The Bullnose

The Bullnose
This is how she looked the day she came home, 29 January 2009

20 February 2010

Jonathon: 1 Piston: 0

I finally get the freaking piston out.

I've tried the following: Marvel Mystery Oil from the top and then exhaust and intake sides.  Nothing.  Soaked in PB Blaster.  Nada.  Naval Jelly.  No love.  Heat.  Nope.  Poured freon on the cylinder (Hey, what's that over there EPA?).  Still nothing.

Finally talked to Brad over at George's Imports here in KC.  He's been working on 96s since, well, they were the newest Saab.  He said after all of that, there was no way I was going to get it out with chemicals so I was just going to have to drill it.

Drilling aluminum is no big deal, I only needed to be careful not to score the walls of the cylinder. 

So, hole #1:

Then, holes around the circumference.  Note that none of them are anywhere near the cylinder walls.

Then, a solid whack with a hammer and the middle portion collapsed.

I spent the next hour chipping off pieces of piston through the intake and exhaust sides trying to get the piston to collapse.  I really got an appreciation for what it takes to destroy a piston during use.  You can see the pieces I chipped out from the intake.

I finally got a pretty good sized chunk of the piston itself out but the rings were NO joke.  Incredibly tough.  It took a fair amount of finesse to get that cut with screwing up with cylinder.

I used an old extension with a 21mm socket on it and began to really wail on the piston.  I smelled it before I saw it... that almost indescribable smell that metal dragging across rust makes.  I have to admit that I got pretty excited when I saw that it had started to move.  That little ring of brown around the edge of the cylinder is where the piston had frozen.

So, I started hammering the hell out of my makeshift punch.  I swung.  I hit.  I wailed.  I smacked my hand (probably not broken, but it's sore!).  I swung the hammer until I had had almost enough.  I looked and the piston had cleared both intake and exhaust.  Here's what it looked like from the bottom, almost ready to come out.  You can see how much of the piston I had to crack off.

Finally, with a pop the crankcase popped out.  If it weren't 11AM I would have had a beer.  Instead, I drank more coffee.  Here are shots of the inside of cylinder.  You can see how serious the rust was.

Here's some comparison.  That's #1 cylinder.  Pretty nice.

#2 piston has some minor scuffing.  I'm going to have the cylinders honed or resleeved as well as larger pistons but it's interesting to see where the wear patterns are.

Finally, here's all the horror and muck stuck to #3.

And a money shot of what is actually left of the piston.

The crank itself is in surprisingly good shape.  No rust whatsoever.  Three of the four bearings spin freely if not a little slowly.  The one between #1 and #2 is very gravelly and won't do a full revolution.  I'll be getting ready for freight soon and send it off for a rebuild.

I am glad to be done with that.  I was beginning to think that it may not be coming out and that I'd be looking for a new engine.  Still, I'm going to have to get the block to a machine shop and see if overboring will fix it or if I will have to have it resleeved.

18 February 2010

Onward... and the pit in my stomach.

I finally had a few spare hours and with the Teutonic B*&$% in good shape and my trusty 900 in good shape, I was ready to get out and spend some quality time with the 96.

I've gotten (almost) as far as I can in the engine compartment without also getting everything disconnected in the cabin.  I was feeling a little spunky so I decided to take the driver's side door off.  I soaked the huge screws that hold the hinges in and I still had to drill every one of them out.

I started working on the dash.  I ripped out the completely rotten and rusty weather strip around the door.  Then, I moved to the steering wheel and gear shift.  Neither were too hard to figure out.  I had ignored some cracks on the steering wheel when I was smitten with my purchase but it looks like I'll either replace or fabricate another one.
By the way, does anyone know what goes on the right side of the steering mount on the opposite side from the hazard lights?  It looks like something goes there but I can't tell what.
While I was removing the steering wheel and gear shift, I noticed that the wood on the floorboard was moving in "funny" ways.  At this point, if there are any children in the room, those suffering from heart conditions or Saabers with vintage Swede blood in their veins, I suggest they avert their eyes.  I decided to go ahead and pull up the wood and find out why things felt a tad... precarious.

What's behind door number 1?

Judging by the rust on the wheel well, the fact that the gas pedal had just come off in my hand and the obviously rusted out door sill, I steeled myself.  

But, I was not ready for this:

Yep, that's the floor of my garage.  Lots of it.  Ha!  Isn't that the exhaust I see through the giant hole in my floorplan?  Yes, yes it is.

Another angle of the cancer:

At this point, I'm starting to think that the only thing holding this car together is the roof.

Clearly, my work is very much cut out for me.  A total floorpan replacement is in order.  One of the sills is completely shot and will require extensive rework.  Needless to say, I will be doing the rest of the interior disassembly from outside the car.

