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I Just bought a 9000 2.0 Turbo with 100k on the clock. Although it runs beautifully it loses water from the rad tank. I've had it checked out at 2 different garages and there is no evidence of internal or external leaking or any problem with the head gasket. Also I've put a new cap on the tank but as yet this still doesn't seem to have solved the problem. As for the handbrake, this was loose, resulting in the car rolling back on extreme inclines. My garage told me that an extreme tug had broken the floor, needing a stripping out of the interior and re-welding of the the floor. This they told me was not uncommon on a 9000. Has anyone else had this experience or have I reason to suspect the integrity of this outfit?
 

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Hmm. Never heard of this handbrake thing - but I'm seeing a mechnic on Tuseday, so I'll try remember to pick his brains on the subject.
I'll ask about the radiator as well.

Phil.
 

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I had a slight problem with my rad. This did not seem to be a leak till I realised it only occurred when the system was under pressure caused by heating to running temparature. Fixed with some radweld 5000 miles ago!

Have you checked where the water is going? Its either coming out, or its going into the engine, via the cylinder head most likely.

Suggest you do need to be work out the answer to the above first, because this will dictate whether the fault lies with the cooling system or the head/gasket etc. Check the oil for water by looking at the dipstick.

Hopefully its just a rad weep which you could certainly try fixing with radweld before doing anymore...

Simon
 

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How much water is being lost? Like Simon said it must be going somewhere. Have you checked the footwells, could be the heater matrix.

Not heard the handbrake issue before. Guess its possible but if broken I would have thought it wouldnt work at all. Anyway remove passenger seat (four bolts and a couple of connectors) then you can remove centre console yourself to have a look. Just follow Haynes manual or drop us a line. Haankbrake is easily adjusted at the rear calipers, again details are in Haynes.
 

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Handbrake:

Just spoken to the fountain of knowledge - he has heard of it, although "it's been years" since he's done one.

Solution is to have it welded, since otherwise you're just bending metal when you put the handbrake on.


Phil.
 

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Thanks Phil, sib8292 & Adrian for your responses. I had the floor welded and the handbrake tightened but it slipped back to its' old ways after a week. Still can't find where the water is going, no sign of it on the dipstick but will inspect footwells more closely. Hopefully Radweld will do the trick.

Thanks again for your help - much appreciated.

Howard
 

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Have you got any 'misting' problems with the windscreen? If so suspect the heater matrix. A good nose (not mine!) will smell the antifreeze coming thrugh the vents.
 

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9000 Hand Brake Problems:

In my experience it's usually the rear calipers that are at fault. They have an internal ratchet mechanism, designed to gradually crank out the caliper's piston as the pads wear. When in need of a re-build, this mechanism stops working as the pads wear, with the result that the handbrake gains more and more travel before the pads bite. Eventually, the caliper's spring loaded handbrake actuating levers hit their metal stops on the caliper (these levers are where the cables attach, so are easy to spot when looking). No matter how hard you pull the handbrake, as the lever is against a metal stop, it won't have any effect on the brake action - all you will achieve is damage to either the cables or handbrake lever and cabin mechanism.

The best test for caliper handbrake ratchet failure is therefore to apply the handbrake fully and check the rear calipers to see if the actuating arm is against the stops (or close to it). If they are against the stops, then it's highly likely that the brakes will not be fully on.

Under normal usage, the brakes should bite before the levers have gone through 50% of their travel (approx - but it's very obvious when you've seen fully working units).

You can adjust the rear brakes using the 7mm allen adjustment bolt (under a threaded dust cap), but this only buys you maybe a day or so of use. Pretty soon the ratchet will fail to catch again, and the lever will once again hit the stops without the rear brakes being applied.

BTW, normal brake action is not affected, only handbrake action. This is because normal braking is via hydraulics, not via the cable operated levers.

The only solution is usually to get a set of re-built, new or good second hand rear calipers.

In a vain attempt to fix this, many people crank up the handbrake cables from within the car using the two knurled adjustment nuts, but it does no good if the caliper arms are already against the stops. I've seen cables ruined in mis-guided attempts to "tighten" the cable. I've never seen stretched cables BTW, it's always been a caliper issue. The 9000 cables are very thick and are not really prone to stretching.

Under normal conditions, the cables do not need to do very much work, as properly working rear calipers should bite with little or no effort at the handbrake. If you have a 9000 that needs a hard tug to get any action from the handbrake, then it's likely you have problems at the caliper end.

Bending the handbrake is a danger in these circumstances, as people think an extra hard tug will somehow apply the (hand) brakes. The SAAB floor pan is pretty thick around this area, so unless the floor is rusty, I can't see a handbrake coming apart. It might bend, but it's a strong component.

In summary, if you have handbrake problems, 9 times out of 10 it will be the rear calipers. If the lever is against the stops when the handbrake is on, then you have knackered calipers.

In these circumstances remember to take extra precautions to chock the car's wheels when looking...remember: the handbrake can't be trusted to stop the car rolling!

It's a really common problem, and there's no way to fix it without changing the calipers - it's almost certainly the main cause of handbrake cable and handle damage. These components should last the lifetime of the car, and easily will if the rear calipers are kept in good condition.

Hope this helps.
 
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