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Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 21:54:47 -0700
From: Joe Gugliemino <>
Subject: Re: Starting to shop

'nuther Bob wrote: > On Thu, 22 May 2003 00:23:55 -0700, Joe Gugliemino > <> wrote: > > >>I think the Saab has the best lines, and from >>what I've read it has solid reliability. I > > > Fairly good. There are a few things that tend to wear and a few things > to look for. Repairs are not cheap on European cars, although my > Saab dealer only charges about $5 more per hour than my Nissan > dealer. The difference might be that there are more aftermarket > parts for a typical Japanese car (lower cost) than there are for a > Saab. However, using the 'net you can get parts for a good price. > Basic maintenance is minimal in terms of parts. > The feedback I'm getting from this group seems to indicate that they're not as rock-solid as I thought they were. > >>My hypothetical Saab would be a 900 S/SE 5-speed. > > > As SE turbo is "the one" to get. Avoid the V6 if you can. Some > folks like it, but it's high maintenance and hard to work on. > It has less power than the turbo. > Good to see that there are not major problems with the turbo. That was a big worry of mine. > >>I live in New England at the top of a >>significant hill, so snow traction is important to me. Last year's >>snows gave our Odessey some trouble before the plows got to us. > > > If you put snow tires on, you can pull out stuck SUV's. With > all seasons, you'll still out perform most other cars. > This is a biggie with my wife - she's ready to dump the Odyssey even though she loves everything else about it. > >>As for the S/SE, I like the idea of a turbo for performance, but I'm >>leary of repair costs. Have the turbos proven themselves to be as solid >>as the engine they're bolted on to? > > > Absolutely. Change the oil every 3.5K (dino) or 5K (synthetic). > The Saab motor itself will go 300K miles. The turbo itself will go > at least 150K if treated right (change your oil!) > > The only maint issues are with a > couple of the accessories: you need to change the serpentine > belt (not timing chain, the "fan" belt) every 50K along with > a pulley that can wear, $80 parts, 30 min labor. The Direct > Ignition Cassette will go somewhere after 65K miles (welcome > to the world of DI, it's the same routine for all cars with it.) > and that will cost $275-$400 depending on how good a shopper > you are, 5 minutes to install. You'll need a clutch cable every 45K, > $50 parts, an hour of labor. Note: you can let all of these items > go longer, but you'll regret it when you get stuck somewhere one day. > > A few folks have had problems with their clutch (not just the > cable) a little early, maybe 70K miles) and it will be about > $1300 to replace it complete. You might also have a a/c issue > with the evaporator which could set you back $1000 (I think it's > a poor maintenance issue, but I can't really say).You might even > have a head gasket problems, a few folks have, to the tune of $1500. > Sometimes Saab will pay half of the cost if you are out of warranty > and ask nicely. They tend to be liberal. > It's good, but disappointing to hear about these pitfalls. I don't mind replacing the belts and such, but the big ticket items are the ones I'm trying to avoid by buying a quality car, albeit an older one. > >>Does a non-turbo have enough zip to make it fun to drive? > > > Not IMHO. Others like it. There's nothing like stomping on a > turbo when you want to go fast. There's torque to spare. > > >>It seems like I've got 2 options for buying used. I can either buy an >>off-lease for $10-15k (or more), > > > If you can swing it, get a car that is still under the 4/50 warranty > for at least 6 months. That gives you time to have anything fixed > that needs it. Saab is very liberal with the bumper to bumper > coverage IMHE. One of the best warranties I've run into. You will > also be into a 98 or newer, and they fixed up a lot of issues like > eliminating the clutch cable (it's hydraulic after 97), the head > gasket issue, and a couple of other items. > I get what I pay for... > >>or an older model for $5 - 10k. I >>really don't want to spend over $10k if I don't have to, but I don't >>want to buy a problem child either. What are some things to look out >>for in '96-'98 models? > > > Saab watches problems closely and fixes things as the model matures. > As I mentioned, the 98 has the improved clutch, new torque specs for > the head, and miscellaneous other improvements. The 1997 had most all > of these improvements except for the clutch change - the late 97's > got the new torque specs on the head. I would shy away from a 96 if > I could because there were a few issues like a water pump shaft > problem (replaced under a goodwill campaign on most cars... not sure > if they still do goodwill on cars that old now). > > >>What would be a good price for an SE? > > > KBB is the best source I found. Look to get the car for something > between "trade" and "retail". Don't pay retail unless the dealer > is giving a substantial free warranty, you can do better. > Got it. > >>Can I get one for $6k that would last? > > > Maybe. You might run into one or two $1000 repairs, but since you are > getting a deal, maybe it's worth the risk. > > >>The few Saab dealers I've called don't carry older models. Does anybody >>know reputable used car dealers in the >>Worcester/Framingham/Milford/Westford area? > > > You should really specify a state when posting on the Internet :-) Yeah, I figured between mentioning New England and Worcester the locals would know where I was. Not too considerate of the others though... > But, since I am familiar with the MA area... there's a great Saab > Mechanic(s) called "The Doctor" in Acton/Westford that you can use > for a pre purchase checkup. I highly recommend that you do that. > I don't know where to get older models, but there is a > in Southern NH (Amherst) - I don't know anything for or against them. > I like the service at Village Saab in Concord/Acton, MA but I was not > thrilled with the Sales Department. The dealers tend to have cars that > are no more than 3 years old. > I work in Acton. I haven't made it to Village Saab yet. Thanks for the referral to The Doctor. Those are the kinds of references you can't get anywhere else. > I do know a guy who is great for "off lease" cars - very small > (one salesman, one mechanic) dealership, he picks the cars from the > factory auctions personally, he sells for a fair price. If you are > interested, email me and I'll send you a little blurb on him and > his operation. It's in Rawley (North Shore, MA). Great guy, honest, > worth the drive if he has what you want... he can often find what > you want if you can give him a little time to hit the next factory > auction. Email me at if you want some info. Thanks again for the help, > > Bob -- - Joe (To respond directly, remove the 'deleteme' from my address)

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