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Discussion Starter #1
First official post as a Saab owner! I just wanted to start a thread as a journal to detail my Saab ownership experience, so without further ado…

After looking a 5 different cars over the past few months, I finally found the one. It is an ‘06 9-3 Aero SportCombi, 6AT, Navigation, Steel Gray Metallic exterior with Parchment interior. The car has done an ultra-pampered 182k miles. I bought it for $3500 from the original owner who really, really loved her car. It has been maintained exceptionally well with documented oil changes (full synthetic M1) every 3-4k miles and has only tasted 91 octane gas (the best CA has to offer unfortunately). Furthermore, the car was detailed every six months. It was located 300 miles away, so I wasn’t able to see it in person, but it happened to be located in the town that my parents live in. They checked it out and were blown away by the level of care the owner showed. For this reason, we decided to skip the PPI. I have never bought a car without one, so there is part of me that wishes I had gotten one done just for peace of mind. Overall, if there was ever a case where a PPI wasn’t necessary, it would be this car. I took a gamble. Let’s see how it plays out.

I looked at 4 different cars before finding this one…

The first car I looked at was an ’07 2.0T SC, 6AT, 99K, 4 owners. No service history. Exterior was 6/10 and interior was 5/10, but I found a few leaks in the engine bay and the suspension was in need of attention. I passed on this one, but it sparked a desire to continue looking for Saabs. Underneath the flaws, I was able to see the hallmarks that make Saabs so desirable (at least to us). It drove great (even with the tired suspension), it was quiet and comfortable, it had a ton of room in the back and it made good power.

The second car I looked at was an ’06 Aero SC, 6AT, 160k miles. 1 owner. Above average service history. Exterior was in great condition (7/10), but the interior was pretty beat (3.5/10). I was conflicted on this one because the car had documented service history, but the physical condition of the car wasn’t great. I figured that if the guy wasn’t willing to keep the interior clean, that same attitude was guaranteed to manifest itself in its mechanical upkeep. I passed on this one.

The third car was an ’06 Aero SC, 6AT, 75k, 2 owners. Minor front end collision at 20k miles. Decent service history, but not great. Physically the car looked great. Exterior was immaculate (8.5/10), interior was also good (7/10). However, the dealer was having some problems with the key/CIM/ISM and they were sending the car back to auction. I tried to buy the car as-is for a cheap, but they weren’t willing to give me a deal.

The fourth car was an ’06 Aero SC, 6AT, 160k, 3 owners. Interior was thrashed (2/10) and the exterior needed work (5/10), but the price was so cheap I considered buying it as a project car. I was so, so close to pulling the trigger, but thankfully I decided to go in a different direction.

The fifth car was the ticket. I paid more than I wanted to (was hoping to spend $1500-2500) and the mileage was higher than I wanted (looking for 120k-ish), but I think I made the right call. I learned a valuable lesson…I wasn’t just buying a Saab, I was buying Nicole’s Saab. A car is an extension of the previous owner(s) and I don’t think I could have found a more responsibly owned one.

I’m going to break a cardinal rule of car forums and introduce my car without pictures. Sorry! Pictures will come early next week when I pick up the car. Stay tuned for more updates!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Picking up the car last weekend was a great experience. I talked to the original owner for over an hour. She couldn’t have been nicer. I received some extras including the cargo area privacy cover, a brand new cargo net, a SAAB blanket, 5 quarts of Mobil 1 0w40, and a full tank of gas!

The 300-mile drive home was great. The main takeaway: this car lives for highway pulls from 60-100. I was very impressed with the car’s highway presence. The motor is strong and makes great surging power. It doesn’t really like quick stabs of throttle, but that might be due to the 6AT. The manual is probably more responsive. On the highway, the suspension is compliant and informative. I wish there was a bit more feedback from the steering wheel, but it’s still pretty good.

Overall, ride quality is excellent. Very comfortable and smooth, especially on well-kept tarmac. It lumbers and crashes a bit over large bumps, but I am planning do to a suspension refresh that should remedy some of these issues.

