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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm poor but I got got this 2000 93 Saab convertible dirt cheap. And I love it! I have about 2k USD I can spend on repairs and limited experience fixing cars

The Good:
The price
20k original miles
engine and tranny are in great shape (according to the mechanic anyway. He also said the compression was excellent)
looks great outside and in (if you don't look too closely that is )
so cozy with the heated seats and the stereo is great!
once warmed up, she idles so quietly you can barely tell shes on
drives straight and smooth even at 110mph (havn't taking it past that yet)
The power! Even over 100mph it will put you in your seet when floored. WOW!
Not only fast, but also both comfortable and reliable on my recent 2 day 600 mile road test. A real pleasure to drive!


OK now for The Bad:

There's a loud mechanical whine comming from the passanger side of the engine bay until fully warmed up. This whining (not a squeal) slowly diminishes until, when the car is completely warmed up, you only barely hear it at higher (2.5k+) rpms in the lower gears. Usually its immediately after startup, but sometimes there will be no whine for about 2-5 seconds, then it kicks in and the car tries to stall. The stalling lasts 30 to 90 seconds depending on how cold it is and only happens in neutral. It also makes shifting rough during this time (bog-shudder-go) if you don't really baby the clutch.

The mechanic (the only Saab specialist in the area besides the dealership) thinks the whining is from one of the three pullies going out ($50x3 plus labor) but had no comment on the stalling which it seems to me it is related to? At least, for the rare times that the whinning doesn't start right away the car also doesn't try to die until the whinning starts. He never saw it cold, but did test drive it with me and said the turbo was fine and it wasn't the oil uptake or IAC valve (although he didn't check anything).

Also the gas mileage is lower than it should be. About 15mpg in town and 25 highway if you stay under 80 and lay off the boost. When you dip into the boost you can smell gas fumes inside, and on cold starts my friend (outside the car) said the exhaust smelled really rich. Even with the gas fumes the car pulls incredibly hard for just 185 hp.

Of course thats not it, but those are the main issues I'm looking for help with. There's also some frame damage, a new front clip, the top won't go down (soft top error), there's a 1 inch gap between the passager side windows and top even when rolled all the way up, lots of overspray on the paint, no A/C, no remote, CEL comes on every few days then turns itself back off, a missing foglight (wires to it are taped to the bottom of the front bumper), lots of missing pixels on the display, one headlight wiper is stuck half up, the plastics around the ignition and rear cupholder are loose and the tabs that hold them in place are mostly broken off (which I think is causing a key not accepted error because by moving the electrically wired plastic ring around the ignition and trying again the key will usually be accepted). The Saab dealership replaced the DIC for free for me, the key not accepted error used to be much much worse before then.


I've been driving it for about 3 weeks now and despite the problems I'm really loving my first Saab! Really I just want to solve the cold start issues and poor mileage. The key not accepted error doesn't seem to happen to much and I can usually get it to take it the second or third time by moving that plastic ring around. I've read every cold start stalling thread here but I don't any quite fit. I'm havn't had much experience working on cars but am more than willing to get my hands dirty, so I felt asking here would be better than blowing what little extra money I have on a wrong repair and having to live with something I could have fixed. Any help will be greatly appriciated!
 

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Agree on the pulleys, at least this should be professionally diagnosed - you may have to DIY...The short belt modification can eliminate one pulley...
The mileage seems suspicious... :nono;
And there is no history, I imagine..
This car seems to be a poorly repaired wreck, to make it right may take the very best in expertise and workmanship.
Otherwise, a passel of tolerance..
Best of luck needed here...and $$,$$$...
 

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I don't think you can short belt a 9-3 I didn't think it had the center pulley to remove.

I would venture to guess its the ac compressor. Use a wodden dowel and with the engine running and making the noise, put your ear on the dowel and the other end on the ac compressor. See if it channels the noise thru the wood.
 

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kpa2004 said:
Dump it you dont want a headache, just buy a boat if you want a headache.
1) that quote lol

2) do u need to use the car everyday or is this a second car???if it is use it as a project as you could learn so much.

the start up noise from your discription does sound like pullys.the same thing happened on my old 9000 turbo kept dieing when the noise started quite easy to DIY pullys.

3) as for the MPG and rich fuel smell could be a map sencor, ecu programing fault. reason i say map sencor is my car just fail MOT on emissions and i changed the 02 sencor and got my ecu programming looked at and have 'changed' (more like stole off my gm900 lol) and the rich fuel smell has gone...

4) the window hmmmm take off the inside of the door trim and look at the mechanisam as it could have dropped off the slider or a snapped weld (same problem i had on my 9000)

5) the cold start problem erm have a look at your spark plugs,maybe invest in another DI unit and check all vac lines (best to replace with silocan hose link here http://www.partsforsaabs.com/product_info.php?products_id=3270)

hope this helps

dan
 

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glaex said:
So I'm poor but I got got this 2000 93 Saab convertible dirt cheap. And I love it! I have about 2k USD I can spend on repairs and limited experience fixing cars..... Any help will be greatly appriciated!
Well where to start? I agree with kps2004, you should probably dump the car, looks like you bought yourself a box of moving crap that's gonna empty your already empty wallet. A Saab isn't the best choice for a novice DIY who's limited on cash, Cavalier, Tempo, or Accent seems like a more affordable choice. And I too agree with Earthworm, the mileage does sound fishy, 20K with all these problems?!? I think it should be more like 220K.

