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24/11/2002 17:58:38   John.   I am having some problems with cold starting. My car takes an age to fire on all cylinders, and sometimes when warm it does shudders and misses a bit if you are in the wrong gear (say fourth going uphill when you should have changed down) I am going to do the plugs and points tomorrow to see if that sorts it but wanted to ask if there are any V4 quirks that i don't know about? or could this be somthing more serious than ignition?  
25/11/2002 08:46:41   Alec   John
V4's normally start on the button if in a good state of tune. when you install the new points if they seem badly burnt try changing the condensor as well and set the points with a dwell meter if you have one.
Also, ensure the timing is set correctly.
Let us know how it seems after a tune up.
27/11/2002 11:32:18   john   i have changed the distributor, rotor, airfilter (which turned out to be really dirty)and plugs, but i have no idea what the points gap should be, so i have left off changing those until i got your advice. with the new parts in it still misses but not so bad as before, It actually feels like a bad or loose connection somewhere as sometimes it runs beautifully and the next moment in the same circumstances its farting and popping like a two stroke. Could this be burnt out exhaust valves? could it be a Head gasket?
What Degrees BTDC should it fire at?
What is the correct points and plug gap?
P.S. old points look pretty good so i'm not so sure about that.  
27/11/2002 11:41:12   John   PP.S. Just thought i'd add that last week i had the car over in the Ardennes (i live in belgium) and for the first time on really twisty roads found the saabs handling to be great, i really enjoyed myself, needless to say my passenger didn't. My first car was a Mini and i was known for testing its handling extensively on any roundabout i came across and i can say the saab is every bit as good fun.  
28/11/2002 01:58:46   Paul   Hi John
My car is also doing exactly what you describe in your original e-mail, but the difference is i know what it is. As Alec says it could very well just need a good tune, but after i'd eliminated this i did both wet and dry compression test. A dry test showed that No1 cylinder (why is it always the one that is hard to get to?!) was down on compression and the wet test, which is just sticking a bit of oil down the spark plug holes and running the compression test again, showed that these compression figures were much higher. Conclusion - the oil was forming a temporary seal giving high compression, but without it it was not sealing correctly. I'm going to go digging in my engine in the next fortnight, but the smart money seems to be on needing new piston rings (oil control ones - a little oversize to compensate for wear). I hope your problem is not like mine, but thought i should share my predicament as the symptoms seemed so similar.  
28/11/2002 13:27:39   john   Well i have all but eliminated the electrics system from my faults list. The car just won't start properly at all now, it will fire up but will not take any kind of throttle or choke of it will just backfire and stop. I was thinking of water in the fuel or dirt in the carb, but these sorts of problems are beyond my limited skills. time for the mechanics to take over!!!!!!!!!
as i said originally, this is an intermittent thing and it could probably start and drive all day if i tried it now and then refuse the very next time. I even checked if the little advance retard vacuum was working correctly in case that was sticking in the wrong position.
Can someone describe for me the easiest way to check for water iÁn the fuel? and the simplest way to clean the carb? i have no locking fuel cap on the car and i always worry about pranksters using it as a toilet.  
28/11/2002 13:34:09   john   If this is a case of new rings, is a recon engine a cheaper way to go?  
28/11/2002 18:50:18   Alec   OK, settings as requested (I must get this sort of stuff posted on the site!!)
Valve clearances(Cold) - Inlet=0.35mm Exhuast=0.40m
Spark Plug Gap - 0.6 to 0.7mm
Idle Speed - 800 to 900rpm
Point Gap - 0.4mm
Dwell Angle - 48 to 52 degrees
Timing (500rpm remove Vac pipe) - 6 degrees BTDC

To clean the carb the only way is to remove it and then split the top and bottom halves (disconnect rod for autochoke first) and then clean.

Hope some of this helps.  
29/11/2002 08:28:51   Steve B   Hi John,

So if the car runs OK some of the time then your basic set-up must be OK. What I mean is, if your timing was out then this would be a constant problem. Also you are correct in thinking that backfiring and missing is usually electrical.
So have you checked the condition of you HT (plug) leads ? Check that they are not cracked or scuffed and also check the plugs on the end for a good contact. Plug leads are under the greatest load when the engine is strugling or starting from cold. You've also been changing plugs and things which could aggrevate any slight fault with the leads.
Also check that your distributor is not worn. Test this by removing the distributor cap, holding the rotor arm and trying to move it left/right, backwards/forwards. This will tell you if the bushes in the distributor are worn. If they are then it makes the point gap variable when in use. (Some movement is normal).
Let us know what you find. Does anyone know what the resistance of the plug leads should be so that John can check them with a multimeter ?  
29/11/2002 16:28:50   David Lowe   John, you don't mention whether you've changed the distributor cap and rotor arm as they seem to wear quite quickly. Halfords have all the stufff you need - just ask at the desk - and it's not too expensive; but don't buy a condenser there: they wanted £20 for one when I last asked. There must be a cheaper one around! Also make sure that your battery is in good nick and fully charged c- if it's down a bit the starter motor will take all the current and the ignition system comes off second best. During the wwinter months, with the lights being used a lot of the time, batteries do suffer and it's a good idea to give it a really good checkup and charge. Good luck!  
29/11/2002 16:31:51   David Lowe   Me again - had another thought. Have you checked out the autochoke? My 95 was fitted with a manual choke some years ago (Ford autochokes got a bad name in the 70s) and I don't have any problems with it.  
01/12/2002 16:10:33   john   my car is manual choke, and i have changed the distributor cap, rotor, plugs. will change the leads next as a final try on the ignition side of things. starter is strong and so is battery.  
04/12/2002 13:51:36   Steve H   You don't live in north london do you and have used the texaco petrol station at the end of shacklewell lane? We picked up a tank of petrol that had a pint or so of water in it and it had the affects you describe on our V4. It would be fine sometimes and then cough as splutter as would expect when it tries to run on water. We found out when I disconected the fuel line to the carb and fed it into a jam jar to check the pump was working. I found it was but it was pumping water. The problem was solved by draining the petrol tank by undoing the plug just in front of the rear axle. It still coughed for a while after as the reminants of water went through the system but is fine now. I now have two gallons of contaminated petrol in the shed. Any suggestions what use I could put it to?  
04/12/2002 14:04:48   john   will check fuel system next. before i start crying!!!  
07/12/2002 21:07:23   Chris   Hi John
Had much the same problem with my 96 turned out to be that the carb flange was bowed and there was an air leak and when the choke was closed it was drawing in a weak mixture under the flap. if I could get it to start and warm up it would run but miss if I put my foot down to hard. I faced the carb of flat and fitted a new gasket all OK. starting on botton  
16/12/2002 11:40:17   Alistair Philpott   One thing that springs to mind is the non-return valve in the breather system (I've heard it called the "foo-foo" valve?!), attached to the flange on the inlet manifold - these can get full of gunge over the years and stick, causing weird things to happen, especially under high vaccuum in the inlet manifold. Also the breather hose can get gunged up or collapse.  
16/12/2002 13:43:26   john   We have narrowed the problem down to water in the fuel caused by taking the car to an automatic car wash. The problems have only started since i moved here and started using the place. coincidentally i had the car washed the day before it finally cut out, however as the temperature here is in the minuses i don't fancy getting petrol over my hands in a freezing garage for a few days yet.
rest assured that once it warms enough to get my spanners out i will be using all the advice given here to give it a thorough check up.
15/07/2003 20:09:36   john   Hi, its been a while since i started this thread but believe it or not i only just got the car running again tonight! It wasn't water in the fuel either! it was something mysterious. With the airfilter off i could see flashes in the choke of the carb everytime it misfired, i just let the car slowly warm up and the problem disappeared. Now i know that means its an intermittent fault, which points towards a loose connection, or maybe a dodgy coil?

Ok! its over to you lot. what do you think?
Could the condensor cause this?
16/07/2003 08:06:30   john   Yes it was great to hear it fire up again!!!!!!  
16/07/2003 10:35:39   simon   Dear John,

have a look at my post concerning overheating ignition circuit. S  
10/12/2003 22:00:48   john   Finally a year or more after first having the problem i get to the bottom of what was wrong with my car. It took the belgian saab club guys about five minutes to realise that my dizzy is stuck. The vacuum part is gummed up with old grease and oil and is not working consistently, hence, the car runs fine one minute then backfires and won't take the boot at all the next.
I had also made matters a lot worse by re-fitting my dizzy in the wrong place after setting the points, thats why flames were leaping out of the carb.
other recomendations are: fit new hoses, fit a weber carb, and fit a fuel filter.

now where can i buy a luminition set up?  

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