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Buying a Used Saab



#3877
4/13/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used 9000
==================
Message from Eric Woo (73061.213@compuserve.com)
------------------
I drove a 91 9000T w/ automatic transmission for 40k miles before getting
myself into a big accident and now drive a 93 CSE Turbo.

1. The 2.3 Turbo engine's lag is minimal.  Its maximum torque is at 2000
rpm, and it's much quicker than the 2.0 Turbo.  You must drive the car to
appreciate the difference.

2. The headlamp assembly on the 1991 5 doors hatch back is different from
the older 5 doors, it looks like the 4 door CD, a little big more
aerodynamic?

3. I'm not sure about the 89 9000T, but the 91 9000T has the off button for
the air conditioning system.

4. The 91 9000T also has the electric seat as standard equipment for both
driver and passenger memory.

5. I think the CD player is standard, not sure.

6. I down shifted all the time w/ the auto box and experienced no problems.

Let me know if you want to know more specific information.

Good luck.
==================
Message from erikgj@kaiwan.com
------------------
I bought a used '92 9000 turbo 5-door 5-speed for 18.9K in 1993. It has
leather and most of the options that come with the later model CSE turbos.
I love the car the turbo lag is not bad at all. Just remember that anywhere
above 1500 rpm that a vast range of power is available from a normaly
asperated 2.3 four to something that resembles Thor's hammer. That switch
in personality can happen in less than a second and can be exhilarating.
The ride is stiff but seems to fit its capabilities and pupose.

I have heard from many people that the post 1991 9000 with the 2.3 liter
balanced-shafted four is very reliable. The local SAAB shop has two clients
with '91 turbos that have more that 300K on them.

FWIW, I highly recomend the post-91 9000 turbo if you want the fastest,
meanest family sized sports-car. If you need a softer, more mellow car look
into a non-turbo 9000; still a fast car.

Erik
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Erik Gjovik   internet: erikgj@kaiwan.com      AOL: ErikGj
Go Packers Go Badgers "Just because it works doesn't mean it's right"
"Vintage Brett Farve. Dumb and brilliant at the same
time."<><><><><><><><><><>
==================
Message from JimB3259@aol.com
------------------
I find used 9000s don't move as fast as Hondas, Toyotas, etc. so I would
suggest you could get something for about 1000 less than what dealer is
asking. Now one can argue that I am talking about two different classes of
cars, but I just went looking and couldn't find a decent V6 Toyota but 
plenty
of 9000s (in Chicago area). 
==================
Message from Siegel-Rich (rls@dsc.com)
------------------
Well, I can offer some perspective, as I have purchsed two 9000 turbos in
the last three years.

The 1987 has the 2.0l engine, with 165 hp. It works just fine in most
cases, and with the performance handling kit and the Group 6 air inlet kit
(K&N air filter) has enough go, and good enough handling to do the
occasional Monte Carlo rallye.

The 1991 has the 2.3l engine, and comes stock with the big 16" wheels,a
performance version of the suspension, and a long list of improvements over
the earlier (even 1989 and 1990) versions, including an improved ACC system
(now you can actually turn it OFF!), dual power MEMORY seats (important
when one is tall, and one's spouse is not!), and headlight wipers (they
really work on those long, dusty desert trips!). Not to mention airbag and
ABS (which are both available beginning in 1989 as standard equipment).

The power difference is LARGE. I have to be careful (even with sticky
Pirelli P700z tires) to not smoke the tires under hard acceleration,
especially around corners. But the nice thing is, you can if you want to!
No traction control in 1991 (I think they added it in 1992). Unfortunately,
I think the 1991's are very rare. I believe that only 1500-2000 of these
turbos (see them with the three-spoke wheels) were imported. They came in
four colors: black, white (mine), red, and Platana Gray (a medium gray
metallic - the best color IMHO).

The direct ignition (and latest version of the fuel injection) seems to do
a much better job of cold and warm starting - my 1987 has perpetually been
cold blooded. And of course, all the other parts are newer too (like the
steering rack). And the 1991 came with a 6 year, 80,000 mile warranty, so
you could still find one around under warranty.

Both cars have been more reliable than any of my previous three 900's, so
I'm pleased in that area. I prefer the 87 for the really hard rally driving
because the suspension is so tight (too tight for road trips though!), but
the 91 is a better all-around car, and seems much more luxurious and
comfortable (and newer). And it looks really nice with those wheels and
body colored trim.

