...has needed a bunch of TLC this year. In the spring, I had a local shop give it a head job - necessary because it blew a head gasket on the way home from teaching in Kansas City. They messed up a few things that I had to deal with (loose coolant hoses, misrouted cables, misaligned hood, etc.), and I fixed those after the CSSF summer program wound down. When cold weather arrived this fall, I decided to takle a few poor-running issues, because the cold weather exacerbated them. Heck, the computer dropped the engine into "limp-home mode," so it wouldn't drive above 20mph. Also the stink of raw gasoline - though sexy in some circumstances - was getting to me.
First up was replacing the oxygen sensor, which (the shop told me) was why the CHECK ENGINE light was always lit. I ordered a universal replacement unit via eBay, saving more than a hundred smackeroos. Splicing it into the wiring harness and snaking it into place was not nearly as challenging as removing the old one, which required backing the Saab up my driveway, placing ramps in front of the front wheels, then driving onto said ramps simply to be able to get enough leverage beneath the thing. (Note to my friends who win the lottery: Golly-gee, but I would LOVE a car lift.) Long story short: Giving a wrench a few dozen whacks with a hammer will loosen even the most-stubborn bolt.
After grafting the new part into place, I reconnected the battery and started the car. The unhappy CHECK ENGINE light came back on shortly after restart, indicating yet another issue. Oh, and it still ran for crap. Back to the drawing board. A little research in the shop manual suggested that the mass-airflow sensor could be the culprit. A test with a multimeter proved little, but suggested an issue. My friend Matt monkeyed with the unit while I started and revved the engine per the manual's instructions, and indeed it displayed all signs of being dead. The internets told me that the Saab unit costs about $500. Ahem. So I returned to the golden fields known as eBayland and discovered a used version of said part for about $40. A week or two later, and viola! The engine ran correctly, and in its quietitude the CHECK ENGINE light concurred! Victory!
Next up: the difficult-to-pin-down fuel leak under the Saab's hood. As I type, I just got inside from dealing with this. Pretty straightforward: The fuel-return line (between fuel regulator and fuel rail) was all cracked and leaky. Installed a new length of fuel line and the gas leak is gone - no more worries about spontaneously bursting into flame while driving. Woohoo! Also made several other tweaks and adjustments underhood.
Next issue: Figure out how to get the remote-lock working again. I removed the alarm horn when the remote stopped working, so at least I can unlock the car without everyone thinking I'm stealing the thing, but I need to track down this tedious little gremlin.
But before I deal with that, I'm getting the hot rod Newport up and running! I finally got the pushrod-length measuring tool necessary to find out what parts I need to assemble the valvetrain. When the custom pushrods arrive, it's all just reassembly (he says, optimistically). Then: Zoom!