Saab 9-3 Maintenance and Repair

coach1957coach1957 Member Posts: 1
I've found my leak in the high pressure line, have the hose disconnected, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to remove the line.

I've removed the reservoir, battery, even the radiator reservoir, the battery plate, cleared most wires, but I can't figure out how to wiggle the hard line out from under the welded metal bracket that supports the battery.

Do I have to disconnect more of the other systems or is there a quicker way?


  • bluedogsbluedogs Member Posts: 5
    My '99 Saab 9-3 is giving me fits. I just bought it a week ago from an individual but didn't do my home work before buying. the car has 133K miles, but I have heard nothing but good things about Saabs, so I bought it. Problem is, the thing just does not idle smoothly and when I give it gas to take off it sputters and acts as if it will die--and has a couple of times. I've changed the plugs, O2 sensors, new fuel filter, air filter, and ran diognostics at a mechanic's garage. We just cannot figure out what is going on. Mechanic says I should wait till the fuel injector cleaner has run it's course before doing anything else. Well, it has run it's course and nothing has changed. But, when the thing gets going it runs great! Any help will be greatly appreciated.
  • waterdrwaterdr Member Posts: 307
    Whoever told you that has neither owned a Saab or worked on one - lol.

    On to serious business.....has the car been road-tested with a data-logger?

    Since you have already replaced the likely culprits, there are still a few more areas that you can check. Vacuum leak? It could also be a sensor problem. Thing is about sensors, a bad sensor can give you a "good" reading because the sensor is broken. I am not sure about Saabs, but a lot of cars work in "closed-loop" control until they warm up. This means that the car's ECU is controlling the spark and fuel addition based on the built-in fuel tables and not using the O2 sensors. Once it warms-up, the the O2 sensors provide feedback.

    I would ask a Saab technician about what sensors might be in use during "closed-loop" vs "open-loop" and that may help you deduce the likely problem.

    You could also have a bad Idle Air Controller. This device is supposed to control your idle speed. However, the fact that the car sputters when you add fuel makes it not look liek an IAC problem. When an IAC is at fault, it will generally die warm or cold, and not sputter when you add fuel.
  • bluedogsbluedogs Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the advice. Yes, we did road test the car with a diagnostic computer if that is what you meant about a data-logger. It all tested good. Now the car runs slightly better than before, but it takes several tries just to get it started--and this is not cold weather starting...

    I don't see any vacuum hoses that need replacing or that are not connected. I did however put some Sea Foam cleaner in the gas tank when I filled up last. Although I ran Slik 50 through the previous tank.

    Can the sludge problem that I hear of be any threat? I just put half a can of Sea Foam cleaner in the crankcase also. Will have the oil changed this week.

    Again thanks for your advice. I'm just puzzled and fearful that I bught someone else's problem.

    -Mark :confuse:
  • bostondaphnebostondaphne Member Posts: 1
    Hi Mark,

    What resolved your starting and stalling problem. I am experiencing the same issue with a 03 9-3.

  • bluedogsbluedogs Member Posts: 5
    I suppose I had a moment of hope. False hope that is. The car still runs terribly. I had a former Saab tech look at it last week and he thinks I need a new Direct Ignition Cassette. Can't afford it right now, but he thinks that should do it. Another tech--non-Saab thinks I need to get the fuel pressure checked before doing anything... Please let me know if you have any success with yours.
  • bluedogsbluedogs Member Posts: 5
    Must crank at least 5 or 6 times before it finally and roughly starts. Slow, bogged take-offs. Nearly constant surges when idling. But when going down the road it will fly! It is really fast and runs great when driving. I've had several techs look at it and put a computer to it. MAP sensor is good; all hoses seem to be fitted properly; both O2 sensors replaced; new plugs... One tech thinks I may need a new Direct Ignition Cassette. I've heard that those can go instantly? But he claime they can slowly decline? Any help is greatly appreciated, as I'm about to get full, low deductible insurance and burn the thing!!! :lemon:
  • olearymagolearymag Member Posts: 4
    My 98 Saab is running extremely hot, just replaced radiator and still running extremely hot, the old radiator was singed (white) at the bottom of the radiator, the head gasket was deemed OK, thermostat opens OK. temperature gauge reads normal temperature. Any suggestions appreciated.

  • olearymagolearymag Member Posts: 4
  • beatricelasaabbeatricelasaab Member Posts: 1
    I had a similar problem to yours on my '99 93.Check the vacum hose near the air filter it connects to a small plastic cylinder that opens and closes it's smaller than a golf ball and looks a bit like a funnel.Sometimes it sends a message to the computer if it does'nt work but in my case it didn't.I changed it and my car got back to normal.My specialist had a few clients that had the same problem.Give it a shot,the part is not expensive!
  • xela200093xela200093 Member Posts: 2
    Help, my 2000 9-3 dealer maintained Saab
    (94,000) was on the interstate and the turbo failed.
    Towed 120 miles back to repair shop that just
    replaced water pump, belts, tensioners and was told the turbo and engine need to be replaced.
    History of car documents problems associated with recall (engine doesn't always start ....towed to dealership many times over the last 5 years
    and "fixed"...last failed start was 1/09 after
    driving car short distance, turned off engine
    and tried to restart it about 5 minutes later.
    Didn't start...had to wait about 15 minutes and it started. ll/08 head gasket was replaced.
    at Saab dealership. I was told the turbo failed due to poor oil changes. The car's service history at a Saab dealership indicates that oil changes were
    timely and often before the recommended mileage.

    Many other Saab 9-3 owners have reported
    failed engines due to oil sludge, etc.

    I called the dealership and they told me it was time to buy a new car! Saab headquarters told me the
    car had too many miles and was too old for them to offer any assistance.

    My warranty company (MPV) and I have put
    thousands of dollars into this car over the last
    5 years. The dealership "documented"
    repairs that should have prevented this type of failure.

    My first Saab 9-3 (1987) was kept in the family
    well past 250,000 miles without any major problems.

    HELP....I was told an attorney would be able to
    seek financial reimbursement for the expenditures made on this car..but the attorney fees would be significant.

    Anyone have suggestions?
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    You are on your own. Your car is nine years old. 94,000 miles while, perhaps only 10,000 per year, is still a substantial number of miles.

    Even the best cars are not designed or intended to last forever. While many modern cars are able to go to 150,000 miles or more, there is no promise by any auto company that any individual car will do so.

    Your original warranty through SAAB was for 48 months or 50,000 miles. You don't provide any information about your aftermarket warranty but any claim that you might have would depend on the terms of your agreement with them - not SAAB.

    You might try to make some claim against the repair shop who had recently worked on your car, but unless they worked on the turbo system, I'd expect them to prevail against any claims. I don't believe that there is any easy way to diagnose turbo bearings that are starting to fail until they're already cooked....

    The value of a 9 year old SAAB with a good engine is going to be much less than the cost of replacing your bad engine.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic, but, yeah, after 9 years, you probably need a new car.
  • 93goblin93goblin Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with the engine not starting, what happens is that the oil pressure builds up in the engine and the pressure sensor tells the computer not to let the engine start. there is a pressure relief kit that must be added to relieve the pressure of the motor oil building up in the block and is mounted near the oil pan (i had a technician install mine because he was checking other things). You may have noticed oil leaks on certain parts of the engine. The time that you wait for the car to start is the engine oil cooling down and contracting. The kit can be ordered at the dealer and installed yourself with a little know-how.
  • my_saab_storymy_saab_story Member Posts: 4
    I live in Texas and am in desperate need of help with my soft top problem. Hydraulic hose “P” that connects from the cylinder on the driver’s side blew off from the fitting. My general mechanic repaired it and then instantly, a hose on the passenger side cylinder also blew from the fitting. This time, I took the car to an independent Saab mechanic. All of the hoses have lost most of the black protective coating, which exposes the nylon braiding. The mechanic said that all of the hoses need to be replaced, otherwise I will continue to blow hoses.

    The dealer said that these hoses rarely fail. The mechanic has posted threads to find out if any other techs have seen this problem, but has not had any luck. One suggestion by another tech was to just replace the 2 hoses that connect to each cylinder, since they do the work.
    Have you ever experienced this problem? Is it possible for the hoses to operate properly without the coating? Do you have any other tips or advice that I can pass on the mechanic?
    Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

    Thank you!
  • joshsaabjoshsaab Member Posts: 2
    i am having the same problem...exact...1st and only hose to blow so far is the driverside outer piston...have you tried to contact Saab direct???...i sent an email Wednesday...lets stay in touch about this...i am hoping to get a positive outcome w/ Saab...maybe you should email as well...
  • my_saab_storymy_saab_story Member Posts: 4
    Thank you for your post. I found another local Saab mechanic who said that he just replaced hoses for anothers customer. He said that he has seen this problem several times. The black coating is starting to peel off. The problem is that the coating goes up into the fitting, and when it peels off, the fitting is not as tight and so the hose blows.

    You are right about e-mailing Saab. It is a smart idea and worth a try. I was quoted $3,000 to replace all of the hoses! That is a big expense to absorb.
    I did find some used hoses that came with several other convertible parts on Ebay for $350 and it cost $820 to have them put on. All of the hoses looked good, except one was starting to peel in the middle, but at least it isn't near the fitting. You might want to start looking for some good hoses too. If your plastic is peeling it is only a matter of time before you blow another one and it is expensive to replace them one at a time, unless you know how to do it.
    Good Luck, and we will staty in touch!
  • joshsaabjoshsaab Member Posts: 2
    i called GM and tried to get an exception to have the part paid for by GM...they told me no because they havent heard about the problem from anyone else...who is the mechanic and what dealer is he apart of???...i suggest contacting saab customer service and file a request...
  • my_saab_storymy_saab_story Member Posts: 4
    It was the owner of: Goreki Auto Service in Fort Worth: 817-732-8346. He was not the one that repaired my hoses but he said that he just replaced someone else's. He is an independent mechanic. He was trained by Saab and has worked on them for over 20 years.
    Can you give me the number and possibley the name of the person that you called, so I can call them as well? I feel that we can make better progress if everyone calls the same person. I will talk to the owner of Goreki too.
  • dpeteydpetey Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem - just replaced the 2nd hose within 2 months (passenger 1st then driver side) - same two you guys are talking about. I'm in FL and my buddy in AR has the same problem. My mechanic said it is a common repair (Saab trained - left Massey and started his own shop). I get my car back tomorrow. I am going to send the hose to a manufacturer in China to see how much they will be to make. I'm positive it won't be any where near $170 a hose. There is no way I am going to pay $600 every time one of these hoses pops - or sally up $2k to replace the rest of them. If I cant find a reasonable replacement I'll sell the car and get a Vette or Porsche.

    Please send me the GM rep's contact info. A few well placed letters from an attorney cant hurt. Keep in touch on here. I'm fairly good at making a car MFG life miserable. (Ask Honda).
  • cobrazeracobrazera Member Posts: 352
    Hi out there. I'm new to the Saab boards, but are seriously considering a used 9-3 Sportcombi 2.0 - 2007 or newer with less than 30K miles. What seems rather attractive is the 4 year/50K warranty.
    I previously owned a turbocharged car ( years ago, not a Saab ) in which the turbo itself had very limited life. The old turbocharger bearings were not water cooled, and the turbo I had was known to have a life span of 30K miles or so. I assume the Saab turbo bearings are now water cooled, but does Saab recommend using a full synthetic oil, also? High temps associated with turbos can coke regular oil.
    So...anyone out there with high mile, late model Saab 9-3s - and what's the secret, if any, to long engine life?
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    Synthetic oil changed at 5k mile intervals. I think the turbo is cooled by the oil, not the coolant.
  • cobrazeracobrazera Member Posts: 352
    I would always use synthetic, but is it recommended or required by Saab? What year and how many miles on your Saab? Thanks for the reply.
  • dmaindmain Member Posts: 1
    I also have a 2000 9-3 and the turbo bearings burned out at about 50,000 km. It seems that it is a design flaw. The turbo is too close to the exhaust manifold and it gets too hot. In 2000, GM did not specify synthetic oil but it did in 2001. By the time I found out it was too late for my turbo. Synthetic oil is the answer for engine sludging too.

    Since changing over to synthetic oil, my 9-3 has been great and even at 160000 km, it still feels like a fairly new car. I like it so much I went out an bought a 2009 9-3 XWD Aero, as it looks like they are al bound to be collector items (and can be had for about 20% off the list prices now. What deal. Still, I love my 2000 9-3. Once you get the turbo and the electronic engine management cassette dealt with.

    Good luck. 94000 miles should be nothing for a Saab.
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    My wife has a 2005 9-3 Arc Convertible with 60k miles. Mobil 1 has been used exclusively, it was European Delivered and has had no issues except the power steering pump.
  • tammie3tammie3 Member Posts: 1
    The not starting is the neutral switch... It cost me about 375.00 to fix it... or for the switch itself...
  • marybethrmarybethr Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a used 2008 Saab 9-3 2.0 engine with 28,000 miles. It now has 29,500 miles and I recently noticed that each time I accelerate to 30mph & 70mph, the car wobbles, or wiggles, or what appears like it's shaking a little.
    I have new tires but they looked like they had been balanced.
    I think the slight shake feels like engine related.
    Does anyone have the same problems with a used Saab 9-3?
    Please help.
  • xela200093xela200093 Member Posts: 2
  • betsyhansonbetsyhanson Member Posts: 1
    I'm sorry you bought the car. I am trying to get rid of my 99 9-3 with 130 K after putting way too much money in it the past few years and time in the repair shop. Recently experienced rough idling and stalling - had crank sensor replaced but that didn't solve the problem and eventually had to replace the fuel pump after it failed to start. This week the radiator started leaking and is now in the shop for that to be replaced. Another costly repair. We have trying to maintain the car meticulously it looks new but there are so many little annoying things wrong with the car and things are constantly breaking. My advice: sell ASAP before you end up with more headaches and run out of money!
  • chad_dchad_d Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem and gave up. I cut the rusted line out and spliced in a piece of 3/8 inch steel tubing. It worked like a champ. No issues so far.
  • phoward1phoward1 Member Posts: 1
    Please tell me the results of your repair work did you get the correct hoses and was the work done at a reasonable price? I need the same hoses...repaired in 2008 and now they need repairing again!!!
  • lewisdavid3lewisdavid3 Member Posts: 3
    2002 9-3 SE, 145000 km, well serviced. Last summer it would not start on a hot day. No response when the key was turned (ie the problem was not the battery). Hauled to dealer in Exeter NH. Car started. Dealer not sure but thought it might be the sensor for transmission in park. Did not have the part in stock, so I did nothing. Yesterday, a hot day in Gainesville FL, it would not start. No dealer here. Hauled to Continental Imports, who seemed very competent. The car started on arrival, perhaps because it cooled off during the tow. Shop owner said he could not find the problem, since now there is no problem; he thought it might be something other than the park sensor.

    What should I do? Where is the gear shift park sensor? Can it be 'shorted', or cooled with a bag of ice? Another discussion item on this forum suggests that the problem is high oil pressure? Is that likely, given that the pressure icon is not displayed?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,127
    Since no Saab owners seem to have feedback, you might try our No Start Problems discussion. People with general automotive tech expertise often hang out there.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • my_saab_storymy_saab_story Member Posts: 4
  • trooper57trooper57 Member Posts: 1
    I have just experienced the same issue (both sides at the same time) and I am looking for a shop to perform the repairs. I am in Houston and generally use TAP-VPI but I am not sure they can handle this type of repair and they are only open weekdays. Of course this occurred last night, Friday night. Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] with any suggestions or advice.
  • dedmeatdedmeat Member Posts: 1
    I don't know if you resolved the issue, but I had the same problem on an 06. Turned out to be a bad crankshaft position sensor. $200 and two hours of work and the problem went away.
  • lewisdavid3lewisdavid3 Member Posts: 3
  • lewisdavid3lewisdavid3 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the response. I sold my Saab because it just became too unreliable. The latest problem was intermittent failure of the air conditioning fan. When it failed the first time a dealer replaced the fan 'resistor, his name for it'. It worked, then failed again, then worked again with no intervention, so I sold the Saab. Consumer Reports rates the 2002 Saab 9-3 as a not buy.
  • bluedogsbluedogs Member Posts: 5
  • me262me262 Member Posts: 1
    I was sure glad to here some one who know some much about Saab's as you.I'm the first owner of this car all service has been dun at Saab.It's almost time for it's 150,000 mile service.but any way it runs great starts every time dashboard precheck always states checking then OK.But every now and then it all most stalls,and sometimes does.I have ran into this before and it's the throttle botty sensor or it just needs to bee cleaned.I never have had to turn a wrench on my car.I love it and not sure if it's safe to use throttle body cleaner on it and not really sure where to put it.I am a muscle car guy.I do work for Microsoft and would be willing to trade my skills,all kinds of software,hardware and via telephone email.we could trade help.Please call charlie at 619-569-8770 or email [email protected] Know matter what people may think I truly don't make much where I work.I cant drive403 rocket.
  • dgeblerdgebler Member Posts: 19
    I drive a 2007 9-3 2.0t convertible which I purchased last year. Without any warning (SID or sound) the engine died on the highway and I lost all power steering and brake functions.
    The car was towed to the dealer where they said it was the fuel pump had failed.
    Has anyone else had trouble with a fuel pump after only 35K?
  • dgeblerdgebler Member Posts: 19
  • samarasamara Member Posts: 10
    Know of at least two 2008 2.0t Saabs which crossed the 35K milestone with no fuel pump issues. You might also want to pose your question in the Saab Central site which is more active.
  • rick2018rick2018 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a used 04' 9-3 the fuel gauge was defective (always shows empty (fuse is good) i figd it would be a fairly easy/non-imperative fix then the windshield washer fluid stopped working i checked the fuse it was good when i put it back and tried again the washer fluid sprayed for about 3 secs then stopped checked again and fuse was still good i put it back and once again it worked for few secs then stopped... finally the cabin heater blower stopped working. im at a loss any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    My first guess is you have bought a car that was in a flood. I would take out each fuse, wipe it off with a rag damp with WD 40, spray a little WD 40 into the connection and put the fuse back in the connection.
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