Roadtrip Day 3 – Home and hosed (with fuel)

We had proof yesterday that the Saab 99T made it onto the road under it’s own power. Today, proof positive that the 99T made it all the way home – under it’s own power.
Of course, whether it gets out again is another matter, but……. Let the third and final digital diary of this roadtrip begin!
Drew thought it important to record the fact that blogging does not cease simply because we’re on a boat in the middle of Bass Strait. Thanks to his roaming internet connection, last night’s diary got online before we’d hit midnight.
Around 4.30am…..
And around 90 minutes later it was breakfast in Devonport:
At 6.30am we were called to go to our car deck in order to get off the boat. That’s where today’s dramas started. We’ve learned since picking the car up that whilst it’s in running order, it’s not exactly in GOOD running order.
The first problem of the day was the 2 minutes or so it took to start the car this morning (it felt like an eternity). The cold start injector is not functioning at the moment, so it took a while to get going, which isn’t a nice feeling when you’ve got a long line of cars and sleep-deprived cranky drivers behind you, all of them waiting to get home or get their Tasmanian holidays underway.
We got going eventually, and headed off to Hobart….
We actually made a stop along the way to refuel and as I was filling up I noticed a very strong fuel smell. Of course, I had the nozzle in the fuel filler, so I figured it was just the fact that I was filling up……..silly me.
Our next stop was a little bit further down the road, at Campbell Town, a ‘human pitstop’…..
While we were outside the car, we noted that the strong fuel smell remained. Given that I was no longer filling up the fuel tank, this was very out of place to say the least.
A quick look under the car revealed the problem.

It seems that on top of everything else I’ll have to attend to, I now also have to find a replacement fuel tank for the one I just spent $290 getting chemically cleaned. I’m not sure exactly what the problem is with it, but it was leaking at a slow, but steady rate.
A definite cause for concerned looks…..
There’s now a long list of mechanical things to do with this car. Much longer than I’d first thought. David got the car running well enough to get us home (which was what I asked him to do) but it’s a long way from running like a 99Turbo should.
It’s totally devoid of boost and could only get above 90km/h on downhill stretches. The timing feels quite rough, the brakes are ‘subtle’ and that’s being complimentary. I called in to a parts store today to get some new plugs and HT leads but being such an obscure car, all they had was two plugs. I’ll get those during the week.
Bottom line: most of the drive consisted of the car struggling like a drowning man when going uphill and me trying to build up some momentum going downhill. I’m still very happy to have this car to rebuild, but this trip home was an eye-opener as to how big a job that will be.
Some views on the way home…….
This is St Peter’s Pass, one of my favourite stretches of road on the midlands highway.
Little brother in the mirrors…..
More Taswegian scenery……
It was no trouble at all to obey this sign. I didn’t do much overtaking.
Old farmhouse scenery. It’s nice to see the countryside green again after 5 years or so of drought.
I passed someone!!!
We finally got to Drew’s place and dropped him off. The fuel gauge was in my eye all the way down but it seems to move in a fairly normal manner. We concluded that perhaps the leak was high on the tank and we were most thankful that the leak wasn’t on the exhaust side of the tank, of course.
When I got the car home, I had another look. It had dropped another puddle as soon as I parked it in the garage, putting the ‘high leak’ theory to bed. I guess I’ll just have to get the parts out of the back and get the car into Steve the mechanic and see what needs to be done.
Also, notice the superb stainless steel exhaust on the car. Definitely the single best part on the car at this point.
I started writing this entry about three hours ago and have had a 2 hour nap between then and now. If my recollections are a little hazy, it’s due to a lack of sleep.
I’m a little down having come to a fuller realisation as to what’s to be done, but I’m sure I’ll wake up in the morning and appreciate things a lot more. 99T’s have always been my favourite Saab and a few challenges isn’t going to change that. In fact, a few challenges is what made me love these cars in the first place.
Again, my thanks to Drew for the help, for sharing the journey and being roadtrip photographer this time around.

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