SAAB 9-5 conversion to E85 operation

The blog is a medium for the Saab community and lives from comments and suggestions from readers. Also test reports and experiences in daily life with Saab are welcome. Max has had his Saab 9-5 converted to E85 operation. He starts with his article.

Gasoline prices are skyrocketing, and everyone is looking for an alternative or solution somewhere. Some leave their car or just drive like "somewhat older people" in our society to save every milliliter of fuel.

Fortunately, we drive Saab. The Swedes discovered a cheaper alternative to conventional super fuel very early on - the E85. However, BioPower models are in great demand on the market and rarely, finding a correct model is almost impossible - not to mention the costs. So I started looking into conversions.

That could not be that hard, after all, the BioPower models have the same engine block. After some search I came across SKR Performance in Paderborn. Mr. König, the owner, specializes in the vehicles of the Saab brand and in conversations I immediately realized that the Saab Feeling lives in him. To convert our 9-5 from 2001 (as well as all Saab with the B205 / B235 engine), only a software change is necessary, he informed me.

However, he also told me that a conversion in daily short distance (distances below about 8km), because of the additional consumption, meaningless. Of course, I also asked about the risks that would bring a conversion.

Saab has installed another tank and fuel lines on its BioPower models, as E85 is a fairly aggressive fluid. However, in the conversations with Mr. King, it came to light that I do not have to worry much about it as long as I move the vehicle regularly. In addition, I have read / heard of some others who have been riding for several thousand kilometers and years without problems with E85 - which confirmed me Mr. King. To note there was still that I drive the first 5.000km about the engine protection, if possible not with full throttle, as to solve by E85 some gasoline deposits. So there was no hesitation for me.

Since Paderborn is not exactly a stone's throw away from Frankfurt, I decided to give our Saab 9-5 an additional performance cure - when I'm already there. Fortunately, SKR Performance was very flexible in terms of schedule and spontaneous, so I was able to drive to it on a holiday. Where else is there such customer service.

Arrived in Paderborn we started immediately. He connected his notebook to the vehicle electronics and started reading. This was followed by the modification of the software. After about an hour, the new software could then be re-recorded. Subsequently, only other spark plugs had to be installed and that was all.

Quite incredulously, I asked if that was really all. Mr. King affirmed it and we did a test drive. Unfortunately, you did not notice anything of the increase in performance, as a hose - responsible for turbo pressure - had somehow unnoticed on our Saab 9-5. After we had finally discovered and corrected the error, it went again to test drive.

And you notice the increase in performance significantly. From 185 to about 220 PS and now also E85 capable - so more power at lower fuel costs - as well as the original BioPower models. Unfortunately, there is no E85 gas station in Paderborn, so I just fueled E85 at home.

And as you felt, you felt nothing ... you can tell no difference. The vehicle has only the full power with E85 or Super Plus, which is also noticeable in comparison to E5 operation.

Now we drive about 2 weeks with the vehicle with about 12 liters / 100km - without any problems. Only the cold start takes longer and the engine speed is immediately higher than in E5 mode. This is normal because E85 is not as ignitable as E5 and the vehicle is in the max. Injecting crowd. After a short drive, however, everything is completely normal - except for the smell of the exhaust fumes, which always reminds me of some street alcoholics.

Text: Maximilian Pradl

13 thoughts on "SAAB 9-5 conversion to E85 operation"

  • Have just called the E85 tank here, for months, the price is at 1,11 €.

    E10 oscillates here between 1,50 and 1,60, I have to do that again. 😉


  • Also I had a 9-5 Linear Sport-Combi 2,0 Bio-Power, built 2007 with 150 PS, the performance when operating with E 85 was then 180 PS and was noticeable. In the end, the difference between E 85 and super gasoline was only 14 cent. But the car had to service all 10.000 km, no saving on the contrary higher maintenance costs. When the gasoline price dropped, E 85 remained the same. I exchanged the car for another SAAB again.

  • Hello
    The conversion has irritated me for a long time. This is because I have an E85 gas station nearby and would like to do something for the environment. Maptun says that it is done with a simple software update and that there are no technical risks. However, there is no guarantee for that. A local dealer says the same thing and says he only has good experiences with it. Hirsch guesses and points to other fuel lines and harder valve guides in the cylinder head, which should be present on the Biopower models. If Hirsch rejects a potential business, they will have their reasons. With regard to the quality of advice Hirsch has been very courteous to me and above all honest.
    Maybe someone from the SAAB community also knows well what's up?
    I have made a test without conversion: The consumption has increased from about 8 to about 11 lt / 100km. The financial advantage goes to zero. For these reasons, there is no reason for me to retool. From time to time I am pouring out E10, so there are no fatigue problems and the increase in consumption is virtually impossible to measure.

  • Maybe they saved more than the new engine would cost? 🙂

  • Hello to the E85 community! Why does Saab install special parts for E85? Just out of boredom…. These conversions are also presented in car magazines with insider mails ala DMAX etc., as a panacea. Just change the software and everything is OK. Well then good night. Hopefully, in 5 years time, they will bring a remake of what has become of these bargain hunters!

  • I also upgraded my 9-5 to E85 three weeks ago, but I did it in Sweden using MapTune software.
    A Swede told me that E85 works effectively up to 90kmh. Why I do not know, but my average consumption with E5 in Sweden is 8.5 l and now with E85 it was only 9 l.

    Now in Germany I drive a little faster and the trips to work are unfortunately too short, but 11,2 l compared to 9 - 9,5 l for the E5 is also quite OK.

    But I only did it because I have an E85 gas station nearby, otherwise I would not have done it.

  • Yes, we were.
    Talked about your engine damage 9-5
    Incidentally, the 9000 has also been alcoholic for a week

  • Hello SAAB community,
    I bought 2009 for my 2005 AERO at FCT (FistClass Tuning ordered the software from BSR in Sweden and installed it yourself (duration approx. 20 min). To this day, it has been running without any problems with the E85 - even on short journeys. The consumption has increased by approx. 2-3 liters.
    The conversation with FCT on the phone was very friendly and the information about my questions more than satisfactory. I am satisfied with the company and can recommend it.
    I can only confirm the statement that PhiBo writes of the Hirsch company. When I asked, I got almost the same answer. Maybe the company Hirsch got told by another company, what he / she has to say to the customer about the conversion to E85.
    To name yet another provider, there would be Nordic Performance ( from Sweden.

  • Hmmmm ... a few weeks ago I also thought about converting my 85-9 (5 model, B1998 engine) to an E235. I turned to Maptun and Hirsch. Maptun has confirmed to me that this is possible without any problems - Hirsch has warned me urgently that the fuel lines are not designed for E85. I then called off the project, also because I had calculated and the savings were not that great after all.

    I am surprised that such fundamentally different feasibility statements seem to be made ...

  • A very nice car on the left ... 😉
    I also have such an “old” station wagon (from 2002; photos were also shown here) and let it “deer” for the coming weeks. I'm really excited !!

    An E85 conversion would possibly interest me too (especially since in the vicinity is a gas station with E85).
    But I'm just not driving enough at the moment that it would be worth it. 🙁

    But very nice to read about it that way.
    Great report! 🙂

  • The same answer, for the sake of compatibility, I also got from maptune,
    I guess I have to go to the friendly again. 😉

    Greetings Andreas

  • Were you with the 9000er at the support meeting in the Meilenwerk near Stuttgart?

  • SKR, is basically around the corner with me, so I've already played with the idea, what did the fun cost? Unfortunately, there are hardly any E85 gas stations here so I could only occasionally refer to them, because the price / profitability plays a big role.

Comments are closed.