Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Steering Bushing Replacement on SAAB c900, Pt. 2

You may recall we left our c900 with the steering wheel removed, the horn contact (aka 'clock spring') and its mounting plate removed.

So we're left with the lock ring and the upper column bearing.

There is probably a factory tool to remove the lock washer/ring, or even a generic lock-washer-removal tool.  But in the absence of either, I carefully use my trusty Destructo screwdriver and needle-nose pliers to pry the washer off the column.

And here it is.

Wow.

Now we can carefully pry the bearing out.  It rides in a rubber mount.

That was easy, yes?

Now, you may recall from Part 1 that the purpose of all of this work is to replace the bushing that fits between this bearing and the steering column.

I expected to find a broken or worn bushing at this point.  Instead I found...nothing.  No bushing at all!

It's not like there's anywhere for it to go.  Could it have just disintegrated?  This is strange.

At any rate, I do have a new bushing to install.

You can see it lying just above the bearing assembly here.

This missing bushing is the cause of my steering play.

I press the new bushing into place and reassemble the whole thing.  Just slide the bearing back down the steering column shaft.
I need to install a new lock ring over the bearing.  Of course it's a force fit.

I improvised a drift from a piece of PVC pipe.  It works perfectly.  A few whacks on the drift, and the lock ring is seated.

I think it's unlikely that the bearing would come out of its seat, given the way it fits down into that plate.  The ring is really insurance to ensure it won't move at all.

Here's the bearing and new bushing installed.  This picture looks remarkably like the one above!

Recall from Part 1 that the horn contact attempted to undo itself.  I took it down to The Dungeon and carefully reassembled the ribbon connector.

This is a simple device- the top half of the connector turns with the steering wheel.  The ribbon connects the horn and airbag wiring from the dash to the steering wheel.  So as the wheel is turned, the ribbon 'spring' tightens or loosens on the reel and maintains contact throughout.  Clever.

I taped the top and bottom sections (probably more accurate to say 'front' and 'back'...) together until it gets installed.

Recall that the black and yellow connectors are for the instrument panel side.  The wires at the top will go through the steering wheel and connect to the horn buttons and the airbag.

I discovered this strip of electrical tape on the contact.  This is where the contact was originally taped together when it was first assembled.  Then it was installed in the car and the tape cut.  If I had known to tape it together on disassembly, I could have saved myself some work.  Live and learn.

I put the contact bracket back on, then slip the contact unit onto the steering column.

Screw the contact back onto the bracket.  Leave the tape on until the wheel is back on, or it will open up again!

Reconnect the rear side black and yellow connectors under the dash, then reinstall the turn signal bracket.

The factory had put a wire tie around this wiring to hold it in place, so I did the same.

More proof that actual humans, rather than robots, built this car.  Whoopee!

Now grab your steering wheel and thread the horn and airbag connectors through the slot in the center.

At this point you'll need to cut or remove the tape.

Slide the wheel back on to the shaft.  It's splined, so it may take a bit of wiggling to get it on, but it will slide right on.  The pin in the bottom of the contact will align with the mating hole in the steering wheel. 

Reconnect and route the horn button wiring.

Side note: you can see the locating pin just below the shaft in this view.

Put the steering wheel nut back on and tighten it.

Reconnect the airbag connector and put the airbag back into position in the center of the steering wheel.

Tighten the two screws that hold the airbag in place from behind the steering wheel.

Now my steering has no play in it!  In addition to peace of mind, I've found that I seem to have better feel, and the steering wheel doesn't 'jolt' like it used to over bad pavement. 

 
 
 
 

Post a Comment 5 comments:

  • Colin Baker said...
    July 15, 2016 at 5:15 PM
    Thank you so much for posting this step-by-step process with pictures! Your posts were key to me being able to do this!
  • Colin Baker said...
    July 15, 2016 at 5:21 PM
    Thank you so much for posting this step-by-step process with pictures! Your posts were key to me being able to do this!
  • Yr Fthfl Blggr said...
    July 18, 2016 at 7:20 PM
    Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad it helped. It's very straightforward to do...just watch that clock spring!

    Let's keep those c900s on the road!
  • Stephen Cawley said...
    July 23, 2016 at 11:02 AM
    Thanks for this, I just replaced the bushing on my 91. She now drives like a 94.
  • Anonymous said...
    October 15, 2016 at 7:04 PM
    Thanks - I used this today and it worked perfect!

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