SAAB 9000. Instruction - page 46

10•16 Suspension and steering

Checking - general

11 Due to the special measuring equipment
necessary to check the wheel alignment, and

the skill required to use it properly, the
checking and adjustment of these settings is
best left to a Saab dealer or similar expert.

Note that most tyre-fitting shops now possess

sophisticated checking equipment.
12 For accurate checking, the vehicle must
be at the kerb weight, i.e. unladen and with a
full tank of fuel, and the ride height must be
correct (see Section 9).
13 Before starting work, check first that the
tyre sizes and types are as specified, then
check the tyre pressures and tread wear, the
roadwheel run-out, the condition of the hub
bearings, the steering wheel free play, and the
condition of the front suspension components
(Chapter 1). Correct any faults found.
14 Park the vehicle on level ground, check

that the front roadwheels are in the straight-
ahead position, then rock the rear and front
ends to settle the suspension. Release the
handbrake, and roll the vehicle backwards
approximately 1 metre, then forwards again, to
relieve any stresses in the steering and
suspension components.

Toe setting - checking and


Front wheel toe setting

15 The front wheel toe setting is checked by
measuring the distance between the front and
rear inside edges of the roadwheel rims.
Proprietary toe measurement gauges are
available from motor accessory shops.
16 Prepare the vehicle as described in
paragraphs 12 to 14 above.
17 A tracking gauge must now be obtained.

Two types of gauge are available, and can be
obtained from motor accessory shops. The first
type measures the distance between the front
and rear inside edges of the roadwheels, as
described previously, with the car stationary.
The second type, known as a "scuff plate",
measures the actual position of the contact
surface of the tyre in relation to the road surface,
with the vehicle in motion. This is achieved by
pushing or driving the front tyre over a plate,
which then moves slightly according to the scuff
of the tyre, and shows this movement on a
scale. Both types have their advantages and
disadvantages, but either can give satisfactory
results if used correctly and carefully.

Alternatively, a tracking gauge can be fabricated
from a length of steel tubing, suitably cranked to

clear the engine and gearbox assembly, with a
set-screw and a locknut at one end.
18 Many tyre specialists will also check toe
settings free, or for a small charge.
19 Make sure that the steering is in the
straight-ahead position when taking
20 If adjustment is found to be necessary,
clean the ends of the track rods in the areas of

the adjustment pin locknuts.
21 Slacken the locknuts (one at the inner and
outer end of each adjustment pin), and use a
pair of grips to turn each track rod by equal
amounts in the same direction. Only turn each
track rod by a quarter of a turn at a time,
before re-checking.
22 Check that the track rod end balljoints are
centralised, and not forced to the limit of
movement in any direction.
23 When adjustment is correct, tighten the
24 Check that the track rod lengths are equal,
and that the steering wheel spokes are in the
straight-ahead position.

Rear wheel toe setting

25 The procedure for checking the rear toe
setting is same as described for the front in
paragraph 17. The setting is not adjustable -
see paragraph 10.

Chapter 11 Bodywork and fittings


Airbag and associated components - removal and refitting 28

Body exterior fittings - removal and refitting 22
Bonnet and front grille - removal and refitting 8
Bonnet lock - removal and refitting 10
Bonnet release cable - removal and refitting 9
Bootlid lock components - removal and refitting 16
Central locking servo motors - removal and refitting 17
Centre console - removal and refitting 26
Door handle and lock components - removal and refitting 13
Door inner trim panel - removal and refitting 12
Door window glass and regulator - removal and refitting 14
Doors - removal, refitting and adjustment 11
Electric window components - removal and refitting ,. . 18
Exterior door mirrors - removal and refitting 19
Facia assembly - removal and refitting 27
Front bumper - removal and refitting 6

General information 1
Hinge and lock lubrication ........ See Chapter 1
Interior trim panels- removal and refitting 25
Maintenance - bodywork and underframe 2
Maintenance - upholstery and carpets 3

Major body damage - repair 5
Minor body damage - repair 4
Rear bumper - removal and refitting 7

Seat belt components - removal and refitting 24
Seats - removal and refitting 23
Sunroof assembly - removal and refitting 21
Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) components -

removal and refitting 28

Tailgate and support struts - removal and refitting 15
Tailgate/bootlid lock components - removal and refitting 16
Windscreen and fixed windows - general information 20


