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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since buying my 1996 Saab 900 2.0 Turbo SE convertible (97.2k) last year, I've done quite a bit of work on it myself and learned a lot more about car care and doing it on your own (poor grad student).

It developed a rod bearing problem shortly after I first picked it up but the dealership I bought it from fixed it for me. A few weeks later after I drove it down to a much hotter climates (Santa Cruz to Las Vegas) I noticed a small oil leak that couldn't be pin pointed. Switching to a 15w50 mobil1 fully synth seems to have sort of fixed that problem on its own. Well basically, I'm concerned on the long term viability of the engine itself because of the rod bearing failure it had, the oil leak, and the fact that in hotter ambient temps, the performance drops about 20% which I have no idea why it does that. Another issue is that 1st to 2nd shift on the Auto box (supposedly reliable Asin) is a lot rougher than I'd like it to be even after a fluid flush and change.

The top is also sort of failing, a common problem is that the motors need an extra bit of bracing which I guess is cheaper than a complete swap but still, probably at least another $200 at the dealership (no indep. Saab mechanics locally). The top still works, I give it a small adjustment in the middle of it going up and going down is actually no problem.

I just replaced all the tires for new Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S (half Tirerack.com $) at a great price which I couldn't afford unless I just happened to find the right deal at the right time. I had do that since the Dunlop FM901's that came with it were getting dangerously low.

There's a couple of other things I'd like to do to it like a rear sway bar and replacing a critical engine part (Direct Ignition Cassette) that is known to fail at a certain number of miles (no idea how many are on mine) and possibly a MBC+A kit. But this is another big spending spree $$$.

Personally I absolutely love the car except for the hot temp issue which is actually my biggest qualm. If I dropped another $1,000 into the car, I think I'd love it even more if I ever figure out the biggest issues. What would you do? Save the money for your next car and just drive this into the ground or spend the 1k to make this go longer.


Work done on the car:
rod bearing changed
a few fully synth oil changes (mobil1 15w50, i drive in florida, oem saab filters)
new spark plugs
new pirelli pzero nero M+s tires (went slightly higher profile with 55)
radiator flush
short belt mod (upper idler pully replaced, serpentine belt)
heat insulation/foil around pipe
air filter changes
auto transmission flush
two alignments
cabin filter replaced
power steering fluid replaced
techron cleaner twice
PCV valve replaced
Fuel pump replaced by dealership ($600)

Will be doing:
OEM Saab brake pads and Brembo rotors
Vacuum hose replacement with silicones
subframe retorque

Needs to be done:
cabin temp sensor replaced ($80 new, $40 used)
convertible tonneau motor braced ($200 probably)
replace direct ignition cassette ($350)

wants to be done:
rear roll/sway bar ($100)
mbc+a ($70)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh, the car when I first got it:

http://car.jae-designs.com/

I forgot to mention, I think the driver's side leather seat covers/skins need to be replaced too.

Oh and the alarm remote unlocking doesn't work 100% either but I can live with it. And the windows have been tinted since I purchsed it.
 

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I'd say you're done the next time Honda has one of those great lease deals on an Accord :)

More seriously, I think the thing to figure is how much you're spending per month on average, then figure out if you could get into a newer used car (or even a new one) that you could tolerate for less. All of us could buy new hyundae accent's for what we spend on maintenance, but we're unlikely to.

Also, sometimes "major" repairs are less major than you might think. If you need engine work, then sure the price will be in the thousands, but you might do just fine with a second hand engine for a lot less, perhaps just over a thousand.

For me, I've always based this decision on the amount of rust. To me, a car with a lot of rust isn't worth doing major repairs on.

It is tricky though. In the absence of rust, I'd tend to stick with the devil I know. Any other used car was ditched by someone who was doing the same math you are. This may be the Concord fallacy though. I'm hesitant to sell mine for quite a while these days b/c I spent $1600 getting the transmission repaired a few months ago and I'm darn well going to get my money's worth, even if I need to spend thousands more in repairs to do so :roll:
 

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Any similar type of car (euro sport sedan, turbo etc.) will require some expensive maintenance at 100k. I second the comment about rust, but personally, I would go by the engine. If the engine and turbo are in good shape, I would keep it. If they are not, then the expense for engine repair comes on top of other maintenance like the DI cassette, brakes, coolant pump, alternator, suspension, etc.

As for the performance drop in hot weather, that is a "feature" of the engine/turbo/intercooler design.
 

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Thats a hard question, especially in a forum such as this. Personally I've sunk so much money into my car, that if I went to sell it. People would call me nuts.

3500 bucks for my Nav and DVD dash player.
450 for the roof mounted video screen
100 bucks for a rear sway bar
1000 bucks for a new DIC and Struts
300 for new front coil springs
550 for a dual exhaust mod
the list goes on and on, and this is just this year (2005)

When I go outside in the morning and my car no longer "looks good" to me, then I'll pull everything I can get out of it and sell it.......Then go buy another one.
lol

Michael
 

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JMarkert said:
I'd say you're done the next time Honda has one of those great lease deals on an Accord :)

More seriously, I think the thing to figure is how much you're spending per month on average, then figure out if you could get into a newer used car (or even a new one) that you could tolerate for less. All of us could buy new hyundae accent's for what we spend on maintenance, but we're unlikely to.

Also, sometimes "major" repairs are less major than you might think. If you need engine work, then sure the price will be in the thousands, but you might do just fine with a second hand engine for a lot less, perhaps just over a thousand.

For me, I've always based this decision on the amount of rust. To me, a car with a lot of rust isn't worth doing major repairs on.

