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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I've been getting increasingly more concerned/annoyed with the lack of traction in my 2L CD Carlsson. 1st and 2nd gear are basically a waste of time, with it even breaking loose under hard acceleration in third on the odd occassion.

I spoke to Ed at Abbott Racing and he advised that either my car's putting out in excess of 250 bhp (highly doubtful at 1 bar of boost!! ) or the suspension components could be heavily worn?

I'm going to take the car along to Abbotts on Saturday morning for them to look it over so I'll know what the problem is shortly.

Just wondering if anyone here's had similar problems and could offer some advice regarding component cost etc?

On the other hand, you never know, perhaps I might have 250 horses hiding in there somewhere!!

Cheers

Dave
 

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Well just to beat BillJ to it, I ought to point out that it's really torque that causes wheelspin, not power!

There are many things that can affect traction, including:

<ul type="square">
[*]Poor quality tyres
[/list]

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[*]Incorrect inflation pressures
[/list]

<ul type="square">
[*]Worn suspension components including shock absorbers
[/list]

<ul type="square">
[*]Poor geometry
[/list]

<ul type="square">
[*]Inappropriate suspension set up for engine output/vehicle weight
[/list]
<ul type="square">
[*]Road surface condition (is it the same on all surfaces?
[/list]

You don't say if the traction problem is a recent development or has crept in over a period of time or you've not long had the car. Does it suffer any other associated handling problems in the dry?

Losing one wheel is certainly not uncommon in first or second gear in the wet with standard suspension and tyres.

However, Abbott are probably one of, if not the foremost UK authority on 9000 suspension, so I'm sure they'll be able to diagnose the problem for you. If you have a limited budget for repairs/upgrades then make that clear and they will adjust their recommendations accordingly.

One of the "cheapest" upgrades which is very worthwhile is the replacment of stock rubber bushes with polyurethane ones. Be aware that there are alternative suppliers to Abbott for these, and most are by and large a direct like for like alternative except for the front butterfly bushes which when purchased from Abbott come with the aluminium housing, making fitting very much easier (my old ones had to be burnt out of the housing
).

If you're lucky they might have one of their demo cars around for you to try whilst they play with yours
 

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Originally posted by Bubbles (fka Mark E):
[qb]One of the "cheapest" upgrades which is very worthwhile is the replacment of stock rubber bushes with polyurethane ones.[/qb][/b]
An even cheaper upgrade is to simply replace the control arm rear bushes (butterfly bushes) with new rubber ones (about £10 each from Euro Car Parts. If yours are original, and assuming your Carly has more than 30K miles on it, these alone will transform the handling and improve traction no end. You'll also lose that "floaty" feeling in a straight line at speed and steering will feel more precise. The car will feel much newer. When new, the 9000 was fairly well-behaved for such a big, powerful, front-wheel-drive car. Replacing some worn components may be all you need. Beyond that, you risk starting to affect ride quality, which some people may not want to do.

I agree with Mark about the tyres too. I had awful tyres on my '90 CD 2.3T (they felt like they were made of bakelite!) and it was a horrible thing to drive, especially with the TCS wanting to take over almost every time I hit the throttle. I didn't realise until I part-exchanged it for my Aero that the wheelspin wasn't a necessary evil. Even then, with good tyres fitted new by the dealer before I picked up the car, I found that new butterfly bushes made a big difference (the car had about 135K miles on it at the time).
 

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An even cheaper upgrade is to simply replace the control arm rear bushes (butterfly bushes) with new rubber ones (about £10 each from Euro Car Parts. If yours are original, and assuming your Carly has more than 30K miles on it,  [/b]
If the rubber ones deteriorate that much in 30K, the uprated poly ones from the Abbotts might be cheaper in the long run, labor rates being what they are and all...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Mark,

I'm looking forward to going along to Abbotts tomorrow as I'm sure that they'll be able to iron out any problems that I might have.