The question about turbo lag is correct, with the torque benefits of the
2.3l engine mitigating it in the 1991 - it doesn't need to wait for the
turbo to spin up - it's got the ft-lbs to move right NOW. Then the turbo
kicks in and you really scoot! Much fun.

As for turbo reliability, I've got 115k on my 87 - no problems. 95k on my
91, with no problems either. I don't consider the turbo to be the weak link
in this car (more like the steering rack, oil leaks, motor mounts, and
maybe someday, the transmission - but I use Redline MTL, so hopefully not
soon!).

The price seems to be dependent on local markets. Out here in southern
california, I'd expect to pay $16-18k for a good 1991 (of course, I found
mine and negotiated down to $14k - but it had 80k miles when I bought it).
I generally use the Edmunds book, and try for 1-3k BELOW their retail
price.

Hope that this helps! They're great cars, but hard to find. And because of
all the expensive pieces, make sure you get a well cared for one. It'll be
expensive to fix all the fancy things in the car if you don't!

Good Luck,

Rich Siegel
87 9000T 115k
91 9000T 95k
==================
Message from RickKahn@aol.com
------------------
There is another difference between the '89 and '91.  The built-in-test
capability is much better in the '91.  The only problem with this is that
some of the available fault information may only be obtained by a special
tester called the Intelligent SAAB tester (ISAT).  Unfortunately, at $5000
not every home can have one.  This means you may need to find a good dealer
with the ISAT and be willing to pay the price.  Good luck with the hunt.

RickKahn@aol.com
==================
EOF
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#3927
4/18/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used 9000
==================
Message from erikgj@kaiwan.com
------------------
1992 does have traction control which is indepensible for really hard
launches. It accelerates so hard that it left a BMW fanatic friend of mine
speechless. You can turn traction control off by just touching the brake
enough to turn on the brake lights.
erik
==================
Message from Clark Wilson (100063.2350@compuserve.com)
------------------
Someone finally points out the non-obvious..... After '91, Saab removed
just about every single manual adjustment from the 9000 and rerouted thru
the computer. Now, the moral of this is, if you buy a post 91 9000 (model
year 92 and on) do not expect any non-Saab franchise except for the VERY
best equipped to be able to do much set up and tuning of your car.
	This is the natural progression of computerising your engine
systems and the advent of the 'Trionic' engine management. Do not expect
your local independant Saab specialist to be able to do much more than
change plugs filters and oil in your '92 onwards 9000. What this really
means is that for us people who own Saab cars older than 4 years old and
who no longer want to pay the scandalous high cost of Saab servicing and
it's inherent poor value will be forced in future to use Saab shops because
ourselves (if we do it) or our independant specialists will not have the
huge sums of money to invest in the proprietary Computerised diagnostic
equipment needed to service our own cars! This situation already exists for
my own Saab guru here in the UK. Saab are only now awakening to the large
numbers of independant Saab service specialists and are trying to woo back
pre '89 Saab owners to the fold (especially 900 owners) with new reduced
price 'menu' servicing.
	I don't care much for Saab franchise agents (a well known fact).
All those people who say 'How Wonderful' their agents are have not taken
their 5 year old car for a diagnostic on a recurring and/or intemittent
fault! There won't be much we can do about it anyway... just kindly bend
over and take your pants down please....
==================
EOF
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#4705
7/31/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from John Weiss (jrweiss@homer.u.washington.edu)
------------------
> A slow leak from the pwr. steering

The steering racks on that vintage car were prone to fail.  If it's 
leaking now, and it's from the rack, expect a BIG bill soon.

> Rust around from the wheel well to the door bottoms

A rusty wheelwell doesn't bode well for the overall condition.  I have an 
'82 with 140K, and NO rust!  If you think it's normal in your area 
(snow/salt belt?), and are willing to live with it, though...

> I had it looked at by a mechanic who said the car has a head gasket leak.

Not a sign of good care for the engine.  Where is the leak?  If between 
a coolant passage and a cylinder or oil passage, no good!

>    What I would like to know is much would it cost to have this repaired?
> The mechanic did a complete go-over of the car and was the problem I took
> most note of. The dealer is asking $3000. The car has 120,000 mi on it,
> the car also had a leak on a axle and in the a/c .

