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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to be buying a car for my girlfriend soon, and am taking recommendations. I want to stay under $2000 in the Seattle market. The things I'm after are small, reliable, and fuel effecient.
Would an old 900 be a good car for this?
Or would something like an early 90's Toyota Tercel fit it better?

I appeal to your vast automobile knowledge.

Thank you,
Jared Kipe
 

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jared_kipe said:
I'm going to be buying a car for my girlfriend soon, and am taking recommendations. I want to stay under $2000 in the Seattle market. The things I'm after are small, reliable, and fuel effecient.
Would an old 900 be a good car for this?
Or would something like an early 90's Toyota Tercel fit it better?

I appeal to your vast automobile knowledge.

Thank you,
Jared Kipe
A 900 isn't really any of those :lol:

A Tercel? UGH I hate those deathtraps.
 

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Thats not a bad one. The headliner and seal are not to horrible to do. Do you work on your own cars? If so it may well be just what you are looking for. c900s tend to be reliable if they've been kept up, and keep you very buisy if they have not.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
grif900 said:
Thats not a bad one. The headliner and seal are not to horrible to do. Do you work on your own cars? If so it may well be just what you are looking for. c900s tend to be reliable if they've been kept up, and keep you very buisy if they have not.
I tend to work on my own cars, I haven't been to a mechanic for so many years. But I've had pretty good luck I'd say. With my old 97 900SET vert, I did all kinds of things, the hardest was probably replaceing the motor mounts and the clutch cable. The mechanic was after I got it to reprogram the roof (wich worked fine after). EDIT: Oh and I sold that car simply because I didn't use the convertible feature very much. I now drive a 2001 VW Jetta TDI.

I'm not 100% sure I'd even bother with the headliner, unless it was truely easy and cheap. I haven't been able to find anything about the seal problem. Any way to test to make sure thats what it needs?
 

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900t gets grumpy sometimes from all his speeding tickets, which also explain his fuel economy:lol: j/k


The 900 is great on gas given the power they return. They are very safe and reliable. They also live long useful lives for sure!

Go for the turbo and forget about the automagic, 5-speed in a 900 is the only way to go.

Try this one

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/car/451409491.html

You can get it for $1,900 I'm sure. Make sure there is evidence of good service too!
 

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A c900 is a perfect car for an attentive owner who enjoys getting their hands dirty. Bad choice for someone who needs to go to a mechanic to have their wiper fluid added. Sounds like you'll be able to attend to anything that comes up.

There are a lot of people here who pamper and polish their Saabs. I'm more of an abuser. I fix things when they break completely, some might say bodge....
But the cars can take a ton, an absolute ton of abuse ... ask me why I know!

On the other hand it might leave your girlfriend stranded every once in a while. But as long as she's not doing a 100 mile a day commute in the thing it won't be any more of a risk then any other $2000 car. And their fun, comfortable and safe.
 

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Nothing wrong with either of the cars posted here. Rear main seal is fairly straight forward. Except the engine is technically in backwards so its tough to tell if he means the actual rear main seal at the clutch (which is at the front of the car) or the front main seal - much easier then removing the clutch (which is at the fire wall). Both seals are less then $20.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all for your advice.

Any particular reason to avoid the automatic transmission? I've only read to avoid the auto if you want lots of power (which I don't). They didn't say anything about the automatic tranny being more troublesome, though experience has taught me that autos are usually more expensive to work with. For the record, I've only had manual transmision cars.

I have always owned manual transmission cars, but if this autotranny is in good shape is there any reason to avoid it?

Any car cannot strand my girlfriend for very long. She can already take the bus or call me to pick her up (which she does too often ;)) from pretty much anywhere she would want to go.
 

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grif900 said:
The auto boxs are quite tough, just not as much fun to drive.
bahhhhh!!!!!!!!!

The automagic also autofails.

The Automagic non turbo 900 is about the slowest car I have EVER driven.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I went to go look at that black one.
I forgot to take a picture, but the oil appears to be coming from around the right side of the exhaust manifold. Does that sound like either of the seals?

Also, the owner removed the AC compressor and corresponding belt.

