Saab passion. Enough is enough. But when?

Do you know that too? Again, the Broken Witch is on your beloved Saab on the way and the wife says for the umpteenth time, honey, sale but the car finally! And it annoys. Not the woman, no the defect. But if the car is repaired again, you are happy again and do not want to give it away anymore.

Saab 9-5 Aero 2002 by Matthias


How strong should a suffering pressure be? How many repairs can you do until it's enough? How much money would you like to put in the car or cars? Where is the limit of passion and reason to something that has four wheels and should actually only bring one from A to B. With more or less passion while driving.

Well, for my part, I have just or better said that since December 2011 has suffered a great ordeal. My Saab passion is heavily strained on one of my two Saab. Especially in the last few years.

Since December 2011 I am the proud owner of a 2002 9-5 2.3 Aero estate car. I bought the car from a very good friend, to whom the car has become too small. There are no three child seats in the row in the back seat. Actually, my focus is more on the small 9-3 series than on the big one. But already at the first test drive I fell in love with the car. Actually amazing for me, because otherwise I'm quite sober on a thing like a vehicle purchase approach. Well, it pulled my sleeve in, as we say so nicely.

It started quite fast once with the first repairs, which one speaks naturally at the beginning of course, and recorded as a necessary measure or normal wear. So had the same time the vehicle battery to be replaced. Soon after followed the xenon burner lamps (D1S), which could be described as normal after 9 years. As a trained car mechanic for me quite understandable and self-repairable.

Unfortunately, it was not there. I mean, the car already had around 150`000 km on the clock. Now slowly but surely began the beautiful speech again and the suffering increased from time to time. Especially if you can read in forums and blogs, as apparently other owners of 9-5er hardly have problems. Or are owners with big problems just not going to happen? That's a bit frustrating.

Soon after, wheel bearings, wishbones and tensioners had to be replaced. And again the vehicle battery. Except for the battery, I talked to me, yes, of course, wearing parts. But what the hell is with the vehicle battery? Now the mystery solved only in January 2017. Until then, another battery was consumed.

Next xenon burner and associated control units had to be procured, since my main light still flickered irregularly from the first change. After three sets of xenon lamps (D1S) and three ballasts from Valeo later, the light works perfectly again. What joy!

But more adversity awaited me. The DI ignition box had to be renewed. Normal at about 185`000 km. Do you have to expect it. Was synonymous with my 900II convertible. Unfortunately, the part did not work as desired. The box, bought from a third party, because it was a little cheaper, failed along with the fuel pump on a hot summer's day just as we drove up to the freeway after buying hamburgers and fries with my son.

Once again one of my cars had to be brought back to the garage by car towing vehicle. The DI ignition box was then replaced with an original part, as well as the gasoline pump.

It continued in the aftermath with leaking turn signal lenses, third brake light with LED and water damage, fog lights and light relay.

A holiday trip 2015 to Austria in beautiful Tyrol also brought suffering and pain, especially in the holiday fund. So failed in the middle of a pass the Alternator (generator). With much effort, we dragged ourselves to Lech am Arlberg. Unfortunately nobody wanted to help us, not even the local ÖAMTC representative. Here I have to praise my car insurance, they organized us a towing opportunity in the Tyrol to a workshop plus a replacement car (Fiat Doblo with 600 km on the clock) and paid the replacement car even. So we could still get to our hotel near Seefeld. The Saab was released 5 days later in Zams in the Tyrol. With fresh alternator for fabulous 996 Euro.

Saab 900 II by Matthias. Get price!

Then came the summer 2016. A new exhaust sump had to come from. At 225`000 km is still the original factory installed exhaust system under the car. Which of course is great and speaks for the very good quality of the original parts. But unfortunately only partially available and usually here in Switzerland would be available at great prices. So let's see what is available on the open market. Most of all, a plant by Hirsch would give me pleasure. But not to get. Anyway, an affordable one.

Also, a system from Speedparts from Sweden would be great and affordable, but unfortunately makes the Road Traffic Office Bern, where I have to show the car soon again, (every two years) probably not with, because no DTC certificate (Dynamic Test Center - Test organization under for parts and accessories in Switzerland).

So only the third party from Switzerland remains. but he has the "Sportauspuff" of the Eros not in stock. Only a blender. Too bad, but testable.

Unfortunately, it didn't just stick to the exhaust. Suddenly I had bad black-brown spots under my vehicle in the rented parking lot. Until now I was proud of my dry engine. The oil pressure switch was exposed as a sinner. Quick and small thing and good again. Well, just a week later, oil spills under the car again. Sche ... .. what now? The workshop I trust locates the valve cover gasket (called VDD in technical language). So replace. But now it's not like my workshop doesn't have any other work, so I have to wait a week for an appointment.

As I do so, I feel the oil dripping steadily in the parking lot of my landlord, who is not happy about this situation.

After repairing the VDD, not a big deal either, I thought I was rid of the problem. You think the mischief strikes again only 14 days later. When I had to find out from my work after the return trip that engine oil runs out of the engine into the parking lot in front of our house. This time it is not a drop, more of a trickle ... This time, my (still) trusting workshop locates the engine's cylinder head gasket. Material costs low, work all the more expensive. I could go up the walls. Well, it's no use. Needs to be fixed. Appointment in three! Weeks.

Well, I still have my convertible to get from A to B. Once again, it occurred to me to want to sell the part.

But still is not finished with the suffering. After the repair of the cylinder head gasket including changing some hoses on the engine, a new vehicle battery was needed again. This time to the specialist. I wanted to know why I had start-up problems and a battery is due again. The Master locates the problem in a nondescriptable (not yet localized) leakage current that soon kills my battery. Thanks to the almost daily use of the vehicle, the impact is less. Oh great. The master recommends a return visit to his facility for the purpose of tracking down the creepage. At the same time I am also sold a new battery.

For some time, the evil engine indicator lamp in my dashboard is active. It's there, sometimes not. Clarifications in my former teaching (formerly Saab A representation and now Volvo dealer) have revealed, the Kat is out. Now I know that since the summer 2016. Ignored but diligently the lamp, because I had just other worries with the car and the engine worked fine.

But now it had to be. As soon as the vehicle inspection was due. You do not want to see burning lights there. The former Saab representative in our area offered me a cat from an export car of the same architectural style if he did not go for export. Unfortunately he left. Offer new and original from Saab 2500.- sFr.! The Gauls would have said, the spin the Romans.

So back to the internet and check offers. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be gained in car recycling and I did not want a cat with 200`000 km. A third party from Germany made the race here.

For good 300 Euro I got what I wanted and works perfectly since the change. Even the lamp does not like burning anymore.

What's next? Now the rust removal at the rear right fender is already set. Links was removed a few years ago for about 1200.- sFr. So I already know what to expect

Anyway, as far as the rust is concerned.

At this point I have to make it clear that I really enjoy driving my two Saabs (15 & 20 years old). It's my second hobby and I don't have a real alternative to a Saab at the moment. Although I drive a lot of Volvo for work (my wife also has one). This brand would only be an alternative for me to a limited extent.

For all these repairs, of course, for a Saab enthusiast and the purchase of accessories are not too short. If still available.

The 9-5er features new slotted ATE brake discs, a new sports steering wheel, a strut brace by Speedparts, new rims in 5 spoke design, and US turn signals in the front and sports grille.

Overview Repairs Saab 9-5 Aero

In addition, my 900II SE 2.0 T Convertible wants to be entertained and maintained. All in all, this is and will be a big challenge for me and my family. Had I more space and money available, more Saab exhibits would probably come to me. Such a 900I T and / or 9000 T. To which I have a special relationship from earlier.

My biggest wish would be an 9-3 Viggen in blue. But that still seems to be a wish. For now.

So how much can a passionate Saab rider endure when it comes to his Saabs? When is enough, where should you draw the line? Economically speaking, my two cars are probably a disaster, (especially the 9-5 which cost me until now about 10`000.- sFr.) Whose every sense is lacking.

Nevertheless, the limit does not seem to have been reached yet. Probably.

Thanks to Matthias for the Saab story! That's what one of our exclusive is for Saab boarding files on the journey. Do you also have something to tell about Saab?

The story of an unforgettable holiday, a restoration or any other event in life with the cult brand from Trollhättan?

Whatever it is, write us. We are looking forward to it!

20 thoughts on "Saab passion. Enough is enough. But when?"

  • Yes, a very legitimate question! I also drive a 9-5 station wagon. However from 2009 as 1,9 TID with automatic. Everything is wonderful! But I need the car as an everyday car - currently with a caravan in Brittany. Suddenly engine control lamp on, power gone. With the second restart everything was fine again, then smoke when accelerating, poor performance. My diagnosis: the pressure hose on the loader has a crack or something similar. SAAB workshop? In Brittany? Forget it. A friendly Renault dealer can help. Yes it is the hose, but: despite efforts in France not available. Is no longer produced. In Germany, I won't find anything quickly (read: Internet). Not available! The friendly Renault dealer forms a suitable hose overnight and everything is fine again! For even little money. Everything went well. But I ask myself a little apprehensively: What happens if a part is no longer available? Do I have at least two cars? Or even different for different states? Unfortunately, I can no longer afford that ...

  • Beautiful 9-5! The Ferrari sticker is a huge annoyance ... a break in style!

  • Thanks to all those who give me courage. I'm not the only one with problems now and then. By the way, he is already oiling again. Only a little. This time probably the crankshaft seal ring belt side. Well, at some point he is thoroughly repaired.

    PS, the Kat came from ATP Auto-Teile.de from 92690 Pressath (D) and works perfectly.

  • Unfortunately, in all vehicles from about 1994 already installed too much electronics and technology that you really do not need.
    My 1996 902 convertible already had some repairs and now the cylinder head gasket is already easily operated.
    With a value of approx. 3000 € the question arises whether this still pays off ?? because Vereck lights up once, then Check Engin again and a few other things. My 900 CC 1992 with 240000 KM does not cause any problems, did 10000 km in one year without any problems, did a small service and now change the cooling water expansion tank for € 40 and keep driving.

  • I think such an unvarnished contribution really good! ! !

    Hats off to the honest guest author and the brave creators of this blog. INDEED …

    ... on closer inspection, the publication is not that brave. That means that the vehicle and the brand are not to blame.

    About oil losses in September, October, November and December 2016. And there was never a sweat and hoses not previously seen as porous? ? ?
    Of course, one annoys more often and pays more in total, if the workshop does not do it once and in one go.

    Or also wheel bearings and wishbones at intervals of 5 months? Wishbone or its bushes wear out and do not suddenly age overnight. That could have been done together - if you had to do it together.

    SORRY & JOY ...

    ... can be close together at SAAB. A good and competent workshop keeps the two at a distance.

  • Hello Matthias,

    I do not quite understand the problem. You are now driving the fancy 9-5 for five years and have put about 10.000 into it.
    That's around 170 / month! For this, no corresponding car gets leased carefree and of value losses
    we prefer not to talk. Sure, it's annoying when mistakes occur repeatedly and in quick succession, but ours
    Cars are now at an age where they have to be repaired when they are in daily use.

    I have the same with my working 9000 (Joe) and lie in just under five years at a similar sum.
    But now it is getting less and he has never let us down. He occasionally has working days,
    where in the evening there are 800-900Km more on the clock - no problem, it has now run 235.000.

    Quite different is my other 9000 there. That is still 1.Hand and of course has a different care state.
    Sometimes, however, the two behave like twins
    19 has cost 14478 € in service and repairs, 64 € / month at 210.000

  • Hello Matthias, great contribution. Of course, it makes us think, but it was always a bit more expensive to have a special taste ...
    Apropo new car, the 70000.- CHF / Euro new car in the first year only 7000.- loss I would like to see!
    Anyway, drive and have fun. Your 95er is a gem and the 900 convertible too!
    Incidentally, I have 5 Saab which are all redeemed. But since I can't drive so much with everyone, the maintenance costs are limited.
    Always good drive
    Hans from Basel

  • After the partly negative experiences I have to break a lance for our 9-3 II SC from 2009. Except for the front right spring and new brake discs at 80.000km we have been spared the error devil. Only the through. Consumption of about 8,0l complies despite automatic not necessarily the Verbrauchsvorstellungen.Bislang have made the nearly 100.000km a lot of fun!

  • It is exactly the same - passion, as mentioned in the title. Hobby can also be said to be part of it. And that's all very well. But to justify such a passion with rational arguments is not convincing for me. For example, I don't see the connection between the depreciation of a new car and the repair costs for older cars. And depreciation is not a cost - but repair costs are. It is quite normal for items to lose value over time, and that happens even if the items are kept in good condition. Most older cars continue to decline in value (and station wagons are usually not the kind of cars that make a classic investment). I bought my 9-5 SC TiD in February 2016 for 114.000 kr and in July 2017 (and 25.000 km later) it was worth 1/3 less. And cheaper 9-5s continue to lose value, at least in Sweden. A Saab like the one in the article can be bought in Sweden for around 25.000 kr. And last week in Poland I met someone who recently bought a 2002 Aero in Switzerland for the equivalent of 2.500 euros - the same price level. You never get the repair costs again (checkbook is assumed by the buyer = hygiene factor), and certainly not the time - but such a car can be a good buy for a Saab fan. Therefore, it is best to keep and maintain it as long as time and financially possible. And please do not argue with environmental protection either - nobody protects the environment by driving a car (not with a 15-year-old Saab, not with a new Euro 6 diesel and not even with a Tesla), that is more likely to be done through public transport, cycling Walk or stay at home. See also my comments on CO2 emissions in my article the other day. Also at the risk of appearing controversial, but I hope I see things as they are. Again, good luck to the author - hopefully the pleasant hours with the car will outweigh the rest!

  • You're not alone. I have done a complete restoration, look at project Paul the Netherlands. Why? Only passion

  • Also we have 2 9-3 II. An 2010 9-3X with 100tkm and a 2006er 19 TID SC with 200tkm. Both always well maintained. Although both check book maintained (including Im. Himberg) makes the diesel at the moment massive problems. While up to 200tkm only the usual wearing parts (coupling rods, 1x spring front, battery, brakes, LiMa and the typical diesel problems AGR and the flaps) were due, he now mutates to roulette. Every second exit is something. No joke! Timing belt torn because water pump got stuck, then the diesel filter sensor broken (which required a fire service operation due to outgassing diesel), then emergency program because of full DPF, then intercooler down. Now he stands again because he runs on idle and no gas takes. We are really desperate because my son (still without a job) for the way to the university (Ca 120km per direction) needed and as diesel stop super cheap. Already have bad conscience to my son because he was otherwise very reliable. And he always loves and cherishes him. Now thinking of selling (independent of the diesel gate) because he has become so unreliable meanwhile. Every second ride he is ... Sad, but the days now seem to be numbered ... and I am afraid that he will become a bottomless pit (with what we have invested in recent months). From justified complaining of my wife at the moment quite apart ... I see my 9-3X very rarely and then when we when my son is home .... drive the smart diesel of my wife ... at least a convertible :-). Hope you are more lucky with your 9-3 II

    Update: everything checked again today. Engine check lamp originally on, after a thorough engine check including all plugs, the lamp went out at some point and works like one again ... to go crazy .... but my son is happy that is important. Hopefully for longer ...

