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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/22 11:49 a.m.

Looks like it "winter beater" search is accelerating as the 997 is currently doing what Porsches I own seem to do.

Anyway, I'm currently eyeballing an early-ish 9-3 that seems to tick all the boxes. Of course spares supply is an issue for these, but the basics I quicly checked on RockAuto all still seem to be available.

Is it a daft idea to drive one of these for a couple of years over, say, a Golf GTI or R32?

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/8/22 12:34 p.m.

Typical consumables aren't a problem but if you need anything weird it can be a headache and will probably have to come from a junkyard car.

They had a lot of parts bin sharing with Opel and Vauxhall products of the time which means there will probably be good aftermarket parts support for basic stuff for a long time. However now that GM proper has divested those divisions after winding down Saab, you can basically expect OE parts to 100% disappear from the market in the next couple of years.

If you are looking at pre-SS 9-3s (T7 cars '00-03 IIRC), don't underestimate the sludge problems, and make sure to install the PCV update kit that was pushed as a TSB.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/22 12:36 p.m.

I had one for maybe 3 years and drove it in 3 challenges (well, one it was there but a bad ground sidelined us so it didn't actually compete). Much daily driving it too in between. 

I never found it hard to source any parts. There was even an identical one in a junkyard in Gainesville that we visited when we were thrashing at the challenge to fix ours, and it had nearly everything on it still. rockauto, local stores, eeuroparts (are they still around? maybe part of FCP now?) all had my back. 

I really liked it as a car. Small footbox though, I'm a size 11-12 and found the space around the pedals to be annoyingly too small unless I was wearing the right shoes. Great for winter driving. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
8/8/22 12:41 p.m.

Oh yeah, forgot to add one thing. Speaking strictly from an insurance perspective, a simple fender bender will total pretty much any Saab at this point. Since body/trim parts can no longer be sourced through conventional channels it takes basically nothing to write one off these days. I believe a few of our resident insurance experts have confirmed this with their own experiences.

They are good cars so I wouldn't let this scare you off but it's worth keeping in mind.

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/8/22 12:43 p.m.

I picked up an 03 9-5 a few weeks ago and I had a similar concern at first.  Chassis stuff seems to be pretty attainable through the normal channels and there is plenty of used parts available on ebay or the facebook groups.  The 900/early 9-3 seem to be even more loved by the enthusiast and it isn't hard to find someone with a stockpile of parts for specific stuff.  Esaabparts.com has been helpful OE parts rockauto doesn't carry and parts diagrams.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/8/22 6:06 p.m.

You were going to use the 997 as a winter beater?  What's wrong with it?  Remember a beater is a beater for a reason, they take infusions of parts, time and money not always in equal parts...

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
8/8/22 6:25 p.m.

When I worked for an Olds/Saab/Suzuki dealership in the 90's, they all used a lot of the same parts.  The main one I remember is the O2 sensor.  It was $19.95 for the AC Delco package, $39.95 for the Suzuki box, and $119.95 for the SAAB packaging.  Same exact sensor, right down to the AC stamp on the casing.

XLR99 (Forum Supporter)
XLR99 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/8/22 7:35 p.m.

I've  been running 9-5s for awhile now; to date the only orphan car part issue I had was getting a rear disc backing plate (also holds the parking brake return spring).  I did manage to find one from the UK. 

I did just get an OEM DI cassette from Orio in fear that the real ones will disappear soon and we'll be left with the crappy ones.  Good news is these seem pretty durable compared to the red ones from the T5 cars.

Interestingly, I just discovered that the discerning 9-5 owner can get a full set of Bilstein B6s from Amazon, delivered end of the week.

 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/22 8:07 p.m.
docwyte said:

You were going to use the 997 as a winter beater?  What's wrong with it?  Remember a beater is a beater for a reason, they take infusions of parts, time and money not always in equal parts...

No, the plan was always to lay up the 997 for winter and either replace my truck or get a beater-ish car for winter. They really like to "preserve" the roads around here in winter by covering them in as much salt as possible and then some, and I didn't go out all the way to pick up a rust free car to expose it to that level of salt. As to what's wrong with it - the battery decided to take a dirt nap this morning, even though I had driven it yesterday and it was on the Battery Tender overnight. Unfortunately my wife actually needed it to go to work so I ended up having to drive her as her Jeep is in the shop for longer than expected thanks to some supply chain issues.

At least I'm hoping it's only the battery, and I still need to source a suitable replacement.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/22 8:10 p.m.

Overall, this sounds to me like the spare parts supply is less of an issue than I expected. That's good news.