You'd be better off to find a car that's in good condition now, and pay 
the extra $$ up front.  Already, your $1300 car is over $4000!  for that, 
you might find a nice 85-87...
==================
Message from joreiche@du.edu
------------------
> > I am looking for information on 89 - 900 S's.
> 
> The 87-89 time frame was not the best for Saab and 900s in particular.
> Starting with 91 they had a much better warranty, as well.

I own a 1989 900s with 135,000 trouble free miles (short of normal 
maint.).  My mom owns a 1988 900T with only 65,000, and it runs 
damn fine.  I would say form experience, that at least the '88 and
'89 900's are just fine (better in many ways than my old '85 900T).
My '89 just passed emmisions and because it was so clean, it did not 
even register on the "sniffer" with any measurable levels.  It shifts
just fine, and is frequenlty banged off the rev limiter (as it has been
most of its' life).  I am not sure what the other person is refereing to
as per '87-'89 not being good years...  I can't see a '90 doing any
better.   In fact, from my experience, my 1989 900s has been the best
one yet!  I say go for it.  If you want specifics or have any other 
questions about an '89 900s, feel free to E-mail me at:
				joreiche@phoebe.cair.du.edu

			Enjoy!  John T. Reichert
				1989 hammer-time 900S :}
==================
Message from PrfTex@aol.com
------------------
I dont agree with the caveat for a turbo- not in 83- they were oil cooled
at that point and very prone to burnout if not warmed-up and cooled down
properly. The P/S leak is symptomatic of "GM power steering syndrome"-
it's got a Saginaw rack- which is no big deal if you can live with some
groaning under load when the cold weather rolls around. All in all, I'd go
for it at around $2300.
==================
Message from Kenneth E. Williams (WILLIKE@GWSMTP.NU.COM}
------------------
I'd be cautious when buying what you described. I had these problems on an
'83 900, and most others that I talked to had enough of the same problems
to make me think they are generic to the vehicle:
-Transmission (case fails to hold pinion bearing in line, resulting in 
total failure.  Rebuilt tranny was $1700 plus
installation)
-Clutch and slave cylinder--normal wear out for this number of miles
-Front wheel bearings -normal wear out for this number of miles
-heater valve (almost everyone I know bought one of these after 5 years)
-starter
-shift lever reverse lockout spring
-steering rack seals
Most people will tell you that you are getting close to some major service 
if the engine comes out--the tensioners on
the timing chain need to be tightened, and the head itself may be burning 
through (not the gasket, the head. 
Manyyyyyyy  $$$$$$$$).
Good luck
Ken Williams
==================
EOF
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#4788
8/8/95
Message from JAShevelew@aol.com
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
I would also have to disagree with the conclusion that '87-'89 were bad
years.  My 87 900T 3-dr has 105,000+ trouble free miles.  No major
problems at except for a turbo bearing change at 85K (abuse from a teenage
driver so I don't blame the car).
==================
EOF
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#4943
8/26/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from Jeffwlk@aol.com
------------------
I am considering purchasing an 85,86,87, or 88 Saab 900.  I know a bit
about automobiles in general, but not much about the difference between the
various Saab years / models.  I have heard that the engines are very
durable when properly maintained.

I do have some questions that I would very much appreciate answers to:

1.  Are there any differences in horsepower between the 16V engines of the 
above years?
2.  Are the 16V engines victims of "death & destruction" if the timing belt 
breaks?
3.  How much does a clutch replacement run (p&l)?
4.  Have the turbo's proven to be any less reliable / higher maintenance
than 16V's
5.  Are there differences between turbo's & 16V's besides the engines?
i.e. breaks, suspension, transmission.
6.  Is anyone familiar with a FAQ internet address?

Please respond directly to me at JeffWlk@aol.com
Thanks in advance!
==================
Message from John Weiss (jrweiss@homer.u.washington.edu)
------------------
> can you give me any information on what years are best for purchase of
> used saab 900 turbo?

'82 started APC, so you don't have to worry about premium gas if you 
don't want to.  '85 or '86 started the 16 valve engine.

Depending on the price you want to pay, I've had a good '79, still drive 
a great '82, had a good '91, and had a semi-good '83...

