The 1985 900, made by Swedish car maker Saab, is iconic for it's looks, performance, and engine design.
Owning any imported car can get expensive. The routine maintenance alone can add up quickly. Saabs are no exception. Changing the front brake pads on your 900 yourself can reduce some of that cost. Saab advises against user replacement of rear pads, because specialized tools are required.
Set the car's emergency brake. Open the hood and disconnect the negative (-) battery cable, using a wrench. The negative lead is usually black.2
Open the brake fluid reservoir and check the brake fluid level. You will be retracting the pistons in the calipers later on, which will cause the brake fluid level to rise and possibly overflow, so if the tank is more than half full, use the turkey baster to remove some of the fluid, to prevent overflow. Put the fluid in a suitable container.3
Place the two wheel chocks behind the rear wheels. Loosen all four lug nuts one full turn only on the two front wheels, using the tire iron. Do not remove the lug nuts.4
Jack up the car at the proper jacking point (located behind the front wheel). Insert a jack stand, adjust it to the desired height, and make sure it is secure. Slowly lower the car onto the jack stand. Repeat this process on the other side. Both front tires should now clear the ground.5
Remove the lug nuts and remove both front wheels. Perform this job on one side at a time, so you will always have one complete assembly as a visual reference.
Removing the Old Brake Pads
Remove the the lower 13 mm caliper bolt on the back side of the caliper. Use the 15 mm wrench to hold 15mm hex (located on the caliper side) in place while using the 13 mm socket to remove the bolt.7
Place the large screwdriver between the rotor and the caliper and use it to start to compress the piston. Do this until the the pads loosen from the rotor. Swivel the caliper upward until it clears the rotor. There is a good chance that the caliper will be rusty. If necessary, spray it with rust removal spray, wait 10 minutes, wipe clean, and try again. Remove the brake pads.8
Clean all surfaces with the brake cleaner.9
Slide the upper slide out of the bracket and remove the caliper. Use the slip-joint pliers or a C-clamp to fully compress the piston into the caliper.10
Check the condition of your rotors. If the rotors are warped or scored (grooved), replace both (not just one) of them. This is advisable in any case.
Installing the New Brake Pads
Pull out the lower slide pin located in the caliper bracket. Use a temperature-resistant synthetic grease to lubricate the slide pin. Push the lower pin back into the bracket.12
Grease the back of both the brake pads and any sides that touch the caliper using the same temperature resistant synthetic grease. Apply the grease sparingly, and be careful not to get any on the surface that will touch the rotor.13
Install the outer pad in the bracket for the caliper. Then install the inner pad with its clips into the caliper's piston.14
Slide the upper pin, that should still be attached to the caliper, back in to the original hole at the top of the caliper mount.15
Swing the caliper back down into position and reinstall the lower 13 mm bolt. Be careful not to crimp the brake line. If the brake line interferes, gently press it aside, but do not bend it.16
Reinstall the caliper, and make sure the rattle clips on the top of the pads get compressed by the caliper. This will prevent hang ups and rattling later on.17
Replete the process on the other side.18
Replace the wheels and lug nuts.19
Raise the car, one side at a time, and remove the jack stands. Slowly lower the car to the ground and use the torque wrench to tighten the lugs to 80 foot-pounds. Fill the brake-fluid reservoir to the "full" mark. Reconnect the battery cable.20
Pump the brake pedal until it feels firm. This adjusts the pistons to the new pads. Adjust the brakes before driving, not while driving. This is important.21
Test the car at very low speeds first and gradually work your way up to higher speeds. Remember to use the emergency brake if necessary.