Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 23:23:33 +0200
From: Robert Brown <>
Subject: Re: clutch replacement 84 900 s

johnw wrote: > Robert Brown wrote: > > > > Hi, > > Right you are about bleeding the air from the clutch hydraulics via > > pressurising the brake fluid reservoir from above, but I'd venture to say that > > you can usually replace the clutch without disconnecting the slave cylinder > > from the feed pipe. Which means that if you have no air in the hydraulic > > system _before_ replacing the clutch, you probably won't have more once > > I recently bought a 1984 900S with 103K miles. The clutch was making > periodic vibrating sounds from down by the pedal and maybe up toward the > front a little. Not when it was engaged, but when I depressed the pedal > to shift. It worked fine though. > > Then it started grabbing closer and closer to the floor until I couldn't > shift at all and the pedal was "loose" all the way to the floor. > > I was told the vibrating noice was the flywheel bearing (?) about to go. > I was hoping the pedal problem was just a cable or hydraulics > adjustment. The fluid reservoir was full. I brought it in to my local > Saab specialist and he said he needed to replace the whole clutch. Does > this sound right? He was pretty good the only other time I had him work > on the car, seems knowledgable and trustworthy. > > New clutch: $504.00, including labor. Not bad, I don't think, since a > new clutch on my '84 VW Jetta GLI was around $425.00. > > I still have to learn more about the Saab engine. I plan to pick up the > Bentley and/or other books so I can do more work on my own. > > -johnw > -- OK - as an amateur mechanic, I may be on thin ice here, but the symptoms you describe sound like a problem I've had a few times at the _other_ end of the line - i.e. in the clutch master cylinder. What I've seen is true at least for a 1983 900 and 1983 99, as well as a 1987 900. (pls excuse lecture mode here) The master cylinder contains, apart from the fluid and the piston with rubber seals, an internal spring whose purpose is to push the piston all the way back towards your left foot when the pedal is released, allowing the correct amount of brake fluid to be maintained on the clutch side of the piston. When that spring breaks, the piston is forced backwards only as far as the brake fluid will drive it (when pedal is released). When changing gear a few hundred times, fluid will seep past the rubber seals and the piston's rest position inches forward (takes a couple weeks' driving or so to notice this), so that one has to push the pedal closer to the floor for the clutch to disengage. That would also explain the juddering when shifting - the clutch plates probably didn't separate sufficiently. After a few days more, your pedal's at the floor and you can't shift at all. Happened to me. (exit lecture mode) The replacement spring costs SEK 70:- (GBP 6.00, USD 9.00 give or take) in Sweden. A worn clutch tends not to affect at what pedal position the clutch disengages, since the amount of brake fluid in the clutch system (yes I know that sounds funny...) changes to compensate for wear. I've replaced master cylinder springs on cars (mine) with both new clutches and clutches worn all the way down to the rivets, with good results in all cases. The only difference I notice afterwards is that a new clutch grabs better, of course ;-) 'Scuse me for carping on a bit, but something in me wonders if it really was the clutch that had to be replaced in your case. At any rate, it sounds as if your mechanic did go and fix the master cyl spring. Hope he didn't stick in a new clutch too, just for the hell of it :-/ Regards, Robert

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