Vehicles

sonett - new battery terminals, removing ignition switch

While I was working on adjusting the valves on the Sonett I accidentaly touched the terminals on the alternator with my socket. Sparks flew. I am an idiot some times. I prompted disconnected the battery like you are always told to do before this kind of procedure.

Once the valve adjustment was done, I reconnected the battery only to find that the car would not start. I checked the voltage at the starter, which is where the positive line from the battery goes. The voltage was a solid 12 volts when the ignition was off. As soon as you turned it on or to start, the voltage dropped to 1.8 volts. 

Over the next couple days I checked EVERYTHING. I learned way more about the electrical system than I ever wanted to. I learned how to easily jumpt start the Sonett. The ignition wires are litterally just hanging off the back of the ignition switch. The only thing stopping you from driving away is the steering wheel lock.

In the end what I determined was that the voltage dropped as soon as any sort of load was placed on the electrical system, like by an electronic fuel pump, blower motor, anything. It turned out that my negative battery wire was bad. It was tightly connected to the battery but wiggling the wire caused the problem to go away. There must be some internal problem with that wire.

I replaced the negative wire with a new, much shorter wire. As a way to minimize the chance of this happening again, I installed battery terminal quick disconnects. These terminal clamps do not require any tools to remove. That should help ensure I take the 2 seconds needed to remove the negative battery connection before working on the car.

While I was back there I also cut back the long positive cable and installed a quick disconnect terminal clamp on that line as well. The quick disconnect clamps feel a little flimsy, at least compared to the solid lead connectors I am used to, but they work as advertised. They were only six bucks so we will see how long they last. With them installed, the car turns over just fine. My voltage problems are over.

As part of troubleshooting I removed the ignition switch. This is difficult because Saab used security bolts where they break the head off once tightened. The bolts have to be removed using a hammer and sharp chisel. This is very time consuming and akward, but doable. 

In the process of removing the ignition switch, I broke two tiny wires run to the top of it. They do not seem to have affected the operation of the switch. These wires are not shown on any wiring diagram so I have no idea what they do. Hopefully someone on the VSAAB forum will know what they do.

Pictures

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SmllMedLrg
ignition switch uses security bolts, this one has already been hammered loose
SmllMedLrg
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the top bolt got ugly, had to be drilled and hammered some more
SmllMedLrg
ignition switch removed, note the steering wheel lock (retracted)
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SmllMedLrg
every single wire is red, two sets of wires are both labeled 30, fun fun
SmllMedLrg
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SmllMedLrg
The 57a terminal is not used, at least not on mine
SmllMedLrg
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SmllMedLrg
bad negative wire on the right of the battery
SmllMedLrg
I ended up cutting the negative wire to be MUCH shorter
SmllMedLrg
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SmllMedLrg
quick disconnect terminal clamp, works well
SmllMedLrg
decided to clean up the positive wire as well
SmllMedLrg
both battery wires all cleaned up, car turns over just fine
SmllMedLrg
did a compression test on all 4 cylinders
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3 is a little low but overall everything seems in order
SmllMedLrg
exhaust fumes get in the cabin from the cut cross over pipe
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this tiger patch exhaust patch was cheap so I am going to give it a try
SmllMedLrg
cross over pipe patched up, good enough until I can replace exhaust
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patched rear right muffler as well
SmllMedLrg
what the heck do these two little red wires do? they broke off the top of the switch

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