rich1068

Buying a Saab on Sunday...

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1999 Saab 9-3 2.0i S Auto Convertible. Slow but uncomplicated.

It's a birthday present to myself (50 in October) and will be (I hope) a high days and holidays car. Looks pretty good in the photos but obviously you never know until you see in the flesh. Cheap as chips so if it all goes Pete Tong I don't get too badly burned. No service history other than the last one but MOT history looks good, spoke to the testing station and they said there was nothing to really worry about and they did the last service too. And totally unrelated to the selling dealer which I always find reassuring. £140 for 6 months tax and £170 for classic insurance.

If anyone is wondering why I'd choose something like that for a mid-life crisis car, I have a 5yo 7yo and 10yo. Anything smaller or with less seats and it would never get used!

Anyone want to chip in with Saab related tales of woe? Bearing in mind I spent most of last light looking up hood faults.

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Hi Richard

I bought a new 9-3 aero saloon in 2005 and had it about 3 and a half years until I traded it in for my first lexus is250. One of the fastest cars I've had and looked really good. Only issue I had was it cut out sometimes after a run, this was caused by a faulty valve in the fuel tank leading to a vacuum in the tank and starving the engine of fuel. They fitted a new tank under warranty and I had no further issues with it. The other problem was dealer inflicted I think, when I went to pick it up after the fuel tank was fitted the car wouldn't start, the ignition switch was found to be faulty and had to be changed. Fuel economy was ok but a friend had the convertible and found the economy quite low. Overall I really enjoyed the car, it was something different from the norm.

Bob

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A colleague at work has been a Saab fan for years and swears by them. He is currently on a 2006 9-5 I think and given the GM ownership around the late 90s and 00s parts aren't usually an issue despite the company being out of business.

Given the lack of service history I'd probably verge on the side of caution and get any belts/water pump etc. done unless you have paperwork or it obviously looks fresh under the bonnet.

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As someone who has owned 3 Saabs, I looked into buying a 9-3 convertible a few years ago, the only thing I remember is that models of certain years were prone to having the bulkhead cracking around the steering column, which on an old car could be a write off unless you're prepared to pay to sort it.

 

I believe the last version produced has it all sorted and there is a colar that can be bought and fitted to prevent the issue from happening on the other versions but since it has to be fitted to the bulkhead, its not the cheapest of fixes either.

As far as I know, this only affects the convertible model.

 

Vince

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Nice one Rich. Damn fine looking cars the convertible Saabs. Probably no better car for a birthday present to oneself especially when it's Hawaii time. Hope the sale goes well and the weather is favourable. 

Yeah as a caution do get belts pulleys etc changed. Yeah it may cost a couple hundred but worthwhile. 

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Had four Saabs prior to my three Lexus.  Two 9-5s followed by two 9-3s.  The 9-3s were a 56 plate Aero Sportwagen (estate) and a 57 plate Aero Convertible.  Great cars, both comfortable and quick.  It was only the demise of Saab that made me look elsewhere and I ended up at Lexus.  I'd probably still be driving a Saab if they were still around.

Hope yours is as good as the four I had Richard.

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Great Choice!. i have been driving Saabs prior to Lexus. Just like Steve i would still be driving Saabs but alas...

Had a 9-3 gen 2 and gen 3. drove them for 6 years end absolutely rock solid, nothing, absolutely nothing went wrong. Regular service at the dealer thats all. Make sure the fluids are new and let the turbo cool down before switching off. Offically not needed but better safe than sorry. My last 93 was hirsch tuned to 220hp by the dealer remaining full works warranty. They are very well engineered cars indeed. If you want more power ( responsible power that is) just surf to www.hirsch-performance.ch     

The convertible is a very civilized motorcar that ages gracefully.. Just never sell it!

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1 hour ago, steveledzep said:

Had four Saabs prior to my three Lexus.  Two 9-5s followed by two 9-3s.  The 9-3s were a 56 plate Aero Sportwagen (estate) and a 57 plate Aero Convertible.  Great cars, both comfortable and quick.  It was only the demise of Saab that made me look elsewhere and I ended up at Lexus.  I'd probably still be driving a Saab if they were still around.

Hope yours is as good as the four I had Richard.

An underrated car in my opinion, and some of the very latest ones look superb. What a shame they ended production.

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I'm sure I heard somebody say to me once that some insurers won't give you insurance due to lack of parts ?

 

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Quick update.

Did the deed on Sunday.

Exhaust blowing a bit, check engine light on, heaters don't work, 850 quid, love it :biggrin:

A couple of not very good pictures.

cM1ZPnph.png

hby2mJQh.jpg

All the way back from Peterborough up the A1 to Sheffield with the roof down. Doing it properly 👍

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Nice one Rich. Car looks good and a very nice colour. Exhaust should be cheap n easy to do. Maybe simply flushing the cooling system might help the heater or it may be at worst the heater but I'd imagine you'll find one at a scrappers.

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Regarding the heaters, if it doesn't blow warm air, but it does cool, then the suggestion of flushing the cooling system may work, on my 9-5 Aero, I had a situation where the heating was working, but in stop start traffic if stopped, all sorted itself out after I had the thermostat done when it failed.

Tidy car, nice colour,  it was this colour which brought me back to Saab when I got my 2nd one.

 

Enjoy.

Vince

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On 9/21/2018 at 4:05 PM, colin79666 said:

A colleague at work has been a Saab fan for years and swears by them. He is currently on a 2006 9-5 I think and given the GM ownership around the late 90s and 00s parts aren't usually an issue despite the company being out of business.

Given the lack of service history I'd probably verge on the side of caution and get any belts/water pump etc. done unless you have paperwork or it obviously looks fresh under the bonnet.

Parts don't seem to be too much of a problem luckily. I think I might be needing one or two...:ohmy:

No service history whatsoever other than the last service back in July which was oil, filter, air filter, plugs. And it's a chain not a belt so that's good.

On 9/22/2018 at 11:59 AM, Vince Donald said:

As someone who has owned 3 Saabs, I looked into buying a 9-3 convertible a few years ago, the only thing I remember is that models of certain years were prone to having the bulkhead cracking around the steering column, which on an old car could be a write off unless you're prepared to pay to sort it.

 

I believe the last version produced has it all sorted and there is a colar that can be bought and fitted to prevent the issue from happening on the other versions but since it has to be fitted to the bulkhead, its not the cheapest of fixes either.

As far as I know, this only affects the convertible model.

 

Vince

Nothing as far as I can see but it will be getting a once over in the coming weeks. Bulkhead cracks were one of the things I came across while doing my [ahem] research.

On 9/22/2018 at 6:40 PM, dutchie01 said:

Great Choice!. i have been driving Saabs prior to Lexus. Just like Steve i would still be driving Saabs but alas...

Had a 9-3 gen 2 and gen 3. drove them for 6 years end absolutely rock solid, nothing, absolutely nothing went wrong. Regular service at the dealer thats all. Make sure the fluids are new and let the turbo cool down before switching off. Offically not needed but better safe than sorry. My last 93 was hirsch tuned to 220hp by the dealer remaining full works warranty. They are very well engineered cars indeed. If you want more power ( responsible power that is) just surf to www.hirsch-performance.ch     

The convertible is a very civilized motorcar that ages gracefully.. Just never sell it!

No turbos on this old girl. A whole 130bhp of normally aspirated loveliness. It's 4 speed auto too. It wafts in a twisty turny scuttle shaky kind of way :biggrin:

On 9/22/2018 at 7:50 PM, Initial P said:

I'm sure I heard somebody say to me once that some insurers won't give you insurance due to lack of parts ?

 

Nah, it's a Vectra underneath. £177 fully comp.

8 hours ago, Mr Vlad said:

Nice one Rich. Car looks good and a very nice colour. Exhaust should be cheap n easy to do. Maybe simply flushing the cooling system might help the heater or it may be at worst the heater but I'd imagine you'll find one at a scrappers.

 

7 hours ago, Vince Donald said:

Regarding the heaters, if it doesn't blow warm air, but it does cool, then the suggestion of flushing the cooling system may work, on my 9-5 Aero, I had a situation where the heating was working, but in stop start traffic if stopped, all sorted itself out after I had the thermostat done when it failed.

