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Saab 9-3 SportSedan, Convertible ('04+)/Combi & 9-3X Workshop Saab 9-3 SportSedan, Convertible ('04+)/Combi & 9-3X , 2003 - 2012 Technical Forum

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  #1  
Old 24-04-07
gw2kbust gw2kbust is offline
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Smile 2003 9-3 Vector

Hello everyone. I'm new here. I'm graduating Penn State University and looking into a reliable, performance, luxury oriented sedan. I'm looking to buy used, preferebly $20,000 or less. I'll tell you a little bit about myself.

I have always been into quick four door sedans. I've owned two Ford Taurus SHO's and looking to replace these as they are starting to fall apart (good ol' Ford). The motor, made by Yamaha, is one of the best motors ever made in my opinion. 220 horsepower, 200 lbs of torque. That was back in 1989! Anyway, I do my own work on my vehicles so I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty and I treat my vehicles with the best of care.

I'm currently looking at a 2003 Saab 9-3 Vector, 25,000 miles, 6sp, 210 horse, 220lbs of torque, bi-xenon, vector body kit, one owner, completely stock, $18,500. I haven't test driven it yet but what should I be looking for? Any wear items in these vehicles? Any known issues? How would you rate the power compared to an SHO (if you have ever driven one)? Can I expect 30-35mpg from the Vector? Let me know what you guys think.

I'm also looking at a Nissan Altima SE-R, Mazdaspeed 6, Infiniti G35 coupe or sedan, and a BMW 330CI or XI. What do you guys think of the Vector compared to those? Sorry for all of the questions. I'm looking forward to hearing from you all. Thanks!

Greg
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  #2  
Old 24-04-07
dizwhoadayjohn dizwhoadayjohn is offline
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In my opinion i love my Saab 9-3 of course. You'll be looking at an estimated 30 per HWY gallon depending on your driving. My car has not occured any of the problems i've read, but for some reason i've read alot about other's problems. The 2.0T model you're looking in to actually has alot more of a punch than the number shows. Fun to drive! The Altima is nice but nissan/infiniti has yet to perfect the engine vibration while accelerating. If you're looking to the power comparisons. I've beaten everyone of the other cars you're looking. And all i have is a K&N drop in filter. Imagine me getting a Stage 1 Tuned Program. A Saab isn't as common as most cars, so to my opinion for the the Saab of course!
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  #3  
Old 24-04-07
JonV JonV is offline
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Go for it, The big issues were the Auto trans/coolant leaks....some discussion on stiffness on cold shifting with the manuals but apparently no biggie. Under powered radio was another complaint with some. Check for peeling interior trim. From what you've said, you know the mechanical inspection drill. Offer 16...I was offered 11.8 for my Auto on trade in last month (59K)...manuals are in less demand although the low mileage is a plus.
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  #4  
Old 24-04-07
Wulf Wulf is offline
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With the current $3000 rebate, you can get a brand new 2007 Arc 2.0T 6-speed manual (same engine as the 2003 Vector and a lot of the same standard equipment) for around $23K. (5-year 100K miles powertrain warranty included).

So $18.5K for a 4 year old car out of warranty seems a bit pricey. I don't have any experience with the 2003's but it seems like they were having issues. Just extend the finance term for an extra year and you drive brand new with the same monthly payment and no chance of expensive repairs.
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  #5  
Old 24-04-07
ANTMAR ANTMAR is offline
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One thing to consider - Saabs are not easy to work on yourself - the scanning tool is known as a Tech2 and is very expensive and requires the proper software - many of us are at the mercy of the dealerships just to be able to diagnose - it is a good idea to have a warranty on the vehicle - most issues are not engine related per say but are computer electronic related - there are over 30 computers in the latest gen Saabs and they all work off of one another to some degree - if you test drive it you will most likely buy it but I agree with the last poster that deals are abound - if you like smooth engines the new V6T is very nice and has some potential for tuning - best of luck.
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  #6  
Old 24-04-07
Irishfred Irishfred is offline
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Listen to the radio with your favorite CD to see if you can tolerate the sound.

Check the service history. See if they did all of the service bulletins as instructed.

See if the SAI pump has been replaced yet. If not, have them check the valve and replace it if needed. Water will eventually get in the pump and ruin it... The SAI pump was only on the 03, and it is susceptable to water damage and failure every time that valve fails. Keep that in mind.

