20-01-03, 05:30 PM
I have been looking at a P reg 2.0 CD turbo in my local garage primarily because it is an automatic and I drive automatics. It has 56K on the clock, FSH, asking £4.5K. However after researching the marque I have been put off by the tales of woe regarding SAAB auto boxes. Quasimotors scared me to death. I have always wanted a 9000, from their first appearance, having had a couple of 99's back in the distant past. What do I do? Do I go for it and fullfill a dream? Do I walk away and go for another marque? Do I buy it and regret it for evermore? Any advice welcome.
Bill's site http://www.saab9000.com offers lots of useful advice.
Welcome to SaabCentral, jockotaylor.
I believe a P-reg 2.0 turbo will be a light-pressure turbo. Last summer, I bought a '96 P-reg CSE 2.0LPT auto for my dad to potter about in. It had almost exactly 100K miles on the clock. By choice, I wouldn't have an auto myself, and this is the first auto I've ever bought, but my dad insisted on an auto.
Like you, I was worried about the auto transmission horror stories and asked lots of people for advice. The concensus, apart from those in the US, was that the much lower torque of the 2.0LPT engine should give the auto box a much better chance of survival. I looked at a couple and the one I bought shifted smoothly and drove nicely. The first thing I did was perform all the maintenance items whether they were due or not, since I'll only see the car a few times a year. This included a transmission fluid and filter change. Six months later, it is trouble-free. I must admit he doesn't rack up the mileage, though - services will be based on time rather than mileage in this case...
My advice is to look for all the trouble signs Quasi mentions on his excellent site, bearing in mind that a UK car will almost certainly have been dealer-serviced most of its life (US cars, it seems, almost never are), and will therefore be well-maintained and unlikely to be giving much trouble at such a low mileage. Don't worry if it's gone past the last service a bit just because the owner was planning on selling it. As long as the history is complete until then you can make sure it's serviced promptly.
The transmission fluid should have been replaced at the 54K mile service, as listed here (http://www.saab9000.com/servicing/uk92onschedulem.html), so it should be fairly fresh. Pull the dipstick, drip some fluid on your finger to test the colour (the dipstick often goes brown, making it difficult to tell the colour of the fluid) and check that there is still some pink colour. Some people say it must be pink with no brown colour, but the dealer will do a simple change which doesn't get all the old fluid out each time so some brown is expected. If it's dark brown or smells burnt, then there may be a problem.
By the time that car was built, the 9000 was a very mature design and most serious problems had been ironed out. I'd say check for obvious problems and if you don't find any, go for it. At 56K miles, it's not even run in :lol:
P.S. I notice you say it has a FSH. If this is a full Saab-dealer service history, then things are looking good.
My parents always drive autos and have now had I think four 9000 2.3 Turbos (all fully dealer serviced) some of which they have run up to reasonably high miles before changing (about 120K) and as far as I know they have never had auto box problems. They both cover reasonable mileages and both drive quite fast!
Of course, this doesn't guarantee that you won't have any trouble, but the 2.3's are more likely to eat auto boxes than a 2.0 LPT.
Also even if you do get any problems they probably would be at around 120K or more if you look after the car, at least according to the buyers' guide I had, and I think an auto box rebuild is about £1000, so even if you budget for one at about 120K I think the car sounds worth having if it's what you want.
As an aside, my parents' cars (about the same reg as yours) have Saab dealer approved warranties on them (it seems more like a new car warranty than a normal second-hand car sight unseen warranty). Perhaps you could investigate this if it helps your peace of mind?
21-01-03, 02:03 PM
I have a K reg 9000 2.3 CSE Auto on 135K and so far it has been fine as far as the autobox is concerned but then my car is not a turbo car. It's the best auto I've ever driven though - extremely smooth and progressive I reckon.
21-01-03, 06:09 PM
Thank you one and all. Now all I have to do is convince the better half and I'll have myself my dream car. Thank you again.