Changing a Saab 900 S Clutch

Changing the saab 900 clutch yourself will save you $2000. For some suggestions on how to do this, please continue reading.


  1. Believe in yourself. This may take days, obtaining the parts will. Your only requirement is to be able to fit an open end wrench on a bolt without bleeding.
  2. Get rid of all the stuff in your way.- open the hood and disconnect the windshield washer hose near the right headlight. Cut the hose if it is stuck. If you can’t find it have a person standing by with a cutter as you remove the hood. Put a blanket on the roof of the car and put the hood there(upside-down) It will serve as a nice big bucket to put the big stuff it.
  3. Never hesitate- you will get depressed and look for a tow rope- your screw driver will remove the three big air supply tubes for the engine. Got a digital camera and a magic marker? Label them and put arrows on them so you do not try to put them out of order or pointing in the wrong direction. Put the big aluminum one and the rubber ones in the hood. Gently reach inside the turbo (that is the piece the aluminum tube came from near the exhaust)and see if the little fan inside is free to spin. If it is- you just saved $600. If not time to call an expert. If you got this far, you have proved to the world that you can run a screwdriver, and a 10 mm wrench.
  4. While you are now aware of where the turbo is-stuff a small rag in the hole with the fan and remove the plastic “air in” line. -some have a sensor which you can leave attached, but you will need to release either end of the little hose that attaches to it. If any rubber hoses give you trouble on a saab- cut them-they are much cheaper than the part they are attached to. Once on the bench you can slit them with a razor and peel them off the offending part.
  5. Last of the tubes is the carb heat. This covers the clutch and can be removed from the air cleaner and pulled from the heat source, (the exhaust manifold) Toss everything in the hood and go save you pictures.
  6. Stand back and look at the progress you’ve made. See it’s not so hard.Next pull the electric fans. They have three phillips head screws (The bottom one is usually missing)and a wire connector. All in the hood.
  7. Now find the allen head screws that hold the plastic cover over the clutch. Without malice pull and fold the cover away from the car.
  8. This is important—The pressure plate will not go on just any way. Take some nail polish and carb spray. Clean any old spot of the flywheel and the clutch plate. Put alignment dots on them. Even if you are discarding the old clutch plate, you can align the bolt holes and dowel pin holes and transfer the location to the new clutch plate. This will keep you from spinning the new clutch plate looking for the correct place for it.
  9. Now we loosen the pressure plate. Take one bolt out and replace it with a longer bolt(I steal one from the plastic cover) Skip a bolt and replace the next one and then again- you now have three long bolts not holding any thing and three short ones. The clutch bolts a special-put them in a can. Remove the last three short bolts a little at a time (if you are using the pressure plate over-not recommended)Now the pressure plate is loose and hanging on the long bolts.
  10. The clutch slave cylinder is held in place with 3 allen bolts or 10mm headed bolts. It is run by brake fluid. Remove the pressure line and put the end in a plastic bag to keep brake fluid from leaking everywhere.
  11. Things are real loose now. With the bits out of the way -look for the stub shaft that transfers power from the clutch to the transmission. it is under a plastic cover held on with an odd looking spring bail wire.Pop off the spring and inside is a white plastic “X” threaded into the end of the shaft.-Remove it. If you just try to pry it out, it will poke a hole in the radiator(you noticed how close it is). There is a hole in the end which you can thread a clutch bolt through a piece of tube you might have laying around which is bigger than the shaft and with a washer as an anvil will pull the shaft out of the clutch plate and crankshaft without harming the radiator-or you can take the radiator out. When loose slide it as far forward as it will go without hurting the radiator.
  12. Review: 1) clutch is loose with pressure plate.2)slave cylinder is away. 3)drive shaft is out of your way and the chain and sprocket scared you when it fell. NOW
  13. Thread a wire through a bolt hole on the clutch pressure plate. Using a screwdriver or two keep the components away from the dowels. Remove the last three long bolts from the pressure plate and force the clutch and pressure plat out of their snug little home.
  14. 12 Gather everything up. take the old parts to the store and remove the new pieces from their box while at the store. Our new slave cylinder had a big spring inside a rubber bellows which we discarded and used 3M cement to hold the bellows in place. Have the flywheel machined.


  • 10mm headed bolt = a 6mm bolt at the hardware store.

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5 thoughts on “Changing a Saab 900 S Clutch

  1. butl3697

    I own a 97 Saab 900s and I am having some problems with the clutch. When I depress the pedal all the way it doesn’t seem like the clutch disengages all the way. When I try and put it in reverse the gears grind. Do you know how to adjust the clutch so it disengages completely?

  2. Hotep3

    There is a need to compress the clutch fingers (my term)and insert the 1/4″ spacer ring, before pulling the slave cylinder and the clutch. Additionally, one needs to take this step before disconnecting the hydraulic line to the slave cylinder.

  3. Maggie

    To replace the slave cylinder on my 900 Saab 1990. Is it possible to do this from the top of the engine and not remove the transmission?

  4. cchavis222

    how do you change the clutch on the nonturbo that doesn’t have the plastic clutch cover but the solid transmission housing

  5. alex

    I think, this is a really nice help for people like me, that want to do himself all the fixing on his car, tanks.

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