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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Some of you may know by now for the past 14 months I've been wandering out in the SAAB-less desert, first in an '04 Outback wagon and more recently in an '06 Legacy wagon. Now I'm hoping to finally get back into the "holy land" of SAABs :cool:

I've checked out a local (private sale) '03 9-3 Arc:

(mine and seller's pics):
http://s251.photobucket.com/albums/gg281/SK9T/Saabs/9-3SS Arc/

It's a 2.0T 210-hp Arc with Sentronic, has wood trim around center console and on the doors, has 124K kms (77K miles). Interior is about 8.75/10 with a broken fold-out cupholder. Exterior is about 7.75/10 with some minor scuffs on the rear bumper and bottom of the left-rear wheel well, along with a cracked antenna sharkfin housing. The A/C isn't blowing very cold and needs recharging. But otherwise the car ran very nicely, tracked true and straight, braked hard and solid. Comes with very new Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds, 215-55/16's.

Prior to a mechanical inspection at a Saab indie, anything in particular I should be looking out for ? Thanks in advance.
 

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If it were up to me, I'd target an 04 or newer. No disrespect to any of the 2003 owners, it just seems like they have more problems than the newer models. I don't think it's just because they're one year older.
 

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I'll disagree - the major issue with the '03 was the automatic transmission, for which service campaigns fixed the problems. Once that was done, I'd prefer the '03 to the de-contented '04 or '05. I just sold an '03 Arc with 65K miles and it treated me very well over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll disagree - the major issue with the '03 was the automatic transmission, for which service campaigns fixed the problems. Once that was done, I'd prefer the '03 to the de-contented '04 or '05.
What were the tranny issues ? Is there a stick here about that ?
 

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It had to do with the transmission going into "limp home" mode while driving in traffic. It was fixed with a programming change. I would be astonished if any '03 you find nowadays didn't have that fixed years ago.
 

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It looks very nice Ken! But I agree with Lexington. The '04+ cars are what I personally would seek out. The way I see first year models is they're the test fleet. It's the year that the major complaints are filed, problems addressed, quality improved. Several '03 cars had electronic gremlins, fitment and quality issues, squeaks and rattles. I'd rather have a "perfect" '04+ car than a "fixed" (modified) early production car. PLUS the '04+ models don't have the SAI system!

The transmission issue was related to o-rings on the ATF cooler at the line coupling. During production, the o-ring could possibly be damaged when the ATF lines were inserted into the coupling, allowing ATF and coolant to mix, and damage the transmission. I've read a few threads, describing situations of having to revisit their dealer multiple times for the repair, because the repair wasn't done correctly, or the fluid contamination eventually caused the transmission to fail prematurely and Saab not covering the repair.

You might want to make sure this car has had the repair performed, if it was part of the the batch that needed the repair. Any Saab dealer should be able to access service records provided the VIN.

Hope you get a 9-3 Ken! They're very nice. I'm very happy with it.
 

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Wewlcome back Ken! I'm disappointed in the lack of food pictures in your post. :)

This post should give a good rundown of what was added/subtracted each year and what colors were available.

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12703

Personally, I'd get a car with a 5-speed. Autos are failure prone and 6-speeds seem to have a rep for being notchy and hard to shift in cold weather. I read far less complaints about 5-speeds. 2004 Aeros all got the 5-speed in North America, but you lose the popup washers for the "warts".
 

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plus the 03 had a SAI pump that was notorious for going bad and not that cheap to fix, it was only in the 9-3 that one year. Plus i replaced the passenger window regulator 3 times. I have an 03 and an 04. 04 > all the way.
 

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Wewlcome back Ken! I'm disappointed in the lack of food pictures in your post. :)

This post should give a good rundown of what was added/subtracted each year and what colors were available.

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12703

Personally, I'd get a car with a 5-speed. Autos are failure prone and 6-speeds seem to have a rep for being notchy and hard to shift in cold weather. I read far less complaints about 5-speeds. 2004 Aeros all got the 5-speed in North America, but you lose the popup washers for the "warts".
My 04 aero has a 6 speed....
 

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Never had an issue with my 6-speed. I did replace the SAI pump and check valve early this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nathan 9⁵;2234900 said:
It looks very nice Ken! But I agree with Lexington. The '04+ cars are what I personally would seek out. The way I see first year models is they're the test fleet. It's the year that the major complaints are filed, problems addressed, quality improved. Several '03 cars had electronic gremlins, fitment and quality issues, squeaks and rattles. I'd rather have a "perfect" '04+ car than a "fixed" (modified) early production car. PLUS the '04+ models don't have the SAI system!

The transmission issue was related to o-rings on the ATF cooler at the line coupling. During production, the o-ring could possibly be damaged when the ATF lines were inserted into the coupling, allowing ATF and coolant to mix, and damage the transmission. I've read a few threads, describing situations of having to revisit their dealer multiple times for the repair, because the repair wasn't done correctly, or the fluid contamination eventually caused the transmission to fail prematurely and Saab not covering the repair.

You might want to make sure this car has had the repair performed, if it was part of the the batch that needed the repair. Any Saab dealer should be able to access service records provided the VIN.

Hope you get a 9-3 Ken! They're very nice. I'm very happy with it.
Thx Nathan. What's SAI ?

Glad to see you back around here. Thought you were moving up to SEA or PDX area ?

When I get the car inspected, I should then ask for the tranny fluid to be checked, no ?

Wewlcome back Ken! I'm disappointed in the lack of food pictures in your post. :)

This post should give a good rundown of what was added/subtracted each year and what colors were available.

