The High-Power Saab 9-3 Improvement Project. (Common Upgrade Solutions) - The Saab Link Forums

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Performance Modifications for the NG900 / Old 9-3 This forum contains PERFORMANCE related Q&A's for the NG900 and 9-3. This may also include suspension.

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Old 01-13-2005, 08:54 AM   #1
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The High-Power Saab 9-3 Improvement Project. (Common Upgrade Solutions)

Well, I made my first post last night (see for my story and pics https://www.saablink.net/TSL/saabforu...pic.php?t=3047) and I’m already coming to the gurus for help and advice on improving my new ride . To make a longish story shortish, I purchased my ’00 Viggen this past weekend and am very happy with my decision. However, I know that my Viggen is not nearly all it could/should be in stock form and I’d like to begin addressing some of her shortcomings. Right now I am thrilled with the engine and associated power, so it is my plan to leave that realm alone until I feel otherwise (I’m coming from a 140hp and 3.1 lb. ft. of torque Integra, so I may be fine here for awhile ). What I would like to do, as much as funds allow, is some work to the chassis and maybe the transmission too. This is my daily driver, so I want to do my best at maintaining drivability along the way. Can you help? Here are some things I’d like to address.

1) Torque Steer: While the Viggen's torque steer can be fun (in the same way I suppose trying to tame a wild stallion could be fun), I would like to take some measures to minimize this potentially unnerving personality trait. I have looked at “rescue kits” from MPPerformance, GenuineSaab, and Abbott and am wondering if there are any opinions out there as to what represents the best value (read: best combination of quality, effectiveness, and price). MP looks to be the price leader, with Genuine in the middle and Abbott at the high end. Price is important to me, but quality is not something I want to overlook. Any suggestions? What are your experiences?

Note: Scanwest Auto, Abbott’s exclusive US distributor, is fairly close to where I live. That is something that may improve the value proposition for me when considering them.

2) Flexing Chassis: Having driven the Viggen for a week, I have noticed that the chassis lacks the feeling of solidity I’ve experienced in other late model vehicles. This is especially evident over uneven surfaces or broken pavement. I know it is an old platform that is hindered by the hatchback design, but I’d like to do my best at tightening things up. Sway and strut bars seem to be the way to go in this department, yes? It seems like the consensus is that the place to start is with the rear sway bar. MP and Genuine both have offerings that are very close in price while Abbott’s example (through Scanwest) is almost 3 times as expensive! Also, I know Genuine has a front strut bar specially designed for the Viggen, but I heard somewhere that the Viggen's stock bar was intentionally designed to be “softer” in order to best work with the front suspension? Finally, does anyone have experience with the Genuine 6 point sub-frame brace? Would that be overkill on a daily driver?

3) Body Roll: Though the Viggen sticks pretty well in corners (at least to me), it rolls much more than you’d expect of a car with its sporting intentions. It also doesn’t transition as crisply as I’d like it to either. I’d like to cut down on the roll as much as possible while still preserving everyday drivability. In addition to the aforementioned roll/sway/strut bar upgrades, what upgrades to shocks springs are suggested, if any? It seems like Koni adjustables are popular as far as shocks go...doesn’t seem to be consensus on springs. Are both shocks and springs even needed? I remember reading somewhere that simply replacing the springs was a huge improvement as the Viggen shocks are already decent…

4) Shifting: The Viggen’s shifting (at least in my case) is nothing to write home about. It is neither especially smooth nor direct. What’s the best way to improve on this? Honda S2000 shifter swap ? I’m curious about the Genuine tranny mount…it seems like a good option. Any other options?

5) Wheelspin: I was certainly expecting this in a front driver with gobs of torque, but am hoping there might be some ways to cut down on this other than judicious use of the throttle and wider and/or stickier tires. I know the LSD would be the ultimate solution, and I’d like to spring for a Quaife unit at some point. Is there anything else to consider beforehand?

Sorry about the length of this post! As you can tell, I’m really looking for some direction. I’d very much appreciate any and all help/advice/suggestions. Please join me in getting the first stage of my Viggen Improvement Project of the ground! I'll be sure to post pics/updates as I go. Thanks.

