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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey board,

I'm looking to buy an used 9-3, preferably from 2004 - 2005 MY. I understand that there are fuel line and engine slush issues, but what else should I look for? Also, I'm looking into the Linear or Aero trim, but from your experience, what do you guys prefer?

A little background: I've been driving sporty cars the past six years and is currently driving the M3 and although it is the most practical and fun car I've owned, I'm doing a lot of driving recently and not only is the gas price putting a hole in my wallet, I don't like to see the car racking up so much mileage. I've been considering a "beater", but since moving to VA, I have been without a garage and anything more than one car will be too much of a burden.

Well anyway, I'd love to get some feedbacks. I always have admired the Saab 9-3 and thought it not only be a fun car to drive, but a really cheap one as well (I've been seeing costs ranging from 7K - 12K w/ standard mileage). I also get the feeling that this question has been asked many times, but I couldn't search well enough so bare with me.

Thanks in advanced.

Jeff
 

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It goes linear, Arc, Aero. For 2004-05 the Arc and AERO were similar with 210HP High Pressure Turbo. The Linear had the 175HP Low pressure.

With the Aero you will get more sport oriented package including suspension, Trim/body, seats ect.

ARC's usually come fairly loaded and balanced between comfort and performance.

Linear, will be sort of "Slow" coming from a m3 (Depending which model you have) and does not have painted trim pieces. Usually the inside has more base model parts (No seat heaters, black trim, ICM1 radio)

2005-2006 seem to have most problems sorted out. They are good DD's
 

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I also get the feeling that this question has been asked many times, but I couldn't search well enough so bare with me.
Yeah, search is not SC's strongest feature.

I don't think either of the two problems you mentioned is especially concerning, I haven't read about the fuel line issue on here, and the engine sludge is really more of a problem with the last generation of the 9-3s. A few here have had problems, but it's rare.

One newly chronic problem is that the front springs rust and break. GM issued a special warranty and will replace springs from salt belt states (prolly not VA!) up to 120,000 miles. Watch for this.

2003's and early 04's have potential transmission issues, but most of these would have been fixed.

Otherwise, just check the car out thoroughly, try every button, window, make sure you hear all stereo speakers etc.

EDIT: Oh, and volcom is correct about linears being the base model, but I suspect few were actually sold that way. Many of us linear owners do have the seat heaters, sunroof, auto climate control etc. The 2.0 t motor will get slightly better mpg's than the stronger 2.0 T (big T) four.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It goes linear, Arc, Aero. For 2004-05 the Arc and AERO were similar with 210HP High Pressure Turbo. The Linear had the 175HP Low pressure.

With the Aero you will get more sport oriented package including suspension, Trim/body, seats ect.

ARC's usually come fairly loaded and balanced between comfort and performance.

Linear, will be sort of "Slow" coming from a m3 (Depending which model you have) and does not have painted trim pieces. Usually the inside has more base model parts (No seat heaters, black trim, ICM1 radio)

2005-2006 seem to have most problems sorted out. They are good DD's
What I meant to say is that I'm looking at the Aero package. Got it confused somehow.

I always end up liking one trim better than the other AFTER I purchase a car (AP1 S2000 vs AP2 S2000 for example) so I'd like to hear your feedback on what trim is the most desirable. I read that the 9-3 gets anywhere between 23-26 MPG, but what do you guys average?
 

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regarding the Linears, the 03 Launch Models were all Linears with varied option packages and the most problematic (guinea pigs), then came the Arc's/Vectors. I'd say fuel sender problems rather than fuel Lines, Personally not familiar with fuel line problems in the forum. Sludge, extremely rare in the 207 engine that the SS uses. Quite common in the Older B205
 

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I like ap1's better :)

Used I would say always go with the Aero model. The price difference from the initial purchase will save you, depending on if you are keeping the car in its stock form. Usually people want the Aero skirts added afterwards and some sort of exhaust cut out. Also premium wheels (17" +) The skirts alone (Plus the cost of paint) usually would justify the bump. Also the seats and interior are slightly more appealing.

We really do not have sludge issues, the Auto Trans had issues like said with early models and leaking which lead to premature failure.

For the ARC/Aero changes (From 2003-2005), its mainly cosmetic.
 

