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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the scoop, yesterday I went out and bought a 1997 900SE 5sp convertible, the car has 90K miles, and was in good condition (or so I thought).....only $5,000

Now I know I probably should have had in inspected first, but I was getting impatient since I've been without a car for about a month now. And the price was well below blue book value so I jumped on the deal.

Less than 20 min after the title exchanged hands, Im crusing home, top down, tunes blasting, feeling great about my new ride!! I decided to punch it a little taking off from a light.....next thing I know I smell the tell-tale odor of coolant and notice the thick white smoke emitting from my hood. UH OH ..... Just my luck !!! The "coolant level low" indicator came up on my display. Luckily for me I was close to a buddies house and stopped over there without the car overheating.

It seems as though I ruptured the heater hose....I was hemmoraging coolant LOL. Since it was pretty late, I wrapped up the hose in duct tape and managed to make it home without incident. I'm gonna have the hose replaced this afternoon the guys here at Saabtech Chicago quoted me $100, not too bad.

Now I have a few questions for you experienced SAAB owners. First off, I know the car needs its 90K maintainance, are any portions of this service easy for a novice DIY'er to undertake. Secondly, the owner didn't have the owners manual....what do you guys recommend as a good manual/repair guide. And lastly since finding this site I've stumbled upon a wealth of info, it seems as though Mercedes coolant is being recommended, should I go with that once I replace the coolant and are there any other major trouble spot with a car with this milage???

Aside from these early issues, I don't regret my purchase and I hoping to work out all the kinks on this great car. Also this site and these forums have been a tremendous help already and I've only been an owner for about 18 hours now LOL
 

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Could have just been a bad stroke of luck. Within 800 miles of getting my car the A/C clutch blew a bearing. Luckily the place I bought it from fixed it free of charge even though there was no warranty concerning that part of the car.

What I would do if I were you is take it to the saab specialist in your area, fix the hose, and then have them go over the car thoroughly and let you know of anything else they find. Would be best if you can be in the garage with them with it up on the rack, and you can go over it with them, as it will also help you get firmiliar with the car.

As far as the 90k, most of the stuff you should be able to do if you are a decent DIY type person. I am a complete moron when it comes to cars, but so far this board has talked me through an oil change, and a change of my spark plugs. I am currently working my way through the 60k service a little ahead of schedule. Next weekend I plan to do my engine air filter and cabin air filter. After that I plan to do my fuel filter. I am unsure about the belt as of yet. I may do it and I may not. It depends how the other things go. The only things I will take somewhere are the various fluid drains, especially the brake fluid, I am just not comfortable doing that at this point, and I think it will require more tools and space than I have. I do not have a garage, so everything is out in the open.

This board is a really great resource and can get you through pretty much anything :) I never dreamed I would know as much about my car as I currently do (not much compared to people on this board), let alone in about 1 month. I just enjoy reading the various posts and gaining knowledge along the way.
 

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"" I'm gonna have the hose replaced this afternoon the guys here at Saabtech Chicago quoted me $100, not too bad. ""

$100 to change a heater hose ??
About 15 minutes in a Saab 900, $20 for the "expensive hose"..

But not too bad , in labor only, to change all the hoses !
And if, you could duct tape it, why not change it yourself ??
eEuroPartrs has all the hoses, I think, for about $70, a good deal...

Maybe still a good buy at $5 grand, for a convertible, but be prepared to shell out hundreds for work( mostly service) that the PO deferred(stuck you with)..

About $40 or less for the Haynes manual from Haynes themselves(Amazon gives poor service, and is too slow) plus another $20-30 for the owners manual..
I wonder what ever happens to all those tools, jacks, and manuals that "disappear" from their car ???
 

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Check eBay for owners manuals. Pretty much any manual from 1994 through 1998 will have the same info, but having one for the correct year is always nice. If you don't have two keys and two remotes (I'm assuming yours has the factory alarm), then get a spare on eBay. The alarm is very expensive to replace if the car gets locked and the only remote is lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the quick responses and advice :D I think my plan of action is to first replace the heater hose today. I would attempt it myself but its in a pretty unreachable spot. I found a local Saab specialist who said he'll install the hose for $25 and give car car a free inspection. Next step is to order the rest of the hoses online and have them replaced next week. I'll be searching ebay for the owners manuel and I'll go ahead and purchase the Haynes guide as well. Now I have a set of household tools but I'm sure I'm gonna need some automotive tools now.....any suggestions??? This will be the first car I'm taking a hands on approach to, so I'm a bit excited and hesitant at the same time. But so far the site has steered me in the right direction, the previous owner couldn't get the radio to work after replacing the battery, a quick 5 minute search of the forums fixed that problem. Thanks again guys!!!
 

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The heater hoses that run from the right side if the block (the transmission side) and go to the firewall come in pairs and should ideally be replaced in pairs. It is about a 40 minute job to do both at the same time and can be done entirely from above. You do have to tighten the clamps blind (by feel) but it is not hard to do at all. On turbo cars it is easier to remove the turbo delivery pipe to get better access to where the hoses attach to the block, and it gives more room and better sight lines to where they attach to the fittings exiting the firewall. The hoses may be very tight at the firewall. You can A) try to pull them off by hand, B) try to pull them off with large offset pliers (channel-locks) or C) cut them off with a utility knife (slit longitudinally, along the lentghtwise axis) and they fall off. It is really an easy job, best done with the car cold, as you will be laying yourself out over the top of the motor when working at the firewall end.
 

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***B*** said:
I found a local Saab specialist who said he'll install the hose for $25 and give car car a free inspection.

Who's your local Chicago SAAB guy? I'll be in Evanston until Labor Day and need to find a good mechanic.

Thanks,

Bob
 

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***B*** said:
Secondly, the owner didn't have the owners manual....what do you guys recommend as a good manual/repair guide. LOL
Pick up a copy of the Haynes service manual. I could not have done 75% of the repairs I've done on my 97 900se without it. I got mine from amazon.com, pretty cheap.
 

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Careful w/ all those heater/radiator hoses. Perhaps it's the heat from the turbo but within a year's time, every soft hose I had busted. One was so mysterious and hard to find I scheduled a headgasket replacement and tow truck before I finally found it. But hoses are easy to do and replacing them will get you acquainted w/ the underhood area pretty well.
 
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