After a considerable time of trouble-free motoring in my 1989 C900 T8S, she
let me down today :( We went off for a pleasure drive around the Yorkshire
Dales and during an overtake, all power suddenly left the car ... Very much
like when the fuel cut-off switch activates at high boost. Carrying on a
little way up the road, I found that if I let off the accelerator the car
would carry on, but as soon as I put down any power, simply nothing
happened. It felt like the car was not even on!
Okay, so I pulled over and let it idle for a while and it seemed okay to
carry on. About a mile later, going downhill, I heard a popping noise that
was much louder than the normal overrun grumble. It sounded like a cylinder
was missing on each rotation. I put the clutch down and the noise stopped
... Lifted the clutch and it started again. Just as I pulled out of gear,
the battery light came on and the car stalled. Argh! We were in the middle
of nowhere on narrow country lanes and had no real idea where we were to
call out a recovery vehicle.
I tried turning the car over a couple of times ... Nothing! I opened the
bonnet and checked that all the hoses were on and that everything looked
okay. I checked under the car to make sure there were no conrods or whatever
sticking out through the case. After I'd turned the air blue with my foul
expletives, I got down to checking the battery with a multimeter I carry in
the car. 12.5V ... Fine. Next, turn the key ... No fuel pump sound. Pull the
fuel pump and try a jump/test wire. Now it makes a sound and I'm very glad
indeed that I have a sandwich box of relays, fuses, wires and other gubbins
under the back seat. Would you believe it? I had a fuel pump relay.
So ... Back on the road after only a few minutes of feeling pretty tense and
worried. Sorry, but this is the most interesting thing that has happened to
me and my SAAB recently. It's been a "rock" for a good couple of years now
and no animals were harmed in today's mishap, although I did feel like
taking something out on Olaf the stuffed toy moose who resides in the back
of the car :)
On the good side, the car feels an amazing amount better than before. So
much so, my wife noticed and commented from the passenger seat! What I
thought was my exhaust manifold (the ubiquitous crack between cylinders 2&3)
clicking has stopped and the high-pitched whine from the back of the car has
also stopped. Must have been a very bad pump relay? I get higher sustained
power than before - 0.8 bar through to over 5000 RPM in third and above,
rather than 0.7-0.75 bar. This is on a standard T8! I wonder if the relay
was kind of oscillating on and off, if that's possible?
To my final thoughts ...
1. Had I not had a previous C900, I would not have a spare fuel pump relay.
Surely this is as good an excuse as any to continue on a long and happy
succession of SAABs :) I gather the fuel pump relay is quite expensive and
I'd like to have a spare (just in case, again) ... Anyone know a good outlet
for less than a hundred quid? Failing that, what grade of wire would suffice
for a longer term test/bridge wire. I had some thin stuff, which is okay for
testing the 30/87 bridge, but I did not want to drive on it.
2. Why is it that when you break down on a remote country lane with nothing
but the local wildlife chirping away, pop the bonnet, over a dozen Porsches
of various ages decide to drive past you? How embarrassing! :) Must have
been a "meet" out on manoeuvres for the afternoon.
1989 900 Turbo S