The only glaring faults are with the interior. The door pulls make that horrible cheap plastic-on-plastic noise every time you open and close the doors. The e-brake is a joke and so is the matching trim piece on the other side of the center console. Wagons have that extra bit of body flex that makes all the interior squeaks and rattles that much more apparent. This will be one of my main projects with the car…finding out a way to “solidify” these parts (including the trim piece around the window controls). I was thinking that I might be able to use moleskin or a similar type of thin padded adhesive. Furthermore, the climate control buttons are starting to degrade and get sticky. I will probably end up paying $75 for replacement buttons. Other than the cheap plastics, the seats are excellent, the steering wheel is great and the door panels themselves are solid.

Currently, I am inputting all of the previous service history receipts into excel for tracking purposes.

After a couple days with the car, my task list is currently looking like this:

1) Smog
2) Registration
3) Restore black plastic exterior trim
4) Replace roof aerial
5) Purchase rubber cargo and floor mats
6) Buff and restore headlights
7) Wash, wax and detail
8) Purchase windshield washer reservoir cap
9) De-badge trunk

6 month tasks:

1) Window tint
2) Rims?
3) Suspension refresh (struts & springs?, bushings, motor/trans mounts, tie rod ends, etc)
4) Diagnose engine ticking (thicker oil? switch to 5w40?)
5) Purchase OB-II scanning tool
6) Purchase specialty tools for repairs (Torx socket/drivers, trim pullers, etc)
7) Vinyl wrap roof?
8) Remove roof rails?
 

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That car is in great shape. Nice find.
 

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Congrats on the purchase. That car sounds very similar to mine, and I had same idea about getting the creaks and cheap interior plastic panels to stop making noise. However mine is in the rear. I tried a few things but I've mostly given up lol. Anyways good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That car is in great shape. Nice find.
Thanks! I feel like I made the right decision to spend a bit more on a nicer one. Now, any improvements will be taking the car from 85% to 90% and not trying to get a beater car past 50%

Congrats on the purchase. That car sounds very similar to mine, and I had same idea about getting the creaks and cheap interior plastic panels to stop making noise. However mine is in the rear. I tried a few things but I've mostly given up lol. Anyways good luck!
I have a sneaking suspicion I will eventually grow numb to the rattles and give up lol. But in the meantime, I would like to try a couple things. I will be posting my results here, so feel free to chime in and let me know what you found while trying to remedy the same problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
While driving home from work on Thursday, a CEL popped up. I plugged in the OBD2 scanner and found a P0089 code. “Fuel Pressure Regulator 1 – Performance”. Hopped on the wonderful SaabCentral forums and found a varied number of solutions. Some say fuel pump. Others say that fuel pumps rarely go bad and it must be something on the fuel pump assembly or a sensor. I was able to find a few cases where the code was thrown due to improperly closed gas caps. Since that is a $0 fix, I planned to try that first. Turns out, the code cleared itself after I removed the gas cap and replaced it with the proper 3 clicks.

SAAB apparently requires 3 clicks. I distinctly remember only turning to 2 clicks during my first fill up (my Subaru required 2, so it must have been habit). The original owner warned me about turning the gas cap to 3 clicks and I naively assumed that 2=3. Lesson learned.

The CEL disappeared on Thursday afternoon immediately after tightening the gas cap properly. I have read of some cases where the gas cap trick worked for a few days, but the CEL returned. Over the weekend, the car handled 1 gas fill-up and some decently heavy driving and is still clear from CELs. I was a bit worried when a CEL popped up on my car after 3 days of ownership (especially after skipping a PPI), but I did buy a SAAB knowing that there may be some weirdness from time to time. Overall, this experienced reinforced the effectiveness of forums like this!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
First: did CEL come empty tank?
Second: it could also be fuel pressure sensor fault.
CEL came on when tank was at about 1/4 remaining. The "low fuel" light had not come on yet. I think the P0089 code can indeed refer to a fuel pressure sensor, but I'm not 100% sure that is the only thing that would throw the code. Clearly, an improperly tightened gas cap can trigger it.

