Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 18:19:06 GMT
From: Ywan Mason <>
Subject: Re: 87 900 Automatic Transmission Advice

Sounds like a pressure problem with the no reverse, etc. when cold. Reverse requires the most pressure to engage and is first to go when pressure falls. With the symptoms initially going away when warm, I would suspect worn slip rings on the pump. However, at that mileage, and with my experience with the expected lifetime of an auto in a Saab, there is no way I would attempt a patch fix. Total rebuild or nothing due to the amount of work required to get the box out and apart to access the seals. At that mileage, there is going to be wear on other parts and you would do yourself a disservice to not attend to them. My advice to one of my customers would depend on their determination to keep the car. They should base this on the overall condition of the rest of the car. A quality rebuild is going to run around $2000. If the engine is out to do this (no other way), you should attend to other things while there to promote longer life, such as suspension parts, engine seals, belts, hoses, etc. You should save a lot of labor doing these with the engine out where they are all readily accessible. A repair of this nature turns into a restoration project if you do it right, and fix other things at the same time. Another thing to think about is a factory rebuilt unit. Saab recently lowered prices on their rebuilt units, substantially. A month ago I installed a manual trans in a 91 9000 that cost us $2600. We priced the same tranny last week for another customer from the same source and it had come down to $1800. These rebuild are completely gone through by people who do them day after day. They carry a strong warranty. I must warn you, though, it may be best to have a dealer install the tranny. Then you will be protected if the unit is bad initially. I say this because the last three autos I have installed experienced problems right off the bat and had to be replaced. The replacements had no problems. But the problems were apparent initially, not developing later. If you get a good one from the start, they seem to hold up as good or better than the original. If a dealer does the work, there will be no disputes over who pays for the replacement should the new one have problems. The problems ranged from no shifting to noises to vibrations. Saab took care of all of them, but the first one that we replaced the second time, we lost the labor on it. The rest were taken back to the dealer for them to replace and warranty the labor. We have sent the last few customers with auto problems to the dealer so we don't get caught in the middle again. We won't charge the customer for the second installation as it is not his fault, and Saab won't pay us, an independent shop, to do warranty for them. This is a sticky point as most of our customers do not want the local dealer touching their cars. No offense, but the 87 8V is nearly totaled with the need for tranny work. Saab has come a long way since the 8V. You might do yourself a favor by putting that one to rest and checking out a newer Saab with a 16V motor. And consider a manual trans if at all possible.

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