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Discussion Starter #1
I have been following the thread regarding bulkhead separation with a degree of concern as I have at the moment a stage 3 upgrade coming from Maptun and thought this may bring on the failure. I contacted Saab in Australia about this and they gave a non committal answer regarding the repairs that may be required. Reading between the lines I took it to mean that if there was a problem they would sort it. Phoned the local dealer and he said bring the car in and I will look at it for you. Upon inspection he said that there was movement at the bulkhead however at this point it was not cracked but inevitably it would. He then booked the car in immediately and advised that I should be contacted in about 2 weeks to bring the car in and it would be repaired free of charge and should take about 2 days to fix. He said as the car is about to be upgraded it should be done. Well done Saab and Zupp's the dealer. It still should be a worldwide recall on all RHD cars.
 

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Noel,

Thanks for this information. I'm pleased it worked out OK for you and that Saab did the decent thing. It strengthens our case in the UK.

Les.
 

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Hi

On the '97 900 2.0 I just bought, If I get an assistant to turn the steering wheel with the car stationary, then the bulkhead can be see to flex noticably, near where the rack is mounted. I've pulled back the soundproofing as far as I can and can't see any cracks. I think as you say, the whole design is a bit on the flimsy side.

It would be interesting to see if the handling could be improved by welding on some strenthening plates whilst at the same time replacing the rack mountings with something less compliant. Lots to remove to get at it to weld tho ....

Regards

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rob,
That is the same symptoms my car displays. I think a plate is welded over the affected area and it is also stayed, hopefully it may make the steering rack clamp unnecessary. I was told the rack has to be dropped down and the brake booster pulled away from the bulkhead so access can be gained. the car has to go to a preferred Saab panel shop for this to be done.
 

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The problem with the rack clamp is the standard rubber bush may as well be made out of porridge for all the good it does locating the rack, you may still want to consider the rack clamp & brace

I've had a funny knock from the front of my car for a while and my dealer has had a really good poke about yesterday, one of the things they checked was for bulkhead cracks but it's OK, for now at least...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I will still consider the rack clamp but I will wait unil I see what the strengthening of the bulk head does and if it icludes some sort of rack brace.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
The problem with the rack clamp is the standard rubber bush may as well be made out of porridge for all the good it does locating the rack, you may still want to consider the rack clamp & brace


[/ QUOTE ]

The problem with the steering rack clamp and brace is that it transfers loads to the inner wing where the brace is mounted and some vehicles have been shown to have then had problems with the inner wing where the brace has been fitted, according to my local Saab dealer.

Personally, I would not fit a steering rack clamp and brace.
 

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Apologies but I'm losing track of this discussion - is this the 'Abbot' style, after market, rack clamp/brace that we're talking about here, and if so, what can be done instead to brace the rack better than the standard factory effort which seems to be pretty much non-existent?

What do people think is the best/safest fix to reduce/prevent scuttle shake, locate the rack properly, and prevent separation/splitting of the bulkhead?

Surely the standard dealer 'fix' of a few patches welded over any affected areas, after they have split (which may in fact cause their own problems) is insufficient to properly locate the rack and prevent shake?

Les.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The problem with the rack clamp is the standard rubber bush may as well be made out of porridge for all the good it does locating the rack, you may still want to consider the rack clamp & brace


[/ QUOTE ]

The problem with the steering rack clamp and brace is that it transfers loads to the inner wing where the brace is mounted and some vehicles have been shown to have then had problems with the inner wing where the brace has been fitted, according to my local Saab dealer.

Personally, I would not fit a steering rack clamp and brace.

[/ QUOTE ]

While I can understand your view, I don't agree.

The rack clamp alone provides far better location of the rack and reduces the excessive movement within the standard rubber bush.

The brace, well, that's maybe more open to debate. I can't see how triangulating that section to provide more rigidity is going to cause any particular problems. By preventing the bulkhead & inner wing from flexing so much, isn't that going to actually reduce metal fatigue? Either way, the effect it has on the way the car steers is beyond doubt...
 

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[ QUOTE ]


While I can understand your view, I don't agree.

[/ QUOTE ]

I didn't think you would, but it is not my view, it is the view of my Saab dealer. The inner wing is not designed to the sort of loads that you are putting on it. They have experienced first hand the effects of fitting these clamps/braces.
 