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I'm looking to buy an used 9-3, preferably from 2004 - 2005 MY. I understand that there are fuel line and engine slush issues, but what else should I look for?
Jeff, as the others have stated, the B207 engine (2003 onward) does NOT have any sludge issue. The exhaust is mounted on the back of the engine so the pipe does not pass close to the engine oil pan to cook the oil. No fuel line problems either. Avoid the 2003 6-spd manual F40 gearbox as it was plagued with a lot of problems and it's not repairable. Better go for a 2005+ model.

Before buying ask for a compression test on all cylinders. It's a 5-minute job. Check also all the electrics of the car to verify that everything is working properly. Electrical problems are more often than engine ones on this car. If something does not work well, just step away of the car since a problem might mask a high cost repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Agree, nothing beats that 9K redline.

What about some type of guide to follow? I know for certain cars, the trunk lining is a must-check as it leaks and some cars have certain stamped numbers to avoid as it's highly probable that the engine would fail, etc.
 

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I don't know how much help I can provide being that I am still new to Saab but I was in the same position as you a few weeks ago. I was looking for a used car and came across an '05 Saab 9-3 Linear with 66k miles on the dial. I was considering other cars as well but nothing came close to the 9-3 in terms of value (in my opinion). I ended up purchasing the 9-3 for $8400. I'm not sure what options are standard on the Linear but my car does has heated seats but does not have automatic climate control. The previous owner also installed an aftermarket Sirius radio (which still works). In the 3-4 weeks I've owned the car, my check engine light came on twice with the same P2135 error code. Both times it came on, i hit the gas pretty hard from a standstill so i've been gentle on the gas (at least until i'm in 3rd gear). i did some research on the P2135 error code but haven't been able to figure out what's causing it. I just purchased an obd2 code reader to reset the ecu if the CEL problem comes up again. Hopefully it won't be an issue going forward. Aside from the P2135 problem, the car's been great. My commute to work is 50 miles/day roundtrip (mostly highway) and i've been averaging between 28-32mpg.
 

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Agree, nothing beats that 9K redline.

What about some type of guide to follow? I know for certain cars, the trunk lining is a must-check as it leaks and some cars have certain stamped numbers to avoid as it's highly probable that the engine would fail, etc.
If anything is going to leak it won't be the trunk.

Leaks In order of appearance:

Door gaskets deteriorate
Sunroof drains clog
Cabin Air Filter gasket degrades...
 

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I went the way you're going

From 2002 330I to a 2004 arc convertible
paid 28 for the BMW and !8 for the vert the BMW was much more a race car and if you had the m3 E46 you had the bomb
I would think an aero with the 4banger turbo is going to give you some thrills but the sound system was lousy in my ride.The parrot 9200 was a good upgrade.
Happy hunting
 

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I've been averaging 27-28 in town and 30-34 on my short highway trip to work. I have an 07 (2.0T). I've been running 89 octane.
 

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I have an '05 Linear and I wish I would've held out for an Aero. I did get it tuned by Talliaferro's with the Nordic stage 2 and it ran a 15.09 et in the 1/4 mile, so it's not slow by any means. But the Aero will be better for you since you are coming from the M3. Oh, stick with '05 or newer and you'll avoid those problems you mentioned. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yup, I think I'll go for the Aero trim.

In the mean time, I know I asked this previously, but are there some type of checklist when buying an used 9-3? Besides the check if the A/C vents all work properly, window seals etc. I'm curious to know the high failure item(s) so I can ask the right questions to the dealer (seller) and buy with a peace of mind.
 

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There's a warranty checklist up in the stickies that might be worth looking at, but the problem with it is that it's pretty long and includes every little thing that people have gotten fixed under warranty.
 

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checklist

my car dealer allowed me to take to any shops i wanted,he also offered a 1 year limited guarantee .The test drive was basically two and a half weeks...So I took it to my indie mechanic had him check codes and the under belly and then to a Saab dealer and paid them $126 to find something wrong with it .They performed an intermediate service
So far the key fobs " suck" had both replaced under warren-tee and getting them to unlock what I wanted required the tech II costs
Then there is the sway bar noise that is only during cold weather and the springs were checked for free for possibility of them being broken
Another Saab Indie applauded the pre 2005 engine (6) and said the 2004 was in his opinion the one to have why I don't know.
Since I was coming from 225 HP to 220HP it didn't make much of a difference once we got going.I did have to get used to the gradual acceleration vs the immediate rush of the 330i.I'd be interested in seeing what you get
 
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