Classic 900 Upper Control Arm Hole

Lots of front suspension work on a classic 900 involves unloading the front suspension in order to service ball joints, shock absorbers, or driveshafts. Done properly, this can be accomplished without harm to the automobile, but if the correct tools are not used, the end result after years of abuse can be quite unpleasant.

Saab sells a special tool for this purpose, shown in the picture at left. This tool supports the upper control arm in a reinforced area so no damage is caused to the bodywork

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Here we see something that is becoming all too common on our older cars, the sad result of years of abuse.

Prior repairs have been accomplished without the use of the recommended special tool. Instead, the control arm was propped up with a makeshift tool, perhaps some old brake pads or an iron log splitter. Regardless, the bodywork has been beaten down time after time so that now, the upper control arm opening is ready to tear through into the driveshaft opening below it. Cars in this condition can often no longer be safely supported in the recommended fashion.

The example shown at left is by no means the worst I have seen.

Ideally, the bodywork should be restored to its correct shape. Reportly on the driver's side this damage occurs in the vicinity of fuel lines so any attempt to repair the torn bodywork must be approached with care.
One workaround to the problem is to externally support the upper control arm with, for example, a spare inner driveshaft passed under the arm and supported at either end with jackstands. You may be forced into this the next time you need to service the front suspension on your classic 900.

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