1 2 3 4
conesare2seconds HalfDork
9/14/15 7:18 p.m.

Several years ago I had a Saab9-5 linear wagon with the 2.3t and 5m. I loved that car and regretted selling it. Manual wagons are hard to come by. MPGs were great and the low-pressure turbo made great (seeming?) torque. It was perfect for hauling around the dogs and ate up the miles.

Fast forward a few years. I only have one dog now but he's getting older and less agile. Seems he hurts himself half the time he jumps out of the Accord and he needs help getting in. Time for another backup car/canine transporter?

CL to the rescue. There is a weedy 2002 Aero wagon with needs. In another triumph of optimism over experience, I buy it. It's an automatic, but hey nothing is perfect. $1850 later, it is mine.

It needs a coolant bypass valve (exclusive to US-spec cars, the rest of the world more reliably enjoys their Saabs without), the HVAC blower in inop but I'm assured the system is charged, and it periodically goes into limp-home mode for no apparent reason. On the plus side, the seats and body are good, there is no rust at all, and the tires have deep tread. Happily the seller needs some extra cash, so he agrees to work on it on the cheap and indulge me by trying a few low-buck fixes I found in the Saab forums.

A few weeks later, the neutral safety switch has been disassembled and cleaned per a terrific writeup on teh internets, the blower motor pulled and futzed with mostly successfully, and a new BPV is fitted.

Now she needs a serious bath. Sorry no before pic.

What's wrong? One washer nozzle door is missing, as is the DS fog lamp. The AC blows cold on the PS and warmer on the DS, and the blower is weak. The headlights are hazed. There are oil leaks, but not too bad. None of this is as troubling as that the sumbitch keeps stranding me. Therefore: new battery and new alternator, installed for low $ by the PO. Discount Auto let me combine some web discounts so their alternator was cheapest. Yay, discount stacking!

Fast forward a week. Alternator is in, no more stranding. The Pick-N-Pull yielded a fog lamp. I polished the headlights. The fan is only blowing on a pretty low setting but performing a reset procedure solved for the L/R zone problem and the AC is proved charged and operative.

Time for more TLC. Before and after cataract surgery and fog lamp install:

Here she is earning her keep as a hauler:

Left to do: source a used Harman amp for the rear sub (or Dx and repair the existing one), chase a CEL I think is vacuum-related, fit a used blower motor bought from eBay. Here's the comfy parts:

Rehab dollars to date:

battery: $150

alternator: $90

labor for alternator: $50

fog lamp: $11.50

New NGK plugs are on the way for $35.

All in total: $2186.50

Grtechguy UltimaDork
9/14/15 8:05 p.m.

Very nice

bgkast GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/14/15 9:23 p.m.

Yey, another saab rescue!

Jeff SuperDork
9/14/15 9:24 p.m.

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
9/15/15 2:04 a.m.

We still need a Saab to round out The Aristocrats Class at The Challenge (and another wagon would be awesome!)

By Challenge standards, your plugs, battery and alternator are seen as vehicle maintenance and therefore need not be included in your $2015 build budget.
The rules also allow you four new tires and four brake pads that do not have to be included in the budget.

Please consider this your formal invitation to become a member of The Aristocracy.
Membership has it's privileges!


XLR99 HalfDork
9/15/15 2:55 p.m.

Cool, looks like the photo negative of my car!

Manual 9-5s seem impossible to find anymore; they used to be everywhere. There's a guy near me who seems to be stockpiling, maybe he's collected them all up already.

ssswitch HalfDork
9/15/15 9:11 p.m.

That's a great find. I bet you could clean up that leather, doesn't look like any of the cracking is really severe yet.

9/16/15 8:30 a.m.

My buddy has a 9-5 aero wagon in manual form and that thing is a HOOT to ride around in!

NY535iManual New Reader
9/16/15 8:37 a.m.

Awesome! I love all the SAAB rebirth stories! There's something about a 9-5 Combi that generates much want in me, maybe even more than the e39 wagons...

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/16/15 9:19 a.m.


stan_d Dork
9/16/15 5:43 p.m.

I am bringing a 86 saab 900 to the challenge.

conesare2seconds HalfDork
9/19/15 6:56 p.m.

The Challenge is unfortunately not in the budget this year. I hope to go back soon though. The seats are actually very good, it's the light, really. She will nonetheless get a Leatherique cleaning and conditioning soon.

More progress. She seemed down on power, threw a CEL, was hard to start cold etc. so new NGKs went in today. Thank you Swedes for making spark plugs such an easy job.

Hmm, the old plugs are also NGK but the part # does not match the new ones. A few minutes on teh internet reveals she got Linear-spec plugs at her last tune up.


Big difference. A short test drive confirms she will now light up her inside Yokahama from a 15 mph roll if you mat the pedal through an apex before the wheels are completely straight. Too many people around to try any straight line shenanigans this afternoon.

The Pick n Pull yielded a pair of used hood struts for $13 + tax. Next step = look for a battery box; this car's is missing and the JYs trash them to get at the battery.

patgizz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/19/15 8:18 p.m.

that thing is sexy, i'd love one to go along with the 9-7x.

