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  #1  
Old 14th June 2012
acammer acammer is offline
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Default Considering purchasing a Saab 9-5 Aero Wagon - what should I look for/avoid?

Good afternoon all. As the title says, I'm looking at Saab first generation 9-5 Aero wagons for a secondary car for my family. I currently work from home, and my spouse is full time employed as a mother to our 6 month old, so I thought that we'd be set with one car - we currently have a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T Daytona - fantastic car, driving excitement, comfort, muscle and family practicality all in one. However, we're starting to find that there are times we wish we had a second car, something with a lot of room, reasonable on fuel, still fun to drive (we're both horsepower junkies) and cheap, in initial price and maintenance. So, wagons are high on the list for lost of room and practicality. Getting sport and cheap in there is a little trickier. Lots of Legacy/Outback wagons available used, but the resale for Subbies is pretty high, and they have a disspointingly little amount of power. I didn't even think about a Saab till I stumbled across a few on Craigslist.

So, tell me about reliability with these cars, common issues to look for, what to avoid like the plague and what's normal and not concerning. Thanks guys.
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  #2  
Old 14th June 2012
srmoose srmoose is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acammer View Post
Good afternoon all. As the title says, I'm looking at Saab first generation 9-5 Aero wagons for a secondary car for my family. I currently work from home, and my spouse is full time employed as a mother to our 6 month old, so I thought that we'd be set with one car - we currently have a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T Daytona - fantastic car, driving excitement, comfort, muscle and family practicality all in one. However, we're starting to find that there are times we wish we had a second car, something with a lot of room, reasonable on fuel, still fun to drive (we're both horsepower junkies) and cheap, in initial price and maintenance. So, wagons are high on the list for lost of room and practicality. Getting sport and cheap in there is a little trickier. Lots of Legacy/Outback wagons available used, but the resale for Subbies is pretty high, and they have a disspointingly little amount of power. I didn't even think about a Saab till I stumbled across a few on Craigslist.

So, tell me about reliability with these cars, common issues to look for, what to avoid like the plague and what's normal and not concerning. Thanks guys.
Nice cars fast and comfy and real safe.
But be ready to do some repairs and if you do them yourself the car can really be affordable.
1st major issue is oil sludge, sludge builds up in pan and eventually clogs system.
Other issues usually involve sensors, vacuum or computers.
If it does not have a CEL on you most likely ok for now.
SIDs often fail (radio Display etc) losing pixels until it cant be read. this is common but there are companies that do nice rebuilds of them so it might be bad but not a concern.
Welcome to the site, the sliding rear tray on the wagon is a real nice option
welcome to the site!
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  #3  
Old 14th June 2012
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05Aero21 05Aero21 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acammer View Post
Good afternoon all. As the title says, I'm looking at Saab first generation 9-5 Aero wagons for a secondary car for my family. I currently work from home, and my spouse is full time employed as a mother to our 6 month old, so I thought that we'd be set with one car - we currently have a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T Daytona - fantastic car, driving excitement, comfort, muscle and family practicality all in one. However, we're starting to find that there are times we wish we had a second car, something with a lot of room, reasonable on fuel, still fun to drive (we're both horsepower junkies) and cheap, in initial price and maintenance. So, wagons are high on the list for lost of room and practicality. Getting sport and cheap in there is a little trickier. Lots of Legacy/Outback wagons available used, but the resale for Subbies is pretty high, and they have a disspointingly little amount of power. I didn't even think about a Saab till I stumbled across a few on Craigslist.

So, tell me about reliability with these cars, common issues to look for, what to avoid like the plague and what's normal and not concerning. Thanks guys.
04-05 best years. Documented repair work a plus if you can get it. Use synthetic oil only, some have their own preferences on weight. Very quick car, especially midrange power and gas mileage can reach 32 mpg cruising at 65. No kidding.

Bottom line is if the car has been well maintained you will love it. Check for codes if you can. Parts are reasonably priced. The transmission has no filter/gasket to change........you just drain and refill. Seriously check the color on that.

The cars best trait is it's highway power. It covers alot of ground super quick from 60 up. It will keep up w/most anything or beat it on the open road. It's a niche car and that is the main reason resale is low, but alot of Jap car owners probably wish they had bought one of these used than their cookie cutter Camry and Maxima.....their always looking at mine like "damn it". It's just not as refined as those, but who cares really.

