Re: beware the rust monster! - Saab Vintage Models Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com
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As was pointed out, rust is the first issue to look at. The rockers are hollow and provide structural support for the car, and can rust from the inside. The floor boards, particularly the joint at the firewall is very common for rust. Check the top of the rear fender at the joint for bubbling. Spring/shock mounts are next.
Two other areas to check mechanically.
1. The front balance shaft bearing. This is probably the weak point in the V4. The front bearing can go, primarily due to overtightening the fan belt. This can lead to low oil pressure and failure of the fiber balance shaft gear itself. So with engine OFF, reach down under the alternator and grab the balance shaft pulley and try to move it with your hand up and down. If this is a rebuilt engine, it shouldn't move at all. If it does, you're looking at bearing replacement, which means engine-out. Not a BIG deal if you're mechanically inclined.
2. The transmission pinion nut. This nut is on the end of the pinion shaft and Saab has a relatively weak locking device. Over time, the nut loosens, the pinion gear starts to disengage from the crown and one day- kerblooey. This is the other weak link. You CAN check it by driving the car. Here's how- go to Tom Donney's excellent website and scroll down to the link under Transmission.
Tom concentrates on two strokes, but this video is particularly applicable to V-4's. So if you have what Tom points out in the video, plan for a gearbox rebuild right away- you're driving on borrowed time. Again, if the gearbox is rebuilt, then it should be fine.
eric in vermont
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