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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Saabites!

As a long time owner and DIY of E36 and E46 BMW's...SAAB has always caught my eye, not only on style but the turbo and mod abilities.

My BMW's have always been in the 200bhp range, and I've always wanted more but adding FI was very costly ($5000+).

I am a die hard DIY and drove both my BMW's to almost 200K with original clutches, with average DIY fixes that I enjoy doing! Plus I'm cheap and the satisfaction from fixing, or taking care of your car is rewarding. A lot of people comment that they can't believe my cars have that many miles on them?

Questions on the 2002 and 2003 Aero (9-5's)
1. How difficult is it to remove the oil pan? Suppose you have to drop the sub frame?
2. How quick are these cars? anyone that has driven a 328 (e46) and an Aero..please chime in.
3. How good are these clutches?

As I love driving the rear wheel drive, I will need to drive a front wheel drive to feel the difference. Front wheel drive would be nice up here in Massachusetts.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome - turn to the light....

As a long time owner and DIY of E36 and E46 BMW's...SAAB has always caught my eye,...
...and away from the dark side. :D

E36Graduate said:
Questions on the 2002 and 2003 Aero (9-5's)
1. How difficult is it to remove the oil pan? Suppose you have to drop the sub frame?
Just have to disconnect one transmission bolt. Check out this DIY. There are many more out there - like Wulf's in the FAQ.

E36Graduate said:
As I love driving the rear wheel drive, I will need to drive a front wheel drive to feel the difference. Front wheel drive would be nice up here in Massachusetts.
Even with all season tires - nothing but good thind in the snow (and I'm originally from Buffalo!)
 

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1. Took me about 10 hours, the first time I did it using only simple tools (ie, no lift). At least a third of that time was spent thinking, trying to figure out exactly how to disassemble the car. I think I had it back together in under 3 hours. Dropping the subframe is not required.

2. Do you know how fast a STi is, about that fast, maybe slightly faster. That is of course after 1st gear which is limited to prevent excessive wheel spin. I like to refer to mine as the almighty god of the highway. These cars just keep going long after most cars have given up because they're so aerodynamic. The Aero sails easily to the top of 4th gear which is 135 MPH. It'll keep going too, but 130+ is really fast for American roads.

3. I drive mine like I stole it and got 109K out of the stock clutch. I'm not sure if that's what you meant by "how good."

As for how it drives, I'll tell you right away that SAAB shocks generally suck, not enough bound so turn in is generally blah. A 95 isn't a car that you drive right on the limit. Sure you can and it's easy, but it's not as fun, you'll be struggling to find grip to put down the massive 275 lb-ft of torque. Driving at 8/10ths and using that left over grip to power out of a corner exit is a lot more fun.
 

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I used to have a 2000 540. BMW is really a better overall car (at least the 540 compared to the 9-5 IMO). I'd probably still be in that car or another BMW if I had not lost my corporate job a few years back, but now that I have my own business humming I went with an '03 Aero due to the low resale/great value you can get used. I could afford another brand new bimmer, but getting laid off from a long-term corporate job and running my own business gave me a different perspective on things.

Front/rear wheel drive makes a huge difference for initial acceleration. With the 250 bhp on the Aero you will get noticable torque steer and a kind of choppy take off if you floor it form a dead stop. As you said, though, front wheel will be much better with any snow. Was not a prob for me when I had my bimmer as I also had a 4-wheel SUV which I still have.

I don't think the 5-series bimmer is a fair comparison to the 9-5 Aero with the front/rear wheel drive difference and the 4/6/8 cylinder considerations. Kind of apples and oranges. I went from an 8 banger to a 4 banger. My bimmer had the sport suspension and it was better than the Aero suspension.

What the Aero has is better mid-range acceleration. BMW was better off the block and smoother at 90 mph+. The seats are better in the Aero and the stock radio is better, but otherwise I'd say my 540 was a better car in most other categories.

That being said, I really love my '03 9-5 Aero. I live in a wealthy suburb and bimmers and Mercedes are a dime a dozen. The 9-5 has the upscale facter, but also the uniqueness factor. People who get in my 9-5 generally compliment it. Hardly happened with 540, and I think this was because everybody had seen, owned or been in one, and BMW does kind of have status baggage where they won't comment while I don't think people know what to expect from a Saab.

The Saab is great for DIY and mods. While I think my 540 was an overall better vehicle (and you pay for it) I get better personal satisfaction from the Saab for some reason. I think it may just be the uniqeness and the fact that I think my black Aero is a pretty cool looking car with a lot of nice luxury features with pretty darn good power at an awesome used price. I think it is also my place in life. The bimmer was for me when I wore a suit and tie to the office. Now that it is shorts and flip-flops out of my house (at least when it gets a warmer), the Saab seems to fit where I am in life - not that the Saab is not a good corporate type car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dark Side...ha ha

I'm going to look at a few 9-5 Aero's with 5 speed as I have always preferd manuals....even though a few posts mentioned problems with these 5sp manuals?

