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  #1  
Old 17th April 2010
red16vman red16vman is offline
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Default Getting a 9-5 this week, new to saab

I've been lurching a little while, feeling the waters of the Saab world. I've never owned one, and technically still don't, but I'm trading my wife's beetle for a 9-5 this week. It's a private party trade, just worked out easier than selling her car than trying to find a new car. We just needed something bigger for a growing family.

Anyway, it's a 1999, 9-5, 2.3 turbo, 5 speed manual, black with some pretty sporty looking thin spoked rims.

First off, I know absolutely nothing about saabs, but I'm handy with cars. I'm a VW person myself, do all my own repairs. I've done engine swaps, rebuilds, so I'm not afraid of a few repairs.

So, I'm sure I'll learn but I'm just interested in the first bit of advice for 9-5 ownership.

And while I'm at it, I noticed some of the later years of this style had in-dash sat-nav and was wondering if it was possible to swap one in if I could get my hands on one.
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  #2  
Old 17th April 2010
MI-Roger MI-Roger is offline
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  1. How many miles on the car? This will help us alert you to timing of possible problems.
  2. Has the engine sump been dropped to look for sludge? This is the most critical aspect of buying any used 9-5, particularly an early one.
As you can see in my personal information, I drive a 2000 model with over 271,000 miles on the odometer. This engine has seen a steady diet of 5,000 mile oil changes using synthetic oil only and the engine is still in great shape. Other than a new timing chain at 220,000 miles the engine has required no work.
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  #3  
Old 17th April 2010
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if you have a few mechanical skills, owning the 9-5 is a pleasure. great ride, awesome power, and very nice looking . there is a lot of power to be had with a bit of hardware and a nice tune as well.

there are a few trouble spots though- particularly engine sludge if not well maintained, among a few electrical problems. if you get it, make sure you get the sump dropped to check for sludge.

BTW what v-dub did you drive? please say '88 16v GTi!!!
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  #4  
Old 17th April 2010
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I'm sure you will enjoy the 59049, I love 59049s. 9 to the power of 5, LOL.

Not sure about swapping in the optional OE Navigation unit, but there are also aftermarket options, although a lot of electronic stores that usually install say that they can't work on SAABs, in my experience. I may go with a aftermarket radio/nav unit, so I may need to find an installer who can and will do it.
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  #5  
Old 17th April 2010
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They improved the motor's resistance to sludge in the '04 and later model years.
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  #6  
Old 17th April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MI-Roger View Post
  1. How many miles on the car? This will help us alert you to timing of possible problems.
  2. Has the engine sump been dropped to look for sludge? This is the most critical aspect of buying any used 9-5, particularly an early one.
+1 - if the sump/pan's not been off its the place to start!
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  #7  
Old 17th April 2010
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You sound like me a few months ago.

I've always been a VW guy as well (along with a selection of various Ford and GM vehicles mixed in along the way - never actually liked any of those though...)

Owned quite a few VW's of different shapes and sizes. Have always done all of the work myself on all my vehicles.

Bought a black 99 9-5 with a 5-speed last December (for cheap - it was sitting at the back of a used car lot, looking pretty dusty).

I expected to do some work on it, didn't know how I would actually like the car.

Now, after a few months (and over 20,000 km), I love it!

First thing I did (as others have suggested) was drop the sump to make sure the engine would be OK. It was fine.

I have had to change the water pump, the clutch, an idler pulley, and the heater bypass valve since I got it.

After getting those bugs taken care of (not surprising on a used car with over 200,000 km on it), it runs great. I drive at least 200 km a day, Monday to Friday - and hope I can keep it going for a LONG time.

But... I would NEVER recommend anybody buying one of these (of this age) if you aren't prepared to do the work yourself - or you will go broke on the repairs!
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  #8  
Old 22nd April 2010
red16vman red16vman is offline
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It's still not a for sure thing, in fact, the car is still sitting in the backyard of my friend's house. It has 113,000 miles, just had a new clutch put in. It's not on insurance right now. He's waiting for a tow-dolly from one of his friends before he brings it into the local saab dealer for its regular maintenance, and then we'll trade.

