Third time is a charm for full clutch/system refresh (long) - Saabnet.com Bulletin Board


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Third time is a charm for full clutch/system refresh (long)
Posted by Scott Daggert [Email] (more from Scott Daggert) on Fri, 6 Jul 2018 20:11:27
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I thought the Saab fans here might enjoy my recent adventure, and perhaps we can save someone a little rework and pain in the future. I just had the pleasure to do this clutch job 'three' times before getting it right/complete. After almost 30 years of service the clutch in my 89 900T had gotten pretty sloppy (car is in AZ and generally mint). Turns out the disk still looked good after 130k, but I suspect everything else was old/tired (slave/hose/master). I decided to do it all - hose/master/slave/seals and all the clutch parts which I've been collecting over the past year or two.

So, digging in wasn't too bad, removal had a bit of wrestling to get the 'sandwich' out but I was feeling proud. My first error was the 'smart' idea to just cut the old clutch slave hose/pipe out (to simplify removal) since I had a new one (I'd later regret this).

In changing out the seals, I'd bought the factory tool for the main - made that a piece of cake. For the input shaft/trans seal - wow. I spent hours trying to pry, pray, and pull that seal - it was stuck and maimed from my effort. After searching here I saw the idea to burn it out, which worked amazingly well. I highly recommend that, however, it did make the garage a toxic place to be (as evidenced by my wife coming out to the garage, coughing, and going back inside)

Going back in with the new clutch... slid in smoother than I'd expected (should have been a warning on inserting the new clutch/PP sandwich). I put in the new clutch master - tightened it up and heard a loud 'snap' (before even applying final torque) - one of the studs was now spinning... what the? Upon inspection - the casting of the MC had broken and the stud was spinning free, in looking at the metal it was very course, I think the Sachs MC was bad. My first/urgent order for a new MC was done.

Two days later, I was back with a new MC, put it all together - and what - I'm leaking brake fluid from both ends of my new hose? My generic aftermarket hose - was built with non-flare fittings, how can that be? Ugh! Okay, I'll rebuild my old hose, wait, I cut that - rats! So, I ordered a replacement aftermarket and used hose on Ebay (that I decided to have rebuilt with stainless insert to last forever). I'll get to attach another hose to the MC - which I found to be a challenge each time. But between the two new hoses (new aftermarket and rebuilt - I'm sure one will work). Ordered replacement #2.

The second new aftermarket hose comes with the right flare fittings - I put it in. So, I'm feeling good, reverse bleed (worked great), and feel nice tension on the clutch pedal. I pump a couple of times - let's give it a try! Start it up, and I'm getting resistance on the gearshift, doesn't wan't to go into gear??? Oh no... I push the pedal a few more times... BANG! Loud sound and the pedal goes limp, and there's a gusher of brake fluid pouring from the bottom of the car. By now... I can almost 'taste' brake fluid in my mouth, really! I pull it all apart - guess what... I put it together without the release bearing, and the slave overextended and failed, Tearing the o-ring and puking it's fluid all over. Sigh... I still don't know how I did this - I had a new one?!? There's clearly a 'black hole' in my garage that has consumed this part - note, if it goes back in easy, you may be missing something (FYI - that bearing is still AWOL). Thank goodness for the 'three big nut' trick to get the old failed assembly out of the car. Express order #3 for another release bearing, ouch.

So, I both rebuild the formerly new slave (with new o-rings to replace the torn one) and order another. I decide to take a third pass at this - with my new/rebuilt slave, new MC (#2), second throwout bearing, and rebuilt stainless steel line from a local shop. By now... I'm getting pretty good at this!

Well, it's in! Success! My ten mile test drive revealed amazing shifting/clutch action (should have done this a long time ago)! The third time really is a charm! Only two open items that may/may not turn out to be an issue? I'm getting a touch of vibration that I didn't have before? It's not awful - you can't see it looking at the engine with the hood open, but I can feel it in the pedal/wheel just a bit. Could it be the new bearing/PP/assembly needs some miles to break in? Could it be the high-performance stainless steel clutch line transmits more vibration (perhaps that's why they used soft rubber as an dampener)? Hopefully it's nothing, and there's not a fourth time in my near future?!? I welcome any expertise on this - otherwise, it's been an adventure, but I now feel a deeper connection with the Saab and all things clutch! I'm sure I could have paid an expert and been about the same, but as odd as it sounds, I'm okay with this outcome. Hopefully someone can benefit from my experience and learning's on this project.
Take Care,
Scott

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