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2003 Saab 9-3 Linear A/T
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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Yes, I know the ECM or ECU is probably bad. It looks like I can drive on the highway until I can pick up another one. Do you think it's likely to get worse and leave me stranded? So far the car's behavior has been consistent. It always starts when it is cool unless the battery is too weak to run the starter motor. The battery doesn't seem to store much energy. After about 15 seconds of cranking the car won't crank again until I charge the battery or connect a booster battery.

On https://saabwisonline.com/ there is a section with the title "Erroneous generating of diagnostic trouble code P0606 00" It explains how to check if the problem is in the ECU or something else. It explains "The erroneous generating of the diagnostic trouble code is due to the software and applies only to cars equipped with automatic transmission. ECM for T8 must not be replaced." A note at the end of the testing procedure says "The above fault diagnosis is performed in order to avoid unnecessary replacement of ECM modules. New software which rectifies the fault is being released." Since my car is a 2003, I probably don't have the new software.

I noticed a Youtube video with a title that starts with "Saab 9-3 Disassemble ECM 2003-2011" The channel name is "cargoudel". He shows how he replaces "the TPIC46L02 that drives the injectors and the wastegate". My ECM has a different problem. Does anybody know which chip is causing the problem? I might attempt to fix it if I first get the car working with another ECM.

I checked the trouble codes again today. Now there are five. They are P0340, P0137, P0606, P0638, and P1681. Is the P0340 code usually caused by a bad ignition coil? This is always the first code to appear.
 

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You seem determined to drive it 2000 miles regardless of others saying your ECM is bad. The battery is shot, too. Even if you are able to make it home, everything still needs to be fixed. Unless this car is otherwise a gem, I’d find another fixer-upper closer to your home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
It has no rust and only one small dent on the trunk. It has less than 71,000 miles. The interior looks nice. The Michelin tires are almost new. Other problems are clear coat peeling and the SID not working. I think I'll change the spark plugs and battery and take it on a longer highway test today. The original type spark plugs were not available here but I bought some Bosch plugs recommended by Autozone.
 

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Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, you are sure to have problems with the non-OEM plugs. The Saab has very advanced engine management (Trionic T8) that uses the spark plug to measure if there is knock, and anything other than original equipment is sure to cause problems.
 

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Usually as a rule of thumb I try to only drive shady vehicles close enough to home that I can call a friend for a ride & its within my free 100 mile tow range. Since you don't seem to want to fully investigate or address the legit issues the car has & seem determined to make the drive as is, I will just say this...have jumper cables, layers of extra clothing (especially extra dry socks, a hat, & gloves), blankets, non-perishable food, & potable water before you inevitably start your journey. Keep your cell phone fully charged as you drive.

Again, your worst case scenario is breaking down in a place with no cell service during a snow/ice storm. Anything else will just be an incredibly expensive tow/repair bill & significant inconvenience but that scenario would have the potential to be fatal. The hospital bills for dehydration +/- hypothermia would far exceed the cost of having the car fixed properly or shipped as well.
 

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Usually as a rule of thumb I try to only drive shady vehicles close enough to home that I can call a friend for a ride & its within my free 100 mile tow range. Since you don't seem to want to fully investigate or address the legit issues the car has & seem determined to make the drive as is, I will just say this...have jumper cables, layers of extra clothing (especially extra dry socks, a hat, & gloves), blankets, non-perishable food, & potable water before you inevitably start your journey. Keep your cell phone fully charged as you drive.

Again, your worst case scenario is breaking down in a place with no cell service during a snow/ice storm. Anything else will just be an incredibly expensive tow/repair bill & significant inconvenience but that scenario would have the potential to be fatal. The hospital bills for dehydration +/- hypothermia would far exceed the cost of having the car fixed properly or shipped as well.
Well said Sir.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
I did some reading about the safety of stop leak additives. I recommended Lucas Engine Oil Stop Leak to my friend so she used that. My understanding is that it softens old oil seals so they work better and also increases the oil viscosity to reduce leakage at the valve guides and piston rings. My main concern would be if it leaves deposits in the oil return line from the turbocharger when it is hot. My guess is that Lucas has designed it to be safe in all gasoline engines.

I don't think it can clog up small gaps the way a radiator stop leak can. I think some people had problems with a clogged heater core or radiator after using radiator stop leak. It's more likely to happen if the cooling system is already dirty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Yesterday I tested the Saab on the interstate highway 50 miles which took about 45 minutes. At first it was in the no boost (limited performance) mode which seems to be related to having the P0340 DTC code. I cleared the code while driving and the power went back to normal. Everything worked fine for the rest of the highway trip. The check engine light stayed off. I stopped on the exit ramp to measure the ECM temperature. It was 72 °F. That was very encouraging.

Later I did some shopping in town for my friend. I had to drive in limp home mode most of the time. That can be very slow when climbing hills, about 20 mph. At one point I had a no start condition after shopping. I cooled the computer with some brake cleaning spray to get it ready to start quicker.

I will probably be leaving today. I have the recommended supplies except for the gloves. I can use socks on my hands instead.
 

