Project Freja: 2002 SAAB 9-5 Aero 5-speed wagon build thread - The Saab Link Forums

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Performance Modifications for the 9-5 This forum contains PERFORMANCE related Q&A's for the 9-5. This may also include suspension.

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Old 09-07-2013, 08:57 AM   #1
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Project Freja: 2002 SAAB 9-5 Aero 5-speed wagon build thread

I recently purchased a 2002 9-5 Aero 5-speed wagon with 117,000 miles. I am quite excited as the combination of the manual transmission, the Aero trim, and the wagon body-style was exactly what I was looking for. In my opinion, that combination makes for the ultimate wolf-in-sheep's-clothing; unassuming and efficient when you need it to be, and a bat-out-of-hell when you want. Over the next few months I will be installing some performance parts and tuning this beast, while also trying to restore the exterior and make a couple tasteful changes to the stock appearance.

These are the pictures of the car that I received from the previous owner:





I made the mistake of not getting the car checked out by my SAAB mechanic before purchasing, and I got burned pretty hard as a result. Usually, I would insist on taking any used car I plan on buying to my mechanic beforehand, however, the car was out of state, it ran and drove perfectly (it seemed when I test-drove it), it has zero rust (which is an issue here in the north-east), there were other interested buyers, and, as I mentioned before, the 5-speed Aero wagon is pretty rare so I took a chance. It ended up having a leaky head-gasket, which caused all sorts of other problems, mainly ruining the catalytic converter. Everything has since been fixed with the exception of the cat (I am installing a performance turbo-back exhaust which I am still waiting for) and I will be picking up the car from the shop early next week.

This is what I have planned for the Aero thus far:

Performance

max performance summer tires
performance snow tires
Krona 3” turbo-back exhaust w/ race catalytic converter
Krona turbo inlet pipe
performance bypass valve
K&N performance drop-in air filter
3.5 BAR fuel pressure regulator
Brew City Boost stage 3 tune
SAS front & rear sway bars (25mm front/22mm rear)

Cosmetic

SAAB 17” double-Y alloy wheels (2 sets, summer & winter)
powder-coat wheels matte black
powder-coat valve cover red
powder-coat brake callipers red
plasti-dip chrome grille matte black
tint fog lights yellow
tint windows black
shave “9-5” & “Aero” badges from the hatch
black lug-bolt sleeves

Restoration

remove dents
replace hood & hatch SAAB griffin badges
buff & polish paint
buff & polish headlights
clean & treat the leather
replace SAAB center-caps
repaint windshield wiper arms matte black
repaint scratched up front lip

Does anyone has any ideas/suggestions for tightening up the handling without really lowering the car? I would like to maintain the stock Aero ground clearance so I won't get stuck in the snow. Any shock/strut recommendations? A strut tower brace? I also welcome any other input in regards to this build.

Stay tuned for updates.

Last edited by Svenska_Aeroplan; 09-07-2013 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svenska_Aeroplan View Post
Does anyone has any ideas/suggestions for tightening up the handling without really lowering the car? I would like to maintain the stock Aero ground clearance so I won't get stuck in the snow. Any shock/strut recommendations? A strut tower brace? I also welcome any other input in regards to this build.
Nice Saab. A 9-5 Aero wagon with manual in black is an exceptional find.

Regarding handling, simply replacing the shocks (which are probably original and worn out), with either factory Aero items, Bilsteins, or Konis will make a big difference. I would search the 9-5 performance board for opinions on what type to purchase/install. Personally, I love my Bilsteins, but I drive a 9-3. Then get a professional alignment.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Sweet ride I recently purchased a 05' Aero wagon myself and my list of "To Do's were very similiar to yours!