As to the insurance comment - I pretty much expected that. But then I would think that pretty much any car in the sub-7500 category is going to be quickly totalled, let alone one that's been abandoned by the manufacturer.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/22 8:14 p.m.

In reply to XLR99 (Forum Supporter) :

I think the 9-3 I'm considering might actually be a T7 car (2002 9-3 SE). I noticed that there seems to still be a reasonable choice on cartridges, but yes, I ideally didn't want to find out how good or bad the aftermarket ones were.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/9/22 11:07 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

This is anecdotal based on my experience, but with that being said here is my experience with the DI cassettes.  I read on Saabnet that using NGK plugs and keeping them gapped correctly will greatly extend the life of the cartridge due to the Trionic system using the plugs as the knock sensor.  Starting with the 99 9-3 SE I have changed the oil every 5k miles and while the oil draining I pull the plugs and clean/gap them.  With that system I have not had a DIC fail in the almost 20 years I have been driving these cars.  

procainestart
procainestart Dork
8/9/22 11:12 a.m.

In reply to Aaron_King :

I have heard the same thing and also check the (NGK) plugs regularly 

Rons
Rons GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/9/22 11:16 a.m.

For you perhaps a nice Camry? Your automotive life seems to have more drama than a squat filled with actors.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/9/22 4:04 p.m.

I agree with Rons.  Your inverse Midas touch could really suck when all you want is a reliable winter driver.  Picking up an old _insert brand here_ car just isn't a great idea...

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/22 4:25 p.m.

I have an 07 93 wagon and parts have not been an issue at all. Put new headlights in it. I got some decent aftermarket replacements (don't remember the brand). The pair was at or less than $100 and they came with GE bulbs. 
 

The only issues that I know of with my car is the ECMs fail due to a really bad mounting location. 
 

The other issue is that there was a run of soft valves that cause them to loose seal and compression when the motor is cold. The colder the weather the harder ot is to start. Under 15 deg and you better have a jump box as you will be cranking it a long while.   It is only an issue in the really cold winter. The rest of the time it is a non issue.   

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/22 6:42 p.m.

Well, it looks like the 9-3 I was looking at is a no-go anyway. Seems like there are quite a few 9-3s of that generation available around here with non-working a/c.

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/13/22 8:56 p.m.

Thanks to this thread, I'm now the proud owner of this: 

Build thread to come...

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/1/22 2:30 p.m.

Almost time to go and pick up some Swedish meatballs. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/4/22 11:41 a.m.

Teaser pic, this is why I need to rename my trailer "Einablör" or something:

And yes, it drives. We didn't have to winch it on the trailer .

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/4/22 12:01 p.m.

A real Saab. Not a GM/Saab.  Congrats!

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/5/22 12:00 p.m.

What year is it?   It's still got a lot of GM in it but I loved the 99 SE HOT we had.  I ended up giving it to my brother with 280K miles on it. 
 

If it's a T5 car, red DIC, let me know. I have some stuff I will send for it. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/5/22 12:05 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

Well, it is an Opel/Vauxhall Vectra sales rep mobile chassis underneath there, albeit heavily tweaked by SAAB engineers in the old "hold my Aquavit and watch this" tradition.

I'll try to do a condition assessment later on - for car that's spent time in PA it's in pretty good nick bodywork wise, as is the interior. So far the main issues seem to be that the power steering pump is rather noisy when it's cold, which might be due to a low level of unicorn tears in the reservoir, and the occasional CEL which may or may not be related to a very weak battery.

Current plan is to top up the unicorn tears and check if it cranks better with the starter pack hooked up. If it does, it'll get a new battery and I'll throw it at my local shop for an auto transmission service. Plus the tires on it are ancient, but the seller threw in a second set of OEM SAAB wheels with three year old Kumhos that seem to have been barely used.

Other than that, it drives a bit floaty (I believe they all do), needs a good going through and a way to hook up my phone as an audio player. Not really planning to turn up The Boostz as this is pretty much intended as a winter beater and airport run car.

Probably should start a build thread, but I have to address the unexpected swimming pool in my workshop first.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/5/22 12:11 p.m.
Aaron_King said:

What year is it?   It's still got a lot of GM in it but I loved the 99 SE HOT we had.  I ended up giving it to my brother with 280K miles on it. 
 

If it's a T5 car, red DIC, let me know. I have some stuff I will send for it. 

It's a 2002, which I believe makes it a T7 car.

142k miles on it, so I'm hoping I get a few more out of it.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/5/22 9:32 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

I do have a set of 15 in steeliest with half snow tires and half all seasons I will give you if you are interested and we can work transportation.   
 

 

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