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Well maybe so, but you & I have no idea how those cars had been treated, or over what mileage. Maybe repeated pounding over speed humps or kerbing could be a cause, maybe not. The brace doesn't exactly bolt to a flimsy piece of inner wing, it bolts to a ruddy great box section that looks pretty structural to me, and doesn't look like it would suffer unduly but who knows.

Like I said, the effect it has on the way these cars steer is beyond doubt and that's the point really. One thing I do know is that 35K miles after fitting mine there are no issues with my bulkhead, and some of those miles (quite a few actually...) have been pretty hard going
 

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Last wekk took my car to Ballards of Finchley for it's annual service and MOT (I purchased it from them last year so still under warranty).



They phoned me back in the afternoon telling me that the head gasket had blown and it failed it's MOT due to fractures in the bulkhead (firewall).



They said head gasket was covered by the warranty and Saab would fix the bulkhead free of charge so good on them - 2 1/2 days later the car was ready to be picked up, noticed as much better feel to the steering so I'm happy for now.



The question I have is how good is the bulkhead fix, will it go again or it this a one time event?
 

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Sorry for coming late to this discussion, but someone at work was asking me about GM 9-3 convertibles as they were thinking of getting one for the wife. As I only ever had a 9-5, I pointed him to SSc and various other links and left him to it.

Today he told me that the moral of the story was to never buy a GM9-3 due to bulkhead separation that he has since read all about!!!!

The question I have is do GM900s suffer with this too, or is it something that has been inadvertantly introduced as a result of crash mods made when the GM900 evolved into the GM9-3??

Also, given that you can get a nice early GM9-3 for not much these days (and it presents itself as a far better car than say an Escort, 306, etc etc for the same money), is Saab/GM doing anything significant to cure this problem, and does it warrant a safety recall???
 

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is Saab/GM doing anything significant to cure this problem, and does it warrant a safety recall???[/b]
No, and debateable.

This issue does not seem to affect all cars - just some of them.
 

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So is it more of a problem with the higher powered cars, or just the verts? What about 3 door or 5 door?

Now that a nice 9-3 of this era can be picked up for not too much dosh, I always thought it would make a nice 2nd car, but this seems to be a horror story!!!! And one that damages Saabs reputation. :sad:
 

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I've had a rack clamp and brace fitted to my 02 TiD by Simply Saab in Bristol recently. Points to note:
- It cost £250 to buy and fit and is manaufacturer for Simply Saab
- The steering is much better
- The service manager having said he'd never seen bulkhead problems on a diesel (common on convertibles), did show me one that had just come in the day mine had been done (S Reg TiD with 150k steering rack flapping in the breeze - probably have to take the engine out to fix).

My view - reasonable insurance against a known problem with handling benefits. Why not?
 

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Never seen it on a diesel? My 2000 TiD has the problem at 75,000 miles...

As for strengthening the bulkhead, 90% of my mileage is on the motorway these days. I bought the 9-3 thinking I'd wave goodbye to country roads after my last but one machine... for me I don't believe it's worth it.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
While I can understand your view, I don't agree.

[/ QUOTE ]

I didn't think you would, but it is not my view, it is the view of my Saab dealer. The inner wing is not designed to the sort of loads that you are putting on it. They have experienced first hand the effects of fitting these clamps/braces.[/b]
It's the opinion of my Dealer too, their top mechanic there said that it's pointless having the rack brace without the (6 point) subframe brace - whether it's a convertible or hardtop
 

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I take the advantage of using a VOSA engineer for my MOT's rather than a dealership tester or local shop; 2 comments from him:

1] "I like that clamp and brace, least flex under load I ever see on these; once one of those fitted."

2] "Considering Saab used the Cavalier shell they did a far better job, much tougher than the original in this layout, far less have the bulkhead fractures, and it occurs in the Saab in a different place as they did try to make the area better."

So far I have ran 4 ng900's only one has developed a bulkhead flaw, but not where we are talking about [this was my 1993 V6, the sound deadening sponge down the firewall had soaked up years of water splash and the odd bit of spilled brake fluid from changes/bleeding, this led to corrosion seperation of the floorpan to bulkhead join - you MOT tester cannot find this as they cannot peel back the foam].

As for the six point brace; I can recommend the one being sold on ebay made by an independent enthusiast - easy DIY fit.
 
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