Saab 9000 Anna Project (Part 6) Tuning

The Saab 9000, our Anna project, slowly rolls through a small town. Nothing has happened yet ... but soon! Readers who, based on their own medical history, are considered to be infected or susceptible to the 9000 are advised to switch off now - and only read on at Part 7. Because this article can affect family peace and bank balance.

Saab 9000 - Anna Project
Saab 9000 - Anna project

End of town. Free ride, accelerate, boost. The needle jumps up to the red area, the turbo whistles. Third gear, fourth gear. The turbosound mills the heart and brain, transforming men into guys. Anna has long since moved beyond the legally permitted limits. Gear number 5. Anna pulls, the turbo cheers. Turn, turn down. Like on rails, the 9000 goes through the curve, then accelerate, shift, turbo sound.

What happened? We learn Anna's flying! In Sweden there are tuning kits with up to 400 PS, but we did not want to do it that wild. Slightly more than the original 170 PS was being considered, a solution at 9000 Aero level.

We originally wanted to test a German tuner, but it is not available for weeks in summer, so get out of the story. Specialist Maptun is an alternative. For the 2.3t there are kits from 245 to 295 hp in Sweden. I choose the “small” 245 HP solution. An increase of 120 Nm and 75 HP should be enough, right?

In the package for around € 700,00 is the T5 solenoid valve, which distinguishes the soft turbo from the more charged version. The valve costs € 350,00 at Saab, so the price for the complete kit is quite moderate. Maptun delivers a new engine control unit; if you return your old control to the Swedes, you save € 100,00.

Control unit and valve can be installed quickly, the immobilizer is activated via Tech2. Before the first ride, a simple calculation. The 9000 weighs around 1.400 kilograms. With 245 HP and 380 Nm each HP has to accelerate a good 5,7 kilos. A power to weight ratio, better than 10 kilos per horsepower, stands for fun. A 5 before the decimal point is a lot of fun ...

Red numbers on, the 9000 goes on a test drive in compliance with the law. The 9000 feels normal in the lower rev range. There is no sequential turbocharger at work, but an old-school machine. If the engine speed rises to 2000 revs, things get emotional. Boost pressure! Now you can see the 9000 with different eyes. Something is pushing. The 2.3 liter drives like a V8 was under the hood. You can move forward confidently from any speed.

The turbo is present when accelerating, the turbo needle signals sufficient pressure. That's how we love Saab, that's what made the brand what it is. From the country road to the motorway. The 9000 threads itself playfully. It depends so well on the gas that you want to slalom around the other road users. Then the old game. Speed ​​limits are ended after construction sites ... Small and medium-sized cars set indicators, want to sweep the old Saab off the left lane. In response to the pushers, there is thrust. We are gone!

So I play Saab Turbo one afternoon. That makes you sick and addicting. Even worse: you can never get that out of your head. You can stay in 5th gear on the autobahn. The Saab flies, is always fed up with boost pressure. Larger, potentially stronger cars are also accelerated. Power-to-weight ratio and boost pressure are everything. On country roads you sort your way through the aisles, trucks are overtaken in a playful way. Yes, you can be childish. The fun potential is enormous, Maptun and Saab are very addictive. Don't think about it if instead of the 245 hp it were the large 295 hp kit ...

Saab feeling comes through. The old, almost lost feeling of fascinating turbos - when turbo lag wasn't a problem, when cars still wanted to be driven. You don't want to get out, you want to drive, drive, drive. And because the Saab 9000 is a child of the 80s and 90s, the driving experience comes through immediately. No computer program, no sound generator falsified. The 9000 is what it is: with the Maptun Kit, the understatement sedan par excellence. A solid, old, inconspicuous, extremely fast car. The almost forgotten product of a brand that, apart from us fans, has almost no one on their radar. Pure fun!

Saab had one 280 PS version in progress, with four-wheel drive. Unfortunately, this 9000 never came in series. Audi brought the V8 at the same time. Saab was at eye level and on the way up. The product was there, lacking the courage to make a big leap. Anyway, we have the cars, we have the fun. Engine and transmission can handle the extra power, the front-wheel drive copes amazingly well with the 245 PS. But nothing in the world is without disadvantage.

Of course, it is clear to me that in real life many 9000 are on the road with even more horsepower. As a blog you have to be compliant with the law. Therefore the note: If you want to celebrate the Maptun experience, there is no way around legalization. Magic word: individual purchase. In addition, you should think about better brakes, which I do anyway, and change the turbo hoses. That too is already on the list of things to do.

Technical questions, availability, and everything else about the Maptun Kit are answered by Till Drescher from, Maptun will be releasing 20% kits on the fall promotion. Do you want to have one? I guess so. More draft is good. The 9000 is one of those things that does not age but gets better. Or the more desirable the more mobile computers penetrate our everyday lives.

In Part 7 we summarize the action. Only as a stopover, Anna will continue to accompany us. We philosophize in the next part about the future of the Saab 9000, it's about money. What is Anna actually worth? An appraiser helps us further. It's exciting to see how he rates the Saab 9000.

20 thoughts on "Saab 9000 Anna Project (Part 6) Tuning"

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    In addition to the upgrades that can be purchased, you can also consider an individual one. I “beautified” my 9k a 2,3 FPT with automatic to 230PS / 336Nm. With a torque curve tailored to the automatic, the 4HP18 has also taken part. Brakes are indeed a problem as Saab has never been particularly good at that. Tuning the 9k is particularly great because the T5 was not yet as soft as the T7, for example in the 9-3 or 9-5

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    Thank you for this article! That is exactly what makes the 9K!
    Looking forward to the first exit with my fat if, yes, when I'm finally finished with the OP!
    On the subject of braking ... whoever brakes less is faster longer! 🙂
    Have my saddles revised and Zimmermann slices (the normal) and Klötzer in it and I'm quite satisfied. But I'm looking forward to the next article about the brake reports! thank you in advance

    PS: Heiko… have you still not been able to convince her? 🙂 😉

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    I can't say I wasn't warned ...

    And it's true, damn it. You can not read the article partout if you do not have 9000 and (actually) do not want to buy one.

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    @ Tom: brilliantly written !! I have been driving a 8 Aero for 9000 years with now 356500km and still can't get enough of this car. Started in the family of my 9000er over 9-3 I, 9-3 II, 9-5 II up to the 9-5 NG a total of 8 Saabs and all are special in their own way, but in the 9000er I still climb a lot like a. In terms of performance, the 9000er is the most fun because you can really feel the “thrust” yourself.

    Thank you very much for these marginal reports!

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      In the event that someone needs parts or ECUs for a SAAB (of course 9000er) we have in the company (SaabArt Austria + 43 664 260 88 99) a very large assortment of parts. I know now sounds like advertising but just want to have said it. If I violate any rules please delete this comment immediately (ad Administrator).

      Good ride to you all !!

      BlackBerry Messenger Pin: pin: 2BDDA5EE

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    Tom, your Anna article series is really great, pure 9000er feeling.

    The brakes are one of the few points on the 9000 that makes you realize it's an old construction. At that time in the 80-erns one had to keep an eye on the rear-view mirror at full braking, because the others had no chance, today one holds the 9000 better the safety margin.

    Otherwise this car amazes more people today. No one has the more on the screen and no one is thinking of an 30 year old car.
    This month I have a new employee in tow, who had to drive with me a few hundred KM 9000. He is always amazed at what was already possible at that time and how small the progress actually is to date, yes that there are even setbacks.

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    ... even more thrust than in the aero? makes you curious, ... ..but the brakes in the aero9k are borderline. what's up in the 9-5NG I learned to appreciate the difference to the normal brake! in the aero9k i would like to have more bite!

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      Maptun delivers 38 Nm more than the Aero. I think a well-going Aero and a CSE with Maptun Kit will have about equivalent mileage. On the brakes I come back in a later article, clearly there is a need for action!

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    THANKS Tom, for this terrific addictive article!
    SAAB fed up, I can only say that.
    Pure emotion, with a vehicle that is over 20 (!) Years old / young!
    The view of the 9000-der is changing ...

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    Because of such articles I love this blog. What an ingenious way to write. This also makes me feel up. But as you know I have a very different project in front of me.

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      Your other project is also great, Saab is on it

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        If there was not still the problem with the BMW. And that just annoys me extremely.

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    I just want your words "The old, almost lost feeling of fascinating turbos - when turbo lag was not a problem, when cars still wanted to be driven." add something, because so many owners of larger mid-range and luxury cars mean / think that they are better with their 4-cylinder and turbo or 6-cylinder than a Saab 9000 or even a Saab 900, because they had / had a turbo lag ... by no means I can say, at least I never felt a turbo lag on my 900 16V S with soft turbo. Even with the Volvo 850 T5 (245 PS, 2,5 L) I never had the feeling of a turbo lag .... That should be no different with the 9000er tuned by you Tom ...

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      In order not to become a Saab folklore blog here: Of course there is the turbo hole. You just barely feel it. The soft turbos were invented to eliminate it, which has largely succeeded. And even with the full turbo in the 900/9000 it has almost disappeared. How you can see and “experience” how big the technological lead once was.
      Only: A sequential turbo can do it even better, because time has not stopped. Available in Turbo X, 9-3 Griffin and 9-5 NG.

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    I like the SAAB stories! The 9000 is a great car, it's fun to read!

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    Dear Tom, I can confirm that an “upgrade” of a B234E “soft turbo engine” brings a lot more driving pleasure!
    The question is “upgrade” or “tuning”.
    I gave my 98 2.3t with the ZF machine a moderate “upgrade” to a B234L engine. The power is now 200 HP and 294 Nm instead of 170 HP and 260 Nm. I also considered an upgrade to a B234R (225 PS, 342 Nm), or a tuning from Maptun as you described it. However, on the advice of some specialists, I decided not to use a higher output because the ZF automaton is not designed for higher torques. Even with the most powerful “aero version”, SAAB only installed the B234L variant at the factory. Nevertheless, the step from the B234E to the B234L machine is huge and gives the 9000er much more “bite” and the higher torque is available from 1 rpm available. If you don't want to “tune” but just “upgrade”, you only need the additional APC valve and a corresponding control unit of the standard B800L or B234R machines. For my part, I bought a control unit from a scrapped 234 from for around 100 euros. I also upgraded the missing “Turbo / APC display” in the instrument cluster. I also found what I was looking for at for little money. Further “optical” changes such as the turbo emblem in the radiator grille or instead of the small “t” a large “T” in the lettering on the rear would round off an upgrade :-)! It is possible that an “upgrade” with original control units would not have to be an “individual acceptance” because everything has already been type-tested. But the respective country-specific regulations must be observed!

    For those interested here still the spare part numbers of the original control devices with the VSS control (alarm system):
    B234L (200PS / 294Nm): 47 81 860
    B234R (225PS / 342Nm): 47 81 886

    @ Tom: Your thoughts on replacing the “turbo hoses” and upgrading the brakes would be of great interest to me!

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      It's exciting how our thoughts are similar. Upgrading to 200 PS with a different controller was an issue. But failed at the availability at the time. There are these ECUs even with Orio in the original, but I was the price too high.
      Maptun decreases the power in the automatic versions, which are limited in torque. There are quite a few 9000 machines that are on the way. Apparently problem-free.
      Turbo hoses and brakes optimization coming soon on the blog. Currently the time for the Anna project is missing, but in winter it looks better.

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    When reading, you really get excited about the 9000 ...
    It's just a shame mine is a 2.3i. And as far as I know there is unfortunately no tuning kit for him: /
    (although the gentle automatic and the smoothness actually compensate but few more horsepower would be very nice)

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      An 2.3i is not an object for tuning. For a gentle glider, which takes the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I think well, is a nice engine!

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    Lovely! Especially the saying “The 9000 only gets better with age! ".

    And I can only agree with you there! Our saab 9000 anniversary also has maptunes as automatic.

    Power + automatic make you happy. This car simply makes you want more. You don't want to get out anymore.

    The unknown size!

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