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Old 07-28-2015, 12:56 PM   #1
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Bought a 2004 9-5 Aero wagon

HEYO! I finally own an automatic...and its a wagon. I never thought either would happen. I bought it so my wife would have a car to commute with and I would enjoy driving on trips out of town. Its a fantastic car; fast, quiet, smooth, comfortable. EVERYTHING works. Every creature comfort, every driving function, every dash light, everything. Even the rear parking sensors work, I couldn't believe it. I am very happy with it.

It has 194k miles, which is a lot, but that shouldn't be an issue if the transmission doesn't give us any problems. I mention this because during the 20 mile test drive I gave it before buying, everything was smooth as silk but now when the engine and trans are warm, sometimes there is a hesitation and jolt when shifting from P to D. The transmission fluid is full (maybe TOO full?) so that could mean I need to do a full 3x or 4x flush, or it could be the "dog bone" lower tranny mount, or it could be the valve body inside the trans...right? I'm going to do the 4x flush; 1 flush a week over the next 4 weeks, just to rule that out.

Other issues include:
-The hint of dog leg rust
-small scratches on front and rear bumpers
-cracked lower front air dam ("repaired" using a bent piece of metal, a rivet and a rusted screw)

Parts needed:
-Xenon headlights w/ ballasts
-Center grill with chrome trim
-SAAB floor mats in grey or black, fabric and/or rubber winter mats
-Low-mileage auto tranny?? Hopefully not but it'd be good to know whats out there. Even if the tranny dies in the next 10,000 miles I think the car would still be worth what I paid...and probably worth fixing.

Planned upgrades:
-17" wheels: either the double 3-spoke ALU36 or BBS RK2's
-Slight window tints
-Xenon headlights would be sweet but I am not paying $200 apiece from Craigslist or eBay. That's crazy.
-Hardwired AUX port to allow iPod to play through factory radio. Anyone have any experience with these?
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daven View Post
HEYO! I finally own an automatic...and its a wagon. I never thought either would happen. I bought it so my wife would have a car to commute with and I would enjoy driving on trips out of town. Its a fantastic car; fast, quiet, smooth, comfortable. EVERYTHING works. Every creature comfort, every driving function, every dash light, everything. Even the rear parking sensors work, I couldn't believe it. I am very happy with it.

It has 194k miles, which is a lot, but that shouldn't be an issue if the transmission doesn't give us any problems. I mention this because during the 20 mile test drive I gave it before buying, everything was smooth as silk but now when the engine and trans are warm, sometimes there is a hesitation and jolt when shifting from P to D. The transmission fluid is full (maybe TOO full?) so that could mean I need to do a full 3x or 4x flush, or it could be the "dog bone" lower tranny mount, or it could be the valve body inside the trans...right? I'm going to do the 4x flush; 1 flush a week over the next 4 weeks, just to rule that out.

Other issues include:
-The hint of dog leg rust
-small scratches on front and rear bumpers
-cracked lower front air dam ("repaired" using a bent piece of metal, a rivet and a rusted screw)

Parts needed:
-Xenon headlights w/ ballasts
-Center grill with chrome trim
-SAAB floor mats in grey or black, fabric and/or rubber winter mats
-Low-mileage auto tranny?? Hopefully not but it'd be good to know whats out there. Even if the tranny dies in the next 10,000 miles I think the car would still be worth what I paid...and probably worth fixing.

Planned upgrades:
-17" wheels: either the double 3-spoke ALU36 or BBS RK2's
-Slight window tints
-Xenon headlights would be sweet but I am not paying $200 apiece from Craigslist or eBay. That's crazy.
-Hardwired AUX port to allow iPod to play through factory radio. Anyone have any experience with these?
Awesome wagon! I still have grey trunk mats from my part out if you're interested!
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:48 AM   #3
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hey we have basically just bought the same cars. I highly recommend the tranny flushes. I always flush everything when I get a new car, no matter what the mileage is. I replace everything that I can replace as well, vacuum lines, gaskets etc...you get the idea. I'm currently in the process of flushing the tranny system and have done 2 flushes so far. Its getting better, but I wont stop until its coming out clean and a nice red color. I also recommend using 'Lucas tranny stop slip' in your car. Its full of all kinds of good things for Automatics. Lots of people have had good luck with it. I've been using it in between flushes. Also, if you havent already, drop the oil pan and clean out the sump. Oh, and flush the engine too, after I cleaned the sump, and added new oil I drove for 600 miles, then added some 'Motor medic' from gunk, its an engine flush additive. Let it idle for 5-7 minutes, then drained the oil. OMG!!! the oil was Black, black, black!!! Like I hadn't done an oil change in 7k or something. So, I also plan on doing lots of engine flushes as well.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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Congrats! 9-5 Aero wagons are awesome. On the transmission... if that thing still has the original transmission in it with no rebuild at nearly 200k miles, I think you might consider it lucky that it hasn't failed yet and begin prepping for a rebuild. Automatics are wear items with a long replacement interval. If you premptively take it off the road before it becomes undriveable it's more likey to be a successful rebuild candidate. Other alternative is to just get another box at leisure and have it on standby. I put a used known - good transmission in our Aero wagon (bought w/failed reverse) and regret not rebuilding the replacement unit first. I didn't expect to like the car as much as I do.
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:11 PM   #5
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my co-worker has 262k on his 1999 automatic 9-5 never had an issue. Then again he has taken extreme care of it since 78k. How hard is it to replace the 5 speed auto's? Mine has the paddle shifts , and I'll admit on a mechanical level I have no idea how it works. First auto I've owned since 2002?
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Old 08-14-2015, 04:14 PM   #6
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262k is a good run for sure. One of my coworkers had something like that on her Camry, it might've been 270k or something and was complaining about the trans failing.