Overall, are these Sweedish (sweedish or swiss) cars as reliable as the German cars...?

Clutch life, depending on good driving and non abuse should last 200K?

Engine life, with 0-40 synthetic done around 5K (seems like saabs need it done every 3k)...i know my bmw's held 6 quarts of oil and these might only be 4 quarts..these motors are good for quite a while 200k?

Timing Chain....learned to listen for the slapping, never had any issues with my bmw's...except for dual vanos attached to the timing chain.

i really want to get into the fi (turbo) world and let the tinkering begin!!!

how is the cost for replacement parts for these cars? are they easy to get through internet stores? again, i have done everything on my bmw's using websites and ebay.

just looking for some saab enthusiasts to influence my switching over to Saab land.

can these cars blow by bmw's, including the mighty m3:confused:? (non-turbo type like the 335)
 

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I bought mine on eBay :p



Its a weedy 2.0..............

The Godfather! Following in Xtreme's foosteps the Godfather a 2002 face lift 9-5 2.0 Vector. Gloss black with black leather.



The upgrades:

* Custom NORDIC Software producing over 375 BHP with 495 Nm of torque
* Hybrid TD-04HL 18T 6# Clipped Vane Turbo
* Modified Fuel Injectors (Nordic)
* 3.5 Bar FPR
* Abbott Racing Intercooler
* Abbott Racing Delivery Pipe
* Abbott Racing Race Catalytic Converter
* Abbott Racing Full 3" Stainless Steel Exhaust
* Quiaffe LSD
* Lightened Flywheel
* Genuine Saab Huge Intake (Cobra Pipe)
* Custom Fuel Rail
* Saab Racing (Ray Yang) Lightweight Crankshaft Pully
* Forge Dump Valve
* Ram Air Open Air Filter
* Full Hirsch Suspension
* 18" Stienmetz Alloys
* Brembo Four Pot Front Brakes
* All work and fabrication by Weston Moore at Nottingham Saab

We dont bother with the BM's..................its the 911's that we have fun with :p
 

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A couple of vids. The end of the first Jeremy Clarkson says the mid-range will beat a 911 turbo, and at the time it would have been a 996. The new 911 turbo has a much faster mid-range. Not sure the '04/'05 9-5 Aero actually is faster than a 996 turbo 40-70, but you get the point. You are looking at '02/'03. Same bhp while the '04/'05 has a few more pounds of torque for the Aero model.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoIWox3XU9g

modded Maptun Stage 5:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n3TKf6N4jU
 

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E36Graduate said:
i really want to get into the fi (turbo) world and let the tinkering begin!!!

how is the cost for replacement parts for these cars? are they easy to get through internet stores? again, i have done everything on my bmw's using websites and ebay.

just looking for some saab enthusiasts to influence my switching over to Saab land.

can these cars blow by bmw's, including the mighty m3:confused:? (non-turbo type like the 335)
TURBO IS ADDICTIVE!

Site sponsor has a lot of stuff - but shipping is rough from UK. Have a look at these - I've used all three:

www.thesaabsite.com
www.eeuroparts.com
www.genuinesaab.com - also a site sponsor

I can't speak for "blowing by" anybody as I generally keep an eye on fuel consumption. But in Sport Mode at 70mph - there is plenty left when I floor it :cheesy:




E36Graduate said:
Engine life, with 0-40 synthetic done around 5K (seems like saabs need it done every 3k)...i know my bmw's held 6 quarts of oil and these might only be 4 quarts..these motors are good for quite a while 200k?
I go 5K - But no Stop and Go, and I keep and eye on it...4.2 quarts - a bit more if you go for the bigger oil filter (same as a turbo pt cruiser) I use amsoil 15w-40 euroblend.

Also make sure the PCV update is done and Don't get an v6 if you want to tune it. :nono;
 

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In terms of power, the 9-5 HOT motor is more cost-effectively modded. $1600+ install will buy you an ECU remap + exhaust, which will give you a nice upgrade.

However, if you are seeking a car that will handle on par with an RWD BMW chassis...the 9-5 isn't it. FWD will not handle the same as RWD; it's nearly impossible to get the same quality of steering feel and response with the front wheels being driven--especially when you throw 300+ lb/ft of torque through them with an open differential.

The typical spring/strut/swaybar upgrades are available for the 9-5 (there aren't nearly as many options as there are for most BMW's/VW's/Audis owing to the smaller production numbers and smaller enthuisiast base, though), but I think even a 9-5 Aero needs a damper upgrade to match the typical Sport suspension used in an E36/E46.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cant search? Questions

Since the search option seems to be down?