In the mean time I'll try to give some more info so that I can get a better idea of what to expect when I get to Abbotts.....

Owned the car for about six weeks

Had problems with traction from the start although it is possible that it could be getting slightly worse

Spins like mad in 1st and 2nd in wet or dry and pretty much only in the wet in 3rd

I think I'm losing both wheels, a couple of times I've kept the pedal down in the dry (just couldn't help myself ) and tyre smoke has appeared behind me from both sides

Front tyres are Continental Contisport Contacts

Fronts are inflated to 37psi although the offside does loose air over time

Tyre wear appears to be even

As far as I'm aware, all suspension components are standard

In the short while that I've had my Saab it's proven itself to be an excellent buy and I'd love to be able to improve the car any way I can, as it obviously has loads of potential!!

Folding stuff permitting of course! I'll make sure that I make Abbotts aware of my budgets!

Sounds like upgrading to poly bushes would be a good start, thanks again for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cheers Bill, I'll get a price for the butterfly bushes from Abbotts, they can't do any work on the car tomorrow anyway so I'll have a chance to check prices etc.

Ps. Done 119'000mls and I haven't seen any receipts for control arm bush replacement.
 

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On the bright side, your tyres are in the "high performance" category, so they should be OK as long as they're not too old. High performance tyres expect a reasonable degree of wear- and from what I understand the compounds used will deteriorate more rapidly over a longer time than a "standard" tyre that might expect to be on a car for, say, 5 years.

As the car is relatively new to you, it sounds like you might also be suffering from the
effect! This has been known to lead to excessive wheelspsin and tyre wear. Nothing to be ashamed of; we all suffer from it (I get about 7000 miles out of a set of front tyres if I'm lucky
)

But seriously, it is a very powerful car that does need some respect from your right foot- after Saab themselves fitted traction control to many models because of that!

Although it does indeed sound like you've got some problems with component wear. Never mind; you're doing the right thing by taking it along to someone who will be able to accurately diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate cure- even if it is to fit a poly bush under the accelerator pedal!!

Enjoy your visit!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think you could be right mate, I have been known to stuff my foot through the floor on the odd occassion! I think it all stems from arseing around 3L capris and escorts many years ago, where a lead foot was an absolute must!

I'll obviously have to try to treat the pedal a bit more delicately in the future, a poly bush under the throttle really isn't that bad an idea!
 

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Originally posted by Eric van Spelde:
[qb]If the rubber ones deteriorate that much in 30K, the uprated poly ones from the Abbotts might be cheaper in the long run, labor rates being what they are and all...[/qb][/b]
Ah, but labour rates for doing the bushes on my own car are very low The 30K figure might be a bit low, and 50K might be more liek it. At that rate, I could easily get 250K miles' worth of rubber bushes for the price of a set of Abbott poly bushes.
 

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Dave,

My 2.3T is standard and for normal driving I never get to use more than 1/3 throttle. Even at low boost (1/3 yellow) my car will let go of the road in 1st or 2nd and will lose it in 3rd or 4th when throttled hard. I didn't have the same problem in my 2.0L Carly. I'd only spin the wheels if I was trying to!!


Not wishing to sound like I'm taking the mickey, but have you tried moving your seat back a notch or 2? I know Kevin Mc did this and he found it helped him to control wheelspin in his 2.3 Carly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can definitely be over-enthusiastic with the throttle and I think that could be some of the problem.

However your description of the way your 2.3T behaves is very similar to what I'm experiencing.

I guess I'll find out if there's a problem, the cars been tweaked more than I think it has or if it's just my clumsy right foot tomorrow!

Anyway hometime now, thanks for the advice, perhaps I'll click the seat back a bit before I drive home.
 

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As I seem to in the presence of a fine pair of pedants (BillJ and Bubbles), I would just like to point out that the main components of automotive suspension systems are springs and dampers. The springs support the vehicle weight, whilst the dampers damp the oscillations of the unsprung masses (wheel, hub, brakes, suspension arms etc). If you ever happen to be alongside a vehicle on the motorway that has a dead damper, you will see the wheel bounce up and down at a surprisingly high frequency and amplitude even on what appears to be smooth road.

Having dampers in good condition is vital on any car, but particularly so on cars fitted with ABS as the oscillations caused by a bad damper really upset the ABS actuation, and result in vastly increased stopping distances. Both the Dept. of Transport in the UK, and the equivalent in Germany have issued warnings about this risk in recent years. It is in my opinion quite ridiculous that we have no objective damper test in the annual MOT test.

Quite how the misnomer "shock absorber" came to be in common use I do not know, but it must be stamped out at every opportunity.

And whilst I'm on a pedantic rant, most gearboxes that I have met can operate at an infinity of speeds, but only have a fixed number of ratios, so let's have no references to "5 speed 'boxes" and such like.

Thank you.

The Arch Pedant Pursuivant to the Court at St James's.
..........................................................................

Dave,

living luckily as you do close to the fine town of High Wycombe, you will be glad to know that a small garage nearby has the only proper damper tester available to the public in Buckinghamshire. I think they are called Dashwood Auto Services (or similar) and are just off Desborough Road. They normally advertise in the Star and the Bucks Free Press, but not this week. I can dig out their phone number if need be. They have a proper hydraulic test rig set in the floor, which, once you have told it what type of car is sitting on it, will oscillate the wheels and measure the induced movement at various frequencies, and compare it to the manufacturer's damper data. This will quickly tell you whether you have a damper on the way out (already gone?) and it's not expensive either.

As for tyres, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be controversial.....I think Continental are dreadful. A year or so ago, we bought an SL, which takes the opposite approach to low down grunt to Saab, i.e. good old fashioned cubic inches. Anyway, after a week, I wanted to give the car back, it was awful. Traction control when I tried to accelerate, ABS every time I braked, and awful tramlining even on what seemed to be smooth roads. Rather than take the car back however, I simply purchased a set of Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, and it is quite simply a different car. No wheelspin, no tramlining, and ABS only when I deserve it. My Saab was purchased on half worn Pirelli 6000 tyres. Wheelspin and aquaplaning were frequent travelling companions. A set of Michelin Pilot Primacy tyres soon cured most wheelspin and all aquaplaning.

In my opinion, tyres manufacturers make tyres that suite their home market. German roads are smooth, and their design is heavily prescribed in law (constant radius bends and such like). I imagine that Continental tyres might suite these roads. The French roads however are much more like ours, and so Michelin tyres always seem to perform pretty well in the UK. Also, I cannot off hand think of a seriously quick car that comes out of the factory on Continental tyres (I'm sure someone will inform me of one soon though). BillJ uses Bridgestone S03's, which I think are factory fitment on Aston Martins, amongst others. The Pilot Sport is approved by Ferrari. Abbott Racing recommend either S03's or Pilot Sports on their website. I'm sure there are other good ones about, but you can be reasonable reassured about these two. The only slight drawback is that the Michelins at least are only available in 16" sizes and larger. This why I am on the lookout for a set of Super Aero alloys.

Good night.
 

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The right honorable learned gentleman above is indeed quite correct about dampers, and I would also like to further propose they also give rise to cornering characteristics akin to a blancmange on slinkies when they're worn.

Which is why I mentioned them as a possible cause in my first post, and again in the second, referring to "component wear". I am, nonetheless, naturally obliged and grateful to the aformentioned honorable gentleman for reinforcing my point. On the basis that you can't have too much good advice.

As for the Continentals, I have no direct experience of them and merely repeat the information to be found care of our esteemed Tirerack friends over the pond. I also run the Bridgestone SO3s and cannot commend enough their efficacy in all conditions - even at 125mph through standing water...


Ithankew...