glaex said:
There's a loud mechanical whine comming from the passanger side of the engine bay until fully warmed up. This whining (not a squeal) slowly diminishes until, when the car is completely warmed up, you only barely hear it at higher (2.5k+) rpms in the lower gears. Usually its immediately after startup, but sometimes there will be no whine for about 2-5 seconds, then it kicks in and the car tries to stall. The stalling lasts 30 to 90 seconds depending on how cold it is and only happens in neutral. It also makes shifting rough during this time (bog-shudder-go) if you don't really baby the clutch.
Definately sounds like the A/C compressor trying to kick in but it doesn't because its seized. Does the car have ACC? The heating and air condition controls, are they manual dials or are they electric controls, display screen with big AUTO button. If it is ACC, when you start the car, 5 seconds later the ACC will activate the A/C compressor, this is normal operation for ACC equiped vehicles, the A/C is constantly in operation unless you press the ECON button when the HVAC unit is ON. So even if you have the HVAC unit off, but its last state when on was with the A/C compressor on (any other function that DOESN'T have ECON shown in the display, the A/C compressor is on) then the next time the car is started the A/C compressor will activate. What you can try is the next time you start the car and this happens, turn on the HVAC inside the car by pressing AUTO, then immediately press ECON and listen to see if the sound stops. If it does then its the A/C compressor either about to seize up or already seized up. Freon can remain in the system even if the compressor seizes.

glaex said:
Also the gas mileage is lower than it should be. About 15mpg in town and 25 highway if you stay under 80 and lay off the boost. When you dip into the boost you can smell gas fumes inside, and on cold starts my friend (outside the car) said the exhaust smelled really rich. Even with the gas fumes the car pulls incredibly hard for just 185 hp.
Probably needs a set of Oxygen Sensors, ALL OF THEM. Running rich will definately give you more power, but you don't want to kill everyone around you from the Carbon Monoxide the car is producing (the fumes you smell) and you don't want to kill the CAT converter.

glaex said:
Of course thats not it, but those are the main issues I'm looking for help with. There's also some frame damage, a new front clip, the top won't go down (soft top error), there's a 1 inch gap between the passager side windows and top even when rolled all the way up, lots of overspray on the paint, no A/C, no remote, CEL comes on every few days then turns itself back off, a missing foglight (wires to it are taped to the bottom of the front bumper), lots of missing pixels on the display, one headlight wiper is stuck half up...
As for all this stuff, the TOP is the most important but all of this will cost the most to fix. All this stuff is the reason to ditch the car. IMO :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the replies, you guys are great! I do have alternate transportation, although that car has its own problems and is not reliable for long distances. As for ditching the car I could probably sell just the engine/tranny for more than I paid for it, so I'm not worried about getting out of it. The windows don't do roll all the way but still have a gap at the top because of the frame damage. I've been able to avoid driving in hard rain so far, but I do have some weather stripping in the car just in case. I really have no idea why it drives straight and smooth it's pretty torqued.

If I can get the engine stuff fixed and the car runs reliably for a while I do plan on paying to get the frame (or A piller?) fixed. But that won't be until spring at the earliest. I havn't decided on my budget for that but its definitely related to how much I spend on the engine stuff. I'm thinking the softtop error is from the frame damage.

I'll look into the A/C compressor, and see if I can talk the people at a junk yard into letting me a try out a used maf sensor later today. I really hope its not 02 sensors, that sounds pretty hard to do. So short belt mod- can it be done on my 9-3? I'll upload some pics of the pullies and the car in general too

I can live with most of the little problems on this car, my main concern is that it continues to drive reliably, which is why I'm focusing on the engine stuff. Maybe it's just a fantasy but if I all it takes is few pullies some spark plugs and a used maf sensor to fix these issues I will be very very happy.
 

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$4,000 for a 7 year old convertible is not that bad - I am factoring in $2,000 for repairs, pulleys, AC compressor, minor repairs - much depends on the qualities of the man working on the car, of course, DIY is better....And the extent of the other damage.....
An estimate is in order..
The original 20K miles ?
Its supposed to be impossible to turn them back, I do not believe it..
 

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glaex said:
If I can get the engine stuff fixed and the car runs reliably for a while I do plan on paying to get the frame (or A piller?) fixed. But that won't be until spring at the earliest.
The A-Piller? Did the car roll? What's wrong with the a-piller?
earthworm said:
The original 20K miles ?

Its supposed to be impossible to turn them back, I do not believe it..
Unless the entire instrument cluster was changed out with another one with less miles.
 

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If you have frame damage and you need to do that much work, sell it or part it out. It's probably more economical that way. if the A pillar is bent, the car is seriously damaged :eek: Is it side swapped or is the car a roll over recovery?
 

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Glaex, you have recieved a lot of excellent advice at this forum ..

Why not spend a hundred or more and have a good 20 year experienced mechanic go over this car 100% and give you an estimate to make it relieable and then make it nigh perfect(for a 7 year old).
This man would have to be very good to do this..
 

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Good advice from EW. The car has to be tested by a mechanic to see how reliable it can be but it has to be checked by a bodyshop to tell you if it can be straightened right and for how much.
 
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