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  1. #1
    Saab Fan
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    12 Jun 2016
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    Saab(s)
    1987 Turbo 900
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    Just bought an '87 Saab 900 Turbo. Looking to change the transmission fluid.

    Hey all. Totally new to this forum, and to Saabs in general. I recently just purchased a Saab 900 Turbo (automatic) with 19k miles. I've been doing all the basic tune up and maintenance for it before I put it on the road (plugs, plug wires, oil + filter, air filter, etc.)

    I've hit a brick wall currently, I'm not sure what engine transmission oil to get. The owners manual I printed (I don't have the original) suggests:
    8 liters [of] "Fluid to Ford M2C.33F/G"

    And also:
    1.4 liters [of] EP oil SAE 80W or 75 API GL-4 or GL-5

    Questions:
    (1) Why does it require two different oils?
    (2) should I change both?
    (3) What type of oil would you recommend? What the manual recommended are not types of oil i am familiar with.

    Please educate me!

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  2. #2
    Paul A
    Saab Nut
    Join Date
    11 Mar 2011
    Location
    West London and Wiltshire, UK
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    251
    Saab(s)
    T16 '93 Ruby - T16 '94 Vert Ruby
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    It requires two different oils because the auto gearbox and final drive are separated and require different oils. 19K seems a very low mileage. My advice; top up if required but don't change the oil. It's not necessary. From memory, the oils seem correct.
    Check it for yourself in the Saab manual. http://www.zemekoni.org/files/Saab%2...ansmission.pdf
    Change the plugs if you need to but don't change the plug leads if they are the original Bougie cords. You won't find better and they last the life of the car. Change the engine oil and oil filter only. Don't bother with the air filter for at least another 50k.

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  3. #3
    Saab Fan
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    12 Jun 2016
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    Quincy MA
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    Saab(s)
    1987 Turbo 900
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    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    It requires two different oils because the auto gearbox and final drive are separated and require different oils.
    Good to know. I had no idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    19K seems a very low mileage.
    The previous owner was a collector of sorts. This Saab was actually owned by an airport and used as a friction tester, so it it didn't really see much use beyond going up and down a runway. The family I bought it from inherited the car after the owner died, and was looking to just get rid of it. I got it for $2000. It runs, but definitely needs a bit of love. The owner had only put around a 1000 miles on it. after he bought it from the airport.

    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    My advice; top up if required but don't change the oil. It's not necessary. From memory, the oils seem correct.
    Check it for yourself in the Saab manual. http://www.zemekoni.org/files/Saab%2...ansmission.pdf
    .
    That manual is super helpful. Thanks. I'm gonna change the transmission oil mostly because the color is not a perfect ruby red, but also because i want to get to know the car. But I guess the bigger question here is that I'm not sure what they mean by the oil they're recommending. When I go to the parts store, oil usually comes in grades of ATF, Mercon, Dexron, etc. Each type of oil has recommendations for what brand it works with (none mention SAAB). So I'm kind of stuck what kind of oil I'm supposed to get. The car runs well, and I would hate to fuck that up

    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    Change the plugs if you need to but don't change the plug leads if they are the original Bougie cords. You won't find better and they last the life of the car..
    The plugs definitely needed changing. One was pretty corroded. I'm changing the wires because the corroded plug showed corrosion as well in the wire housing.

    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    Change the engine oil and oil filter only. Don't bother with the air filter for at least another 50k.
    I wasn't going to change the air filter, but when I popped it off I noticed that some acorn pieces had gotten in and tore up the filter.

    Most of the things I'm doing to this car though I'm justifying because i spent so little money on it. Thank you for your help!

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  4. #4
    Paul A
    Saab Nut
    Join Date
    11 Mar 2011
    Location
    West London and Wiltshire, UK
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    Saab(s)
    T16 '93 Ruby - T16 '94 Vert Ruby
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    The 900 auto gearbox is a Type-37 made by Borg-Warner. It should have only Type F ATF. It's red, a little hard to find and not really compatible with any other fluid. If the fluid is clear, it's the wrong stuff. The separate final drive is sealed for life. Only top it up. It takes mineral engine oil. 10W/30 or 10W/40. I use synthetic oil in my transmission with no ill effect. Your choice.

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    Last edited by peva; 13 June 2016 at 11:06.

  5. #5
    Saab Fan
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    12 Jun 2016
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    Saab(s)
    1987 Turbo 900
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    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    The 900 auto gearbox is a Type-37 made by Borg-Warner. It should have only Type F ATF. It's red, a little hard to find and not really compatible with any other fluid. If the fluid is clear, it's the wrong stuff.
    so something like this? What would be the difference in using an ATF like this or this? Maybe this is a question I should take elsewhere, but engine oil weights seem pretty straightforward to me in their application, in terms of what the numbers mean and how they are used. I'm not really certain what the different types of transmission fluid really do in their application.

    Quote Originally Posted by peva View Post
    10W/30 or 10W/40. I use synthetic oil in my transmission with no ill effect. Your choice.
    The manual calls for SAE 80W, which appears to me to be different than normal 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil. Am I missing something?

    Thank you for your help!!

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  6. #6
    Paul A
    Saab Nut
    Join Date
    11 Mar 2011
    Location
    West London and Wiltshire, UK
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    Saab(s)
    T16 '93 Ruby - T16 '94 Vert Ruby
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    I'm no oil expert, but only the first you have mentioned says Type F so why shouldn't you use it. The others may be fine, but I can't advise you more than this.

    The Saab workshop manual calls for ordinary engine oil 10W/30 or 10W/40. I believe SAE 80W is also permissible in the auto box, but not the manual box. The viscosities are very similar and they do mix, so whichever you pick, you will have no problem.

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  7. #7
    Saab Fan
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    Saab(s)
    1987 Turbo 900
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    I'll end up using Type F for sure, I'm no oil expert either and I guess the exact answer I'm looking for (what exactly the different oils are used for and how they differ) will require more research on my end.

    Thanks for your help!

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  8. #8
    Saab Enthusiast Tweek's Turbos's Avatar
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    19 Nov 2010
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    Northern VA
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    200
    Saab(s)
    '11 9-4X, '07 9-5 Combi, '99 Viggen, '88 900t, '87 ASFT, '85 SPG, '72 96
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    Under the hood on the pass side, what is the serial number? Should be something between 211 and 251.

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