Saab 9-3 Convertible



  • jb643jb643 Member Posts: 4
    I am looking into a 9-3 2002 or 2003 convertible.

    As a new Saab fan, are there differences between the 2 years - I have
    heard that the 2003 convertible did not make as many changes as the

    The pricing for the '02 is about $2000 or more less than the '03 however the
    '02 has about 20,000 less miles

    I guess I am wondering what are the benefits of getting the '03 model even
    if it has more mileage on it - perhaps the platform or features are worth it

    Any feedback will be most welcome - along with questions I should explore
    in comparing the 2 vehicles

    thanks in advance

  • jb643jb643 Member Posts: 4
    I overlooked mentioning that the mileage for the 2 cars

    the 2003 has 60K

    the 2002 has almost 45K

    thanks again

  • 208208 Member Posts: 3
    both the '02 and the '03 models are going to be very similar and i would opt for the '02 due to the lower mileage. the '04 model is fantastic and although it does cost more i def recomend trying it out before you commit to the 02 or 03. the styling used in the '04 and up convertibles was first used in the '03 sedans so all the kinks were worked out there and there are no issues w/ the '04's. your resale value will also be much higher down the road due to the more modern styling, both interior and exterior.
  • jb643jb643 Member Posts: 4
    just to say thank you for your response and for clearly explaining
    the differences

    much appreciated
  • cobleighbcobleighb Member Posts: 2
    I recently (2 wks ago) purchased a 2003 Convertible, drove it 500 miles from Pittsburgh when the engine blew up. This car has what is called a sludge engine and it is fairly common for engines to fail at low mileage readings ( mine had 64K). Do your homework. Goggle : saab engine failure, or saab engine sludge. I have owned many Saabs and had no problems, but certain model years are prone to this problem. Saab has extended the warranty 8 years retroactive, but, and this is a deal breaker but, you have to have every single oil change receipt/record and the changes must be done on time. If you buy a used 2003 be sure to ask about maintenance records. I am awaiting an estimate to rebuild my engine and it isn't going to be pretty.
  • strikemanstrikeman Member Posts: 18
    Good post on the sludge problem with some engines. Had 1 or 2 questions related to this -
    * What color should the oil be on the dipstick? It always seems to be "black". The Saab dealer insists the oil is ok if its "black" coz TurboCharged engines always "blacken" their oil. Ive been worried about this "black" coloration for sometime.
    * Manual says change when the SID says so. SID seems to indicate oil change every 8 or 9k miles. im wondering if thats a lot of miles between change. It is synthetic oil but still seems a lot of miles ...
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    Oil turns black soon after changing. I change the oil and filter on my wife's 2005 Arc convertible every 5000 miles, always synthetic. I also had the transmission fluid changed at 30,000 miles with synthetic fluid. We have had no problems with her car so far (50,000 miles), but a opossum did $1500 damage to the front bumper last summer.
  • cobleighbcobleighb Member Posts: 2
    The following partially explains the sludge problem.

    99 9-3 SE at 130K+ the "little red bugger" came on my wifes car. It's convienently funny though how Saab never happened to send "WARNING" letters to owners of certain years about potential problems. We had just had the car in for service for the DIC and the tech retorqued the cylinder head bolts that "magically" loosen up by themselves. Two days later the oil light is on. Technician said he noticed some sludge in the valve cover and we drop the oil pan. Sure enough... SLUDGOLA!!! I have worked in automotive service for over 22 years mostly in GM dealerships and changed oil every 3K on her car. Why the hell some moronic "kolledge edumacated" engineer put the catalytic converter UNDERNEATH the oil pan on these cars is beyond me let alone with no heat shield even. I called Saab... bitched, complained, talked nice and got nowhere... I wasn't surprised. It shouldn't matter to the degree that Saab makes it out to be that your oil is synthetic, or that you change it every 3, 5 or 10 thousand miles, if it's done at a Saab dealer or in your driveway because it's the converter that COOKS the oil that is the issue... plain and simple. There are a few p.c.v. updates that can be done to help s-l-o-w the formation of sludge but the converter is still under the oil pan cooking your oil like a crock pot. Cars are mechanical marvels that require maintenence and t.l.c. from their owners... the problem with these particular Saab's is a design flaw of epic proportions and the burden of blame for this sludge issue that costs owners of these cars literally THOUSANDS of dollars falls back in the lap of Saab/GM... plain and simple. Other than this MAJOR problem and some typical eurotrash car electrical gremlins... I like the quirky little thing. BUYERS BEWARE!!! Will Saab/GM go good on their sludge problem like Toyota quietly did??? Time and lawyers will only tell.

    These pix( ) show the results of the cooking process. The large pore screen material is available at Home Depot, just cut to fit. The larger holes allow the sludge particles to pass on to the oil filter and not starve engine of oil. Frequent (3500 mile) oil changes with a good synthetic oil should avoid expensive rebuilds.
  • headsetguruheadsetguru Member Posts: 4
    a little advice please. i've located a 2007 Saab 9-3 Convertible Anniversay Edition, CPO and only 3250 miles. dealer dropped the lot price a grand to $23,925. dealer will not budge on the price stating they just dropped the price $1000.00 on the lot. is this a good deal paying the asking of $23,925 or do you think the dealer has more, wife loves the car...
  • skinnyrtmskinnyrtm Member Posts: 1
    Does any one know of any engine performance chips or programers avalible for the 93 2.0 turbo.
  • goochlmcgoochlmc Member Posts: 1
    I am looking at purchasing either a 99 9.3 SE Convertible, 84,000 mi. or 01 SE 78,000 mi. any advise on a 99 vs 01. Any questions I should be asking or Maintenance issues I should be looking for. I have read reviews and they are very mixed concerning reliability.
  • carguy05carguy05 Member Posts: 30
    Hi, Anybody know how to change the bulb on the rear center stop light on the trunk? I got a message on the on the SID saying brake light malfunction(smart car)
  • wikitwikit Member Posts: 1
    I am having a difficult time finding a seatbelt for my 98 convertible. Does any one know if a 94 saab 900 sedan has the same seatbelts as i have located one due for wrecking.They are $750 for a new one here in NZ!Any onfo would be greatly appreciated
  • dgeblerdgebler Member Posts: 19
    I am looking to buy a Saab convertible and am aiming for the sweet spot between buying used to get depreciated pricing but still wanting to get a CPO. A local Boston dealer is offering a 2007 Saab 9-3 Aero convertible for $21,000.

    Any thoughts?
  • hihosilver42hihosilver42 Member Posts: 2
    Not a bad price...I have a great '05 9-3 convertible, silver with balck top, Linear, 5 speed turbo for sale for $18,000. She is in excellent condition, with new tires and new brakes, and mileage at 90,500.
    LET ME KNOW! I am in Las Vegas, Nevada , come get her, and enjoy a great vaction in Vegas!
  • colm964c2colm964c2 Member Posts: 2
    Hi. I have an 04 Linear 2.0T Convertible here in Ireland,bought in 07. Value has nosedived since then but that's due to the economy and the balls up our government has made of everything. I don't intend to sell the car anyway as it's a lovely motor and looks great beside all the German clones in the carpark. Check the hydraulics in the roof mechanism before purchase and if you get it for the right money go for it. Don't know what things are like Stateside when buying cars but over here if you've got cash you can often get away with silly offers. Buddy of mine offered a dealer here in Dublin €8000 for an 07 Alfa 159 with a €13,000 tag on it and was pleasantly shocked when the salesman nearly took his arm off to get the sale. Times are hard, don't be afraid to stick your neck out. The worst they can say is 'no'.


    Colm McDonagh, Eire
  • gcrewsgcrews Member Posts: 2
    I have a 04 9-3 that was purchased 3 years ago wiwth 17k miiles and now it has 47K miles. Yesterday I received the nice alarm notice Gear Box Malfunction. Was able to drive it home with car on last legs. I was pressing gas peddle and engine was reving but going slow.... after about 3-10 seconds car started to increase speed.... I had to have it towed to dealer and they gave me the dreaded information that coolant had gotten into transmission and now I need a new transmission and radiator - quoting $4,000. My warranty just expired 2 weeks ago and it was paid off. Does anyone have any experience with this. I just find it so hard to believe a car company can still be in business with a car that is made that a transmission goes after 47,000 miles...

    Gary - Baltimore MD
  • gcrewsgcrews Member Posts: 2
    As a follow up to my prior message. As I have had to do research today I understand that there were known issues with the same problem with 03 9-3 Saabs and do not understand why there would not be a recall to correct this problem for any cars impacted. I am going to need to get the car fixed and I am going to sell it because I cannot depend on the car. I enjoy driving the car and loved the design, but I will not buy another Saab ever again because of the issues I have had with this piece of junk. I have had repeated software and electrical issues and now a transmission that has to be replaced at 47K miles.
  • fedup54fedup54 Member Posts: 1
    I have been dealing with the "gearbox malfunction" since I got my car in 2006. The dealer's answer was to "clear" the computer it would be fine - the funny thing about it was I have been complaining about this message since I bought the car with only 9,900 miles on it. About two months ago it came on again and I couldn't clear it and took myself to a local garage where they replaced my high and low speed sensors in the transmission to the tune of almost $1,000. Now, guess what - on Friday my transmission went! Now I'm faced with replacing it on a 80,000 mile car - majority highway miles. I was a loyal Saab fan, but I'm afraid this model just turned me sour. I have an extended warranty on the car, but they cover as little as possible.
  • lupaselupase Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2011
    I had always wanted a saab. I wasn't very smart in my purchase, as I bought a '99 SE conv. I have been driving 40 years, and this is the worse car. The previous owners let it go, and I felt sorry for them as they lost everything 2 years ago when stock market plunged. She took me for a "ride" because she knew I really wanted this car. I have put more $$ in this car than any honda, acura, nissan I have previously owned and bought used. I was highly disappointed. The engine however, is solid. Everything else, awful. Hopefully your purchase is being bought from reliable sources and the car was babied. Good luck. :cry:
  • suz2yousuz2you Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 2001 Saab 9-3 SE Convertible. I am very excited - had it for 2 days. Any tips would be appreciated. I have never owned a foreign car - well a BMW in the late 80s but not since. I would like to find an owner's manual but have not had much luck. All info appreciated. Thanks!
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    First thing, look at the inside of the oil filler cap. You do not want to see any sludge.

    Do you know the maintenance history of the vehicle? What kind of oil has been used? How often has the oil been changed, etc.? Google "State of Nines" or "Saab Owners Club" to find an owners manual. My wife has a 2005 9-3 Arc Convertible and loves it. Almost 100k miles and no problems. You have to maintain European cars to keep from repairing them.
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