For what its worth, the CEL is currently resolved so I'm not going to worry about it until/unless it pops up again. If it does, I will replace the fuel pressure sensor first.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Last week I did a semi-professional headlight restoration on both of my cars. I was inspired to try this after seeing how cheap a random orbital buffer was on Amazon. Only $28!

The procedure was pretty straightforward:
  • Pre-wash area with dish detergent soap
  • Wet sand with 800 grit w/d sandpaper
  • Wet sand with 1000 grit w/d sandpaper
  • Wet sand with 1500 grit w/d sandpaper
  • Wet sand with 2000 grit w/d sandpaper
  • Buff with Meguiar’s 105 Ultra Cut Compound
  • Buff with Meguiar’s Polish
  • Clean area with isopropyl alcohol
  • Apply UV protectant
All in, the materials cost me $125. I think I went a bit overboard with the sanding. I probably could have skipped the 1000 grit stage, but everything came out great and I’m very pleased with the results. Highly recommend.



Before

After
Before/after

Before/after of my Subaru Legacy
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I really enjoy detailing projects (especially ones that produce instant gratification), so I decided to restore the black plastic trim around the exterior of the car. I was told that Forever Black was the way to go.

Here was my method:

1) Pre-wash area with dish detergent soap
2) Pre-wash with Forever Black supplied cleaning solution
3) Let dry
4) Tape surrounding area with masking tape
5) Apply Forever Black product

Details:

1) I decided to do a pre-wash just to make a first pass at removing any dirt, tar, etc.

2) After the pre-wash, the idea was to finish the area with the manufacturer’s supplied cleaning solution just to be sure the surface was properly prepared for this specific dying solution.

3) This took forever. I prepped the area at 9am and had to wait 3 hours for the area to completely dry. I didn’t want to rub the area with a towel for fear of introducing contaminants to the surface.

4) I can’t stress this step enough. It will make the rest of the process so much easier. I should have spent more time taping, but I cut corners. After applying the dye, I spent a collective 15 minutes just removing the excess on the signals and bumper.

5) The actual application process was straightforward. I read that the supplied application pad was junk, so I bought a few foam brushes at Home Depot. These were useful getting the edges up against the paint and also for getting around the markers. I used a microfiber cloth for the main application job. Working slowly and methodically is the key to success. Work in 3"x3" area for the first pass. Don't oversaturate. After completing

I was extremely pleased with the way Forever Black worked. I had previously tried McKee’s 37 and it wasn’t strong enough to restore my faded trim. I think it would have been fine as an “every 6 months” maintenance product (it was definitely easier to apply), but not as a first pass restoration after 13 years of sun damage. Forever Black did that job well. (and no, I'm not being sponsored!)










 

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Nice ride man, congrats. On my 3rd Saab currently and can tell you that you made a great decision. These cars have more personality than anything else. While I've never owned a SC, I'd love to one day. My German Shepherd would love the cargo space for sure, and I think it could make for a nice sleeper at some festivals I go to.
 

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Nice ride man, congrats. On my 3rd Saab currently and can tell you that you made a great decision. These cars have more personality than anything else. While I've never owned a SC, I'd love to one day. My German Shepherd would love the cargo space for sure, and I think it could make for a nice sleeper at some festivals I go to.
Thanks! While looking for this car, I watched every review in existence on Youtube and one guy turned his 9-5 wagon into a sleeper van for festivals. It looked really cool inside!
 

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Nice pickup on this car. Looks like a great deal and in nice shape. Keep up the good work!
 

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Thanks! While looking for this car, I watched every review in existence on Youtube and one guy turned his 9-5 wagon into a sleeper van for festivals. It looked really cool inside!
Whaaat no way you got a link to that video by chance?

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