Not sure if you saw the thread in the classifieds section for the 9-5 3" downpipe group buy?
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:35 PM   #4
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Anuther member of the wagon mafia

if you want to tighten it up a little bit, start by inspecting bushings in the car, they are often times very worn

Them move to shocks, if you winter ride it the stock aero springs are fine, just get some bilstiens in there!
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Old 09-12-2013, 03:40 AM   #5
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Amen to that, I had this done about a month and a half ago because my indy said they were totaled. They made a huge difference in ride quality.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:14 AM   #6
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Very surprised the head gasket was bad at 117k. How was it diagnosed if the car ran great?
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:01 PM   #7
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Very surprised the head gasket was bad at 117k. How was it diagnosed if the car ran great?
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:50 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of your replies! I guess I don't have email notifications turned on because I didn't realize this thread was generating so much activity. I'll have to fix that... Sorry guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasaabguy View Post
Sweet ride I recently purchased a 05' Aero wagon myself and my list of "To Do's were very similiar to yours!

Not sure if you saw the thread in the classifieds section for the 9-5 3" downpipe group buy?
Unfortunately, I did not. I have since purchased and installed the Krona one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike d View Post
Anuther member of the wagon mafia

if you want to tighten it up a little bit, start by inspecting bushings in the car, they are often times very worn

Them move to shocks, if you winter ride it the stock aero springs are fine, just get some bilstiens in there!
The wagon mafia... hahaha, I like that. Which Bilsteins do you recommend? The B6 - HDs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saabeh View Post
Very surprised the head gasket was bad at 117k. How was it diagnosed if the car ran great?
I brought the car in to my SAAB mechanic who gave me the bad news. Upon closer inspection, it would seem the car was not maintained by someone who knew SAABs. Luckily, my family has a good, long relationship with him and he went through and fixed it all, brining the engine back up to snuff without charging me an arm and a leg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DEW View Post
Nice Saab. A 9-5 Aero wagon with manual in black is an exceptional find.

Regarding handling, simply replacing the shocks (which are probably original and worn out), with either factory Aero items, Bilsteins, or Konis will make a big difference. I would search the 9-5 performance board for opinions on what type to purchase/install. Personally, I love my Bilsteins, but I drive a 9-3. Then get a professional alignment.
I will definitely check the performance board out.
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:02 AM   #9
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Installed my 3" Krona turbo-back exhaust and cobra pipe yesterday. Also dropped the oil pan and cleaned out the sludge in there. It wasn't too bad, but I'm glad to have that done anyway. I dropped my new SAAB double-Y wheels off to be powder-coated Dupont Black Magic black last week. It is a matte black finish that is a close match to the colour of the window surrounds and plastic trim pieces. I can't wait to get them back and see how they look on the car! I got all my cosmetic trim pieces like new SAAB badges and centre-caps in yesterday so my next step is to get this car looking right. I've got chips in the paint I need to touch up, need to re-paint my wiper arms, plasti-dip my grille, then give this girl a proper cleaning.

Here are some pictures of the exhaust and inlet pipe:

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Old 09-18-2013, 06:36 AM   #10
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Those Krona parts are really nice !


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Old 09-18-2013, 06:48 AM   #11
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Rotate those exhaust tip clamps around so the bolts are on top.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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Rotate those exhaust tip clamps around so the bolts are on top.
Good call. I actually need to rotate all of my exhaust clamps... I didn't realize how low they hung. Definitely don't want to be scraping when I go over speed-bumps.
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:37 PM   #13
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I'm finally getting around to posting some new pictures of the car. Over the last two weeks I got my wheels back from powder-coating, put on new center caps, bought new tires (Continental Extreme Contact DW), repainted my windshield wiper arms, removed the "9-5" and "Aero" rear-hatch badges, replaced the SAAB griffin badges on the hood and the hatch, and started polishing the headlights.






The car looks much better now, but I am not done with the cosmetic stuff yet. I still need to finish polishing those headlights, touch up the chips in the paint, plasti-dip the chrome grille, caulk and plasti-dip the cracked On-Star antenna, give the paint a good polishing, get the windows tinted, and paint the valve cover and break calipers red. It's coming along though...

Last edited by Svenska_Aeroplan; 10-05-2013 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:07 AM   #14
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Do any Canadian members know of a good Canadian website to order parts from? In the U.S. I used eeuroparts.com but I would prefer not paying international shipping. I need a new xenon headlight bulb...
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