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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, this is my 1st post in these forums.

Since my current mode of transportation is on it's last legs at the moment, I've become very interested in purchasing a SAAB 900, somewhere between the years of '85 - '90. I've a few questions to ask of those in the know before I go SAAB shopping.

1. Price - I'm not looking to drop a fortune that I don't have on a car. What would be a decent price for one of these cars in rather good shape? I've heard them going for anywhere between $2500 - $4000, but I'd like some better idea as to what one could get for such prices.

2. Are there any typical problems I ought to look for on one of these before I buy it? (tranny problems, rust/rot, etc.)

3. Turbo - Is it worth it? Will the turbo cause me more problems than I need and should I just look for a n/a model, or are they as reliable as the rest of the car is said to be?

Thank you very much, any help will be appreciated. And excuse me if I seem I don't know what I'm talking about.
 

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Yes Welcome to SaabCentral ;) ;)


there is lots of info from the "nutters" here................ Sorry I mean "Turbo nutters" :cheesy: :cheesy:



Paul

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Sleeper baby, no show & all GO..................
 

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And then there are plenty of us who are perfectly happy with our n/a models. It doesn't take a turbo to go fast, you just have to know how to use the throttle... and have a few minutes to get up to speed :roll:

One thing I always check for is if the check engine light blinks on when it starts up. It should. I've had a few that didn't and tehy were nothing but trouble. People will remove the lamp if it keeps coming on so as not to annoy them, but it leaves you with no idea that something may be up. Just food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I just took a look at a grey '89 coupe (n/a) at a SAAB/Volvo garage. 167,000 miles, 5-spd (requirement met), some cosmetic flaws (cracked dash, which i understand is common, missing dome light cover, slightly cracked/faded bumpers, missing window-winder knob, eroded window lining) all of which im assured will be taken care of prior to purchase. Also the oil leak from the distributor cap is to be fixed. The dealer is also the regular mechanic for the car, so they know it, which is a plus. I'm thinking the lack of a turbo, while it might cost me some speed, will probably cut down on other costs, so it ain't all bad.

I'll be taking it for a drive tomarrow afternoon, since he didn't have any plates today. The asking price is $2k. I'm looking forward to this.
 

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The only thing I can say about it is that specific to 89 model non-turbos is a dodgy ECU which is expensive to replace. This a common fault for only this year. (edt: what I mean to say is that the ecu can fail in any car, but it is much more common in the 89's) This leaves you with two options. 1. look at a few other cars from different years. 2. Go to the wreckers regularily and buy a replacemnt (or 2)ECU's cheap and protect yourself.

I'm not trying to discourage you, there are lots of 89's out there doing fine. Get the car into fifth on your test drive and listen for any hint of whine from the transmission (pinion bearing - expensive) and consider the overall condition of the car, cosmetics included, as an indication of the upkeep and care put into the car. Ideally an extensive service history is what you're looking for.
 

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Engine Control Unit (I think that's what the letters stand for) like the Commadore VIC-20 of car computers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I took it for a drive this afternoon. The most notable problems are that the alignment's off (wheel tilts left, car drifts right), there's oil leaking from around the distributor cap (I'm told it's just a rubber seal, and it'll be replaced), and a few cosmetic let-downs, namely some rust in the middle of the driver door next to a shallow, cantaloupe-sized dent, a fair amount of scratches, and faded bumpers. Inside, a few things will be replaced and I'm hoping the headlight switch will be fixed as it is loose. The seats are stained, but that's okay for now. Also, the a/c runs cool, but not icy.

Other than all that, the car has brand new brakes, a new clutch, and seems to run quite smoothly. The dealer/mechanic made a list of all the problems i mentioned, and told me to give him a week to fix it up. Asking price is $2k.

Thoughts? Advice? Thanks!
 

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your in the salt belt. watch out for rust! lift up the back seat and look in there, in the gooves and stuff. check the spare tire well (very well). get it up on a hoist and check check check for rust! go for a turbo (NO QUESTION!)-i have had both. the turbo is just as durable and costs the same to run. providing it is in good shape these are one of the best turbo cars you can buy, saab is very well known for mastering turbocharging. gas consumption providing you don't come down with excessive turbo boost syndrome is not much more and is worth it. i must warn you, turbo is very addictive. try to avoid the dated 3-speed- automagic they tend to have a few more issues and often go suddenly. as far as the ECU is concerned...don't let that keep you from buying, the 89' turbo is a good choice (89' N/A has the most ecu issues)you missout on the airbag(1990+), electric seatbelts(1990+), and troublesome antilock brakes(1990+)! in 89 the manual tranmissions were beefed up, have a drainplus, and they have the larger and better vented brakes. all saab 900's have their faults for each year, but go for an 89-93. both 8 and 16 valve engines are very good but the 16 valve is a bit better, much smoother, more responsive and consumes less gas. make sure you check all the little gizmoes ( they all have heated seats)most have power windows, cruise control, power sunroof). ones with leather are nice as the leather is very high quality and lasts a long time. either way, take your time, ask all your questions, show pictures. welcome to SC:cheesy:
 

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If it's missing bits and pieces most things can be found on ebay especially in the united states. Oh and look for an aero kitted model if you can.

Also if you do go for a non turbo the years '91 - 93 have the 2.1L engine as opposed to the standard 2.0. On paper it doesn't seem like much but the 2.1L has quite a bit extra vavoom in 2nd and 3rd gear especially for a non turbo. Turbos don't go faster than non turbos they just get you there sooner but the traffic lights usually catch up with all of us in the end.

welcome to having taste.

:cool:
 

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$2K definitely sounds high for that condition. I'd say look around more, there are lots of Saabs in the New England area.
 

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About the check engine light coming on: I have an 87 non-turbo. It has some yellow light in the left hand corner with a strange symbol on it, but if it's the check engine light, I've never seen it come on.

On my year, is the check engine supposed to come on upon startup? Is that buld replaceable by going throughthe speaker cover?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was planning on trying to talk him down. We'll see how that goes. But I'm also going to bring the car to another mechanic for a second opinion, so this is all pretty up in the air still.
 

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The yellow orange light at the top left of the instrument cluster is for the manual choke/cold start on Saabs with carb's so that you didnt leave the choke on once the engine had warmed up, its not used on injection cars obviously but Saab sold non injection cars up to at least 87 in the U.K.
 

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By the way you guys in North America have it soooooo cushy when it comes to rust free Saabs I mean have seen soft tops with leather aircon and low miles for $3000 that is just stunning we would need to pay about $8000 dollars to buy the same car. Dont get me started about gas milage either I cant believe it when I see people comparing models before they buy for fuel consumption come over here boys gas is $8 a gallon if we paid your prices we'd be squeezing jag v12 engines under the bonnet
 
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