I also have a '94, but it's not a turbo...
==================
Message from MLennartz@aol.com
------------------
If you are in the market for a used Saab, I've bought a couple, sold one,
and learned a thing or two along the way.  ALWAYS ask for records, and
check them for accuracy.  If there are no service records, or are not well
kept, walk.
 This would hold true for ANY car, not just Saab's.  And, as long as you
are hunting for that perfect Saab, why not look for one still under
warranty, or a model whose owner purchased the extended warranty (they are
transferable to the new owner).  That is your safety net.  When selling,
have your records ready to show.  If you are in a smog-check state, it's
nice to have it already *smogged* for the new owner, sets their mind at
ease that the car is up to specs.  I always included the pamphlets from the
model year of car I was selling (if it was a 92, I had the original Saab
brochures on the 92 models ready to send along with the car).  Little
touches like that show you, like most other Saab owners, didn't just own
any car....it is a Saab, worthy of the extra care.

Mark
==================
Message from Maria Warren (cmclyon@home.interaccess.com)
------------------
I'm looking at buying a used 89 900S 4dr 5 spd 99k. for $5250... is there
any reference as to used Saab prices? What should I look out for? Please
let me know.
==================
Message from Loren Amelang (loren@pacific.net)
------------------
>My questions; what else to make a point of checking?

I just bought a 91 900T cv 5spd, 52K miles (my first SAAB). Driving it up
the mountain (getting it hot enough to turn the fans on...) and then
through a hard right turn causes lukewarm coolant to dribble onto my left
foot. I assume this is related to the fact that all the SAAB part
advertisements include replacement heater valves.

My cruise light comes on but the cruise control does not take hold. Haven't
explored this one yet. The hood release cable seems to require a lot of
force to operate - I am more likely to remove the plastic grip from the
handle than open the hood. A small item, but thoroughly buried under the
rest of the mechanisms.

Reverse on the 5-speed is _way_ over there; mine is easy to move but a bit
hard to feel if you have really engaged the gear or not. A few times I have
not quite made it. I was disturbed by the shift up light, too, but its
behavior makes sense if you can accept that the engine likes to be lugging
at very low rpms. (Does it? It sounds nice and works well, but I was always
taught small engines didn't like such low rpms.) Thankfully the light goes
off on downgrades when you release the pedal.

Finally, there are some clanking sounds from the drivetrain when I shift or
go from decel to accel. I'm telling myself they are the sounds of fine but
powerful machinery which have not been totally hidden from the driving
enthusiast. But when I read about thrown drive chains and shattered
gearboxes, I wonder if I should worry... Can anyone describe what a shift
or clutch engagement or change in accel should sound like?

Loren
|  Loren Amelang  |  loren@pacific.net  |
==================
EOF
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#4973
8/29/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from Bob Lyon (cmclyon@interaccess.com)
------------------
1. any resources available on Saab network for resale process of used Saabs?
2. I'm looking at a particular Saab to buy from a private party and would
greatly appreciate correspondence on price and caveats for this model/year:
it's an 89 900 4dr 5spd with 99k asking $5250. A mechanic said it was in
excellent condition, body & engine, but couldn't advise me on price.
Regional variations on price? (Chicago area).
==================
Message from Jeffwlk@aol.com
------------------
Thanks to everyone who provided advice on buying a mid/late 80's 900.  As
recently as yesterday afternoon I thought I had found the perfect car.  It
was an '88 turbo 3 door with 84K.  It looked and drove great (I know I want
one of these things).  However, thanks to a list member who recomended
having a mechanic check the car prior to purchase, and to another member
that had good things to say about Petersen Automotive in Skokie, IL
(Sweedish car specialist) I have decided to keep looking.  Among other
things, the car had bad ball joints, bad oil seal around the crankshaft
pulley, nail in a tire, nearly spent clutch, dead cruise control, faulty
original radio with an antenea that would not go up, rear rotors at the
wear limit, front pads nearly gone, and repair from a previous accident
begining to show signs of rust. Oh - the front headlight was loose & did
not work. This is from memory as I left the report with the dealer. To say
the least, I was surprised.  I have owned two 911's (still own one) and a
944 and have worked on cars for most of my life.  I thought I would be able
to spot a lemon a mile away. I guess my only consolation is that I did not
look *really* closely because I knew I would have it professionally
inspected.

