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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I bought my first SAAB about 3 weeks ago. An '04 9-5 Arc with 85k. Love it, except all the work that SAAB's require due to their quirks. Car is in great shape otherwise, but here's my DIC story.

First day of ownership, it throws a CEL. So I take it back to the dealership I bought it from and they fix it by replacing the "coil pack" and spark plugs. CEL gone and it passes my state's emissions test for registration.

Car is running fine, no CELs or engine issues. I join this forum being a new SAAB owner and find very valuable information here that I don't think I would have found elsewhere. Nice to have a support system for the unique vehicles we own (I have joined and used other forums for other makes of vehicles I have had with good success too).

While browsing the threads, I come across one titled "Direct Ignition Cassette" and ignore it for a few days, but decide to take a look as I didn't know what a "direct ignition cassette" was and was intrigued.

By reading the thread I find out there is two types of "DIC". A red and a black one. I find people saying that the red DIC is bad bad bad for a 9-5 and will damage the engine in time due to pinging, etc. After being able to now identify a DIC, I remember my car has a red one in it that replaced the original black one that was done by the used car dealership in order to fix the CEL. So after reading how horrific this was for my car and getting alarmed, I decide to look for a proper black one. First thing I do is go to eBay, where there is a plethora of inexpensive used red DICs, but a dearth of black and the black DICs I do find are either over $200 for a USED one or over FIVE HUNDRED $$$ for a new one. I say, forget that.

So, I do some internet searching which leads me to a place I have bought auto parts for other make of cars with good success and for a great price (Rock Auto). I find a black DIC for my car there for around $280 and a warranty. I can live with that and order one.

After I order one, of course, I then discover on other threads here that the Chinese "knock offs" are horrible and cause problems within a short time of installation. But, I also hear some receiving genuine SAAB parts from Rock Auto also. So, I figure maybe I will have good luck and either get a genuine part or a better experience with a "knock off". I think maybe they are manufacturing the "knock offs" better now, especially when so many have had so many issues with them.

NOT!!!

I put in my new Standard Motor Products DIC this morning and take her for a spin. So far, so good. Cool. Then I take the car out for the day and BAM!!! A nice CEL. "Oh great", I think so I run over to the local Auto Zone and borrow their code reader. I get ignition codes P1312, P1334, P1312, and a P0340 (CPS code) thrown in in just for good measure. And this is the FIRST day of the new DIC's use.

So, now I gotta put the only DIC I have back in, the red one (I know, I know, "the sky is falling!!", "the sky is falling!!" to use the red one in a car designed to use the black, but I REALLY need to use my car and it does run fine with it. No pinging that I can detect in over 1k miles with it). I then have to try and get a warranty claim for the new bad black DIC and hope that when they send a replacement, it works for more than a day. No money refunds only returns and replacements sent.

So, I guess I either will be sending back bad DICs for many months and years to come (Standard Motor Products have a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty on ignition products) and either run out of money paying postage, give up and eat the $280, or wear them out and hope they either send me an OEM part finally, or maybe find it in their hearts to give me a refund after all the trouble.

Bottom line, DO NOT buy an non-OEM DIC. EVER. Lesson learned the hard way trying to save a buck. SAAB's are VERY sensitive to having an OEM DIC (don't know about other parts yet).
 

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So, I bought my first SAAB about 3 weeks ago. An '04 9-5 Arc with 85k. Love it, except all the work that SAAB's require due to their quirks. Car is in great shape otherwise, but here's my DIC story.

First day of ownership, it throws a CEL. So I take it back to the dealership I bought it from and they fix it by replacing the "coil pack" and spark plugs. CEL gone and it passes my state's emissions test for registration.

Car is running fine, no CELs or engine issues. I join this forum being a new SAAB owner and find very valuable information here that I don't think I would have found elsewhere. Nice to have a support system for the unique vehicles we own (I have joined and used other forums for other makes of vehicles I have had with good success too).

While browsing the threads, I come across one titled "Direct Ignition Cassette" and ignore it for a few days, but decide to take a look as I didn't know what a "direct ignition cassette" was and was intrigued.