It is tricky though. In the absence of rust, I'd tend to stick with the devil I know. Any other used car was ditched by someone who was doing the same math you are. This may be the Concord fallacy though. I'm hesitant to sell mine for quite a while these days b/c I spent $1600 getting the transmission repaired a few months ago and I'm darn well going to get my money's worth, even if I need to spend thousands more in repairs to do so :roll:
AMEN:D
 

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That is a preety car. Plus its got Super Aero wheels same as mine;)

These were an extra offered by Saab for a limited time and only fitted if the first owner requested. This may mean the original owner really liked the car and cared for it..

So your car is at the big one hundred it will need TLC i would say your car is sweet and if you stay with it you will spend no more cash on it than any other quality car at this point in its life. Most of us on SC have reserected lost models that no one would bother with. I know I have my first 900 t was a write of after an argument with a granit gate post.

Its just a question of do you develop a relationship with the car ie you learn and enjoy doing jobs on here and then you have the $$$ for say a gearbox job. Or do you get rid and buy a ford or whatever.

The choice is yours..

Dead
 

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Heat is the enemy of turbos, and you've just moved to the desert....

You need a better intercooler....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Well I was only in Las Vegas for a week or two but that's when it really showed up, it definitely felt slower than an 86 Civic at that point.

In florida, its not so bad but when its 95F outside, its dangerously slow up until around 35mph where it starts picking up again.

The climb up to 35mph is what kills me, it Takes So Long and I don't think an upgraded intercooler can really help that initial climb can it?

On Hindsight, I kind of regret in some ways not picking up the 96 Lexus SC300 but I just completely love driving with the top down especially at night.

This car has really started the learning process about the mechanics of cars more than any other car before it that I've used/owned. Its been a love affair with its ups and downs, especially when the fuel pump failed and I had to dish out $600 to get it replaced (a fuel tank out job). But other times when I'm cruising around florida with a hot girl and the top down, it feels pretty spectacular especially in a quirky but fast (when its not too hot out) turbo convertible.

The body is in pretty good shape, actually its in excellent shape for its age with no rust and very shiny glossy paint. Which kind of makes me feel guilty for not washing it recently.

I don't know, sometimes I wish it just worked without any worries at all and I'm tempted all the time looking through Miata, S2000, and MR2 listings on ebay.

If I can get the initial climb to 35mph during hot weather to be as good as nite driving, I think I'd like to keep her even if the transmission breaks down. But I can't think of anything, would an intercooler even help when its the 0 to 35mph that I'm trying to improve.

edit: I also did the fuel filter
 

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Remember though ... most of the stuff that you have listed are "consumables".

Tires, brakes, oil, filters, plugs, fluids, those all have to be replaced in any car.

I have replaced the fuel pump, clutch, and head gasket ... all of which I have had to do (except the clutch - this is the first clutch I have ever replaced - but then I've never bought a car with this many miles on it) on other cars!

My suggestion to you ... figure out what you have changed that is unique to your car ... and then use that as your base.
Now, how much has your car cost you?

I bet you are now talking about upgrades or changes that you have made because you like your car so much and simply want to make it better!:cheesy:

I have a few things to do to my car right now (the list is quite long actually) ... but there is nothing I need to do to my car that is specific to a Saab ... and some of the things I want to do just because I can (and I want to ... which I never did on any other car).
And because I am doing most of the work myself (or getting help), I can do it all a little more cost effectively.
 

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The climb up to 35mph is what kills me, it Takes So Long
I think you are noticing some combination of turbo lag, and the fact that the lookup tables used to regulate the boost (a.k.a. the "maps") do not allow the turbo to reach the same boost level in 2nd gear as in 3rd gear and up. Any number of ways of fixing that, manual boost controllers, MBC+A, or a "remapped" ecu from one of the several vendors who provide those.

and I don't think an upgraded intercooler can really help that initial climb can it?
Not by itself, it just helps other modifications work better. I am not a fan of bigger intercoolers (meaning larger crossection) if all you want is more torque in the lower gears. If you do not have the means to put more air through the intercooler, size can be a hindrance, not a help.
 

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FlyPenFly said:
So the lookup tables I assume are dynamic relative to ambient temperatures?
...that would be nice, wouldn't it? No such luck...

The ecu does take the temperature of the intake air into account, as measured by a sensor just before the inlet into the throttle body.

What happens is that when the ambient temperature is high, so is the air on the outside of the intercooler. So, not only is the air going into the turbo warmer, but the intercooler efficiency is lowered because the cooling effect depends on the difference between the temp of the compressed air and the outside air. The air density going into the engine is lower (in proportion to temperature expressed in degres Kelvin, not F), so there is less oxygen per cylinder cycle. The ecu senses that, and backs off the amount of fuel injected into the cylinder. The net effect is the same as lower boost.

The ideal ecu would increase the boost instead of backing off the fuel, so the driver would get the same response regardless of outside temperatures.
 

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Less than stellar hot weather driving is a feature of heat, not a turbo or intercooler setup (heat is the enemy of all cars). Hot air = less dense which means you cannot burn as much fuel. Its normal. Same goes for altitude. High altitude = less dense air.

I googled the elevation of Santa Cruz and its 20 feet. Las Vegas is 2030 ft, so you are suffering from an increase in altitude AND temperature. There is no way that a Civic in Las Vegas will be as fast as your Saab. Maybe a civic in Santa Cruz is faster than your saab in LV! Back in Florida, you at least get back to sea level.

I always say it is far cheaper to maintain a car than to purchase a new one. Unless you have a total Lemon, it is usually true. If you are happy with the car, keep it, but if you have to come around a Saab forum and ask a bunch of strangers if you should keep the car, it would seem you are not that happy with it. Good Luck!

Tboy
 
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