Saab 9000 Anna Project (Part 3)

It is deep winter. Kiel lies under a thick blanket of snow when Anna arrives there. It took two days to transport the 9000 CSE Anniversary to the north. The team around Markus Lafrentz gets down to work and creates a list of necessary things. This will also be a test for Orio. What else can the Swedes deliver for the Saab 9000?

Anna & Winter. Welcome to Kiel
Anna & Winter. Welcome to Kiel

Our list of shortcomings is confirmed, and there are a few little things. Then the question arises what I actually want. There are options - that asks Kiel from ... what I think is good. Getting the Saab up and running cheaply so that you can have fun with it for some time, or take a solid, long-term approach. Or, the third alternative, turn it into a vehicle for a collection. Option 3 is not applicable, I choose the variant of reason. Anna is supposed to be an upcoming youngtimer for everyday use, not a vehicle that only comes onto the street when the weather is nice.

The goal is a state, somewhere between 2 and 3. Nice, but signs of use may and should be, the 9000 is already 17 years old and no new cars anymore. The point that will decide everything is the condition of the window frame.

Rust on the window frame

Rust on the window frame is not a natural phenomenon. Across all brands, it is primarily the result of careless work. Whether Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo or Saab. In our case, the fault lies with a known chain. Unfortunately, the fact that their underperformance is usually only noticeable after the car has long since changed hands. Owners of youngtimers and future classics suffer from this. A victim: the Anna project. How brutally the work was done in the case of our Saab is shown by the fact that a gross motorist cut into the headliner when changing the window. You only see that when the old pane is out; in this case is a negative example for this provider.

The hope that everything could be half as wild is dashed turbo-fast. The frame is more than just crumbly. It's actually a small miracle that the disc lasts at all. If the 9000er had stood unprotected in the rain, water would have entered. The rust could have meant the death, the situation is so dramatic.

The crisis. Project on the brink ...

You can't weld anything anymore. The frame - or rather its fragments - have to get out. There was once (I hope Orio will read) a repair kit for such cases. This has not been available for a long time, a new edition would be desirable and would save many Saab 900 and 9000 from premature death. Reproduction shouldn't be magic and should make sense. But in Anna's case, good advice is dear. What to do?

The crisis is here. Scrap Saab because of the rust on the window frame, because you can no longer weld? Have a spare part made individually, which will make the promotion even more expensive? Cancellation? Markus Lafrentz calls, I have to make a decision. Anna as a spare part carrier, individual parts on Ebay? All because of the damn rust on the window frame? A horror! The project is about to end for a few minutes ...

In this case chance is with us - there is a 9000 ready to be slaughtered with a rustproof glass frame. The hurdle has been taken. The body shop in Kiel welds; a new disc from the original manufacturer, no longer in the Orio range for unknown reasons, will be installed later. The crisis is off the table!

Orio and spare parts for the Saab 9000

Let's talk about Orio and the spare part situation for the Saab 9000. The good news: All needed wear parts are available, inexpensive and in good quality. Parts for suspension and the body, such as doors, fenders, tailgates are also no problem. It is possible to keep 9000 in daily use, to remedy accident damage. Nice way!

Where it starts to falter, there are other parts. Instead of good goods from Hella at Orio, there are headlights only from the third party, with taillights soon too. The rear fascias, also by Hella and almost always torn over the years, have been squandered on the Swedish market like the CD player. Did not you notice in Nyköping that the parts are used in the used condition on Ebay for a multiple?

Anyway, Sweden gave away gold. A reproduction of the rear panels ... the fan can currently only dream of that. It's not realistic. Now the parts can no longer be delivered, no matter how much money you would like to pay. (I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friends in Sweden who sent me two rear panels and a CD player.)

Other inventories are dangerously low and do not bode well. All against the background that Saab fans worldwide have discovered the 9000 and restorations begin. A look at the Facebook groups on the topic speaks a clear language. In Germany are still some 1.000 of these vehicles in use, the lover value increases. Should not new Saabs come at any time, whose supply takes over Nyköping, then the classics will be an extremely important pillar of the company. Let's hope the alignment will be appropriate in the future.

Back to Anna. Now it's off to the painter. He should paint the window frame, fill the dent in the door and also repaint. He sees, and that is the advantage of winter work, that there is a need for action on the spoiler, on the rear, on the driver's door. He offers the additional work for little money on his own initiative, I agree and Anna is on the way to becoming a beautiful Saab.

Okay, the 3. Part was expensive and left a big hole in the blog budget. It is already clear that Anna is on the way, but will cost more money than expected. The shortcomings resulting from 100.000 km free workshop without Saab experience are eliminated. The enormous maintenance backlog is past, all fluids have changed.

When it comes to parts, we have always preferred original Orio parts, also relying on the promised 3-year guarantee. The deliveries came quickly and reliably. We only resorted to third-party providers where it was not otherwise possible. In the next part I will take stock and meet Anna in Kiel. And it's about things that happen. Everything will be fine? No, Anna takes everything with her. Really bad surprises, for example.

17 thoughts on "Saab 9000 Anna Project (Part 3)"

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    Great post Tom.

    Coming soon my report from the 9000er of actually only
    Should be second car and now the hero of the heart is.
    9000er driving is cult !!


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    So much for the legendary Swedish steel 🙂 Well, under the conditions every material will give way. Moisture and the lack of opportunity for it to escape again - it quickly looks that way.

    Incidentally, my spare parts experience is not dissimilar.

    When the window regulator broke on my 9-5, I was interested in looking for side windows - no result. Later in the accident damage there were problems with the headlight servomotor and the windshield wiper motor for headlight cleaning. Parts from “tertiary sources” really had to be used. But everything still works and was easy to install. The power steering wiring harness was the penultimate one available. And some OEM and third party parts were used on the last service as well.

    Overall, it's really annoying when a repair cannot be carried out due to a lack of replacement parts and therefore some system is not available - even if it is only something subordinate.

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      Orio will be under pressure to deliver good numbers and may seem to be trying, at times, to sell the inventory quickly. For reproductions you probably need a minimum number of pieces again…. During a beautification campaign this summer I had to wait a long time for a missing, new part, not available in Sweden either. It did come at some point, but Orio initially only referred to the local Saab service in a formulaic manner. That doesn't necessarily increase trust and leads to considerations as to whether you should keep parts in stock yourself (according to Murphy, the wrong ones) or whether you don't need another car after all ...
      Back to the article: even if the good end is known every episode is exciting to read and the question how it went on.

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        "If you don't need another car after all ..."

        You say it - unfortunately. Is somehow also my nightmare that at some point a vital part will quit its service and the SAAB will then be “forcibly retired” 🙂 🙁 Well, let's not hope so.

        But where you mention it ... that's right! Tom shouldn't have already mentioned the outcome, then this story would be really exciting. On the other hand, we have a) - heard enough exciting stories on this blog, with a less positive outcome and b) - the story is easier to read with the familiar good outcome in mind.

        In this respect - I'm excited to see how it goes on!

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    ... on my aero9k the window frame has also been blooming for a short time. Hope it's not that bad yet. The restoration can start next year at the earliest. The dummy change was a long time ago and at the time it was a Saab workshop ... at least it has been dry and aired for the last 7 years if it is not moved in the rain.

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      Anna was the most extreme case in my 9000 history of the windscreen frame. So it does not have to be that bad. I keep my fingers crossed, keep up to date!

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    I discovered the SAAB pages only recently. I'm driving the 4 now. Saab (9-3 convertible) and have in the friend round more SAAB driver in Aschaffenburg. I'm happy about every post and hope to find lots of useful information!

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      Welcome to the blog and greetings to the Strietwald ... The blog is for the most part “Made by Aschaffenburg” 😉

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        I have the impression that you are from Aschaffenburg. Is there a “MeetingPoint” for SAAB drivers in Aschaffenburg?

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          The impression is correct. Unfortunately, there is no meeting point in Aschaffenburg, which can be changed ... if you like 😉

          The Saab Club Rhein Main occasionally organizes meetings near AB.

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    Very good, and good that Orio's various weaknesses are relentlessly named. Discs that are still available from the manufacturer but are no longer available from Orio ... That speaks volumes. The question is whether the “Saab fans” are willing to bear the increased storage and logistics costs that must be taken into account, or whether they prefer (or have to) rely on cheap, worn, used goods or China quality. I at least dare to doubt whether the fan base that is really ready to take the money is big enough to get Orio to be more involved or to rethink completely. Of course, it would be nice if the spare parts situation was better. But Saab is a thing of the past as an active brand. That's why you try to find new business areas. But Orio must also be aware that it is partly up to him there to keep the old business field. So the input has to come from both sides. Saab drivers have to accept that Orio Saab parts are more expensive than comparable parts for other brands that still exist. And Orio finally has to take more risks and make important parts available again. It doesn't have to be a sweeping blow, but a clear signal would be needed to dissuade fickle owners (like me) from selling. The workshops are a second problem. There are fewer and fewer, and the few are overcrowded. In addition, they can no longer calculate sensibly against the background of the misery of parts and also against the background of the fluctuating quality. In addition, most Saab customers have little money in their pockets. Many only go to the workshop when the online forums no longer help and the car goes on strike. That's when the cars go on sale. Then evisceration is on the agenda. This trend is currently prevalent. It is hoarded what it takes. Because nothing grows back. So many parts are there, but locked away. It is a misery that even good service providers like Lafrenz cannot solve in the long run. So the way to the exotic is mapped out. Unfortunately with little prospect of long-term satisfactory operation. Because one thing has to be clear: Many Saab fans - certainly not all of them - will give up their “enthusiasm” at the latest as soon as maintenance becomes too complex or expensive, or their vehicle no longer has the properties it has despite repairs once had.

    I still wish Anna and his owner all the best and lots of fun. I'm looking forward to the next part of the story.

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    Yes, the spare parts situation for 900 and 9000 old and youngtimers has become terrifying. Especially because of (or also?) Auction houses like Ebay. Example from me for my 900 MY91 / 92 for the radiator grille in chrome: It was offered on Ebay in May for just under 400 euros. Among other things, I bought a black grill from a Saab forum participant, which I made look almost like new for about 30 euros and almost 2 days, mostly manual labor, and had my Saab 900 installed on my next visit. Or the topic of Hella SW or flashbacks. I can sing a song there too. It gets particularly bad when the TÜV-relevant parts are no longer manufactured. Sorry, but I praise other brands that took precautions years ago so that even 40-year-old models from the brand can still get parts at reasonable prices. They often buy such models from the old previous owners before they end up in the junkyard and remove the parts that still work and can be reconditioned ... In the case of Saab, this would be urgent and better than expected from any owner of such a vehicle to either hope for a donor or (unfortunately) to scrap the whole thing just because a part (possibly TÜV-relevant) is no longer available….

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      Other brands have corporations in the background, the possibilities are not comparable to Orio. We must not forget which valley of tears the brand went through and under which circumstances Orio was “born”.
      As far as the classics and youngtimers are concerned, there are also the Swedish clubs beyond Orio, which increasingly have their own reproductions made. Unfortunately currently only for members, the Swedish Saab has 10.000 new and used parts on offer. Maybe this is the future of the classics, maybe the German clubs are also in demand?

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        Most of them have a corporation behind them. But what the oldtimers and youngtimers of Saabs tend to “dream” of would be a company like the one at Porsche. There, Porsches are extensively restored, parts can be ordered that can no longer be obtained from the free trade. If necessary, they will be reproduced there, e.g. sheet metal parts. If that then exists, former suppliers such as Bosch, Hella etc. are ready to produce small series in quantities. That something like that costs a lot of money is clear. But if such cars can be saved from the scrap press, the owners are or would be willing to spend more money if afterwards (except for the wear parts that can be got anyway) there is a few years of peace. There was also a report in a car magazine on TV.

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          Orio may not be that far removed from these ideas. In Sweden there was the "A Saab for Ida" Project. The idea behind it was that customers give an old Saab to Orio and get a quasi “new car” back. The word “restoration” according to Saab specification made the rounds. Unfortunately, it is not known whether the project will be pursued further or not.

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    Horrible, the pane frame ... It's great that the blog runs through the project. Anna becomes a cult 😉

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    ANA I like this project very much because we “also” have this project.
    You just have to take care of it because the brown plague also gnaws at our ...

    And the bad work on the disk frame has made our company in the disc well when exchanging.

    Just like the trunk cover as I love workshops.

    Keep it up with Ana

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