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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well I've got me a new project. Care to follow along? =)

I bought this car from her second owner with 208k miles, great service records, no accidents. She had newer tires, ran and drove nice, and everything worked. For $1,200, I was not expecting a perfect car.

As I started learning more about this car and tearing into her a bit, I realized I may have bought a lemon. There's this sludge issue I wish I knew about before buying this car, and there's a lot of little electrical issues that need addressing in the front end, mainly just due to age but also some negligence/ignorance from the previous owner(s).

This car may have been one serious electrical fault away from ending up in a salvage yard depending on who was driving her at the time. But she's in pretty good hands now, and I think I can make a real nice ride out of her without breaking the bank.

This is my first Saab. I've owned many different vehicles over the years but the only European car was a '99 BMW 323is. This Saab 9-5 is definitely the most luxurious car I've ever owned. I decoded the VIN... it is indeed the BASE model, but it's got just about every option. Heated front and rear leather seats, powered sunroof, dual climate control, etc. And it all still works! Beautiful.

Here's some things I am planning to do right away...

Mechanical objectives:
1) Drop oil pan and clean everything
2) Remove valve cover and clean/inspect
3) Replace fuel pump
4) Replace ALL fluids and filters
5) Replace hood insulation pad
6) Headlight wiper delete
7) Wiring, lighting, and leak repairs
8) 4-wheel alignment
9) Set up factory rims with winter tires
10) (MAYBE) reverse lock delete

Cosmetic/tech upgrades:
1) 2008 Aero 9-3 Rims, satin black
2) Clear euro-style corners and side markers
3) Custom satin black and mesh grille
4) JVC KW-B75T stereo install
5) 35% window tint all around
6) (MAYBE) smoke all front lights
7) (MAYBE) backup camera

Pretty much all of these projects are already underway. As usual, I didn't take too many "before" photos, but you'll get the idea.
I'm trying to do this on a fairly tight budget, but I also do not want anything to be low-quality. This means used genuine parts, elbow grease, and hunting for deals when I can't avoid buying something new (like the hood insulation pad).

If you have questions or suggestions about anything along the way, please feel free to chime in! I will expand a bit more on each project in future posts.
Enjoy!

FIRST DAY HOME.jpg


THE FUN BEGINS.jpg


FRONT END WORK.jpg


WIPER DELETE.jpg


INSULATION REMOVED.jpg


GOOD RIDDANCE!.jpg


CLEAN INTERIOR 1.jpg


CLEAN INTERIOR 2.jpg


STEREO INSTALL JOB.jpg


2008 9-3 RIMS.jpg
 

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That's a clean looking car! I'm impressed that it has an ashtray. I'm not a smoker, but I've always thought the ashtray finished off the dashboard nicely versus the little cubby. A 1999 9-5 with perfect hood insulation showed up in Pick-n-Pull near Seattle, but I can't think of a good way to ship that.
 

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nice car.

1. Be careful with your audio install...... You are aware that the speakers are all 2 ohms......AND the amps have balanced input. You have to be careful in redoing the audio system and know your stuff.
2. sludge is an over done complaint. With an y decent oil changeintervals you will have not problem.
3. Good LED bulbs are a great option or those headlights.
4. genuinesaaab.com short shifter is a great upgrade for a manual along with a shift mechanism modified by IG3tech.com http://ig3tech.com/saab-9-5-precision-manual-transmission-linkage-rebuild/
+1 on removeing reverse lockout.
5. your rear springs could be sagged. Ride height should be 620mm for proper rear suspension alignment. Intall spring spacers if too low....do this before alignment.
6. I had a 1999 brand new. Quartz bulbs would blow all the time. Too much voltage.
7. Get a WIS shop manual CD and EPC CD if you don't already have one.

Good luck these are great cars....I love ht 9-5...have had a 1999 wagon, 2001 Aero Sedan, 2001 Aero wagon, and currently have a 2000 Aero wagon with a hot motor and other mods. I have the shifting mods as outlined in #4 aboive and it shifts so slickly!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's a clean looking car! I'm impressed that it has an ashtray. I'm not a smoker, but I've always thought the ashtray finished off the dashboard nicely versus the little cubby. A 1999 9-5 with perfect hood insulation showed up in Pick-n-Pull near Seattle, but I can't think of a good way to ship that.
Thanks, yeah looks pretty good everywhere except under the hood. Owned by a couple of yuppies before me! But at least they kept her well-serviced.
Haha... it's even got an ashtray and lighter for the drunk couple in the back seat!
That's the problem with the hood insulation... couldn't find a good one locally (all rotten or rodent-infested... mine was the latter at some point) and yeah, an arm and a leg to ship?
I found one for only $71 new from esaabparts.com, but they had a $50 flat rate shipping charge on it! Well I needed a couple other things so I ordered just enough to get free shipping. =D
It should be here friday, i think.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
nice car.

1. Be careful with your audio install...... You are aware that the speakers are all 2 ohms......AND the amps have balanced input. You have to be careful in redoing the audio system and know your stuff.
2. sludge is an over done complaint. With an y decent oil changeintervals you will have not problem.
3. Good LED bulbs are a great option or those headlights.
4. genuinesaaab.com short shifter is a great upgrade for a manual along with a shift mechanism modified by IG3tech.com http://ig3tech.com/saab-9-5-precision-manual-transmission-linkage-rebuild/
+1 on removeing reverse lockout.
5. your rear springs could be sagged. Ride height should be 620mm for proper rear suspension alignment. Intall spring spacers if too low....do this before alignment.
6. I had a 1999 brand new. Quartz bulbs would blow all the time. Too much voltage.
7. Get a WIS shop manual CD and EPC CD if you don't already have one.

Good luck these are great cars....I love ht 9-5...have had a 1999 wagon, 2001 Aero Sedan, 2001 Aero wagon, and currently have a 2000 Aero wagon with a hot motor and other mods. I have the shifting mods as outlined in #4 aboive and it shifts so slickly!!!
This is really great info, thanks for taking the time to share.
I do know audio systems somewhat, but I am still researching how I will do this because it's a pretty complex system in this car (I hear people talking about 7 or 13 speakers... mine seems to have 9??)
I remember reading somewhere that only the door speakers are 2 ohm, and powered by a different amp than the others? Maybe I found some bad data, but if that is the case, couldn't I slap a resistor onto the positive going from head unit to amp one, and problem solved? I would get less out of those two door speakers but that would be fine, I'm not trying to play it really loud.
Another person suggested that since only those two speakers are 2 ohms, the overall extra load on the head unit won't be much, and then I also thought I like to adjust my fade about 75% rear anyway.
Yet another thought I had is replacing that Amp1 with cheap aftermarket amp and then adding resistors to the door speakers... lots of options but like I said, I don't fully know what I am dealing with yet. More research needed.

About the sludge, I'm just being a little paranoid maybe, this car got the new PCV system right away and was well-maintained it's whole life. But I've got to take a look anyway. Valve cover removal is easy, dropping the pan is not. But regardless of the sludge, I gotta clean that pick up screen anyways.

I thought the LED bulbs were still "off-road use only"? Not like anyone would probably notice, but I am in Portland, OR. If you are homeless here, you can literally get away with murder. But if you are a tax-paying, productive member of society, you are a financial target for law enforcement. If your shoes are tied "wrong", you are getting a $240 ticket.

The short shifter sounds cool, so does a bigger turbo and other fun things, but this is my new sunday driver. I won't be doing any major performance mods to this one. I've got a bawlz-out '92 Accord for when I want to get crazy. =)
And the reverse-lock delete? I always park with gearbox in first. Do I change my ways at the age of 36 because a Bankrupt Swedish jet fighter company thinks it's more safe? Yeah, the more I think about it, the more sold I am on removing that feature.

On the rear's ride height, 620mm = 24.4" and my trusty tape measure is reading about 26" from ground to high point of wheel well. Is that the 'ride height' you're talking about? Or measure somewhere/somehow else?

EPC and shop manual CD's are definitely on my list as well as a Tech 2 unit. Do I just need the Tech 2 device, or is there specific software that I will need to go along with that, as well? For the PC?

THANKS AGAIN!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This might be one of the funniest Top Gear segments EVER, btw.

Reverse lock... how silly. I love when I read posts where die-hard Saab guys are trashing on people like me for considering this, and saying "if you don't like it, don't buy a Saab!" Yeah okay, dude. That's like saying, "If you don't like the color blue, don't buy a blue house, even if it has everything you want, it fits your budget, and you could easily paint it yourself."

 

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Good comic relief but not actually possible to start it in gear. 😊

The reverse lock out is the first thing that gets removed when you install your short shifter.
.
.
 

