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Got my first Saab, 03 convertible 9-3 automatic and have my first question.

The previous owner said he "thought" it needed a new front motor mount. (any links for this model would be appreciated).

My question, what is the symptoms of a failed motor mount. I have a good deal of vibration (both seat and wheel) when driving but the entire car vibrates worse when powering up an incline.

Thanks,
Jim
 

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"Front" is a big ambiguous on a 9-3.... technically there are two side mounts and a rear mount. The transmission side mount (IME) *constantly* fails, the engine and rear mounts are a bit more durable. But, once one goes the other tend to follow.

The transmissions mounts are *very* easy to inspect - just look for broken rubber.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/misc/0193se_transmount.jpg

The side engine mount is a bit more difficult as it's obscured by a metal piece. The rear mount can sometimes be visually inspected from underneath, but is tough to examine with the weight of the engine on it. You may be able to jack the engine up via the oil pan and watch.

A good test is to lift the hood, FIRMLY apply the brakes, and then give it some gas with the transmission in gear. It's helpful to have a helper, but you can generally see the engine through the gap between the hood and the cowl. The engine should rock evenly a little - if it moves a lot, or on one side that mount is probably trashed.

A properly running B205 should be quite smooth - a slight vibration maybe, but nothing you'd casually notice.
 

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Vibration up a hill (e.g. under load) generally indicates a driveline issue like a bad carrier bearing or a worn companion shaft. However, you can also get it from poor wheel balance, bad tires, wheels out of round, or a bad mount. These cars are very sensitive to vibration and anything being out will throw some.

As a preliminary, heck the mounts like Jvan suggested. Also check at the axle carrier bearing to play as well as at the CV/companion joint, wheel bearings, tranny shafts into the engine, etc. There will be some minimal play in the companion/CV play but more than a little is an issue.

I'd also strongly recommend have your wheels checked for roundness and your wheels/tires Road Force balanced (accept no substitutes). If your tires are significantly worn, that's an issue you need to deal with. Likewise if the wheels are not in spec (+/- 1mm) that needs to be corrected. Once those two are known good you can look for other problems.
 
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