JtspellS SuperDork
9/19/15 9:24 p.m.

Very nice! Subbing for more Saab content

XLR99 HalfDork
9/20/15 7:44 a.m.

Nice! Also make sure you change the ATF to keep that trans happy, there's no filter or fill plug, but you can refill thru the dipstick tube. Using Redline D4 made mine shift noticably better.

Also, one of these adds 50 lb-ft :

CarLava New Reader
9/22/15 3:04 a.m.

nice! just needs a few tweaks and its close to awesome.

Rusted_Busted_Spit UberDork
9/22/15 10:17 a.m.

I tried so hard to talk my wife into a wagon when we got our 9-5. The car was for her and she said NO. Keep it up.

patgizz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/24/15 1:57 p.m.

03 9-5 aero wagon popped up this morning on CL, was going to go look at it later. it sold this morning while i was out of the area for work.

conesare2seconds HalfDork
12/31/15 8:55 a.m.

The super wagon has been unhappy lately. I haven't been able to put her right, and am worried.

After running really strong for a few weeks, it became reluctant to start on the first try and the idle went high when warm. I paid a specialist to Dx and was told "replace the APC boost controller and throttle body". It was throwing throttle body codes and a CEL.

So I bought a reman TB from BBA for 1/4 the (staggering) price of a new genuine Saab unit, plus a new TB gasket. In the course of replacing the TB I found the intake had a TB mounting bolt broken off in it and ground flat - thanks, PO. The idle problems persisted. Off to eBay to order a used intake and gasket, and eliminate a bad seal or air gap as the culprit.

The car now sports the new intake and TB, and I checked all vacuum lines for any leaks that could contribute to the high idle. Unfortunately, it is running rough when cold, missing on one cylinder, and etc. Once warm it will even out and hit on all 4 if I give a little throttle but feels almost out-of-time at idle and on startup.

There is no smoke from the tailpipe and it never ran hot. There are no bad sounds from the engine. Because of the miss at idle, I don't think I'm dealing with a bad accessory. I really can't afford it this month but am resigned to taking her back to the specialist for a Dx, since I'm out of diagnostic capability and mechanical talent. It could be a bad MAP, maybe a dirty MAF or even a dying DI cassette.

Used intake, w/ shipping: $100 Reman TB, shipped: $175 Gaskets: $12 Labor: $200 Boost control valve: $40, I think New total: $2,713.50

XLR99 HalfDork
12/31/15 4:19 p.m.

Man I have an extra intake sitting in the garage! Actually most of an engine.

It seems like your current symptoms, with all the misfires, may be DI related but I'm not sure - when I had failures in the past, it would always get worse with load or RPM; if you were closer I'd let you swap one in as a quick test.

conesare2seconds HalfDork
1/4/16 6:42 p.m.

Quick update: it is def not the DI cassette. JY price was $41.22 with tax, so it'll make a nice inexpensive spare. Car goes to the specialist shop tomorrow as I've run out of talent. New total: $2754.72.

asoduk Reader
1/4/16 9:28 p.m.

Did you ever get to try a different boost controller? How do the wires going to it look? There is also that little valve thingy near the passenger strut tower. I have no idea what it does, but it needs to make a rapid ticking noise to work right. I have had some luck cleaning them in the past.

While its probably not your problem now, check out the blow off valve. A bad BOV will throw all kinds of weird codes.

Have you checked to make sure its not in limp mode on the TB? There is a clockspring that needs reset on the TB to get it out of limp mode.

Also, do you have an OBD2 code reader? I found mine to be very useful in diagnosing T7 issues.

conesare2seconds HalfDork
1/5/16 7:00 p.m.

Ha, some bad (really, good) luck: the car died last night. It was in the 20s and all night and until lunch today I figured it might be sensor-related, maybe a bad IAT sensor or coolant temp sensor. Today was in the 40s and it would still not start. I called for a flatbed and while waiting, the little light bulb went on: fuel pump! I bet it's the fuel pump. Sure enough, I keyed the ignition and listened. Nothing. No telltale whine of the pump pressurizing fuel for startup. I actually felt better, since a failing fuel pump would go a long way toward accounting for its behavior. Got the call around 4:30. Yes, fuel pump is bad. At this point, I am much more optimistic that she will live again without blowing a thousand-dollar hole in my checkbook. The fuel filter is new, I did it a few weeks ago (did I remember to add that to the list?) which saves a few bucks. It sucks a little that I'm doing checkbook wrenching now, but I'll walk it off. More to come in a couple of days. Once it has gas we will know more about how she runs and go from there.

Asoduk, you're right that an OBD2 reader would help. I should probably buy the Tech1 that someone here is selling, but I assume I can't afford it, they were really high back in the day. The boost controller is new, genuine Saab. New tb is not in limp-home mode.

gamby UltimaDork
1/6/16 11:05 p.m.

In reply to conesare2seconds:

Boy, the paint polished out really nicely. It's in stellar shape.

Sadly, if it's stored outside, the lights will go cloudy again in a few months. However, once they've received a proper polishing once, subsequent times will go much easier.

Cheap buy-in, that's for sure.

CarLava New Reader
1/7/16 1:29 a.m.

great find!

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners