Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 05:02:31 -0800
From: Justin VanAbrahams <jvanabranopsamnet>
Subject: Re: When to shoot an old SAAB?

> I recently bought an '87 9000S. Overall it was well taken care of but some > of the catch-up maintenance is starting to cause me to reconsider. The car > has 140,000 miles the engine, body and interior are in very good condition. > The problems according to my mechanic (whom I trust) is a clutch that should > be replaced, an OEM timing chain idler that he recommends being replaced, > shot motor mounts that should be replaced, leaking oil pump. I prefer > bringing the car up to snuff, none of the problems currently are keeping the > car off of the road and I recently replaced brake rotors and water pump. > Recouping the repairs on resale or insurance should it be involved in an > accident is not likely since the above list of repairs will take over > $2,000. My options are to sell it and try again, repair it and drive it, or > live with it and let it continue to deteriorate. Any thoughts? I think your mechanic may be taking you for a ride... I can't be sure, but I'd have his opinion double-checked... 1. A clutch at 140k is not out of the question, but seems a little low for a 9000. If it's not slipping and you don't have problems engaging gears, you don't have a problem. Wait until you do before fixing it. 2. Shot motor mounts are not uncommon, and 140k is actually a decent life for them on a 9000T. What usually happens is one of the top motor mounts go bad, and the owner ignores it, generating additional wear on the lower mounts. Then they all end up needing replacement, which is not cheap. Take care of these. And, if your mechanic starts spouting off about needing to remove the engine, tell him he's full of it. Motor mounts can be done quite handily with the engine in the car... not fun but DEFINITELY doable. 3. There is no idler for the timing chain. The timing chain wraps around the crank, passes by two guides, and wraps around the two cams. That's it. On later 2.3l 9000s with balance shafts, there's an idler, but not on the earlier ones as far as I know. There is an idler for the serpentine belt, but It's VERY easy to replace. If this is what you mean, 140k is a little young, but not out of the question. 4. I've never bought a Saab that didn't need rotors. Don't know what the story is, but they've all needed 'em. On a FWD car the front ones generally don't last that long since they deal with all the weight in the car. 5. Water pumps on the B202 Saab engine generally end up lasting 70k or so, in my experience. Some get more, some get less. Whatever you do, be sure you replace it with a GENUINE Saab part or you WILL regret it. Non-OEM pumps have VERY poor lifespans, in my experience. Good luck... '87 was a great year for the 9000T and they really are great cars... I've owned four of them and enjoyed each... You'll never be able to sell the car for what you paid, but by the same token there is no other car on the road that large, that powerful, and that fun to drive for the same (or even close) money. -Justin

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