I do oil changes every 3k myself, which to some is a bit overkill but it's how I roll. I'm not particularly scared of the oil sludge problem if it's still clear. I'll definitely have the sump checked out.

As for VWs I've owned, I've never had a MKII golf. But I do have a MKII scirocco 16V, rebuilt the engine, did some suspension and brake reworking, added some chassis stiffness, 2.5" exhaust among a few other things. Car is a pretty quick beast. Well, it was until I blew the transmission out again. My wife has a new beetle, and I've had a couple Jettas and a rabbit.
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  #9  
Old 24th April 2010
red16vman red16vman is offline
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Well, I gave the engine sump an examination. No sign of oil sludge, and I've got it running nice and smooth now. Couple minor issues here and there, but so long as there's no major mechanical issues I'm happy.

The a/c doesn't blow cold, there's a bunch of dead pixels on the display, and one of the driver's seat rails is stuck so it doesn't move back and forth properly. The check engine light is still on, as well as the air bag light and an annoying looking hazard! light in the speedometer. Without a manual I have no idea what that means.
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  #10  
Old 24th April 2010
MI-Roger MI-Roger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red16vman View Post
Well, I gave the engine sump an examination. No sign of oil sludge, and I've got it running nice and smooth now. Couple minor issues here and there, but so long as there's no major mechanical issues I'm happy.

The a/c doesn't blow cold, there's a bunch of dead pixels on the display, and one of the driver's seat rails is stuck so it doesn't move back and forth properly. The check engine light is still on, as well as the air bag light and an annoying looking hazard! light in the speedometer. Without a manual I have no idea what that means.
OK, it all sound easily (and cheaply) fixable.

My recommendation is to remove the SID (the display missing the pixels) and send it to bba-reman in Massachusetts for repair. The SID repair will cost ~$70. One week later you will have the part back in your hands for reinstallation. To remove the SID, first go to WalMart and get a set of $4 DIN Radio Removal tools. Use these to remove the radio head unit, then reach in the dash and pull out the SID.

Push the AUTO and OFF buttons on the A/C controller simultaneously. This will start a self-test of the car's HVAC system. A perfectly functioning system will end the test with "00" displayed on the driver's side of the display. My guess is that your car will have a "01" on the driver's side and a "08" on the passenger's side. This translates into one fault (01), and the fault code is the Code 8 (08) fault. The problem will be a broken actuator arm on one damper beneath the dash, a $20 part.

I will bet that whatever is causing the binding of the seat rail has also disabled the driver's seat air-bag and caused the christmas tree of lights on the dash. Maybe someone jammed too much stuff under the seat, shoving the wiring harness into the slide mechanism, which then severed a wire and jammed the seat rail.

For manuals you will want what is called the WIS (Workshop Information System) the factory service manual on CD, as well as the EPC (Electronic Parts Catalog) also on CD. e-Bay is a good place to buy these cheaply as neither was ever sold directly to the public by SAAB in the US. A Google search may find other sources too.
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  #11  
Old 24th April 2010
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nathanthepilot nathanthepilot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red16vman View Post
Well, I gave the engine sump an examination. No sign of oil sludge, and I've got it running nice and smooth now. Couple minor issues here and there, but so long as there's no major mechanical issues I'm happy.

The a/c doesn't blow cold, there's a bunch of dead pixels on the display, and one of the driver's seat rails is stuck so it doesn't move back and forth properly. The check engine light is still on, as well as the air bag light and an annoying looking hazard! light in the speedometer. Without a manual I have no idea what that means.
Press and hold the auto and off buttons on the Climate Control at the same time until it goes through the checks. You might have a broken plastic thingy under the dash (about an hour fix)

Dead pixels also have a fix here on SC, but it didn't work for me. Used BBA Reman on the east coast to fix it. Check eBay for them. Don't use the other guys or you might be sorry.

No ideas on the seat rail, but make sure you unplug the battery before pulling things out as there are SRS things under there.

Good luck with your "new" Saab!
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  #12  
Old 29th April 2010
red16vman red16vman is offline
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Sweet. I knew joining this site would be a good idea.

So, while I get that a/c stuff figured out, anyone know why the alarm might go off randomly?
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