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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes I know I should be searching the archives but I was hoping you kind people could help me out.

I am a car oriented person and I am shopping for a new car. I was a big vw fan (vr6) and now I want something along the lines of a saab. My dad owns a 9-3SS 1.8 and I like a lot besides the fact that it's piss slow. My friend just picked up a viggen which he loves as well

Now I found a saab 9-3 SE fully loaded with 740000km for $16000 cdn which I find reasonable.

What I would like to know are the parts reasonably priced, I do most major repairs myself so I it won't be too bad. Also how reliable are these cars and how good are the transmissions, I hear they break.

Anyways I was asking myself which chip I should go with? I am leaning towards ppc/bsr one so I can revert it back to stock. there is also abbott (overprices) SQR, nordic, and maptun? What gains am I looking?

Does changing the delivery pipe and downpipe + exhaust insure me 280hp?

Also what are some saab forums apart saabcentral, saablink and saabscene.

Thanks a lot.
 

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Hi Sweedspeed.

The Saab will be similar to your VR6 in the way that it handles! So suggest sorting this out. Also chain driven like your VR6. Also pretty reliable but DI cassettes sometimes go...post in the workshop forum this question for more experienced answers.

You don't say which year the Saab you are looking at is. Is it the T5 engine management (red DI?). If you are going to mod the engine considerably. T7 will allow you to do some things but not others (no BOV for example).

The tuning ecu's will vary depending on stage. For what you are looking at, a stage 3 should be good enough: New intake, full exhaust inc Down Pipe (DP), BPV or BOV, ECU, actuator. They can be bought as a package from the companies you have suggested but take a look at the archive for some advice on which company...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
petrolhead said:
Hi Sweedspeed.

The Saab will be similar to your VR6 in the way that it handles! So suggest sorting this out. Also chain driven like your VR6. Also pretty reliable but DI cassettes sometimes go...post in the workshop forum this question for more experienced answers.

You don't say which year the Saab you are looking at is. Is it the T5 engine management (red DI?). If you are going to mod the engine considerably. T7 will allow you to do some things but not others (no BOV for example).

The tuning ecu's will vary depending on stage. For what you are looking at, a stage 3 should be good enough: New intake, full exhaust inc Down Pipe (DP), BPV or BOV, ECU, actuator. They can be bought as a package from the companies you have suggested but take a look at the archive for some advice on which company...
Thanks for the quick reply.
The year is 2002, so I am asuming it's t7?
I am also asuming I cannot install a bov. I know it sounds ricer of me to have that sound, but i am really keen on having it. Someone I knew had a turboxs on his 97' 900 and it was insanely loud. The Diverter valves on 1.8T sound a bit weird (woosh sound)
Does anyone have a sound clip for this diverters valve on the saabs? (are they loud?)
Also I'd like to do one upgrade at a time, money is an issue as I am only 19.
I would like to adress the suspension right after I modify the ecu.
I am also really keen on ppc chip. any comments?
 

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The year is 2002, so I am asuming it's t7?

Yep. It's T7.

I am also asuming I cannot install a bov. I know it sounds ricer of me to have that sound, but i am really keen on having it. Someone I knew had a turboxs on his 97' 900 and it was insanely loud. The Diverter valves on 1.8T sound a bit weird (woosh sound)

Yes, that is correct, you can't have BOV. Bit rice I know but I have one too.:D

Does anyone have a sound clip for this diverters valve on the saabs? (are they loud?)

You would be hard pushed to be able to hear it compared to BOV.

I would like to address the suspension right after I modify the ecu.

Rear sway bar upgrade, performance rack brace and clamp is a good start on this.

I am also really keen on ppc chip. any comments?

I have T5 so not sure but some people have had some trouble with them in the past, probably a small percentage though...as I say not sure....somebody else can chip (no pun intended) in here. You can take them back to standard which is good.
 

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petrolhead said:
I would like to address the suspension right after I modify the ecu.
may I suggest you do this the other way around, or the car may end up the other way around.
 

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yep i did the suspension mods first then the engine upgrade, however i think i should have done the job i'm now doing before the engine and thats the brake upgrade
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I also have another question, when you get the ecu upgrade, do they send you the whole ecu, or just the eprom?

I would really like to be able to switch to stock whenever I want.
 

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You can switch back to stock a stock ECU, but all of the changes you make to the car (exhaust, intake, intercooler, etc) affect the A/F mix coming into the engine. If you make all those changes and switch back to "stock" your performance will suffer greatly. The car will perform worse than stock.

If you're planning to sell the car, then you might want to only mod it lightly -- maybe an intake and a downpipe -- and get the PPC. But don;t expect the 280 you were shooting for.
 

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I think a good call as im sure you will love your new Saab, but maybe you would be better off with a t5 motor? I have a 9-3, but also a mkIII VR6(for sale) and the two are quite different. the VR6 will beat my 9-3 off the line but cant touch it for roll on accelleration.
I would definatly put your money in the suspension first, certaily a rear sway bar needs to be the first thing you get as if you look at both cars from stock the VR6 will feel tighter and turn in much quicker with less body roll. However with some good bracing and suspension work you will bring the Saab upto speed :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
mike saunders said:
You can switch back to stock a stock ECU, but all of the changes you make to the car (exhaust, intake, intercooler, etc) affect the A/F mix coming into the engine. If you make all those changes and switch back to "stock" your performance will suffer greatly. The car will perform worse than stock.