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This is really great info, thanks for taking the time to share.
I do know audio systems somewhat, but I am still researching how I will do this because it's a pretty complex system in this car (I hear people talking about 7 or 13 speakers... mine seems to have 9??)
I remember reading somewhere that only the door speakers are 2 ohm, and powered by a different amp than the others? Maybe I found some bad data, but if that is the case, couldn't I slap a resistor onto the positive going from head unit to amp one, and problem solved? I would get less out of those two door speakers but that would be fine, I'm not trying to play it really loud.
Another person suggested that since only those two speakers are 2 ohms, the overall extra load on the head unit won't be much, and then I also thought I like to adjust my fade about 75% rear anyway.
Yet another thought I had is replacing that Amp1 with cheap aftermarket amp and then adding resistors to the door speakers... lots of options but like I said, I don't fully know what I am dealing with yet. More research needed.

About the sludge, I'm just being a little paranoid maybe, this car got the new PCV system right away and was well-maintained it's whole life. But I've got to take a look anyway. Valve cover removal is easy, dropping the pan is not. But regardless of the sludge, I gotta clean that pick up screen anyways.

I thought the LED bulbs were still "off-road use only"? Not like anyone would probably notice, but I am in Portland, OR. If you are homeless here, you can literally get away with murder. But if you are a tax-paying, productive member of society, you are a financial target for law enforcement. If your shoes are tied "wrong", you are getting a $240 ticket.

The short shifter sounds cool, so does a bigger turbo and other fun things, but this is my new sunday driver. I won't be doing any major performance mods to this one. I've got a bawlz-out '92 Accord for when I want to get crazy. =)
And the reverse-lock delete? I always park with gearbox in first. Do I change my ways at the age of 36 because a Bankrupt Swedish jet fighter company thinks it's more safe? Yeah, the more I think about it, the more sold I am on removing that feature.

On the rear's ride height, 620mm = 24.4" and my trusty tape measure is reading about 26" from ground to high point of wheel well. Is that the 'ride height' you're talking about? Or measure somewhere/somehow else?

EPC and shop manual CD's are definitely on my list as well as a Tech 2 unit. Do I just need the Tech 2 device, or is there specific software that I will need to go along with that, as well? For the PC?

THANKS AGAIN!
all of the speakers are 2 ohm, NOT just the doors. Resistors will ruin the system. The idea is to match the speakers impedance in ohms to the installed amp. The Amp in the Saab and the speakers are quite good. I would keep them. But ALL after market head units have RCA jack co ax output to the amp. The Saab system is BALANCED and NOT RCA. So you have to get an RCA to balanced adapter for each channel out of the head unit. You can get them on eBay. This is why I am saying your better know your audio before attempting aftermarket conversions. It is just not that easy. You also need to get a Saab to Aftermarket power cord and antennna connector. Again, Amazon or eBay have them. I just went through all of this on my wife's 2001 Aero. I may have an extra set of the cables and electronics if you are interested.

Your ride height sounds off. Yes you do measure from the lower wheel edge [NOT the ground] to the inner fender opening through the wheel center. WIS has the full diagrams. Give me an email address and I can send some instructions how to measure ride height and fix suspension.

Google WIS and EPC and you will find downloads for free. You need a windows computer.
http://saabworld.net/showthread.php?t=33310 is one link. There is also and on-line version.

This is a very necessary information/tool to do any repair. And the EPC is great.

Also esaabparts.com is a great parts source. Again I am a happy customer

Get a tech 2 RIGHT NOW! I ordered one from China a couple of years ago and it works great. On a 2001 that does not have CAN you need no more add ons. Best $260 USD I have spent. The Chinese clones work well.

The short shifter IS cool. And it costs only $150 USD. Genuinesaab.com is a great company. I have no interest, I am only a happy customer. Very worthwhile modification. And the shift mechanism rebuild is a bargain too. The improvement is 1000% REALLY!!! You go from sloppy shifting to VERY precise.

ONE MORE thing......replace all rubber vacuum lines with silicon hoses. Replace them one at a time so you know where they go. You can get these from genuinesaab.com or IG3tech.com or other places. Lots of vacuum lines and they age and crack and cause all kinds of CEL lights etc...

LED light bulbs in those glass lens enclosures work VERY VERY well. Don't worry about the cops. They just work well. My condolences about living in Portland. My sister lives there and it is a real nanny state, liberal hell hole.

I have benn driving Saabs since 1959 [yeah I am old] and have had 5 9-5 models and another 20 or so older ones. I do all my own work and have seen a lot of problems and fixes.

I have a very modified and improved 2000 red Aero wagon stick with 200,079 miles on it that I love.

Glad to help. Keep the questions coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good comic relief but not actually possible to start it in gear. 😊

The reverse lock out is the first thing that gets removed when you install your short shifter.
.
.

