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  #1  
Old 05-28-2008, 12:49 PM
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Saab 900: an automotive enigma.

A friend of mine bought an '89 Saab 900 SPG over the weekend. It really is a very cool car, and I'll admit that at least some of my ridicule is envy-driven.

Do any of you know why the engine is mounted the way it is? It's sideways, backwards and slanted. The slant makes a little sense, but the sideways and backwards? Come on. It's also got chains in the drivetrain. Wow.

I've spent at least thirty seconds looking on the internets, and I can't find an answer.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:07 PM
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is this the engine?


I see where you get that this is slanted... but sideways and backwards??

edit I now see the pulleys up against the firewall......... whoah.

Last edited by zukiru; 05-28-2008 at 02:10 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2008, 02:11 PM
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Exactly. It's FWD, but has the engine in longitudinally. Then it's flipped around. Besides easy access to the clutch, I haven't found an explanation. Even that's not a very good one.
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  #4  
Old 05-28-2008, 06:38 PM
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I had a 1993 900 5 spd coupe for a month, and sold it before I even registered it. I paid $150 because I towed it out of some womans driveway, but it turned out the car was in good condition, under all the dust, and fetched $1800 on ebay. (I had two SVXs and an ML320 at the time so I didnt really need the car anyway.)
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  #5  
Old 05-29-2008, 10:05 PM
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SAABs are built by aircraft engineers, so the old ones are all funky. If you look closer, the oil pan is the transaxle. They don't share oil though.
Those cars were designed to not need any major maintenance until 100,000 miles, at which point you dropped the engine out from the bottom and pretty much replaced everything lol. I work with a guy who has a turbo Saab 900 convertible that's his wifes, after watching him replace the head gasket I knew I DID NOT WANT ONE lol.
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2008, 07:02 AM
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Right, I understand all that, but you didn't answer my question. It still doesn't explain why they did it. There has to be an explanation for why they would go to all that trouble to mount an engine that way.

Thanks for playing, though.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2008, 09:31 AM
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I love those Saabs. Expesially the SPG's. My uncle's got a think for them, and can be a pain to work on. Expesially with those cable run wipers. The automatic trannys go also. They can't handle the motor. Other wise a real cool car.
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2008, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Pockets View Post
Right, I understand all that, but you didn't answer my question. It still doesn't explain why they did it. There has to be an explanation for why they would go to all that trouble to mount an engine that way.

Thanks for playing, though.
I'm not sure why, probably has to do with the airplane thing... I found a big article on the B and H engines on Wikipedia, but nothing about the weird layout. Newer Saabs (circa 1994) have the engine mounted sideways, but it's otherwise the same slant 4.
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  #9  
Old 05-31-2008, 02:01 AM
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I think I have it figured..
bear with me...

they wanted a front engine front drive.
the wanted it longitudinal
the slant balances the weight
and they didn't want it the way subaru did it with the engine ahead of the front axle line (less overhang weight)
(if they had put that engine in ahead of the axle line it would have been a real nightmare, the way subaru did it was okay cause it was a well balanced aluminum flat 4)

if it was in an airplane it would be mounted just like that as well.
so they said "okay let's put it in that way"

Last edited by zukiru; 05-31-2008 at 02:04 AM.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2008, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zukiru View Post
I think I have it figured..
bear with me...

they wanted a front engine front drive.
the wanted it longitudinal
the slant balances the weight
and they didn't want it the way subaru did it with the engine ahead of the front axle line (less overhang weight)
(if they had put that engine in ahead of the axle line it would have been a real nightmare, the way subaru did it was okay cause it was a well balanced aluminum flat 4)

if it was in an airplane it would be mounted just like that as well.
so they said "okay let's put it in that way"
See, you're just guessing. I mean no offense, but I didn't ask for guesses. Even if you're right, it still doesn't explain why. 'They wanted it longitudinal.' Um, why???

I'm sorry, but until I hear from somebody who actually knows (which isn't looking likely), I'm going to be frustrated.

What Saab did was overcomplicated, would have questionable value in terms of vehicle dynamics and, more importantly for a smallish manufacturer, expensive. That's why I assume there has to be an actual explanation.

When I find it, I'll let you know.
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2008, 07:17 AM
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Hoodline and center of gravity may have contributed?
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2008, 01:42 PM
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Find a Saab 900 forum?
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2008, 11:43 PM
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why? nobody wanted sideways engines.. and a lot of companies fought it.
but it was more compact and cheaper...

I have browsed a few 900 forums and haven't found a definitive answer.
but my guesses make sense.

oh and no offense taken.. (but it is kind of like asking why an
SVX has funky windows and the older ones are black-topped.
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2008, 01:27 AM
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Either being built by aircraft engineers or not, I think that Saabs are not worth even a dime. Who would want to drive a car full of headaches? Nothing is easy in those cars, mechanically or electrically...
Why the engine is mounted like that, I dunno.

Also wanted to share the famous system followed by Saab in my country... after the warranty is over, and you want to fix it in the company itself, you are liable to pay $3000 per year for a service ticket to be able to let the car go inside their garage!

Stupid car
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  #15  
Old 06-01-2008, 02:08 PM
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I believe that configuration started out in the Saab Super Sport. It was done for better weight distribution.
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