Torque wrench settings Nm

Passenger airbag lower panel screws 4
Passenger airbag retaining screws 4
Steering wheel airbag retaining screws 6

The vehicle's body is constructed from

overlapping pressed-steel sections that are
either spot-welded or seam-welded together,
depending on the position of the joint and the
stresses it is expected to withstand, both in
normal use and in the event of a collision. The

overall rigidity of the body is increased by the
use of stiffening beams built into the body
panels, steel flanges in the window and door
openings, and the application of adhesive in

fixed glass joints.

A front subframe assembly provides

mounting points for the engine, front
suspension, transmission and steering gear,

the rear suspension assembly is bolted

directly to the system of beams that forms the

vehicle's floorpan, and the doors are bolted to

the structural A and B pillars. The front wings

are also bolted on, rather than welded on,
allowing accident damage to be repaired


The vehicle's underside is coated with

polyester underseal and an anti-corrosion

compound. This treatment provides protection

against the elements, and also serves as an
effective sound insulation layer. The cabin,
luggage area and engine compartment are
also lined with bituminous felt and other
sound-insulating materials, to provide further
noise damping.

All models are fitted with electric windows

front and rear. The window glass is raised and

lowered by an electric motor, linked by a cable

to the window regulator mechanism. A master
switch panel is mounted in the centre console,
from which all windows can be operated and

locked. In addition, individual switch panels
are mounted on the rear door trim panels.

Central locking is fitted to all models, and is

actuated from the driver's door lock. It
operates the locks on all four doors, the
tailgate/boot, and the fuel filler cap. The front
passenger door and tailgate/boot can be
opened individually; in the event of a power
failure, the driver's door, front passenger door
and tailgate/boot locks can be opened
manually, using the key. In addition, the fuel
filler cap can be opened manually from inside
the loadspace. The lock mechanisms are
actuated by servo motor units that can be
separated from the lock assemblies and
renewed individually; refer to Section 17 for

details. The system is controlled by an

Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which is
mounted on a bracket beneath the facia, on

the driver's side of the cabin.

Vehicles built from 1988 model year

onwards were available with an optional
driver's airbag system, built into the centre of
the steering wheel. This subsequently became
standard equipment from 1993 model year
onwards. In addition, passenger airbags built
into the facia were fitted from 1994 model year
onwards as an option, as were driver and front
passenger seat belt tensioners. These
components form part of the Supplementary

Restraint System (SRS), activated centrally by

an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Sensors built
into the ECU casing and the front of the engine
bay are triggered in the event of a front-end
collision, and prompt the ECU to activate the
airbag(s) and the seat belt tensioners, reducing
the risk of the front seat passengers striking
the steering wheel, windscreen or steering

Warning: Section 28 details the

special precautions that need to
be observed when working on

vehicles with an airbag/SRS.

Degrees of difficulty





11 •2 Bodywork and fittings


The general condition of a vehicle's

bodywork is the one thing that significantly
affects its value. Maintenance is easy, but
needs to be regular. Neglect, particularly after
minor damage, can lead quickly to further

deterioration and costly repair bills. It is
important also to keep watch on those parts of
the vehicle not immediately visible, for
instance the underside, inside all the wheel
arches, and the lower part of the engine

The basic maintenance routine for the

bodywork is washing - preferably with a lot of
water, from a hose. This will remove all the
loose solids which may have stuck to the
vehicle. It is important to flush these off in
such a way as to prevent grit from scratching
the finish. The wheel arches and underframe
need washing in the same way, to remove any
accumulated mud, which will retain moisture
and tend to encourage rust. Paradoxically
enough, the best time to clean the underframe
and wheel arches is in wet weather, when the
mud is thoroughly wet and soft. In very wet

weather, the underframe is usually cleaned of
large accumulations automatically, and this is
a good time for inspection.