Also, I feel a twinge of... anger.  I simply cannot understand how someone slaps a chunk of wood siding over rust that is literally destroying the car.  

Oh, and I've decided not to mention the stuck piston until I get out.

16 February 2010

Haven't gotten much done...

My daily driver (1998 900 SE turbo convertible) and my wife's bedamned VW Passat Wagon have kept me away from the 96 more than I would like.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the cylinders is frozen in the block.  I've tried all sorts of things and I've been leaving Marvel Mystery Oil in as well.  I've let MMO soak in from the top, the exhaust side and the intake side.  Both exhaust and intake allowed the oil to soak in but the top did not.

I really want to get that cylinder out so that I can send my crankshaft out for rebuild.  In the meantime, I will continue stripping the car.  I'll be stripping the interior/dashboard next.

06 February 2010

Getting a little frustrated with the frozen cylinder.  I put naval jelly all around the top of the frozen cylinder and left it for two days.  The edges turned clear and that usually means that it is eating rust.  I cleaned it out and cycled the crank a little bit to get the connecting rod lined up.Then I pushed... and pulled... and cursed a little.  And then I reminded myself that the whole reason I have this 96 is because it would bring joy for us.  I decided to try naval jelly at the intake and give it some time.

With no engine work readily available, I focused on gutting the engine compartment. I started with disconnecting the generator and starter.

Then I tackled the wiring harness.

I got most of it taken apart (with lots of pictures and notes along the way).
Then I removed all of the rest.

Coil, condenser, brake cylinder, radiator, fusebox assembly, front bumper and a couple of hoses.

Along the way, I was developing opinions about where the worst rust would be.
Here's the winner:

The winner of the worst welding ever event:

Lastly, I took pictures of some of the details I revealed along the way:

This one is my new desktop.


04 February 2010

Engine Dissassembly

The PO had told me that the engine would not turn over so I wanted to figure that out.  Also, the crank will need to be rebuilt so I needed to get it out send it to West of Sweden for rebuild.

I removed all of the bolts on the head.  There is a metal gasket between the head and the block and I really had to wail on the head with a rubber mallet to get it off.  The reason the engine would not turn over was readily apparent:
Number 3 cylinder had stopped close to TDC with coolant in it... who knows when.  I surmise that the gasked failed at some point and the cylinder filled with coolant.  That may well be the reason why the car was parked. 

There was about a 1/4" inch of rust sludge on the cylinder and coating the bore.  I cleaned it all out and put some penetrating oil in the bore.  It didn't go anywhere.  Oh well, on to the rest of dissassembly. 

The distributor appears to be ruined.  The cap is definitely broken but I can't imagine how 48 year old Bakelite would withstand much abuse. 

I removed both intake and exhaust manifolds.  The carb appears to be in good shape.  That's good because I do plan on mounting a Solex triple carb with a new head so being able to sell the old carb will defray that expense a bit.  (sorry for the crap photos, my camera wasn't charged so I had to use my cellphone)

Next came the engine mounts.  The rubber is pretty rotten but it's interesting to see how mounts used to be made. 

I removed the clutch, flywheel and pulley.  Both appear to be in pretty good shape.

That left me with nothing left but to remove all of the bolts to remove the crank bottom.  That reminds me, most of the bolts were relatively easy to remove.  I expected to have to grind most of them off.  However, only one bolt on the exhaust manifold was truly stuck (and came rounded off, thanks PO).

With all of the bolts removed, the crank bottom came off easily.  I missed two on the first go round so I was pretty happy when it popped right off.  The two halves are machined together and there is no gasket. 
The engine sat overnight with penetrating oil in the cylinder.  I'll give it another go when I get home tonight.  Oh, and I'll post more pictures.
I have both the full service manual and the engine section if anyone is interested.
If the link doesn't work, just email me and I'll send it to you.

The beginning

I make it a habit to to visit Craigslist every few days to look for parts for my 1998 Saab 900SE.  One ad stated, "1963 SAAB 96, with engine."  I emailed the guy and these are the pictures he sent me.

A week later, I was standing in his driveway, freezing half to death and falling completely in love with the car.

There were no front seats.  There was chrome missing all around the body.  The engine was elsewhere.  The trunk was full of spare parts.  One turn signal assembly gone.  Rust had mostly destroyed the doors. Some hubcaps missing.  But...

Perfect glass.  Interior in surprisingly good shape.  Body in good shape with almost no structural rust and very little surface rust. 

I was... hooked. 
He didn't have much history about the car.  He had owned it for three years and bought it from someone that had it stored in one of the cave facilities here in KC for about 15 years.  I'd love to know more of course.

I paid him and a few minutes later the engine was sitting in the flooboard. 

I had it towed home and here she is:

I also found an extra little bonus:

First order of business will be to figure out why the engine won't rotate...