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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks, like the title says, I am possibly considering getting a 9-5 Aero from the 2006+ refresh batch with a stick.

What are the common issues with the post refresh 9-5s, where does the rust like to appear in the 9-5s, and what are the terminal issues that should make me run away from a car at the slightest hint of trouble?

Little background, I have had 2 9-3s for 15 and 13 years now but decided I may want something a little bigger and I am deciding if I want to dip my toes into 9-5 land. The NG 9-5 is a no-go due to parts being impossible to find.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I had a 2002 9-3 and loved it. When it was totalled and I got a 9-5, I wished I‘d had one from the start.

2006 and later 9-5s might look nicer to some but they exhibit various examples of GM cost-cutting. The interior plastics are inferior and the seat “leather” even flimsier than the pre-2006. In Europe at least, it was possible to get the pre-‘06 seats in later cars. Look closely at the interior door pulls especially the drivers door, and the push buttons on the audio, ACC etc.

Mechanically they’re essentially the same as the pre-2006 version, and I believe the one you’re looking at was 260 hp up from 250.

A major rust spot is the doglegs at the front end of the rear wheel arches. Less likely, they go at the rear end too. The inside of the rear wheel arch rots away but you have to take the plastic arch liner out to see it. I’ve known a couple succumb to body rust under the rear end.

Other irritations are false alarms from the park sensor system, and the ‘Christmas tree“ of lights for a mystery ABS issue, both these faults being intermittent.

Many consider the “sweet spot” for 9-5s was 2004 - 2005 with the “shark” front bumper cover.
 

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I have a 2006, and I've grown to prefer it over the older style. Some plastics do feel a little cheaper, but it's not that bad. I like the updated gauge cluster over the old (pre 2006) style. Beyond what Doug and ET160 already covered, common 9-5 issues are (I'm not including oil sludge as that's basically a non-issue on 2004+):

  • The Direct Ignition Cassette (DIC) fails around 60K to 100K miles. This is basically all the coil packs in one assembly. It usually throws codes before it leaves you stranded. Some (not all) codes are P1312 & P1334. They actually last a pretty long time if you think about it (as long as you buy OEM), and it's the easiest DIY you will ever do to replace.
  • The Crankshaft Position Sensor (CPS) can be prone to failure, although mine never has failed. Dead giveaway is car will not start when warm and then will start when it cools off.
  • Coolant bypass valve fails and spills coolant. Happened to me and luckily my car was at home so I wasn't stranded.
  • The alarm siren can go off randomly. It has its own speaker and battery so if this happens it sucks. I am not totally sure if they started removing this on 06+ cars, as my car doesn't have one where it should be. Either it was never there or the PO removed it.
  • The plastic window rollers can break. Pretty easy and cheap fix once you've done it once.
  • The fuel gauge can get wonky. The sensors in the tank go bad. Mine currently reads E when I fill up but goes back to normal after approx 30 miles of driving. It doesn't bother me so I've never bothered to tear into it, but some people's fail completely.
  • Wagons can sag in the rear-end. I fixed this with spacers.

Overall the common issues are pretty easy to DIY and shouldn't scare you away. My 2006 has been super reliable, now at 146K miles.
 

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2006 and later 9-5s might look nicer to some but they exhibit various examples of GM cost-cutting. The interior plastics are inferior and the seat “leather” even flimsier than the pre-2006.
I've noticed the same. Purchased a new 2002, used 2003, and a 2004 over the years. Current ride is a 2007 and the interior plastic and general cost cutting is noticeable. Still, for the price you are getting a lot of used car!
 

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Ventilated seats are a great 9-5 feature. I suspect that even in 2006+ cars, the leather quality is better with the vented seats. They do seem to be as rare as hens teeth in the later cars, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, for the replies everyone. Keep em coming!

This is exactly the kinda thing I want to know. I am about to take a look at a 07 with 111k on the clock and it sounds like the DI cassette hasn't been done yet.

I'll be wrenching on it myself, but I'd love to know what other items tend to go around the 120k mark. I was already planning a full suspension rework if the car hasn't had one. I have access to a full shop but I haven't done any serious car surgery yet like yanking engines or trannies.

Interior bits peeling will be pretty obvious.

Anything else you can think of to definitely check while buying? Like what does the moon roof do if the those plastic clips are broken etc? What are the symptoms on the 9-5 for plastic window rollers going bad?

Basically what would you check for when kicking the tires on a new 9-5?
 

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Thanks, for the replies everyone. Keep em coming!

This is exactly the kinda thing I want to know. I am about to take a look at a 07 with 111k on the clock and it sounds like the DI cassette hasn't been done yet.

