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Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 23:29:17 -0400
From: Dexter J <>
Subject: Re: New Here...... Question

Salutations I have added my 'buying an old saab advice as a template now.. I wonder if I should just add a page to fleet services over at Radio Free Dexterdyne for it.. M Hayes529 wrote: > > We are looking at a 1993 Saab 900S... It is a New England car, looks good, > clean and has 120k on the ticker... For sale sign says new fuel pump, new tires > and brakes.... 5 Speed tranny...... I had a buddy that had a 93 and she had > some problems that she caused... The car was nice and we have two Volvo's so we > understand the quirky Sweeds.... Anything I should look for???? He is asking > $2200.00..... > > Thanks in advance > > Jake Here is something I wrote up a while ago about just this topic - it's old New Yorker Magazine long - but I have been told it's a fun read for a SAAB newbie.. Print it up for the 'Library' sunday morning after breakfast if you like.. It'll be better than the fish rap at the front door I fear.. To begin with - I like the older 9000 Turbo better. Ours currently has 310,000km on her. However all used SAABS usually really need work and a very detailed, careful inspection before buying - by a garage not trying to sell it to you - so you know what 'needs work' really means in terms of total dollars over the coming year.. If you buy a good one - you have a great one good to 600,000km and perhaps beyond like my current 1989 9000T may be.. If you have a bad one - you'll never be able to fix it and it will bleed you dry trying before having to dump it for considerably less than you think it's worth to someone who will come to hate you until the day one of you dies.. And not some shabby mobile inspection service either - a real euro performance shop who does a little club GT racing on the side.. Non dealer VW guys are good bets because the size of the SAAB with a four banger kinda privately appeals to them. The basic machine - but not many actual parts - are sort of familiar.. The Turbo system interests them as technicians greatly - always.. In fact - someone who doesn't particularly like SAAB's is generally a great choice.. Personally - I use H.A.R.D up here in north end Halifax Nova Scotia.. Martin's place to his pals.. He dislikes SAAB less now that he's been working on mine a bit.. But he is no fan.. Anyway - we currently have a good (read - parts are wearing out slowly and nothing really expensive is happening to her) 9000T sedan which I couldn't be more pleased with - I got it cheap because the dealership who had it on trade thought it had a iffy tranny and/or bad electrics and the interior was pretty rough (even though it is fully loaded and leather).. It was, if you will, a cost of business car for the Subaru.. About $1,800 (Canadian) after haggle.. At the time - like $900 (USD)? I did a full tune up with Martin and it stopped - violently - cutting in the anti-knock system under hard acceleration and turbo boost.. However, it came back and degraded as Martin warned it would.. My days as fast fat boy street racer are pretty much over anyway Martin and I agree - so what the hell? Under boost this SAAB is good from standing stop to 90k in about 5 seconds and hauls back up safely in considerably less.. But I can live without it - don't light up the tires and pass only when you can.. What the heck do I need to be driving like that at my age? My kids are usually in the back anyway.. Lucky ducks - I gather the ride in the back of the 9000 is gracious on a level that I probably wouldn't understand.. The engine mounts were done when I bought it. So when I had them replaced this fall during its annual safety. I gave it to Tom McDonnell's, a good local place for working folks with off warrantee mid-aged cars, to see what he could make of the - violent - bucking problem.. Martin was really busy at the time and was kinda baffled at the problem too.. Well brothers and sisters - there is this older guy at Tom's who took a long look and figured out that it could simply be a small oil vapour leak from a ten cent oil ring at the distributor making a spark wire ground on #4 hole.. Holy Crow! He said he's seen it a long time ago on some other side mounted distributor.. Like a buick or something I think.. It's hard to remember details like that whilst fighting off tears really.. It's kinda of like having a pet passed back to you at the vet after a frighting illness.. Not a finding god thing so much as a sizable and greatful lump at the back of your throat.. Martin couldn't be more pleased for us all too.. My turbo was awakened from it's long, languid summer and the over cycled engine management system could take it's rest in the idle sun!.. My 2.0 (non-DI) power plant was/is strong and now reliable and not self destructing and the previous owner had bought several fresh wastegate and assorted ignition parts and serviced the tranny before it undoubtedly sucked much of the joy for life out of him for his trouble.. So - now I have a strong if still kinda shabby 9000T which flew up to Ottawa (about 1,500km) a couple of months ago at 115k in -30c weather (before wind-chill) - in 14 hours flat on two gas stops on cruise. It didn't even change gears unless I was heading in for fuel.. It was just great - broad crisp sunny winter wilderness through Eastern Canada - like the ripping sales lit SAAB put out for the model - only better! A sunset over the mightly ice packs on Gaspe Bay - moonless shooting stars near Quebec City and northern lights into Ottawa - with CD quality tunes in near silence the whole way.. I just had to pull the washer lever every so often to clean the headlights! I didn't want to pull into Ottawa at the end of the trip really.. Those heated seats are great on the back brother.. In the end we sunk $1,500 (cnd) total over the first year on everything including repairs, tires and oil so I'm in (and out of trouble) for a total of less than $3,300 - including purchase - maybe $1,700 USD?.. I'm not ashamed to admit I did congress with my god briefly just north of Montreal when the traffic thinned out a bit and the northern lights came up.. Just to comment quickly on how well things were going and to say thanks a whole bunch.. I'm even looking at buying a 1992 9000T (risky year BTW) with a completely pooched over tranny and turbo as - I now have a solid power train which might make it live again.. Much ignition work - but the whole drivetrain and associated fuel systems bolt in if Martin, Tom and I can work out how to fake out the TCS.. But even so - even as it sits - the 1989 is good with just regular maintenance for another three or four years if the 1992 owners go loco and decide to rebuild.. While it's not as pretty and it's just starting to rust - the 1989 is sturdy enough to respectably get me and the mine around town and country here with normal wear and tear type maintaince for a good lenth of time.. BUT THIS IS NOT OFTEN THE CASE WITH OLDER THIRD OWNER SAABS.. It takes a team of dedicated professionals and a patient, optomistic owner group to make any greater old SAAB/Dad/Family relationship work.. It took a strapping build year at the end of a debugged model series at the Swedish works in the first place.. Mine was very probably actually built in the short month or two of summer in Trollh”ttan (the foundling ground for older SAAB's) by proud Swedish men and women - aglow and inspired to excellence with the excitement of the pending weekend kayak adventure across the icy fjords as their mighty viking fore fathers did in days of old.. Look here's one now: Mostly - it takes some good carma(tm) luck.. You know?.. Being nice to people whilst driving (and generally too) - so the good lord doesn't see fit to smote my turbo charger for being one of the crap-heads.. Get a full service bulletin for that model year from your local SAAB dealer parts counter and have someone you really trust check it against all the stuff that's there to see what's been replacemed or may be outside the correct operating tolerances.. You'll want to keep your internet connection alive too - lots of good dope out here on problems people have had.. The one huge upside to the final GM hand over builds like the 1993 900S - is that they got huge Johnsons for the kind of detailed integrated service documentation and alert reporting that third generation owners of north american and japanese metal would trade their tackle for.. Don't expect the sun and the moon and don't get suckered into paying like it is - a 1993 (whatever it is) is still at 10 year ride.. -- J Dexter - webmaster - all tunes - no cookies no subscription no weather no ads no news no phone in - RealAudio 8+ Required - all the Time Radio Free Dexterdyne Top Tune o'be-do-da-day Dave Mason - Only You Know and I Know

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