Category Archives: Mechanical Work

Intercooler install – Removing the bumper

Intercooler install – Removing the bumper

This is an photo journey of my installation of a new intercooler in my Saab 9-3 (1999, RHD). The standard one makes the air flow back and forth in the intercooler, but I’m installing a bigger cross flow intercooler to cool the intake air and to increase the flow of air to the engine.

To install the new intercooler, the old intercooler needs to be removed and for that to happen, the bumper needs to come off. This section of the install will just focus on the bumper removal.

This is how the car looks at the start. You’ll need to have the bonnet (hood) up so that you can get into the engine bay.


The next two pictures show the piping going to the intercooler (not very clearly).



When I’m working on the car like this, I always have my ipad open and handy with a tutorial ready to go. It makes things a lot easier.



The first part to come off is the front grill. There are two clips at the top of it that hold it on. The clips pinch together and then you can lift the grill off.



From the top looking down at the right hand side of the car (facing it), you can the screw that holds the right side front light assembly.


Remove the screw and then light assembly pulls forward.


Pinch the sides of the clip together to release the whole unit and put it aside.


Next is the actual headlight. Looking from the top down, you can see the two screws holding in the top of the light. Remove these screws.


Once those two are out, there is a third screw on a metal bracket on the side of the unit. Undo this screw and pull the light forward.


Once pulled out, undo the clips holding the wiring to the light.




My bumper has driving lights and therefore I’ll need to unplug them before taking the bumper off. The following shot is the plug from the bottom, looking up.


The next wire to unplug is the temperature sensor in the bumper itself. 


It disconnects easily by pulling the clip out.



Once all the electronics have been removed, the bumper is only held on with two large bolts. These are on either side of the radiator, located on the metal frame of the bumper.


Remove these bolts.


I also have a bit of a body kit thing – like a skirt that goes into the bumper. It has a screw holding it to the car, so that needs to be undone. There is also one on the bottom (photo looking up from the ground) that needs to be removed.



Once all the above have been removed, the bumper can now be pulled forward from the car evenly.




Tags: , , , ,

Turbo Troubleshooting

Okay, I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted, but I will be making a bunch of posts soon making up for it. : )

However, first off I need to post about some troubles I’m having with my turbo so I can go through my trouble shooting steps. Once I find the problem, I’ll post how it was fixed so it will help in future.

But first, the problems…

The above picture is the oil residue I found in the pipe that goes from the air intake tube to the BPV. In order, it goes air box, main intake tube and then turbo air inlet. This pipe comes off the side of the main intake tube. Although blurry, it shows pretty clearly that there is a bit of oil in there. I don’t think this is a good sign.

This shows clearly where the pipe comes from (not so much my explanation above :p ) – in this picture it is detached and sitting near where it joins the main intake tube.

This is also a bit of a grim picture. This is where the main intake tube is connected to the turbo intake pipe. There is a fair bit of oil here as well and I’m starting to think cause for concern. The other end of the pipe (not shown) connected to the air box (filter).

This is the side view of the metal tube that bolts onto the turbo itself. This tube leads to the cold side fan (as opposed to the fan that faces the exhaust). The main intake tube fits on here and it’s pretty obvious to see that there is an oil residue here as well. The bolt in the front of the picture holds the breather tube on which runs to the engine. The connector where it goes to the engine (near the throttle body – ish) has a lot of oil residue on it as well.

This is the view straight down the metal air intake to the turbo. The pipe itself doesn’t seem too messy, but you can see some pretty recent oil on the edge of the pipe there.

This is the panoramic shot. 🙂  From left to right you can pretty clearly see: The metal intake pipe to turbo with oil on the side of it, it bolts to the turbo housing itself which seems to be okay. Moving to the right you can see where the manifold bolts on and then the downpipe – both look okay with no visible leaks – sure, they aren’t gleaming and shiny or anything, but okay. Underneath all of that, you can see the wastegate housing with the lever that opens and shuts it (rusty but working fine). Right down below you can see the blue silicon elbow that takes the turboed air to the intercooler. It’s tight – no leaks there.

Probably not that relevant, but just in case, here is the area around the throttle body with the cover removed. The IAC (I think it’s called?) is on the left there and outwardly seems to be in fine condition. I can clean that, but I don’t think it’s the main cause of the problem. I have also checked that silicon hoses and such are in place – just in case.