I have looked at probably 15 Saabs in the Chicago area during the last
month and this was the first one that I felt confident enough to bring to a
mechanic for the $50  pre-purchase inspection. Thanks again,

Jeff
==================
EOF
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#5257
9/30/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from (JR8920@WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU)
------------------
I saw a nice Saab 900 Turbo at a local used car lot. They want $4850 for 
it and it has 111K miles on it. The body looks in great shape (couple of 
dings on the hood) and the interior is very clean.

I am new to Saabs and need advice on what to look for, what not to be 
scared of, and what should make me run away from it as fast as possible.

I'd appreciate any and all suggestions, comments, help, etc.

Thanks

-John
==================
Message from Gene Yoon (Gene_Yoon@brown.edu)
------------------
are you sure about the model years and/or the engines?  Because the 2.3L 
was not introduced until the '91 model year, on the normally aspirated 
engine only (stateside, as far as I know).  The 2.3-turbo followed the next 
year.  The '90 might feel less responsive simply because it still has the 
old 2.0L.  That's 150 hp versus 116 hp.

Just checking,
Gene
'87 900T
==================
Message from Goldberger, Steve (goldberg@cannet.com)
------------------
 I have owned one of these ('90) in the past.  The most important factor in
the selection (other than condition) is to be sure to get a 2.3L.  This 
engine was a running change during the model year.  The 2.3 is much 
smoother, has useful power in the non-turbo edition (unlike the 2.0) and the
oil filter is out front wheRe: it belongs.
Since you have identified a low mileage '90 which seems to run better than 
the '91 with higher mileage, why not just buy that one? if the price is in 
line, that is.  Do try to verify that maintenance was performed on it, 
though. The answer to the question about adaptive ignition is "yes".  there 
is a knock sensor and the system retards the timing if knock is sensed.
==================
EOF
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#5299
10/4/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from Ken Bell (kenbell@panix.com)
------------------
I've been shopping for a Saab 9000 and have actually test driven a 
few of them :-)

Two were 1987, one turbo, one normally aspirated.  One was a 1989 
turbo CD, at a seemingly remarkable price ($5600) until I actually 
got to see the car, as expected of course.

I'm considering buying the 1987 turbo, for $4500.  But there are a 
couple of features not present on '87 cars that I wanted, and would 
like some advice on them.

    1.  ABS brakes were not available until '88, and I'd appreciate
    comments as to whether this is something that should make me
    reconsider buying an '87.  Were the '88 ABS brakes "done right", or
    were there subtle bugs in the controller that should make me prefer
    a non-ABS system here?

    2.  A power seat, available in '89 would be helpful.  Is there a
    good chance of buying and installing a power seat in the '87, or is
    it either not available anywhere or prohibitively expensive?

Is there anything in particular, mechanically, that I should be sure to 
check before buying an '87 turbo?  From my own short inspection, the 
engine, transmission, exhaust, and brake systems appear to function 
well and there are no apparent leaks.  It's a pleasantly typical Saab 
9000, so far as driving it goes.  One of the rear power windows makes a 
"jump" in its travels, so I guess there's a repair coming for that. 
Also, the engine idle speed appears a bit high, around 1,000 rpm.

I'd like to check the engine compression but could not find what the 
specs are (this is of course the 4 cylinder, 16 valve engine), i.e., 
"normal", "minimum" and "maximum difference".  Also, what is the proper 
torque when replacing the spark plugs?  And is there anything, like 
the spark coil, for example, that I need to disconnect when checking 
the compression?

Many thanks in advance!

-- 
Ken Bell :: kenbell@panix.com   :: (212) 475-4976 (voice)
======== :: syklb@giss.nasa.gov :: (212) 678-5516 (voice), 678-5552 (fax)
==================
Message from (EMPERORW@aol.com)
------------------
Sold my clean 1990 9000 CD turbo with 68000 miles in July 1994 for !3,900.

Price was the established by Saab lease buyout.

Reasonable price for your"s shpuld be $15K or lower.

