DukeOfUndersteer SuperDork
5/7/10 9:29 a.m.

So.. recently farting around Craigslist, i found this gem and do ask formally for you ladies and gentlemen to inform me on this particular vehicle. As far as my minimal researching has gone, i read the had PCV problems, leading to mass sludge problems, which eventually lead to engine failures. Not looking to hot rod it, just want to replace the Dutchess Of Understeer's carriage...

81gtv6 HalfDork
5/7/10 10:56 a.m.

The PVC thing is the biggest (most expensive) issue with these. Take a coat hanger, straighten it, put an eye hook on one end and stick it down the dipstick tube and scrape the bottom of the pan. If it comes up goopy ask the guy to give you the car since it will need a new engine.

The non Aero ones seem to have turbo issues (the smoke he is talking about ?). Fit a turbo off of an Aero and call it good.

The DI cassettes can go bad. If taht happens the car is dead until a new one goes in. Prices range from used for $100 up to new for $300+. With that many miles, unless it has been changed, I would get one to put in the trunk. Use the NGK plugs that SAAB says to use and keep them gapped and the DI should last a long time. The theory is that the DI uses the plugs to sense knock and such and is "calibrated" to use the NGK plugs. Using something else seems to make the DI "work" harder and shorten its lifespan. I have gotten @ 130K out of my last one.

There is also a valve in the cooling system that is supposed to help with making the AC work better (?) that goes bad. You can buy the replacement part from Rockauto for $20 or a set of bypass hoses, the Euro cars don't have this valve, for $40.

The trans in that one is a 4 speed made by Asin, you can get fluid from Toyota much cheaper that the SAAB dealer.

Other than that I can't think of anything else that is really problematic. We got an 03 Aero 5 speed for my wife about a year ago, have put almost 30K on it and it has been great. Safe, gets great mileage and is practically invisiable to cops and robers. There are a couple of things that I am not really happy with: the rearview mirrors are a little too small and the center arm rest is too short. Other than that I really like it.

02Pilot Reader
5/7/10 11:05 a.m.

I owned exactly that year and model. The sludge can be an issue, but if it has had the PCV updates and oil changes in a timely manner it should be OK. One quick check is to lift off the plastic cover over the intake manifold (no tools required) and look at the PCV hose from the valve cover - they all rot out on the top side of the bend. If it hasn't been replaced, you can assume none of the other PCV stuff has been done either.

That said, mine had no sludge problems, but it ate its turbo, a belt tensioner (common failure), and a transmission (not a common failure) in 2.5 years. I did a fair number of other repairs as well - wheel bearing, stepper motor linkage, ignition module, couple other things I can't remember.

Oil pumps are weak. Look for rust at the back corners of the rockers. Motor mounts fail a lot. Ignition module will fail every 90-100k miles. Some repairs are rather annoying due to the engine mounting arrangement. I found it to be competent but more appliance-like than I prefer. If you buy it drop me a PM - I've got some left over maintenance parts I'll let go super cheap.

DukeOfUndersteer SuperDork
5/7/10 11:39 a.m.

awesome guys! I just called him, he says he has a deposit on it and says if the buyer doesnt come thru today, he will call me so i can buy it!

mtn SuperDork
5/7/10 4:41 p.m.

I'll sell you mine for 4.5k, new engine with maybe 10k miles on it.

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