Yeah it's pretty fakey but funny!
And this car really is ugly to a lot of people. Well they can kiss my heinie because I think she's a good looking sedan!
Not gonna do a short shifter, but I I've made up my mind on the reverse lock delete. A nifty safety feature for some but definitely not for me. Thanks for your input! =)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
all of the speakers are 2 ohm, NOT just the doors. Resistors will ruin the system. The idea is to match the speakers impedance in ohms to the installed amp. The Amp in the Saab and the speakers are quite good. I would keep them. But ALL after market head units have RCA jack co ax output to the amp. The Saab system is BALANCED and NOT RCA. So you have to get an RCA to balanced adapter for each channel out of the head unit. You can get them on eBay. This is why I am saying your better know your audio before attempting aftermarket conversions. It is just not that easy. You also need to get a Saab to Aftermarket power cord and antennna connector. Again, Amazon or eBay have them. I just went through all of this on my wife's 2001 Aero. I may have an extra set of the cables and electronics if you are interested.

Your ride height sounds off. Yes you do measure from the lower wheel edge [NOT the ground] to the inner fender opening through the wheel center. WIS has the full diagrams. Give me an email address and I can send some instructions how to measure ride height and fix suspension.

Google WIS and EPC and you will find downloads for free. You need a windows computer.
http://saabworld.net/showthread.php?t=33310 is one link. There is also and on-line version.

This is a very necessary information/tool to do any repair. And the EPC is great.

Also esaabparts.com is a great parts source. Again I am a happy customer

Get a tech 2 RIGHT NOW! I ordered one from China a couple of years ago and it works great. On a 2001 that does not have CAN you need no more add ons. Best $260 USD I have spent. The Chinese clones work well.

The short shifter IS cool. And it costs only $150 USD. Genuinesaab.com is a great company. I have no interest, I am only a happy customer. Very worthwhile modification. And the shift mechanism rebuild is a bargain too. The improvement is 1000% REALLY!!! You go from sloppy shifting to VERY precise.

ONE MORE thing......replace all rubber vacuum lines with silicon hoses. Replace them one at a time so you know where they go. You can get these from genuinesaab.com or IG3tech.com or other places. Lots of vacuum lines and they age and crack and cause all kinds of CEL lights etc...

LED light bulbs in those glass lens enclosures work VERY VERY well. Don't worry about the cops. They just work well. My condolences about living in Portland. My sister lives there and it is a real nanny state, liberal hell hole.

I have benn driving Saabs since 1959 [yeah I am old] and have had 5 9-5 models and another 20 or so older ones. I do all my own work and have seen a lot of problems and fixes.

I have a very modified and improved 2000 red Aero wagon stick with 200,079 miles on it that I love.

Glad to help. Keep the questions coming.

Wow, yuck... that's way worse than anything I've read about it so far, although I really haven't dug into it much yet... just got the dash install figured out thus far, which was also a pain!

I've got the antenna adapter and wire harness adapter already.

I just went to take a look at things a little more and my car doesn't have the 6x9's in the rear. I guess that is one option this BASE model didn't get, even though it seems to have almost every other option.

So in light of your awesome information and the fact that I don't even have factory rear speakers, I think my new plan will be to bypass the factory speakers and amp(s) all together, throw new 4-ohm 2-way kickers only in the front doors and rear deck, power them with a little kicker sub, and call it a day.

I think that will sound real nice. I don't need more than 4 speakers in a midsize sedan, especially if two of them are amped kicker 6x9's. =)
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Update...

I got the clear corner lights the other day. They look alright I guess... I'll give them a chance. They sure look better than the broken and taped-in factory lights! I did a little high-speed test on the drive home (just 95) and one of them actually fell out and was hanging by its wires!

These are the newer, single-bulb style corners. I decided not to add a port for my second bulb (the parallel-parking-at-night-lights) because I now see that these corners don't even have the same internal reflective geometry, so they wouldn't work too well anyway. So I just 'deleted' them.

Similar to the connectors for the headlight wipers I removed, I wrapped each unused connector in a nitrile glove and then wrapped that whole thing well with 3M electrical tape and up the wires a little ways. Then I tucked them away in a safe spot with a few zip ties.

I installed some weather stripping in the area where the headlight windshield wiper tray used to reside, so water doesn't flood in under the headlights when it rains.