By reading the thread I find out there is two types of "DIC". A red and a black one. I find people saying that the red DIC is bad bad bad for a 9-5 and will damage the engine in time due to pinging, etc. After being able to now identify a DIC, I remember my car has a red one in it that replaced the original black one that was done by the used car dealership in order to fix the CEL. So after reading how horrific this was for my car and getting alarmed, I decide to look for a proper black one. First thing I do is go to eBay, where there is a plethora of inexpensive used red DICs, but a dearth of black and the black DICs I do find are either over $200 for a USED one or over FIVE HUNDRED $$$ for a new one. I say, forget that.

So, I do some internet searching which leads me to a place I have bought auto parts for other make of cars with good success and for a great price (Rock Auto). I find a black DIC for my car there for around $280 and a warranty. I can live with that and order one.

After I order one, of course, I then discover on other threads here that the Chinese "knock offs" are horrible and cause problems within a short time of installation. But, I also hear some receiving genuine SAAB parts from Rock Auto also. So, I figure maybe I will have good luck and either get a genuine part or a better experience with a "knock off". I think maybe they are manufacturing the "knock offs" better now, especially when so many have had so many issues with them.

NOT!!!

I put in my new Standard Motor Products DIC this morning and take her for a spin. So far, so good. Cool. Then I take the car out for the day and BAM!!! A nice CEL. "Oh great", I think so I run over to the local Auto Zone and borrow their code reader. I get ignition codes P1312, P1334, P1312, and a P0340 (CPS code) thrown in in just for good measure. And this is the FIRST day of the new DIC's use.

So, now I gotta put the only DIC I have back in, the red one (I know, I know, "the sky is falling!!", "the sky is falling!!" to use the red one in a car designed to use the black, but I REALLY need to use my car and it does run fine with it. No pinging that I can detect in over 1k miles with it). I then have to try and get a warranty claim for the new bad black DIC and hope that when they send a replacement, it works for more than a day. No money refunds only returns and replacements sent.

So, I guess I either will be sending back bad DICs for many months and years to come (Standard Motor Products have a 5 year/50,000 mile warranty on ignition products) and either run out of money paying postage, give up and eat the $280, or wear them out and hope they either send me an OEM part finally, or maybe find it in their hearts to give me a refund after all the trouble.

Bottom line, DO NOT buy an non-OEM DIC. EVER. Lesson learned the hard way trying to save a buck. SAAB's are VERY sensitive to having an OEM DIC (don't know about other parts yet).
(sigh)

we hate to say "I told you so"... but hope the OEM black DIC does the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
(sigh)

we hate to say "I told you so"... but hope the OEM black DIC does the trick.
Well, if some had "told me so" then that might apply. But, I mentioned ordering a black DIC from Rock Auto in another DIC thread and there was NO MENTION of issues with them to me. Just basically, "good you ordered a black one now". I had the find that there were problems with them myself doing searches in different threads.
 

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Take it back to the dealer. The put the wrong DIC in. You did it within 3 weeks of purchase, there must be a 30 day warranty.......get them to put an oem one in....if not take them to court.
 

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Well, if some had "told me so" then that might apply. But, I mentioned ordering a black DIC from Rock Auto in another DIC thread and there was NO MENTION of issues with them to me. Just basically, "good you ordered a black one now". I had the find that there were problems with them myself doing searches in different threads.
OEM vs non-OEM -

Rock Auto is spot on in many parts. But a DIC is something you don't fool around with. They cost $400+ new and it sucks, but they should last longer. Unless you have a boneyard nearby and you can pull one.
 

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Get stealership to put correct one in

Take it back to the dealer. The put the wrong DIC in. You did it within 3 weeks of purchase, there must be a 30 day warranty.......get them to put an oem one in....if not take them to court.
Could not have said it better, they cheated you by puting the cheaper red DI in, demand they put the correct one in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Could not have said it better, they cheated you by puting the cheaper red DI in, demand they put the correct one in the car.
I just think their mechanics didn't know better. The place is a used car dealership, specializing in late model European cars such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar, SAAB, etc.

They probably don't move that many SAABs (there were only a few on their lot) and I bet had no idea that a red DIC isn't the correct unit for my car since 1. it fits and looks exactly the same other than color, and 2. the car's CEL went away and it ran fine with the red one installed. Not knowing the particulars about SAAB, I bet it was just done in total ignorance. I know I wouldn't have myself, if I hadn't have joined this board and looked at a thread on DICs out of curiosity. I would have just gone my merry way since the car seems to run fine (for the last over 1,000 miles at least) with the red DIC installed.