You will not be able to work on this car more than oil changes and air filters. A check engine light needs to be diagnosed with the factory computer every time. The stuff at Pep Boys will not cut it.

Good luck.
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  #7  
Old 24-04-07
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myt4cyl myt4cyl is offline
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I owned a SHO several several years back, the power is going to depend on the year you had.

As far as your comparisons are going, if you are trying to stay around $20,000 you will probably get the most bang for your buck with the Saab, but I had a toss up between the G35 and my newest (also my 2nd saab) 9-3. I choose the 9-3 for price because I bought new, but it was still a tough call for me personally.
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  #8  
Old 24-04-07
ctrlz ctrlz is offline
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Others have some good points.

As far as the Tech2, it is not absolutely required to service the vehicle. There are other scan tools available which will facilitate diagnosis. We really don't have many members here who do their own mechanical work (yet), and most of these cars are still under warranty. So the discussions about how best to service your own 93SS have really not started yet. OTOH, the Tech2 has capabilities beyond anything we can buy at this point. And some computer modules need to be "added to the bus" with a Tech2 if they are replaced. So if your ECM is shot, you can't just buy a new one and plug it in.

I know some here claim over 30 mpg with their 2.0T cars. I currently get a consistent 26.5 mpg with about 90/10 hwy/city mixed driving. My car is a 2003 6 spd Vector with BSR Stage 1 tuning (~40K miles on the odometer). Highway speeds where I live are typically ~80 mph, which may account for some of the difference compared to other members.
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  #9  
Old 24-04-07
Panoply Panoply is offline
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Low milage isn't always a plus. Why is it low? City driving? Short trips? Broken clock? Been in the shop? Cars that sit seem to rot. That may only be my personal feeling though. I would expect an average 03 to have between 40k-60k miles. Just take this as questions to ask.
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  #10  
Old 24-04-07
JonV JonV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wulf
With the current $3000 rebate, you can get a brand new 2007 Arc 2.0T 6-speed manual (same engine as the 2003 Vector and a lot of the same standard equipment) for around $23K. (5-year 100K miles powertrain warranty included).

So $18.5K for a 4 year old car out of warranty seems a bit pricey. I don't have any experience with the 2003's but it seems like they were having issues. Just extend the finance term for an extra year and you drive brand new with the same monthly payment and no chance of expensive repairs.
That's a pretty standard 2.0T, if he just added Paint (i.e. Titan Gray) 17" Wheels Package, Radio Upgrade, and Cold Weather Package he'd be up to 30K...

I paid 18.3 for my CPO Vector 10 monthe ago, he should easily get that for 16K.
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  #11  
Old 24-04-07
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soul05 soul05 is offline
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if it comes with warranty, go for it. if not, beware, 03s are notorious for problems.
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  #12  
Old 24-04-07
JonV JonV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panoply
Low milage isn't always a plus. Why is it low? City driving? Short trips? Broken clock? Been in the shop? Cars that sit seem to rot. That may only be my personal feeling though. I would expect an average 03 to have between 40k-60k miles. Just take this as questions to ask.
And they think I'm a Cynic .....I bought a 17 Year Old 900 Vert with 128K on it, that's 7,500 miles a year...garage kept, all maint. records..
City Dwellers/Mass Transit users, use their cars mostly on weekends.

Lets not be so negative.

Last edited by JonV; 24-04-07 at 05:14 PM.
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  #13  
Old 24-04-07
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KrOlDoG8 KrOlDoG8 is offline
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Get it!! You'll fall in love with it, especially after driving Ford Taurus'. But be very mindful its a Saab!! not a BMW!! Yes the styling is top notch and the ergonomics are stellar, but they do have some creaks and rattles (i.e GM interior parts). The turbo w/ the stick is addicting! If you can do your own brakes, oil changes, and filters then your in great shape to save money by keeping it out of the stealership. Yes it has many Tech II required repairs for electronic modules, but mechanically they are superb. Oh yeah most people prefer to upgrade the suspension, and stereo. So plan on ~$1,000 if you dont like the shotty dampers/springs and the dull stereo.

Good luck getting a G35, 330, or Mazdaspeed6 for under 20k unless they have 4x the mileage of the Vector.

Saab = best bang for the buck, however poor resale. So dont buy it to lose your *** in a year by selling it because everyone who lets these cars go do.
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