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Old 07-24-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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Nephew asked me to help find a 9-3SS...

Well, my nephew, out of college for just over a year is looking to replace his first car, a base c900. He's interested in a 9-3SS and is looking for my advice and counceling in buying an '05+. Problem is I really know nothing about these cars, other than the basics (Ecotec based turbo 4, etc., etc.). I'm more of a classic 900, NG900, and 9-5 guy.

He's working two jobs part time and expects to be making a purchase in about 2-3 months. So, what are the problem areas on these cars? Anything I need to be looking for other than the common sense stuff? (Maintenance schedule, oil changes, etc., etc.)
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:03 AM   #2
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Watch out for the blocks on the 4 cyl... they are notorious for seeping coolant and needing to be replaced. My sister has had 2 or 3 already in her '05.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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The front ends get clunky, things like endlinks are often the problem. Often stereo components are an issue, but later cars not as much.

Avoid '03's.

Our '04 was pretty reliable. The front end clunking was an issue a couple of times.

If he can afford CPO, that would be ideal.
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Old 07-24-2010, 02:10 PM   #4
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He's looking for '05 or later. Good to know about the pourous blocks. I'll keep an eye out for that.
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:50 PM   #5
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Just as an aside, that is a neat car you have. Till I got back into it .. and actually pre internet ... I never had a clue how many unique models there were.

Just reading these posts .. there are little problems popping up all over. Remind him not to totally rely on Carfax ... there are ways to beat it.

When it gets down to it .... Aero with a six versus the 2.0 four banger ?? Where does he tend to lean ... performance or just the basics .. not hard coming from a 900, he will feel like, I still haven't figured out all the "options that are standard" .. (wow that was a good Yogi'ism) ..
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talladega900 View Post
He's looking for '05 or later. Good to know about the pourous blocks. I'll keep an eye out for that.
Yeah, keep in mind, my sisters SS only has like 80k and is on it's 3rd block... if that tells you anything lol. Thank God for CPO.
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:19 PM   #7
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Yikes. 3 blocks already???

Might steer him to an older Viggen or something. Much as it pains me to admit, I did suggest a 9-2X (they're actually starting to grow on me, heh...)
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:21 PM   #8
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Yikes. 3 blocks already???

Might steer him to an older Viggen or something. Much as it pains me to admit, I did suggest a 9-2X (they're actually starting to grow on me, heh...)
Yeah, it's hit or miss with them. 2 replacement blocks under warranty. 3 blocks total if you count the original.
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Yikes. 3 blocks already???

Might steer him to an older Viggen or something. Much as it pains me to admit, I did suggest a 9-2X (they're actually starting to grow on me, heh...)
I was *this close* to buying a 9-2x last week, then decided I didn't want to finance anything and bought a 9K Aero instead. Very happy so far!
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:53 PM   #10
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171k on our '04 9-3 2.0T Conv, no big issues.

One Fuel Pump, Couple Sets of spark plugs, and regular maintinence...

Havn't had multiple blocks... Transmissions... Or anything else. Pretty much change the oil, replace the serp belt from time to time and go...

If I didn't want a bigger car, I would of bought a 9-3SS in a heartbeat...

P.S. I work with quite a few independent dealers that carry lots of Saabs, and have never heard of block problems ith the '03+ cars til now...
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
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171k on our '04 9-3 2.0T Conv, no big issues.

One Fuel Pump, Couple Sets of spark plugs, and regular maintinence...

Havn't had multiple blocks... Transmissions... Or anything else. Pretty much change the oil, replace the serp belt from time to time and go...

If I didn't want a bigger car, I would of bought a 9-3SS in a heartbeat...

P.S. I work with quite a few independent dealers that carry lots of Saabs, and have never heard of block problems ith the '03+ cars til now...
Ask around with people who work on SS's a lot.

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=55826
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:48 AM   #12
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My father's been working on Saabs for a long time and he's never seen a pourous block issue on a newer SS. I wouldn't be surprised if they were an issue though.

One thing I've heard of happening really frequently with SS's is the springs breaking. Other than that, they seem like solid cars. While I'd prefer a 9-5, the newer SS's don't seem to have the sludge issues that earlier models had. GL with your search.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zingZACH View Post
Ask around with people who work on SS's a lot.

