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Discussion Starter #1
I am considering buying an NG9-3 convertible. There was quite a variety of powertrains offered, and some things are hard to tell from even a half hour test drive.


Usage would be to simply drive around. I don't think there would be any need to tune either the 2.0 or 2.8. I have owned an NG900 with the manual and non-turbo 2.3, which was a very nice car to drive. I am a bit disappointed in the driving feel of the manual 9-5 Linear wagon (2.3t), as the engine response is not as nice as the non-turbo's, and it's not "linear" at all--the turbo kind of starts to boost just as I want to upshift in city driving. :(


I understand that both the 2.0 and 2.8 have some known issues, but nothing I've heard sounds like a guaranteed problem. (Of course, you want to be lucky and not unlucky.)

  1. In general, how would people rank the different drivetrains in terms of reliability? Is there a difference between the five and six speed manual trans in reliability/longevity? Same for the autos (six speed in some Aeros, yes?).
  2. How much difference do the six speeds make in terms of fuel economy? Assume that the cars are being driven as economically as is reasonable (i.e. upshifting early with manuals).
  3. How good are the five and six speed manuals in creeping at idle in first gear? The gear ratios and final drive would come into this. (The NG900 had very short gearing and would creep slowly; the 9-5 has considerably taller gearing and can sometimes creep too fast with the clutch engaged, which is a problem.)
  4. Are there any significant differences in shift quality and action between the five and six speed manuals? (I test drove a 9-3SC some years ago, I think a six speed, with extremely heavy/sticky shift action, and an incongruously light clutch. Not sure how general a problem that is on these cars.)
I am currently inclined to get a 2.0/manual; not sure that a 2.8 is justified. A 2.8 auto might be a nice car to drive, but how's the economy if driven gently? Conversely, a 2.0 with a nice-shifting manual might be economical and quick enough.


But in the end, the condition of the car is probably a deciding factor. I have not seen a perfect one yet....well, actually, I have seen a very nice one, but it's in Finland now! ;ol;
 

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I think the 2.0 is generally a better choice, but '07+ engines may develop intake valve problems, so you may want to buy by year.
 

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I think the 2.0 is generally a better choice, but '07+ engines may develop intake valve problems, so you may want to buy by year.
Too funny, I was going to say go for the 2.8! Lot more HP and torque, both stock and tuned. Occasional coil pack replacement, minimized by keeping plug gap in check. Some have had to replace timing chains, but with these cars upwards of 13 years old that hardly seems unreasonable. Economy with the 6 speed auto is fine, mostly dependent on your right foot... ;) I averaged high 20’s and just shy of 30 MPG on the highway with a tuned, 4500 pound, XWD, NG 9-5 with the 2.8. The smaller 9-3 should do even better.
 

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2.0 and 2.8 are equally reliable, few known issues with both.
Major for 2.0 intake valve
Major for 2.8 timing chain (less chance on the 2009 up)
All saab transmissions are reliable 5/6 AUT/MAN.. AUTO require ATF service every 40-50k, manual require a clutch every 100k.
6 speed auto is much better than 5 auto, in quality and speed of shift.

If it was for me i would go for a:
1-2009 up 2.8XWD auto/man
2-2009 up 2.8 auto/man
3-2008 up 2.8 auto/man
4-2008 up 2.0 auto/man
 

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1: 6 step automatic. Make sure oil change. Final drive is 3.20 and when you drive at 6 th at 120 kph, engine is running about 2000 RPM.
2: Fuel consumption is around 7.8 - 10.5 litres/100km and average speed is around 60-80kph.
3: I do not noticed huge variations between 5 and 6 step crawling.
4: When gearbox and clutch is fine, I do not notice any difference.

I had 9-3 2.0T 5 step aut (my06) for roof reparation and it has 10,1 litres/100km and average speed was 62kph (roof is now fixed and car is back in owner).

BTW: car has now Hirsch.;oops:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies. I will have to drive some of them and see what they're like. I would want something economical and reasonably reliable, although I could afford to dump a lemon (but it wouldn't be nice).

