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Discussion Starter #1
Looking to find a winter Saab and found a 1993 2.1L 16v non turbo in what looks like to be in good condition - no major rust problems - my only concern is the mileage which 210,000 miles - it has a service book that shows regular maintenance and the timing chain has been replaced before. Two owners from new - father and son. The only issues are it’s been sitting a while and the breaks vibrate when braking. Engine sounds good and pulls well. Asking price is £1300 and he’s not budging on that - never had a 2.1L version but heard they have gasket issues - just wondering what people’s advice is on this ? Worth the money at the high miles ? Any points to consider ? Your input is appreciated ! Thanks
 

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Sounds like the car has been well maintained. Since I am in the U.S I can't speak to the market value.I have 2 900s convertibles and one has had the head gasket replaced already at 105k. Some of the head gasket issues in these cars are caused by overheating when the fan switch fails. If you purchase the car I would replace that right away. If the car looks and runs good I would not be afraid of it.
 

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Hi thanks for the advice - yep the fan switch is usually one of the preventive maintenance things I’ve done on all my Saab’s since an old 99 gasket failed - on my last 90 and 99 I bypassed the valve switch and had a manual switch inside the car - as I’m a bit anal about checking the temp I would flick the switch in traffic etc ! Never had an overheat
 

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More important that the fan switch is the thermostat IMHO. My 92 2.1 sedan has all the coolant bypass stuff and I've decided to keep that even though it makes for a more complicated hose setup above the alternator.


Two cheap ways to ensure engine longevity is regular oil/filter and coolant changes.
 

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I am not an expert but had a lot of expert help from others here on the forum.
My 93 900S lost a head gasket soon after I bought it. Assume some stop leak was holding it together for the sale. (Black gunk in system)
I performed the preferred JB weld filling of the corrosion pitting on the block and head. Had to shave the head (warped) and put it all back together. You’ve already touched on the overheating prevention.

I would suggest a compression test paying close attention to the rear cylinder by firewall. However, this isn’t a guaranteed test. (Mine passed)
Look for a wet spark plug. Look for bubbling in the coolant overflow.
Also look for signs of stop leak in the coolant. I’d want the coolant to look newish. I’m told regular changing of the coolant goes a long way in preventing a head gasket failure since is mostly caused by the corrosion in this case.

Even so, a head gasket isn’t the end of the world. Just sucks if you’ve paid a *fair* price only to find out you inherited a head gasket problem.

My adventures: https://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=607906

Other than HG issues I’d go over all the electrical etc in the dash. Make sure everything works as expected as it can be a royal pain to fix.
Make sure ALL your warning lights on the instruments light up when key is first turned on!!! Use the owners manual to check whats there if you aren’t familiar.

My ABS was not working but I didn’t know it. Someone turned the warning bulb slightly so that it no longer lit up! Hmmm.....
If I knew better and was familiar, I’d have noticed the ABS light never lit up when I first turned the key....

The brake *bomb* can be an issue as it can loose pressure. Thats the nitrogen canister on the master cylinder. Not a simple or cheap issue. (Would have to search to find solutions)

Also pay attention to taillight assembly. These use funky circuit boards with traces that burn out. So if you have a rear light flickering or out it may be the assembly, not the bulb. Just an FYI

Just the stuff I dealt with immediately after the sale 🙄
 

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If your car has the original rad - replace it. A clogged radiator is a common cause of overheating on the 900. A new rad will cure 95% of overheating problems. They all clog up in the end resulting in the cooling system operating at far below it's designed efficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok update ! Checked out this 200,000 miles 900 today and it was in amazing condition - no rust, full service history - new head gasket and timing chain 60,000 miles ago. Engine ran lovely, gearbox good. The only major issue for me and the main reason I didn’t buy it on the spot was the brakes problem - so when I apply the brakes it vibrates like crazy and if you brake hard from 30 miles a hour it’s a loud bang bang bang and you’re lucky if you can stop - plus the anti-lock warning light stays on. Ok so if it’s just brake discs and pads I can deal with that but it sounded pretty nasty and wondered if sounded like it needs new callipers ? It had been sitting 6 years in a warm garage. Any advice ? I can buy the car for £900 today . Thanks
 

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Probably just pads completely worn to metal, plus maybe sticky calipers and/or bad fluid. Best case scenario it's pads and rotors plus a full fluid flush (I would do all the soft lines as well due to age); you'll probably want to do this with a pressure bleeder due to the ABS. Worst case it's everything, plus maybe a wheel bearing or some other non-brake component contributing to the vibration. If you do the work even the full brake system job isn't bad, both in terms of labor and parts costs.
 
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