|Author|| Topic |
|Posted - 01 Sep 2016 : 15:45:31 |
| I'm fortunate enough to own a 95 and a 96, a hoard of V4 project engines and a workshop and parts and panels storage in the North of the Netherlands. I also have free access to my father in-law's workshops and tools under the same roof and the possibility to use a lift and everything else a hobby mechanic could ever wish to have at hand. My in-laws were blacksmiths, coach builders and car breakers (amongst many other things) after the war until the early ‘70s and most of the equipment is still there. It’s a real gold mine for those who, like me, love old school engineering. My only misfortune is the lack of time to enjoy this lot due to simultaneously living in two different countries rather far away from the workshop. I love getting my hands dirty on old tat (not only cars), so if and when I get the chance I'm in the workshop working on my various projects.|
Today it is ten years to the date my girlfriend and I bought our first car, a '70 96 we still own. Aptly christened "The Devil's Own V4" in the first year of our ownership when it caused more grief than joy, I still love this car for all it has brought us in good memories, new friendships and acquired skills and knowledge. When we bought it, I had no clue of the workings of a combustion engine. Within months I had the engine apart, not because I fancied it but because it broke down, to find three broken piston rings and a lot more trouble. This apparently sparked something, as I overhauled quite a few V4 engines since. The body of the car had been "restored" in the ‘90s, this meant it held the perfect opportunity to hone my budding welding skills (still visible in many places, see below pictures). This car had been properly bodged and neglected, yet we bought it because it had a full year's MOT and no one had ever told us to lift the floor mats before committing to buy a car! My father in law did a lot of the welding back then and he assisted me (or rather: I assisted him) with many of the mechanical issues as well. If it wasn’t for his persistence and “just do” mentality, I would have long given up on V4s, or cars in general, I’m afraid. I’m glad I can now return the favour by doing welding and other jobs on his car and letting him use the 96 when he needs or fancies it.
Have a couple random pics:
After the initial hiccups, the 96 served us well over the years, moving to live with us in various places as a daily driver and on many holidays and short trips throughout Europe. As said, it's seen a lot of welding and various engines and gearboxes (some better than others) in its time with us, but the last few years it's mainly been living parked up in the workshop without seeing much use. It was doing fine when we needed it though and it always flew through its Dutch MOTs because of the sound mechanical condition we’ve brought it in over the years. This old soldier has never been honoured with a proper thread on this forum, so from now on I'll try and keep track here. You can read about my slow 95 van conversion project in this thread: http://www.saab-v4.co.uk/speedball/topic.asp?topic_id=3027
Last February on a long trip, I noticed the oil pressure warning light coming on when the engine idled at a services after a long motorway drive. I'd seen this before with other V4s and I knew what it implicated: balance shaft bearings on the way out. The engine loses oil pressure because the now warm and very fluid oil "escapes" from between the worn front bearing and the (worst case also worn) journal. The pump can’t keep up maintaining the pressure because it's driven by the distributor/ camshaft, hence only doing about 400rpm at idle (the cam turns at half the crank speed).
I hoped to make it just a 100 miles further and I didn't mind wrecking the engine doing so, since I was on a mission and I had a replacement V4 ready to go in. I had to adjust the valves on this engine every 200-300 miles, so it was a well-worn beast anyway. I knew the only parts I could damage really by giving the already severely worn balance shaft bearings a good beating, is the balance shaft itself and the balance shaft gear. I had at least half a dozen spare timing gear sets and a couple good balance shafts on the shelf, so no problem should I want to salvage this engine later on.
As said, I was on a mission. I had driven about 250 miles southwards a couple of days earlier and now I was on the way back to the workshop and about to pick up a small but rather heavy antique Wolf Jahn lathe and ancillaries (±250kg all-in) on the way. I have a good roadside assistance cover, so I figured once the lathe was loaded the engine could die and the car plus its contents would be brought back to the workshop by the big yellow taxi. It really shouldn’t go any earlier, because that would mean I had to go on a 250 mile round trip the following day with a borrowed car to pick up the lathe. Loaded to the gunwales and at moderate speed I made it home to the workshop safely fortunately!
However, on arrival I was greeted by this:
(The shock was removed to assess the damage.)
At first it didn't look too bad and also from the outside I had the impression a quick repair to the shock mount would do.
But before too long this had happened:
No half measures here! I made some new panels:
And used some of my donor stock:
Soon things looked a bit better; all welded in place to my current standards, no more plating over:
After a fresh coat of Tectyl in the wheel arch everything was put back together and I was ready to go. Apart from the engine that is, hopefully the Christmas break will see that fixed. I've asked Santa for the same weather as last year, 16 degrees Celsius ambient temperature is ideal for some spanner action.
This car is a keeper for sure. It’s worth hardly anything (I really hope V4 prices stay low in general), but to me it means a lot. Should you worry about the multitude of colours on this car: rest assured, I don't.
Edited by - melle on 01 Sep 2016 15:51:46
|Posted - 01 Sep 2016 : 19:56:19 |
| Great stuff Melle . . . .very interesting |
1968 V4, LHD
1984 99 GL
1992 C900i Convertible
1993 C900 LPT Convertible
|Posted - 01 Sep 2016 : 20:14:33 |
| Bonus photo for you Jim, this is the car in front of out flat in Aberdeen in 2010. I miss the Northern winters!|
|Posted - 01 Sep 2016 : 21:32:20 |
| Love this picture, very atmospheric and almost iconic.|
|Posted - 02 Sep 2016 : 08:22:04 |
| Heh heh |
1968 V4, LHD
1984 99 GL
1992 C900i Convertible
1993 C900 LPT Convertible
|Posted - 03 Sep 2016 : 07:14:31 |
| Very nice repair work #128521;|
|Posted - 03 Sep 2016 : 16:07:14 |
| Good ole girl lives again |
You don,t see many with those early rounder headlamp surrounds... My father and I scrapped a deluxe just like yours in the same colour 40 years ago for failing it,s MOT, nothing wrong with it really that couldn,t be sorted nowadays...
To my fathers horror I swapped all the chrome deluxe bits with Nick Utteridge for something he didn,t like, a spoiler or stripes or something boy racerish when I was a kid!
Edited by - Zagato on 03 Sep 2016 16:13:35
|Posted - 03 Sep 2016 : 16:19:34 |
| Yeah, I've scrapped a few good ones as well... hence my high quality panel stock.|
Mine's a MY70, so not a DeLuxe; it has the newer type dash and no DeLuxe badges, although the rest of the trim is fitted indeed. I think Saab must have used up their leftover DeLuxe parts for the 1970 model year.
Thanks Betsy, I think I'm getting the hang of it!
|Posted - 08 Sep 2016 : 17:44:52 |
| Good to see the old girl is still going. Quick questio what is the 30s looking car to the right of the V4 in one of the photos above. Is a Citroen of some type.|
|Posted - 08 Sep 2016 : 17:54:40 |
| It's my girlfriend's uncle's 1928 Ford Model A. It's a working car, imported into the Netherlands from Sweden in 1968 and never restored as far as I know.|
|Posted - 09 Sep 2016 : 19:11:55 |
| Cheers Melle. Need to brush up on my 30s cars.|
|Posted - 11 Sep 2016 : 21:13:17 |
| Awsome Melle, you treat the steel so easy that looks like paper.|
Happy to see your progress.
|Posted - 12 Sep 2016 : 18:31:08 |
| Sheet metal is not unlike cardboard – only much more malleable and easier to glue together!|
|Posted - 18 Sep 2016 : 20:36:38 |
| Great thread Melle and great car - look forward to hearing more!|
|Posted - 01 Feb 2017 : 14:05:25 |
| During my Christmas break I treated myself to some workshop time again, thought I'd give you a wee update on some work I did to my 96. |
Last time I was in the workshop, I disconnected all ancillaries from the "old" 1.7 engine, so I could quickly swap it for a "new" 1.5 engine this time. Before lifting the old engine, I took the heads off because I was curious why the exhaust valves needed adjusting so often. I was sold this engine as being "reconditioned", whatever that means. Indeed, it quickly became clear that no cost had been spared on parts: what looks like new genuine Ford valves (both inlet and exhaust), new head bolts, proper Victor Reintz gaskets, good quality oil seals etcetera. Unfortunately, they'd forgotten to pay attention to the valve seats, as the exhaust valves were nearly completely recessed into the heads (perhaps it has been run on LPG in a previous life?). Why do people do this? In the longer term this surely is the most expensive way of "reconditioning" an engine? This one came from Belgium, maybe that explains things? ;) Confusing!
It's been running a tad lean as well, but that was entirely my own fault as the worn out Solex 32TDID carb I had on it had a few air leaks. An afr gauge is high on my wish list!
(Please note I ran this engine on 98RON with lead substitute, I think this also affects colouration.)
I also found the missing balance shaft bearings. Both were completely stripped and the engine still ran beautifully, never seen that before!
Anyway, with the old engine out, I installed the new one. The "actual" new one is not ready, so I opted to install the 1.5 engine I intend to use for a K-Jet conversion. I've bought this engine for €50 off an acquaintance who assured me it was stuck rock solid. I had no issue freely turning it around though. When lifting the rocker covers I was shocked at how dirty it was, but when measuring all bearings and journals however, I found this (VEGE) engine was as good as new under the oil and carbon deposits. I can't even start to imagine the sort of life this one has had. Oil never changed perhaps? Running very rich?
