First Mods [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: First Mods

9th April 2003, 10:07 AM
Whats the best first mod to do? What did you all do first? I am thinking I would do exhaust but then again, I think the suspension is also lacking. Point me in the right direction.

Edit: car is a 98 CSE/Aero


9th April 2003, 12:52 PM
Exact type of car would assist any answers :wink:

9th April 2003, 04:04 PM
i have a 94 aero, and the 1st thing i did was get a blowoff valve for the turbo, and maaan do heads turn when i drive by..

9th April 2003, 04:18 PM
Does a bov do anything else other than make excessive noise?

9th April 2003, 06:39 PM
IMHO opinion the blow off valve often does little more than make lots of noise. Some are stronger than the original but any performance gains will be minimal.

Having done some mods myself, I'd suggest sorting out springs, shocks and brakes first. Then I'd go for a Maptun or Speedparts stage 2/3 upgrade for 280+bhp.

Of course, I did the mods the other way round :nono;


10th April 2003, 02:59 AM
I started with a new exhaust system from speedline. I haven't put the car on a rolling road yet so I don't know if its any more powerful but it sure sounds nice.
Suspension is definatley going to be my next step as it all seems a bit soft and I wouldn't mind lowing it. I don't want the lowering to impeed the road handling though, any one any idea what is the best distance to go down?


10th April 2003, 03:33 AM
Welcome to SaabCentral, Scott.

I did the exhaust first on my Aero because I needed a new exhaust. I had intended to do the suspension first instead.
Second was the suspension.
Third the brakes (better pads and ATE Power Discs on the front).
Fourth I removed the heatplate from the manifold (only present on a few '96 and '97 Euro-spec cars and not an issue with US models).
Fifth was to de-restrict the airbox intake.
Sixth was an ECU upgrade.
Seventh was even better brakes (Brembo discs and DS2500 pads)
Eighth was a motorsport clutch (the original couldn't take the torque), an LSD and lower final drive ratio.

Somewhere along the line, I settled on Bridgestone S-03 tyres. Good tyres make a big difference.

I have some 17" wheels that I will fit when the 16" tyres wear out.

More on the suspension: the 9000 suspension is actually very good when in decent condition. A lot of people will say that body roll is bad, but it isn't necessarily. Make sure the bushes and dampers are in good condition. The wishbone bushes wear out and make the whole thing feel sloppy, imprecise and woolly.

As an indication of how good the suspension can be, I recently took my unmodified CSE 2.0LPT on the track (an activity I usually reserve for my modified Aero) and although it wasn't the most powerful car there and was running on 65-profile 15" tyres, it was still out-cornering many of the faster cars. It was very chuckable and felt very well-balanced.

10th April 2003, 09:22 AM
Wow! Great info Bill and thanks for the warm welcome. Let me ask you, what exactly did you do for suspension upgrades? Dampers and springs? Or did you do all the poly bits too? Before getting the saab I had a few modded VW Golfs and found that the poly bushings available for those made the ride really harsh. I am not really trying to kill the ride on my saab as it is a daily driver and not a track car. Just want my daily drive to be a fun one. What brand dampers and springs did you use?


10th April 2003, 12:59 PM
The first suspension upgrades were poly bushes on the rear anti-roll bar and on the wishbone bushes. The anti-roll bar bushes made a bigger difference to the handling and practically no difference to the ride quality compared to the wishbone bushes. However, the rubber wishbone bushes I had replaced were almost new. I also did the steering rack bushes, simply because the old ones were worn, but wouldn't recommend it as it made things much harsher and was a lot of work for not much benefit.

Then I fitted the Abbott Racing springs and Koni adjustable dampers. This combination gives a nice ride, while lowering and tightening the car up. While they are firmer than standard, I actually found the ride more comfortable because the standard Aero suspension has rather a "choppy" ride over bumps. For the last 6 months or so, since I attended my first track day, I have had the Konis turned up really hard which has adversely affected the ride but is good on the track. I do have the other car for comfort, though.