Has anyone ever heard of any auto going over 300k? I haven't but I'm sure they're around. With the right combination of good tolerances/manufacturing from the factory, operating environment, use, and maintenance I'm sure it's totally possible. Our Aero was well cared-for and reverse went at 130k on the original. Once you start having issues on a high miles unit I just think it's dicey. If you can tolerate the failure at any random trip with the way you use it and need it to perform, and are ok with sourcing a good core to rebuild vs. rebuild of the original, hen just run it. Who knows? It may go another 50 or 100k.
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Last edited by Drew in Houston; 08-14-2015 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:18 PM   #7
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I'm sure its possible. If you buy a car new, take care of it, do tons of flushes and use good additives etc, you can hit 300k. Look at 'million mile joe' with his 1990 auto honda accord. Not sure about saab auto's , but like I was saying, if you take care of it. We have another 5 speed auto at my work I may ask to buy just as a back up. I plan on 300k + on this one, and will be saving for another wagon in slightly better shape, since for some reason I want one that is mint and I wont drive in winter. Current car I plan on making into a winter dominator car for our vermont winters.
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Old 08-15-2015, 05:14 PM   #8
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-Hardwired AUX port to allow iPod to play through factory radio. Anyone have any experience with these?
I'm no expert and have not tried everything out there, but I have bought two of these:

mauselec

And they work very well. Somewhat spendy (i think it was 100$) but works great. Sound quality is on par with cd (but I've only ever played MP3 from my phone).
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:31 PM   #9
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MR.E (Sorry for the threadjack for a moment)
You're 15 mins from me. Holy crap.

Ok...Carry on!
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:29 PM   #10
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MR.E (Sorry for the threadjack for a moment)
You're 15 mins from me. Holy crap.

Ok...Carry on!
Nice! was hoping I would someday run into another local saab guy. You know Brian Leedy at all? He's really the only other guy I've met in VT who shares the passion. I should also apologize for the thredjack.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:18 PM   #11
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No apologies necessary gents. I was hoping to spark a dialogue about anything and everything SAAB related. I haven't accomplished many items on the 9-5 Aero to do list. My wife and I started using the wagon for vacation trips and for her commute to work almost immediately so I haven't been able to take it off the road and address many of its nagging issues.

A couple updates to mention however:

Automatic Transmission-I did the triple-flush with the recommended Mobile 3309. The hesitation & hard-clunk shifting from Park to Drive still occurs roughly 15-20% of the time once the car has been driven 20 minutes of more.

I put on some ALU36 double 3-spoke wheels. I love the way they look.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:43 PM   #12
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One of my favorite wheels!
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:18 AM   #13
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UPDATE:

Replaced the transmission which had been suffering from a bunch of issues; a high pitched whine when driving, clunking when downshifting manually at speed and the hesitation/hard kick when shifting from park to drive.

I installed a 79k mile unit from a 2005 9-5 and did a double flush. At the same time, the transmission mount and all sub-frame bushings were replaced. The car drives tight and smooth and quiet.

Next on the list (and I'd love feedback on these):

-Fix what I'm assuming is the Blend Door inside the dash. AC blows cold but its stuck on defrost no matter what.
-Buy & install spacers on the rear springs/shocks to address the slightly sagging rear end which is causing uneven tire wear and an makes it sound like a worn wheel bearing.
-Install Xenon headlights (lets say I don't care about the self-leveling sensors-is it just plug and play?)
-Locate a suitable AUX audio jack - I'd love some recommendations here. I've used FM Modulators--never again! This probably belongs at the top of my list: The wife is tired of listening to my Paul Simon CD and Traveling Wilburys cassette!

ALSO, there is a coolant leak I traced to the Bypass Valve on the firewall. Should I buy this part aftermarket or OEM? I know never to buy aftermarket when it comes to Slave Cylinders, but on a part like this, does it matter?