I knocked off some of the price of the car to forgo any warranty. So, I bought it "as is". The only reason they even fixed the CEL was because they guarantee the cars they sell will pass state emissions tests and with a CEL they won't. The CEL came on before I could get the the emissions check point, so they were obligated to do something, but not now. I bet they'd even argue that the red one is fine and they probably have installed them many times before in cars that had a black one originally.

And actually, if the red and black are so non-compatible as to potentially cause engine issues, then the geniuses at SAAB should have made them non-interchangeable. A simple different plug on the end would not have required a whole lot of re-engineering or cost. Or even something in the ECU's software that would recognize a wrong DIC installed and let you know via the SID or something. That would have been inexpensive and smart to do too.

Anyway, Rock Auto is going to pay for the shipping and warranty the part, but I bet if I use their replacement, I'll be going through the same issue again soon. Maybe I can eventually get a cash refund, if I keep sending bad units back or get lucky eventually with a good working one.
 

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I just think their mechanics didn't know better. The place is a used car dealership, specializing in late model European cars such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar, SAAB, etc.

They probably don't move that many SAABs (there were only a few on their lot) and I bet had no idea that a red DIC isn't the correct unit for my car since 1. it fits and looks exactly the same other than color, and 2. the car's CEL went away and it ran fine with the red one installed. Not knowing the particulars about SAAB, I bet it was just done in total ignorance. I know I wouldn't have myself, if I hadn't have joined this board and looked at a thread on DICs out of curiosity. I would have just gone my merry way since the car seems to run fine (for the last over 1,000 miles at least) with the red DIC installed.

I knocked off some of the price of the car to forgo any warranty. So, I bought it "as is". The only reason they even fixed the CEL was because they guarantee the cars they sell will pass state emissions tests and with a CEL they won't. The CEL came on before I could get the the emissions check point, so they were obligated to do something, but not now. I bet they'd even argue that the red one is fine and they probably have installed them many times before in cars that had a black one originally.

And actually, if the red and black are so non-compatible as to potentially cause engine issues, then the geniuses at SAAB should have made them non-interchangeable. A simple different plug on the end would not have required a whole lot of re-engineering or cost. Or even something in the ECU's software that would recognize a wrong DIC installed and let you know via the SID or something. That would have been inexpensive and smart to do too.

Anyway, Rock Auto is going to pay for the shipping and warranty the part, but I bet if I use their replacement, I'll be going through the same issue again soon. Maybe I can eventually get a cash refund, if I keep sending bad units back or get lucky eventually with a good working one.
It's called reuse.

And they changed the color for the very reason to distinguish it's use between T5 and T7.

But not that a used euro car "specialist" shop would know that. I know you bought it used, but if they put the wrong part on it in the first place, even if the CEL was resolved (I can only image... "hey Cletus, that red one worked... there ain't no check engine light no more"), you would have a case for them to reimburse you. But they would have also purchased a non-OEM Chinese special, too... at least, from hearing about them... and you would be right back where you are now. Hopefully they didn't pour anything down the radiator, trans, or oil to help it look "showroom ready".

Heck - I took mine to an indie that specializes in Saabs and Volvos, and wanted a specific amount of work done. I had a whole week that I left it for them to do so. I spent half of the week arguing with the manager about whether or not the parts I left with them were the correct ones (they were), and he was sending me images of where the techs had lined up the parts with where they were supposed to go ... they had two different bushings for two different locations in the picture. Amazing. Same place told me that they couldn't use a Tech II to change the settings for the lights from US to Euro... amazing when we, as owners, know just as much (or more) than the "techs" who work on them every day.

Welcome to the world of Saab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's called reuse.

And they changed the color for the very reason to distinguish it's use between T5 and T7.
Exactly, which is why the DIC housing and dimensions can be the same (for obvious reuse due to manufacture and design costs), but making something inexpensive and simple such as a very small notch on the plug or software identifier would have sufficed, if indeed it is a part that could potentially be catastrophic if used wrong or installed on the wrong vehicle. That is just common sense and good design practice.