    I fully understand the contribution….

  • I think the amount of repairs is OK given the mileage and age. You just have to know what you're getting into and get along with it. You seem to be a specialist ... then why don't you do most of the work yourself? It's not rocket science. You can of course also drive a golf, but then you will only drive a golf. 😉

  • The dilemma seems familiar to me. If a defect occurs again, the first reflex is: now it's enough, now it comes away. But he should first be repaired. But then of course he runs so nice again! And besides, what would be the alternative? A brand new data octopus that produces at least as much depreciation as an age of repair costs?
    Then prefer the charming old man with all his quirks.
    Whether that is rational, others may judge.

  • Hello Matthias, there were always more or less certain little things that regularly fueled the thought of changing vehicles. But somehow they also lived a generous tolerance to Saab, because it was a slightly different relationship with the car than with most other makes. But this year it has come to the point where the brand change has been carried out and I have to admit that there has already been progress in car manufacturing in Swabia ... and how well the workshop is informed about all the details of the vehicles.
    But what strikes me most about the so-called everyday use are the developments in light. Since I find it impressive how well I can see the road again in the evening and how evenly the field of view is illuminated.

  • Repairing is always cheaper than depreciating a new car. 10.000 francs sounds terrible at first, but if you think about which car you would get for it ... you will be cured very quickly.

    PS: It helps a lot for family peace when the wife's circle of friends drives new cars from other brands ... and these friends complain about the exorbitant cost of these cars.

  • Hello Matthias
    You have 2 beautiful SAABs in the garage. Maintaining a SAAB, be it a 9-5 series or, like me, a 9000 series, already takes its toll in the cash register ... with a comparable new car (in the region of CHF 70) you would have annual depreciation costs of CHF 7 ... and you would not be as stylish and individual by far on road!
    One more question about the creeping stream: what was the cause? Connection with the KAT?
    Keep SAABing, Daniel

  • So you could transfer some stuff like 1: 1 to my 9-5 from 2002.

    Of the normal things that are due for almost 230000km just like belts, rollers, tensioner wishbone, etc., I also have the problem with the battery, it should now be the fourth.
    Although I do not feel like four after 15 years (12 of it in my hand), I have the impression that the battery only starts the Saab at full power for a short time, after six months it feels tougher.

    The D1S I have already twice replaced, rear axle was after almost 9 months causal research also replacement, fuel pump and the second in it, rust was professionally removed before vacation and everything in the area of ​​the rear wheel arches properly preserved. In terms of substance, the painter was more than satisfied.

    The exhaust has held here in the original also to 180000km 2015, which I found also very good.
    Even with mine is a third party (no cheap part) come to the train, quite simply a question of cost. Whether he holds so long we will see.

    And I think my engine must also be examined for oil loss.
    Just when it was refilled, it smells of rice waffle now and then,
    as our great always says.

    Your turn signal on the front right, was that a damage or has your water like mine simply drawn water?

    But if you sit in your 9-5, you don't want to have another one so we have to live with it for a few more years. 🙂

    Nice report and continue to be brave.

  • The colleague above is right - even if the list is long, the parts in total are still below the depreciation of a comparable new car, which probably has less esprit, charm and good looks than the SAABs from Sweden. I also drive mine according to the motto: the few spare parts cost less than the depreciation and I hope it stays that way. Nevertheless: the world needs new SAABs!

  • Nice contribution. However, I don't see it that closely with all the repairs. A new (equivalent) car has at least as much depreciation in the same amount of time. Of course, new is always somehow “fancier”, but in the long term you are doing yourself and the environment a bigger favor by using an automobile for as long as possible.
    Another question: does the author like to somehow let me know where he got the new Kat including installation for 300, - €? Unfortunately for me there is also… 🙂

  • Thanks for the very interesting article! Since one can only hope that the bad luck ending soon and is replaced by a long time of trouble-free driving with this very chic Saab!

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