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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to purchase a used 1995-1998 Saab Convertible SE Turbo and have spotted one that looks reasonable but I am concerned.

It a 1998 SE Turbo Convertible and the exterior is in decent shape but the front seats are well worn especially drivers. I drove the car and it seemed ok, no crazy pulling to one side under braking and the turbo was working fine. The only hiccups on the test drive was that the electric mirrors were not working, there was a strange constant "buzz" from the climate control even though I turned off the air, the RPM's stayed at 3k for a few seconds which I thought was odd but came back down after I hit the gas a couple times and finally the BIG concern..... Upon opening the hood I saw on the right hand side of the head on down through the bottom of the engine bay it was covered with oil sludge. I am concerned of some sort of leak.

I negotiated the price down to $4k upon all my concerns. You think I should walk or stick with it at that price since it is discounted quite a bit? How much would worst scenario be to fix just the above problems stated, lets say the leak is a blown head gasket?

Thanks in advance for any advice. Your responses will weigh very heavily on my decision since I am a newbie.....
 

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My advice is that there are plenty of saabs out there. I would not buy this one, it sounds to me like it was very poorly maintained.

Also I have never had my engine sit at 3k. When I have it start up in the morning it idles a bit above 1k for a bit before settling down under 1k, but that is normal, 3k something is out of wack.

If you have doubts, walk away, plenty more cars out there.
 

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Read the sticky FAQs on buying a good used car, these are most informative.

It seems as if this vehicle was driven into the ground - as far too many owners are prone to do..
And who can blame them, if one considers the outrageous cost of dealer maintenance.
So it behooves one to find a good service man - even before buying any car.
 

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The RPM's went to 3K at idle?
The buzzing noise was the interior cabin sensor. Not a big deal. The oil sounds like a headgasket. I'd pass on this one.
Either that or negotiate a trip to a Saab dealer to get it inspected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should have been more specific. No, the car didn't stick at 3k RPM's at startup then idle back down it was during the drive. I had just went through 2nd and 3rd at full boost and I put the clutch in to shift to 4th when I noticed it was "stuck" at 3k RPM's. I just blipped the throttle a couple times and it returned back to normal and it never occured again.

I am having a Saab specialist take a look at it next Saturday. If it isn't sold by then then I think I will buy it if he gives it his blessing. I spoke briefly with him on the phone and told him about the oil sludge under the head and he didn't seem concerned. I will be using this car very sparingly as my "station car" to drive to my morning commute train and thought it would be a fun alternative to some exceptionally boring cars out there for $4k. Considering how I will use it I certainly dont need a creampuff but just something that wont kill me in repair costs...
 

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al. said:
I should have been more specific. No, the car didn't stick at 3k RPM's at startup then idle back down it was during the drive. I had just went through 2nd and 3rd at full boost and I put the clutch in to shift to 4th when I noticed it was "stuck" at 3k RPM's. I just blipped the throttle a couple times and it returned back to normal and it never occured again.

I am having a Saab specialist take a look at it next Saturday. If it isn't sold by then then I think I will buy it if he gives it his blessing. I spoke briefly with him on the phone and told him about the oil sludge under the head and he didn't seem concerned. I will be using this car very sparingly as my "station car" to drive to my morning commute train and thought it would be a fun alternative to some exceptionally boring cars out there for $4k. Considering how I will use it I certainly dont need a creampuff but just something that wont kill me in repair costs...
This car sounds like a $2K car. I would never pay $4K for it unless it has exceptionally low miles. There are too many good saabs floating around out there for $4K.

Ta-ta, j.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Even a 1998 Saab Convertible SE Turbo in "fair" condition with 122k miles is valued at $6900 according to blue book so I do disagree with your $2k assessment.

The car is not going to be used or needed as my daily driver so I dont need a pristine example. A nice convertible for $3900 seems pretty reasonable to me though. I am looking for advice on this forum however but to say its worth $2k is stretching things a bit. I would challenge you to find any car for $2k that comes close to what I have found. I have looked at many examples of cars and $4k does not buy you much......
 

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I think what philosophicaldreamer is really trying to say is despite the fact that this car has presented itself to you right now and it looks good, another is bound to pop up soon if you were inclined to pass on it.

Exactly how many miles are on this car anyways? Does the seller have service records to go with it?

Like Cleve said, the buzz in the cabin is easy to deal with sinces its the little fan for the climate control system. I believe a shot of WD-40 fixes that problem up. The mirrors, mine intermittently don't operate, for me its a problem within the switch, but once I have them adjusted I usually don't mess with them. The sludge around the head concerns me greatly. Thats a potentially big-dollar repair to do, but it could also be as simple as retorquing the headbolts (battery side bolts are notorious for loosening up, or not having been torqued correctly to begin with). The engine should not hang at 3000 rpms. ESPECIALLY while in the middle of driving. Sure maybe a very cold start would produce this, but in the middle of driving, no way, something isn't right. Have you had a chance to look at the Second Hand Buyer's Guide?

If you were prepared to pay the original price and the difference is great enough to pay for a new headgasket if needed and whatever is up with the 3k throttle problem then I would be enticed to purchase.
 

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al. said:
Even a 1998 Saab Convertible SE Turbo in "fair" condition with 122k miles is valued at $6900 according to blue book so I do disagree with your $2k assessment.

The car is not going to be used or needed as my daily driver so I dont need a pristine example. A nice convertible for $3900 seems pretty reasonable to me though. I am looking for advice on this forum however but to say its worth $2k is stretching things a bit. I would challenge you to find any car for $2k that comes close to what I have found. I have looked at many examples of cars and $4k does not buy you much......
Slaab4Life is correct in his interpretation of my message to you. I might have exaggerated when I said that the car was worth $2K. However, I stay with my message: There are much better Saabs out there floating around that you can buy for $4K, especially if you buy this car and then find out that you have to put into it an additional $2K to address its problems. As far as blue book is concerned, I don't give much creadence into it. I have never paid the blue book value for any used car that I have bought. To be honest I am not sure where the blue book gets its prices: they just don't match the reality. Don't rush with your decision:nono; If you want examples of better deals, look at e-bay and see what people buy these cars for. When I bought my Saab the car was valued by the blue book at $7800 and I paid $6500. Looking back at my decision I feel that I rushed it too much. I know I could have found a comperable car for $6K--I lacked patience;oops: Oh, well . . . you make mistakes and learn.

Ta-ta, j.
 
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