Removing and replacing the Saab 9000 manual transmission unit (1994-on)


Manual transmission unit (gearbox) removal and refitting is a long job but is not complicated when broken down into steps. Replacement of the clutch, release bearing and slave cylinder requires removal of the gearbox. This procedure applies to 1994-on models. Manual transmission replacement for models up to 1993 is the subject of a separate procedure.

Time required

Removing and refitting the gearbox took me and an assistant about six hours.
Saab list 4.8 hours for this procedure.

Tools required

I assume some basic tools, such as a jack, axle stands, socket set, etc. However I do not assume you will already have all the necessary metric socket and spanner sizes, especially if you are in the USA. Here is a list so you can make sure you have all the necessary sizes before you start.

  • 10mm
  • 12mm
  • 13mm
  • 15mm
  • 16mm
  • 17mm
  • 18mm
  • 8mm
  • 10mm
  • 11mm
  • 13mm
  • 14mm
  • 16mm
  • 18mm
  • Posidriv screwdriver
  • 8mm hex key
  • Torx T25 bit
  • Engine support beam
  • Hydraulic hose clamp
  • Locating dowels made by cutting the heads off two long M12 bolts
  • A suitable bracket or lifting eye to screw into the M8 lifting eye hole
  • An engine/transmission lift (preferred) or some rope.



  1. From inside the car, select 4th gear.

  2. Disconnect the battery, negative terminal first (10mm spanner, 13mm spanner), then undo the battery clamp (10mm socket or spanner) and remove the battery.


  3. Remove the locking clip on the accelerator cable casing and turn cable to one side out of the way.



  4. On TCS models, if there is a hose clipped to the battery tray, unclip it.

  5. Unclip the fuse/relay box from the battery tray and move to one side.


  6. Without disconnecting the wiring, remove the positive plinth (two Torx T25 screws). Note that the Haynes manual shows it on the front of the battery tray, not on the rear. It may be necessary to slacken the nuts and move the cables away from the Torx screws (10mm socket or 10mm spanner). Don't forget to re-tighten them!

    Using a star/Posidriv screwdriver, remove the (one or two) clamps on the positive cable from the battery tray.


  7. Disconnect the connector from the ABS control module, then unbolt the ABS control module (8mm socket). It is sufficient to slacken the screws. It is not necessary to remove them completely.


  8. Remove the 4 mounting bolts (13mm socket) and remove the battery tray. Note that one of the bolts is hidden under the cable ducting.


  9. On turbo models:
    1. Remove the bypass valve from the inlet pipe.
    2. Disconnect the temperature sensor wiring on the pressure pipe: prise the red tab away from the body of the connector using a small electrical screwdriver and pull the connector away from the sensor as the red tab comes up.
    3. Remove the hose clips and pressure pipe.



  10. Fit a hydraulic hose clamp to the clutch slave cylinder hose.


  11. Undo the union and separate the pipe from the hose (12mm spanner and 15mm spanner).

  12. Remove all transmission retaining bolts accessible from the top, except for the very top bolt (18mm socket).

  13. Fit the engine support beam, attaching it to the lifting eye on the rear of the cylinder head and adjusting it to take the weight of the engine and gearbox.



  14. Loosen the wheel bolts on the front left wheel.

  15. Jack up the front of the car and place it on axle stands. If you are not sure where you can safely place the jack and axle stands on a 9000, go here for more information.

  16. Remove the front left-hand roadwheel.

  17. Remove the front half of the left front inner wing liner, documented here.

  18. Remove the left and middle plastic under-panels behind the front bumper.

  19. Disconnect the speedometer sensor. The sensor is on the transmission case underneath the gear selector linkage. Follow the wiring from the sensor to the connector.

  20. Disconnect the reversing light switch.


  21. Remove the earth cable from the transmission (13mm socket).


  22. If the gear-change coupler is of the rubber-block type, turn the steering onto full right-hand lock for access and unbolt the gear selector linkage using a 10mm socket and long extension.


    If the gear-change coupler is of the "knuckle" type, slacken the pinch-bolt using a 13mm socket or spanner and work the linkage rod loose by moving the gear lever side-to-side while pushing it forward. The linkage will require re-alignment following refitting of the transmission.
    It may prove easier to reach the pinch-bolt from above using a long socket extension.

  23. Using a 13mm socket and 13mm spanner, remove the 3 bolts securing the lower balljoint on the wheel hub to the wishbone.

    Remove the nut that secures the bottom of the anti-roll bar drop-link to the wishbone. The original Saab nut is 18mm but it may have been replaced later by a 17mm or 19mm nut. If the drop-link is badly corroded it may snap, requiring replacement. Retrieve the washer and the rubber bush.


  24. Remove the nut from the transmission mount but leave the bolt in place for the moment (16mm socket and 16mm spanner).

  25. Test that the support beam can safely raise the engine slightly before proceeding.

  26. Remove the two bolts securing the anti-roll bar bush to the subframe (10mm socket or spanner). Access is quite tight. It may be necessary to apply releasing oil to the threads of the bolts.


  27. Remove the bolt securing the wing stay to the subframe (16mm socket).



  28. Remove the hinge bolt and nut from the front link of the subframe (14mm socket and 17mm spanner).
    Remove the 2 nuts and bolts holding the link (14mm socket and 17mm spanner) .


  29. Remove the hinge bolt from the rear link of the subframe (14mm socket and 17mm spanner).


  30. Remove the 2 nuts and bolts holding the rear link. Not that one of them also secures the steering rack (14mm socket and 17mm spanner for one, 17mm socket and 18mm spanner for the other).


  31. Place the jack centrally below the subframe member and take its weight.

  32. Remove the 2 nuts and bolts in the front corner of the subframe (13mm socket).


  33. Remove the 4 screws holding the plate at the rear of the subframe (13mm socket and 14mm socket) and remove it.


  34. Lower the subframe member and put it aside.


  35. Remove the gearbox mount bolt.

  36. If the transmission oil is to be drained, place a tray underneath the drain plug and remove the plug (8mm hex key).
    When drained, refit the plug and torque to 50Nm (37lbft).


  37. Remove the large clamp around the gaiter on the inner driveshaft joint. If it is not a screw clamp, the correct way to remove it is to cut it free - a new one will need to be fitted on reassembly. However, it may be possible to remove it without cutting so it may be re-used. Take care not to damage the gaiter.

  38. Pull back the gaiter, then carefully pull the driveshaft out of the joint.
    Cover the driver cup and joint with plastic bags to keep dirt out.

  39. Remove the remaining lower transmission mounting bolts, leaving the top one for now (18mm socket).

  40. Locate the cover plate below the sump. It is secured by one of the 18mm gearbox securing bolts (already removed) and a  smaller bolt. Using an 11mm socket, remove the smaller bolt, followed by the cover plate.


  41. Screw the locating dowels into the holes on either side of the remaining transmission mounting bolt.



  42. Screw a lifting eye or bracket to the gearbox using the unused M8 threaded hole near the clutch inspection aperture. When supported by this point, the gearbox will be balanced.
    I used a spare exhaust bracket but anything that can safely hold the weight of the transmission (around 45Kg) may be used.

    If you have an engine or transmission lift, attach it to the lifting eye/bracket and take the weight of the transmission.

    If you do not have an engine lift, then tie a rope to the lifting eye/bracket and around the engine support beam and pull it tight enough to take the weight of the gearbox. It is best if the rope can slide easily along the beam while holding the weight of the gearbox. If the beam is metal, then this is likely to be the case. For the wooden beam, we passed the rope through a metal tube on top of the beam (actually a box-spanner), which could slide more easily over the wood.


  43. Remove the last remaining bolt.

  44. Pull the transmission, ensuring that it is clear of the intermediate driveshaft and its protective tube. If using a rope, slide the rope along the beam to keep it above the transmission as it moves.

  45. If using a rope, get someone to assist - one person holding the rope while the other unties it. Lower the transmission carefully. A wheeled trolley placed beneath the transmission made it easier to remove it from beneath the car.



  1. If the dowels have been removed, refit them. Ensure the intermediate driveshaft and its housing are correctly in place.

  2. Using the same method as was used to lower the transmission, raise it to the correct height and locate it on the dowels. Again, this is easiest with the aid of an assistant.

  3. Taking care to ensure no cables or hoses become trapped between the transmission and engine, push the transmission into place. It may slip in easily or it may not. If it is not engaging properly with the clutch, try turning the flywheel slightly. If it is not engaging properly with the intermediate driveshaft, try turning the driver cup for the other driveshaft back and forth. It may require some persuasion. If it goes most of the way but not fully home, check again for trapped cables or hoses, especially at the rear of the engine.

  4. Fit the top bolt but do not tighten it fully yet.

  5. Refit the flywheel cover plate, with the 11mm bolt and 18mm bolt. There is no torque setting for the 11mm bolt. Torque the 18mm bolt to 70Nm (50lbft).

  6. Refit the other 18mm bolts not accessible from above. Torque these to 70Nm (50lbft).
  7. Refit the driveshaft, securing the gaiter with a new clip if necessary.

  8. Refit the subframe member with the two hinge bolts so it is free to swing. Swing it up and support it with a jack, taking care to locate the transmission mount correctly.

  9. Refit all the other subframe bolts but do not tighten them yet.

  10. Replace the plate at the rear of the suspension arm but do not tighten the bolts yet.

  11. Tighten the subframe front bolts to 50Nm (37lbft) and the subframe rear bolts to 55Nm (41lbft).

  12. Tighten the four bolts on the plate to 50Nm (37lbft).

  13. Refit the gearbox mounting bolt and washers but do not tighten it yet.

  14. Refit the bolt securing the wing stay to the subframe and tighten it to 50Nm (37lbft).

  15. Refit the bolts holding the anti-roll bar bush to the subframe.

  16. Refit the bush, washer and nut securing the anti-roll bar drop-link to the lower control arm. Tighten the nut to 47Nm (35lbft).

  17. Refit the three bolts securing the balljoint to the lower control arm. Use three new self-locking nuts and tighten them to 30Nm (22lbft).

  18. Ensure that the transmission is in 4th gear and reconnect the gearchange linkage. If the pinch-bolt has been disturbed, it will be necessary to re-align the linkage.

  19. Reconnect the speed sensor wiring harness.

  20. Reconnect the reversing light switch.

  21. Reconnect the earth cable to the transmission.

  22. Release and remove the engine support beam.

  23. Check the gearbox mounting washers are in place and tighten the bolt to 70Nm (50lbft).

  24. Refit the plastic under-panels.

  25. Refit the wheel-arch liner as, documented here.

  26. Refit the roadwheel, lower the car and torque the wheel-bolts to 115Nm (85lbft).

  27. Refit all the 18mm accessible from above. Torque these, and the previously-fitted top bolt, to 70Nm (50lbft).

  28. Reconnect the clutch slave cylinder hydraulic hose.

  29. Bleed the clutch hydraulic system.

  30. Check the gearbox oil level and top up if necessary.

  31. On turbo models:
    1. Refit the pressure pipe.
    2. Refit the bypass valve.
    3. Reconnect the temperature sensor wiring.

  32. Reinstall the battery tray.

  33. Refit the ABS controller to the battery tray.

  34. Install the positive cable with the two clamps on the battery tray.

  35. Install the positive plinth.

  36. Install the fuse/relay box.

  37. Refit the accelerator cable casing and secure it with the locking clip.

  38. Install the battery.

  39. Connect the battery cables to the battery.

  40. On TCS models, refit he hose to the battery tray.