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Old 05-07-2018, 02:34 PM   #1
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Higher Mileage '04 Aero Wagon

Hi Guys!

I'm new to the world of saablink but have found some incredibly knowledgeable forums from you guys.

Unfortunately my current Saab ('04 Linear) is suffering from some severe iron oxide poisoning to the rear doglegs and fender edges. This is my first car and I have absolutely loved it, but being a college student I really can't justify putting $2000+ worth of rust repair into a $1400 car. That said, I've been doing some craigslist shopping and found an exceptionally clean '04 aero wagon which I'm sure I could get down into the $2250 range. Unfortunately, it has higher mileage at 170k. My question for you is: would buying this higher mileage wagon and doing an engine rebuild in two years be worth it? Or should I simply wait a few weeks and find a lower mileage wagon for double the price. Thank you!
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Old 05-08-2018, 07:48 AM   #2
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If the seller has maintenance records 170k isn't too much mileage to be concerned about IMO. My two Aero wagons have 230K and 300K, both run great and have never been rebuilt.
If there are no hard records, ask the seller if any preventative maintenance was ever done on the engine, like timing chain replaced, dropping the oil pan to check for sludge, etc. Though I don't think sludge is as much of an issue on an 04 as on earlier cars.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:07 AM   #3
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Sludge is not as much of an issue with '04+, but should still be checked if you can. Maintenance records would be a big plus.

Like 9Kwrecker, my '99 9-5 LPT has ~310k on it now, and the only thing under the hood that's been replaced is the turbo (it's currently on it's second one) and serpentine belt, and the CPS.

That being said, that's unusual. When I had my shop, I considered cars coming in between 140k-170k sort of the magic spot. Either everything starts to go wrong right around there (if they weren't maintained or taken care of from the beginning), or nothing does. Turbos, alternators, water pumps, etc. all usually last about that long. Usually by 170k-180k all that stuff has already been replaced, so I usually tended to go towards cars with more like 180k-200k on them, rather than 120k.

Just one opinion. I've also seen nice looking 9-5's with 50k miles on them that need boatloads of maintenance, then I got my unicorn one that has needed essentially nothing for about the last 100k miles except fluids.

Take a close look at it, you should be able to tell if some or all of the underhood accessories have been replaced. Feel if the motor mounts or transmission is really sloppy when you drive it. Motor mounts and changing the alternator are both expensive, and the alternator is a huge pain the butt, so hopefully some of it's been done already.
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:12 AM   #4
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Perfect! I appreciate the feedback. The seller is in his mid-70's and used to own an Indie SAAB/Volvo shop for 30+ years. Apparently buying and selling saabs is a bit of a retirement hobby for him, just goes to show that you can never get away from those darn things! He buys cars out of the rust belt, ships them up, and then goes over the mechanics to ensure everything is in good shape... seems promising so far. I'm going to go take a look at it this weekend and will keep in mind everything that you've mentioned.

What would you consider a fair price for this car? He has it listed for $3500 which I believe is a little high considering my grandfather just picked up an '04 Aero Sedan with 76k on the clock for $3800.

Thanks!
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:12 AM   #5
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That would be a good price out here. If it's there in the Northeast and is (relatively) rust free and in good shape then it sounds like he's doing a good job keeping cars on the market!

I was buying and selling them up till a few years ago when I picked up a few new hobbies and don't have much time for the cars anymore, but it's always neat to meet people doing the same thing.
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