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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.

Medchin New Reader
12/29/18 10:02 p.m.

So stuff HAS happened on the SAAB in the past 3 months... just not a whole lot. Slowly getting the engine put back together has been a slow process, plus exams, cold/crappy weather, and countless other excuses. Tonight I did make a good discovery though.

My girlfriend has a "Cricut Maker" machine, it's a consumer grade CNC vinyl cutter for those unfamiliar, costs right in the neighborhood of $300 and she has a ton of fun with it. As soon as she got it I could already see the car applications spinning in my head, not just custom window vinyl and stickers but things like etching stencils, painting stencils, and even making custom gaskets for a fraction of the cost. I've already experimented with the paint stencils and they work really really well, and since the vinyl actually isn't too expensive (AC Moore and Michaels ALWAYS have 50% coupons too) it practical too. I tried it out making some nice details on the valve covers for my Sonett III. This however is the only picture I have at the moment where the stencil was a little TOO grippy and tore off some of the paint that hadn't properly bonded. I had to sand down the area and fix it. Oh well, better it come off now instead of later.

Of course with the little Ford V4 being an oddity, gaskets are somewhat expensive for what they are... and they all ship from Europe. So I decided to try that last thing and make some from a CAD file I found online. Someone was good enough to post all the various files for making all the gaskets for the Taunus V4, whoever you are, you're a saint. It took some fiddling in the Cricut software, since for whatever reason the file wasn't preserving it's dimesions on import, to finally get a test cut (in cheap paper) to fit properly and move on to the real thing. 8$ Roll of Interface N-8094 from Pepboys and about an hour on her various Cricut Facebook groups and we had success!

For people with these machines this was my process: we just applied the tried and true "experiment with different settings until you find one that worked" method. Just keep trying to cut a small 1/2" circle with different settings until one finally worked. First playing with custom settings we learned we couldn't create a custom setting with the Knife Blade. Then a few tests with the Fine Point Blade showed that it doesn't allow a pressure hard enough (350 max) to cut through the gasket material even after 4-5 passes. So on the suggestion of someone on the Cricut Facebook group we tried the "4 Ply Matboard" setting of 700 pressure with 4x passes with the Knife Blade and that worked like a charm.

The cheapest I could find this gasket was 44€ plus another 15-20€ shipping. 8$ and a little (lot of) fiddling well spent!

CJ Reader
12/30/18 5:49 a.m.

In reply to Medchin :

Where in the world did you find the CAD files?  My bride has one of these machines, but I never considered doing this with it. 


Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
12/30/18 6:10 a.m.

In reply to Medchin :

Now make a dozen(or 2) copies while you have the material & the machine dialed in, then whenever someone in North America needs one you can charge ~$20-$30 and everyone will win!

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
12/30/18 7:19 a.m.

Making gaskets with one of those machines is something I never considered, that's really cool.

Medchin New Reader
12/31/18 3:35 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

I don't really want to profitteer off someone else's work that they've so kindly provided for free. These cars are already so few and far between, anything I can do to help those that follow behind me in this insanity is a win for me. There is so little information online about these cars, at least specifics one of the biggest problems I have is when I go googling my blog is usually the first result, LOL. If anyone needs the gasket I'm happy to provide them for the cost of materials and shipping. If there is a desperate need for some of the others I could try making them also. Unfortunately as I said before there's a disconnect between how the cricut software interprets the raw DXF files so it takes some trial and error and fiddling. If she'd only let me jail-break her $300 toy to use G code... hahaha.

As for WHERE the CAD files came from would you believe it's http://www.saabv4.com? He got that domain and is for sure using it for good. No ads either so I can't even really make him any money redirecting traffic.

These Cricut machines apparently (as it has been explained to me) only recently became capable of this kind of cutting force. The SO has a "Maker" model, the top of the line, which allows it to cut thin wood, chipboard, fabric, leather, and as it turns out gasket paper. It's fun to play with for sure.

Medchin New Reader
12/31/18 3:51 p.m.

With new gasket in hand it's time to play dress-up. Timing cover gasketed and on. While that dried I had to just put the rest on to see how it looks.

But before I spoil I'll take another detour. I put all this work into prettying up the motor, I couldn't just plop the intake manifold back on all corroded and cruddy. Since its aluminum and I don't have the most time in the world these days to hand polish it up and clean off all the grease, paint, and oil. I got a good price to have it vatted and glass beaded. So I did.

As it came back from the machine shop the glass beading obviously dulled up the aluminum. For some stuff that's probably good, and it looks ok clearcoated over but not the look I was going for. So with a little brass wheel on the dremel tool it was surprisingly easy to polish out the media and shine the aluminum back up.

Here's your contrast on not/polished.

With the manifold polished and clear coated time for the money shots.

Pardon the mess. I've got a 10'x24' garage that houses all my tools, two motors, the Sonett, basically a second Sonett worth of spares, and all sorts of other stuff I've pack ratted and have plans for... excuses excuses...

12/31/18 6:09 p.m.

I know that pain. I have a garage and it's rafters for half an MR2's worth of spares and tools. My stepfather and I just daisy-chain cars in and out of it.

