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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a long term NG900 / OG 9-3 kind of guy. I'm looking at buying a newer 9-3 convertible, most likely '04 to '07 but maybe up to '09. Miles might be 70K to 125K.... or a 170K car with an 80K motor just saw :)

Give me some basic info... what are the major problems I might find and at what miles do they come around at? I don't mind some Saab kind of stuff to work out, but I'd like to avoid things like engine or tranny issues, etc. My work space is limited so work has to be on the minor side. I do have a Tech II.

At this point I just need some basic guidance. I can get more specific with the questions once I find a few cars. This will be a southwestern purchase so rust isn't an issue, but heat degradation (if there are problem areas) is a definite potential issue. If there were improvements in later years that would be helpful to know.

Thanks,
 

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I looked for the same thing, and wound up purchasing an '04 Aero six-speed manual. Here's what I can think of:
  1. Make sure the top works. '04 cars often have a failed front latch cylinder--they leak badly. Tech II codes may not actually say that. The cylinder is $hundreds to rebuild. Happened to me. Then a few weeks later, I pulled an apparently good one from an '04 convertible, which along with some other stuff came to $30,. Go figure. In general, the first year cars had at least one top recall to fix up the hoses.
  2. 2007-09 (?) 4 cylinder engines can have valve issues. I don't know how prevalent this is.
  3. The interior build quality is much, much chintzier than you are used to in the NG900/OG9-3. To save you some hassle, I'd look for the nicest, least worn interior. Because often the other cars in the junkyard are just as bad.
  4. V6 cars are known for having a crowded engine bay and high engine bay heat.
  5. I've driven some manual 9-3s with incredibly stiff shifting. This is apparently just a bushing on the trans end of the linkage, and is easily fixed.
  6. The Takata airbag recall affects a swath of NG9-3s, though not the 2004 models.
Personally, I find the Aero 2.0 (210 HP) and the six speed manual much easier to drive than the 2.3t/FM55 in my 9-5. And it's more economical. And it's quicker, even taking it easy. There's still cowl shake, though. (I can't imagine how much cowl shake the GM900 convertibles have.)

You have a Tech II. You will need it (and security access) no matter which NG9-3 you buy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1. Where's the leaky cylinder located. Can I visually spot leaks?
2. So the '04 to '06 is safe in terms of the valves on the I4?
3. I saw some worn buttons, both on the dash and door locks. Are there overlays for those to repair or replacements still available?
4. Yeah, thinking I4, but that might flex.
5. Are there many manuals around? I've only seen automatics

Quick engine course? I4 HP variations and displacement, tune, intercooler, or turbo diffs in the three versions?

(FYI - NG900/9-3 has a lot of cowl shake stock. But, it's part of the experience :)
 

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I bought 2006 9-3 Aero convertible aut from Toronto in january 2019.
I only wanted to know 3 things:
1: Is engine in good condition (no leaks etc) and passed emission test
2: Is transmission good (shifts smoothly etc)
3: Is roof intact and works.

Ed checked these for me and Lime is now here in Finland.
 

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  1. Usual leaky cylinder is in the one that operates the front latches. You might see some fluid around the front/first bow where it attaches to the windshield header. But the fluid might just collect and not be obvious. If the top isn't working, I'd say first step, check fluid level.
  2. Yes. Of course there are other issues that can be worse on cars that are older, like ECU, coil packs, etc.
  3. I don't think there's much of an option. Best bet is to find a good unit. However, the buttons and their printing are 100% worse than the solid buttons on 900/OG9-3/earlier 9-5.
  4. <>
  5. Yes. V6 manuals are rare, but I see a fair number of I4 manuals. The six speed is a bit rarer, as a lot of the early Arc manuals use five speed. I think the 6 speed became standard for everything late in the model run. That info will be in one of the stickies here, "changes for 9-3 over the years".
 

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  • I have a '95 900s convertible and the cowl shake will blur your vision. It's just the way it is. I have an '05 and '09 and they are the most rigid convertibles I've ever driven. Perhaps there are more solid convertibles out there but I've never been in one.
  • You can get a button kit for the ACC of '04-'06 cars for $36 on the interwebs. I haven't seen one for the radio or top switch.
  • My '05 is a 2.0T with five-speed auto and it's a very nice drive train. It's thirsty in my view.
  • My '09 is a 2.8T with six-speed auto. It's really nice too though the transmission isn't as well behaved as the five speed. It sucks gas but I love it. I understand there's an update to the TCM software which makes the transmission much nicer.
  • All of my Saabs have been really reliable cars. So far.
  • If you want a V6 and don't want to tune, the '09 is the only year of the convertible which has the 280hp V6. All others are the 250.
  • If you like the old nose and the facelift interior, go for an '07. If you want the new nose it's '08 and up. The '10 and '11 are 2.0T only. Go for '07 and up if you want to be able to upgrade the stereo, though there are kits out there that make the factory system equivalent to modern systems. NAVTOOL for one.
  • If you must have factory Bluethooth it was standard for '09 only as part of ONSTAR.
  • If you want to verify the 300 watt stereo you can listen for subwoofers. Otherwise check for an amp under the seat and one in the trunk on the early cars, or two amps on the left side of the trunk on the later ones. The earlier cars had two 6x9's behind the back seat and the later cars, one 10" behind the back seat. The early cars with 300 watts had tweeters in the dash and rear side panels, the later ones in the dash only, which is better for imaging.
  • Optional Bluetooth comes in two varieties. One (HPU) you can see when scrolling through the SID (it's the better one in my view), the other, based on ONSTAR does not appear in the SID. You can find that one by trying to pair with the car, which will show up as GM, or looking behind the little panel in the front of the trunk for a tiny dongle on the ONSTAR module.
 
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