I also replaced the front anti-roll bar bushes with poly. On road-testing it, this seemed to allow the car to corner faster. However, the handling is less neutral now than it was with just poly on the rear bar and it isn't as "chuckable" as the CSE was on the track. I'll be replacing those front bushes with rubber again shortly and perhaps even be considering putting a less-stiff bar on the front. I'll even try disconnecting it altogether to compare both extremes.

It's only really the steering rack bushes, turning the Konis most of the way up and perhaps the wishbone bushes to a certain extent that have had a noticeably detrimental effect on ride and noise.

Of the other mods, poly upper engine mounts and gearbox mounts were OK until I fitted the last of the upper mounts. Then vibration and noise suddenly got noticeably worse. The JT exhaust, which previously had been unobtrusive suddenly became noticeably louder too. The modded airbox makes a little noise now, as you can hear odd noises and the dump valve (mine is a Forge one, but still a recirculating valve - I don't like "blow-off" valves).

I must say, though, that even with 300+ hp and 330 lbft torque, the suspension mods along with good tyres (still on the 16" Super Aero wheels) have practically eliminated torque steer, and wheelspin in the dry (in a straight line) hardly happens above first gear.

11th April 2003, 05:40 PM
To add to Bills good advice I would say that 17" wheels make a large difference to the harshness of the ride. Small imperfections in the road surface are not smothered, but are transmitted more faithfully to the occupant. On the flipside the cornering is improved as well as the feel when turning in, but the harshness may be too much for some.


11th April 2003, 06:09 PM
And I thought mine was pretty harsh on 16" wheels :o
To be fair, although I find the ride choppy with the Konis turned way up, a colleague who drives a standard (for now) but well-kept Peugeot 205GTI thought my Aero rode pretty smoothly :roll:

I suppose it's all a case of what you're used to...

12th April 2003, 02:55 PM
I fully agree with that. My VW GTI with coilovers cranked down to almost their stiffest position and the height set so the car is only 3 inches off the ground is a supr harsh ride. The aero feels like a cadillac compared to that.

15th April 2003, 08:36 PM
On the subject of harsh ride quality if anyone would like to sample my 900's ride let me know. 17's, 40 profiles, poly bushes and avo dampers wound all the way up mean you can run over a 2p piece and know if it was heads or tails. On the upside its stunning on the track :lol:


21st April 2003, 11:28 AM
what effect does removing the heat plate have? I found I have one of these when i did the head gasket and chains.

22nd April 2003, 11:03 AM
I'm not sure of the function of the heatplate. I think it's an emission control device for cold starts. However, it sits in the airflow and is very restrictive at higher RPM. On cars fitted with this device, Saab remapped the boost control to increase boost at higher RPM in order to maintain the specified peak power output. This means that by removing the heatplate, you effectively have the same as a non-heatplate model but with increased top-end boost.

Looking at the difference in boost between heatplate and non-heatplate models, I once worked out that removing the heatplate would increase peak power on my '96 Aero from 225hp to around 240hp. It did indeed pull much better at the top end, but I then modified the ECU before I got it on a rolling road so I don't know for certain what the difference was.

22nd April 2003, 03:16 PM
thanks for that info billj , looks like the heat plate will be removed ASAP :lol: :lol:

22nd April 2003, 03:56 PM
When doing so, I bought some washers (M8, I think) and packed out the bolts with washers to the thickness of the heatplate, just to be sure they wouldn't bottom out and cause leaks. A new inlet manifold gasket came free of charge from the dealer. The head gasket set comes with two gaskets due to the heatplate and they don't use both on non-heatplate models, so their inventory system showed two in stock, but they actually had over a dozen :o

22nd April 2003, 04:03 PM
Do i just unplug the heat plate, does the ecu not monitor it? or is there something to plug in instead?

22nd April 2003, 04:58 PM
There is no monitoring. I did take the precaution of removing the 60A fuse marked "HEAT PLATE" from the fuse box under the bonnet. I just didn't feel comfortable leaving a connector lying around the engine bay and capable of supplying that sort of current. Other people haven't even bothered doing that.

