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Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 16:14:31 -0000
From: "Jez" <>
Subject: Does this sound reasonable?

Hi, I'm just after opinions so I can decide what to do next. The short version of this story is as follows: While visiting family in Norwich (UK) I found my 96 Saab 9000 CD Eco Turbo idling at 3000 rpm. Took it to the local authorised dealer and had it diagnosed for just over 40 and was told I had a faulty AIC valve (they'd tried cleaning it, but no use). They didn't have the replacement part and I had to return home so they told me to take their diagnosis print out and give it to my local authorised dealer, and ask them to replace the AIC. I was taken home by a rescue service and called my local dealer to ask them to order an AIC valve and book in a fitting time. They did the work based on the Norwich diagnosis and found the car still faulty. They put on a new ECU and found the car running properly and so said my ECU might need to reset itself. They left it disconnected for a while and then refitted it and the car worked. I told them that the problem had been intermittent, although mostly present, and that I wasn't convinced the old ECU would continue to be alright. They told me that if the idle started racing again they'd have to replace the ECU, but that it seemed to be okay. They charged me around 270 of which 123 was for labour. At this stage I thought I was being let down either by the Norwich people or else my local ones, so I called Saab UK and asked for their advice. I suggested that it was bad that one of their authorised dealer's had given what appeared to be a faulty diagnosis leading another authorised dealer to do unnecessary work. They just said it was between me and the dealers. Both dealers told me that they believed they had done the right thing. I told my local dealer that it seemed I was paying for unnecessary work, if all they've effectively done is replace a working part and leave the ECU without power for a while. They said the old AIC valve was probably faulty anyway and stuck to their price. I paid and drove the car away: next morning, idling at 3000 rpm again. I called my local dealer and told them; they said I need to have the ECU replaced and that it would cost 600 for the part. I said I'd get a second-hand one and booked the car in for tomorrow (Tuesday 18th November) - I feel like a mug, but what can I do? Feeling confident now that the whole AIC valve thing was a red herring I asked for my old one back (I wanted to get it tested by someone else so that I would have a case for asking for some money back), but I was told that it had been thrown away. Now this was the very next day, and I'm pretty sure authorised Saab garages are supposed to keep old parts for just such situations. Problems: The Norwich people charged 40 labour to do diagnostic checks, remove the AIC valve, clean and replace it, and carry out Tech-2 checks. My local people have charged three times as much to simply replace the AIC valve and vac hose, and to do some checks involving switching the ECU for a test one and then switching back again. Is the difference reasonable? It seems like a lot to me, but I just don't know. More importantly, does it sound reasonable that I've had the AIC valve replaced? I'm in no doubt that it's unreasonable of them to throw it away after I'd already expressed doubts about the old ECU working properly. Most importantly of all, should I let them put on the replacement ECU? I've already bought it because I felt I had no choice, but since ordering it I've done some research on the web and I've become still less confident in the garage's opinions. I'm concerned that I'll pay another 100 labour and still have a faulty car. As I say, I feel like a mug, but what can I do? Saab UK seem just as unsympathetic as the garages, and I don't have the old AIC valve to test independently. Obviously if I do have the ECU replaced I'll request in advance that I be supplied with the old one. Any opinions or advice very gratefully received. I know this is a long post, but it really is the short version - the long version could reduce a special forces veteran to tears! Many thanks in advance, Jez

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