A chassis for the 9k - Saab original or not?

If it was after the mainstream, then you should not get involved in old cars. Digital mobility is upon us, electric cars, fully networked, are considered the future. What do you want there with an analog, now 20 years old Saab 9k?

But it is precisely the analogy that makes the affair appealing. Man and machine are the focus. And it's not the cloud that takes the tax. The Anna project has been going on for several years, and meanwhile the Saab matures into a really good youngtimer.

Saab 9000, Anna Project
Saab 9000, Anna Project

Striving for perfection is not in the specifications. But there are still things that bother me that need to be worked through. The chassis is one of the points. Although the Saab passed its TÜV appointment in 2017 without any problems, there is still a need for action.

As with some 9000, the rear sags slightly. On ambitiously driven stretches of motorway, bumps in the road lead to a less pleasant after-swing, which is not entirely harmless. And anyway: The chassis does not match the car. The springs are fine and from Saab. But the shock absorbers are of unclear origin and inharmonious - and not from Saab. Gerard Ratzmann from Saab Service Frankfurt shares my opinion: the stuff has to go!

Only what comes in? Reading in Saab forums and inquiries with other 9k drivers does not help me any further. If the one raves about yellow Konis, the next one advises decisively. This is going on for a few weeks, I can not really get on, but the solution is closer than I suspect. Sometimes you are blind and do not trust the wonders of the Saab galaxy.

Why don't you use original Saab dampers, I am asked first Kiel, then in Frankfurt? Yes, why actually? It's one of the unfathomable things about Orio that original parts that you don't expect are still available or are suddenly listed again after a long break. It doesn't matter why, but a small number of dampers for the front and rear are in the system in summer 2017. Really cheap for the back. Really expensive for the front.

In numbers: The front dampers, part number 4543799, cost € 326,64 each. The rear units, part number 4647095, each cost € 71,84. This means that the original Saab complete package is twice as expensive as a set from Koni. Original is always more exciting than accessories, I think, but still have to swallow.

Saab Original, right?

In order to make a decision, one must consider many facts. I want to keep Anna, drive as long as possible. The original seems better to me than an accessory. Another neglected aspect of the 9000 is chassis development. It is a story for the second look. Because superficially, Saab did the same thing with the 9000 as Fiat did with the Croma and Lancia with the topic. McPherson struts at the front, rigid axle at the rear. Conventional. Boring. Point.

Or maybe not. Because with Magnus Roland a great talent is entrusted with the development in Trollhättan. In his further professional life he will teach a German premium brand how to define driving dynamics, and at GM he will show the Americans that sports cars can not only be fast on straight asphalt stretches.

Saab 9000 Anna Project
Anna project in summer 2017. The stern hangs easily.

The letter of recommendation for his impressive career will be the Saab 9000. The 9k gets McPherson struts in the front. They save space that is needed to install the engine with flanged gearbox transversely. In the event of an impact, the drive unit tilts, becoming an insurmountable barrier and preserving survival space. On the rear axle, Saab adopts the proven concept from the 900. Rigid axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar and, in contrast to the 900, a low Panhard bar.

The suspension is unexpectedly comfortable given the low body roll of the body when driving hard. (Teknikens Värld)

This brings stability, minimizes the tendency to roll, increases directional stability and driving dynamics. Because Magnus Roland is on the one hand motorsport-savvy, on the other hand he has the Sweden of the 80s in mind. Asphalt is just a discipline. At some point every driver inevitably ends up on gravel, snow or ice, and at the latest then it becomes clear how well a vehicle is really tuned. Saab aims to deliver the best. A perfect chassis for every surface, safe, comfortable and progressive.

Saab 9000 chassis. And Eric Carlsson takes his hands off the steering wheel

The driving dynamics operation succeeds. Journalists report on the safe driving behavior in curves, the low tendency to understeer. About the safety reserves, the perfect communication between man and machine. Rally legend Stig Blomqvist goes one better and chases the 9000 Turbo mercilessly over gravel roads. The unforgotten Eric Carlsson is credited with taking his hands off the wheel and using his knees to steer - an impressive demonstration at high speeds and with members of the press on board.

