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Saab Maintenance and Repair

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  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Well, thank you for the feedback. The mechanic said it could be due to a bent strut, spindle or control arm. He suggested I replace the damaged part-which I will do. He also said the sub-frame could've been pushed over. If it's the sub-frame then it will never align. I don't want to think about that it's a sub-frame problem. Anyway, the odds are 3-1 in my favor. I am overdue for some Good Luck but I still have my fingers crossed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Really depends on how hard you got smacked. A direct hit at 90 degrees to a front wheel can cause a lot of damage but a more glancing blow might not disturb the frame itself. Seems to be the damage should be fairly obvious on visual inspection but of course when you replace parts you still must do an alignment. This is why I suggest having the parts replaced at the alignment shop itself or very close by. There may be more than one thing that needs attention.

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  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Alright Mr. Shift. I am taking your advice as gospel. I will have it towed to a frame and alignment shop at the earliest possible convenience. I'll let you know how things turn out. Alas, the blow was in fact delivered at precisely the angle you describe. $$$$$!!!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Well get an ESTIMATE from them with details and let us know.

    What you are looking for here is a TOTAL picture. There's no sense replacing one part only to find out that whatever that bent part was attached to is also bent. I think you catch my drift here.

    Your mechanic doesn't really have the tools to asses the whole situation. The alignment shop can tell pretty quickly if they get numbers on their machine that are so out of whack that it suggests more than a parts replacement.

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  • I have a 2000 Saab 9-3 SE with ~ 74k miles. I am on my second set of brand new front tires after changing the first set due to the car pulling to the left. The first set I put on the car was BF Goodrich T/A tires. The second set is a pair of Goodyear Eagles. I had the alignment checked and the machine indicated the car was aligned to Saab specs. If it is not the tires and the car is technically in alignment, why is my car still pulling to the left? Thanks for any assistance.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Some ideas:

    1. low tire pressure on that side (common)

    2. Dragging brake caliper (fairly rare)

    3. bent tire rim (common)

    4. Alignment guy doesn't know what he's doing (common).

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  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    If it's not the alignment, other possibilities are: a worn or broken spring; something worn out in the suspension system(i.e. strut assembly).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Oh good point! I'd check the control arm bushings, etc.

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  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Another candidate that nobody should've missed is the steering linkage. Could be a problem there too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    I was thinking that, but that would (might) cause wandering in either direction...but sure, why not?

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  • I will have a mechanic check out your suggestions. I overinflated the tires on the left side of the car and it still pulled to the left. So, I don't think it is that. I have alloy rims, do they bend?
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    As long as it doesn't wander and pulls to the left only, the steering would not be suspect. My verdict is with Mr. Shift; probably something as simple as a defective control arm bushing.
    But do you have any other complaints about the vehicle? Such as, does it vibrate at high speeds or do you hear any strange noises or notice excessive body sway when cornering? All these are strong clues that help to diagnose the problem and thereby eliminate any guesswork. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    I'm thinking it is something that will pull while the vehicle is under stress and may not show up in a static alignment.

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  • The car does not vibrate at high speeds, nor does it sway excessively when cornering. I do hear a groaning sound when I go thru one intersection in particular with a slightly elevated cross road. Could be from the struts. The car does not bounce up and down. It is pretty solid on the road.
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Well, I am told that struts and shocks should be changed every 50K miles, so at 74K it looks like you are long overdue. :blush:
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Anyone know where I can get one of these at reasonable cost? I entered a query into an auto service manual site and they came back with a price of $69.00 plus tax and shipping. I think they are 'giving me the gears'.
    I have a temporary tire that came with a jack. On the jack, it says I should consult my user's manual before I attempt to use it. Obviously it's a special Saab jack but haven't figured out it's operation. Need some advice on this one, please.
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Found a website in NY called classicgarage.com that has parts and literature for Saabs. Have a look! I've ordered the Saab repair manual printed in UK. Perhaps it will contain a hint of how to use the jack when you want to put on the spare.
  • I don't drive the car but idle it periodically for about 5 minutes. Recently it has been throwing battery acid everywhere. Someone suggested it is being overcharged by the alternator or the voltage regulator is faulty. But would not it have to be driven for long distances for this to be valid?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    It could be you are trying to charge a defective battery...but sure, if your alternator is running wild, it'll cook up a battery mighty quick.

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  • Well, the battery took a 3 hour charge and got back up to 12.5 volts so looks like the culprit is the alternator. My question is if I wanted to replace the stock 90 amp alternator with a 120 amp, is there going to be a technical problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    I don't think so as long as the regulator is the built-in type that comes with the alternator.

    As for the battery, without load testing you really still don't know anything. Measuring surface voltage doesn't tell you much.

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  • If you still own your Saab, and enjoyed it initially, HANG IN THERE!

    After the honeymoon period of ownership, and naturally after the extended warranty expired, my 1999 Saab attempted to commit suicide - pushing ME to the edge. Although pricey to maintain, I had previously leased a Plymouth Breeze that had cost me $3,000 in the final lease year, so at first I rationalized and reconciled myself to supporting the car on the premise that spread over time the money was actually similar. But, then the mechanical work became more steady and PROHIBITIVELY expensive, and then after I had plunked down $1,200 in repairs, the air conditioning was supposedly in need of replacing - not worth it in a 7 year old vehicle.

    I spent the hot summer only driving in the evenings and was crazed about fixing the car after so much expenditure - and I wished that fervor had been present so much earlier! I found off-beat mechanics, located in odd areas, and these people really knew their stuff. Mechanic find number 1 told me he couldn't fix the problem, but was sure it involved my 'baffle' (who knew I had one?) and after a 35 minute consult in his barn, the gentleman refused to take payment. I stopped at a place with delivery, and sent him lunch. Mechanic number Two explained the issues in more detail, told me what he would be able to do, and after $140.00 then referred me onto Mechanic Number 3, who had actually designed a part to resolve the repetitive a/c issue; and this fix costing me approx. $250.00 with assorted other minor issues, as well (he charged my remotes for Free and fixed another lock issue that he said took 3 seconds, declining charges for that as well. So, for approx. $400.00 my car was set and blowing chilly air again!

    Since then, I have been able to remember why I so loved my Saab – and what a relief! Certainly, the constant financial pressure and stress do detract from any ability to appreciate the car, and I had come to scoff whenever anyone had the temerity to compliment or admire my choice of vehicle. So, having the right mechanical team changed everything - ownership was no longer so onerous. And, I live in a city suburb, and had not thought there were that many mechanics out there, until I began asking everyone, everywhere I went – it only takes one good lead & heaps of patient trying…my came at the bargain price of a cup of coffee and a scone at a local bakery.

    Wish I could say this story of love re-discovered ends happily, but after adding a new set of all-weather tires and a tune-up this Fall, my Saab was mortally injured by an inexperienced teenage driver and I'm now pounding the pavements looking for a replacement car with that ‘Saab feel’ - I actually looked at a model with 140,000 miles on it that had been 'rebuilt,' so depressed am I at the offerings out there. Would I buy another Saab? Unlikely, but mostly because the newer models are smaller than my hatchback, and all the standard features are now add-ons, boosting the purchase price too high. Sigh. So, if you are able, find that special someone or someones that have REAL MECHANICAL knowledge, and you will be less stressed and able to once again luxuriate in the Saab & its features. All is not lost, just hard to find!

    - Good Luck ALL!
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    I have been fighting for months to hold on to my 1996 900 Turbo. The heater and AC are still performing well. Ditto for the original transmission. Exhaust system could be suspect, though. The engine is still strong at 120K. But I agree with you; finding the good mechanic is the name of the game. Yes, and I am going to need Rotsa Ruck!
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Does anyone know how to remove this danged alternator? I think I have to unbolt the idler pulley by accessing the bolts from underneath the car. Also think the alternator has to come out from the bottom after the exhaust system is cleared away. Am I getting warm????
  • Keep incredible records and do not think Saab will honor the warranty. You are at the mercy of Saab. You will need to not only prove you changed the oil at recommended intervals, but will also have to show you used the recommended oil. The Saab rep told me that a cracked piston was the result of bad fuel, even though they acknowledged there was sludge in the engine a mere 500 miles after an oil change. I have never run less than Premium fuel an have always run the recommended oil at recommended intervals, but my engine failed at 63,000 miles. Now that I have located a used engine at considerable expense, I will contemplate the lawsuit, but it may not be cost effective. As for me, this was my second and last Saab. I hope Saab goes bankrupt. :lemon:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Cracked pistons probably are the result of detonation, but that's not necessarily the result of bad fuel....a malfunction in the engine's timing system could also cause this. The connection between sludge and a cracked piston is....something I can't connect, but I'm thinking about it.

    Also just bad engine metallurgy could cause such a premature piston failure.

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  • swandog4swandog4 Posts: 1
    I lost my keys and just hade to spend $900 on a new key blank and twice immobilizer. I am looking to put the immobilizer unit in myself to save a coupler of buck. Does anyone know where it is located? and is this a job I can do myself.
  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    I just blew my clutch in my 900 se. Didn't take long; less then 30 minutes. How do I avoid the same thing in the future and what's the likely replacement cost? I already know I was a dummy and didn't know what I was doing. :sick:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    Wha happened? Get stuck in a snow drift or something? If you can tell us more particulars, maybe we can tell you how to avoid it next time.

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  • punkeyepunkeye Posts: 30
    Whelp; Probably a host of bad things. Revving the engine while coming out of a dead stop to avoid stalling it. Failing to shift up when the indicator light was on. I am sure there were others.
    Anyway the clutch was new(less than 800 miles) and died a quick and painful death. I was told by a Saab technician that the clutch on this particular turbo model is of the weak variety and even drivers with considerable manual transmission experience have had trouble with burning it out before the standard 60,000 miles that a normal clutch is supposed to deliver. So given that, if I do decide to replace it($1k), I would be interested in finding a heavy duty clutch that can accept a fair amount of punishment from a second rate operator. I know it would be a big seller.
This discussion has been closed.