I’ll return to all the news stuff shortly, but for a moment I’d like to get to some more home-based stuff – the reason why sites like this actually exist – the joy of driving and playing with our Saabs.
The latest little enhancement to my Monte Carlo occurred last weekend and it’s one that I’m very pleased with.
Last month I purchased this BSR/Speedparts air filter kit from Elkparts. Being July, it took a little time to arrive as most of Sweden shuts down for the summer holiday. It arrived eventually, though, and I’m very pleased it did.
The instructions that come with the filter have apparently improved in the last few years, but are still pretty brief. It’s not a difficult job, but here’s my own step-by-step process.
I’ve finished it off with a little review at the end. Click the images to enlarge.
Here’s what we’re working on. The big black box to the left of the engine bay houses the factory air filter.
The first thing you need to do is disconnect the filter from the pipe to the right. Just loosen the circular clamp and it’ll slip off pretty easily.
The box itself is clamped together with a number of clips. Undo those clips and you’ll be able to lift the top from the airbox and there you’ll see the factory air filter. Lift that out.
The bottom half of the airbox is secured to the body of the car by three small bolts. The easiest one to access is at the top of the airbox, nearest the windscreen.
The harder-to-reach bolts are down the side, between the airbox and the engine. If your engine is warm then take car, though you shouldn’t be in too much danger. How do you like my Kincrome reversing rachet spanner? Best $20 I’ve spent.
After that shot, my camera battery died. Hence the cameraphone pics….
Here’s the space where the airbox used to be. You can see the two engine-side brackets that the heat shield will bolt into and the wiring running along the bottom of the photo is hiding the other bracket.
In this shot, the head shield has been bolted into place, with the pipe attached to the air hose and clamped. You can see how narrow the gap is between the heat shield and the engine. It means you’re handling the nuts and bolts with fingertips, but I only dropped one into the belts once.
Finally, fit the air filter and secure it with the clamp provided. The filter comes ready-to-use, so all you have to do is clamp it up and you’re ready to go.
With my camera battery re-charged, it was time for a full engine bay photo. Yes, it needs cleaning.
So with the fitting over and done with, what’s it all like?
Well, I really need some video to really show you the fun part , which is the sound this filter makes.
The theory behind these is that the open nature of the filter is supposed to allow greater airflow, thereby giving you a minor bump in power and increased throttle response. I don’t know about any increase in power, but it does feel like the car picks up a little quicker.
Maybe it’s all psychological?
The real value for me is in the sense of theatre the filter delivers. When I was first looking at the filter on the Elkparts page, I read through the reviews from customers. One of them said Blimey, it sounds like I’ve got Darth Vader under me bonnet!! which is too true.
Hit the gas and it sounds like there’s a cat with emphysema breathing in through a microphone. That probably doesn’t sound overly attractive but trust me, it’s endless fun.
Some snobby types might call the Saab 4-pot turbo an unrefined engine, but for me it’s too quiet. It was missing a sense of the theatrical, which it’s now got a little more of. Maybe a bigger exhaust will finish the soundtrack.
All up, I’m really pleased I got it. Some might find the sound annoying, but I really enjoy it and I’m willing to hold on the belief that it’s delivering a little better throttle response as well.
Id be happy to recommend it to anyone with a similar vehicle. It’s an easy job that’s satisfying and delivers a fun result. A win all-round.
Along with the filter, I also ordered a new badge as mine had suffered the Saab flaky curse.