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I just bought my first Saab today, a Red 2003 9-3 2.0t Convertible with a black top, 94k miles on the clock, and the previous owner has done over $4000 in work to it in the past few weeks (top engine replaced, brake work, power steering lines replaced, other various things a 16 year old car will naturally need). For under $2k and coming up on another lovely NY winter, I couldn't resist. Everything I know about Saab in general I have learned in the couple hours of research I have done since coming across the ad for this car and considering it.

I have used the search on this site a little bit but before I get into anything more I'm looking for some basic info, which seems the best place to start. I'm wondering if there is anything I should be on the lookout for or things the 03's are known for? Especially the convertible (Which is the SE I believe?). Also, how to tell if mine is the base or has one of the upgrade packages, the best octane fuel to use, etc. Is there is a specific posting that lists the basic things like this, or is this the best way to do it?
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Thanks everyone!
 

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Welcome to SaabCentral! 2003 was the last year of the old generation 9-3 (OG9-3) convertible. They changed the badging that year so that all of them were SEs. I think there were just two option packages offered. First was the Premium Package, which added automatic climate control (ACC) and full leather seats. The regular SE had manual dials for climate control and half leather/half fabric seats. I can't quite tell what your car has, but it looks like you have the full leather seats. The other option package, the most sought after one, is the sport package. It essentially made the car look like a Viggen, which if you're not familiar with that model, is the high performance sporty one with deeper front and rear bumpers, big side skirts, a rear spoiler, and sportier seats. The Sport Package convertibles got everything a Viggen had except for lowered suspension and a larger 2.3 liter engine. The downside to those upgrades is that the heavily bolstered seats wear out, and the low front bumper scrapes on everything. The only real issue that still plagued your car's year is sludge. Make sure it has the latest version of Saab's PCV update (#6), and that the oil is changed regularly with full synthetic. If you search this board, you'll find some posts on how to identify PCV update #6.
 

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Thanks guys!

It's been run with full synthetic since it was bought new in 03, it wasn't the top end that was replaced it was the top motor for the convertible top (Not sure why I wrote top engine, I meant motor). As far as I know it's never had any engine problems, I will look into the PCV update though, I don't want to overlook anything, especially something that could potentially be so harmful.

The previous owner wasn't able to find the manual for it, do you know where a good resource for one would be? Thanks again for your help!
 

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Thanks guys!

It's been run with full synthetic since it was bought new in 03, it wasn't the top end that was replaced it was the top motor for the convertible top (Not sure why I wrote top engine, I meant motor). As far as I know it's never had any engine problems, I will look into the PCV update though, I don't want to overlook anything, especially something that could potentially be so harmful.
Google PCV Update #6. Take a look under the engine cover and you can see the PCV hoses. See the photo below to determine if you have the update. https://www.saabnet.com/tsn/members/photos/112/9926.jpg

The previous owner wasn't able to find the manual for it, do you know where a good resource for one would be? Thanks again for your help!
Google Saab 9-3 2002 manual PDF. There are downloaded versions. Skip the on-line reading nonsense and/or the "install our nasty-asp reading program to access manual". You can get a plain PDF. You probably have to go with 2002 since the 2003 will be the 9-3SS. 2002 is pretty much the same info. I have a 2003 manual for the 9-3 in PDF form that I can email you, but you probably want to wait until you have ten posts and then PM me your email address.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh... and if the 8th letter of your VIN is a K, you have the 205 HP HOT motor. Otherwise it's 185HP.
Great, I'll check into that as well. The PO did say it was the 205HP engine so I would like to confirm that.
I'll spend some time looking into it but as I'm sure there's plenty of info out there, but do you have any recommendations for any products to use on the rag top to protect it in the winter? It's in excellent condition, as is the entire car aside from a little wear and tear from age and I would like to keep it that way as long as possible. Thanks again!
 

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If you search here for "top treatment" or maybe "waterproof" you'll find a number of threads. My personal preference is for StarBrite Eco-safe, which is a product you get in boat stores. There's also Renuvo, which comes from the UK. I like to brush on, some guys like to spray. You should treat twice a year, Spring and Fall.
 

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I'll check out both of those, the Starbrite may be easier/faster to get as I live in the states, but the internet can he a great thing for stuff like that.
I finally had the car delivered to me today and was able to check out the VIN number, etc, and it is the 205HP engine. Also found the original manual and a second (replacent?) in the trunk in the original Saab binder they came with. Thanks to the post by Jeremy R, I was able to discern it has the premium package because of the full leather heated seats and automatic climate controls. Huge thanks to both of you for your help, within the next few days I should be diving into the forum a little more and working on some little things like replacing/upgrading the headlight bulbs, repairing the fog lights, and some small restorative/preventative measures on things like the seats and top. This may be the vehicle that finally breaks my wife's will to be patient with my backyard mechanic projects hahaha
 
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