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NG900 & OG9-3 Performance, Mods & Tuning Covers Tuning & Performance modifications for the NG900 (1994 to 1998) & OG9-3 (1999-2002) & '03 Convertible

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  #1  
Old 12th September 2007
pcmalen pcmalen is offline
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Default Suspension Upgrades

I need some direction with suspension changes. My 2002 9-3SE HOT has stock suspension, stock 16" wheels, and Toyo Proxes 4 tire. I was driving a loaner car today from my local dealer - 2007 9-3 and really liked the ride feel. My current car corners really well, but it is somewhat harsh to drive even on the freeway. It has 47,000 miles on it, so the shocks could be getting tired. What I would like is a somewhat more compliant ride, but firmness when needed. I was thinking along the lines of an Eibach Pro kit with shocks, struts and different springs, but I am totally open to anything. Thanks for your assistance!
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Old 12th September 2007
nc73 nc73 is offline
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I like my Bilsteins HD with stock springs. I think it's softer than a stock Viggen is meant to be, but oh well. It's a less bumpy ride that's for sure.
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  #3  
Old 13th September 2007
sleet sleet is offline
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i know eibach is a big name and what not but i am not a big fan of how any of the cars i been in with eibach equipped springs handled. it seemed like it was either to soft (most common with the cars i drove in) or to stiff and bouncy. a good friend of mine has eibachs in his car and after about 1-2 years they are pretty bad and sagging in the rear and noises in them and dont handle well at all. im sure they make good products but ive yet to drive in one .....
i have the koni sport kit on my 9-3 and love them!

Last edited by sleet; 13th September 2007 at 12:04 AM.
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  #4  
Old 13th September 2007
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pade900 pade900 is offline
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Eibach should be good but also take a look at the Koni Sport Kit and Bilstein shocks combined with some lowering springs.
I run Koni adjustables and H&R-springs om mine and I love the combo.
Bilsteins though are supposed to be a tad bit softer than Koni's on their softest setup.
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  #5  
Old 13th September 2007
Tweek's Turbos Tweek's Turbos is offline
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For around $80 you should first snag the larger rear sway bar. Its offered by many of the tuners.
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  #6  
Old 13th September 2007
JGunn JGunn is offline
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I run Koni Sport strut and spring setup from GS
I really like the feel and love the improved handling.
If you have any questions about the setup, just let me know.
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Old 13th September 2007
SAABturboDRIVR SAABturboDRIVR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleet
i know eibach is a big name and what not but i am not a big fan of how any of the cars i been in with eibach equipped springs handled. it seemed like it was either to soft (most common with the cars i drove in) or to stiff and bouncy. a good friend of mine has eibachs in his car and after about 1-2 years they are pretty bad and sagging in the rear and noises in them and dont handle well at all. im sure they make good products but ive yet to drive in one .....
i have the koni sport kit on my 9-3 and love them!
I THINK the Eibach's have a lifetime warranty or something close to it. He should definitely get them replaced. I have the Eibach Pro-Kit springs and Bilstein Sport shocks on my '99 9-3, and the ride/handling is better than stock. A little harsh over bad bumps, but overall much more composed.
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  #8  
Old 13th September 2007
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mike saunders mike saunders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmalen
I need some direction with suspension changes. My 2002 9-3SE HOT has stock suspension, stock 16" wheels, and Toyo Proxes 4 tire. I was driving a loaner car today from my local dealer - 2007 9-3 and really liked the ride feel. My current car corners really well, but it is somewhat harsh to drive even on the freeway. It has 47,000 miles on it, so the shocks could be getting tired. What I would like is a somewhat more compliant ride, but firmness when needed. I was thinking along the lines of an Eibach Pro kit with shocks, struts and different springs, but I am totally open to anything. Thanks for your assistance!
The 2003+ 9-3s have independent rear suspension, so you'll feel a more comfortable ride, especially over bumps that affect one wheel more than another (potholes, storm drains), or at a different time than the other wheel (train tracks, angled roadway cracks, speed bumps)

Also...if you drove a stock 9-3, that might actually have a softer spring rate than your 02 SE, which has a "sport suspension" of slighly lower and stiffer springs.

If you're happy with the way your car currently handles, then forget about getting springs. Any of the lowering springs mentioned here are going to stiffen the ride and make it slightly harsher, but that's the tradeoff for looks and performance. It's doubtful that your shocks are bad (stock ones routinely last 150K miles or more) but anything is possible.



