Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The big trip to Big D was a stunning success. If only this success would carry over to this car holding together for 24 hours. Lets review the goals for this past week:

1) Drive Slaab to Dallas, well, really Denton (which is really South Oklahoma).
2) Do not get arrested, stopped, inspected, or looked at in a funny (non-ha-ha) way.
3) Install roll bar, seat, steering wheel, etc into car, and not get injured
4) Do not break anything
5) Drive Slaab to Houston
6) Do not get arrested, stopped, inspected, or looked at in a funny way.

By all measures, the trip accomplished all goals (well, Bruce did burn his hand on the welder. Oh, and our key got broken in the ignition by, uh, Bruce's butt. In Bruce's defense, why is ignition on the floor anyway!?! In Saab's defense...why is Bruce's butt on the ignition?!?). We even got the car painted in a stunning interpretation of the Swedish flag.

The trip to Dallas was uneventful, apart from the ear-drum blowing wind buffeting inside the Saab. Luckily, one of us (i.e. not Dave) was smart enough to bring an iPod with earphones. The car ran at a nice steady 75-85mph the entire way, and only managed to lose around a half quart of oil....all of which ended up on the chase vehicle's windshield. We also determined that a) the fuel gauge is a POS and b) the temperature gauge is a POS.

For proof that this race machine can drive 85...see below. Also proof that the gas gauge and temperature gauge suck.

We arrived in Dallas / Denton / Oklahoma around 7pm, and immediately started to defending our car to Bruce, who wasn't swayed in his opinion that the car was a piece of swedish metal with some dodgy tires attached. That night, we got most of the roll cage tacked into place with only a minimal amount of rework, cussing, injuries (Bruce's hand), and damage to the car (broken key).

Saturday morning, we dragged ass our way back to the shop, and fiddle farted our way through the morning until Andrew The Welder showed up. We're not sure if Andrew bought into this being a race car, but he attacked the welding in a hurry. He was extremely enthusiastic about welding on top of our rubber fuel lines and metal brake lines. He thought that added a nice challenge to the mix.

It should be noted that having the right tools to do the jobs required, in a shop with space makes a huge difference in all of this work. For example - having a welding machine is nice. Having a fork lift to lift the car up is also equally nice. Who needs jack stands when you have a fork lift? Wish I would have snapped a picture of the car up on the fork lift, but I forgot.

Other work that day was mounting the OMP racing seat (its low), lowering the steering wheel (its also low), mounting the fire extinguisher, removing unnecessary glass, finding a new key, and getting more beer. We also decided to start painting the swedish car, including the 24 Hours of LeMons logo on the rear trunk.

This is taking too long. Here are the pictures of the finished product:

Here is the new "bracket" that strengthened the now lower steering column (which tends to bind up a bit off center due to the new angle. In other words - this part will break)

Bruce donated all of this time for free, so I can't make fun of him. No really, I can't. This is Bruce's weld:

This is Andrew The Welder's weld:

The rest of these photos show the car ready to go. The car, apart from the graphics package, oil leak, and generally small items getting it ready for race day are left. The drive home was uneventful, if you call driving a car with no side or rear windows painted like a Swedish Flag with a window net on the door sitting in a very low seat with minimal visibility out the rear normal. We did have one cop scare, but he just kept on driving past without a care in the world for us. Most people on the road are too busy talking on their cell phones (or taking photos of their speedometer at 85) to notice other, you know, cars on the road.

Just look at all the fine european engineering sitting there...its almost too much for one household!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Slaabin in the Dark

First of all, our camera broke during the hurricane, so we're stuck with crappy Blackberry photos this week. Second of all...we're working with no power this week (apart from one shop light run on a long extension cord from a neighbors generator). Thanks Ike.

We're one week away from the big trip to Dallas, and its looking like the Slaab is almost ready for the trip. No one is particularly enthusiastic about actually driving it up there, but what has to be done has to be done.

