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Engine Conversion! Saab 900 Turbo!

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  • Engine Conversion! Saab 900 Turbo!

    Hello all you lovely lovely people!


    I'm Bagheera, and my ride is a 93 saab 900 turbo.

    BUT.....

    I have a problem with that you see. It has a automatic gearbox, and I want it to have a manual gearbox. Lo and behold, after much searching across the interwebs, it seems too elusive a gearbox to find for sale. I assume even if I did find one, it would be outrageously priced, and I would then need to have it rebuilt to a higher standard regardless, or it may just explode after a trip to the corner store.

    So, we have reached an impasse. The B202 engine and it's tissue paper gearbox, GOTTA GO. Now, I'm not a stranger to wrenches (spanners to some), and can hold my own in the engine bay, but I'd rather have a ton of input from people with experience, than have my car explode from hubris.

    We now reach the part I need help with. What shall I use to replace it? First idea was an EJ257. Mad, proper Saabaru. Seems like there may be enough room to move components around and fit properly. But I'm not entirely sure. Any ideas from the community?

    Please Note: I realize conversions are expensive and labour intensive. I'm not a numpty. I've spent many a night poring my brain into ideas and a conversion is -more likely to be cheaper- than finding a manual transmission and having it rebuilt to a higher quality.
    Last edited by Bagheera; 23-06-2017, 07:26 PM.

  • #2
    Have you thought about the audi 1.8 turbo engine? It sits in the same n/s direction as yours but is FWD just like yours.

    The other option is to go RWD and get a N/S engine to swap in like you proposed. I wouldn't go boxer just cause boxers are wide and flat you need skinny and tall. I4 or I6 is what I'd do, or just go rotary with a donner FC rx7.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the input man! I hadn't thought of an audi as a donor, but it seems fairly cheap actually to get the parts. Upon a short search, there are a few audi a4's at the parts yard that may have a 1.8 turbo in them. $275 for a complete motor. I'll be going by next weekend to have a look and see if any are viable.

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      • #4
        I'd love to see the follow through. Seems like a good solution for a car that has practically non-existent after market support. The Saab is a sexy car though.

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        • #5
          Qingdao,

          I knew how hard it was to source parts when I bought it, but it is a sexy car. Best of the hot hatches in my opinion. aha

          Once I get everything sorted out and sourced, I'll be starting the conversion. So it may be a few months, but there *will* be follow up posts, photos and videos. I'll make sure to keep measurements and everything as well, just incase anyone else with a saab 900 wishes to do a conversion. Not much info online, but have seen quite a few converted with various engines.

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          • #6
            The 1.8 litre TSI from the volkswagen golf also looks like it would snug it's way into the engine bay rather nicely.

            Edit: which is basically the audi 1.8 with a different badge. hahahaha

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            • #7
              Yeah, but with the VW engine it'll face E/W. You're gonna have to pull the engine to change belts.


              Here is an idea. Figure out if the VW has the same bell housing as the Audi (they probably do). And get a turbo bug engine and mate it to the Audi transmission. Might be a bit cheaper than the Audi engine.



              EDIT: you could always just do a strait up subframe swap with the Audi. Then parts availability would be a non issue. And I'm sure the suspension geometry of the Audi is better than the Saab.
              Last edited by Qingdao; 23-02-2017, 10:56 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Qingdao View Post
                Yeah, but with the VW engine it'll face E/W. You're gonna have to pull the engine to change belts.


                Here is an idea. Figure out if the VW has the same bell housing as the Audi (they probably do). And get a turbo bug engine and mate it to the Audi transmission. Might be a bit cheaper than the Audi engine.



                EDIT: you could always just do a strait up subframe swap with the Audi. Then parts availability would be a non issue. And I'm sure the suspension geometry of the Audi is better than the Saab.
                The Saab is a monocoque chassis and uses macpherson struts. Unless you keep the geometry correct between the top mounts and the lower arms then Audi suspension will not be any better to use. Spring rates and shocks will not be correct either although are probably the easier issue to sort out. I personally would keep the Saab suspension and just build engine mounts. Slightly misaligned engine mounts are easier to deal with than misaligned suspension mounts.

                A word of advice if you are planning an engine swap. Buy a complete donor car and not just the parts. There are always small bits like brackets and clips etc that you don't have unless you buy a complete donor car.
                Where there's the will and a welder, there's a way

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                • #9
                  Good points. Definitely keep a donor car.

                  I thought the wishbones on the 5 link VW/Audi front end attached to the subframe. It appears the upper ones don't.

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                  • #10
                    Flipping the engine around and reworking the transmission tunnel for a RWD box is probably the easiest and more fun route to go. The old 900 doesn't use mcpherson struts, it's double wishbone. (the later gen 900 like mine uses mcpherson struts) The B202 engine can be tuned quite easily if converted to a more modern ECU system. (ripping the Trionic 5 system out of a mid 90's 900/9000 and retro fitting is a very cheap way to do it)

                    Theoretically though, anything can be "made" to fit. Grinder and welder on standby.
                    Last edited by Kei-86; 25-06-2017, 07:33 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Well, I've been leaning on the engine from an Audi A4, but can't seem to locate a donor car for the right price. So, i've done a few little mods here and there, side lamps, side markers, removal of the baby headlight wipers(that didn't work anyway.), plasti dipped the grille.

                      So while I wait for a donor car to make this small strange car even better, here's a few photos before and after, thus far.

                      Edit: Don't pay any mind to the reflection of me and my fuzzy blue bathrobe.
                      Last edited by Bagheera; 23-06-2017, 07:35 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I think the easiest and most effective thing would be to find another Saab with a manual to use as a donor car, possibly a 9-5 with a 2.3t.

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                        • #13
                          What kinda performance gain are you looking at?
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                          • #14
                            Too hard - just get a new car.

                            Apparently the F35 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F35_transmission is the transmission that you might be wanting.
                            Last edited by ar5boosted; 14-07-2017, 07:30 PM.

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