31st May 2003, 02:13 PM
Heat plate removed :cheesy: and yes it def does pull better at the top end! I also removed my blead valve too. and am now back to pulsating boost :evil: it boosts up to about half way into the red then drops off and boosts again? and again? and again? and so on.....
also noticed smoke at idle again which i thought had gone away as i have not seen it for a month or two :evil:

Thanks for the tip on the heat plate bill :cheesy:

Castor Troy
31st May 2003, 04:13 PM
whats the difference in ride and performance between having the stock 15"s on my 91 CD with huge tires and, say, 17"s with low profile tires?

17th June 2003, 06:17 AM
I have just fitted poly bushes on the front and rear roll bars front roll bar drop links and wishbone bushes too. MUCH better all round the car actually feels like it will go round corners with out booking an appointment :cheesy:
On the down side I also fitted the 2 top engine mounts in poly, it now feels like the engine is bolted directly to the bulk head!!!! even worse if the acc is on :evil:
As to the smoke I noticed at idle,time for a new turbo
:cry: :cry: :cry:

18th June 2003, 08:14 PM
Interesting comment about the air con as I noticed that too. Handling improves beyond all belief with poly bushes, sports suspension and bigger wheels. Ride quality does not! In my opinion, a weak point of the 9000, watch out if you get carried away - I removed some of the poly bushes off mine.

3rd March 2004, 04:22 PM
How dificult are the koni front shocks to fit? Has anyone done their own?



3rd March 2004, 05:27 PM

I think BillJ has a write-up on his site. However, if you like, we can find out together when I fit mine at Kodak :!


3rd March 2004, 05:35 PM
I was hoping to have them fitted this weekend! Have you bought yours now alan?


3rd March 2004, 05:54 PM
I've bought the fronts(GBP185 brand new from Ebay :D ) and they will be with me on Friday I hope.

From memory I think that a bit of cutting of the old struts is required :o


3rd March 2004, 06:03 PM
I bought the kit from PFS in the end. VERY good price I think! it is sat on my office floor! gear box is now done and a new sump too plus every poly bush PFS sell. Time to replace the bilstein with Koni! I just hope it will make the ride a little softer!


4th March 2004, 07:34 AM
Welcome to SaabCentral,

Fifth was to de-restrict the airbox intake.

Bill, what have you done to the box to de-restrict the air intake :-??

4th March 2004, 08:17 AM
hi guys, sorry to butt into your conversation.

I have done roll bars, but not all the bits on the front one, just bar to body. Ive ordered the other bits to it. Will these make a lot of difference (detrimental to ride quality) ? I also note the issue of vibration from the top engine mount, i havent done the others (gearbox) and probably wont now !! :-?

I find that in addition to turning the a/c off, the biggest reduction in vibration comes from turning the heated rear window off :D :wink:

Im also fitting itg air filter, which is supposed to be worth doing :lol:

4th March 2004, 11:06 AM
From memory I think that a bit of cutting of the old struts is required :o

Great choice 8) About the cutting, yes, they do need a bit of 'modifying' probably best to call a koni specialist and ask their advice. I don't think it's too difficult though.

6th March 2004, 12:40 PM
Well thats the back springs and shocks changed just the slightly more complex front end to do tomorrow!

I have done roll bars, but not all the bits on the front one, just bar to body. Ive ordered the other bits to it. Will these make a lot of difference (detrimental to ride quality) ? I also note the issue of vibration from the top engine mount, i havent done the others (gearbox) and probably wont now !! :-?

I have now fitted the complete range of poly bushes to 2 9000's The cse 2.0lpt and mine. On the lpt with standard suspension the ride quality seems to be much improved with little or no notisable side effects. Each car has one upper engine mount changed. My feeling is go ahead and fit as many poly bushes as you like but just dont do both top engine mounts. It makes no difference which top mount you do as I took one of mine and put it on the lpt.


6th March 2004, 04:09 PM
So David, when we meet tomorrow we will get two attempts to fit the front Konis. First on your car then my car. Should be entertaining :o


6th March 2004, 04:12 PM
cut anywhere about here!