Not SAAB related

Two weeks ago the Geneva international motor Show started. Not being there felt a little bit disappointing, on the one side, because it means another year without New SAAB branded cars, and on the other side because it is fun to be there during the press days and you get the info first hand.

Nevertheless lots of new things have been introduced in Geneva, but for me only two were really of interest.

Koengisegg_Regera_front_moretwist First was the Koenigsegg Regera. It is always fascinating to see a new car coming from Koenigsegg every year, and on the booth in front of Koenigsegg you have seen the very same car for the last 6 years albeit in different colours. (You can guess which car brand am I talking about).

The Regera is an interesting way of using the capabilities of a hybrid car, but with all the respect to CvK, the Regera is a hybrid car. What I didn’t like about the Regera was the way the press was talking about the car. I mean it is no rocket science what Koenigsegg has done.

Why do cars need a gear-box? No, it is not to be able to drive fast, more than that is to be able to start moving. At low revs an IC-Engine has almost no torque at all, and to get a car to start moving needs more torque than to keep it moving.

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Not SAAB related

I have been long thinking about starting a series of posts about news in the automotive industry that have no direkt link to Saab or NEVS but could have an effect on the way we look at future products from Trollhättan [sorry guys I don’t want to start a discussion about the brand, so till next notice I will call the cars this way]. So if you like it I will try to deliver a “Not SAAB related” post each week.

My first post is about a,quite funny in my opinion, article about the BMW i3 in the USA. The original article is from consumer report although I’ve found it somewhere else.

bmw i3 rear engine bay
BMW i3 rear engine bay

The guys at consumer report summarise the problem with this sentence

Relying on that gas engine when the main battery is depleted works well in most cases, including high-speed steady cruising, but not, we’ve discovered, if you demand more of it.

They’ve discovered? C’mon even some BMW manager talked about the drawbacks of such a range extender configuration at its presentation in Munich.

So let us talk about range extender and its problems.

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What tools do you have in your car?

tronds_toolbagYesterday I was out for a spin in my M91 900 Turbo 16, and after I had driven a few kilometres I loose all the power in the middle of a sharp bend, while I was accelerating. My initial reaction was that something was wrong with the fuel supply, but after the road straighten out I realise this had to be a issue with the air supply. I was lucky and found a bus-stop in the middle of the countryside, and turned off to locate the fault. When I opened the hood, my idea about the air supply was absolute right, a hose from the intercooler to the throttle body had jumped off. A very quick fix if you have the right tool, but in a small second I got a little panic – in this car I don’t have a toolbox… This time it was false alarm, I was able to tighten the hose clamp with a flat screwdriver from the original tool kit.

I know – many of you guys in here drive newer cars as your daily driver, and have a big toolbox in the boot shouldn’t be necessary. As some of you know have I a M04 9-5 Aero as my daily driver, and like it or not – in this car I have a big toolbox in the boot. But isn’t very often I need some the tools for that car either, in the four years and 80’000km’s I’ve had it, it only has let me down three times;

  1. The fuel pump – after a attempt to change the pump outside my work (failed because I don’t had extra fuel hose – but I had a spare pump) I managed to get the pump working again, so I get home.
  2. On my way to the Oktoberfest 2012, when the crank sensor gave up. This happened appropriately enough when I was going to drive off a ferry, so two crew members had to push me off the boat… Luckily a crank sensor is a part of the “T7 rescue kit” (crank sensor, fuel pump and DI-unit 😉 ) so after the engine had cooled down a bit I changed the sensor myself.
  3. The hose from the boost valve to the turbo compressor. The thin hose had gnawed on the V-band clamp that connect the turbo and king cobra pipe, and at a point it went off. This resulted that I had no power at all… This time it was enough to cut the hose and connect it again until I get home and was able to mount the V-band clamp properly.

So in total no big things, two well known T7-issues, and one issue caused by bad work from my side  – but some basic tools have saved me from tow-trucks and a lot of wasted time.

After slimming my toolbox down to my new tool-bag, I now have to a set of some wrenches, a monkey wrench, a big and a small flat screwdriver, some torx-bits, a hose clamp screwdriver with spiral blade, fuel-pump-tool, a cutting pier, a LED-torch, some cable ties + gaffa tape and at least some glows and rags for cleaning up stuff. And of course a box of scrubbing wipes for oil and other dirt.
So to sum this up, which basic tools do you think is nice to have in a small bag in the spare tire compartment? Or maybe you don’t have tools at all, and have the number for SAAB-assistance stored in your mobile phone?

And I almost forgot, on my way back home after visiting some friends I stopped and shoot some pics on my old 900.
Actually the time was around 00:45 when I shoot these pictures, and it’s still pretty much daylight outside where I live…

tronda_900_jun14 tronda_900_jun14_2 tronda_900_jun14_3

Lightness and Aerodynamics – Saabs Future?

Skärmavbild 2014-06-05 kl. 18.48.28

With the last news coming to our ears in the recent days what I write below is something anyone making cars in Trollhättan in the future should consider not once but twice.

Weight-loss as a method to increase performance in the daily life is known to most of us with a few or more centimeters around the belly or thighs. The same goes for our cars. I was inspired to write this post after having seen the new FORD Lightweight Concept Car in american motor press. It is amazing what can be done today with new production techniques and new materials. Who would have thought about hollow springs or aluminium brake calipers, carbon fiber in seats and wheels. Carbon fiber wheels will finally make them lightweight. Unsprung weight is also good for the chassis performance.

Here is my bold idea for Saab Cars. Hold on to the chairs now boys and girls. Saab´s heritage IS aerospace it is just a fact and right after the second world war soon 70 years ago Saab embarked on a path of making cars with aerospace technology, and brave new concepts like front wheel drive, aerodynamic design by Sixten Sason and others, even if Gunnar Ljungström Chief engineer told me he was not satisfied with the front wheel houses as he called massive air brakes. Various safety concept Saab also pioneered like standard issue seat belts and dual circuit brake systems. Just like in airplanes redundant systems.

The Saab of the future should be constructed with lightweight constructions in focus, just like airplanes, that would bring back the “core” to the brand. Add to that class leading aerodynamics and a for the pilot/driver optimized workplace/cockpit. That environment must be free from “modern” styling cues that seams to be ordered from most of the automotive worlds marketing departments instead of the human factors man machine interaction engineers/psychologists. My professional recipe for this is to look back to the 9000 model some 30 years ago now. Time flies folks but good design does not. Get rid of everything that is shiny and blinds. As an owner of a 9-5 NG Aero I curse the silver chrome ring around the Color Central Instrument and the piece of shiny metal over the colvebox/compartment. I just realize I start to spin in my own area of expertise. This posting is primarily on weight and new materials.

So to conclude this and how Saab Cars could attract the small minority of prospective Saab buyers is to stand out and be truly unique. The majority of car buyers would not even consider a SAAB but that is fine because there are enough buyers with an acquired taste for the unique and special.

– Build the next SAAB from bottom up in lightweight material aluminum and carbon fiber. Lower displacement engine and BHP but with the same driving experience

Skärmavbild 2014-06-11 kl. 10.04.15

– Make the car beat the current class leading car in terms of aerodynamic drag, the Opel Calibra with a Drag Coefficient (Cd) 0,26 number, if Opel could do it 25 years ago what could not be achieved today with better computers for design and fluid dynamics calculations.

– Ride (fly) on the aircraft heritage and set Saab apart from other manufacturers as an engineering driven company. name some of the top-of-the-line cars with distinctive names of famous SAAB planes just like the halo-Model VIGGEN some 15 years ago. A name is so much better for understanding and memorization for most people compared to a silly 9-5 or 9-3..

– Saab is not and will never be for the faint-hearted, put the brand in the same “category” as Alfa Romeo and Citroen. Swedish avant-garde. In this work do not hesitate to look back at old designs that never made it into production from Saabs DesignCenter. Make the Swedish touch from people who lives and breath the clean air here on the top of Europe. Talk to Eduard Gray, Björn Envall, Ola Granlund, Einar Hareide…..(Old Saab designers)  Build competent focus groups. SaabsUnited with our extensive international network must be valuable in this work. Our network of dealers, buyers, drivers, enthusiast, and collectors is G R E A T!

DSC_0479

Above is a drawing by Björn Envall, it is close t 20 years ago he did this but it encapsulate so much that is SAAB, new thinking, bright colors, extreme aerodynamics, low slung, and above all convertible.

DSC_0480 kopia

And here is something family oriented. With this post I just want to energize the whole Saab  community do not let the recent negativism let You down there will be a summer with bright light and blinding colors.

The saga about “#17” by Michel Annink (from: 9-5sc2012.com)

More info about Nr 17 in the sc  directory: http://9-5sc2012.com/?page_id=382 or visit the website http://9-5sc2012.com/

I’ve been a SAAB fan for as long as I can remember. The SAAB-virus hit me through my best friend in school whose father had his own SAAB dealership. I still vividly remember the test drive we took with the brand new 99 Turbo he had just received from the factory that day. I sat behind him and saw the Turbo meter that was mounted on top of the dashboard spike as we were vastly accelerating. I was sold on SAAB but had to wait until 1999 before I could afford to buy my first one.

Advancing many years and about some 10 SAAB’s later, I read about the fact that many unique SAAB’s would be auctioned out in December 2012, among which several 9-5NG SportCombi’s.

I have always admired SAAB’s quirkiness, performance, reliability and above all its design. The new 9-5 launched in 2010 I just find stunning and when I realized I could get my hands on one of the extremely rare SportCombi’s, I set my mind to it. It would take me almost a year before I actually was able to call one my own and drive it.

This epos (it got quite a bit longer than I initially envisioned) is a summary of the different events that happened from the date of the auction until the day I received my permanent Swedish license plates in the mail. A journey and a struggle of more than 10 months to get a truly unique car that was supposedly “never to be allowed back on the road again” road legal.

16 Dec 2012: The highest bid!

Collecting #17 at KVD in Åkersberga (Stockholm)

After many nerve-racking minutes and frantically hitting my browser’s refresh button I finally understood that I had won the highest bid and that I had just bought a very coveted 9-5NG SportCombi!

The beautiful Arctic White was now mine!

My blood was still rushing as I received the confirmation mail from auction house KVD.

I understood that the car was located in Wallhamn (near Gothenburg) and as there was no obvious way to drive it to Stockholm myself I had KVD arrange for transport to their facilities in the Stockholm area.

However, many more things had to be figured out: how to get the car insured, but more importantly, how to get it registered? 

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Rust Proofing a Saab 9-5

Tuff-Kote DinolMany of us wonder what to do when there are no new Saabs to buy for the moment. A lot of the comments on SU concern replacement options.  I did my homework and came up with the conclusion – I don’t want to replace my car, I love it!

I bought my car 2010, just after the new year. Saab was already in a shaky situation and I wanted to buy a car which would last a long time even if Saab would not make it as a company. I got hold of a 9-5 Griffin Vector Sport. It is basically an Aero, but with the 210hp 2.3l Bio Ethanol engine. It was less than one year old and was previously driven by a shop floor manager at Saab in Trollhättan.

I can’t really find any car with good value for money which is fun to drive, beautiful, eco friendly and can fit my entire family.

So how do you keep your darling in good shape? I decided to give it some TLC in form of some good old rust proofing. I have already applied paint protection and this was the natural next step.

I decided to go with Dintrol or Dinol as it is also called, after recommendations from a relative who has been in the business. Dinotrol is a rugged product with a deep penetration effect. The next step was to find a good workshop. There are several players in this field in the vicinity of Gothenburg where I live. I made my decision after talking to Ulf, a proper Saab nut like myself. Ulf has been a Saab mechanic since 1980 and has worked with Saab until he bought Protec. He has one 9-5 Aero and beautiful 9-3 convertible. This is a man who knows what he is talking about when it comes to Saab. Ulf promised that I could come by to document the different steps and that I could share the experience with the readers of SU.

The Tuff-Kote Dinol treatment is a thorough procedure which takes three days to complete.

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What happened to IQon?

In march 2011 SWAN Saab presented themselves on the Geneva Motor Show as a new company with lots of ideas and new pieces of technology that they wanted to implement in their future cars. For those nostalgic among us, you can review the press conference here.

Jason Castriota showed with the PhoeniX concept car, where the post GM Saab design was heading to. Now, two years later, SaabsUnited is bringing to you the design of the first offspring of that design language. This car will never hit the road, but from the comments on this side on designs that still do not show the final product, my impression is that this car had the potential to help Saab get back on its foot.

One of the technology pieces that would have put Saab back ahead of other companies is the eAAM electric rear axle. From their presentation on the Geneva Motor Show we learned that the Chinese Qoros will be using it but not on its full potential, as we learned that Qoros will not implement torque vectoring in its car. I don’t like the idea of Audi telling the world in 2014 or 2015 that their eQuattro system is the first electric rear axle with torque vectoring, as we know that eAAM could have been today ready for production.

The other piece of technology that Saab demonstrated at the Geneva Motor Show was the IQon infotainment system.

IQon was an Android based infotainment system. It was like the flexibility of a modern Smartphone or tablet combined with the car integration of a legacy infotainment system. Being this such a promising system, what happened to it after the Saab bankruptcy?

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