Nate
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:21 AM   #2
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I also have an 00 Viggen. I installed the clamp, brace, and subframe brace today then took it out for a hard drive through some twisties. All I can say is what the hell was Saab thinking with that piece of shit rubber mount. The difference is instantly noticeable. Believe it or not the car actually pulls where you want it to and feels much more stable in corners. I couldnt be happier with my first mod. Wheelspin is an issue for me as well but has seemed to have calmed down after the brace and clamp. I dont know if this is possible but I swear it has had some impact. As far as what company to go with. I think you would be a fool to pay more for something that does the same thing. I was curious as to why the prices varied so much and still am but I have no regrets with MP performance. It was shipped quickly and its super easy to put on. I plan on doing a lot of mods down the road and this is the first one that should be done. You will not regret it.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:23 AM   #3
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First off.. very well written post. I will personally sticky this as it seems to cover the major issues that NG900s and 9-3s have and everyone wants to address. All of which will be covered on this single thread.

Now to provide some insight to your questions:

Torque Steer

Your correct about the VRK (Viggen Rescue Kit), as signifcant improvement / remedy to this issue. The companies that you've identified are all highly reputable companies with MP Performance being most affordable, Abbott being least affordable but somewhat highest grade, and Genuine being right in the middle. All three companies solve this problem very well and im sure others will make informative posts about the actual product from these companies.

Flexing Chassis

Once again you've done your research. The good thing as far as the stabilty over bumps is that the VRK will also help this. As far as actually tightening things up you are correct that a stiffer rear sway bar by either MP or Genuine along with Genuine's STB will definately help this. As for the front, if you plan to upgrade to a 3" downpipe, you'd want to stick with Genuine's 6 point, as MP's will not work with a 3". All of this as well as PowerFlex or similar urethane bushings will complete the tightened feel.

Body Roll

Of course the previous devices will help, but as far as springs/shocks I suggest the Koni Adjustables for personally adjusting them to your level of comfort. Along with a lowered spring (and there's many posts on which springs are good), this should solve your roll issues during cornering.

Shifting

NG900s and 9-3s are notorious for a soft shifter. You may want to consider a short shifter (offered shifter only via MP Performance or an entire new assembly...if you shift hard like I do.. by Genuine Saab). Along with Genuine's tranny mount this issue should be well improved.

Wheelspin

Stickier tires would help to a certain amount.. but face it.. you do have a FWD with a turbo. Basically your car is a Torque Powerhouse. The LSD would only help pull you out of corners quicker and doesn't help prevent increased tire wear from your excess of torque. Later on if you ever decide to get an upgraded ECU however, they can program exactly where your power levels are greatest thus improving wheel spin without feathering your clutch excessively.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:34 AM   #4
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Here's What I've Done

I've got a 2002 9-3 SE Convertible. Here's what I've done

Chassis/Suspension/Brakes

1. Eibach Pro-System - huge improvement in control with a nominal loss of comfort.

2. Six point subframe brace & strut tower brace - completely killed cowl shake and the last remnants of torque steer on my convertible. These are Great Mods for a convertible. Makes my 2002 more comparable to a 2004 from a cowl shake perspective. Surprisingly, improved comfort on rough roads too.

3. KIC Steering Brace - easy mod to reduce torque steer and improve control

4. 24 cm sway bar - helps the backend considerably

5. Poly bushings - have done all in front and rear. Tightens up everything.

6. Goodyear Eagle F1 D3 tires 215/45 - 17. Grip as well as the Pole 3’s but much more comfortable and better in the rain. Best tire I’ve ever used.

7.Goodridge steel braided teflon brake lines - Shocked me, big improvement over OEM lines.

7. Abbott Support Frame Bearings - slight improvement over polys.

8. Hawk High Performance Street Brake Pads - similar to Green Pads in performance, but much easier on rotors

9. Zimmerman Cross Drilled Rotors - good performance at a good price. Look cool too!
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:59 AM   #5
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Lemonscu: First off, congrats on the Viggen! Good choice Secondly, thanks for your take on the MP kit. Sounds like you are more than pleased with the result! That is great to hear as I am thinking it will be my first mod, too. Great to hear you have no regrets going the lower cost MP route, too. Thanks for your insight, and enjoy your ride…even more now! Keep me updated on any new mods you make and what your impressions are, ok?

Blaque_Out: Thanks for the compliment. I’m happy to hear there’s enough that’s relevant in this thread to make it into a sticky. Thank you, also, for your well written reply that addresses each one of my concerns. Great information! It’s all very helpful. Thank you.
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Old 01-13-2005, 03:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the great information, ragtop! It is much appreciated. Great to hear a real life example of what someone has done to their car and what differences those modifications made. Thanks for the practical example.

-Good to hear Eibach system doesn’t exact a significant penalty in ride quality or comfort.

-I am very happy to hear the 6 pt. subframe brace has been so effective, but am even happier to hear it seems to have improved ride quality in some instances. Great to hear!

-I have heard the 24mm and even 22mm rear sway bar would likely be too much for the Viggen, leading to oversteer. If this is the case, and since I live in a wet climate, I will likely be going with the 19mm option from Genuinesaab.

-I have brand new Kumho 225/45-17’s on my Viggen right now, but I have heard great things about the Eagle F1’s. I may try those out next as you report that they are great in the wet in addition to being quite sticky. Thanks!

-I hadn’t really considered new brake lines…sounds like it was a big improvement for you. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

-I have new rotors and pads as of now, but will have to keep the Zimmerman’s and Hawk’s in mind for when I need an upgrade.

Thanks again, ragtop!

Nate
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Old 01-13-2005, 09:06 PM   #7
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Question #1.

Changning #1,2 and 3 to polyruethane bushings will help you almost eliminate torque steer up to around 310bhp!
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Old 01-13-2005, 09:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9-3 Mike
Question #1.

Changning #1,2 and 3 to polyruethane bushings will help you almost eliminate torque steer up to around 310bhp!
Thanks 9-3 Mike! I'm assuming you have this done on yours? Do you have any other modifications along with it to help with this issue? I know that bushing replacements are part of the VRK packages that are out there. I'm assuming they replace the bushings you mentioned?

Nate
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Old 01-14-2005, 01:18 AM   #9
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yes, I have mine changed. I've alsa had a slipdifferential mounted (40%) that will help you to get better grip in cornering and prevents innerwheel to spin. Although I will mount a 100% locked diff later on as I'm reaching above 450bhp. The steering rack clamp that has been mentioned already is a good thing to change. The X under the subframe is no overkill at all. It should've been that stiff stock. You can't do too many improvements. Just go for it as long as your economy allows it.
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Old 02-21-2005, 04:02 AM   #10
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shugaluv34...

Just curious as to what you've done so far and your thoughts on any mods you've installed.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:25 AM   #11
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Just to make a few corrections, or to be corrected myself.

Ragtop you mention a 24 cm (im sure you meant mm) sway bar. Helping the back end, The only 24mm bar I am familiar with is the 9-3 SE front sway bar.

Shugalove, the 22mm rear will give a slight bit of oversteer, but its easy to handle.

The Viggen was given a 22mm front bar to "Aid in corner exiting traction" But I think its a worthwile upgrade to 24front and 22 rear. (my current setup)
If you go this route, in the front, its a perfect time to do poly bushings, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:06 AM   #12
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You are right, I did mean mm. I got my sway bar before Nick or MPPerformance started selling them. I think it is 22 mm. I can't remember who I bought it from. I have the 24mm front sway bar on my 2002 9-3 SE. That came stock. I did add the poly 24 mm bushings and just recently added Nicks new bushings that tie the sway bar in. They were not expensive and were easy to do. Probably help, but not dramatic, since every other bushing was already poly. I also recommend the bushings for the rear axle. Those in concert with the bigger sway bar really improved my handling.
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Old 03-28-2005, 03:16 PM   #13
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6 point subframe brace

I installed the subframe brace from Genuine (Taliafero imports).

This is a definite must do to reduce cowl shake and improve tracking on all road surfaces.

I used ramps-not recommended as clearance is minimal.

now to address the ridiculously squishy suspension.......
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:22 PM   #14
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Shugaluv I was looking at this post and I was wondering how Project Viggen is coming along these days??
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Old 11-22-2005, 04:15 AM   #15
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i dont think hes been back here since he posted this
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Old 11-22-2005, 06:07 AM   #16
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YEah I dont think he has either but I guess you gotta check sometimes.
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:07 AM   #17
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This thread is one of THE biggest (of many) reasons i joined
this TSL community. Despite the enormous challenge,
it is in my game plan to land a Viggen (the car, not the fighter jet ),
so i consider this thread solid GOLD.
BIG thanks to the TSL authorities for creating this site and making
this a sticky thread, because i'll be hitting this link
often!

CHEERS!
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:10 AM   #18
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We should consider changing the name of this thread. All of this info is good for most modded saabs.
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
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We should consider changing the name of this thread. All of this info is good for most modded saabs.
Sounds like a great idea, go ahead change it up to what you think would be appropriate.
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:24 AM   #20
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Boom.

I for one, would like to hear more about the 6pt brace.

Anyone?
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