I've meticulously cleaned all internals and put it back together about two years ago; for the 96 it just needed a carb and a Hall-conversion of the dizzy. When I reconditioned it, I also ported the exhaust ports to match the Jetex exhaust and now I did the inlet manifold and vacuum plate to nicely mate with the Weber 28/36DCD. I did the porting of inlet with the engine in the car (inlet stuffed so no swarf could enter the engine of course). This is not exactly advisable practice, as the whole engine bay is now full of sticky aluminium filings (I use WD40 as a lubricant when cutting/ milling/ drilling aluminium).
There is a story behind the engine being white. I have (had) quite a few engines, and at some point I started painting them different colours so I could remember which is which. My father in law kept insisting I paint my engines white, for it makes it easier to spot oil leaks. He's rebuilt Vauxhall and Morris engines in the past and most came out quite well. Only the one he painted white was an absolute disaster, but at least you could spot the oil leaks!
It's only radiator paint as this was intended to be a test engine, let's see how long it will hold up.
After installing the carb I realised I needed a choke cable for it, I've only had V4s with auto chokes so far. It was a real pain to get the second-hand cable I had through the firewall, and of course I found it was too short when I finally had it in place. So much for trying to save a tenner, will buy a new one for it.
As you can read in this thread: http://www.saab-v4.co.uk/speedball/topic.asp?topic_id=26869, I have also been experimenting with fitting electric fans. I've cut the tabs on the C900 or 90/99 (no idea where I got it from) fan I trial fitted earlier, and now it's placed straight against the radiator core (with a rubber protection bead).
I've now got about 1.5cm clearance to the block, which is more than enough. Hope it shows in this pic:
This is the timing cover I've used to create space, I think it's from a Ford Taunus 12M with the 1.2 or 1.3 engine:
I've installed a C900 aircon cut-off switch take-off T-piece in the top hose, with a C900 thermo switch for the fan. Not sure if the bottom hose would have been a better position, but I'm a bit short of space there. I've used a relay and wiring from a C900 as well.
This set-up works well enough for now, but a friend brought me a couple 99 rads, one of which I'm sure I could fit because of the flat timing cover I've used. A nice aluminium rad from a NG900 or 9000 might also work. Traditionally, in 95/96s the 99 rad is used in concert with US/ rally spec headlights and two cut-outs in the front panel, to get enough clearance to mount a fan behind it. You can spot one of the cut-outs in the lower right corner of this (also otherwise quite interesting!) pic:
I've yet to try it, but I'm pretty sure I can fit the rad further backwards so it just clears the v-belt, and install the huge Peugeot fan in front of it with my set-up. This way I have no need for an ugly US grille and cut-outs. More on this when I have time!
In the past my engines were running way too rich with the ignition not correctly tuned either (like most V4's I seen over the years...). I think I've learnt a lot over the years, and the engine I took out was a lot cleaner inside than when I put it in:
This is by far the worst I've ever seen:
(As acquired, I never had this one running)
Despite me having better control over engines now, the positive crankcase ventilation system (pvs) of the V4 has always been bugging me. A friend in the Netherlands added an air compressor filter to the pvs system on his 95:
(Source: http://www.saabforum.nl/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=49155&start=105#p1091926 (in Dutch))
It seems to work very well, but looks a bit odd! Somewhere else, I can't remember where, I'd seen a 9-5 power steering fluid reservoir being used as an oil catch can. I liked this idea as I could make it look somehow "stock"; visually it's close to e.g. FoMoCo air filter housings.
(This one is from a BMW, identical apart from the less awkward direction of the pipes, I'll probably try and get one of these.)
A friendly UKSaaber gave a 9-5 reservoir to experiment with:
I use it upside down, so the pipes are on top and the cap (dipstick sawn off and vent hole plugged) can be used as a drain. The fumes/ oil residue will come in through the outer pipe, which is extended to the bottom of the can. They will then go up towards the pcv valve trough the inner pipe, passing though Morrisons scourers which will act as a filtering medium.
The standard screen in the can prevents possible loose metal strings from blocking the valve or, even worse, entering the engine. Need yet to finish this little project next time I'm in the workshop.
I don't mind scruffy cars, but I have love clean engines and engine bays. I very much like this one for example:
(Source: http://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/168297/1968-patina-wagon-which-legal Makes for great lunchtime reading!)
The 96's engine bay is far from clean at the moment. I plan to de-clutter the bay at some point by moving the fuse box and relays into the cab (perhaps in the glove box) running the loom through the wheel wells, redo the visually poor quality welding on the fresh air box and give everything a fresh coat of paint. It's a real mess now:
All in all an enjoyable holiday and for now all is wrapped up until next time, when I will properly set up carb and ignition, install the oil catch can and try the 99 rad and Peugeot fan.
I'm looking for a new timing light, any tips on one what works well? http://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/195036/timing-lights-use-recommend
Edited by - melle on 06 Feb 2017 13:00:56
|Posted - 01 Feb 2017 : 14:37:32 |
| those little rocker cover spreaders are cool - any idea where you got them?|
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