Date: Mon, 07 Mar 2005 02:51:01 GMT
From: "Dexter J" <>
Subject: Re: 2004 9-3 aero bad in snow

Salutations: On 06 Mar 2005 15:46:50 GMT, Onejob <xnospamm> wrote: > Tex wrote: > >> I recently purchased a 2004 9-3 Aero...with the 17" wheels/pirellis. >> This car, as is, stinks in the snow. This morning, I was embarrased >> that it couldn't even get me up a small, somewhat snowy incline, at >> low speed (as an AWD Volvo and an old Ford Escort zipped right past >> me up the hill). The AWD clearly has the advantage but the Escort??? >> >> I realize snow tires would help, but would they markedly improve snow >> weather performance? It's disastrous, as of right now in the snow. >> >> - tex > > I had to smile yesterday! A local news report here in the UK was > reporting how disruptive and terrible our "big freeze" was i.e. 6 > inches of snow over 3 days. Lughable in itself BUT then it showed a > queue of stationary traffic with a not so stationary car heading for > the rear of the queue, sliding out of control. It narrowly misses. > > No prizes for guessing what the car was. A 2004 9-3 Aero! The next > morning, I left the Saab in the drive and took my Vectra instead! > > SP. Being from Nova Scotia - a relatively small outcropping of north Atlantic rock on the Laurentian Abyss on an isthmus to the east of Canada just below the Arctic Circle - please let me chip in (off?) some perhaps helpful advise here. The port of Halifax, my home town, being where most of that World War Two convoy footage of ice covered merchantmen bravely heading out to an uncertain future was filmed. Basically - there are four great tricks to successfully winter driving. Correct tires and pressure - lower gears - weight distribution - throttle control. Proper winter tires at the lower end of the recommended pressure range, teamed with weight distribution towards the drive wheels (in this case - to the front), will allow you to use lower gears and throttle control to maintain forward momentum by combining the previous elements to create osculating traction. So - while it is still legal and encouraged here to annually fit tire studs - I have found most of my SAAB's over the years have been perfectly satisfied with just a mid-grade set of winter shoes - which I retire the second spring. All Seasons are a suckers game and well worth avoiding in my books. I keep the trunk/boot extra empty and tidy and make sure the rear springs and shocks are in good fettle in the fall. I also tend to keep it 3/4 fuelled rather than topped up - as a full tank tends to put a bit more weight in the rear than is desirable in later generation SAAB's. Now - I happen to have the 5 speed '93 Aero with TCS which, while much maligned - does actually really work when working. The system actually put me in exactly the opposite situation to yours on Toyo's during a surprise early season blizzard last November where I sailed on up a steep ice covered hill - right on by a Mercedes 4-matic, a jetta and a Subaru - all spinning and nudging along on the shoulder trying to get to the gravel (which is a good place to find traction next time you are caught on your summers without a TCS fettled machine BTW). A slow, steady application of power - sort of in reverse of ABS, which is to say as sort of pumping your throttle ever so gently as you would have once pumped your non-ABS brakes on an earlier car - will do a *much* better job of keeping you moving than anything else. While you might find pavement by heavy spinning - you will only find it for a moment and you are very literally sending a potentially fatal shock-wave back through your differential and transmission every time you momentarily catch pavement. If you have been caught out unprepared in a snap - get your trusty tire gauge out and carefully adjust the air pressure in your front tires to the very lower end of the acceptable pressure range. This will achieve two important things: You will heat up your tires slightly more on what dry patches you are crossing - which is very important when you hit the slippery bits. It will allow your tires to more readily release snow and ice from the tread as they flex more in rotation. Which will keep you moving over the slippery bits. Remember to top them back up if you aren't replacing them with winters in the immediate future and for the love of god - keep the speeds down until you can do one or the other. De-rimming is ugly any time of the year. Finally - buy a 5 pound bag of kitty litter and drop in with the spare. It's a lifesaver when needed, doesn't weigh as much as sand for the volume and doesn't rust out your floor pan when it gets wet like rock salt. In a real pinch - you can also try splashing down your tires and the immediate surface in front of them with liquid bleach. But be careful - it will rot off whatever you are wearing before you get home if you splash yourself. I guess that's it - the rest should be self-evident if you've lived long enough to get the loan to buy the SAAB. Cheers and better motoring brothers. -- Radio Free Dexterdyne Top Tune o'be-do-da-day Santana - Lowrider all tunes - no cookies no subscription no weather no ads no news no phone in no sign up required - all the Time Dexter J's fab SAAB 900 for sale:

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