Periodically, except on vehicles with a wax-

based underbody protective coating, it is a
good idea to have the whole of the underframe
of the vehicle steam-cleaned, engine
compartment included, so that a thorough
inspection can be carried out to see what
minor repairs and renovations are necessary.
Steam-cleaning is available at many garages,
and is necessary for the removal of the
accumulation of oily grime, which sometimes
is allowed to become thick in certain areas. If
steam-cleaning facilities are not available,
there are some excellent grease solvents
available which can be brush-applied; the dirt
can then be simply hosed off. Note that these
methods should not be used on vehicles with
wax-based underbody protective coating, or

the coating will be removed. Such vehicles
should be inspected annually, preferably just
prior to Winter, when the underbody should be
washed down, and any damage to the wax
coating repaired. Ideally, a completely fresh
coat should be applied. It would also be worth
considering the use of such wax-based
protection for injection into door panels, sills,
box sections, etc, as an additional safeguard
against rust damage, where such protection is
not provided by the vehicle manufacturer.

After washing paintwork, wipe off with a

chamois leather to give an unspotted clear
finish. A coat of clear protective wax polish will
give added protection against chemical
pollutants in the air. If the paintwork sheen has
dulled or oxidised, use a cleaner/polisher
combination to restore the brilliance of the
shine. This requires a little effort, but such
dulling is usually caused because regular

washing has been neglected. Care needs to
be taken with metallic paintwork, as special
non-abrasive cleaner/polisher is required to
avoid damage to the finish. Always check that
the door and ventilator opening drain holes
and pipes are completely clear, so that water
can be drained out. Brightwork should be

treated in the same way as paintwork.
Windscreens and windows can be kept clear
of the smeary film which often appears, by the
use of proprietary glass cleaner. Never use
any form of wax or other body or chromium
polish on glass.

Mats and carpets should be brushed or

vacuum-cleaned regularly, to keep them free of
grit. If they are badly stained, remove them from
the vehicle for scrubbing or sponging, and
make quite sure they are dry before refitting.
Seats and interior trim panels can be kept clean
by wiping with a damp cloth. If they do become
stained (which can be more apparent on light-
coloured upholstery), use a little liquid
detergent and a soft nail brush to scour the
grime out of the grain of the material. Do not

forget to keep the headlining clean in the same
way as the upholstery. When using liquid
cleaners inside the vehicle, do not over-wet
the surfaces being cleaned. Excessive
damp could get into the seams and padded

interior, causing stains, offensive odours or
even rot.

If the inside of the vehicle gets
wet accidentally, it is
worthwhile taking some
trouble to dry it out properly,

particularly where carpets are involved.

Do not leave oil or electric heaters
inside the vehicle for this purpose.

Note: No body repairs should be attempted
(other than by a Saab Approved repairers) on
vehicles less than 6 years old, as this may

invalidate the Saab corrosion guarantee.

Repairs of minor scratches in

If the scratch is very superficial, and does

not penetrate to the metal of the bodywork,
repair is very simple. Lightly rub the area of the
scratch with a paintwork renovator, or a very

fine cutting paste, to remove loose paint from
the scratch, and to clear the surrounding

bodywork of wax polish. Rinse the area with
clean water.

Apply touch-up paint to the scratch using a

fine paint brush; continue to apply fine layers
of paint until the surface of the paint in the
scratch is level with the surrounding
paintwork. Allow the new paint at least two
weeks to harden, then blend it into the
surrounding paintwork by rubbing the scratch
area with a paintwork renovator or a very fine
cutting paste. Finally, apply wax polish.

Where the scratch has penetrated right

through to the metal of the bodywork, causing
the metal to rust, a different repair technique is

required. Remove any loose rust from the
bottom of the scratch with a penknife, then
apply rust-inhibiting paint to prevent the

formation of rust in the future. Using a rubber
or nylon applicator, fill the scratch with

bodystopper paste. If required, this paste can
be mixed with cellulose thinners to provide a
very thin paste which is ideal for filling narrow
scratches. Before the stopper-paste in the
scratch hardens, wrap a piece of smooth
cotton rag around the top of a finger. Dip the

finger in cellulose thinners, and quickly sweep

it across the surface of the stopper-paste in

the scratch; this will ensure that the surface of
the stopper-paste is slightly hollowed. The
scratch can now be painted over as described
earlier in this Section.