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12703

Personally, I'd get a car with a 5-speed. Autos are failure prone and 6-speeds seem to have a rep for being notchy and hard to shift in cold weather. I read far less complaints about 5-speeds. 2004 Aeros all got the 5-speed in North America, but you lose the popup washers for the "warts".
I prefer manual too. But wife is no gear-rower (and when she does ...... crunch). That's why my previous 9000 was automatic .... bloody ZF blew out during my first year ownership and I had to rebuild it for Cdn$2800 :confused:

plus the 03 had a SAI pump that was notorious for going bad and not that cheap to fix, it was only in the 9-3 that one year. Plus i replaced the passenger window regulator 3 times. I have an 03 and an 04. 04 > all the way.
So this SAI (still dunno what it is yet) was problematic for only 2003 MY ?
 

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SAI: Secondary Air Injection. It's an emissions cleanup device. It pumps air into the exhaust for the first few seconds of cold start by means of a pump, and a valve. It's supposed to help heat up the cat. conv. quicker while the exhaust gasses are still rich. The SAI systems in my 9⁵'s have never had a problem, nor in my Volvo 850 T5, but I know they're an item most people would prefer to avoid.

My '04 9³'s an automatic, it has 123K miles, and works great.


I would also check for oil leaks. The brake booster vacuum pump are known to leak, (very easy fix) and I've read a few threads about rear main seals leaking. I just removed and resealed the oil pan on mine. Very easy job. So far the car has been exceptionally easy to work on.

And SEA is still in the works. Just family & work delays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thanks for the explanation

Well .......... after all that murmuring about this '03 Arc, I think is now a moot discussion

I stumbled upon a Combi on Craigslist which I somehow missed before (maybe because it exceeds the price limit I filtered on). It's an '06 2.0T SC, seen here on the dealer's site:

http://www.cwlauto.com/inventory.as...d=&exbs=&bs=&fromprice=-1&toprice=-1&keyword=

Dealer's pics uploaded to my photobucket: http://s251.photobucket.com/albums/gg281/SK9T/Saabs/2006 9-3SC/











It's got 57K kms (35K miles) on the clock, automatic, and tagged at Cdn$11,795. Only glitch is a 10" scratch on the hood which is not too deep nor easily noticeable. I test drove it, feels like new as far as I'm concerned. Comes with all the OEM bits plus a set of Wanli (Chinese knock-offs of Gislaved/General Altimax snows). It's been sitting on their lot for 2.5 months and they're willing to let it go for Cdn$11K ($12,320 after tax). We discussed trade-in of my Subie, and have tentatively agreed to a $3500 difference (cash back to me), since I was planning to advertize the Subie on CL for around Cdn$17K (but expecting $16-16.5K after negotiation).

So there you have it. Although I may end up spending more than I had planned, I guess it's prudent to get a newer year that has more of the teething issues worked out, not to mention this one being quite low mileage and being a Combi. The deal could be done in a matter of days and I may soon be the driver of this SC. Wish me luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wewlcome back Ken! I'm disappointed in the lack of food pictures in your post. :)

This post should give a good rundown of what was added/subtracted each year and what colors were available.

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12703
I had to stop when it was noted that many of the SC members were gaining weight as a result of my food-porn practice :eek::lol:

Most of the '05-'06 changes don't mean too much to me, but I did notice the loss of memory presets for the driver's seat :confused: Seriously, how much cost is cut by eliminating that ?? Other than that I have no problems with all the features and creature comforts that come with this car, but I find it amusing that most of them were already in my '93 9000CSE ! :cool:
 

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Thanks for the explanation

Well .......... after all that murmuring about this '03 Arc, I think is now a moot discussion

I stumbled upon a Combi on Craigslist which I somehow missed before (maybe because it exceeds the price limit I filtered on). It's an '06 2.0T SC, seen here on the dealer's site:

http://www.cwlauto.com/inventory.as...d=&exbs=&bs=&fromprice=-1&toprice=-1&keyword=

Dealer's pics uploaded to my photobucket: http://s251.photobucket.com/albums/gg281/SK9T/Saabs/2006 9-3SC/











It's got 57K kms (35K miles) on the clock, automatic, and tagged at Cdn$11,795. Only glitch is a 10" scratch on the hood which is not too deep nor easily noticeable. I test drove it, feels like new as far as I'm concerned. Comes with all the OEM bits plus a set of Wanli (Chinese knock-offs of Gislaved/General Altimax snows). It's been sitting on their lot for 2.5 months and they're willing to let it go for Cdn$11K ($12,320 after tax). We discussed trade-in of my Subie, and have tentatively agreed to a $3500 difference (cash back to me), since I was planning to advertize the Subie on CL for around Cdn$17K (but expecting $16-16.5K after negotiation).

So there you have it. Although I may end up spending more than I had planned, I guess it's prudent to get a newer year that has more of the teething issues worked out, not to mention this one being quite low mileage and being a Combi. The deal could be done in a matter of days and I may soon be the driver of this SC. Wish me luck.
Awesome. Welcome back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nathan 9⁵;2235417 said:
Ken, that's a VERY handsome Saab! I LOVE that color! I hope you get it! ;ol;
Thanks, pretty much there now. Dealer got the service records from the original (ex-)SAAB dealer and the previous owner seemed pretty religious with regular maintenance. I won't be requesting a mechanical inspection at this point. Tomorrow I go do the transaction and pick up the car, woohoo ;ol;



PS: the only niggly point I wish was different is, the car comes with OEM Pirelli P6s ..... which I understand totally sux !
 

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Congrats. Low mileage, SC, extra set of wheels with snows, and Xenon.
You will be happy for many years
 
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