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2007 Saab 9-3 Linear, 2.0t & 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Probably not the smartest idea I've ever had, but I'm going to do it anyway and hope that I don't get stranded. Any advice from those of you who have done things like this to increase my chances of success?

Prior to leaving I'm going to have Autozone load test my battery/alternator/starter. I have two working keys, jumper cables (which I hear may not be friendly to Saab?), tire inflator, spare tire with air and the tools to change it, extra oil/coolant, and an OBDII reader (cheap and not a TechII...I know, I really should get one prior to leaving, but we'll see), assorted bulbs, and some basic tools. No current issues with the car to speak of. Sometimes the locks are funny and I lost half a quart of oil in 3500 miles but neither of those are a big deal. The car has also started to whistle softly like a kettle that's nearly boiling when I give it some gas and I don't think its ordinary turbo noise but on the other hand it isn't too loud and the car is driving alright. If this sounds bad or any of you have some ideas based on such a vague description, I'd be glad to hear them. Sometimes I can hear some sort of slight, metallic-sounding rattle, but it doesn't change with revs/speed/gear and its not all the time so I'm not convinced its coming from the engine. Those are really the only two odd noises the car makes. Perhaps just because its 15 years old and has 192k miles. Oil changes every 5k-ish for at least the last 12 years and I believe the PO drove it gently and on the highway. Lots of receipts for common failures.

Anything else I should do to try to reduce my chances of getting stuck on the side of the road? And any input on the accessibility of Saab mechanics in the general northeastern quarter of the US?
 

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I just cross countried my 04 with 140k miles while towing an almost 2,000lb trailer. Such a fun 4 days it was....the cross country trip was the furthest the car has gone without issue pretty much since I've owned it. I would do what you can prior to departure; change all fluids that are at or close to their interval, check your brake pad/rotor condition, tire wear, tire pressures (including spare), new windshield wipers, carry extra fluids, a gallon of distilled water, jumper cables (I prefer a portable jump pack but I have both), extra clothing for when the temp drops just in case you get stuck somewhere, & a flashlight that you can use while you have 2 hands free. I also carry a tire plug kit & air compressor...I would only recommend it based on your mechanical/physical abilities. I also polished my headlights since they were badly hazed. It made an unbelievable difference in light output/visibility for nighttime driving. If yours are hazy I would definitely do that as well.

Jump starting the car can fry electronics (such an immensely incompetent design) but depending where you are stuck you may have no choice but to try. Godspeed...only so much can go wrong if you're sticking to the main roads so not much to worry about safety-wise, inconvenience is another story.
 

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You might want to check the serpentine and the tensioner pulley. When the bearings go dry, they can whistle like a turbo.

As long as it's been running fine and not losing fluids, I'd say you should be all right. Of course anything can change over the driver, but that's a crap shoot. Even new cars can get flat tires.

Highway driving is easier on a car that frequent starts and drives in stop and go traffic.
 

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The rattle could simply be a heat shield. Mine rattles as certain RPMs even though it is secure. On mine, it's the heat shield in the middle of the frame above the exhaust pipe between the CAT and the mufflers.
 

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Also, I had to jump my '09 9-3 Aero recently after the battery died after sitting for 2 months. The jump was successful without any electrical damage 🤷‍♂️
 

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I've jump started my 2006 car many times, and used it to jump other cars many times. Never had any issue.

I've also driven that car as far north as Helsinki and as far south as Montenegro. I'm sure you'll be fine on your journey.
 

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What's your general route across country? So cool to hear you doing this trip! Last October I took my 195K '06 Sportcombi from Southern California to Pullman WA to see my daughter in college. That was the cars 5th r/t to Pullman. Over 2000 miles there and back. I took it very easy mostly sitting at 65-70 mph and the car did great. I took a tool kit and jack and gorilla tape, flashlight, gloves, moving blanket in case I had to lay down to work on pavement, cb radio. Thanks for the other ideas I read, especially the distilled water. Serpentine belt. I recently had replaced mine but on other trips I had one with me just in case. I did have jumper cables and overalls. I was a rolling repair shop even though I can barely do my own maintenance :p Made me feel better and at the very least I had stuff that might help a mechanic or tow truck driver as well. I used to carry a coil pack until I recently replaced all of them. WD40. BTW, my car just turned 200k a couple of weeks ago. It's in shop now getting new front suspension and rear shocks.
 

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The things I'd be worried about on a cross country road trip are the coolant T (either upgrade to a metal one or have a spare plastic one) and the ECU (if you can clone yours before you go, then great). Maybe keep a spare crank position sensor in the glovebox, too. And as said above, a spare coil is a good idea.

Good luck!
 

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Rather than jumper cables, I would recommend one of the booster packs, like


You don't need help to use it, and it will charge your cell phone, etc.

That's literally the only thing I carry besides a cell phone and a AAA card. And s 2007 Saab with 200,000 miles is a lot younger than anything I drive. :D

Freeway miles are generally quite easy on a car. It's start-stop city driving that murders them.
 

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I think you'll be fine - but totally agree I'd bring spare coils and some kind of charger situation for such a trip, and inspect everything troublesome like the T in advance. In fact, change the T now to a metal one even if you cancel the drive :)
 

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2007 Saab 9-3 Linear, 2.0t & 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What's your general route across country? So cool to hear you doing this trip! Last October I took my 195K '06 Sportcombi from Southern California to Pullman WA to see my daughter in college. That was the cars 5th r/t to Pullman. Over 2000 miles there and back. I took it very easy mostly sitting at 65-70 mph and the car did great. I took a tool kit and jack and gorilla tape, flashlight, gloves, moving blanket in case I had to lay down to work on pavement, cb radio. Thanks for the other ideas I read, especially the distilled water. Serpentine belt. I recently had replaced mine but on other trips I had one with me just in case. I did have jumper cables and overalls. I was a rolling repair shop even though I can barely do my own maintenance :p Made me feel better and at the very least I had stuff that might help a mechanic or tow truck driver as well. I used to carry a coil pack until I recently replaced all of them. WD40. BTW, my car just turned 200k a couple of weeks ago. It's in shop now getting new front suspension and rear shocks.
TX to NW NY State to North Vermont and back! Thanks for the repair kit ideas.
 

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2007 Saab 9-3 Linear, 2.0t & 6MT
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My ignition coils are all new (OEM) (and ouch - that was expensive) and battery tested at 99%. I don't have a TechII and can't bring a clone ECU unfortunately, but that's definitely a concern. It was replaced sometime around 2014 though and hopefully they put spacers in. I should probably call the PO's mechanic to ask. Coolant tank was also done a few years ago but they just replaced it with another plastic one...

Thanks for the advice!
 

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2011 9-3 Turbo4 (2.0T)
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My ignition coils are all new (OEM) (and ouch - that was expensive) and battery tested at 99%. I don't have a TechII and can't bring a clone ECU unfortunately, but that's definitely a concern. It was replaced sometime around 2014 though and hopefully they put spacers in. I should probably call the PO's mechanic to ask. Coolant tank was also done a few years ago but they just replaced it with another plastic one...

Thanks for the advice!
Just to clarify: not the coolant tank. The coolant T on the upper radiator hose: B207 Upper Radiator Coolant T, GenuineSaab.com

The plastic one is a common failure point as it ages
 
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