The chassis is considered a sensation. Comfortable and sporty at the same time. And above all, for sure. It sets standards for the premiere of the 9000, the press is thrilled. Saab is convinced of its construction and changes it also with the introduction of the 2. Not generation. That has consequences.

The chassis of the Saab 9000 is of the rustic type. (ADAC Special 1998)

The chassis of the 9000 was quite controversial at the end of its production period. It was now described as rustic, which was also due to its origin from the 80s. McPherson struts at the front, rigid axle at the rear were considered obsolete. Even if German premium manufacturers continue to rely on it. The 9k was blamed for it.

As I read historical press reports, doubts arise. Which car are you writing about? Progressive driving dynamics? My Anna project is currently staggering through curves like a dromedary, in forums one reads again and again about a lack of driving dynamics.

How successful was the chassis tuning really? And how do you feel about it today, more than 3 decades later? The decision is clear. In Frankfurt they order the front and rear shock absorbers for me, and the Saab will go to the workshop at the next opportunity.

And then? Dromedary or driving dynamics? Or an expensive bad investment? In a week follows the sequel.

18 thoughts on "A chassis for the 9k - Saab original or not?"

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    If you want to save donor car, I have 1 in the UK. For free, trouble is to collect on trailer from London.

    1996, SAAB 2.3T manual Anniversary, Green / Sand interior

    Since then, the car has had a fortune to end a car accident.

    The front has all the spares, excluding the front bumper cover.

    If you or anyone wants this, before I finally get the courage to scrap her, contact me via facebook messenger:


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    One of my statements is not worrying at all. Saab was far too small to have produced completely different spcifications. It's the same with the 901. However, the original dampers are no longer available from Sachs today.
    Similar to the AHK for the 9-5 (I am no longer sure whether 9-5 or 9-3). Cost point with Saab over 600 € the identical part with Biltema in Sweden approx. 200 €.
    In addition, Orio doesn't just “manufacture”, they also simply buy. Have you ever installed an “original Saab” suspension socket from 1996 and an “original Saab” suspension socket from 2017? These are not identical specifications but differences in quality such as day and night. Exhaust system for the 9-3I, which even from Orio looks completely different today than the original from 99-03.
    Brake pads “orignal Saab” now come mainly from Mintex, it used to be ATE. Original Saab is what is in the Orio box right now, that this year it can come from one supplier, next year from another. Except for special parts, the supplier companies buy and re-label and the price is “adjusted”. You have a right, whether I want to pay that is also my decision.

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      There they are again, the sweeping statements that are not correct. Orio offers different quality levels. From high quality to cheap. In order to serve customers who are sensitive to the price. The dealers know that, they also hopefully communicate it with the customer. Therefore, those who want to invest little money, just the price appropriate parts. The others are not.

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      It goes without saying that SAAB (now Orio) does not produce all parts using its own systems ...

      It has always been the case that car manufacturers have had suppliers and have bought in. At SAAB, that even affected the engines. First it was bought 2-stroke engines, then the V4 from Ford and later all diesels and the V6 ...

      Own engines are rather an exception within SAAB history, because rule ...

      For shock absorbers, brake pads and much, much more, this has always been the case and probably forever and ever for every other brand ...

      Many suppliers also offer their parts on their own. Perhaps you drive quite well for a while knowing your way around and equipping your SAAB with oil filters and shock absorbers (or whatever) from a wide variety of suppliers who have taken the most direct route possible between the car (driver) and the manufacturer ...

      But you also have to be aware that you are robbing an organization (ORIO) of the money that can and does not only want to deliver this and that for a while in a cost-effective (and opaque) way, but also in the long run and wants to take care of the vehicles comprehensively.

      The business models cannot be compared and certainly not equated ...

      As soon as the number of requested parts threatens to drop below the profit zone or even to cover costs from a supplier, he will reliably stop production. With Orio it's almost the other way around ...

      Every part that could no longer be offered to SAAB drivers in the future endangers their own claims and business model. In other words, cross-financing is also used here. € 2 more (or less) for the oil filter can ultimately decide whether there will be repair panels for one or the other SAAB in the future ...