The 2.3 is a relatively easy engine to work on too. I bought mine w/60K on it, currently at 101K. No issues whatsover. Change oil every 4K, trans. at 10K. Overkill perhaps, but thats just me. Do the changes yourself: approx. 30-40.00 for engine and 25.00 for trans. Not bad IMO. Just my .02.
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Last edited by 05Aero21; 14th June 2012 at 11:04 PM.
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  #4  
Old 15th June 2012
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niskanem niskanem is offline
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saabworld.net is another great resource for a Saab owner. This link shows the differences between the model years:
http://saabworld.net/f9/changes-saab...rth-america-1/

Here is the buyers guide:
http://saabworld.net/f9/saab-9-5-buyers-guide-693/

The 9-5 Aero Wagon is a very nice ride. I love mine. check out all the rear end suspension carefully, if it looks like subframe,trailing arm bushes, struts or springs are going have them replaced right way before start ruining tires... it can start to be an expensive venture. Other than that I think these cars are mechanically solid, not a whole lot to worry about if they have been maintained.
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  #5  
Old 15th June 2012
acammer acammer is offline
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Yea, thanks for the good input. This car has 205,000 miles on it, so that makes me concerned. If the price is right I might move forward, I love the combination of sporty driving excitement with safety and practicality. Going to take a close look at it. I have access to the cars lifetime mechanic for questioning, so that should be telling in and of itself. I'll let you know if I end up with it.
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  #6  
Old 15th June 2012
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AT 200K you will likely be looking at a timing chain that needs to be replaced some time in the not too distant future (if it has not already)

Unfortunately, that's not a trivial exercise to check it. You have to remove the tensioner and measure its' travel to see how far the chain has stretched. You can get some idea by the noise on the passenger side of the engine, if you hear a good bit of "rattling" you'll know that you're on the way to a chain replacement. (if you are handy this is a DIY project, but not for someone who can't change their own oil!)


Other than that, and the sludge that others have talked about there are the minor annoyances lieke the heater bypass valve will likely be replaced, the fuel pump and a few other things. see if you can get maint records of what the PO has done, as it is likely that some of this stuff has been done.

