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02Pilot SuperDork
1/8/20 11:02 a.m.

Finally something to report. As mentioned earlier, I always planned to add some gauges to this car. The first attempt, with an 80s electronic combo gauge, was an abject failure. After that, I took a while deciding whether to go with mechanical or electronic gauges; in the end I couldn't get over my dislike of pressurized oil being pumped into the cabin, so electronic it was to be.

From there I had a choice: spend real money for real gauges, or roll the dice on cheap Chinese units from Amazon. Cheap car, cheap gauges. I found a triple set with sending units included for somewhere around $25. As a bonus (to me) they were calibrated in metric units, something I've always preferred in European cars.

A lot of the work was done, as I had already run the wires into the engine bay. The main issues were feeding a signal to the temp gauge (more on that in a minute) and figuring out how and where to mount the plate (and doing whatever additional wiring that entailed). The 900 has a DIN slot down in the center stack, and I figured I'd either put the gauges there, or move the radio down since I rarely use it and put the gauges up higher in the dash. The latter was certainly more useful, but also entailed more work. It being cold in the garage this time of year, less work won. As it turns out, this was a better decision than I expected.

That decided, the first thing I did was figure out where I was going to get power for the gauges and the lighting, and make up the harnesses. I pulled the light circuit from the courtesy light in the ashtray, and the main power and ground from the cigarette lighter, both very close. I used spade connectors to make removal easy should it be necessary.

That done, I installed the new oil pressure sender (I already had a T-fitting in there from the last attempt) and wired it up. That left the temp sender. I measured a nearby heater hose as having a 22mm ID, which then led me to Amazon to find an adapter fitting (for motorcycles, as it turns out). The only issue with this is that the sender needs to be grounded, so I had to add a wire to accomplish that. I thought about tapping it, but the walls are fairly thin and I didn't want an additional potential leak source. Instead, I found a ring terminal that slipped under the sender, then cut a piece of fuel hose to act as a spacer and put some pressure on the terminal when the sender was tightened into the adpater.

I wasn't sure if this would work, but my multimeter showed continuity, so I installed it and hoped for the best.

In proper Roadkill fashion, I mounted the panel itself with a couple of zip ties. With everything back together, I started it up. The voltmeter and oil pressure gauge both sprang to life immediately. I also discovered that the internal lighting is provided by LEDs, and they are bright. And non-dimmable. This made me very glad I mounted them low and out of my direct line-of-sight rather than staring me in the face.

After a few minutes, the temp gauge also started to creep upward. That's all the testing I've done so far, but fingers crossed that everything holds together.

02Pilot SuperDork
1/8/20 2:23 p.m.

And a small update. After a more thorough test drive, the temp gauge seemed to be reading a little high (~100C), so I grabbed the IR thermometer and checked a couple spots on the engine for reference. The thermostat housing read 95C (which seems a little higher than I would like, but the whole cooling system is new, and the dash temp gauge - the sender for which is in the housing - reads normal), so it's not that far off. Oil pressure seems to be around 3.5bar hot. Voltage is steady at ~14v and reacts quickly when load is applied. Good enough for government work.

02Pilot SuperDork
1/24/20 2:14 p.m.

Another little problem cropped up, or rather the latest iteration of the problem. The exhaust looks like what you'd expect for something driven year-round in New England. As I've driven the car, it has revealed one weak spot after another. First the resonator came apart at the inlet pipe - I replaced it with a section of straight pipe. Then the flange from the cat to the intermediate pipe started blowing - I chopped that out and sleeved it. Now the muffler is blowing at the bottom where the cradle that attaches to the rubber mounts is welded on, which is pretty minor so far.

But the exhaust suddenly got louder the other day, so I went under and found source was the flange from the downpipe to the cat. I got another sleeve, a couple more U-clamps, and pulled out the Sawzall. Good thing I did this rather than try to remove the bolts and replace the sealing ring - it turned out the downpipe was cracked at the flange. Cut what needed cutting, popped on the sleeve with a liberal coat of anti-seize, and zipped on the clamps with the little electric impact, which solved the problem.

I'm undecided about what to do with the muffler. I either get a universal muffler that fits (~$30) and splice it in, or just spend the extra money to replace the whole cat-back section (~$130). I'll probably just live with it until the weather warms up a bit, unless it decides to get considerably worse.

02Pilot SuperDork
2/21/20 7:26 p.m.

Pressed the Saab into service to run to Tire Rack over in CT. Both my GF and I needed summer tires, and the BFGoodrich $150 rebate from last week was too good to pass up. Saving the cost of shipping on two sets of tires, plus the lower sales taxes in CT, made driving over to grab them a no-brainer.

The back of this thing is cavernous. Not only did it swallow eight tires, there was no fussing to get them loaded, and I could even see out the rear window without obstruction. It's not a pickup truck or a van, but it's pretty damn useful nonetheless.

I will be happy to pull the studded Hakkas off, though. It's been a warm winter here, and these tires are loud and squirmy at highway speeds.

jfryjfry Dork
2/21/20 11:43 p.m.

It is truly impressive how much that swallowed up. 

and ingenious solution to the water temp sensor grounding.  

02Pilot SuperDork
2/22/20 6:30 a.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

I am pleased with how the temp sensor rig worked out. Signal is clean and consistent, so it seems to be functioning correctly. Actually all the gauges are doing fine, which is rather surprising for them being the cheapest ones I could find on Amazon.

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