Thinking that I would go ahead and order two new DICs and new spark plugs, I went to my car guys here in Florence today (Monday), and the owner explained why he believes that I have more than one issue — namely, not only ignition, but also quite possibly transmission.
After a long consultation, he and I went out for a lengthy test drive together. He demonstrated for me that, even with the rough idle, my Sportwagon performs just as it should when accelerating through 2nd and 3rd gear — smooth and powerful. In cruising gear (4th), however, there is a distinct vibration that can be felt in the seats and steering column. He explained in detail why this couldn’t be caused by occasional misfires, and that it is most likely either the transmission itself or the torque converter, perhaps with some involvement from slowly failing engine or transmission mounts.
That’s why he advised on Friday that I not attempt to repair what’s wrong. Given that my beloved Saab is now 18 years old and coming around to the 100,000 mile mark where it will soon need significant normal maintenance — replacement of brakes, struts, exhaust, etc. — he feels that I would be better off not spending whatever it takes to fix the ignition and vibration problems (up to $5,000).
No, he’s not a Saab expert, but he’s very knowledgeable about European cars. He offered that if I were wealthy, I could probably fix the existing problems, but — since I’m not rich — I’d be better off trading in my Saab for a used Toyota or Honda.
So, that’s where things stand right now — not where I’d like them to be.
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