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Discussion Starter #1
Good day everyone,

A few days ago I bought myself a SAAB from an Internet auction in Netherlands. I had no chance to see the car in person before, it was a blind bid and I won. Drove the car back home for 1,200 miles (~1,800 km) and everything went fine. I could not identify any service records for the car, but it seems well taken care of judging by the overall condition of the car (both interior and exterior).

It has roughly 207,000 miles (334,000 kms), a 2.3T engine and automatic gearbox. Before that, it sat for a few weeks/months, I am not sure. The gearbox shifts fine, it gives some shocks when you put it in/to P and N, but other than that seems good.

On this forum I have found out that if I go to https://www.thesaabsite.com/ it gives me the chance to decode the VIN # and have the complete list of options. Besides few of them it's 100% accurate, however, according to that website my car is missing some features presented there as options.

It has a regular combo tape/cd player unit, no navi, not that it was useful in any way.

Navigation SystemGps Navigation System811-040

I have no idea how to use the phone function.

TelephoneTelephone Preparation, Handsfree777-040

I could not identify any button to fold the mirrors.

Foldable MirrorsElectrically Foldable Rear View Mirrors623-020

It has a few issues that I could identify while driving it back home:

Some bulbs from the dashboard buttons are burnt in the climate control area.

A check engine light came on after cca. 700 miles when I added some petrol from an ARAL gas station in Germany.


The car worked fine though after, no limp mode or any other symptoms.

The drivers seat only heats briefly, let's say 30 seconds or so then it shuts down.

I can keep the setting to Level 3 permanently, it never reheats. I did not had the chance to try the passenger seat or the heated back seats (it has those too).

Found a guide for this issue and I'll test it to see if it's the already famous heating pad or maybe something else, because heat comes well for a good 30 seconds or so. The ventilated seat function seems to work fine.

I cannot adjust the mirrors from the button.

One of them worked for cca. 2 seconds then nothing. Probably it has something to do due to the car not being used for some time.

I will probably order a service kit for it including oil, filters and new spark plugs and see whatever else is needed. On my list of priorities there is the drivers heated seat thing too. Hopefully it will be sorted out soon.

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Congratulations on the purchase - for that high mileage the faults seem minor.

I bought my 2004 2.3 blind on ebay, after a long talk on the phone with the seller. I never thought I'd do that but it has turned out ok.

Mine also says "Telephone prep. handsfree" but I assume it just has the wiring, no hardware.

Mirror adjust switch - common fault, these can usually be fixed by opening the switch and cleaning the contacts.

Seat heat - never heard of a 30 second shut-off! I cured a problem in the 9000 simply by opening the switch and cleaning the copper strips, but in the 9-5 I think its controlled through the DICE unit, and the thermostat in the seat may be faulty.

CEL after fuelling - obviously get the codes read - a €10 ELM OBD2 code reader from ebay will do that. Since it happened when it did it might be fuel evaporation system related, and the common trigger is the fuel cap not being screwed back on air tight. I had this on a Polo, the fuel cap was ok but I changed the evap control valve and problem went away. Very cheap and easy from a scrap yard.

Folding mirrors - common problem is for dirt to cause friction in the external sliding/pivoting joint. An overload detector in the mirror shuts off the motor current if the mirror sticks or jams. Maybe this happened, and the previous owner could not fix them and removed the cabin switch, which should be at the bottom of the group of 5 switches. Easy to get the right switch, put it back in (if the female connector is there), and see if the mirrors can move with a little push. Remove the panel on the outer edge of the console against the door, allowing enough space to put your hand in and push out the switch blank. Of course possibly there was never electrically folding mirrors, but I found the saabsite option list for my car to be correct.

Climate control panel lights - 4 bulbs I think - I think these are accessible on the unit, without dismantling. The panel can be pulled out from the front if you have tiny 'L' shaped hooks. Otherwise the safe way, to avoid damaging the surrounding panel, is to pull the audio out and reach in behind.

Ensure you get the correct spark plugs as specified in the owners book, The ignition system and NGK plugs are designed to work together. If you ever replace the Direct Ignition Cassette coil pack, only the original SEM AB units will last. Again, they are fine tuned to work with the correct plugs. Numerous people buy cheap non-original DIC, and find problems within weeks sometimes.

Gearbox - I'm no expert but many people say the first move should be a thorough double or even triple flush of the transmission fluid.

The other issue is that at that age, if the engine and transmission mounts are original there will be free play. First stop - the easy one - the rear bush in the gearbox to subframe arm, under the front. The front bush seems indestructible, but my rear bush at 135,000 miles, could be pushed out with two thumbs. To check the other three mounts, watch the engine jerk while shifting P to D to R etc. The rear mount is difficult to access but the left and right mounts are quite easy. If they are destroyed it will be obvious when you reach them.

Good Luck - Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Doug,

Thank you for taking time to write the upper post.

I never intended to purchase this car for two reasons: taxes and fuel consumption. Where I live everything over 2,000 cc gets taxed pretty aggresive and the high urban fuel consumption (I plan to use it on weekends only, I use a 300cc scooter to commute and public transportation during winter season).

The thing with the telephone is that the previous owner installed some old type Nokia bluetooth kit in the car. After roughly 15+ attempts I managed to pair my Samsung A50 phone with it. It works flawlessly now.

When I get a call, there is a message on the SID that says "TELEPHONE", so I am guessing that old Nokia bluetooth system is hardwired.

I will purchase a contact cleaner spray in the upcoming days and try to give that switch a thorough clean. Hopefully I will not leave any marks on that hard plastic when I will attempt this removal.

I have a KIWI 3 OBD reader from https://www.plxdevices.com/Kiwi-3-OBD-Car-to-Smartphone-Connection-p/897346002832.htm and it is one of the worst readers I ever used. I paid a small fortune for it too, compared to the 10$ chinese amazon ones that DO work.

Found a photo of the said folding mirror switch online and I have a blank plate there. That particular area looks undisturbed, nobody messed up with those buttons before, as far as I can tell. I will open the blank plate to see if there is a connector behind it and buy a switch from eBay.

I have read about that DIC pack, but I need to read more to know what would be the symptoms of a defective one would be.

Regarding the transmission oil, I am not sure I understand what is a double or triple flush, never done this before. Should I change the oil/filter, drive it for a few miles and repeat?

Good ideea, I will go to a local shop and have it lifted on the elevator to test those mounts.
 

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Congrats on the purchase. I really like that color, and I like the pre-2006 body style with the 06+ wheels. Looks sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The color is Nocturne Blue, code= 290, using better lighting it should look like this, I am not sure if I should spare some money into getting the pain detailed, it has a nasty scratch on the right fender and the passenger door has some dents, I should fix those first maybe.

I love it. If she is good to me, I'll keep it for at least 2 years from now. I am preparing a shopping list for its first service, because god knows when she last had one. I felt bad yesterday after I drove for 1200 miles. If I had another day off work I would have done its first service just after I took possession in Netherlands.

The only thing that drives me crazy now its the heated seats "issue". It's cold in the morning and its been ages since I had a personal car with heated seats.

Found this FAQ about the heated seats diagnose procedure and I will see an electrician to figure out the steps described.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One more thing I forgot to ask. The car came with Xenon headlights. My previous cars who had these type of headlights did a short auto-leveling procedure when I started the car. This one does not.

Should I worry about it? Is the auto leveling function missing for this model?
 

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Do you have xenon warning light on in dash?
You might have either swapped xenon headlamps or failure in xenon system.
 

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I do not have one. However, the knob sits in the 0 position. Basically the headlights are on all the time.

What do you mean swapped? Like a conversion?

The VIN decoder shows it right. Xenon equipped, headlight washers included in the bumper.
 

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They do, thank you.

I am not sure when the headlight washers should work, in my previous cars they went on every 5th or 10th time you washed the windshield.
 

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On mine the headlight washers come on if you hold the stalk for 1 second or more. The headlight washer then fires off twice in a row.
 

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Could the heated seats problem might have something to do with a weak batrery? The current one is old and takes a second or to for the engine to start.

I will get a replacement one next Monday.
 

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Put a new battery (Exide Premium), still the driver's seat (at least) works every now and then. That is weird. I guess the heating element/pad is not completely broken. I am going to have everything checked by an electrician after the holidays.
 

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It seems that the heating pads were good. Probably the weak battery had something to do with them not working properly.

Now I have a P1110 code issue. I have to check all the vacuum lines and maybe replace the crankshaft position sensor. Hopefully everything else remains smooth. I enjoy the car so far.
 

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Look at the bypass valve. Apply vacuum to the connector on the end and release vacuum. You should hear a definite movement within the valve, especially if you quickly release the vacuum--it should pop closed. If that seems okay, remove the valve and see if it allows air to pass between the two big hoses when no vacuum is applied to the small connector. (It should not.)
 

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It seems that I had a loose hose coming out from the bypass valve. The hose goes from the bypass valve towards the firewall somewhere.

It looks really worn, I will order some replacement 4mm silicone hoses to replace all the vacuum lines after NYE.

I will try what you recommended as well. I am not sure I got it right though.
 

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Gearbox multiple flush is because when you drain it you only get about half the fluid out or something. the rest sits in the torque converter and the valve body so can't come out under gravity. People drain, measure how much came out, put the same quantity back in, run it for a while, then drain it again. Once again, half will come out, including some of the dirt you couldn't get the first time. The more repeats, the more of the old stuff you'll get out. Theoretically of course you'll never get it all!

I wonder whether there's a pressure flushing procedure. I know there is for engine oil changes.

Not sure the weak battery would affect the seat heat. Once running, the alternator is driving them.

Interesting about the headlight switch/levelling test. Mine does the self test on startup, wherever the switch is, but the switch logic is different in the UK from other markets.

Headlight washer - Nocturne is right they fire two bursts, but not every time you operate the stalk. Page 73 in the book.

"Headlight washers (certain models). If low beam is on, the headlights are washed every fifth time the windshield washers are used or if 2 minutes have elapsed since the windshield was last washed. The headlight washers cannot be activated separately. "
 

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Gearbox multiple flush is because when you drain it you only get about half the fluid out or something. the rest sits in the torque converter and the valve body so can't come out under gravity. People drain, measure how much came out, put the same quantity back in, run it for a while, then drain it again. Once again, half will come out, including some of the dirt you couldn't get the first time. The more repeats, the more of the old stuff you'll get out. Theoretically of course you'll never get it all!


Got it. Should have figured out the first time.

For some reason, the headlights do the self leveling test every time now. I am not sure what caused that before. The car sat for quite a long time before I bought it. I ordered a replacement pump for the headlight washers. It was rather cheap, under 20 EUR.

@Doug , the gearbox works pretty rough when stationary (going in from P to R/N/D, from D to R, from D to P and so on). Do you think it has something to do with the oil being old or it would require a major overhaul?

Other than that, while driving it acts perfectly normal (for a 15 years old gearbox) with smooth shifts between gears and also when coming to a stop.
 
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