And finally this is the under car view looking up at the turbo area. From the top of the picture down (which is left to right on the car) – Blue silicon elbow going to the intercooler. It’s connected to the turbo housing. Next you can see what I think is the oil pipe in to the turbo? Looks a bit crappy… Next is where the turbo cold side fan attached to the other fan and the waste gate, etc – the waste gate lever/actuator is on the right hand side there. And lastly at the bottom you can see where the exhaust bolts on. There’s a lovely white stain there… don’t know what that’s from….

Okay, that’s all the photos for now. I’ll putting it out there to help solve my problems and I’ll see what the diagnosis is. I’ll post later as to what the result was.




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ghetto Idler Pulley Change

Okay, this is a quick tutorial on how to change the upper idler pulley – ghetto style.

Firstly, the reason this would need to be changed is due to the bearing inside the pulley getting worn and making noise. If it goes too far it can seize up and happily wreck your engine. I was alerted to the fact that it needed to be changed by the whining noise it made, which turned out to be the alternator bearing, but I’m pretty sure this one needed to be changed as well.

Anyway, the way I found out was to get a plastic flexible tube (that’s ghetto, right?) and stick one end to your ear, the other end to the idler pulley. You can then work out which bearing is the one giving you problems. Before I changed mine it was very noisy, afterwards it wasn’t. You can also use a rigid metal tube, but I think it’s just dangerous if you are the slightest bit clumsy.

On to the tutorial. Step one is to remove the air box. Not a big deal, there are three bolts holding it down, just take the nuts off and it should lift out with a little bit of effort. Once out, move it to one side (don’t need to disconnect it) and you’ll see the upper pulleys…

The next step is to loosen the belt and move it to the side so we can change the idler pulley (just visible in the above photo on the left hand side). To loosen the belt, there is a tension release thing just to the left (in my pic above) of the belt – behind the engine on the belt side. There is a square whole that you insert a socket extension bar into to lever it back and forth.

However, it wouldn’t be very ghetto if it was that easy, right? So I don’t have an extension bar (I went and bought one after this, by the way), so I had to improvise…

Yes, that a socket rachet handle thing with a big-ass spanner looped around it. Hey, it gave me the leverage to pull the tensioner toward me and loosen the belt. I know it’s literally putting a round peg in a square hole, but hey this IS supposed to be ghetto, right?

Anyway, when you’ve finished judging me (although notice where the spanner is made), pull that ghetto lever (or the extension bar if you’re sensible) towards you and the front of the car. This will loosen the belt and allow you to slip it off to the side.

Belt is on…

Belt is off…

(Notice the padding I put in so that the ghetto lever wouldn’t scratch the car too much? Pipe insulation.)

So, now that the belt is off, take the opportunity to move the other pulleys around a bit. If you hear a dry kind of grinding sound as you move them, you may need to replace those too.

Anyway, just grab a socket ratchet thing to undo the bolt….. oh. Small problem. We used that for the tensioner. Okay, now here is the bit of a drawback to my ghetto lever – when you take the belt off, the tensioner moves back a little. Fine with the extension bar, it fits in. However, the ghetto lever takes a fair bit to move it back into place again.

Moving on regardless, undo the bolt on the upper idler pulley…

Take it off…

Whack the new one on…

Tighten it up…

And put the belt back on.

Obviously, you’ll need to pull the tensioner back to refit the belt. I suggest that you put it on at the idler pulley. I found that the easiest. Check the belt is okay and properly in place. Give the belt a squirt with belt dressing if you have it and spray some wd-40 around as well – although you may not have this stuff or you wouldn’t be reading a “ghetto” thread, would you?

Replace the air box, write down when you replaced the pulley and pack up tools.



Saab Cabin Filter area cleaned Final Part

I just wanted to put a final update on this tutorial. I went ahead and ordered the new cabin filter and installed it as per these instructions. There was a noticeable difference in the amount of air coming into the car – and no more leaks.

Below are a couple of photos showing how the new air filter looks and how it probably should be most of the time – I recommend a regular check and replace. The first photo is a nice comparison between old and new…


Saab Cabin Filter area cleaned Part 3

Okay, now you should have given the whole area a nice big clean and it should look something like this:

Next we’ll need to replace the parts. Ensure the new cabin filter is in – or clean the old one up as much as possible to replace later (like I did). Next, give the secondary covery (the smaller one) a good wipe over and slip it back in – it’s pretty obvious where it goes and it really just sits there.