I got my custom AUX input and microphone pod done, too. I'm quite pleased with the results! I got lucky and had just the right AUX extension cable and a magically perfect piece of plastic from an old bike pump for the MIC. =)

More pics, updates, projects, and ridiculously long posts to come! =P

AFTER WIPER DELETE.jpg NEW WEATHER STRIPPING.jpg FINISHED WIPER DELETE.jpg OLD VERSUS NEW.jpg NEW FRONT LIGHTS 1.jpg NEW FRONT LIGHTS 2.jpg CUSTOM AUX INPUT 1.jpg CUSTOM AUX INPUT 2.jpg CUSTOM MIC POD 1.jpg CUSTOM MIC POD 2.jpg
 

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The audio install is not that hard, use the factory amp and you'll be good to go. Get a set of ground loop isolators and put them between the audio out on the double DIN rig and the factory amps and everthing is right.

Check out this thread about how to do it and what you need



read the whole thread. I found it better to use the factory cage with some mods to allow you to plug your cables into your new rig instead of the DDIN cage supported only by the plastic dash panel. The factory cage is supported in the back as well. Just get an extra cage from a junkyard so if you want to go back to the factory radio at any point you can do it easily.

Oh and if you're interested I do have an extra (used) setup for the steering wheel buttons. I sold one of my cars and the guy didn't want the DIN in it. It'll work perfectly on your car since you don't have paddle shifters. This one is not compatible with paddles. PM me and we can work out a deal.
 

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In the meantime there was a guy a while back that posted a bluetooth audio input device based on an Arduino processor. you could plug it into the CD changer port in your trunk (and on your year it is in there already so you don't have to buy the CD changer cable)


Last I read it even does steering wheel controls and displays stuff in the SID. Might be a better alternative than a 2DIN rig if you are really only using that DIN to stream audio and GPS from your phone.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
NG 9-3 wheels have a different offset. I think you would be better off with some other 9-5 wheels.
I checked it out before buying the rims. 41mm versus 49mm... 8mm further out doesn't concern me. I've read about others running this same offset on this car for years with no issues. But thanks for looking out! =)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In the meantime there was a guy a while back that posted a bluetooth audio input device based on an Arduino processor. you could plug it into the CD changer port in your trunk (and on your year it is in there already so you don't have to buy the CD changer cable)


Last I read it even does steering wheel controls and displays stuff in the SID. Might be a better alternative than a 2DIN rig if you are really only using that DIN to stream audio and GPS from your phone.
1) I want a touchscreen media player in my car, not this ancient button assortment from planet Eyesore.
2) if you don't know what Android Auto is, look it up. Plug phone into USB, head unit BECOMES phone (use most apps, on-screen GPS not just audio, better sound quality through wired connection, more features, etc).
3) steering wheel controls are okay but I almost never have 2 hands on the wheel and I'm used to using a remote control.
4) I already bought everything I need for the head unit install. Now I need to figure out speakers and amp.
Thanks for sharing about that upgrade... It's better then stock but a far cry from what I'm going for. ; )
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The audio install is not that hard, use the factory amp and you'll be good to go. Get a set of ground loop isolators and put them between the audio out on the double DIN rig and the factory amps and everthing is right.

Check out this thread about how to do it and what you need



read the whole thread. I found it better to use the factory cage with some mods to allow you to plug your cables into your new rig instead of the DDIN cage supported only by the plastic dash panel. The factory cage is supported in the back as well. Just get an extra cage from a junkyard so if you want to go back to the factory radio at any point you can do it easily.

Oh and if you're interested I do have an extra (used) setup for the steering wheel buttons. I sold one of my cars and the guy didn't want the DIN in it. It'll work perfectly on your car since you don't have paddle shifters. This one is not compatible with paddles. PM me and we can work out a deal.
Thanks for that info about the factory amp, I think I'm gonna do new stuff though... I don't even have factory rear speakers, if you noticed from my earlier posts.
I bought a newer multimedia head unit (no disc drive) and it's only like 3 inches deep and very light weight. I did a mock up install with this aftermarket cage I bought and it will be plenty rigid I think. I might anchor each side somehow but may not need to. There will also be dampening foam between the stereo and the units above and below it. But a bumpy test drive will surely let me know!
Not worried about steering wheel controls for now, but thank you for the offer! =)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well my mind was made up by a surprise check in the mail from the title company... they overpaid my property taxes when I did a refi recently. =D
So I've got a little new money for the Saab budget now and my mind is made up about the stereo. Little Cleo (that's short for Cleopatra, inspired by her beautiful Scarab green skin... I like to name my cars!) will be receiving the following gear (I already have the head unit... which I STOLE on black friday for $193!):

270031


I'm excited for this. It will be a bit better than the setup in my Honda with those 6 x 9's, and the Honda system sounds great! =)

Thoughts? Please share. I have only bought the head unit thus far. Plan would be 6x9's in rear deck (currently there is nothing), 5-1/4's in front doors, rear door and dash tweeters unused, factory amp removed.
 

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