August 11th, 2008


Saab progress! (aka, "the joy of working on a modern car")

Kind readers of this blog who weren't in Lawrence in mid-June probably don't know that my lovely Saab 900 Turbo Convertible was barfing up engine coolant right before the SF Writers Workshops started. Everyone is probably aware that I have a little less than no free time during the summer, so for the past couple of months, the Saab has remained motionless under my carport, slowly growing a coat of alley-dust.

A short time ago, I purchased a new water pump from eBay, my home of car parts. It just arrived a couple of days ago, during which time I've been studying the shop manual and examining the Saab's engine compartment. If you've ever peered under a Saab hood, you're probably aware that the engine is mounted longitudinally and backwards; that is, all the pulley-driven accessories face the firewall at the back of the compartment, with barely enough clearance between the bolts and the body to squeeze a wrench into position.

Well, I'm here to tell you that the photos in the manual are lies, lies I tell you! One shows the water pump being gently lifted out of position... but that was on a car sans-A/C. Naturally, mine has A/C, and the compressor stands right over the water pump, rendering it virtually inaccessible. Yesterday, fatigued and grouchy after hours of cursingly removing bolts I couldn't see as I worked (joy!), I decided I'd just have the thing towed to a garage to have them finish the work.

I woke up this morning feeling like a wuss. I mean, heck, I've done all manner of restoration work. I've rebuilt engines with my own two hands! I can fix this thing!

So I resumed work. And - viola! - only several hours later, the water pump is out! Just a few minutes ago, I got back from the parts store bearing all-new belts, because those previously on the car all got soaked with coolant (oh, did I mention that one must remove all five - yes, FIVE - belts to remove any one? Hooray!).

Just finished a ham-and-cheese-on-rye sandwich for dinner, cooled down a bit, and am about to head outside and hopefully finish the job.

PS: Re: the subject line: Some of you might not consider a 1990 vehicle as "modern," but compared to most every other car I've ever owned, it's at least a human generation newer. That's, like, 12 generations in vehicle-years.

PPS: Oh, not sure I mentioned before that I repaired fuel-pump issues in early June. Next up: A/C repairs. Woohoo.