Zel's Fleet Blog - Xantia Activa, BX, Jag XJ-S, Sinclair C5, Mercedes 208D, AC Model 70.

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by myglaren »

A couple of years ago I read about the problem SAABS had with headgaskets and the way to stave it off is to use Mercedes-Benz genuine coolant.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Not heard of that, though guessing it's something relevant to the newer GM era cars. The Classic 900 isn't especially known for HG failure being a common issue due to anything other than old age. The gasket in there has managed 28 years and 132K miles, and I'm pretty sure it had a complete lack of any antifreeze in when I got the car...So it's done okay really.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Zelandeth wrote:It's basically a high velocity squidgy leather sofa, and I'm okay with that.
:rofl2: Love it! Priceless!

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by myglaren »

Zelandeth wrote:Not heard of that, though guessing it's something relevant to the newer GM era cars. The Classic 900 isn't especially known for HG failure being a common issue due to anything other than old age. The gasket in there has managed 28 years and 132K miles, and I'm pretty sure it had a complete lack of any antifreeze in when I got the car...So it's done okay really.

No, it was the classic 900s - caught my attention as my daughter had a couple of them. She sold the first one when she was moving to the US - which is where the story arose, from an actual SAAB dealer.
Her second one looked like a 93 but was all SAAB parts.

I fully concur on the high velocity leather sofa description and have been very tempted by them. Other daughter has had two - still has one at the minute but a more recent 93

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Interesting. Not something I'd ever heard about before.

Apparently the usual first sign of failure on the 8 valve cars is that they start to weep oil from the rear corner (much like the TU as seen in the 306 if memory serves...). Mine has done this since before I got the car. They'll go on for a while like that, but it's a warning sign that failure is inevitable at some point down the road.

I reckon that I'll pop over and take a look at the Cherokee early next week. I'm expecting it to be quite a shed, but at the very least it could be a bit of fun for a few months, meaning I could leave sorting the Saab a few months till things warm up a bit! Plus side is they're not a car which really minds the occasional "vacation" unlike some.

At least Coventry isn't a massive jaunt from here...So logistics shouldn't be too dire. Might even be able to just hop on a train.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by van ordinaire »

Know exactly what you mean about the more European interior in the facelift Cherokees but they are supposed to be the better drive - 'though can't say I really noticed it.

There aren't many pre-facelifts left - but that doesn't make them any more valuable, rather the reverse. The only ones that might be appreciating are Orvis's & 60th Anniversary models - but I doubt v. much if any are worth £1k. I think you've got the price about right - but I wouldn't go as high as £500. (says he who's just blown twice that on another one - a bit of an impulse buy, on the rebound in a manner of speaking; keep telling myself, it's got a good £400-worth of tyres on it.).

It's not the only optimistically priced one around, the £800,900 one that needs a headgasket (that's an £800,900 job) is, I think, still in Autotrader! Now there's a surprise.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

We had both the original and the facelifted Cherokee on the forecourt at the garage at the same point at one point - and being an enthusiast about the marque at the time I of course did some side-by-side comparisons! The main differences I found were that the facelifted car did handle a bit better, but at the cost of a slightly less refined ride, and that they seemed to have toned down the exhaust a lot...which I reckoned was a backward step...but that's probably a purely personal choice - I'd take being able to hear the howl of the straight six when you put your foot down any day. The gearbox also seemed to be set up slightly differently, though it was a bit hard to tell whether that was a real difference or just the usual variance between two cars.

They both seemed to return similarly woeful MPG figures...though that may have had something to do with how I was driving...

The later model to me just felt less special...almost like it was really trying too hard to be a cut price Range Rover competitor. Whereas the original really felt like it was very much its own thing - even if that did mean that it was a complete ergonomic disaster!

Today I started writing myself a to do list for the Saab, as likely to be taking it off the road for a little while to sort the obvious head gasket issues.

As tends to be the case with any car that's in regular use - especially when time hasn't been on my side for a while, there's been quite a laundry list of things needing done, albeit a lot of them quite minor...They add up though!

[] Cylinder Head Gasket. Change.
[] Change crankshaft pulley oil seal (if I can track down the tool needed to lock the flywheel, or a garage that has it so will take the job on).
[] Sort Cold Start Injector. Maybe. More likely leave it alone as trying to fix it often results in other bits of the injection system then playing up when disturbed.
[] Replace or refurb alternator. It's behaved for the last 18 months after playing up briefly (we reckon the brushes were sticking), but I'd like to at least give it a once over for the sake of peace of mind.
[] Change Gearbox Oil.
[] Sort Electric Windows - Driver's side has jumped out of the guide, passenger side regulator is seized.
[] Sort intermittent rev counter. Dash out job.
[] Replace knackered bootlid gas struts.
[] See if I can repair the rust damage to the lower edge of the driver's door.
[] Treat the rust starting on the bonnet.
[] Repair gear selector position light (solder connection has broken off the lamp holder).
[] Get N/S headlight refurbished.
[] Actually fit the new brake flexi lines that have been in the passenger door pocket since June.
[] Sort Central locking - if I can ever figure out what the heck is wrong with it.
[] Replace NSF lower shock absorber bush to sort the occasional knock from that corner (it's been in the glovebox for at least three years now).
[] Change NSR tyre as it's starting to perish - will probably change both (one was changed more recently) so they're matched.
[] Reattach the trim on the OSF wing properly - front bumper has to come off to do that.
[] Replace headlight washer check valve so I can fill the screen wash tank more than 1/2 full without it ending up all over the ground.
[] Change the squeaky power steering belt.
[] Re-apply underbody rust proofing - it was last done the year I got the car, so is probably due for some touch up I reckon.

She's also due a routine service anyway.

A lot of that is silly stuff that it's always hard to find time to do when a car is being used - so I reckon taking it off the road for a couple of months may be a sensible approach.

Before I do that though I'll want to do a pretty careful check over of the underside to make sure that the rust moths haven't been nibbling too much further - as if more rot has tried to get set in around the usual traps on the 900, I may need to start thinking about making some harder decisions about whether it's really time to move the car on. I'd far rather not to be honest as she's probably the nicest driving 900 I've been in to be honest.

I really can't justify spending a four figure sum of money on bodywork repairs though...Which if the usual suspects (driveshaft tunnels, rear inner wheel arches and shock mounts) have started to really go it can easily be to sort. Especially the driveshaft tunnels - it's a tricky repair at the best of times as it's a multi-layered area, with some tricky curves - and because you need to pretty much completely remove the suspension, steering and the driveshaft from the offending corner to sort it properly. Of course while taking that lot apart you'd be stupid not to replace all the suspension bushes and such - which all adds to the bill at the end of the day.
Last edited by Zelandeth on 12 Feb 2017, 17:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

That to-do list is worthy of a Citroen Zel ;) Enough to keep you busy for a few months I reckon...

I'm praying the tin-worms have not been too hungry for the Saab [-o<

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

In fairness to the car, a lot of the niggles on there have been there since I got it.

They do have a reputation as well for being one of those cars which while seldom being broken, always have something that needs sorting!

Also, she's 28 this year, and aside from service consumables I've barely had to touch anything in the last five years...So I'm not complaining! Mechanically aside from one issue (which turned out to be an incorrectly listed new part) she's not really missed a beat. Even the dodgy alternator was solved simply by hitting it really hard with the end of a screwdriver.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Edit: the squeaky belt isn't the power steering one! It's one (or both of) the belts driving the alternator and water pump. They were only changed a year or so back and are correctly tensioned, so I don't know what they're complaining about. Never have seen any sign of oil contamination on the belts (despite the copious leaks in the vicinity - it is a Saab after all), so I'll want to add double checking the alternator and water pump bearings to my list I guess. Also double check the alternator mount hasn't been bent taking it out of line (happened on my first C900, took me months to figure out why it kept screeching when I started it).

