Last week saw me get the latest round of upgrades done on my 1999 Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo.
For those not keeping up, the car already had a rear swaybar from Taliaferro, a front subframe brace made by my mate Aussielars, Viggen springs and dampers, steering rack clamp and brace, a replacement ECU and 3-inch cat-back exhaust from Hirsch.
In this round of upgrades, I decided to take things up a notch.
The Hirsch ECU was fantastic, but my generation 9-3 isn’t supported by them as much as the newer models are, meaning higher stage upgrades weren’t/aren’t available (as far as I know) and I was after a bit more grunt.
That got me turning to my friends – and site supporters – at Maptun. Fredrik did me a great deal on a stage 3 ECU, as well as the front section of the exhaust that I hadn’t replaced when I did the cat-back system. The new section is 3-inches from the turbo down and includes a hi-flow catalyst as well. The system is now 3-inch all the way through.
That picture’s taken from the front and the observant ones amongst you will note that there’s no subframe brace there anymore.
Here’s Aussielars’ Viggen with the subframe brace in place. Compare that with the photo, above.
I had one the same, but now my exhaust is too fat so the brace won’t fit under it.
The car is now quite a bit more powerful and when you really give it some welly, the lack of subframe brace is notable. The car has a notable shimmy and it takes some strong-arm tactics to keep things on the straight and narrow.
I could get longer bolts and some spacers, but I think I’ll most likely bite the freight bullet and order one of Nick Taliaferro’s 6-point subframe braces.
The other thing I got done was to have a new clutch installed. To cope with the extra grunt, I got a Viggen clutch and whilst there was some early concern as to whether it would actually match the flywheel, everything was OK.
The end result – a car that sounds a little bit deeper, goes quite a bit quicker but is moving a little bit sideways under full load. The subframe brace should stabilise things quite a bit and then, I should be done……..almost.
It never ends!
My thanks once again to the guys at Maptun, who have been solid supporters of the site for a long time now. I can’t recommend their stuff highly enough – and that’s not just because they’re supporters here – it’s because their knowledge and workmanship are absolutely first class.