugs I pulled out of the 8v were BCPR5ES, and were definitely much older, and the electrodes were starting to become rounded at the edges. With the BCPR6ES gapped to factory specs and installed I test drove the oldie and sure enough it's cruising smoother at low speeds!

    I also did an oil change. What a PITA it is to get that oil filter out! Why is it so high on the engine but under all the intake crap? I imagine a filter relocation kit is probably a popular mod on these cars, and maybe I should do one.

    The engine oil temperature on the center console isn't working, and I noticed the engine oil drain plug is a temperature sensor, but apparently there is one by the filter too. Correct? I need to get some fresh batteries for my multimeter and check those wires.

    Pictures of the interior from today:

    Seats say "automatic seat heater". When do they go on, when the heater is on in the cabin? My manual is all in German, und mein deutsch is sehr schlecht! (my German is very bad)


    The other door is just as clean.


    Rear seats look comfy

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  5. #5
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Jul 2011
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    Ansbach, Germany
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Returned from vehicle inspection, surprises

    Well, I just returned from the vehicle inspection, and surprisingly the front tires passed inspection. The right front is right at the wear bars and the left is a sliver higher than the wear bars. The inspector recommended that I replace them soon, but he did not fail the car for the tires, which is what I was expecting.

    He did however fail the car for a burned left side license plate light, and the reverse lights not working (which I hadn't noticed yet). I had noticed the left side license plate light off yesterday. This morning I put a new bulb in it, thinking that's all it needed. Well, now it isn't working. Either the new bulb burned out, or there is no power going to that socket. If the new one burned out it could be there is a ground somewhere that is burning the bulb.

    I am still getting my temporary plates today, and I have 30 days to drive it with the temp plates to fix all the issues and get proper plates. If all goes well I'll have it fixed tonight and the car will pass the inspection tomorrow.

    Other than that the car passed on all the other critical areas: braking, tie rods and wheel bearings, rust, other lights, leaks, idle, etc. He mentioned the hand brake is uneven, with more pull on the right than on the left, but cars don't fail for that. So, I have to adjust my left side parking brake, hopefully that's it.

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  6. #6
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Jul 2011
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    German plates, finally

    Today I took the car back to the inspection site, where the inspector verified that my back up lights and license plate lights were fixed, then stamped and signed the inspection paperwork. I then waited 45 minutes at our local Army base vehicle registration office, and soon I walked out with German plates.

    The French plates were riveted to the car (is there a lot of license plate theft in France?), and I didn't have a drill handy, so I literally taped my new German plates over the French ones, then drove to a trusty car mechanic shop, to have them drill out the French rivets and then install my German plates.

    Getting to the mechanic I looked for the one guy I like there. He is honest and he speaks good English, which is a big plus. He wasn't there today, so I got the old dude who knows kein Englisch. With my broken German and some pointee-talkee I explained to him that I needed the French rivets drilled out and the German plates installed. He understood and went inside to get his tools.

    Thank god I hung around over his shoulder like a parrot, looking at what he was doing. First he drilled out the rivets, no big deal. Unfortunately the rivet holes were too big and they didn't have rivets, but screws. That means... more holes! OK, I thought, I'll just have to rust proof them later, but let's see how he does this.

    He got one of the big, black European license plate holders, eyeballed it (pretty well) on the center of the rear hatch, then proceeded to mark with a pencil where he would drill. That's when the red flag went up: he marked on the extreme outer edge of the license plate holder, and was starting to drill before I told him to stop. I then spent about two minutes trying to explain to this guy that I might be bringing this SAAB back to the US, and our plates are narrower, and if he drills there I will have holes showing on my car. He got a bit frustrated, but soon understood it.

    Problem averted, he drilled on a more central position, and then installed his garage's license plate holder. I thought about asking him to keep my ANA Trolhättan frame, but decided that's something I can do later at home. Let him plaster my car with his advertisement for now...