Repairs of dents in bodywork

When deep denting of the vehicle's

bodywork has taken place, the first task is to
pull the dent out, until the affected bodywork
almost attains its original shape. There is littte
point in trying to restore the original shape
completely, as the metal in the damaged area
will have stretched on impact, and cannot be
reshaped fully to its original contour. It is better
to bring the level of the dent up to a point
which is about 3 mm below the level of the
surrounding bodywork. In cases where the
dent is very shallow anyway, it is not worth
trying to pull it out at all. If the underside of the
dent is accessible, it can be hammered out
gently from behind, using a mallet with a
wooden or plastic head. Whilst doing this, hold
a suitable block of wood firmly against the
outside of the panel, to absorb the impact from
the hammer blows and thus prevent a large
area of the bodywork from being "belled-out".

Should the dent be in a section of the

bodywork which has a double skin, or some
other factor making it inaccessible from
behind, a different technique is called for.
several small holes through the metal inside

the area - particularly in the deeper section.
Then screw long self-tapping screws into the

holes, just sufficiently for them to gain a good
purchase in the metal. Now the dent can be
pulled out by pulling on the protruding heads
of the screws with a pair of pliers.

The next stage of the repair is the removal

of the paint from the damaged area, and from
an inch or so of the surrounding
bodywork. This is accomplished most easily
by using a wire brush or abrasive pad on a
power drill, although it can be done just as

Bodywork and fittings 11 •3

effectively by hand, using sheets of abrasive
paper. To complete the preparation for filling,
score the surface of the bare metal with a
screwdriver or the tang of a file, or
alternatively, drill small holes in the affected
area. This will provide a really good "key" for
the filler paste.

To complete the repair, see the Section on

filling and respraying.

Repairs of rust holes or gashes in

Remove all paint from the affected area, and

from an inch or so of the surrounding "sound"

bodywork, using an abrasive pad or a wire
brush on a power drill. If these are not
available, a few sheets of abrasive paper will
do the job most effectively. With the paint
removed, you will be able to judge the severity
of the corrosion, and therefore decide whether

to renew the whole panel (if this is possible) or
to repair the affected area. New body panels
are not as expensive as most people think,
and it is often quicker and more satisfactory to
fit a new panel than to attempt to repair large
areas of corrosion.

Remove all fittings from the affected area,

except those which will act as a guide to the
original shape of the damaged bodywork (eg
headlight shells etc). Then, using tin snips or a
hacksaw blade, remove all loose metal and any
other metal badly affected by corrosion.

Hammer the edges of the hole inwards, in order

to create a slight depression for the filler paste.

Wire-brush the affected area to remove the

powdery rust from the
surface of the remaining metal. Paint the
affected area with rust-inhibiting paint, if the
back of the rusted area is accessible, treat this

Before filling can take place, it will be

necessary to block the hole in some way. This
can be achieved by the use of aluminium or
plastic mesh, or aluminium tape.

Aluminium or plastic mesh, or glass-fibre

matting, is probably the best material to use for
a large hole. Cut a piece to the approximate
size and shape of the hole to be filled, then
position it in the hole so that its edges are
below the level of the surrounding bodywork. It

can be retained in position by several blobs of

filler paste around its periphery.

Aluminium tape should be used for small or

very narrow holes. Pull a piece off the roll, trim
it to the approximate size and shape required,

then pull off the backing paper (if used) and
stick the tape over the hole; it can be

overlapped if the thickness of one piece is

insufficient. Burnish down the edges of the

tape with the handle of a screwdriver or

similar, to ensure that the tape is securely
attached to the metal underneath.

Bodywork repairs - filling and

Before using this Section, see the Sections

on dent, deep scratch, rust holes and gash

Many types of bodyfiller are available, but

generally speaking, those proprietary kits
which contain a tin of filler paste and a tube of
resin hardener are best for this type of repair.
A wide, flexible plastic or nylon applicator will
be found invaluable for imparting a smooth
and well-contoured finish to the surface of the

Mix up a little filler on a clean piece of card

or board - measure the hardener carefully
(follow the maker's instructions on the pack),

otherwise the filler will set too rapidly or too
slowly. Using the applicator, apply the filler
paste to the prepared area; draw the
applicator across the surface of the filler to
achieve the correct contour and to level the
surface. As soon as a contour that
approximates to the correct one is achieved,
stop working the paste - if you carry on too
long, the paste will become sticky and begin
to "pick-up" on the applicator. Continue to
add thin layers of filler paste at 20-minute
intervals, until the level of the filler is just proud
of the surrounding bodywork.

Once the filler has hardened, the excess can

be removed using a metal plane or file. From
then on, progressively-finer grades of abrasive
paper should be used, starting with a 40-
grade production paper, and finishing with a
400-grade wet-and-dry paper. Always wrap

the abrasive paper around a flat rubber, cork,
or wooden block - otherwise the surface of the
filler will not be completely flat. During the
smoothing of the filler surface, the wet-and-
dry paper should be periodically rinsed in
water. This will ensure that a very smooth
finish is imparted to the filler at the final stage.

At this stage, the "dent" should be

surrounded by a ring of bare metal, which in
turn should be encircled by the finely
"feathered" edge of the good paintwork. Rinse

the repair area with clean water, until all of the
dust produced by the rubbing-down operation

has gone.

Spray the whole area with a light coat of

primer - this will show up any imperfections in

the surface of the filler. Repair these

imperfections with fresh filler paste or
bodystopper, and once more smooth the
surface with abrasive paper. Repeat this
spray-and-repair procedure until you are
satisfied that the surface of the filler, and the

feathered edge of the paintwork, are perfect.
Clean the repair area with clean water, and
allow to dry fully.

If bodystopper is used, it can
be mixed with cellulose
thinners, to form a really thin

paste which is ideal for filling
small holes.

The repair area is now ready for final

spraying. Paint spraying must be carried out in
a warm, dry, windless and dust-free
atmosphere. This condition can be created
artificially if you have access to a large indoor

working area, but if you are forced to work in
the open, you will have to pick your day very
carefully. If you are working indoors, dousing
the floor in the work area with water will help
to settle the dust which would otherwise be in
the atmosphere. If the repair area is confined
to one body panel, mask off the surrounding
panels; this will help to minimise the effects of
a slight mis-match in paint colours. Bodywork

fittings (eg chrome strips, door handles etc)
will also need to be masked off. Use genuine
masking tape, and several thicknesses of
newspaper, for the masking operations.

Before commencing to spray, agitate the

aerosol can thoroughly, then spray a test area
(an old tin, or similar) until the technique is
mastered. Cover the repair area with a thick
coat of primer; the thickness should be built
up using several thin layers of paint, rather
than one thick one. Using 400-grade wet-and-
dry paper, rub down the surface of the primer
until it is really smooth. While doing this, the
work area should be thoroughly doused with
water, and the wet-and-dry paper periodically
rinsed in water. Allow to dry before spraying
on more paint.

Spray on the top coat, again building up the

thickness by using several thin layers of paint.
Start spraying at one edge of the repair area,
and then, using a side-to-side motion, work
until the whole repair area and about 2 inches
of the surrounding original paintwork is
covered. Remove all masking material 10 to

15 minutes after spraying on the final coat of

Allow the new paint at least two weeks to

harden, then, using a paintwork renovator, or a
very fine cutting paste, blend the edges of the
paint into the existing paintwork. Finally, apply
wax polish.

Plastic components

With the use of more and more plastic body

components by the vehicle manufacturers (eg
bumpers, spoilers, and in some cases major
body panels), rectification of more serious
damage to such items has become a matter of
either entrusting repair work to a specialist in
this field, or renewing complete components.

Repair of such damage by the DIY owner is
not really feasible, owing to the cost of the
equipment and materials required for effecting
such repairs. The basic technique involves
making a groove along the line of the crack in

the plastic, using a rotary burr in a power drill .
The damaged part is then welded back
together, using a hot-air gun to heat up and
fuse a plastic filler rod into the groove. Any
excess plastic is then removed, and the area
rubbed down to a smooth finish. It is important
that a filler rod of the correct plastic is used, as
body components can be made of a variety of
different types (eg polycarbonate, ABS,

Damage of a less serious nature (abrasions,

minor cracks etc) can be repaired by the DIY
owner using a two-part epoxy filler repair
material. Once mixed in equal proportions, this

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