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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone, my wife and I just purchased a 2003 9.3 2.0t convertible. It has only travelled 106,000 Ks and is a real pleasure to drive. Unfortunately it illuminates more warning lights than the space shuttle! In our short 3 week ownership it has shown the engine light 4 times and gone into limp home mode. It leaks oil like an English Triumph from the low oil sensor. It would have to be the most problematic car we have ever bought. Hopefully once I get these things sorted we can look forward to driving the smart little convertible rather than repairing it.
 

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IMHO, fix it once right and then drive the snot out of it. People who try and inch their way through a rehab end up being very frustrated Saab owners.
 

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Hi. Well, apparently the previous owner neglected the car.
Once you rectify the existing problems and continue with the routine maintenance, I dare say it will be your most reliable car.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I agree with you both. We are willing to spend some money to put things right in the hope that it becomes the reliable car we have heard about. It is just frustrating to have to spend money immediately after purchase. No warranty of course. Where I live car dealers do not have to warranty a car over 15 years old.
 

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i also recently bought a 2002 saab 9-3 SE turbo convertible with 97k miles and a engine warning light also just came on. is it safe to drive? what should be my first step to get this rectified?
 

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i also recently bought a 2002 saab 9-3 SE turbo convertible with 97k miles and a engine warning light also just came on. is it safe to drive? what should be my first step to get this rectified?
Before you rectify anything, you will need to know what the error code (warning light) is. An OBD-II code reader tool is what you will need to scan the error code(s). It is very useful to have. If you intend to keep your saab long term, get a GM Tech-II diagnostic scanner. Just don't drive the car hard in the meantime.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nordic machine, I have driven more Ks with the engine light on, than off. Sometimes it reverts to “Limp home mode” (Very frustrating) other times it just drives normally despite the warning light. I have had the scanner connected which states that there is a fault with the “throttle control actuator” My first 4 visits to a non Saab mechanic resulted in him spraying anti moisture around the actuator, resetting the engine light, advising me to change to 98 octane fuel and “See how that goes” I have now taken the car to a Saab mechanic who said “These cars are Nothing but grief” (Comforting) but agreed to try and solve the problem. The car has been in his workshop for 5 days now and I haven’t heard a word. Fingers crossed. I’m kinda disappointed because the car drives beautifully but seems to have one problem after another. If this keeps up I will move it on!
 

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Good mechanics are difficult to find. Like many other trades, they come in experts and people who couldn't get another job. My opinion is that you've found the latter.

The electronic throttle body is a problem on the 9-3 BUT a problem that has been largely solved. Some early ones were mechanically defective, but the larger problem turned out to be an overly sensitive warning system that was solved with a software update. These days, throttle body failures are fairly rare.

Given the low mileage on your car and that fact that it seems pretty neglected on the whole, I would not be surprised to find that remedial software was never installed. I would find a qualified Saab shop who can check for and apply that update. Alternatively, I'll guarantee there's somewhere you could send your computer to have the update applied remotely.

A failed throttle body will turn on at least four lights on the dashboard - check engine, warning, ABS, and TCS lights AND put that car in limp home mode.

I have owned quite a few Saabs and a fair number of the generation you have. They are VERY simple cars. Not many moving parts and only a couple that I would describe as "routine" and "expensive." *Nothing* compared to a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes of similar year - I've owned all of them, too.

In three decades of Saab ownership the single most common problem I encounter is mechanics. They get Saab owners thinking their cars are quirky, unreliable, or inferior and then charge obscene amounts of money while not improving the situation. Like suggesting that changing gasoline will fix ANYTHING. That's just ignorant IMHO.

The whole thing is very Stockholm Syndrome. When you find a good, honest mechanic, you'll typically find that Saabs are pretty affordable, pretty reliable, and put up with some crazy abuse.

I would do exactly what Nordic Machine suggested - by a decent OBDII scanner and at least post the codes that the ECM is throwing. 20 years later, folks around here can often diagnose check engine light codes over the internet. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Javanabra, your reply was informative and welcomed. I agree 100% that a good mechanic can make or break an experience with a vehicle. The car is, at present with a European car mechanic who told me that the problems I described to him as “Pure grief” and he would see what he could do. The car has been with him for a week and I have received no news as yet. Fingers crossed. I live 85Ks from Adelaide where there is a Saab dealer so if the problems are not solved by mister “change fuel” I will take it to the Saab dealer. It may very well be in need of an update, however according to the cars service history, it was serviced by Saab up until 2014 Thank you again, I really appreciate your input.
 
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