A couple of questions. It was going about 3k rpm at 65mph. Does this have a 4th gear, and if so, is that normal? Also there is a bit of a shudder when shifting form park to drive. Other than that the auto tranny seems ok.

The gauge lights are very low if not almost impossible to see. I think I've read thats an easy fix. The check engine light and SRS lights are always on. And the turn signal doesn't stay to the right direction, works fine to the left.

Anybody think of another kind of car to look at?
 

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oh-oh.

I've learned to let the significant others to pick thier own car otherwise any problems based on your decision will be your fault. :lol:

I once has a girlfriend that I talked into buying my old '89 BMW E30 325i and a coolant plug popped out of the block and she drove it with no coolant until the engine siezed.

Never heard the end of that one.

Good luck!

-Rob
 

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jared_kipe said:
Well I went to go look at that black one.
I forgot to take a picture, but the oil appears to be coming from around the right side of the exhaust manifold. Does that sound like either of the seals?
Not particularly. Is it coming from under the distributor by any chance? And if its not a big leak, don't worry too much.

jared_kipe said:
A couple of questions. It was going about 3k rpm at 65mph. Does this have a 4th gear, and if so, is that normal? Also there is a bit of a shudder when shifting form park to drive. Other than that the auto tranny seems ok.
There are people trying to warn you off the automatic in this thread! Its a 3 speed. If she must have an automatic car, the c900 is probably not a great idea. ( though I suppose it would be nice for city driving )

jared_kipe said:
The gauge lights are very low if not almost impossible to see. I think I've read thats an easy fix. The check engine light and SRS lights are always on. And the turn signal doesn't stay to the right direction, works fine to the left.

Anybody think of another kind of car to look at?
those are easy fixes. Another kind of car? How about another c900? :)
 

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The autos are tough. They can handle more power then the 5 speed. But when they fail at this point in the game it starts to get complicated. Also, the RPM's are kind of nutty, but the engine can certainly handle it. If its your girlfriend driving it she probably won't even notice or understand that its pretty high.

As far as other cars out there sub $2000, as obscene as it may sound to some here, you might as well start looking at your basic Honda, Hyundai, Saturn etc.
 

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jared_kipe said:
Does that sound like either of the seals?
Nope. (what Phil said).

Other than that the auto tranny seems ok.
The AT(s) were made by Borg Warner. They do well to make it to 125k w/out failure, beyond that they're on borrowed time. Most c900 indy shops will not guarantee rebuilding of these things 'cause they don't reliably rebuild.

The gauge lights are very low if not almost impossible to see. I think I've read thats an easy fix.
good chance, but no guarantee.

The check engine light and SRS lights are always on.
Same as above... CE light could mean a lot of things. Both my local indy shops will do a reliable look-see for about $75... pretty much nail any stuff like that as being minor or major.

As others have said, w/more or less predictable wear & tear these cars will go & go & go w/normal maintenance. Whereas I'd stay away from most rice burners approaching 150k miles (unless they had major work), the c900(s) are just getting started!!!

And the turn signal doesn't stay to the right direction, works fine to the left.
Happens every time. :cheesy: They are easily rebuildable... just need a drill, dremmel and couple small self tapping screws. There's a good how-to here. Just did mine, works fine.
 

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jetman said:
... ask me why I know!
Why, praytell? :cheesy:

I might be keen on fixing that oil leak near the exhaust immediately. That has "car fire" written all over it!

c900 is a great car - sure, some people get stuck with a dog, but for the money you're not going to find that many cars that are more reliable than a 900. Can your girlfriend drive a five speed already? If so, I'd go with a manual, the autobox is pretty third-world in these cars. Then again, if she beats on a manual, it will not like it :lol:

BTW - girls love 900s - theyre fun and stylish in addition to being good cars! I've met three who used to have them, and when they get in my car they get all nostalgic, saying how much they miss their old saab - so, hey, who knows - maybe this could be the best present you ever get her! :D
 

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The oil leak sounds to me like the inner valve cover gasket, the oil pools up where the plugs are and then leaks out through a drain near the distributor.
 
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