Thanks guys!
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:40 AM   #14
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I went OEM on the last coolant valve I put in; who knows though? Aftermarket may be a rebadged OEM valve and just the same, or maybe different and even better?

Out of curiosity, how many miles did you end up getting on that original trans?

She was dark and discrete, she was light on her feet....last night, thinking 'bout laaast night... lol
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Last edited by Drew in Houston; 10-08-2015 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:32 PM   #15
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Thanks. I'll probably go aftermarket. There are enough things on my list that'll cost me some big dollars so I'll spend less where I can.

When I removed the worn transmission it had around 197k miles. If it were my car I might have pushed it another 5, 10, 20k miles, squeezing every bit of life out of it. My philosophy has always been drive it till it breaks, but that policy has quickly changed with a wife and perhaps kids on the horizon...

...he loves your five-speed gearbox, long endurance...

I could listen to that album start to finish every day of my life and not get sick of it. I saw Tom Petty last September and when he played Tweeter and the Monkey Man I almost lost my mind!

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Old 10-09-2015, 05:55 AM   #16
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When my coolant valve leaked, I bought the euro hoses that skip it altogether.
eeuro sold them. I'm sure they still do. It's the same job, and removes a failure-prone part.
For the rear sag, pick up some springs. the spacers are a bandaid. especially @ 200k.

Why not get some aftermarket springs? they barely lower an aero if you can find a set.

And the rear noise isn't from the springs, it's from bad toe settings. replace the trailing arm bushings (The PPS are fine), and have it aligned again. Make sure the person aligning knows that the plate for the trailing arm moves. I went to a couple places that said rear toe was non-adjustable. since doing that, I've had no noise, and no uneven tire wear in 20k miles. even with absurd camber.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:04 AM   #17
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Thanks for the feedback!

I went ahead and bought the aftermarket valve eEuro sells. The replacement job was straightforward enough...proper lighting and a variety of wrench/pliers were the most important assets.

I wouldn't be against lowering springs on the wagon, but since my wife is the primary driver, I don't think she would appreciate any decrease in ride comfort/drivability/utility. Also, for her next set of tires I would probably step up from 225/45/17 to 235/45/17 for added comfort (plus more rubber between those beloved ALU36 wheels and potholes) as most of her driving is done on NYC streets. I wouldn't want to create an issue where a lowered car was rubbing on bigger tires...been there, not fun.

I will have to check the color code on the rear springs and order a pair. I agree with you about the shims...though many have said the shims are better because new springs will be sagging within their first 50,000 miles.

The bushings are a definite must. The car rides tight and straight but I doubt they've been replaced in the car's 197k mile lifetime. That's a weekend job before the winter. Then a 4-wheel alignment...gotta get that camber and tow corrected or I'll ruin a beautiful set Blizzaks.

Craig, I'd love to see some pictures of your wagon!
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:34 AM   #18
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Not in a million years would I think I would encounter another Traveling Wilbury's fan on here!

Nice wagon too!
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Old 10-15-2015, 04:40 PM   #19
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262k is a good run for sure. One of my coworkers had something like that on her Camry, it might've been 270k or something and was complaining about the trans failing.

Has anyone ever heard of any auto going over 300k? I haven't but I'm sure they're around. With the right combination of good tolerances/manufacturing from the factory, operating environment, use, and maintenance I'm sure it's totally possible. Our Aero was well cared-for and reverse went at 130k on the original. Once you start having issues on a high miles unit I just think it's dicey. If you can tolerate the failure at any random trip with the way you use it and need it to perform, and are ok with sourcing a good core to rebuild vs. rebuild of the original, hen just run it. Who knows? It may go another 50 or 100k.
1996 900T, Mobil one car from start to stop, Pump finally wore out & lost 4th gear @ 364K, Replaced with used 160K unit, Car just got totaled at 411,000 miles a few months back, After servicing it on & off for 18 years that is one of the most memorable, Did the head gasket & a rack @ 280K, Oil Pump seals,, Car never needed Much Accept suspension overhauls, Original engine, Original turbo all the way to 411K & People think Mobil 1 is bad?... DI"s? Lost count around 2007
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Old 10-16-2015, 10:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Not in a million years would I think I would encounter another Traveling Wilbury's fan on here!

Nice wagon too!
C'mon, Bob Dylan singing about a cop and robber car chase with a woman and some intrigue mixed in for good measure, all backed up by 4 more powerhouses in vocal music of the 70s and 80's......how can there NOT be more Travelling Wilbury's fans!
Side note, let me know if you don't have vol 2 and 3 (unofficial).


Ok back on topic sorry for the thread jack!
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2003 9-3 Arc 6-Speed
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