If you're planning to sell the car, then you might want to only mod it lightly -- maybe an intake and a downpipe -- and get the PPC. But don;t expect the 280 you were shooting for.
If what you say is true, Saab must have some really ****ty ecu mapping from the factory. I know for a fact with a 1.8T (vw) the stock mapping can adjust for intercooler (as long as it's not huge) downpipe, exhaust, intake, larger delivery pipe. The a/f ratio shouldn't mean squat. When you start the car in minus 30C weather or you start your car in 40C weather the A/F ratio is greatly affected, yet the ecu mapping has no difficulty adjusting (we are not in 1960's with carbs). The MAF controls the air and the fuel pressure controls the fuel which gets adjusted with ECU. Now obvioulsy stock ecu is not mapped out for large turbo set ups, because it would be simply out range for the amout of cfm of air that goes through the motor, but I don't see why these bolt ons would make the car run like crap on stock ecu or even stage 1.

Now Don't get me wrong I am not trying to bash, nor am I saying I don't believe because I have read about people with stage 1 software running stage 3 equipment with the car running like ****.

How do the manufuctures go about chipping the saab? is it a socket eprom? solder? do they replace the whole ecu unit?

I will go with the chip 1st, then worry about my suspensions in the spring, then add some motor bolt ons later.

I am just having a hard time understanding which chip manufactuer to go with, and I would like a chip that can accomodate future bolt on, all while able being able to go back to stock. (canadien winters + 250hp+fwd, no thanks)

Thanks again for all your helpful input, I really appreciate it.
 

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You make a good point...Thanks for calling me on that. I have my head completely up my own azz with my own 16T project and I blew right past the comment about Stage 3 and went off on a tangent. Going by your original goal of 280hp, which most ECU tuners can hit with stage 3 programming, intake and downpipe with sport cat, you should be OK for normal driving if you switched the ECU back to stock, whether physically or with a PPC.

That's at the top end of "safe" EGT limits without upgrading the turbo (unless you have the TD05HL-15T from the 00-02 "High Output Turbo" editions of the SE. That turbo has been pushed to 300) If you upped the turbo, you'd be pumping more boost and forcing the ECU to compensate...

T7 is actually a great stock engine management system. It's pretty robust, and very accommodating of differences in altitude, temperature and humidity, but also pretty finicky. SQR, MAPtun and Nordic can get you to that 280hp point safely.

Which engine do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I will get the 2002 SE motor 205hp/209tq, 5 spd.

I am very undecesive and I need a lot of guidance here.
Honestly speaking cars and girls are the worst invesment in the world, but on this project i am gona set my goals straight. Stock turbo looking for 260hp-280hp when said and done. Going for eibach springs with some shocks, rear sway, rear brace, steering brace, 6 point brace, some good rubber and bushings.

Now for the motor, definatly a chip, maybe exhaust, I/C.
Does the delivery pipe and air intake pipe really help out?
Going through the price list, it's gona hurt my wallet but I plan on making this a slow process, so I can enjoy every lil modification I make.

Thanks again, a real help.

Adam
 

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Sweet....

Adam, that's the B205R engine. It has the updated T7 manifold, plus some valve modifications that make it among the best flowing Saab head designs. The only drawback is that the pistons are the same ones that are used in the Viggen engine, which has a history of the pistons doing nasty things when something causes a lean-out.

It's considered less of a problem with the B205R because the compression ratio isn't as high as the Viggen's.

I went back and forth about this before putting one in my own car, but with the 16T turbo and T5 management. I'm running SQR software, Stage 4, using a slightly tweaked map for a 9000 Aero. I'm a big SQR fan, but I know folks who have had good results with Maptun and Nordic. Of all the Saab tuners, these are my faves.

Some other tips: the throttle body delivery pipe doesn't help much, so make that one of the last mods. The intake is a must, but you can make that a very low-budget affair by using a K&N filter in the stock airbox (best insulator) and doing the famous 3" pipe mod (or use a funnel) to get cool air in. You can do downpipe and cat without getting the full exhaust, making it 3 inches from turbo to just after the cat, then 2.5 inches out to the tail pipe. Some tuners might suggest going to the full 3", so keep that in mind, as the cost difference isn't that great any more.

Best bang for buck has to be the rear anti-sway bar. It truly feels like a different car with the thing on. Turn in is much better, and with the lowered stance, the handling improves from moderate understeer to a slight understeer with visibly less body roll. Combine that with the other braces and mods and the car will start to handle like it should have from the factory....

With Stage 3, your car will feel like a rocket.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Funny you mention the rear sway bar, I just spent 3 hours reading up on it.
I was thinking about going with the mp 22mm sway bar, but I also noticed the 22mm and 25mm sway bar at genuine parts? what's the deal with that?
Also Which steering rack is the best? MP VRK and the rear sway bar is dirt cheap at 200$.