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=55826
I work with an indy that's sold probably a few hundred (including selling me mine) in the past few years... No issues with those that's been brought up to him or his mechanics... Maybe he was just lucky...

Also... If the front springs break and you're in an area where salt is used, Saab will replace them free of charge.

I believe this is both on SS and Conv, '04+ (maybe '03, but I know for sure that '04 is covered)
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I work with an indy that's sold probably a few hundred (including selling me mine) in the past few years... No issues with those that's been brought up to him or his mechanics... Maybe he was just lucky...

Also... If the front springs break and you're in an area where salt is used, Saab will replace them free of charge.

I believe this is both on SS and Conv, '04+ (maybe '03, but I know for sure that '04 is covered)
Maybe he just didn't realize it? I don't know... I'm just going by what I've been told and from what's gone on with my sisters car. From what I've been told, it's a fairly common and known issue with them. All I know is it's definitely a documented problem and Saab will replace the short block under warranty for it. My dad and cousin have seen plenty of them go through with this problem and my cousin specializes in SS's and wrote and drew a lot of the stuff for WIS, so even if I don't know a whole lot on the matter, he certainly does. Those cars are his bread and butter.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:39 PM   #15
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Interesting... Well, now I know...
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:00 AM   #16
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I would not say that is it a common issue at all.

Few people have had it done on other forums, but 2 dealers and 1 independent have never heard of this issue. I know this because I asked around when there were no immediate answers to my occasional rough idle.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:47 AM   #17
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I have HEARD of the block issue via Training schools - but between 6 dealerships worth of techs and over 30+ years experiance - there was only 1 known case in that group. (3 years ago) It is a true fact - and yes, it affected the EARLIER SS more so then later. Just like the 2.8T (Aero Cars) have the same poorly tempered t-chains as the SRX and other quality GM products which have the chains replaced often - not so true with Saab (maybe 1 or 2 I known of)

Early SS = 2003-2005 IMHO
Best Year IMHO is 2007 - looks of the first generation with the elctricals of the later. i.e. NO FIBER OPTICS (Made by Delphi) 2006 was the last year of the Fiber Optics... not a major issue by 2005, but still something to consider. The entire entertainment system is fiber optic till 2007 - meaning radio upgrades are a bit different.

Dash materials are prone to hand cream and moisturizers - the outter film which creates the dash texture will peel if exposed to too much of the stuff. Buttons on radios and such do the same.

ABS ECU's often shit the bed...

Springs Break (front) - quality GM part

Upper strut mounts are prone to water seeping in causing steering binds and noise - update bearings and water shield available and usually installed when the springs break....

Brake wear on earlier cars is more severe... meaning you could get anywhere from 8,000 - 50,000 out of a set of rear pads/rotors! Fronts should get about 30,000-60,000 miles. Front brakes ALWAYS need rotors if equipted with OEM brakes. Saab rotors are soft, pads are hard = good brakes and very dusty.

Power-steering pumps like to leak/shit the bed (Cam driven)

Serp Belt Tensioner does wear out - usually by 100K you should just install a new one if it hasnt been done yet.

Lots of TECH ECU's which can be programmed and re-flashed with new software for features and functions.

Window regulators often break - another GM part...

They consume headlight bulbs - there is a reflash for the UEC (under hood electrical center) which reduces the voltage to the bulbs and "makes them last longer." Most cars should have had this done by now.

My vote is for a 2006 or 2007 9-3SS Personally - least amount of problems in those years

MOST of the 2003 SS have new transmissions and LOTS of new parts in them which repaired all the warranty issues they had. A CLEAN 2003 with service docs is not a car to walk away from - but price should reflect the cars known problem history (meaning UNDER $5000 for a CLEAN one)



Prior to the new 9-5 coming out I was watching for a 2007 Combi with a 2.0L and a 6 speed Manual (since that was another plus of the 2007) but they have not dropped below $12,000 yet and are rare to find. You can get a 2006 under $12K now it seems...
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:05 PM   #18
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I like my '06 SS. 40k and no problems besides a little too much wind in the car with the windows down while cruising quickly in Mexico..... Bent a wheel, but that's nothing specific to the SS. I had an issue with a frozen wheel speed sensor but after it thawed I've had no more trouble with that. In summary, no issues specific to the SS, simply general maintenance.
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