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2003 Saab 9-3 Linear A/T
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm Andy. I usually live in New York. A friend who moved to Santa Fe, NM told me she was getting another car and I could take her old one if I could get to her place. She had a 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear 2.0t with automatic transmission. She said it was very reliable until recently. I flew on two planes to get here two weeks ago. Then I bought a used bicycle and a collection of tools.

The car had two main problems. First it leaked oil at the left and rear part of the engine. I think some of it comes from the vacuum pump for the brakes. My friend added a stop leak additive and she said it leaks much less now. It still leaves oil spots under the engine. The other problem is that the engine stops running normally about 10 minutes after starting it. It loses most of its power and only goes about 25 MPH. My friend took it to her Saab expert and he said it needs a new engine computer and it would cost $1500 but it isn't available at this time. When stopped, the engine shakes unless I press the accelerator a little. The maximum engine speed is about 3000 RPM in Park or Neutral. If I shut it off, the engine cranks but doesn't start unless I let it cool off for about two hours. Then it will run fine for another 10 minutes or so. I need to drive this car 2000 miles back to New York but I think I need to fix it first. I took it to a local Autozone and they gave me the OBD2 trouble codes. They are P0340, P0606, P0638, and P1681.

I looked at a lot of Saab information on the internet. It seems that the problem is in the ECM and possibly also the throttle body. Today I'm planning to insulate the ECM from the engine heat and set up a duct to blow cool air on the ECM and the throttle body when the car is moving. I'll make an update after I test it with the modifications. If I can make it to Oklahoma, I should be able to buy a used ECM which seems like a good investment.
 

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P0606 = ecu is toast..The replacement ecu will need adding with techll also making sure it is programmed with the correct software for your engine code..Oil stop leak was not a good thing to add to a car with a turbo imo...
 

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2003 Saab 9-3 Linear A/T
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice. I did see something in the forums about the crankshaft position sensor sometimes causing the engine to fail to start when hot. I already bought a new one and installed it. I had to remove the starter motor to get it in because there wasn't enough room for my hand. It didn't change the engine's behavior.

I just installed cardboard under the ECM and rubber washers made from a fuel hose to insulate the ECM from the intake manifold and the mounting bolts. I added an extra wire to ground the ECM case and moved the original ground wire to the closest throttle body bolt. I have the battery and battery box out to clean the two connectors under the battery so I didn't try to start it yet.

Tomorrow I hope to get it back together and take a test drive. If it starts running badly, I plan to check the temperature of the ECM and the throttle body with a laser thermometer. I think I can determine which part causes the no start condition by cooling them one at a time with ice in a bag or some other cooling agent and trying to start the engine again.

So far I know that the engine has fuel pressure (43 PSI) and makes sparks when it can't start. I think it doesn't inject enough gasoline to run. I'm thinking about buying a carburetor (maybe for a lawn mower or snow blower) and connecting it to the engine. Then it should start any time. I would also need a throttle cable and a low pressure fuel pump.
 

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You CAN NOT use any carburetor.
What brand of CPS you use? Only original (Bosch) will work.
You have done useless job with cardboard under ECU etc.
 

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I had a similar problem where my car ran poorly and threw codes when it was hot. A new (used) ECU fixed the issue. You should be able to get a used one for around $500. Buy one from a junk yard or Ebay and have it cloned or tuned to your existing module.
 

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I had a similar problem where my car ran poorly and threw codes when it was hot. A new (used) ECU fixed the issue. You should be able to get a used one for around $500. Buy one from a junk yard or Ebay and have it cloned or tuned to your existing module.
I found one for $200, they typically go for $300 these days. He needs a tech II to marry it, and it has to be an exact model. Otherwise, he needs to flash it too.

Let the guy be, he's an adventurer.
 

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Hi, I'm Andy. I usually live in New York. A friend who moved to Santa Fe, NM told me she was getting another car and I could take her old one if I could get to her place. She had a 2003 Saab 9-3 Linear 2.0t with automatic transmission. She said it was very reliable until recently. I flew on two planes to get here two weeks ago. Then I bought a used bicycle and a collection of tools.

The car had two main problems. First it leaked oil at the left and rear part of the engine. I think some of it comes from the vacuum pump for the brakes. My friend added a stop leak additive and she said it leaks much less now. It still leaves oil spots under the engine. The other problem is that the engine stops running normally about 10 minutes after starting it. It loses most of its power and only goes about 25 MPH. My friend took it to her Saab expert and he said it needs a new engine computer and it would cost $1500 but it isn't available at this time. When stopped, the engine shakes unless I press the accelerator a little. The maximum engine speed is about 3000 RPM in Park or Neutral. If I shut it off, the engine cranks but doesn't start unless I let it cool off for about two hours. Then it will run fine for another 10 minutes or so. I need to drive this car 2000 miles back to New York but I think I need to fix it first. I took it to a local Autozone and they gave me the OBD2 trouble codes. They are P0340, P0606, P0638, and P1681.

I looked at a lot of Saab information on the internet. It seems that the problem is in the ECM and possibly also the throttle body. Today I'm planning to insulate the ECM from the engine heat and set up a duct to blow cool air on the ECM and the throttle body when the car is moving. I'll make an update after I test it with the modifications. If I can make it to Oklahoma, I should be able to buy a used ECM which seems like a good investment.
The play was to ask your friend for codes, then come with an ECU and a chinese tech II in hand.
 

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2004 9-3 ARC Convertible
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Fix the car or trailer it...you aren't making it otherwise. You don't want to get stuck somewhere in freezing conditions with no cell service & a car that may not even turn on for heat.
Agree with this.. I would not chance it on a trip of this length..

OP mentioned that they also bought a used bicycle, perhaps that is in case the car gets stuck. :)
 

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2003 Saab 9-3 Linear A/T
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I got the bike at the Salvation Army thrift store for $40. It's a woman's bike with 18 speeds. The tires look old but they have a lot of tread. It fits in the Saab if I fold the back seat and remove the wheels from the bike. I've been using it to go shopping and also to explore the area. I rode it to the salvage yard near the airport about 8.5 miles away. They had three Saabs but none was a 9-3. There were two 9-5 cars and one old 900 convertible. On the way back I stopped at a store for food and rolls of wire for the car. When I tried to leave I discovered I had a flat rear tire. I went back to the store and got a patch kit. I wasn't carrying an air pump so I walked about a half mile to Autozone. They let me patch the tube and inflate the tire in the store since it was cold and dark outside. I pulled six thorns out of the tire. When I was almost home the front tire went flat so I walked the rest of the way.

Yesterday I fixed two holes in the front tube, pulled out more thorns from the front tire and rode to the other salvage yard, Capital Scrap. They had one Saab, a 1997 900 hatchback. I also saw a Grand Caravan like mine. I needed the front struts so I will try to get back there tomorrow with the car and tools. The struts are only $20 each. I have to take them off.

Today my front bike tire was flat again. I must have hit another stick with a thorn. I have to patch it again. I have a pump in the car. If I take the car back east I plan to take the bike with me. It could be useful if I get stuck and need to get to the next town for parts. If I can't fix the car I don't think I will ride the bike 2000 miles home. I don't know what that would do to my legs. Maybe I could put it in the luggage area of a bus and take the bus home. Speaking of buses, there is one for sale at the airport salvage yard. I wonder what it costs. I was told it runs but needs brake work. It's not a school bus. It's more like a Greyhound bus.
 

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2003 Saab 9-3 Linear A/T
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The CPS I installed was a Bosch with the same part number as the original. I want to finish connecting the wires and try a test drive in a little while.
 

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The play was to ask your friend for codes, then come with an ECU and a chinese tech II in hand.
I got the bike at the Salvation Army thrift store for $40. It's a woman's bike with 18 speeds. The tires look old but they have a lot of tread. It fits in the Saab if I fold the back seat and remove the wheels from the bike. I've been using it to go shopping and also to explore the area. I rode it to the salvage yard near the airport about 8.5 miles away. They had three Saabs but none was a 9-3. There were two 9-5 cars and one old 900 convertible. On the way back I stopped at a store for food and rolls of wire for the car. When I tried to leave I discovered I had a flat rear tire. I went back to the store and got a patch kit. I wasn't carrying an air pump so I walked about a half mile to Autozone. They let me patch the tube and inflate the tire in the store since it was cold and dark outside. I pulled six thorns out of the tire. When I was almost home the front tire went flat so I walked the rest of the way.

Yesterday I fixed two holes in the front tube, pulled out more thorns from the front tire and rode to the other salvage yard, Capital Scrap. They had one Saab, a 1997 900 hatchback. I also saw a Grand Caravan like mine. I needed the front struts so I will try to get back there tomorrow with the car and tools. The struts are only $20 each. I have to take them off.

Today my front bike tire was flat again. I must have hit another stick with a thorn. I have to patch it again. I have a pump in the car. If I take the car back east I plan to take the bike with me. It could be useful if I get stuck and need to get to the next town for parts. If I can't fix the car I don't think I will ride the bike 2000 miles home. I don't know what that would do to my legs. Maybe I could put it in the luggage area of a bus and take the bus home. Speaking of buses, there is one for sale at the airport salvage yard. I wonder what it costs. I was told it runs but needs brake work. It's not a school bus. It's more like a Grayhound.
 

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If I can't fix the car I don't think I will ride the bike 2000 miles home. I don't know what that would do to my legs.
Having done a bit of bike touring myself, I don't recommend this. The first few days will be painful on your rear but callouses will develop and then the thoughts of "why do I even own a car," "why do I have a job," "what is the point of modern society?" start to creep in and you won't want to do anything but ride the bike for the rest of your life. You will just want to stop in various places and meet people and stay as long as you like and then keep on going, leaving all of your usual worries behind.
 

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2003 Saab 9-3 Linear A/T
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It almost never rains here, unlike in New York. That's why there are so many cacti and bushes with thorns. I'm glad I know how to patch a tube. If I stayed here much longer I would look for kevlar belted bike tires.

I finished connecting the wires on the Saab and took it out on the interstate highway at 65 mph. It ran fine for six miles. Then I drove about 8 miles the other way on slower local roads with no problem except that I could smell burning oil when waiting at a red light. Eventually it turned on the check engine light and started shaking after driving 25 mph and stopping for several traffic lights when I was turning into a parking lot. That was 33 minutes after I started the engine. My thermometer said that the ECM was 85 degrees F and the intake manifold was 75 degrees. The outdoor air temperature was 39 degrees. After shutting off the engine and shopping for about 5 minutes I opened the hood and checked it again. This time the ECM was 131 degrees and the intake manifold was 162 degrees. Apparently, the heat is transmitted from the cylinder head to the intake manifold and then the ECM, so the ECM gets hot when there is no air flowing inside the intake manifold and not much air flow in the engine compartment when the car is stopped. When the engine is running, the cool air going in reduces the manifold temperature. My insulation between the manifold and the ECM seems to have helped keep the ECM temperature lower after shutting off the engine. I didn't have trouble starting it again but it did have low power and a rough idle. At one intersection with no traffic, the engine stalled. I opened the hood (or bonnet for some of you) and waited a few minutes for the engine computer to cool to under 100 degrees. Then it started easily and engine power improved but it was slow to respond to the accelerator pedal.

I suspect that if I keep the car on the highway it will keep running normally. Slowing down and making stops seems to cause the problems. I will try to read the trouble codes in the morning. I think I will put in new Bosch spark plugs too. The ones in the engine now are NGK BCPR6EGP. It's not the type recommended in the owner's manual.

I think I should open the hood for a while after each drive to protect the ECM and other electronics from engine heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
People are waiting for my help back in New York and I'm invited for Thanksgiving (Thursday) in Massachusetts so I think I'll try beginning my journey today after sleeping more and getting the minivan struts. I'll see what happens when I unplug the O2 sensor. I'm afraid it would reduce the fuel economy. The exhaust normally smells clean until the engine starts making trouble.

I see you (mstrjon32) are from Germany. My grandfather Frederick was from a city called Waiblingen near Stuttgart in Germany. He moved to New York in 1888 when he was four years old. I never saw him. His wife's parents were from Hamburg. She lived in Queens, New York. I did know her when I was little. She died when I was ten years old.
 
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