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Post by van ordinaire »

I could write a list like that for the Cadillac but it would simply be too depressing.

The Cherokee has to be put into some sort of historic perspective, when it came out, in '84 (don't forget) it was quite revolutionary - but still had to appeal s**t, rednecks, hillbillies & mountain men who'd, likely as not, be replacing a Wagoneer! It was 18 years later that they did anything except keep ringing the changes with engines + changing fuel delivery twice & the cooling system.
My '96 returned a consistant 20mpg, the '99 might've hit 18 on a run but I used to reckon 16 was more realistic, which I put down to the 2" lift (not too bad when the LPG was working, but otherwise a real pain, only having a 6 gallon tank.). The latest, a '98, I've not checked but after it's 1st run - up to Shepton Mallet, it took £30 to get home, thanks, I suspect to the 2 1/2" lift & 10.5 MT's - & that was keeping down to 60mph (because I discovere, it makes an aweful screeching noise over that).

I'm sure there's only one exhaust system listed for the straight 6 for its entire production run, & generally, I've found them very quiet.

There WAS a change to the trans. - more electronics - but don't think that coincided with the facelift.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Interesting. Wonder if the first one had just lost some of its baffles in one of the silencers, as it definitely had a far more hard edged bark than the later one.

Probably going to take a look at it tomorrow - at least I can stop tormenting myself then!

Oh, and taking a look at the exhaust on the Lada. Noticed today that the 4000rpm growl has got a lot louder from the back. The rear silencer is a cheap replacement one, and the weld going into it looked dodgy when I got the car. Waiting on Lada getting the correct one in for the estate (purely cosmetic difference to be honest), but may get a stainless one made up if I can't find the right one. From memory the rear one on here does relatively little silencing wise (the cat muffles things quite a bit)...No reason the soundtrack can't be a bit more of a throwback to the 80s too.

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Checked the exhaust on the Lada today, and it's not blowing. Have to guess that it's lost some of the wadding or something like that.

Also gave the Skoda a quick wash as being parked next to the tree for more than two milliseconds it was of course covered in bird poo and pine needles. Still needs a polish and wax thanks to that blasted car wash, will see whether the weather will cooperate and let me get that done tomorrow.
IMG_20170214_155948.jpg
While I was out there I wound up giving the Saab and Lada a quick skim over as well as they were both filthy.
IMG_20170214_160024.jpg
IMG_20170214_160043.jpg
Also spent a couple of hours starting to work my way towards actually being able to get a car into the garage. Doesn't look like I've done much, but believe me this looks a lot better than it did earlier! I reckon that clearing out some of the stuff that's actually trash and with some optimisation I might be actually able to fit the Lada in. At least it's not a massive car in the grand scheme of things!
IMG_20170214_163914.jpg

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by CitroJim »

Excellent stuff Zel :) That garage will be sorted in no time... It seems that no visible progress is made for ages and then all of a sudden it's all done!

Weather is just about perfect for car washing and polishing now... I need to give my fleet a badly needed wash and polish...

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Re: Zel's Fleet Blog - Pug 107, Saab 900, Lada Riva, Skoda Estelle & Sinclair C5

Post by Zelandeth »

Couriers. You couldn't make it up.

Apparently Yodel (no surprise there) failed to deliver a package I've been waiting for today because - wait for it - they couldn't find our house.

It's five seconds off a main road, on a street with a total of eight houses on...If you go to the centre of the postcode it'll dump you about ten metres from our front door. The door with the stinking great illuminated house number sign next to it.

They're all shocking these days, but Yodel really do defy all belief sometimes.

Now my parent's old house I could understand - it was in the back end of nowhere in a postcode that covered about five square miles...Never had a problem getting stuff there...Since moving into a town, nightmare!

*Sigh* so I continue waiting and hope their driver can actually be bothered to get into his van tomorrow.