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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.
[/QUO
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 car will not get there as it is now.
Certainly the DTC P0606 is An internal failure of ECM, you need a good one..you will need to get a SAAB Technician to marry the ECM from donor car to yours. Neet a TECH2 with security access otherwise will not be able to do it. Or have someone clone the current ECM to the good one..there are several services on Ebay which do that for around 100USD.
The oil leaks come from the Steering Pump, Vaccum Pump and Front Connector of Oil Sump, by the connector to the Oil Level Sensor, that requires to remove the Sump, change the Oring of the connector and seal back the sump to the engine..not an easy job.
Need to clean the Throttle Body too...DO NOT move or touch the Throttle Flap...else will need a new TB.
To move the car you need only the ECM..the oil leaks can be done when you get to NY.
seals can be purchased at eEuroparts.com
Hope this helps you get there.
Cheers!
 

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2011 9-3 2.0T
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What a bizarre thread... The initial question makes sense but after all the replies why are you even asking for advice here if you are determined to drive it regardless of what they are? Just go for it and learn the hard way I guess. Maybe you'll get lucky and limp this low-value car (really, unless it's something like a turbo x I'm confused why you'd bother at all since the "normal" models can be found pretty regularly and are not pricey) 2000 miles without too much expense. Good luck - hope it goes smoothly and doesn't make your holiday too bumpy
 

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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.
Hi, my wife's saab had the same problem when I purchased it for $800 as the owner said he was told it was the CPU, well it wasn't, all that it needed was a crank shift possioning sensor. I cost me $149 and since replacing that she has had no trouble and the car drives beautiful.
Try replacing the sensor, I hope this is helpful to you and your car runs perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
The car will not get there as it is now.
Certainly the DTC P0606 is An internal failure of ECM, you need a good one..you will need to get a SAAB Technician to marry the ECM from donor car to yours. Neet a TECH2 with security access otherwise will not be able to do it. Or have someone clone the current ECM to the good one..there are several services on Ebay which do that for around 100USD.
The oil leaks come from the Steering Pump, Vaccum Pump and Front Connector of Oil Sump, by the connector to the Oil Level Sensor, that requires to remove the Sump, change the Oring of the connector and seal back the sump to the engine..not an easy job.
Need to clean the Throttle Body too...DO NOT move or touch the Throttle Flap...else will need a new TB.
To move the car you need only the ECM..the oil leaks can be done when you get to NY.
seals can be purchased at eEuroparts.com
Hope this helps you get there.
Cheers!
Thanks for the tips. You are right about about the steering pump. Oil has been slowly filling the steering fluid tank. I don't know if that can hurt the steering rack seals. After I get back to NY I plan to find all the oil leaks and fix them. If I'm lucky, the oil stop leak will stop some of the leaks before I start searching for them.

I did touch the throttle flap and checked that it would open and close smoothly. Fortunately, it didn't seem to do any damage. It still works normally when the ECM is cool.

I didn't go yesterday. My friend suggested I stay one more day. She showed me the old parts of Santa Fe. It is a very old city. She expects me to leave this morning. I don't think I can pick up any engine computer before Monday. I did get an extra battery that fits the car from the scrap yard. Soon I'll find out if it is able to start the car.

I keep thinking I would like some alternative way to to move cars that have engine or transmission problems. I have a small outboard boat engine with me. Maybe there is some way to connect the propeller to another wheel and have it mounted on the rear end to push the car. I would probably have to add a clutch or torque converter to help get it moving. If it is windy, maybe a sail over the roof would push the car. That would not work on any steep hills. I don't expect to need this kind of thing on this trip.
 

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I keep thinking I would like some alternative way to to move cars that have engine or transmission problems. I have a small outboard boat engine with me.
Open the sunroof and stick a propeller out. With enough fuel you can lift this thing over the Rockies and fly to the Gulf of Mexico. There, your boat engine comes into play again. Navigate around Florida and you are basically in NY. Make sure you have propane torch, canned beans and warm socks, I hear the winter is coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
Too bad, I have no sunroof. I would have to put the whole engine and airplane propeller over the roof. I'm sure the outboard propeller is too small to give enough thrust in the air. I don't know if there are any laws restricting the use of propellers on cars. It should be safe if it has a shield around it like a home fan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
What happens if you unplug the upstream O2 sensor and drive it?
A few days ago I tried this test after the engine warmed up and then started idling rough. I shut it off, unplugged the upstream sensor and started it again. It still ran rough. The idle didn't seem any better. I didn't try to drive it with the sensor unplugged. I understand this procedure would normally make the engine run rich (more fuel injected per cycle). Maybe I would have to disconnect both oxygen sensors to make the fuel mixture change. It would be interesting to check the pulse width (or dwell angle) of the signals on the fuel injectors before and after it starts to run rough. I'll try to check some live data related to fuel mixture with the Autozone code reader I borrowed. It didn't come with an instruction manual so I'll look for one on the internet.
 

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So my theory when I recommended you disconnect the sensor was that it would force the ECM to run in open-loop mode, and if it was running well when it was cold (and normally be in open-loop), maybe it would sustain that behaviour even once warmed up. The goal was not specifically to get it to run rich, but to see if the ECM would behave better if running from the open-loop tables. Obviously you need a new ECM, but it was worth a try, anyway!
 
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