1. Turbo Life - what is typical for the life of this turbo? What is a replacement cost? upgradable?

2. Lowering - is it possible to lower slightly with springs or coil overs?

3. Pictures...can someone post some pics of 9-5 with some mods?

again, the search isnt working for me?
 

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E36Graduate said:
Since the search option seems to be down?

1. Turbo Life - what is typical for the life of this turbo? What is a replacement cost? upgradable?

2. Lowering - is it possible to lower slightly with springs or coil overs?

3. Pictures...can someone post some pics of 9-5 with some mods?

again, the search isnt working for me?
1. I don't think there's been an aero that went bad where the whole engine didn't die.

2. Yes, I'm on eibach springs and bilstein sports, about half an inch lower

3. no, it's absolutely impossible to show pics of 9-5 with mods.
 

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If you get a "pre-facelift" (before '02) there are coilovers available from H&R.

The incredibly impressive thing I've found about my Aero is it's ability to be driven hard in twisties and in a straight line (I have upgraded Bilstein HD's on Aero shocks cause I didn't wanna lower and it did WONDERS for the car.) and then on the way home can just cruise and get 32 mpg!

Also, the amount of power you get from a simple $2000 stage 3 is absolutely amazing to me. Whenever I tell someone that at stage three (Stats from a Nordic ECU tune.) the car will produce 300 horsepower and 325 ft/lbs of torque, they are stunned. Another cool thing about the pre-facelift models (while I LOVE the face-lifts look, especially the '04-'05 Aeros.) is that they are not speed governed!

The manual trans is definately no BMW trans, and could use a short shifter kit.

This is probably one of the best all-around cars I've seen personally, especially for the price. I can drive it in any weather (It's a beast in the snow, why? I have no idea, but once you get it going, the thing corners, passes, and brakes like a champ.), get great mileage, own my friend's cars in races, take it for spirited drives on twisty roads, comfortably sit 4 people to the point where the 2 in the back almost always fall asleep on long drives (it's uncanny how often it happens), it's fairly quiet but there is some road noise (better than my buddy's A4, I think), the turbo and it's sound are addicting, great engine note, among other things. (I'm running out of time! haha)

Overall, when I test drove this car, I instantly fell in love with it, even with the stock shocks and everything. The "Saab grin" is literally inevitable because no one expects that it can do what it can do, but you know! ;) Not to mention this website has been the best most helpful place I have ever visited. People are on ALL the time and love to answer questions and be a part of experiments and projects. I have saved SO much money because of this website and it's users.

Let us know how your hunt goes! :cool:
 

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SectorNine50 said:
The "Saab grin" is literally inevitable because no one expects that it can do what it can do, but you know! ;)

Not to mention this website has been the best most helpful place I have ever visited. People are on ALL the time and love to answer questions and be a part of experiments and projects.

I have saved SO much money because of this website and it's users.
Amen to that :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks

this website and the quality of owners is similar to the bmw sites (E46 fanatics, bimmerforums, etc)..

I drove my bmw over to a dealer an hour ago and took a look at a 2002 95 Aero with 65K, thereabouts. Silver on blk, 5speed.

My first impression was not of interest, however they only wanted $9k and change. Don't get me wrong, i just thought my bmw 328i with 164,000 miles looked in better condition.

I did notice a few newer 9-3's that the style looked more in my favor..however they were all auto's....i need to do a little more research... 2.0, 3.0, little t, big T...who can suggest a mod friendly 9-3...

again, thanks for your help ... you can learn so much from the other people on these websites as I learned everything I know about bmw's :cool:from these types of websites!!!
 

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The 9-3 Viggen is THE king of 9-3's. It runs the exact same drive train as the 9-5 Aero but has a larger "tuner" base so there are a good amount more parts for it than the 9-5. Check out www.genuinesaab.com and click catalog, then "9-3, 900, 94-02->" link on the left to check out all their parts. The car on the top left corner of this website is a 9-3 Viggen 4 door. :cool:
 

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E36Graduate said:
My first impression was not of interest, however they only wanted $9k and change. Don't get me wrong, i just thought my bmw 328i with 164,000 miles looked in better condition.
$9k plus your car :eek:

How much was the Aero :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Chris

sorry if i worded that incorrectly....$ 9500 for the 9-5, didn't even bother asking about the allowance for my trade......with high miles....always a gamble..probably let me have $6k for mine..however, I could be wrong.
 

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$10K-ish is about the going rate for an average-condition 9-5 aero of that vintage. "Depreciates like rock" doesn't really cover it. :p You do want an 02+ though, the suspension is much better and sturdier on the later models.
 
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