This week - we got the new rotors installed, put the brake calipers back on and managed to break the seals on both of them (thus requiring new calipers), put the hood back on.........and held our breath. Given that our wiring harnesses look like a bowl of spaghetti, we were nervous about the Slaab actually starting again. Low and behold, we turned the key and it didn't start. Start nervous sweating.

We checked everything we could find to no avail. After all but giving up..."hey Dave...whats this plug here?!?" The starter motor was unplugged when we were rerouting our heater lines. Dave muttered some blue language.

Hey Dave - heres the plug YOU UNPLUGGED YOU MORON!

We also got the sway bar installed. In the dark. With a sway bar that is questionable whether it was manufactured properly. In the dark. Did I say we were working in the dark?

Look Ma - we have a sway bar!

Finally - the car was ready to roll. Just look at her, sitting all fine and pretty! We never lowered the car, and it, uhhhh, shows.

We rolled the car out into the pitch black Ike night...started the Slaab up, and took her for a test drive. Remember - we have no headlights (switch is broken). But we do have HAZARDS! So we drove around, hazards blinking, driving the car around testing brakes (leaking like a Pakastan Dam), CV joints (was that a popping noise we heard or not?!?), sway bar (still drives like crap), motor (still 113hp), and anything else. All in all - a good drive.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Week 6 - Hurricane Slaabin'

Week 6 reminded me why I hate working on cars...particularly old crappy ones. Similar to the handling characteristics of the Saab 900, the work plan was aggressive. Like the Saab 900, the result was less than admirable.

The biggest news of the week is that we added a second Saab to the team roster this week. After being blown away by the backwards nature of the Lemon Saab, I decided to replace the pickup with yet another Saab. Sadly, it won't make it past the judges at the race.

First of all, we totally violated every Saab principle by storing plants on top of it as part of the Hurricane storage process.

Things we accomplished this week (the goal was to finish everything on the front suspension and get the tires back on).

- reinstalled springs (uncut)
- reinstalled shocks (old ones)
- finished new CV joint installation

We attempted to put the new vented rotors on the car, but ran into problems figuring out how to get the rotors reversed in the housing to fit the new pads and thicker rotor. Thus...Dave returned today (Hurricane Day) to pass the time and to see if we could crack the Saab brake caliper nut. We figured it out, but realized that the rotors that were sent to us don't fit with this caliper and dust cover.

Thus - we're going back to standard rotors next week. Next weeks work includes finishing the brakes, getting new tires installed, plugging the holes in the firewall, including the one where you could crawl through, and some other minor items.

Here are pictures from todays follow up brake session:

Friday, September 5, 2008

WEEK 5 Progress

Week 5 is probably one of the tougher nights we'll have working on the car, as it was CV Joint night.

Nick forgot the beers, so the work only took half as long. The heavy metal music was absent this week too, so Dave complained about not having Kenny Chesney playing. I was distraught over selling my truck, and realizing that the pile of Saab trash would be going to the dump in the back of the Q7. Overall, the mood was somber.

Things accomplished:

1) Removed both CV joints and drive shafts. Getting the nut off the end of the driveshaft took a long time, and ultimately we had to reassemble the brakes to get it off. Everything seems to look good, and we'll hopefully wrap up the CV joints, new rotors, and pads next week.

2) While Nick and Dave slackjawed their way through the CV process, the team cap'm was busy working his butt off inside the car. While they managed to only remove TWO CV joints, I managed to get 8 screws / bolts complete in the car. The beatings will continue until moral and speed improve for those two.

The seat is back in the car ready for the upcoming test drives and Dallas trip. Also, the new Granny-style rear view mirror is installed.

3) We removed the rear tires to inspect the shocks, springs, and brake pads. All look fine, and will not be touched for now. We decided against cutting down the springs until further parking lot race track tests.

The team cheerleader came out in the morning to inspect the progress. She was not pleased.