Did convertibles ever get XWD? I don't think the complexity and possibility of expensive maintenance is worth it.

I don't like black cars. Half the 9-3 convertibles for sale are black. :cry:
 

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No, XWD was never option for convertible, because it requires space underneath, which convertibles do not have.

Black is boring colour.:cheesy:
 

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I can certainly say the 2.0 is reliable. 500k on my 04 auto bsr, 165k on my 10 6sp bsr.

The asin 5sp , 6sp auto is bulletproof. The 6sp manual , will have clutch/flywheel issues w a bsr tune.

Gas mileage w the manual is no better than the auto, i get 37-40 mpg highway in either. First gear is short, not much creeping, 2nd is a lil tall, so you wont be doing any 2nd gear starts. Even at a roll, if you are rolling 5mph or below, need to use first.

The 2.0 will pull cleanly from 1200 rpm, so you dont hafta shift much, unless you want to.

I cant speak to the reliability of the 2.8, but i like my tuned 2.0 compared to a stock 2.8 performance wise. You’ll need to change ign modules every 100k or so. Water pump at around 250. 300k. Bcv every 100k, pcv is a *****, every 300k. Crank sensor maybe once, exhaust gas recirc valve every 300k.

I much prefer my 04 auto, the stick is fun, but the turbo likes the torque converter, feels faster in the auto. Ive offered several times to trade my son for my 10, but he refuses. Just tuned his 04 up, oil, filter, bcv, sparkplugs, man thats a good car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Black is boring colour.:cheesy:
Too hot in sunshine, too hard to keep clean and looking good. I would also prefer not to get a grey or silver car. White might be okay. But right now, the only cars with colour are:

  • Dark blue 2006 Aero auto, Vancouver (too too far!)
  • Blue (medium blue?) 2006 Aero, auto, Montréal (far, looks a little dirty, not sure what shade of blue it is)
  • Tan 2006 auto (2.0 from the wheels), Québec (quite far)
  • Red 2005 manual 2.0, Timmins or is that Kapuskasing (far to quite far, driver's seat is ripped)
  • White 2007 auto 2.0, Montréal (very sleazy looking dealer)
  • Yellow 2009 auto 2.0, Kingston (ok distance, but asking $15k and I'm not sure I like the bright white interior)
  • Beige 2007 auto Aero, Barrie (close, but asking $13k)

I can certainly say the 2.0 is reliable. 500k on my 04 auto bsr, 165k on my 10 6sp bsr.

The asin 5sp , 6sp auto is bulletproof. The 6sp manual , will have clutch/flywheel issues w a bsr tune.
Is that true of the 2.0 as well as the 2.8?

Not that I'm planning to tune it whatsoever.

Gas mileage w the manual is no better than the auto, i get 37-40 mpg highway in either. First gear is short, not much creeping, 2nd is a lil tall, so you wont be doing any 2nd gear starts. Even at a roll, if you are rolling 5mph or below, need to use first.

The 2.0 will pull cleanly from 1200 rpm, so you dont hafta shift much, unless you want to.

I cant speak to the reliability of the 2.8, but i like my tuned 2.0 compared to a stock 2.8 performance wise. You’ll need to change ign modules every 100k or so. Water pump at around 250. 300k. Bcv every 100k, pcv is a *****, every 300k. Crank sensor maybe once, exhaust gas recirc valve every 300k.

I much prefer my 04 auto, the stick is fun, but the turbo likes the torque converter, feels faster in the auto. Ive offered several times to trade my son for my 10, but he refuses. Just tuned his 04 up, oil, filter, bcv, sparkplugs, man thats a good car.
Thanks, that's good solid information based on experience! ;ol;
 

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Im partial to the nocturne blue, looks much better than my silver car. 15 k for a 9-3??
Shop around. If you get a 2.0 w less than 100 k, you shouldnt hafta pay more than 10, 11k.

