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10/06/2003 12:55:49   Richard   This is in response to the want in the ads section.
You can cut the std springs down as the V4 has shaped seats at one end ( dont cut the flat end ) this will increase the stiffness of the springs as the torsion effect is over a shorter length of bar.
A good start is the later front springs on the front and std rear springs on the rear. If you want it stiffer on the rear try 95 rear springs cut down. Try this first as it is cheap to do and see if you like the balance.
Dampers are not a problem, dont run spax as they overheat when driven hard. Koni's, Red max fours and AVO's are OK. To limit the drop shorten the drop straps at the back and lift the drop stops under the front upper arm to reduce drop at the front. You will also need to remove some camber shims. Set camber to approx 1 deg neg to start with and parallel to a bit of toe out on front track.
If you want to go stiffer I use 395 Ib front springs and 30pc uprated rears on a forest rally car. I heard that Volvo springs fit the front but are stiffer than the Saab rally springs. Saab rally springs are stiff, but will sit the car high at the front. You can lower them, but these are rare and if you get it wrong have just turned a useful rally part into scrap.
Look at what you want to drive on, if you drive on rural roads you will make the car slower by lowering it as bumps can not be taken flat anymore and you will have ltd travel and will be hitting the bump stops all the time.  
10/06/2003 12:56:04   Richard   This is in response to the want in the ads section.
You can cut the std springs down as the V4 has shaped seats at one end ( dont cut the flat end ) this will increase the stiffness of the springs as the torsion effect is over a shorter length of bar.
A good start is the later front springs on the front and std rear springs on the rear. If you want it stiffer on the rear try 95 rear springs cut down. Try this first as it is cheap to do and see if you like the balance.
Dampers are not a problem, dont run spax as they overheat when driven hard. Koni's, Red max fours and AVO's are OK. To limit the drop shorten the drop straps at the back and lift the drop stops under the front upper arm to reduce drop at the front. You will also need to remove some camber shims. Set camber to approx 1 deg neg to start with and parallel to a bit of toe out on front track.
If you want to go stiffer I use 395 Ib front springs and 30pc uprated rears on a forest rally car. I heard that Volvo springs fit the front but are stiffer than the Saab rally springs. Saab rally springs are stiff, but will sit the car high at the front. You can lower them, but these are rare and if you get it wrong have just turned a useful rally part into scrap.
Look at what you want to drive on, if you drive on rural roads you will make the car slower by lowering it as bumps can not be taken flat anymore and you will have ltd travel and will be hitting the bump stops all the time.  
10/06/2003 13:29:48   Nick Ayliffe   Thanks for the quick reply Richard. Is cutting the springs standard practice for this kind of lowering? Compared to other 96's mine does look rather high at the front and handles like a sofa so I know new shox are needed just don't want to chop up the springs and it not improve the handling. I only drive the car on the road and have no intention to race it. Where is a good/reasonable place to get the shox you suggested and which ones are the best?  
10/06/2003 16:57:13   Richard   I would get another set of springs from a breakers or specialist so you can revert back if you dont like it and they should be alot cheaper than having some made up.
I would keep the std ride height. The later front springs have less turns on them and are a shorter free length and are therefore a little stiffer, I think they were fitted on the 1976 model onwards (someone will probably correct me on this).
The easy option on the dampers is to contact AVO direct as they will supply at a lower cost than the specialists (try the web for details).Buy normal adjustable AVO dampers for the 96.
If the roll is still a little too much a front roll bar off the early V4's can be fitted which makes the car better on fast sweepers, but reduces bite on tight bends.
The next improvement is finding some good tyres that are no wider than 165, 175 max as driver feed back is lost over this width.
Try this first as it is cheap to do, but make sure your brakes are in good condition if you are to mod the car for speed.
Engine wise a twin choke weber 28/36 or solex 32/32 on a four stud manifold or SAH adaptor works well on a std engine, especially if combined with a free flow exhaust. The options here are the Jetex or Highgate's Twin pipe which will see a good improvement in usable power without using vast amounts of petrol (but increases the noise level).  
11/06/2003 18:51:34   Alec   I came across this website for AVO in the UK. The prices seem very reasonable.
 
