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Thread: World First: Project Death Star

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Loveland, CO
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    Default World First: Project Death Star

    So a few of you have been privy to the project I have been undergoing with my 1994 Aero for the past several months. I've been trying to keep it relatively hush-hush until I felt I had made enough progress to share with you all. Basically, I decided to finally jump into redoing the suspension, in a way I have not found evidence of anyone else in the world doing on a Saab 9000.

    The journey started after my tax refund arrived and I began hoarding a few bits and pieces in my campus apartment closet. This was just the beginning:

    The tank, Accuair Exo mount, EAI switch controller, and SMC valves I bought used from another forum member, and had originally been installed in a Scion XB.

    The struts are a kit from Air Lift, consisting of a double-bellows bag over long-stroke adjustable damping shocks. The kit comes with a variety of hardware which allows it to adapt to any style of strut. In order to match the McPherson strut arrangement on the front of the Aero, I measured out how long I wanted the assembly to be in order to give me the desired ride height, as well as at full up and full down. At that point, I took it to my dad, who was able to weld the strut body as well as the two mounting tabs on each side:




    At that point, I began installing the management system in the hatch area. I liked the idea of a nice, clean look, and wanted to retain as much usable trunk space as possible. I ended up using c-brackets to suspend the valve assemblies and switch box from the bottom of the false floor:

    This arrangement still allows full use of the spare tire, and also keeps most of the wiring and plumbing hidden. I mounted the tank, Viair 400c compressor, and water trap on the forward part of the floor, again leaving plenty of usable space.


    I originally bought double-bellows bags for the rear as well, but soon realized the spring locations did not provide enough space for them to function. At that point, I went over to Bag Riders where they recommended I try their new Firestone 7076 inverted-sleeve bags. While not quite as robust as the Air Lift Dominators I had originally planned on, now that they are installed, they are absolutely perfect for the job. I had to create a custom top mount that would bolt to the bag and prevent it from slipping from the top spring perch. A friend of mine has access to a 3d printer, and I was able to send him a CAD model of what I needed. A few days later, he handed me this:



    Somewhere in here, I had bought new wheels, a set of vintage gold/polished ARE 398s, 17x9.5 et 56, off of an old Corvette.

    I had high hopes for fitting these blingin' beauts, but decided I would need to run some insane stretch & poke, which is not quite the look I want to go for. So they are now on their way out the door to fund something else.
    Last edited by Svenska94Aero; 07-03-2012 at 06:25 PM.
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Loveland, CO
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    Default

    Once I got the management running properly, it was time to run the air lines and install the struts/bags. I ran two lines from the tank, through holes in the false floor and into the spare tire well, where each of them fed one bank of valves. Each corner of the car has one pair of valves, one for fill and one for dump. They are all triggered by the switchbox that I ran under the carpeting into the center console, where it will be molded into a panel alongside the two dual-needle gauges.

    The lines from each pair of valves then passes through holes in the front of the spare tire well (with grommets to prevent chafing) and outward to the flanks. Two lines go straight along the axle to the rear bags, while the other two run inside the side skirts all the way into the front wheel well, where they adapt to the braided leader lines into the strut bags.

    Took some preliminary shots right after the front struts were installed:

    We were running out of light, so we took the springs out of the rear just to see how low it could go:

    but that didn't really work because we couldn't pull the jack out, so it was still holding up the car a fair amount.

    Eventually we got a few things tweaked and were able to install the rear bags and get some legit shots of how it sits aired out:


    Clearance at the front subframe (about 1.5", should be able to get another inch out of it with different wheels/tires):

    And rear clearance (still plenty of room for more ;D ) :


    And that's about where it sits right now. I'd like to note all of this was done with borrowed tools and plenty of help from various friends, in my gravel driveway.

    I still have a bit of a list of stuff I need to do before I can call my project done, such as:
    -Fix front camber (camber bolts and then machining custom pillow-ball top mounts with camber adjustment)
    -Mount gauges and switchbox in center console
    -Fix leaks / switch from teflon tape on all the fittings to Loctite 565 thread sealer
    -Custom copper hardlines between tank and valve manifolds
    -And of course wheels and tires

    Thanks for bearing with my rambling. I know this project won't fit everyone's taste, but I've had an absolute blast through the whole process, and I definitely think I've managed to explore a genre of modification not everyone in the Saab crowd is willing to tackle. Special thanks to those who have given any and all support. I look forward to hearing your feedback.

    Cheers!
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  3. #3
    JC. Guest

    Default

    Awesome
    Keep up the amazing work!

  4. #4

    Default

    Respect.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Gold Coast, Aus
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    172

    Default

    Very Cool!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Savannah, Mo
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    1,058

    Default

    Very cool, btw straighten that grill up haha sorry it was buggin me lol

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    orgun
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    I have always loved a good saab, almost bought a couple. I'm proud of you, and those AREs look swell.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Hilton Head Bluffton, SC
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    I see no Death Star. I thought you were going to do something cool like make the tank a Death Star
    Strictly Pleasure/Zero Clearance/Stretch Your Legs
    Alex

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Loveland, CO
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    706

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    Quote Originally Posted by 99sil-teg View Post
    Very cool, btw straighten that grill up haha sorry it was buggin me lol
    Haha working on it, need to do some trimming to get it to fit around the E36 headlights.
    Quote Originally Posted by willis View Post
    I have always loved a good saab, almost bought a couple. I'm proud of you, and those AREs look swell.
    Thanks man, and yeah, I'm really bummed I had to pass on the AREs, but there are better prospects out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by NeedingAnAudi View Post
    I see no Death Star. I thought you were going to do something cool like make the tank a Death Star
    Sorry bro. lol. The nickname came from my boss, a crazy old nerd, when he saw the picture of all the parts spread out on the floor he asked me what I was building in my apartment, a Death Star? So the name kinda stuck.
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    706

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    Super quick bad 'chop, but...
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Newport Beach
    Posts
    2,418

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    Nice! I've got a 98 anniversary that used to be my daily, the aero engine is a really good engine actually. They're under-appriciated cars.

    I was gonna do 17" type a's on mine, but the Kelleners would be awesome.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Loveland, CO
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    706

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron View Post
    Nice! I've got a 98 anniversary that used to be my daily, the aero engine is a really good engine actually. They're under-appriciated cars.

    I was gonna do 17" type a's on mine, but the Kelleners would be awesome.
    Definitely a great all-around car, good performance, reliability, usability, and comfort. Type A's have been in my head forever, but I want something a bit different. Honestly the K's probably won't happen either, but we'll see what ends up coming up at the right time for the right price.
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    706

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    By means of an update, I just replaced all four front strut/knuckle bolts with J-Power camber bolts from eBay. Took me less than two hours, including a run to Lowe's to pick up a replacement nut because one stripped. They fixed the weird positive camber issue that developed, and even got me an extra 1/4" lower than I had been. Balloon tires are still holding me up, but that will be fixed shortly.
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  14. #14

    Default

    Do you still have those ARE's?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    706

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    Yep I do, they're packaged up and ready to ship out the door though, just waiting on payment from the guy. Still trying to decide what wheels I want to try to mount next.
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  16. #16

    Default

    Fuck haha, I would pick them up off you right now.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    706

    Default

    If he ends up flaking, you'll be first to know. Are you local?
    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Burlington, Vermont
    Posts
    405

    Default

    Looks good man! So pumped to see what the wheels end up being!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Brisbane - Australia
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    447

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    I Love Saab's. They are, as said, under appreciated and for the most part driven by enthusiasts and real interesting people. Keep up the good work man

    1987 BMW e28 535i
    "Respect your elders"

    jacobraftery@hotmail.com
    timetoshinee.wordpress.com
    flickr.com/photos/thetimetoshine
    "thetimetoshine - instagram"

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Norway
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    Nice and unmainstream!
    http://www.stanceworks.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=35341&dateline=134303  4155

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Malinwa
    Posts
    22,867

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    nice

    always like those "different' car builds

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    London, UK - Belgrade SRB
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    463

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    Love it! Headlights look interesting

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Loveland, CO
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    A couple of unedited teasers from a set I took today. More to come when I have a few free minutes to edit!


    -1997 Saab 9000cse Anniversary Edition - Bagged & Tuned
    -1990 Saab 900 SPG - Holset & Track built
    -1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 - Summer cruiser / mild resto project
    -1972 MGB Roadster-Sold!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Metro Atl
    Posts
    7,114

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    Awesome... ihave live to see it all haha


    W I L D M A N 'S R O D S H O P




    R.I.P P.WALKER 2013/11/30

  25. #25
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    Nov 2011
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    SoCal
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