My 2 cents ($12 adjusted for inflation) - Saab 9000 Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com
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My 2 cents ($12 adjusted for inflation)
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Posted by Kappy [Email] (more from Kappy) on Fri, 12 Aug 2005 04:22:44 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: Yes and no, Ari [Profile/Gallery] , Thu, 11 Aug 2005 05:58:49
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When I first visited this board in the late 90's, I was terrified by all the reports of failed auto transmissions. It seemed there were 2 a day being replaced and that $3,000 was a good deal on the job. My own recently acquired 1991 9000 cd turbo had 110,000 on the clock and I thought seriously about getting rid of it. Today, these cars are a lot older, have many more miles, and yet the reported failure rate here for the a/t transmission is much lower. I have a theory about this.

8 years ago, many of these cars were still with the original owner, still getting dealer service and starting to get some miles. The dealers were taking what Ari has described as the "light bulb" approach to the transmission. That is everytime the transmission did something funny, the dealer would declared it failed and screw in another one. The independent specialists weren't any better. Then something happened. The 9000 depreciated and people with less money, or at least a reduced willingness to spend their money, started seeing great value in these cars and buying them up. These folks were not so willing to fork over $3,000 without exploring the alternatives. And, with the help of Townsend and the great people at Eriksson, it was revealed that the common failures were in the valve body and the governor seals and could be fixed for very little money.

My own story is exactly like this. My 1991 9000 started shifting from 1st to 4th when cold in March 2000 with 130K. 3 independent Saab specialists told me the transmission needed to be replaced for $3,000+. I read here about Eriksson rebuilds so I called them up to find about getting a rebuilt transmission. They told me I need a couple of rubber o-rings, not a new transmission. I was one of the first to report here (through the help of Eriksson-at no charge) that the governor seal failure caused early upshifting and no reverse. Since then, that information has been disseminated here hundreds of times, saving who knows how many transmissons from replacement. Other repairable issues with the transmission have followed.

So, my point is that the reputation for the ZF auto in the 9000 as a junkbox has a lot more to do with the dealers and the original group of owners than it does with the actually durability of the transmission. Some of the transmissions do fail but the greater majority simply need new governor seals or a valve body spring replacement. Compare the cost of those repairs with doing a clutch in a 9000 and I think the auto transmission may well be the cheaper alternative.

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