<--- has Konis, B+G springs, 17-inch wheels...
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Old 13th September 2007
nc73 nc73 is offline
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Just put in bilsteins hd's and be done with it. lowering will only produce a harsh ride. Oh and shocks do not routinely last 150k. They will and can go at any time, usually before 100k.
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  #10  
Old 13th September 2007
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9-3sleeper 9-3sleeper is offline
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look for the post title "not a bad way to spend $500" All the good suspension mods are listed in there, with the exception of the KONI lowering kit.
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  #11  
Old 13th September 2007
pcmalen pcmalen is offline
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Forgive my ignorance, but what or how will a rear stabilizer bar affect the handling?
Thanks everyone for the responses.
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  #12  
Old 13th September 2007
nc73 nc73 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmalen
Forgive my ignorance, but what or how will a rear stabilizer bar affect the handling?
Thanks everyone for the responses.
The stock part is not very stiff and when switching to a stiffer one, it will help keep the rear tires planted on the ground better. You get a bit rougher ride though but no biggie.
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Old 14th September 2007
white96850turbo white96850turbo is offline
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I have B+G springs and Koni Sport strut's and I LOVE them, they handle great and the ride isn't all that bad...... then again I haven’t driven on bad roads or the high way yet so, yea.

I say that if this is your daily driver and you already think your ride is rough/bumpy, then don't get lowering springs.



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  #14  
Old 14th September 2007
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mike saunders mike saunders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nc73
Just put in bilsteins hd's and be done with it. lowering will only produce a harsh ride. Oh and shocks do not routinely last 150k. They will and can go at any time, usually before 100k.

Then quit offroading and doing rally jumps!



Maybe I;ve just been lucky but in seven Saabs driven over the past 18 years, I've never replaced a set of shocks before 180K miles, but I'm going to need to do that in another few weeks on my wife's NG900...

wait...that's not quite true....I replaced my stock shocks on my NG900 when they had 135K miles, but that was to upgrade to the Konis.
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  #15  
Old 14th September 2007
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mike saunders mike saunders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmalen
Forgive my ignorance, but what or how will a rear stabilizer bar affect the handling?
Thanks everyone for the responses.
A rear anti-sway bar acts to increase the effective spring rate of the rear suspension, making the springs feel stiffer than they are. It helps mostly around corners, with the drawback of a slightly harsher ride.

Most folks, myself included, feel it's one of the easiest and most cost effective handling upgrades for the car....
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  #16  
Old 14th September 2007
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Saabohème Saabohème is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike saunders
Maybe I;ve just been lucky but in seven Saabs driven over the past 18 years, I've never replaced a set of shocks before 180K miles, but I'm going to need to do that in another few weeks on my wife's NG900...

wait...that's not quite true....I replaced my stock shocks on my NG900 when they had 135K miles, but that was to upgrade to the Konis.
DITTO with the following amendments to reflect my personal experience:
Maybe I've just been lucky, but in four Saabs I have owned and driven over the past 17 years, I've never replaced a set of shocks before 180K miles. I have replaced a blown rear shock on my wife's 2002 Ford Focus SE wagon at 30,000 miles . . .

Wait...that's not quite true....I replaced my stock shocks on my NG900 when they had 138K miles, but that was to upgrade to the Bilsteins.

Saunders, I swear sometimes we are the same dude. Come to think of it, I have never seen you in the same room at the same time I am there . . .
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  #17  
Old 14th September 2007
Shirozina Shirozina is offline
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With my limited knowledge and experience of these cars (so far) it seems that due to the rather crude suspension layout it's not possible to have both a car that handles well and that is comfortable at the same time.
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  #18  
Old 14th September 2007
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In a way this is a true statement of any car, even a well balanced good-handling comfortable car straight from the factory. By that I mean, each and every car has its own polar extremes on the comfort - performance continuum. A factory BMW is a good example of a car that offers very good handling with a decently comfortable ride. But it can be tuned to be a track monster (which will make the ride more unsuitable for regular street driving) or to be floating boulevard cruiser (which will have it wallowing around corners like mid-eighties Cadillac). I suppose it is true that the better it is that you start out with, the better it can be made while keeping comfort and performance within its capabilities, and in this regard the NG900s were somewhat lacking. The rear is merely a semi-independent torsion beam set up that, while cheap and tried and tested, still suffers from the weaknesses inherent in any non-fully independent setup. The front uses the venerable McPherson struts, but the control arms are short and there is only one per side (a step back from the twin upper and lower arms of the classic 900).
Face it, fewer links makes the travel more limited, the geometry more incorrect, and every bump, dip and transition will communicate every vibration to the driver. Through the steering wheel and the seats. And even the ears.
So your statement is, in that regard, MORE true for our cars than for many others out there. There are some that are even worse however.
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  #19  
Old 14th September 2007
Shirozina Shirozina is offline
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There are definatley worse cars alright but coming from the older c900 that has suspension that dates from the late 60's the NG900/9-3 that should benefit from another 20 years of automotive development is a big step backwards.
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