Next, the “Elephant’s Trunk” can go back in place. Find the holw that you took it out of…

And squeeze it back in place. Find the widest bit through so it hangs down, then pull it back towards you until it stops on the lip. Check around the holw to ensure it’s in place and push any part that came through and shouldn’t have back with your finger.

Next, slide the outer cover in place and affix with the metal clips. As you put it on, remember to feed the water tube through.

Then replace the rubber guard along the metal lip…

Now put the wiper assemblies back on (remembering the left and right side and putting them in the right spot).

Tighten up the nuts and we’re almost done.

The last thing you need to do (and don’t forget this one!) is to reconnect the hose for the window washer. Clip it back on in reverse of how you took it off, and then the connection pushes neatly into the outer cover.

Close the bonnet (hood), wash your hands and crack a beer. You deserve it.


Saab Cabin Filter area cleaned Part 2

The inner cover itself is quite easy to remove. It just pulls out and is not held by anything. Mine caught up a little on the windscreen, but came out with a little effort. Put it aside with the other stuff.

And once that’s out, it reveals the source of the water clog….

I believe that my problem is that the water is pooling in this area so clogged by leaves, and then flowing into the cabin filter (the cabin filter is that disgusting black thing in the middle) and down the tubes into the foot well.

The next step is to remove as much of the leaves and debris as much as possible so that none of it falls into the air conditioning tubes while we fix this.

Next we need to remove the cabin filter. There are two clips, one on the left and one on the right. Undo the clip (gently lift it up from the lip) on the right side…

And then unclip the one on the left…

Then slide the cabin filter out in the opposite direction of the wiper motor. It will easily slide out and it’s at this point you insert the new one. Give the seating a bit of a wipe first to ensure there’s no more dirt getting in.

This is what my cabin filter looked like when I pulled it out, and the container next to it is the leaves I pulled out. It’s a 1.8 litre (maybe half a gallon?) ice cream container that I filled with detritus!

Alright, next is the “elephant trunk” piece that everyone is talking about. I was worried about this, since I hadn’t seen anything like that, but I found it!! Mine was in the middle of the car, on the firewall…

It’s easy to remove, just pull on it (no jokes please) and it will easily come away (I said no jokes!).

Once out, you’ll see how full of mud and leaves it is…

Empty it, flush it out with water, give it a wipe on the inside and it should look like this:

Next, give the whole area areally good cleanup and we’re ready to put it all back together.


Saab Cabin Filter area cleaned Part 1

Okay, as promised, photo tutorial on how to clean out the crud around the cabin filter to stop water getting in and wetting the mats/floor in the cabin. Ideally you’d change the cabin filter as you do this, but I didn’t have one at the time. So, order your cabin filter and then read through this tutorial…Right. So, the car starts like this…

As you can see it’s been raining a bit, which is why I noticed the water. Best to do this BEFORE it pours rain to fix the cause.

Anyway, first step was to open the bonnet and remove the rubber rain guard into the engine bay.

The rubber bit just pulls off and it isn’t difficult at all. But you need to remove it to get to a couple of clips. Put it to the side and move on to the next step.

The next step is to remove the wiper blade assembly. This is slightly different on each model, but mine’s a 1999 9-3 S so this is how mine’s set up. I’m in Australia, so things may be slightly different since my car is RHD.

Undo both wiper blade assemblies with a 13 mm socket (1/2 inch works as well)…

…and put them aside. I have a couple of cardboard tags that help me remember which part goes where when I do both sides of the car, so I used them to remember which side the assembly goes on.

This will leave the cover that needs to come off. Once the wipers are removed, it should look like this…

Before we remove the cover, make sure you disconnect the hose going to the water jets. This is pretty easy, just pull on the tube and disconnect it. Remove it on the engine side, not the bonnet side as there is a washer type thing in between and you need to slide the cover over the tube.

Next, to remove the cover, you’ll need to lift the clips up. I only had two clips (left and right) and they popped up pretty easy. Lift them up so the clips are sitting on top of the metal ledge. Pry one side out a little first…

…then you can pull the whole thing to the side and remove it entirely. Put it aside somewhere safe so you don’t step on it.

This will reveal the inner cover (as above). I’ll continue on with this in the next post, but you can already see there’s a few leaves in there…

%d bloggers like this: