October 5, 2011

It was suggested that I spray the painted lamp clusters with a clear high gloss enamel to protect them. I also sealed the lamp lenses where they had cracked with an epoxy. I cleaned up the rubber with mineral spirits and then treated them with “Black Again” which made them look and feel good as new. I’ll replace the cage nuts with stainless steel ones and I’ve done that with the screws as well. Lets see how they hold up.

September 19, 2011

Experiment in refinishing turn signal reflectors

Before I found the old new stock turn signal, I got a pair of front turn signals that were complete, but were pretty weathered. I started searching on how to refurbish the reflective surface of the light cluster and found a couple of options. Unfortunately the only right way to do it is expensive and uses the same method of applying a thin metal film just as it was done during the manufacturing process. Some people suggest “chroming plastic” which is a little cheaper. Others suggest using two coats of Krylon high gloss black plastic paint as a base and then two coats of “brilliant” silver paint. So I tried that, and after letting the clusters air dry, I put them in a low temp drying oven for a few hours.


After Krylon High Gloss Black for plastic:

After Krylon Brilliant Metallic Silver paint:

I’m concerned at how well it will hold up, but we’ll see. It definitely is reflecting light better.

September 17, 2011

The SAAB 99 Holy Grail .. well, one of them

There is a definite list of Holy Grails for the SAAB 99. The front turn signals probably aren’t that rare for the 1977-1984 models since they’re newer and they were made for 7 years, but they seem impossible to find. I was piecing together a set when I came across a brand new one .. and just one. Both the left and right on the car were destroyed by the accident and weathering. What was left of them crumbled to the touch.

I probably will save the new one pictured above until I find another and for now make a pair out of these below. The clear lenses are from the earlier years, the later were European spec and later US models. One reason why these may be so rare is that they have issues with weatherproofing which causes moisture to get trapped. The build up of moisture, moss/mold can destroy the reflective mirroring enamel and ultimately make the plastic brittle. If you ever crack your lenses its important to take care of it as soon a possible. I’ve been researching how to restore them, its a common problem but its very expensive to get the mirroring restored.

It’s best not to obsess over this though.

April 10, 2011

A closer look

The turn signal indicator lamps have deteriorated due to exposure to the sun, water and moss. They’re supposed to be reflective silver, but they’re bleached white and literally crumble when touched. This part is interchangeable with the 99 and 900 between 1977 – 1980 (I believe).

The same goes for the tail lamps, though the lamp housing is a little more intact. The lenses are compatible between 1977 and 1980. After 1980 they get a little larger.

But these aren’t really the major issues .. 🙂