    The installation of the front plate was less eventful, and the guy charged me nothing for it. Since he put his advertisement on my car I think that's a fair price!

    So now the SAAB is German again, no longer a French, and there are two extra holes on the car... tomorrow I will install the ANA frame, and rust proof the new holes.

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  7. #7
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    24 Jul 2011
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    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Pics from the weekend

    This weekend I had a small road trip to my sister's home. She has been living here in Germany for almost 10 years, in the city of Michelstadt, near Frankfurt. Her city is pretty isolated from all Autobahns, so whether I take the highway or the side roads it takes me three hours to get to her home. Frankfurt by comparison is further away but it is much faster to go there because of the Autobahn that goes to it.

    Leaving Ansbach I stuck to side roads through most of the trip. These roads are at times only slightly wider than one single car and without markings, and sometimes turn into wide two-lane roads with all the markings of a highway.


    Passing by Rothenburg, considered one of the prettiest towns in Germany and a popular tourist destination.


    After Rothenburg I went through a very heavy downpour for almost 1.5 hours. Fortunately in Michelstadt it was clear.

    In Michelstadt the nice weather allowed us to go to the local Bienemarkt, which is a German version of what in the US we call a State Fair. The same thing: rides, cheap food, shady people taking your money...

    I rode in one of these things for the first time in over 20 years.


    My sister's two daughters Isabel and Sofia were having a blast at the park. They're still on that age when everything at the fair is very cool. Isabel, the little one, caught some air going down the slide and her face shows some fear, but she went back up for another turn!


    Some random kid really enjoying his ride!


    Anton is my sister's son, he is still almost big enough to enjoy the park but only wanted to ride the cars, I rode the bumper cars three times with him.


    Sofia is the oldest and she's a drama queen. A future photographer?


    Coming back home I had the best weather, with a few showers and some good sunshine. This is Rothenburg on the way back.


    The city had very little damage during WWII. It's funny that we think of Germany being destroyed during the War, but it was mostly the largest cities with industry. Smaller towns like Rothenburg came out mostly usncathed.


    Saw some deer in the hills. German deer are tiny.


    Almost home, I took a detour to see Colmberg Schloss near my home, but got there after they closed the gates. I wanted to go inside because I heard it's like a true medieval castle inside, but only outside pictures today.


    Posing with the car in Colmberg.


    A bit after leaving Colmberg it started raining again and I got home in the middle of another downpour.

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  8. #8
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    24 Jul 2011
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    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Sunny day drive

    I spent a good time this afternoon washing, waxing and detailing the C900. As soon as I finished the light overcast day opened up into a glorious sunny summer day. Time to go for a drive!

    Since the car was as clean as it will ever be I didn't want bugs smashing in the glass and paint, I took it easy, drove slow and enjoyed the warm air.



    I drove to a forest nearby and went for a small hike. The red circle means no vehicles past this point


    The old SAAB is looking good all clean








    Vintage style


    The sign says "the forest is not a trashcan"


    Despite no vehicles being allowed, there was a very well kept path through the woods




    Little flowers everywhere




    Going home


    After the hike I went home and got the NG900 as it was filthy and needed a bath. The local car wash is closed on Sunday so I had to go there today. I felt like enjoying the summer night a bit more and took it for a drive before the car wash.

    Lots of dead bugs on the wind screen


    Drove west until the sun set

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  9. #9
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Jul 2011
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    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Purdy pictures

    My usual weekend while the wife is in Korea: ride my bike in the morning, clean the house, buy groceries, do work work on my cars, then go out for a ride, and take a hike on a forest.

    Gotta make sure I bring the camera along for those pretty pictures...

    On a grassy patch


    Represent


    Rustic farm house by Gunzenhausen






    Sunset at Brombachsee


    In the woods




    Down low


    Sepia


    Getting artsy


    Face me


    Swiss Autobahn sticker for 2010


    French insurance card and inspection sticker

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