The Bentley manual is adequate in its description on replacing the power steering rack but an excellent supplement is the procedure of Thomas Townsend and Ywan Mason of Townsend Imports, NC. This procedure can be found at: http://www.townsendimports.com or The Saab Network FAQs. The power steering rack replacement is a doable job but very dirty and time consuming. You can save alot of money doing this one yourself. I also replaced the tie rod ends(89 93 354) and the power steering fluid reservoir(91 04 555). The old one began leaking after the new rack was installed. The new style is one molded unit so there is no chance for the connections at the back of the reservoir to separate. It is black plastic and not transparent but there is a small dipstick attached to the cap to check the fluid level. I have only one thing to add to the steering rack procedure. Once you have the new rack installed carefully screw in the 16 and 18mm fluid lines to the rack BEFORE bolting the rack in! Once the rack was installed I needed a new alignment and since the tires were showing signs of wear they were replaced.
I decided to go from the stock 195/60HR-15 to 205/55VR-15's of which there are many choices. I originally tried to get the Dunlop D40-M2's but they were discontinued so I decided to take a chance and purchased the Nitto NT-450's. These tires are great. They hug the road like glue. I have yet to test them in wet weather though. As far as performance tires i've only owned the B.F. Goodrich Radial TA's in the past and I think the Nitto's are far superior. While I was having the tires mounted/balanced and the front end alignment I was informed by the tire shop that my rear passenger's rim was slightly bent.
I had been told that the SPG aluminum alloy three spoke wheels were difficult to find. This is the 5.5" X 15" aluminum rim made by Ronal (Saab 89 85 970) for my model the 1985-87 SPG turbo. I called the Ronal company in Huntington Beach CA and they said they could not obtain them. They were only available in Europe or through a Saab dealer. Through my investigations I found these rims to be available. Used ones ranged anywhere from $110-$125 each and new ones from $160-$185 each(hubcaps not included). My front passengers rim had some surface scratches so I replaced both passengers front and rear rims and hubcaps. I was able to have two rims mailed to my house with free shipping.
A few last details included a new front windshield, front license plate frame(powder coated), battery, heat shield(85 94 897), mud flaps(82 89 266), chain guide(75 05 845), and power antenna(02 61 909). There are a lot more details but I won't get into them.
Debadging. On my model there are only the round (2" dia.) 'SAAB- SCANIA' emblem on the hood, the 'SAAB' and small round (1.5" dia.) 'SAAB-SCANIA' emblem on the driver's side rear trunk. I removed both rear trunk emblems using a heat gun (BE CAREFUL!). The emblem on the hood remains.
A few words about parts. There are plenty of sources and parts available for this model and era Saab. Its just a matter of doing some research. At the end of this article I have included a list of Saab parts sources. There are some very friendly and knowledgeable people at these sources who are more than willing to help. I tried to use as many new original Saab parts as possible.
This has been one of the most intense projects I have ever undertaken. Was it worth it? Yes. The car is a pleasure to drive and own. It is definitely a driving enthusiasts car. Future upgrades will include a Group6 APC box and 2.8 Bar fuel pressure regulator.
I would especially like to thank the following people whom without their assistance this project would not have been possible. Mr. Andrew Braisted for mechanical assistance and guidance. Mr. Shane Turner (Assistant Parts Manager) of Burlingame Saab, CA for assistance on parts. Mr. Thomas Townsend of Townsend Imports, NC for his patience and valuable technical advice. Lastly to my wife Cindi for enduring the last fourteen months.
Clifford L. Quan