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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of closing the deal on a 2003 9-3 Linear with 57k for $12995. I have done a lot of research and I understand the 9-3s can be very reliable, and I know they can be a problem child. I would be trading my Camry in, and I would love some help from actual owners to help make my final decision.

Is there anything I can look for/inspect that might help me spot if this is would be a problem car?

The car has had some warranty work, and it looks like to fix a few electrical issues. Is this something to worry about, or is this a good thing?

Are there things I should have them carefully inspect/replace before I buy the car, such as the 60k maintenance schedule, or items that might be problematic around 75k (like Direct Ignition Cassette or fuel pump)?

How come so few Saabs are certified, and is that something I should be looking for (the certification?)?

I'd appreciate any help & advice you can offer!

Thanks!
Anne :D
 

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The warranty work is fine. I don't think we've seen a lot of higher mileage cars in this forum so there's not a lot of experience as to what might need to be done around 60K.

The major thing I'd want to know is whether it has been serviced regularly, especially oil changes.
 

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Make sure if it's an automatic that the o-rings on the transmission cooler lines have been replaced, this seems to be a problem with the 2003 model, causes the coolant to mix with the auto tranny fluid and ruins the transmission, seems there was a TSB or recall regarding this problem.
 

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A CPO Saab can not be more than 4 model years old nor have more than 50K on it. The 60K service can be quite expensive at a Saab Dealer, a lot can be done by the average person....Search 60K Service, there's several threads. Ask if all the Service Casmpaigns/Software patches are up to date. That could include the CIM/steering column. Has the fuel guage sender been replaced or is it original, they get erratic....thats's a popular (and pricey) problem. Is it the original battery? Get it replaced. As Mrbrett said, there was a Service Campaign on the Trans Cooler O Rings, make sure that was done, and in anycase have them inspect the trans fluid. Not by looking at the dipstick either, they have to put it on a lift and pull a plug/plate on the side of the trans.

We don't have a DI Cassette, we have coil packs.

See if you can get them to do the 60K to close the deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great, I'm adding these suggestions to the long list of things that need confirmation & checking. I think they may kick me out of the dealership, but I'd rather be safe than sorry! :lol: I unfortunately feel a strong bond with this particular car, like I've driven it for years. I feel like a stranger to my current ride, and I did really like the car until it did some really horrible things in the last snowfall. I really was shopping for a Scion TC until I decided to stop off at the Saab dealership for fun. My boyfriend had picked up a great deal on a 9-5 in August and I was kind of hoping to do the same. Its funny, I drove a TC I had my set on, and ended up not liking it. Then we went to another lot and I found two cars- the driver's seat was broken in the first car and the second car refused to start for some reason. I then drove the 2003 9-3 at the Saab dealer and with the exception of the fan being out, it was wonderful! Then I took out another 2003 with fewer miles and as soon as I got into the driver's seat and tried adjusting the height, the lever broke off, and the check engine light was on. There are just too many signs this particular one was meant to be, but I'm not ruling out common sense either! That's where this forum comes in handy...

I also found a 2005 9-3 Linear with 37k that I'm thinking of test driving as well, keeping my options open, and its for only $1000 more. Its at a Nissan dealer, and I found out through Autocheck that it's been on their lot since around November, and it makes me a little leery. Are the 2005's considered less buggy, or are they about the same?

Someone mentioned on the previous post about wanting the 2.0T, not the 2.0t on the Linear. Are they not as reliable? I thought the engine had very adequate power, very comparable to my Camry's 3.3 V6 engine. Probably not nearly as quick at my boyfriend's 2.3 v6 in his 9-5. but I'm a lot more concerned about the reliability. I really shouldn't have a fast car anyways, my Camry has gotten me into enough trouble, although somehow I've managed to keep my driving record spotless! :cool:

Anne
 

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If you're going to buy a Saab make sure it is CPO. My $.02
 

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^^What he said and you can't go wrong.

look for an 04/5 CPO and the warranty is bumped to 100K/6yrs. Well worth the extra $$
 

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Diggs said:
If you're going to buy a Saab make sure it is CPO. My $.02
Amen to that.