Have you seen Aging Wheels on youtube? I ask because he has a 96  with the Taunus but found an adaptor for a 2V stock ford carburetor. Just seems like something in your wheelhouse.

Medchin New Reader
12/31/18 8:22 p.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

Actually already running a Weber 2 Barrel. The best engineering a bunch of wine-drunk Italians could come up with, at least before lunch (#ItalianShaming). You can sort of tell in those pictures its a stock manifold with the Weber) baseplate welded on by the previous owner, a las I have neither the tools, power, or skill to weld aluminum.

The SO knows the moment I have a shop and/or land the flood gates will break and I will own so much rusty gold (garbage).

preach New Reader
1/1/19 8:09 a.m.
Medchin said:


The SO knows the moment I have a shop and/or land the flood gates will break and I will own so much rusty gold (garbage).

Mine knows the same thing, and OK-ed adding a 40x60 metal shop to our next property.  Just got to fix up the current one to sell.  I already have 2 vehicles in off site storage during the winter.

Medchin New Reader
1/1/19 6:33 p.m.

In reply to preach :

Going with one of those kits? Building it yourself? Hiring someone? Curious cause thats basically what I plan to do at our next place as well. I'd like a slab, high enough roof for eventual lift, power and running at least cold water.

Medchin New Reader
4/10/19 3:07 p.m.

SAAB work as always has been slow, being my final (finally) semester of college its kinda sitting on the back burner. However I have been getting some stuff accomplished. Right now that's addressing the peeling and crappy paint in the engine bay. It seems silly to have the engine out and not address it. 

The most problematic area is under the master cylinders, in the Sonett both the clutch and brake masters are remote reservoir, and in my car the way the lines attach is simply fitting over a small tube with a hose clamp, the brake has a minor flare as you can see in these pictures.

Well in his infinite wisdom the previous owner (and myself) fitted standard fuel line between the reservoir and MCs, and as such they've broken down not-insignificantly over time and leaked all over the pan.

Stripping off the paint, rust converter, primer, and paint is no big deal. Its just a messy job. However I'd like the stop the new paint from just getting ruined as well. I know simply going to some line rated for DOT fluid would help, but I still worry about them leaking with no real means of sealing the hose to the cylinders.

My first though was to simply use some pre-made lines for brakes terminated with AN or SAE fittings, the issue becomes how to attach those lines to the cylinders. I have a spare master cylinder of both kind, so I've considered removing the lids, getting an AN fitting and having it TIG'd the lid. Problem then is how to get the other end of the line on the reservoirs, which are just plastic. I also have considered getting a bango bolt or threaded fitting to thread into the reservoir or cylinder and then thread a washer and nut on the other side to retain it. Am i correct in thinking brass fittings would resist the brake fluid?

You guys are usually an excellent resources for these kind of things, I'd like to keep the stock reservoirs to keep the look. If needed I could go to an aftermarket reservoir but all the ones I came across in a quick search were combined brake and clutch, and pretty spendy. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

AngryCorvair MegaDork
4/10/19 6:40 p.m.

Between the remote reservoir and the MCs there is no pressure in the hoses.  Get the correct hose for remote MC reservoirs, I believe it’s EPDM rubber with some kind of abrasion-resistant outer layer.  It won’t leak if it’s the correct inside diameter.

look to the air-cooled VW world for remote reservoirs, hoses, etc.  thats what I did when I installed the 944 MC in my buddy’s Cobra replica.

Medchin New Reader
4/10/19 10:19 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

Wow, not even hose clamps, you guys live dangerously. I understand the lines aren't under any pressure, it's basically just a drip feed. The lines obviously weep right now though; I've got the rusty floor pan under them to prove it. Do those master cylinders not have any kind of flare or o-ring or anything?

I'll have to go out and put the calipers to the inlets and see what I can figure out as to what hose would be appropriate. I don't notice any leaking under the reservoirs, which makes sense with gravity and everything, but at the MC side it oozes.

I did have the thought to very lightly file a ring into the inlet pipe to stick an o-ring on there as a little extra leak prevention.

Medchin New Reader
4/16/19 7:25 a.m.

Well as I am want to do on this project: I think I'm gonna go over-engineered.  The more I think about it, the sicker the thought of the masters ever leaking again makes me. While I think going to spring style hose clamps and the appropriately sized EPDM hose would PROBABLY solve the problem... with how much of a pain getting to the MCs is I'd rather pay a bit more, make it nice, and all but guarantee it won't  leak again. The pan under the MCs already has some rust taking hold, its treatable now... but if another leak went unchecked for any real period I dont know how long it would stay treatable.

So last night I ordered bout 100$ worth of new AN fittings, hoses, and a pair of aluminum remote reservoirs. Small price to pay for peace-of-mind after I priced it all out.

When it all arrives I'll execute my plan and post some pictures. 

AngryCorvair MegaDork
4/16/19 9:03 a.m.

In reply to Medchin :

1.  nothing wrong with spending $100 on brake stuff.   carry on.

2.  there are barbs on the outlets of the reservoir and on the inlet adapter thingies on the MC, so the hose is distorted/secured as it is pushed into place.

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