Dont be afraid to look long distance. I found my 2010 2.0 6sp manual aero in vermont, about 1000 miles away. Just flew out for 150$, drove her back, non stop.
I paid 12,000 two years ago, and she had 73k miles, and i overpaid.
 

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I dont know if the clutch is different for the 2.8. The issue w bsr tuning and the 6sp manual is the pressure plate cant hold the torque at mid revs. My car had a new clutch at 72k when i purchased, bsr tuned at 80k, by 130k it was slipping.

Jim ellis said 9-3s never need flywheels, but when my clutch was pulled the flywheel showed evidence of buring, scoring, just plain worn out. The clutch looked new, but i replaced the dmf, slave, clutch, press plate, bc you hafta take alot of stuff out to get to it.
Now i modified my driving style to hopefully prolong the press plate life, half throttle, let the boost spike, then full throttle.
 

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My 2006 Aero 2.8T 6 speed manual averages 22mpg in the summer and 25mpg in the winter, I guess it is because AC always on in the summer. First gear of f40 6 speed manual tranny is really short, [email protected], 2nd gear [email protected] so need quick upshifting from 1st gear to 2nd to get car accelerate quicker, 6 gear pull is great pairing with v6.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I talked with my indy Saab specialist. He said:

  • Avoid 2004 cars, they tend to have problems
  • 2007-2008 are good years, later is good too but hard to find
  • No huge issues with any drivetrain selection
Naturally 2004 seems to be the most popular year for cars on sale. :confused:

The cars I'd most like to look at are in Québec, a very long day trip for sure:

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-autos-camio...06/1378131044?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks...ms/1452632102?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

This one looks really good, too bad it's an auto or I'd be thinking about going and seeing it this coming week:
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-autos-camio...ue/1424605912?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

I think that Nocturne Blue with a blue top and white seats looks sharp, in a Mercury Villager Nautica edition way.

White does not do it for me:
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks...ue/1437192337?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

Then there are the cars which are priced....ambitiously....
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks...to/1440328711?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks...or/1442167274?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

This one is close, I guess I should go take a look:
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks...ed/1442309252?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

All are auto. :nono; There are some manuals around, but they are either dodgy, or black, or far away (I'm not going to Edmonton or Vancouver!).
 

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I'll just come out and say I don't agree for the intake valve issue alone. If the valves are done, sure 2007-2008. If not, buyer beware.
 

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I think 05-06 are the best bet. I agree with Diggs, that later cars could have valve problems.


I think, though, that even the earlier cars may become too much of a hassle. I am fixing one thing after the next with our cars. If I didn't have a junk yard close and couldn't do most of the work my self, the cars would make no financial sense to own.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'll just come out and say I don't agree for the intake valve issue alone. If the valves are done, sure 2007-2008. If not, buyer beware.

I'm aware of the intake valve issue, but it's not clear what % of cars suffer from it. 1%? 10%? 50%? I'll ask the shop how many valve replacements they've done, and how much that job might run.


The older 9-5s with the 2.3 can suffer from sludging issues, but it seems that some do and many don't. I purchased a 2003 with no PCV update, and I haven't dropped the pan, but nevertheless it's run fine for 50,000km for me (240,000 km total....or 150,000 miles).



In the end, ya pays yer money and takes yer chances with any 10-15 year old car, and especially one as complicated as a 9-3 convertible. It would be a bummer if it turned out the valves need doing, but if it's a nice car otherwise, and everything else works properly, it wouldn't make me panic.
 

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2.3 turbo boosts right when you usually want to Shift? Really !??
That's at ~2000 Rpm (unless Broken).. You have some odd driving technique there. That said after '98 Gm Messed the Saab engine design Massively Removing pretty well All of it's Swedish 'conservative' overengineering ..consequently all Saab engines after that are just Time bombs or repurposed Isuzu V6 or Cavalier eKo tech junk.
You can buy them... NOT a hope I would.. after 35+ years of Saab ownership.
 
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