I am an IT Consultant and remember days when you could put IDE hard drive cables on backwards. Then they introduced the cables with a small key on them to fit only one way, and guess what? No one put them on backwards anymore and the small key notch on the cable probably cost them minutely in order to take care of much larger issue. A innovative mid-level luxury automobile producer could probably have done the same, you'd think.

Anyway, the SAAB world so far is strange and quirky, but fun and enjoying all the same. I am sad to see it go, but hope the electric SAAB resurrection is successful, although I know it won't be the same.
 

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The ecu knows if you put the wrong one on, you get codes but no cel since you reached the right one with a wrong one. Agreed a different connector would idiot proof it a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, yesterday I found a used SAAB OEM (3.7) black unit on eBay for $125 + shipping. Finally a used OEM unit for a decent price. Seller has good feedback and claimed that he tested the unit in his personal car for a day and it gave no CEL or issues.

So, for now, my plan is to get an exchange for the generic DIC from Rock Auto and use the genuine SAAB used unit as a spare, as I send back the generic units when they fail (I know they will eventually). That way, I always have a running car. I am going to try and sell the red DIC in the car now (it's a genuine SAAB unit) and maybe recoup some of my money, but I am seeing a plethora of red units on eBay, so I guess the demand for those isn't as great.
 

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OEM vs non-OEM -

Rock Auto is spot on in many parts. But a DIC is something you don't fool around with. They cost $400+ new and it sucks, but they should last longer. Unless you have a boneyard nearby and you can pull one.

There's always a boneyard near by! www.allofcraigs.com is your friend here, I'll bet that in most places in the country you can find someone disassembling a 9-5 for parts on craigslist.

(and willing to ship the part to you)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I received the replacement generic DIC from Rock Auto yesterday. Installed it.

In a little over 10 miles a CEL popped up.

Amazing.

Anyway, I emailed Rock Auto and told them that this time I would like a refund of my purchase price, as obviously there are problems with their units and unless they want to have me send units back every week for the 5 year/50,000 mile warranty (which could get costly with shipping on their part too) they need to give me a refund.

They agreed to give me a full refund and sent me shipping labels to ship the defective unit back.

So there ends my DIC nightmare. Lesson learned, NEVER buy a generic DIC. NEVER. Both of these units didn't even last ONE day.
 

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So I received the replacement generic DIC from Rock Auto yesterday. Installed it.

In a little over 10 miles a CEL popped up.

Amazing.

Anyway, I emailed Rock Auto and told them that this time I would like a refund of my purchase price, as obviously there are problems with their units and unless they want to have me send units back every week for the 5 year/50,000 mile warranty (which could get costly with shipping on their part too) they need to give me a refund.

They agreed to give me a full refund and sent me shipping labels to ship the defective unit back.

So there ends my DIC nightmare. Lesson learned, NEVER buy a generic DIC. NEVER. Both of these units didn't even last ONE day.
One woold hope rock auto would stop selling them its like selling fake viagra... looks good but does not do the job......
 

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DI Blues

Hey Sunmicro,

Sorry to hear of all the issues that you have had with the aftermarket DI cassettes. We have Genunine Saab units in stock and we also carry Proparts aftermarket units. The proparts units have a lower defect rate than OE over the last 6 months. We have actually sold out on them and are awaiting our next batch due in any day now. I can not speak to the quality of the other brands as we don't offer them. I have had very little issue with the Genuine and even less with Proparts units.
Hope yours works out but if not feel free to give us a call!

Dean Bergeron
eEuroparts.com
 

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Hey Sunmicro,

Sorry to hear of all the issues that you have had with the aftermarket DI cassettes. We have Genunine Saab units in stock and we also carry Proparts aftermarket units. The proparts units have a lower defect rate than OE over the last 6 months. We have actually sold out on them and are awaiting our next batch due in any day now. I can not speak to the quality of the other brands as we don't offer them. I have had very little issue with the Genuine and even less with Proparts units.
Hope yours works out but if not feel free to give us a call!

Dean Bergeron
eEuroparts.com
Dan, is the Propart DIC the one offered in your DIC kit? Mine appears to be on the way out and I'll need to purchase soon. Thanks.

Larry
 
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