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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I had a question about what motor is better, for reliability purposes. My instinct says that the non-turbo would be more reliable, but I was wondering if there were some other known issues with this motor that I missed. I am looking at two cars very seriously, one turbo, and one non with both having just over 100k on them. I understand the performance benefits, but that is not my main concern.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I have to make a decision this weekend.


Thanks,
Jeff
 

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In a word - stress.

IMO, little difference exists when the owner takes it easy on the turbo use.
Also, I doubt if any comprehensive records exist relating to 2.0T and 2.3 durability performance..
Some dealers may have data, but its only "their" cars..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks fo the reply. When it comes to used cars, i ususally espect the worst when it comes to care and maintenance, especially when you live in a city like Boston. My brother has 2 Saabs, and from what I have heard, a turbo can last anywhere from 100k to 200k with no problems, so it is really a crap shoot. I had an Audi 1.8T that never gave me any problems except a little smoke at startup (which my brother has with his 9-3 2.0T), but I like the idea of the simplicity of a non-turbo.
 

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The turbo 2.0 uses the "infamous" DIC ingnition

module atop the spark plug valley, many an experienced NG900 Saab guys keep a spare in the trunk for when it goes South without warning. That's about 3 hundred bucks in the trunk BTW....2.3 non-turbo has regular distributor and coil. Underhood, the turbo is more crowded and hotter, both bad things IMHO whether you are turning the wrenches or someone else.

The turbo is a hoot, no doubt about it, but the 2.3 is a sweet little engine in it's own way, revs like a dream plenty of power, i never hold up traffic.

Good luck,

John
1997 900S 2.3 5 speed 'vert 148K miles uses no oil, 31 mpg recent trip
 

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IMHO, I have worked on my own cars for 35 years. I don't have exact data either. Recently I had to make the same choice. I went with the 2.3 for fear of having expensive problems with the turbo. So far, I'm not sorry I did.
 

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I have a N/A 2.3l and I am eternally itching for more horsepower. However, it is nice to know that being an almost college student, I lessen my risk of expensive repairs. I have also heard that the 2.3l can last easily to 250,000 and up.


Futhermore, performance is not all THAT bad. Its a pretty respectable little thing and can keep up with a lot of todays little economy/sport things everyone is making.

Performance specs for the stock 2.3l are best to my knowledge:
Hp: 150
Torque: 155
0-60: 8.4-9.5 (two conflicting sources)
1/4: 16.3
Top Speed: aprox. 130mph
And I get about 27mpg.

That'll get you good mileage and an engine that you just can't kill, not to mention you can shame Honda Fits, Scion xA's and first generation xB's, and so on.



...But then you still don't have a turbo.

EDIT:: By the way all that juicy info is for the coupe or sedan, the convertable is fatter and slower.
 

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Everything said thus far is true. When buying a used car, it is literally a crap shoot and the only thing you can do is have the prospective purchase gone over with a fine toothed comb by an expert. This will tilt the odds in your favor. As far as Saab turbos go, I am continually impressed with the durability of the basic block and head combination. These things are virtually bullet-proof, if some decent semblance of routine maintenance was practiced.

As far as betting blind that a normally aspirated car will likely outlast a turbo one, this assumption bears some scrutiny. The Saab 2.1 NA car was possessed of a number of inherent (design) weaknesses making it less durable overall than the 2 liter turbo counterpart. This does NOT seem to be true of the 2.3 liter block however.

On a final note: it takes a somewhat anal retentive individual to purchase a used car and keep it long enough to bring durability concerns to the fore. Admittedly, I are one of these. I was able to keep a 1982 Lancia on the road for 9 years as my daily driver. It requires maintenance and the willingness to work on it yourself. I have found the Saab turbo to be less difficult to maintain and repair than most NA cars I have owned. Total downtime on the current car, from date of purchase with 69,000 on the clock, to the present, now with 170,000+ on the clock, is about 10 days. Still on the original turbo, and if that changes, it will more likely than not be because of the desire to upgrade.

SwedeSpeed95 said:
I have a N/A 2.3l and I am eternally itching for more horsepower. However, it is nice to know that being an almost college student, I lessen my risk of expensive repairs. I have also heard that the 2.3l can last easily to 250,000 and up.
My 1989 turbo vert has 254,000+.
 

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All Saab engines are tough as nails, so the real question is whether you want to deal with replacing DI's and turbos, or distributors.

DI cassettes can, and sometimes do fail without any warning, but they aren't as failure prone as they're made out to be, I bought my car with the same DI that was put on at the factory and I still haven't had to replace it. Same goes for the turbo, it's still like brand new. Besides, if you play your cards right, you can smooth talk a guy at the dealer into handing a replacement off to you pro-bono.

Edit: I should add that the car has about 151,000 miles.
 

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You're never going to be in a legitimate driving situation where you need the extra horsepower that you'll get with one of the 2 liter turbos, but I still want one for my car (2.3 na). The only time I had someone record a 0-60 for my car it was a 9.12. Not very impressive compared to a turbo or most newer similarly priced cars.

I was thinking about buying the engine and turbo off of a 9000, but this is the car's original engine and the car has been in my family since it was "born" in 1995, so I know it's gotten regular maintenance and has been kept in good conditions. Swapping the engine out of a junker is what would bring up reliability problems.

If you can find a used car that looks like it has had a good life (bonus points for the guy having a maintenance record), I don't there's much difference in reliability between the 2.0 turbo and the 2.3 na. The main selling point of the na when these cars were new was price, not longevity. If you keep a spare DI cassette, you'll be all set.
 

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Tweek's Turbos said:
If you buy the 2.3 you will then forever wish you bought the turbo. That is all.

I'm not sure the little extra power will make anyone FOREVER WISH they bought the turbo, but in the other hand....I wish I had a 2002 9-3 with the 210HP :cheesy:

155HP vs 210HP is night and day.
 

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Well I just get the impression from reading a non stop flood of "How can I tune my 2.3na 900?" threads.Really, the turbo isn't there for 0-60 or qtr miles. Its there for uphill blasts, getting out of the toll boths quicker, and merging into highway speeds before the onramp ends. The ability to overtake in hairy situations helps too. I consider my ability to get far away from an unsafe driver in a hurry an important safety feature.
 
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