23/06/2003 18:30:38   louis   I just want to add that what you call "sofa" handling is to a certain extent normal as cars in the 70s were not like modern sports euro boxes that are so stiff that they slide all over the place! Here in Switzerland were I live, driving in the snow and wet conditions is better if the carr is not too rigid. Were the G force wants to get away it get absorbed in the slight roll of the body before you come un stuck.
Be careful with stabiliser bars as they tend to tiffen the front more than the back and then you get wheel lift in the front much to the despair of the drive shafts...
Good luck.  
24/06/2003 08:00:31   Richard   On a normal road car an anti-roll bar does not lift the inside wheel. The V4 performs better with a stiffer front end which is what the works team did with hours of testing to prove it. If your driveshaft are in good condition they should not give any problems. I have it on advise from an ex-works team mechanic that the driveshafts never gave any problems even with 160bhp on a forest event so I dont think they will cause problems on the road.
On the snow a bit more roll and a shofter setup can help, but it is interesting that I dial in more damping on the front for gravel stages as the car can turn a bit too well. On the tar I shoften to get more turn in and to kill any understeer, you just have to watch it as a Saab cornering on two wheels is one step away from...........  
24/06/2003 13:46:43   steve h   I have run my 96 on chopped springs and didnt like it at all. Yes it do longer tacked into the wind as you passed a jugganaut, handled better on good tarmac and it looked.. erm.. mean, but it scraped on speed bumbs and sent dramatic sparks flying on rough B roads which both of which meant the exhaust seals kept getting knocked out.
Im back on standard springs with spax adjusted up to 7 all round and a anti roll bar and am far happier.  
25/06/2003 21:27:50   louis   My car must be a rogue as with the stabilizer bar I lose traction as the inner wheel lifts on hard (extreme?) cornering which doesn't help matters when you're in need of that vital traction... Of course it all seems like a matter of taste and the use made of the car...  
26/06/2003 07:58:26   Richard   Left foot braking keeps the car more level and all std Saabs can squeal their inside tyres when driven hard.
Maybe left foot braking is not such a good idea on the public road!  
26/06/2003 12:34:52   Alistair Philpott   On a standard car even without the anti roll bar you can easily lift the inner front clear of the road when driving like a loon. I used to do it all the time when I was a kid!

I've never tried a lowered V4, but did run a 96 with no anti roll bar, S&R springs & bilstein shocks all round for a few years and it handled a treat. Much of the very little body roll it did get was actually tyrewall flex (!) Even then, I was grateful for the sumpguard from time to time on bumpy/uneven lanes, so I can't say I fancy one lowered by much.

With regard to tyres, I have tried 155, 165, 175/70 and 185/65 and with standard suspension I actually prefer 155s. OK you get a little less grip, but they give good balance & are very predictable. And if you do get a little out of shape, you tend to be going more slowly and thus it's easier to catch! To me, 165s are just way too high. Very little extra grip and too much sidewall flex, upsets the turn-in and handling. On the stiff car, 185/65s were fantastic and at the time were easier and much cheaper to source than 175/70s. But they did rub the inner arches quite badly, even with the offset Sonett rims, so you have to be careful. I think 175s will be the best compromise.

 
26/06/2003 12:50:23   Richard   I agree with Alistair here. I use narrow 155 tyres on the road car that have good balance over out and out grip. It is fun to drive with a bit of slide.
All I can say is Alistair, you animal! Hitting the sump gard on public roads with S&R springs, good job this is not a Saab 9000 page or you would be getting complaints for the next two years (dare you to put it in the Driver).  
26/06/2003 13:11:40   Alistair Philpott   Well, I am talking about very bumpy roads...and while V4s fly well they don't always land with grace!

Just don't ever mention it to the old man, it was really his car that was "on loan" to me, until I broke the crownwheel that is... ;-)  
26/06/2003 20:03:06   louis   Naughty, naughty!
I think that my lesson learnt from this page is that I need first to harden the rear suspension slightly to compensate and even out the front and rear roll. Then I can start testing again... Buy the way here in Switzerland it is so hot (35-40 european degrees shade temp) that my tyres are rather soft and are wearing out at a rate of ...  
27/06/2003 08:04:54   Richard   Its the front most people stiffen as most of the weight in a V4 is over the front wheels. You can use std rears on a rally car, but the fronts are alot stiffer. Even the S & r rear springs only become stiffer as they are compressed to give consistant handling with different fuel loads. In fact they are softer than std to start of with.
I prefer slightly stiffer rear springs for rallying, but it does make it abit lively, the spring rates are front 390 lb/in and rear 200 lb/in, Ride height is a bit higher than normal and the chassis is approx level, not nose high as Saab use to run them. The car must be one of a few Saabs that has never rolled and is capable of good times, so somthing must be right (when driven well...problems with this detail).  
02/07/2003 15:56:52   graeme   first of all, thanks to all those who answered my previous quetions about a poorly performing 95L. i had a weber carb fitted and it is now running like a dream.
i am thinking of replacing the rear lever-type shocks on another 95 i own. is this a difficult job? any dos, donts or other advice would be welcome.  


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