I (and others) will recommend that shortly after you get it you drop the oil sump to check for sludge. There is really nothing you can do short of this and it's an insurance policy for the longevity of the car. Again, it is DIY and there are tutorials in here for someone who has moderate skills. It's about a 4-hour job first time in.
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  #7  
Old 16th June 2012
acammer acammer is offline
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So I drove and inspected the car last night. It has 205k miles on it. Looking at it you'd think it might have 100k, its was very, very clean inside and out. Upgraded to the PVC-6 system early in its life, mobil 1 every 5k miles. It has a 3" Turbo-back exhaust and a BSR tuner programmed for the stage 3. Original clutch. Been through a few of the ignition moduals, has 80k on the current one. SIDs was rebuilt. Driveline and suspension were solid. No smoke on cold-start, seemed to push the boost gauge to the beginning edge of the red section pretty easily so the turbo seems ok for now. There was pretty good oil leak from the front of the valve cover. Pretty clean underneath. Asking price was $4,100, and the seller didn't want to move too far off of that. There are other lower mile Saab 95 wagons in the area, none of them 5spd manuals though. I'm just not sure, even in its excellent condition, that I wouldn't be buying something that'll need a turbo, timing chain, clutch, ignition, etc in the not so distant future. I test drove a Outback wagon today, solid car, just not in the same class/league as the 95 wagon. Sway me, away or towards this car!
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  #8  
Old 16th June 2012
TankTak TankTak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acammer View Post
So I drove and inspected the car last night. It has 205k miles on it. Looking at it you'd think it might have 100k, its was very, very clean inside and out. Upgraded to the PVC-6 system early in its life, mobil 1 every 5k miles. It has a 3" Turbo-back exhaust and a BSR tuner programmed for the stage 3. Original clutch. Been through a few of the ignition moduals, has 80k on the current one. SIDs was rebuilt. Driveline and suspension were solid. No smoke on cold-start, seemed to push the boost gauge to the beginning edge of the red section pretty easily so the turbo seems ok for now. There was pretty good oil leak from the front of the valve cover. Pretty clean underneath. Asking price was $4,100, and the seller didn't want to move too far off of that. There are other lower mile Saab 95 wagons in the area, none of them 5spd manuals though. I'm just not sure, even in its excellent condition, that I wouldn't be buying something that'll need a turbo, timing chain, clutch, ignition, etc in the not so distant future. I test drove a Outback wagon today, solid car, just not in the same class/league as the 95 wagon. Sway me, away or towards this car!
with 205k on the clock and it being first generation id be hard pressed to pay anything more than 2500-3k for it. the tune and exhaust is nice but we all know youll never get your return back on the parts save for parting it out
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Old 17th June 2012
srmoose srmoose is offline
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with 205k on the clock and it being first generation id be hard pressed to pay anything more than 2500-3k for it. the tune and exhaust is nice but we all know youll never get your return back on the parts save for parting it out
I agree, 4100 is way too much even if it does have manual (Nice).
If they are firm on the price, I would not pursue it.
Maybe in a few months the price will be reasonable, and I dont really think it will sell at that price. So I am guessing it will still be available.
So if your set on this car, wait.
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'01 9-5 Wagon 2.3. '00 9-5 Wagon 3.0, 1999 9-3 Conv.
1990 900 3 dr RIP, 1985 900 2 dr coupe RIP
1986 900 4 dr RIP 1976 99 2 dr RIP, 1977 99 5 dr RIP
1973 Sonett Gone but not forgotten
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  #10  
Old 18th June 2012
acammer acammer is offline
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Yea - I had pretty much talked myself out of the car by yesterday afternoon, the price was just too much for the potential repair issues down the road. I don't mind making some repairs and investing some money in a car I really like, but I've got to get it at the right price in order to consider that, and I wasn't getting the right price. Yesterday afternoon, I get a call from the seller (whom was a great guy to meet up with and chat with when I looked at the car, in another life we would have been gear head buddies for sure). He offered me a little more of a break on the price. I get the feeling he really wants me to have the car, I obviously liked it quite a bit, and he liked my (very rusty) 5spd handling - He said something to the effect of "nobody rev matches their down shifts anymore!" So that really binds me up - I was all set to walk away, and he sweeten the deal just enough to where its now a tough decision again, he didn't knock so much off so it's a no brainer, but he came a little closer to what I'd consider paying. Now it's essentially the same price as the Outback wagon with 157k in similar condition I drove this weekend. Outback was auto though, big turn-off. So, back to trying to decide.
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Old 18th June 2012
TankTak TankTak is offline
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I paid $3500 for my linear with 126k on it back in March. Have since changed the clutch and turbo as well as odds and ends here and there that I didnt ned to do. so if its an aero id pay the same again and again. otherwise id try and pay less. bit with over 200k on the clock id really wouldnt pay more than 2500 for it
Quote:
Originally Posted by acammer View Post
Yea - I had pretty much talked myself out of the car by yesterday afternoon, the price was just too much for the potential repair issues down the road. I don't mind making some repairs and investing some money in a car I really like, but I've got to get it at the right price in order to consider that, and I wasn't getting the right price. Yesterday afternoon, I get a call from the seller (whom was a great guy to meet up with and chat with when I looked at the car, in another life we would have been gear head buddies for sure). He offered me a little more of a break on the price. I get the feeling he really wants me to have the car, I obviously liked it quite a bit, and he liked my (very rusty) 5spd handling - He said something to the effect of "nobody rev matches their down shifts anymore!" So that really binds me up - I was all set to walk away, and he sweeten the deal just enough to where its now a tough decision again, he didn't knock so much off so it's a no brainer, but he came a little closer to what I'd consider paying. Now it's essentially the same price as the Outback wagon with 157k in similar condition I drove this weekend. Outback was auto though, big turn-off. So, back to trying to decide.
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  #12  
Old 21st June 2012
00AeroWag 00AeroWag is offline
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$4100 is overpriced, that's about what I paid for my Aero with 120K miles on it. Keep searching until you find the right one, I absolutely love the Aero Wagon, we just drove it from GA to CA a month ago fully loaded (my wife, son and I and two dogs in the hatch and averaged over 32 mpg
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  #13  
Old 22nd June 2012
acammer acammer is offline
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I bought it. For $3,500.00. I'm pleased with my purchase. I hunted a lot, 95 wagons are scarce up here, Aero wagons almost not at all, and this was the only 5spd one I found within a long long ways. The condition and detailed maintenance history sealed the deal. No buyers remorse here. What a ride, it's definitely one of the more fun cars I've had. Looking forward to getting to know it and put some miles on it the next few years.
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  #14  
Old 22nd June 2012
TankTak TankTak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acammer View Post
I bought it. For $3,500.00. I'm pleased with my purchase. I hunted a lot, 95 wagons are scarce up here, Aero wagons almost not at all, and this was the only 5spd one I found within a long long ways. The condition and detailed maintenance history sealed the deal. No buyers remorse here. What a ride, it's definitely one of the more fun cars I've had. Looking forward to getting to know it and put some miles on it the next few years.
as long as your happy then good deal
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  #15  
Old 22nd June 2012
00AeroWag 00AeroWag is offline
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Congrats! I'm sure that you'll love it and post some pics of it when you get the chance
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