      You have to think that too.

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    The original shock absorbers for the front are available for just over 100 € ... there is no Orio sticker on it but one from Sachs but the same part is green.

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      I've also asked myself what “original shock absorber” means ...

      Or even the topic SAAB original? A difficult and probably political topic. On the one hand, hardly anyone can afford to throw more money than they need to, but on the other, we all want to have an institution that centrally manages a comprehensive range of consumables and spare parts for SAAB drivers and SAAB garages.

      Orio is a legitimate successor to SAAB automobiles. In my opinion, much more legitimate than NEVS. More than the division
      Service and parts unfortunately did not remain from SAAB. It would be nice if we could keep it ...

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        Brisante questions on Friday. First: Orio is the only company beyond Saab AB to use the name Saab for spare parts and also to sublicense a production.
        What is Saab Original? The shock absorbers for the 9k are parts that were manufactured before bankruptcy. So without a doubt they are original. If Orio (at Sachs) has them rebuilt with the same, original specification, these are also original. It is not for nothing that there is a 3 year guarantee from “Saab Original” from Orio.
        I find it alarming to say that there are the same shock absorbers at Sachs for much less money. Is that so? Is the specification correct and does it really correspond to the Orio product? I would be very careful with these statements. Because it is, as Herbert says: On the one hand, a company should take care of all Saab matters. On the other hand, we argue it broken by reflex. That should be considered in his comments (@ Daniel).

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    The chassis of the 9000 is simply the blast. Soft without being isolated from the road. And is easy to handle. One of the best chassis in automotive history.

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    Michel anticipated it. Find the Bilstein B4 probably the best fit for the 9000er. Good compromise between handling and comfort. Think the originals will be similar. Koni Gelb always seems to me too hard.

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    I think the Aero suspension is already close to perfection. It's not hard, but it's not soft either. I now have H&R lowering springs with Bilstein B6 shock absorbers. And that's definitely too hard. It's great at high speeds on the autobahn, but when you're slowing down, it's too hard. I have now ordered the Bilstein B4 and then I put the original Aero springs back on. Let's see how it goes.

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    Well, I'm curious to see which manufacturer will be on the new dampers! I quickly converted my first two 9000s to Koni (not only because my driver's license gave me special conditions for the “family car”). The cars were pure driving pleasure on country roads! You always knew beforehand what they were going to do and how to deal with it and then the performance potential! My 900s demanded more and more effort with the same driving style. My current 9-5 station wagon will also get Koni dampers at the next opportunity - even if I'm no longer looking for their limits today. In old age you become calmer!

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    As far as I can remember, the 9000s and up to the first CS versions were designed to be active in driving and at the same time comfortably sprung and the Saab developers had (as always) conjured up something great from the available ingredients. Personally, I found the series chassis of my 1991 CS (2.3-16) almost like a go-cart and very precise - compared to what other cars had to offer and without being uncomfortable. When there were test drive days at Saab Germany a few years later, I was downright disappointed with the sluggish steering behavior and the lack of feedback from later CS models - a seller's comment was something the customers want it like that ...

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    Hello Tom, nice report! Whether the station wagon McPherson front and rigid axle really the philosopher's stone or rather the platform dictates (front) and the cost pressure (behind) was owed, is a very exciting question that is also controversially discussed on other Saab Affine blogs. I look forward to the sequel.

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      Already heard. I think the election was also heavily influenced by the zeitgeist. Almost everyone used large layouts for large front-wheel-drive saloons back then. What matters is how well you have it tuned. However: with coil springs there would have been no room for a transverse installation of engine and transmission.

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        What do you mean: "with coil springs it would have ..."

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    A good teaser. I'm looking forward to part two. Especially since the 9000 won't let me go ...

    Maybe someone will come to the farm after all? And then he should have a good suspension.

    Fitting that the analog Bil is called Anna. Anna has never lied. She'll tell you honestly if the dampers have fallen.

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    @ Tom,

    something is not right. It should mean “teach”, not “learn” (Magnus Roland the German premium brand).

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      Is better. Changed. Thank you

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