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9-5 Performance, Mods & Tuning Covers Tuning & Performance modifications for the 9-5

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Old 10th September 2006
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Kermit Kermit is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004                                                
Location: London UK
My Saabs: 04 9-5 Vector 2.2Tid
Posts: 11,030
Post Tuning the 9-5

So you're happy with your 9-5 but would like a bit more poke from the engine, how do you do it?

SAAB's Trionic 7 engine management system is a very complicated beast and tuning it is a speciality job, you cannot just put an Ebay transistor in and get another 20bhp. Dropping the car off at a standard tuning shop is a no-no as well, they are used to tweaking Bosch based systems not the Trionic system that SAAB employ.

Generally speaking the tuning of SAAB's is done on a "stage" basis.

Stage 1. Remapped ecu (and red injectors if you have green injectors fitted), also a drop in performance air filter

Stage 2. As stage 1 but with the addition of a free flow exhaust

Stage 3. As stage 2 but with a 3" downpipe with a fast road or race cat fitted, ecu remapped to cope with extra air flow (some tuners will use an uprated 3.5bar FPR)

Stage 4. As stage 3 but usually with a better intercooler, either in the standard place ala Abbott or a custom FMIC. Larger air delivery pipes, induction pipes are also options to be considered. 3" straight through exhaust is desirable, ecu remapped again

Stage 4+. These are custom remaps done specifically for the hardware that doesn't fall into the above category...e.g bigger turbo's, bigger fuel injectors, custom manifolds etc

Sticking with one tuning company will reap dividends because they will generally offer discounted prices for remaps as you go up the tuning stages.

The above stages are applicable to all the inline 4 cylinder engines, but please note you will get better results horsepower wise from the lower tuned lpt models. The Aero (HOT) models are pretty much tuned to the max and respond better to the early stage 1&2 tunes, after that they will need additional cooling or you will lose any extra performance to heatsoak very quickly.

Tuning options on the V6 is very limited, there is only one tuner offering a stage 1 upgrade for the V6 and thats Nordic. If you are looking to tune your 9-5 you need the 4 cylinder model.

Here are some useful links to manufacturers that provide tuning services for the 9-5.
http://www.genuinesaab.com (Provides Nordic in the USA)
http://www.sqr.se/ (Handled by Automotion in the USA)

Please note that if you wish to tune your car whilst under manufacturers warranty the only tuner that will NOT invalidate your warranty are Hirsch, they are recognised by SAAB as an official tuner (similar to AMG/Mercedes or MSport/BMW)

As with all car tuning you should pay attention to the braking and handling of your car to cope with the additional power. You should also consider that failing to declare any modifications to your insurer could invalidate your insurance and potentially leave you open to prosecution.

A commonly asked question is "can i fit a blow off valve to my 9-5"? The answer is yes but it must be of the "recirculating" type. If you fit a DV that vents to air then the Trionic 7 engine management recognises it as an air leak and will reduce boost levels blunting performance. There is no discernable performance improvement from changing the standard Bosch fitment DV to either a Forge, Hyperboost etc. However what you are getting is a more reliable, serviceable unit with pistons that won't fail (unlike the diaphragm on the Bosch unit). Vehicles with a higher tune level will benefit from an aftermarket DV purely because they can hold more boost pressure and can be adjusted with springs/washers to suit different boost levels.

If you are after the pshhhhh sound associated with some turbo cars then ditching the standard airbox for an aftermarket air filter is the way to go. Just buy a "universal" style cone or cylinder filter with a 3" inlet and fit with a small length of 3" inlet tubing. Fabricating a splash guard underneath the open air filter is recommended otherwise you run the risk of water getting in and hydrolocking the engine.

Last edited by Kermit; 7th August 2007 at 07:16 AM.
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