Emperor W
==================
Message from Ira Kronitz (ira@clam.com)
------------------
Check out the Edmunds buyers guide gopher pages on the web for prices. 
Address for the used car info:

gopher://gopher.enews.com:2100/11/showroom/edmunds/usedmake

And the address for the main web site:

gopher://gopher.enews.com:2100/11/showroom/edmunds/usedmake/mainused

And for 1991 Saab 9000s, the info from Edmunds' is:


9000 1991                     BaseLst   Whlse     Retail
4 Cyl/FWD/AT/PS/AC
5 Dr Sdn                      22895     11275     13875
5 Dr S Sdn                    26995     12250     14925
4 Dr CD Sdn                   28995     12850     15550
5 Dr Turbo Sdn                32995     15300     18175
4 Dr CD Turbo Sdn             33995     15725     18650

Ratings
                0       2       4       6       8       10
                |-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
Safety          ********************************* 8.1   
Reliability     **************************** 6.8        
Performance     ******************************* 7.6     
Comfort         ********************************** 8.2  
Fun to Drive    ******************************* 7.5     
Value           ************************** 6.2          
Overall         ******************************* 7.4     


ADD FOR ALL 91 SAAB:
Car Phone +125
SPG Pkg +735

DEDUCT FOR ALL 91 SAAB:
No Auto Trans -440

>
> Any suggestions on the reasonableness of this price range would be
> appreciated.  My review of various price guides at bookstores, etc.
> suggests that this is a little high. I don't want to be cheap about
> this, but I also don't want to pay too much for any car.
>

-- 
Regards,
Ira
Ira Kronitz      ira@clam.com     617-374-7965   fax-617-252-0820
CLAM Associates  Cambridge, MA  02142   URL: http://www.clam.com/
==================
EOF
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#5356
10/12/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from Goldberger, Steve (goldberg@cannet.com)
------------------
>    1.  ABS brakes were not available until '88, and I'd appreciate

The closest thing to a "bug" in the '88 ABS is that previous owners have
had up to 8 years to neglect maintenance.  The ABS components are VERY
expensive and are not avialable as individual parts - just the electronic
controller and the "rest" of the system.  On a car that old, without
records showing meticulous care, non-ABS is a blessing.

>    2.  A power seat, available in '89 would be helpful.

With Saabs height adjustable and cushion-front adjustable manual seat, I'm
not sure why you want power, but the power seat assembly is self contained.
There is no reason why it shouldn't fit.  Call Sweeney, Goldwing, or
Swedish/English to get prices of used seat assemblies.

>Is there anything in particular, mechanically, that I should be sure to
>check before buying an '87 turbo?

Mainenance records!

>Also, the engine idle speed appears a bit high, around 1,000 rpm.

My wife's '88 has always idled high.  I don't know if its tach calibration 
at the low end which is off, or the computer, but it has its own mind about 
the idling speed.  The important thing is whether it goes through a "cool 
start" without losing its mind.

>  Also, what is the proper torque when replacing the spark plugs?

For new plugs, it's snug, and then 1/4 turn to crush the gasket.  For used 
plugs, with pre-crushed gaskets, it's 1/8 turn, I think.

>And is there anything, like
>the spark coil, for example, that I need to disconnect when checking
>the compression?

Yes, do unhook the coil low-tension wire.

>Sold my clean 1990 9000 CD turbo with 68000 miles in July 1994 for !3,900.
>
>Price was the established by Saab lease buyout.
>
>Reasonable price for your"s shpuld be $15K or lower.

Saab's lease residual prices seem to be lower than "book" for cars
currently as old as the lease one will be at lease end, and the mileage
penalty is pretty stiff.  See my leasing dissertation in Nines #227!
==================
Message from Hans Sauer (sauer@gene.com)
------------------
I am thinking about buying an 85 900 turbo 4-door 106K that looks clean 
to me, although I haven't driven it yet. The seller would let it go for 
2000. It has power windows, nice stereo, sunroof and a non-working AC. 
Rust is not evident and no big problem here in CA.
Is there anything specific I have to look out for (e.g. I was told that 
the turbos don't last). Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

I am not currently subscribed to the mailing list (although I may soon 
join your ranks) so please reply directly to me.
Thanks a lot,
Hans
==================
EOF
The Saab Network
saab@network.mhs.compuserve.com

#5668
11/13/95
Message from Goldberger, Steve (goldberg@cannet.com)
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
>I have been told pre 1980 SAABs suffer from oil leaks.
>Im thinking about a non turbo model ... any ideas on
>which models are the most reliable...