Before we bought our 2007 9-3 Arc, we did HUGE amounts of research, I'm talking like 8 months long and edmunds.com was as great resource for us- we especially liked their payment calculator. When researching SAAB, we found that overall, the 2003/2004/2005 Linears had more complaints that any other vehicle and more catastrophic failures (If I could remeber them I'd list them.) that dealers didn't cover for one reason or the other. *shrug*

For example, on a scale of 1-10 their average rating was a 6, whereas the Arc was a 8.5 and the Aero was a 9 or higher. So prior to even stepping foot on a dealer lot we decided we weren't going to buy a Linear no matter the year or the deal. We actually had gone to the dealer to buy a 2004 9-5 Aero in Hazelnut stickered at $19k, but then this little beauty I now have won me over.

We also found that it was difficult to find many CPO SAABs as well. Now I know why. :)

Get a carfax report from the dealer.

In our experience we also found that it paid to travel further out than we wanted to to get the car and the initial customer service we wanted. The dealer closest to us told us, "if you aren't going to make a deal today we suggest you make an appointment." I was horrified and swore never to give them my business. Apparently they didn't take kindly to "fact finders" who eventually were going to buy a car and don't give diddly to "establishing a relationship with the consumer". :nono; But yet they called us almost everyday afterwards for 4 months. Go figure.. anywas, I'm getting OT here...

EDIT: Let me just point out in reference to my findings on Linears...people are more inclined to tell others their stories when things go WRONG as oppossed to when the go RIGHT. Think of it as venting. Every car/make/model has its Gremlins. I just don't want any Linear owners getting mad at me. :)
 

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Hope you plan to keep it for a very long time. These are not easy cars to re-sell, and for comparison, I have a 2004 5-spd 81,000 mile car that I cannot even get a telphone call on for $9900.
California car since new. Go figure.
 

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RonDwyer said:
Hope you plan to keep it for a very long time. These are not easy cars to re-sell, and for comparison, I have a 2004 5-spd 81,000 mile car that I cannot even get a telphone call on for $9900.
California car since new. Go figure.
An 04 What? Linerar? Arc? Aero? What Trim/Packages??? An 04 with 81K is considered High Mileage to most buyers.

Edit: O I C...little t, you might get 7.5/8 on the high side for a trade in. Stickshifters are not that much in demand.
 

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And an 03 with 57,000 miles is considered worth 33% more? I'm going to stick with Porsche automobiles from now on. Saab has been a complete disappointment. I'd recommend anyone wanting to buy a Saab seek psychiatric help. In support, I have 3 co-workers who were aghast at my buying one, the dealer in San Mateo, Ca. just closed in January 08 and the GM Marketing campaign is a LIE. Sure, aviation engineers designed them in 1960, those models have been toast for 40 years now. These have nothing to do with airplanes...airplanes are more reliable. Informed consumers don't fall for marketing crap. My 9-3 is as exciting to drive as a fart in a space suit, and as reliable as Apollo 13.
 

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RonDwyer said:
And an 03 with 57,000 miles is considered worth 33% more? I'm going to stick with Porsche automobiles from now on. Saab has been a complete disappointment. I'd recommend anyone wanting to buy a Saab seek psychiatric help. In support, I have 3 co-workers who were aghast at my buying one, the dealer in San Mateo, Ca. just closed in January 08 and the GM Marketing campaign is a LIE. Sure, aviation engineers designed them in 1960, those models have been toast for 40 years now. These have nothing to do with airplanes...airplanes are more reliable. Informed consumers don't fall for marketing crap. My 9-3 is as exciting to drive as a fart in a space suit, and as reliable as Apollo 13.
I can see why you're upset, comparing a Porche to a SAAB is like comparing apples to oranges. Not to mention the little 't', which means you got the smallest possible engine in the vehicle. In '04 was that the 175Hp or was it smaller, I can't remeber...and an 04 Linear will be worth less than an 04 Arc or Aero, regardless of milage, although after doing some fast math 2004...81K..seems you drove it about 20.2k p/year which is over the average. Whereas the '03 at 57k drove their car only about 11.4k p/year, so essentially you did about 30% more driving in less time. That will effect value.

I'm curious as to what vehicle you came from when you bought your SAAB... So, yeah, I'd like a Porshe too, but the only model I find worth owning is a 6 figure car and that ain't happening in my lifespan unless the PowerBall Gods shine down upon me.

It will be harder to sell now too (I think) due to the redesigned body styles for '08. My advice to is find a nice college kid who wants a nice looking car. Do your reaserch as you suggest and see what comparable cars are selling for in your area. KBB is a great resource, look at that and price a little bit below what KBB states, that way when someone researches YOUR car they will think they are getting the deal of a lifetime. When you talk to people about it, don't down play the car, even though you seem to not be able to wait to get rid of it. People can sense that and will low-ball you.

Sorry you had such a bad experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Something I learned the hard way this past weekend that if its meant to be, things will happen. I've been trying to sell my 2004 Camry SE V6 for the past 3 and some weeks, and not until yesterday did I have someone serious in buying it. My car has 95,600 miles, but in pristine condition otherwise. I thought it would be a fast seller and I'd make a good profit, but its turning out to be a major disappointment. The market is so fical and there are so many used cars out there, that unless yours is something special or a darn good deal, its going to sit there. :cry: Once I pushed the Scion TCs away and got serious about this Saab thing, things moved super quick! Another sign was the license plate has repeating digits- in the three cars I've owned, they all had those license plates. For instance, my first one was a 505, then a 454 and my current is a 121. This Saab is a 191.

And not all Saabs are lemons, its just like any other car. Half of it depends how you drive & treat it, although some are just plain quirky. Its more of a car-by-car basis, not a batch-by-batch, from what my research indicates. I had a lemon Mercury Topaz back around 2000, but I heard that a few of those cars were actually reliable & nice (somehow!). Same with the TC's- I found a bunch of lemons looking up vin#'s on Autocheck, but 90% of owners give them rave reviews. I'll be well protecting myself on this purchase by having the dealership fully inspect the vehicle, then I'll take it to a mechanic for a walk-through before I sign papers, and that will be including a good warranty. Heck, I've heard of even lemon Camrys, and that is/was America's best selling & most reliable family sedan!!
 

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RonDwyer said:
And an 03 with 57,000 miles is considered worth 33% more? I'm going to stick with Porsche automobiles from now on. Saab has been a complete disappointment. I'd recommend anyone wanting to buy a Saab seek psychiatric help. In support, I have 3 co-workers who were aghast at my buying one, the dealer in San Mateo, Ca. just closed in January 08 and the GM Marketing campaign is a LIE. Sure, aviation engineers designed them in 1960, those models have been toast for 40 years now. These have nothing to do with airplanes...airplanes are more reliable. Informed consumers don't fall for marketing crap. My 9-3 is as exciting to drive as a fart in a space suit, and as reliable as Apollo 13.

you were expecting this car to compete with a porsche? i've got an 03 arc and i couldn't be happier. as for the marketing... it's just marketing. i don't think anyone's actually expecting an airplane with wheels! what you're getting is a good car from a good company with, like you say, a heritage that stems back to a jet maker. bmw claims to be the ultimate driving machine, well, i am sure you can find a car better than a bmw - which would obviously then be the ultimate.

i guess my point is, if you bought an 04 saab and expected a porsche... theres no way you were going to be happy to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have been back and forth with the salesman at the dealership today about the 2003 9-3, and he found out it was a certified pre-owned and that is good until November '08. I also found out the Trans Cooler O-Rings were replaced for sure. The mechanics are giving it a thorough check now (and repairing the fan problem), as I gave them 20 mechanical questions to check out that I got off this forum. I am also trying to get them to do the 60k maintenance before I buy too, since its about 3,000 miles shy of the 60k.

Is there anything else I should have checked out or more good questions to ask? Does this seem like it could be a good car since its certified?

Anne
 

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I'd say it's on the expensive side. What options does it have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I think I talked them down to around $11,500 from the asking price of $12995, I have to double-check their haggle-dealership math more closely. It has 57k and I just found out it is a certified pre-owned, which technically raises the value (a little). It has upgraded audio with a 6 cd changer, info displays, heated seats, moonroof, and power (driver's only?) seat. Apparently it has the drivers/premium package in it, and when I checked out the interior on the Arc, it looked exactly like that, minus dual climate. I'd almost say they goofed on the trim name and it wasn't a Linear but the VIN# pulls up Linear. I'm also trying to get them to throw in the 60k check-up along with a new battery and possibly another warranty on top of the certified warranty to close the deal out at around 11-11,500.

What all is covered with a certified pre-owned? I cannot find out a lot of information about what it covers on Saab's website.

Anne
 

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That 60k check up is worth big bucks. Good for you! Sounds like both parties have considerable time invested in this sale-I feel they will try to please you. Nice to have a good relationship with the Saab dealer-they are usually few and far between. Price looks pretty good with the extras, you will love this car compared to the generic Camry. Best of luck.
 

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To use my Service Departments words, The CPO warranty covers pretty much everything except the "Radio and the Battery" ...of course not the normal wear and tear stuff. If they won't do the 60K free, try for AT LEAST another $500 off. That can be quite a pricey Service.
 
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