I'll be wrenching on it myself, but I'd love to know what other items tend to go around the 120k mark. I was already planning a full suspension rework if the car hasn't had one. I have access to a full shop but I haven't done any serious car surgery yet like yanking engines or trannies.

Interior bits peeling will be pretty obvious.

Anything else you can think of to definitely check while buying? Like what does the moon roof do if the those plastic clips are broken etc? What are the symptoms on the 9-5 for plastic window rollers going bad?

Basically what would you check for when kicking the tires on a new 9-5?
Honestly, service history is the most important thing. The common issues can happen with or without good maintenance, but a poorly maintained/neglected Saab can be a nightmare. Like most European brands, they are not as forgiving of neglect as American and Japanese brands.
  • Window roller will be obvious - window might be stuck up or down
  • Sunroof, not totally sure
Otherwise, kicking the tires on a 9-5 is the same as with any other car. Check fluid levels/colors, listen for clunks and engine noises, check that all systems work, check the frame and see how rusted it is, etc. A once-over by a trusted mechanic is not a bad idea.
 

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Is the 2006+ Aero just an interior trim option? I thought all 2006+ 9-5 were mechanically "Aeros"?
The suspension was also lowered on the Aeros. All 9-5s, at least in the US, shared the same engine. I think it was up to 260hp by 2006, thanks to the "king cobra" intake pipe, a new air intake snorkel, and probably some other minor changes.
 

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Anything else you can think of to definitely check while buying? Like what does the moon roof do if the those plastic clips are broken etc? What are the symptoms on the 9-5 for plastic window rollers going bad?

Basically what would you check for when kicking the tires on a new 9-5?
If the moonroof clips break, the wind deflector won't go down as you close the roof and it will jam. My wife's car has that issue. I have to reach up and hold down the deflector until the sunroof is mostly closed, and then pull my hand back in.

Sometimes the window will still work with a partially cracked green roller. You'll hear a clunk as the window goes up or down in that case, but soon enough it will fall down on or both sides.

A Dame Edna owner will need to chime in on this, but the earlier 9-5s were notorious for various parts of the climate control system breaking. I don't know if any or all of that was fixed in 2006, but fixing all of that was the biggest PITA on both of my 9-5s. The blend door arms and motors break, and the recirculate motor breaks in several different ways.
 

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If the moonroof clips break, the wind deflector won't go down as you close the roof and it will jam. My wife's car has that issue. I have to reach up and hold down the deflector until the sunroof is mostly closed, and then pull my hand back in.

Sometimes the window will still work with a partially cracked green roller. You'll hear a clunk as the window goes up or down in that case, but soon enough it will fall down on or both sides.

A Dame Edna owner will need to chime in on this, but the earlier 9-5s were notorious for various parts of the climate control system breaking. I don't know if any or all of that was fixed in 2006, but fixing all of that was the biggest PITA on both of my 9-5s. The blend door arms and motors break, and the recirculate motor breaks in several different ways.
Funny story...I actually removed the wind deflector from mine. I broke it messing around with it, and decided to just remove it. I like the extra wind that comes in when it's gone, lol, so I never bothered to replace it.
 

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I may remove the one on my wife's car, too, if I can't get the one from a parts car I have transferred over in one piece. She told me that she never opens it, which is why I keep forgetting to fix it. :)
 

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Basically what would you check for when kicking the tires on a new 9-5?
If you haven't already done so you should take a look at this FAQ thread, tons of great information.

 

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When I purchased my 2007 the local Saab specialist garage did a thorough inspection and printed me a report. Took 2.5 hours and cost about $275. I would recommend you have someone that knows Saabs take a look at it. I'm a DIY type and paid for their expertise in pointing out what needs to be taken care of and I'm slowly going through the list fixing things myself.
 

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When I purchased my 2007 the local Saab specialist garage did a thorough inspection and printed me a report. Took 2.5 hours and cost about $275. I would recommend you have someone that knows Saabs take a look at it. I'm a DIY type and paid for their expertise in pointing out what needs to be taken care of and I'm slowly going through the list fixing things myself.
I actually do this with my car annually, typically in conjunction with a service that is more convenient to pay to do rather than DIY. I typically do it towards the end of winter, as I then have all spring/summer/fall to tend to the list they generate (as well as my own).
 

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Rear exhaust silencer will probably have the outer shell disintegrating, but the inner vessel is made of much stronger stuff and a veteran Saab specialist told me he's never replaced an exhaust rear box on a 9-5. Maybe take that with a pinch of salt, but my 2004 at 152 K miles is following the usual trend. Each time I look at it there's less of the outer shell remaining. I believe more 9-5 exhausts are replaced due to problems further forward, like the Flexi joint and bolts corroded into lumps.
 
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