Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 10:44:40 +0100
From: Robert Brown <>
Subject: Re: Want to improve handling on 9-3

Good question, I'm not sure how to answer: I'd say the 9-3 we have gets through corners much more quickly than our 900 does, so in that way of speaking it handles much better. But then the tyres on this 9-3 are 2 cm wider than on the 900, the wheels are much lighter, and the shocks and springs much stiffer. So the tyres grip well but the rest of the car lurches around a bit so it's hard for me to sense where it's going to go if I push it over the edge. Our 900 breaks grip on the front pretty easily (was worse until I had the toe-in done) but I feel a lot more secure driving it because I can better sense where the limits are. Not having power steering means that the hands get a better idea of what's going on too. I'd say that our 900 handles worse than the 9-3 but is more driveable, due to the above reasoning. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe a stiffer sway bar on the back of the 9-3 would fix things. BTW is there anyone out there who has servo steering in their cars but wishes they could take it out? Just to start a discussion ;-) //Robert Four Weis wrote: > I saw that you also own an 83 900. Are you saying the 9-3 handles worse > than the 83 900? My 86 900 has the optional air suspension (big rubber > bags inside the rear springs) and it handled the curves like it was on > tracks with no body roll. > > Robert Brown wrote: > > > Hi, > > > > We have a 1999 9-3 SE 200. Reasonably powerful motor but we think the > > car handles like a dog. Feels rather uncertain in corners, so we don't > > really feel comfortable pushing it heavily. > > > > Problem could be partially due to servo steering that takes away a bit > > of the road "feel". The body sways a bit more than I like but I can > > almost put up with that. > > > > The real problem is that it's hard to feel the point at which it would > > break grip, so it's hard to learn to develop confidence for the car when > > cornering hard. > > > > Some background: normal suspension, no sport handling kit installed so > > far, Michelin Pilot ZR 205/55(?) x 16 in summer (185/65 x 15 winter but > > we'll forget that for now). Tyre pressure 2.6 kPa. Have not checked > > front-end but the car has handled the same since it first turned a > > wheel, so we'll assume the factory got the toe-in and camber right. > > > > Is this lack of feel to do mostly with the insensitivity that servo > > steering brings to this particular model, or is it time to start > > changing the springs (have heard talk about progressive rate springs, > > where first centimetre is soft to take away ride harshness, but where > > the rest of the travel is hard, to give stability). Or maybe we're > > talking about a stiffer sway bar in the back, since we're definitely not > > suffering from oversteer here. > > > > Have any of you suspension experts out there (with 9-3's) felt the need > > to fit either Saab's own sport spring kit, or Abbott Racing or other > > company's parts to cure similar trouble? Wouldn't mind hearing your > > views if you have the time. Thanks for listening. > > > > Robert Brown > > Gothenburg (1999 9-3, 1983 900)

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