Saab 9000 Anna Project (Part 6) Tuning

The Saab 9000, our Anna project, rolls slowly through a small village. Nothing has happened yet ... but now! Readers who are deemed to be either ini fi cient or vulnerable to the 9000 on the basis of a personal history are advised to switch off now - and continue to read it on Part 7. Because this article can affect family peace and account 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.

Originally we wanted to test a German tuner, but that is not available in the summer for weeks, so out of the story. As an alternative offers specialist Maptun. For the 2.3t there are Sweden kits from 245 to 295 PS. I decide for the "small" 245 PS solution. A plus of 120 Nm and 75 PS should be enough, right?

In the package for around 700,00 € is the T5 solenoid valve, which distinguishes the soft turbo from the more heavily charged version. The valve at Saab 350,00 €, the price of the complete kit is therefore quite moderate. Maptun supplies a new engine control unit; Those who return their old controls to the Swedes will save 100,00 €.

Control unit and valve are installed quickly, the immobilizer is activated via the Tech2. Before the first ride a simple calculation. The 9000 weighs around 1.400 kilograms. With 245 PS and 380 Nm every HP must accelerate well 5,7 kilos. A power-to-weight ratio, better than 10 kilos per horsepower, is fun. An 5 before the comma is a lot of fun ...

Red numbers on it, the 9000 is compliant with the law on test drive. The 9000 feels normal in the lower rpm range. There is no sequential turbocharger, but an old-school machine. If the rpm increases on 2000 tours, it gets emotional. Boost pressure! Now you can see the 9000 with different eyes. Something pushes. The 2.3 liter drives as if a V8 was under the hood. From every speed it goes confidently forward.

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 highway to the highway. The 9000 threads in playfully. Hangs so well on the gas that you want to drive slalom around the other road users. Then the old game. After construction sites speed limits are terminated ... Small and mid-range cars set turn signals, want to sweep the old Saab from the left lane. In response to the drainers, there is thrust. Way we are!

So I play an afternoon Saab Turbo. That makes you sick, addictive. Worse, you'll never get that out of your head. On the highway you are allowed in the 5. Stay gear. The Saab flies, has always full boost. Even larger, potentially stronger cars are accelerated. Performance weight and boost pressure are everything. On country roads you sort through the corridors crisp, trucks are overtaken playfully. Yes, one may be childish. The fun potential is enormous, Maptun and Saab deliver a lot of addiction. Not to think about it, if instead of the 245 PS it would be the big 295 PS Kit ...

That's where Saab Feeling comes through. The old, almost lost feeling of fascinating turbos - as turbo lag was not a problem when cars still wanted to be driven. You do not want to get out, you want to drive, drive, drive. And because the Saab 9000 is a kid of the 80 and 90 years, the driving experience comes right through. No computer program, no sound generator falsified. The 9000 is what it is: the understated limousine with the Maptun Kit. A dignified, old, inconspicuous, extremely fast car. The almost forgotten product of a brand that has virtually no one else on the screen except us fans. 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, I realize that in real life, many 9000 are traveling with even more horsepower. As a blog you have to be compliant with the law. Therefore the hint: If one wants to celebrate the Maptun experience, there is no way around the legalization. Magic word: individual acceptance. In addition, you should think about better brakes, which I anyway 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 draw the resume of the action. Only as a stopover, Anna will continue to accompany us. In the next part we will be philosophizing about the future of the Saab 9000, it's about money. What is Anna really worth? An appraiser will help us. Exciting how he rates the Saab 9000.

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

  • In addition to the commercially available upgrades, one can also consider an individual one. My 9k an 2,3 FPT with automatic I "embellished" on 230PS / 336Nm. With a torque curve tuned to the automatic, the 4HP18 has also participated. Braking is indeed a problem, Saab has never been so good. Tuning at the 9k is particularly great because the T5 was not as soft-washed as the T7 eg in 9-3 or 9-5

  • 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 brakes ... those who brake less are quicker for 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? 🙂 😉

  • I can not say I was not 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.

  • 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 !!

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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 through 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 am still climbing a lot like a. In terms of performance, the 9000 is the most fun because you can really feel the “thrust” yourself.

    Thank you very much for these marginal reports!

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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 is changing ...

  • Not to get completely into the Saab Folklore Blog: Of course there is the turbo hole. You hardly feel it. The soft turbo was invented to eliminate it, which has been largely successful. And even with the full turbos in the 900 / 9000, it has almost disappeared. What you can see and "experience" how great the technological lead was once.
    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.

  • 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.

  • I just want to add your words here "The old, almost lost feeling of fascinating turbos - as turbo lag was not a problem when cars still wanted to be driven." Supplement something, as so many owners of larger medium and upper class cars thought / meant they are with their 4 cylinder and turbo or 6 cylinders better than such a Saab 9000 or even Saab 900 on the way, because they had / had a turbo lag ... I can not say anything, at least I felt with my 900er 16V S with Softturbo never a turbo lag , Even with the Volvo 850 T5 (245 PS, 2,5 L) I never had the feeling of a turbo lag ... That should not be any different with the Tom tuned 9000er ....

  • 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!

  • 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.

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

  • Dear Tom, I can confirm that an "upgrade" of a B234E "soft turbo engine" brings much more driving pleasure!
    The question is "Upgrade" or "Tuning".
    My 98er 2.3t with the ZF machine I have missed a moderate "upgrade" on a B234L engine, the performance is now 200 PS and 294 Nm instead of 170 PS and 260 Nm. An upgrade to a B234R (225 PS, 342 Nm), or a tuning of Maptun as you described it, I have also considered. However, I would have given up on the advice of some specialists on a higher performance, since the ZF-Automat is not designed for higher torques. SAAB had already installed only the B234L version at the most powerful "Aero-Version". Nevertheless, the step from the B234E to the B234L machine is huge and gives the 9000er a lot more "bite" and the higher torque is already available from 1'800 rpm available. So if you do not want to "tune" but just "upgrade", all you need is the extra APC valve and a corresponding controller of the standard B234L or B234R machines. For my part, I purchased a control unit for approx. 100 Euro via from a shredded 9000er. I also retrofitted the missing "Turbo / APC display" in the instrument cluster. Since I have also found at for little money. Other "optical" changes such as the turbo emblem in the radiator grille or instead of the small "t" a big "T" in the lettering at the rear would round out an upgrade :-)! Possibly would be in an "upgrade" with original control units no "single acceptance" done, since everything has already been type-tested. But there are certainly the respective country-specific regulations to 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 considerations for the replacement of the "turbo hoses" and the brake upgrade would be very interesting to me!

  • When reading one gets really bock on the 9000 ...
    Just a pity that mine is a 2.3i. And as far as I know there's no tuning kit for this: /
    (although the gentle automatic and the smoothness actually compensate but few more horsepower would be very nice)

  • Wonderful! Above all, the saying “The 9000 only gets better in old 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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