The predominate source of "oil leaks" is on the valve cover of the "B"
engine, which was made THROUGH 1980.  From 1981 on, the valve covers are
cast aluminum (both 8 valve and 16 valve) and sealed with an O-ring.  Prior
models have stamped steel covers with thick cork gaskets.  The leakage is
no better or worse than on any typical American V-8 with steel valve covers
and cork gaskets.  When all is well, they don't leak. period.  With age and
removals, the rubber seals around the screws break down, the cover gets
warped, and the bits of old gasket which are not removed interfere with the
sealing.  The cure is to replace those little rubber washers as well as the
gasket, to make sure the valve cover is straight (a big wooden block and
patient tapping with a hammer are in order), and make sure the sealing
surfaces are clean.  If you feel obligated to use any sealant, I like
"Permatex #2", a black gooey petroleum based product which stays somewhat
pliable.  Its main benefit is to hold everything in place until you get the
cover screwed down.

Note that the "bottom end" of the engine is essentially unchanged from the
'73 99's on up.

Unfortunately, there is an inherent weakness in the older Saab engines, and
it is not from oil leaking but in the cooling jacket of the 8-valve head.
There is a propensity for a hole to develop between the #2 and #3
cylinders, after which the head needs to be replaced.  The problem is
aggrivated by carless attention to the cooling system, as when viewing a
failed part it exhibits the characteristics of "erosion corrosion", a
phenomenon related to both localized boiling and corrosive coolant.  I have
never experienced the problem, but I always used 60% to 70% glycol with
distilled water and changed every year.  And I never had a loss of
pressure.  The one person I know who did have the problem was 0 for 3 in
the above categories.

Other than sealing the valve cover, the major difference in the "B" and "H"
engines, for an owner, is in the water pump maintenance.  The "B" water
pump is driven by a crossed helical gear on an auxiliary shaft.  Changing
the water pump always results in coolant getting into the oil, so you must
remember to change the oil too, and careless or heavy handed installation
of a water pump on a "B" engine will destroy the gear on the auxiary shaft,
which means  pulling the engine. Just to make the water pump swap a little
more interesting, they used different numbers of teeth on different model
years, and using the wrong pump will also destroy the teeth on the
auxiliary shaft, which means ....  The "H" engine, on the other hand, uses
a more-less conventional water pump which is driven by one of the belts and
is changed in the usual way.  It is a lot more difficult to get to, but
less tricky.

Otherwise, remember that Saab parts are very expensive relative to, say,
American parts (in the US).  We have many old Saabs with lots of miles
which are fairly economical for their owners, due to their solid and long
lasting design.  But one which has several old problems "simmering" away
could eat up a lot of money in a short time if you buy it "wrong".  Good
luck, and look carefully.
==================
EOF
The Saab Network
saab@network.mhs.compuserve.com

#5786
12/1/95
Message Summary
Subject: Re: Buying a Used Saab
==================
Message from John Weiss (jrweiss@seanet.com)
------------------
I would NOT buy that car without the warranty book and records!  It's still
under warranty (80,000 miles powertrain and major systems), and you may
need the records to prove it was cared for.  If the dealer doesn't have the
records, ask him to get them from the previous owner.  If he can't trace
the car through any wholesalers, auctions, etc, that's another indication
to stay away from it!
----
John Weiss -- jrweiss@seanet.com
==================
Message from Jeffrey Anderson (jeffreya@msmailhq.netimage.com)
------------------
I also bought a used 900.... I got it from the Saab dealer who originally
sold the car...nonetheless the same questions went through my mind.  I
mentioned this to the service manager and he did a quick check.  Apparently
Saab maintains a central database of all cars and the work done on
them...so if you go to a dealer and ask what's been done on this car (using
the VIN)...they can get back a listing of any and all service, recalls,
etc....obviously as long as it was done by a saab dealer and they entered
it correctly.  By using this I found there was a couple recalls that hadn't
been taken care of by the original owner....and I found out what the orig
owner did in terms of service.
Jeff
jeffreya@msmailhq.netimage.com
==================
Message from Goldberger, Steve (goldberg@cannet.com)
------------------
Any Saab dealer can get the warranty history from the Vehicle ID Number.
If there is no dealer convenient to you, try Saab Customer Service
1-800-955-9007 and have VIN info handy.

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