1 2 3
Medchin New Reader
3/8/18 4:22 p.m.

In reply to therealpinto :

Gustaf, I had a similar thought on the zipties. However I imagine that really only works if the hub is ALREADY assembled in the car, ziptie it together and remove, then put back. 

The gearbox from the 96 is slightly different, mostly in the way the gear linkage operates I think the internals are functionally the same, the Sonett is a side loader where as the 96 is a toploader, as well as slightly different gear ratios; IRC. But the hub should be exactly the same. I believe its the same across all the V4 and two-stroke transaxles.

Amazingly Subrew has already come up with and mailed out a new hub for me, along with the dimensions and specifications to make the SAAB designed tool to assemble and install it. It's fantastic to have someone with the connections with such a weird rare car. He also seems to be the only one who still has pilot bushings for the V4 engine...

Here's my original exploded freewheeling hub:

Removing the pilot bushing with the proper tools is weirdly satisfying.

This new discovery seems to be the actual reason that my car drove about 100ft then wouldn't move, not the flywheel not actually being attached to the motor. The issue wasn't gear selection or clutch engagement but the input and output shafts weren't actually connected. I'm still gonna fix that stuff but it's not the main issue.

So upon closer inspection this little engagement fork (I don't have a better name for this thing) was the entirety of what was connecting the input shaft to the drive shaft of the transaxle. That's 5 tiny little teeth on each side of the "T" fork, the V4 doesn't make a ton of power, but more than enough to destroy those tiny teeth which you can see in the picture. The corresponding teeth in the cup that holds the hub are equally destroyed.

So that transaxle is done for, not even mentioning the rust on the ring gear. The good news is all that stuff is OK on the first transaxle, it's just missing it's freewheeling hub.

So when the freewheeling hub arrives I'm going to have that assembly tool made and get my transaxle back together and try to get the drivetrain back in the car. There is some stuff I need to do to prepare for that. Clean up the engine bay, reroute the battery cable, maybe the fuel line; but the project should hopefully continue again.

Dirtydog HalfDork
3/8/18 4:40 p.m.

I have to admire your determination.  Working on a car that's obscure at best, is to be congratulated.  Specialty tools are cool, even if it is for one off projects.  Good luck.

therealpinto Reader
3/12/18 3:02 a.m.

Cool, I didn't know about the differences. Saab has never been the manufacturer to take the easy routes :-)

In case you need anything else from the Motherland of Saab, just let me know and I can try to help.


Medchin New Reader
8/15/18 1:37 p.m.

It's been a little while but I am finally getting SOME stuff done on the Sonett. I got the the freewheeling hub reassembled and installed. I then sat and scratched my head for a couple of days thinking I had it installed backwards since it didn't really rotate freely as described in the instructions and @subrew wasn't answering his emails or phone... I finally figured out that it was correct, I just needed to hold the hub-cup and spin the input shaft and it did what it was supposed to do. I think it's just not super smooth because it's not all lubed up. Since the hub is neutered, and the case will be full of gear oil it should be OK. I replaced the carrier bearing while everything was apart and then he two halves were rejoined.

Now I'm working on cleaning up the engine to repaint and then mate the transaxle and engine back together. Before that happens I also need to finish rebuilding the throwout bearing release arm back into spec. The arm wears down from regular use and gets slop in the throw; so again while it's apart: fix it. I've got a new throwout bearing for when that's done as well.

Here's how the engine started, it looks better in pictures than it actually is. I think the PO used some sort of POR-like engine enamel based on the way it forms a single thick layer of paint almost like nail polish. So anywhere there was a crack big flakes were peeling off, not to mention all the spots where there was over spray from painting other parts black.

If money was no object I would either take the whole engine apart and have the block, heads, etc media blasted (dry ice probably) then hot tanked and the whole nine-yards. However money IS an object, as is time and my sanity. So the solution is harsh volatile chemicals.

Works like a charm. Scrape off the flaking paint with a flathead or paint scrapper and hit it with a wire wheel to get the harder to get stuff.

There are a few small hard-to-reach spots left to get that I still need to get before I repaint the block. During this process it reminded me how trashed these rear coolant connectors are on this block. A little experimentation on the spare engine block I found that they are just pressed into the block, so they can be removed and replaced.

I also removed the dipstick tube. Which was far more of a struggle than it should have been. For some reason the tube is just pressed into the block with no hope of ever removing it intact. So I hammered a metal rod into the inside, cut the tube, welded the rod to the tube and hammered the newly fused piece up and out. This was after trying all other manners of trying to remove it in one piece. Including tapping the tube and trying to press it out screwing down a bolt on a spacer, clamping a pair of vice grips and hammering them, the clothes-hanger trick, and about half a can of PB.

Guess I now need a new dipstick tube. Should be fairly easy to make though, simple 5/16" ID dipstick tube that's perfectly straight. I still have the dipstick to measure for length.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
8/15/18 2:11 p.m.

I've never seen one of those V4s out of a car...they really only have a single exhaust port per side?  That's interesting.  No fancy exhaust headers for you.  smiley

coexist Reader
8/15/18 7:38 p.m.

It can get the famous "bag of snake" headers.

Medchin New Reader
8/15/18 8:49 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

Yep, just one per head. The "headers" are hilarious. There isn't even a flange really, just a little collar that fits over exhaust tubing and the it's flared behind the collar to allow it to tighten onto the exhaust port.

The little V4 out of the car looks even smaller than in, especially without the trans. Like a snowmobile motor or something. The way I move it around when it's not on the stand is literally get a friend and pick it up... It's pretty silly.

Mezzanine Dork
8/16/18 1:35 p.m.
coexist said:

It can get the famous "bag of snake" headers.

I lol'd SO HARD at this. All my coworkers are looking at me. I work from home.

Hal UltraDork
8/16/18 5:11 p.m.
Medchin said:


The little V4 out of the car looks even smaller than in, especially without the trans. Like a snowmobile motor or something. The way I move it around when it's not on the stand is literally get a friend and pick it up... It's pretty silly.

When I worked at a SAAB dealership our standard engine hoist was a long pipe with a guy on each end.  Never worked on a Sonnet but we could get the engine and transmission out of a 96 in 20 minutes.

Medchin New Reader
9/7/18 2:19 p.m.

Very little progress has been made. What with school starting back up, my DD being totaled in an accident, and work I have had little remaining time or energy for the SAAB. But I have made SOME progress. I found the Skandix part numbers and ordered a new timing cover, sump, and a handful of other gaskets I wanted to replace with the engine out. I got a new water pump and thermostat while I was at it.

But the biggest thing is I finally got around to painting to block.

I am quite happy with the color, now I just need to find a new dipstick tube, finish un-painting the valve covers, sump pan and timing cover. I also decided that I'm going to try @Subrew's timing-mechanical-fan-delete mod at home. Instead of mailing him my timing cover and another 250 of my dollars...

I was really hoping that the cover was steel so I could MIG it myself, alas it is cast Aluminum and a TIG isn't in my stable. So I'm gonna have to find someone else to do the welding, not a huge deal... plus I have an extra timing cover to try this with. So if I mess it up, I still have a good one. In realizing that I also realized I have some spare valve covers... so I may try to make some dress-up covers. Maybe some raised "SAAB" script or the old plane logo? Blue oval to really confuse people?

If anyone has a spare Mustang or other Ford dipstick tube lying around I would love to know the OD of the tube where it goes into the block. I'm pretty sure most older Ford's would have the same size tube, but it never hurts to be sure.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners