For the techies – forming a racing block from billet aluminium


I’m constantly amazed when I see the things people can do with the right tools. They always make me feel like a complete idiot, but in the nicest possible way.

If you’re like me and have absolutely no idea about the real work done to build components, then here’s your insight. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Spare a thought for Queensland (again) – TC Yasi

This is completely unrelated to Saab, but when I saw these images online today, I couldn’t help but post them.

Queensland, the northeastern state in Australia, has already suffered terribly with the floods a few weeks ago. Whilst they were absolutely massive, the worst damage was done in the south-east of the state.

Now the people of northern Queensland are bracing for tropical cyclone Yasi, which is already affecting the coastline but is due to hit with full force at around 11pm this evening (some seven hours away, as I sit here writing this).

Here’s Yasi:

And another shot, from NASA (thanks Turbin)

And to help you get a grip on the size of this beast, here’s the full Yasi weather system superimposed over the US, and Asia, and Europe…..

Yasi is a category 5 tropical cyclone and winds are expected to get up to 300km/h at their peak. As I write this, winds are already reported to be up to 125km/h and the peak is still seven hours away.

Weather boffins say that just the eye of Yasi is 35km wide and there should be a calm when the eye is over land that lasts for up to an hour.

In some parts of the Queensland coast, they’re expecting a storm-driven surge of water up to around 7 meters in height.

Cairns hospital was evacuated last night, with around 250 people, including something like 12 or so babies in humidicribs and a number of ICU patients being flown down to Brisbane. A massive effort.

People were advised earlier this afternoon that their window of opportunity for outrunning the cyclone had closed. Their best option was to find an official shelter or hunker down in the smallest room of the house. Cyclone shelters don’t allow people to bring their pets.

Such is the size of the storm that the severely effected areas are expected to stretch from Cairns in the north to Townsville in the south – a 300+km stretch of coastline. Areas either side will feel lesser, but still significant effects and tidal effects could stretch down as far as the Sunshine Coast, another 1200km south of Townsville.

I don’t personally know anyone north of about Noosa, but I hope any top-end Queenslanders tuning in here at SU are going to be OK tonight.

Help needed – Geneva accommodation

It seems we may have only one of two attending the Geneva show. I had to scratch and argue to get my accreditation, which only came through yesterday after initially being denied. RedJ’s is not looking rosy at this point.

That said, with such a late confirmation of attendance, accommodation is going to be a massive hassle to find.

Just wondering – has anyone here got any local knowledge as to where to look. I’m assuming that as with every other year, Geneva itself is completely booked out. Consequently I might need to stay somewhere within commuting distance.

If anyone has a suitable lead, or suitable advice, please let me know via email (swade99-at-gmail-dot-com)




I’m not 100% sure about SW plans, but I think he/we needs accommodation for 3 nights, coming at the 28th of February and leaving on the 3rd of May.

Housekeeping: Comments (again)

I got an email from a Saabs United reader earlier today, which included the following:

I don’t read all the comments nowadays as there is so much negative talking in there.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen this. It’s not even the first time I’ve seen this in the last three days.

People seem to think that just because they can comment here freely, that they should. Comments become a place for throwaway lines, online comedy auditions, needless over-reactive negativity and/or the idea that “Saab will die if they don’t [do what the commenter thinks is important]”.

There have been a few other transgressions recently that have necessitated action. A number of racial comments have seen one regular relegated to a moderation queue. And a visit from someone whose sole purpose was to declare that Saab Is Dead has seen the same action.

This is an enthusiast’s website. I don’t mind discussion or polite, considered argument. I don’t mind disagreement. But the purpose of this site is to support Saab and document current events happening with the company and the ownership community. It’s not to prognosticate or prophesy on what could be the direst possible consequence of any given action.

I want this site to reflect positively towards the Saab brand. I want people who come here to see the picture that I see – an innovative company in a tough position, but working as best they can to proceed, and making progress towards that goal. I want it to be a positive experience for people who land here.

Some guidelines to commenting here:

  • Read the comments policy.
  • Read the comments policy again.
  • Consider whether what you’ve got to say actually adds to the discussion.
  • Be prepared to accept the viewpoints of others. They might well know a lot more than you do about a given situation.
  • Don’t look at a story in isolation (e.g. the recent, small recall on fuel pumps). Consider the big picture.
  • Recognise your own limitations. If you don’t know the circumstances surrounding a decision (i.e. the big picture), admit it. If you don’t understand the consequences of, or obstacles to your proposed idea, either hold it, or if you proceed to share your wisdom, admit it.

Saabs United is not all about you. It’s not all about me, either. It’s all about Saab. Please consider the ramifications of what you want to say before you say it because it might well have a negative impact on the experience of others here.

Another mini-milestone for Saabs United

From my WordPress dashboard today…..

“100%Saab” was the one who brought us to this magical all-9’s comment milestone (thanks!), which in some Saaby way feels every bit as important than the one that came after it…..

Thanks to “74Stingray” for providing the first 6-figure comment here at SU.

It’s nice to see two regulars here fill in some important milestones. I feel like I should get a set of steak knives for both of you 🙂

Thanks all for your ongoing contributions to the life of Saabs United.

Upgrades on the way for my Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo

For those of you who are new around here, this is my car…..

Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo

It’s a 1999 Saab 9-3 SE Sport, known as a Monte Carlo here in Australia. We only got 50 of them here, each of them numbered. There are various configurations – 3-door, 5-door, Auto and Manual, all of them with a B204R engine, producing 200hp in manual form. Mine is #9, a 3-door manual.

Since getting the car, I’ve fitted the following:

  • 17-inch wheels from a 9-3SS with Continental SportContact rubber
  • Steering rack clamp and brace
  • Custom made front subframe brace
  • Rear sway bar
  • Carbonfibre dash kit (originally fitted to Viggen here in Oz)
  • Hirsch stainless steel cat-back exhaust
  • Hirsch wastegate actuator
  • Hirsch performance ECU
  • Maptun performance air filter (I have a Speedparts one as well)
  • Saab 9-3 Viggen dampers and springs

I’ve had the car for two years now, which is pretty good for me 🙂

I was considering replacing the car some time early this year, but some circumstances have arisen that have made me reconsider. Instead of selling, I’m now upgrading a few bits and pieces.

It became evident shortly after the Hirsch ECU upgrade that my clutch was wearing. I’ve put up with it for a little while now, but I figured that this should be the first upgrade.

Hence, a Viggen clutch has been ordered and should arrive later this week, along with a few other goodies.

Since I’m uprating the clutch, I figured the car could do with a bit more power and some better breathing. Soooooooooo…. I emailed my mates at Maptun to see what they suggested.

Along with the clutch, I’m now looking forward to receiving:

  • Maptun Stage 3 ECU
  • Uprated Forge wastegate actuator (matched to ECU requirements)
  • A big, fat downpipe to complete the exhaust system.

I’m told these upgrades should be good for a theoretical 280hp and around 400Nm of torque.

UPS tracking tells me they’ve left Melbourne, so I’m hoping for a call from my mechanic tomorrow to say they’ve arrived. If so, I reckon I’ll be risking a ticket some time early next week 🙂

At the same time as this stuff’s installed, I’m going to get my airbag and stereo controls back, and get Steve the mechanic to look at the front end for an occasional knocking noise.

Sometimes not buying a replacement car can be fun, too.

SU Site Statistics – December 2010

We’re in a new month so I’ll take this weekend opportunity to share the site statistics from December 2010.

SU served 467,222 pages during December 2010, to 67,261 unique visitors. A slower month, thanks to the Christmas break, which really was a break this year.

Seeing we’re at year’s end, why not a small sample of annual numbers as well?

Saabs United served 7,551,995 page views for the whole of 2010. These pages were served to 784,589 individual visitors. Not too shabby, eh?


The top 20 cities visiting Saabs United during December were as follows:

Munich, Berlin and Amsterdam were all in the 25, but just didn’t make it into the top 20.

Much is made of the potential contained in the so-called “BRIC” countries. Visitation here isn’t quite pointing to the same thing, but Russia’s good at 5,821 pages and China’s growing with 1,313 pages (Taiwanese Saab fans viewed just over 2,000 pages for the month). India and Brazil were both around the 400 page mark, so there aren’t many people looking for Saab information there…. yet 🙂


Here are some new stats for you….

19.7% of visits to SU in December were people visiting just once.

28.6% of visits to SU in December were the 200th (or more) visit for the person concerned.


The top 3 individual pages viewed in December 2010 (aside from the home page) were as follows:


That’s it for this month.

And here we go again for the start of 2011!!

Saab 900 Convertible gets emu art treatment

I think it’s going to be a convertible themed month…..

As some of you know, my wife does quite a lot of watercolour painting. At her first solo exhibition, held back in November 2010, she had a painting of some emus in a Mini Convertible. This prompted a few people to ask “what about a Saab convertible?” – and she even received one commission for such a painting.

I thought I’d share the finished result with everyone here at SU….

The emu paintings aren’t all she does, but they are extremely popular as they bring such a big smile to people’s faces.

Putting them in a 900 Convertible will hopefully bring even more smiles.

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