(now waits to be shot down, most likely by BillJ)
 

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In my limited experience, often the first sign of damper wear is "floating" in high speed corners, i.e. the car does not turn in and settle on a line, but requires multiple steering corrections as you go through the corner. The first time I noticed this some years ago was in a VW Scirocco, which handled fine here in England, and there were no leaks from the dampers. However, on a high speed run to the Alps, I discovered that it was not happy through 120 mph Autobahn bends (neither was I for that matter). I changed the dampers, the old ones felt fine to the uncalibrated arm muscles, and had not leaked. They had just got too soft for the job. I later discovered that VW's policy seemed to be to fit dampers that lasted about 1 day longer than the warranty. I find it difficult to imagine a 120 mph blancmange on slinkies, but I suspect that's what I probably looked like to the casual observer.

Just a thought on tyres. I am no expert on tyres (tires?) in the USA. However, several of my friends and colleagues who travel there regularly have commented that they have been caught out by tyres. They suggest that just because it says Michelin Pilot Sport (or whatever) on the side does not mean to say that it will behave like a European Pilot Sport. One friend commented on the vastly different tyre warranties in the US (for as long as you own the car for Michelin was I think what he said), which suggest that they may well be somewhat harder wearing and less grippy and so on. This seemed to be confirmed by his comments on their performance.

I am not saying that Tirerack or other US reviews are wrong or not relevant, but a degree of caution may be in order.

Just to reinforce Bubbles advice: In my opinion, the first three things to do after buying a second hand car are:

1) Check the tyre pressures and inspect the tyres very carefully.
2) Changed the brake fluid, preferably using DOT 5.1.
3) Give serious consideration to changing the dampers if the car's done any serious mileage. Get them properly tested if you can (and you can in High Wycombe, or if you have a friend who works at a serious motor sport establishment).

Good night again.
 

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Originally posted by Bubbles (fka Mark E):
[qb](now waits to be shot down, most likely by BillJ)[/qb][/b]
Not at all. I'm still in awe at Mark B's posts. I haven't seen a pedantic rant so worthy of the name in quite a while
I think we have serious competition here

The reason I didn't mention dampers was because I'm led to believe the 9000 dampers are very long-lived. Then again, who knows? If Dave can have them tested, then it would be a very worthwhile exercise.

Howe Engineering, who MOT'd my Aero, were able to test my dampers and tell me that the Konis on the rear were set a bit soft (but still OK for the MOT). On a return visit, they were able to confirm how much I had firmed them up by. They use the new EC-spec. tester for brakes and suspension.
 

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QUOTE:
_____________
Also, I cannot off hand think of a seriously quick car that comes out of the factory on Continental tyres (I'm sure someone will inform me of one soon though).
_____________

Yep.. All Porsches have Continental Eco Sport Contacts N1 (Porsche Rated)
 

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Originally posted by Mark_A:
[qb]Yep.. All Porsches have Continental Eco Sport Contacts N1 (Porsche Rated) [/qb][/b]
Interesting. When I was using Yokohama S1-Zs, Yokohama were claiming that it was standard fitment on the Boxster. Or are we only talking about real porsches here?

That was over a year ago, though.
 

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Well, strictly speaking, Porsche supply with one of two brands fitted out the factory.. and remember the dealer/importer may change them for local climate/customer..

Continental Eco Sport Contacts N1 and
Bridgestone Poleposition S-02 (now S-03 - I guess)

Used to spend quite a bit of time at local Porsche dealer when I owned my old 911...(hence the reason I'm a fully paid up member of the Anorak club )
 

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I will take some convincing that the Continentals specified by Porsche are identical to the much small devices suitable for Saabs. But you never know....

BillJ,

who and what are Howe Engineering?

What is the new EC spec tester for brakes and suspenders?

Does this mean that a proper damper test will soon be including in the MOT? If so, I'll buy shares in damper manufacturers, and there'll be a whole wave of cars off to the scrapyard!!
 
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