I am asuming you must send in ur ecu for the eprom to get modded.
How much is another stock ecu on the side? does it work ok with the stock alarm system/airbag system?

I still don't know which ecu upgrade to get it's mindbogling. ;oops:

thanks again.
 

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I have the MP performance brace and it works fine...I actually took it off last weekend to gain access to the fuel lines and noticed a bit of wear on two of the rubber liner pieces. For the price, it's not bad. MP is a good company; the only thing to watch out for is long shipping times.

The bars come in two different thicknesses to give different rates of understeer because the front bars come in a couple of different thicknesses. The thicker rear bar will cancel out more understeer.

If you get another stock ECU, say on Ebay, you should be able to switch them with no problems. There are a couple of folks on the boards who do that. Most tuners will require that you send them your box, which they'll send back. If you're not doing anything that would require some custom mapping, then sending your box will work for any of the major tuners. Just say what stage you want, and for what car, and you'll get a box to match.

Things are totally different if you have an odd project where you'll want some hands-on advice and help....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
mike saunders said:
I have the MP performance brace and it works fine...I actually took it off last weekend to gain access to the fuel lines and noticed a bit of wear on two of the rubber liner pieces. For the price, it's not bad. MP is a good company; the only thing to watch out for is long shipping times.

The bars come in two different thicknesses to give different rates of understeer because the front bars come in a couple of different thicknesses. The thicker rear bar will cancel out more understeer.

If you get another stock ECU, say on Ebay, you should be able to switch them with no problems. There are a couple of folks on the boards who do that. Most tuners will require that you send them your box, which they'll send back. If you're not doing anything that would require some custom mapping, then sending your box will work for any of the major tuners. Just say what stage you want, and for what car, and you'll get a box to match.

Things are totally different if you have an odd project where you'll want some hands-on advice and help....
I saw ebay has a few, will 99-00-01-02 se ecu's work in my car?
I just looked at the nordic stage 3 video http://nordictuning.com/saabtuning/9-3/index-html/9-3_aero_st3.html
It seems really slow for 270hp, I mean it's fast but I was expecting much more. Or maybe it's my imagination.
 

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Hi Adam...

You'll need an ECU for your specific model. The 99 SEs (even the 99 H.O.Ts) were T5, so those are a no-no...

If you can find an ECU specifically for the 00-02 9-3 SE, H.O.T. model (those have the B205R engine and the TD04HL-15T turbo), then you'll be set.

You can also send the tuner an ECU from a similar model and keep your own. The only problem is that you need to make sure that you have a good one. I bought a bad core on Ebay and sent that to Sweden...so I got back crapola... I had it tuned in person and I'm happy ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I see maptun has a core charge of 450$US I am assuming that is pricey for an ecu?

Another thing I don't understand is how they rate there HP.

Maptune is 260hp stage 1 (1000$), and just 10 more hp with an intake an exhaust?
Bsr is 248 stage 1 and 20 more hp with intake and exhaust?
And then if you look at Nordic pricing it's disgusting, but the gains for stage 3 on slightly higher then maptunes. ( downpipe and filter is 1300$ extra for 10hp!!?!)
Sqr giving 250hp for 900$
ANd finaly MP giving you a nice price but seems to lacking in the hp department.

Anyways what I don't understand is the huge variance in pricing, and hp ratings. You would think that with intake, downpipe, exhaust, delivery pipe you would get more then 10hp over the maptun chip?
 

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Are those figures CDN?

Ahhhhh.....I see why you're confused. Some of those figures are for all the stuff you'd need for the stage -- downpipe, intake AND the ECU -- while others are just quoting a price for the programming. Most ECUs are about $600 US, regardless of stage.

Depending on the source, you can put together a package -- DP, intake and ECU -- that will save you a little money, but remember that the intake mod can cost next to nothing....

Some more info: MP doesn't do programming in house, but sells Powerchips and makes its own downpipes and intercoolers. GenuineSaab sells Nordic, and supplies downpipes, intakes, exhausts, etc. from various Swedish sources. Maptun does its own programming, and also sells downpipes, exhausts, etc. BSR does the same, and does PPC. SQR sells limited performance parts, but does on-site programming in the US several times a year. (At this year's Saab Convention, a couple of guys from Quebec and Montreal drove down to have Frank Stromqvist tune their cars.)

My advice: price out everything individually, and then as a package. There are some places you can save, and others you might not want to scrimp on. (For example, it might make sense for you to get a 3-inch DP and save money by finding a 2.5-inch stainless-steel sport exhaust, which will breathe better than stock AND last the life of the car....)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
These figures are in us funds.The maptun, nordic, sqr are all 900-1000us if I am not mistaken.
Would I best be off with the MP full exhaust? I take it, it comes with the downpipe for 1000$. Are all these parts interchangeable with the stages?
I have read a lot of saabs here running lean and maybe because the market for saabs isn't great that there isn't a lot of ressources being spent like on honda/vw to develop better tuning.

Maybe you could recomend me a set up, that I can add on gradual bolt ons.
I mean I don't see why I would need anything else but maptune stage1.

where does the sqr ecu tuning take place?

Thanks once again.
 
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