Tidy car, nice colour,  it was this colour which brought me back to Saab when I got my 2nd one.

 

Enjoy.

Vince

Perhaps I wasn't clear. The heating/AC/ventilation doesn't work at all. As in, the fans don't work and the temperature knob is stuck and broke off in my hand :biggrin:

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Great car Rich, by now you will have discovered the extreme flex in the chassis, dont worry they all have that. The steeringwheel/column can literally move from left to right, just keep cruising!

Can you do the Flextest?  Park the car with 1 wheel on the curb, open a door and try to close it?

Its s stylish slowboat and there are still many of them around especially in Sweden. Parts will be no problem on the internet or saab specialists

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I should add that the kids loved it. Picked them up from my mum's after the jaunt on Sunday and my 5yo played it cool, my 7yo just waved his arms in the air and grinned, my 10yo played out a music video in his head.

Coincidentally my wife has so far only seen pictures of it because she had an operation on her ankle a few weeks ago and has barely left the house since. Tbh she really know about Sunday. Amazing you can get away with when they're housebound.

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A few more of the Swedish Banger.

5hDaXBch.jpg

ZNiKIEnh.jpg

BXRyECph.jpg

75qM7GLh.jpg

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Bwaaaaap!

vRnfOsgh.jpg

#10brakemod 

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A little update to the Swedish Saga.

PSSqHrmh.jpg

qHdh27Rh.jpg

7dBeQ6Th.jpg

Scrubs up pretty well. And yesterday I had a run darn sarf to pick up some new boots.

BRN3swih.jpg

100 quid with 4 decent tyres :biggrin:

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Very nice, any joy with the check engine like diagnostics?

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Unfortunately not. No codes show up when you connect a reader to the OBD but there is a persistent Check Engine warning. A couple of suggestions so far have been an exhaust leak around the manifold or vacuum hoses. Had the exhaust checked yesterday and nothing. Then oddly the light went out on the way home yesterday but then came back on again this morning! Vacuum hoses next then.

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Did over  1000 miles with the Engine Light on in my 9-5 Aero, occasionally message appeared on the info screen too,  so I knew it was down to the Battery, still expect some codes to show up is this is the case. I say this as you have had the light go out as well, which  happened  on mine too. 

There were several versions of the oil breather setup too, check those are okay and clear.

I remember that if the oil level was getting towards the low end of ok, I could get the oil light to flash on going round the Raleigh Island in Nottingham, but you had to be driving briskly, the Aero used  a little oil, needing a topup of about 1 pint between 12k services which for me was about every 18 - 20 weeks.

 

Hope you get the little niggles sorted as that is a beauty of a car.

Vince

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I shall certainly take your comments on board. Didn't consider the Battery.

And you're correct, they are niggles. Not so long ago this sort of thing would drive me nuts but not so much now. For instance, a roll of Extra Strong Mints mints placed by the instrument cluster hides the warning :biggrin:

And it's amazing how all the scratches and dents are invisible in the photos :rolleyes:

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Another pic :biggrin:

uIyTq3bh.jpg

And the CEL is sorted. Split hose and a faulty breather valve. Took a local Saab specialist all of 30 seconds to find and fix.

rYurG2Xh.jpg

The Swedish Banger runs as sweet as nut now.

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Went to my first Saab meet on Sunday. They're all old men with beards like me so I was as happy as a pig in muck.

And they said very complementary things about my 9-3 too which was nice. One thing I have noticed. I proudly tell anyone who'll listen that it only cost 850 quid and watch for their astonished reaction. That doesn't happen with other Saab owners. These cars are just so cheap!

I have been neglecting the RX recently though so I must turn my attention to that.

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6 hours ago, rich1068 said:

Went to my first Saab meet on Sunday. They're all old men with beards like me so I was as happy as a pig in muck.

And they said very complementary things about my 9-3 too which was nice. One thing I have noticed. I proudly tell anyone who'll listen that it only cost 850 quid and watch for their astonished reaction. That doesn't happen with other Saab owners. These cars are just so cheap!

I have been neglecting the RX recently though so I must turn my attention to that.

I seem to remember hearing that Saab drivers wear hats.  Did you sport the aforementioned millinery?

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