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?

Saab 9000, Anna Project
Saab 9000, Anna Project

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.

The quest for perfection is not in the specifications. But there are still things that bother me and that have to be worked through. The chassis is one of the points. Although the Saab has completed its TÜV appointment 2017 without any problems, there is still need for action. As with some 9000, the tail hangs easily. On ambitious driven highway passages lead bumps to a little pleasant Nachschwingen, which is not completely safe. And anyway: The chassis does not fit the car. The feathers are fine and from Saab. But the shock absorbers are unsolved and inharmonious - and not by 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 do not you take original Saab steamer, you first ask me in Keel, then in Frankfurt? Yes, why? It is one of the unfathomable things Oriothat original parts that you do not expect are still available or are suddenly listed again after a long break. No matter why, but a small number of rear and rear dampers are in the system in summer 2017. For the back really cheap. For the front so really expensive.

In numbers: The front dampers, part number 4543799, cost 326,64 € each. The rear units, part number 4647095, each 71,84 €. Thus, the original Saab complete package is twice as expensive as a set of Koni. Original is always exciting as an accessory, I mean, but still have to swallow.

Saab original or not?

To make a decision, you have to consider many facts. I want to keep Anna, drive as long as possible. Original seems better than accessories. Another neglected aspect of 9000 is chassis development. It is a story for a second look. Because superficially, Saab did the same with 9000 as Fiat did with Croma and Lancia with the theme. Mc Pherson struts front, live axle rear. Conventional. Boring. Point.

Or not. With Magnus Roland, Trollhättan has a great talent for development. In his future career, he will teach a German premium brand how to define driving dynamics, and at GM he shows Americans that sports cars can not only be fast on straight asphalt tracks.

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

The letter of recommendation for his impressive career is the Saab 9000. Front gets the 9k Mc Pherson struts. They save space needed to install the engine transversely with flanged gearboxes. In the event of an impact, the propulsion unit cascades, becomes an insurmountable barrier, and preserves survival space. On the rear axle Saab takes over the 900 proven concept. Rigid axle, helical springs, anti-roll bar and, unlike the 900, low-mounted Panhard rod.

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 the directional stability and the driving dynamics. For Magnus Roland is on the one hand motorsport-affine, on the other hand he has the Sweden of the 80er years in view. Asphalt is just a discipline. At some point, every driver inevitably lands on gravel, snow or ice, and at the latest then shows how well a vehicle is really tuned. Saab claims to deliver the best. A perfect suspension for any surface, safe, comfortable, and progressive.

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

Operation Driving Dynamics succeeds. Journalists report safe handling in turns, the low tendency to understeer. From the safety reserves, the perfect communication from person to machine. Rally legend Stig Blomqvist goes one better and chases the 9000 Turbo mercilessly over gravel roads. The unforgotten Eric Carlssson vouches that he likes to take his hands off the wheel and steer with his knees instead - an impressive demonstration at high speeds and with press representatives aboard.

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 at the end of its production time quite controversial. It was now called rustic, which was also due to the origin of the 80er years. MacPherson struts front, rigid axle rear, were considered obsolete. Even if German premium manufacturers continue to bet on it. It was chalked to the 9k.

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

How successful was the suspension tuning really? And how do you feel today, more than 3 decades later? The decision is clear. In Frankfurt you order the shock absorbers for front and rear, at the next opportunity the Saab goes into the workshop.

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

18 thoughts too "A chassis for the 9k. Saab original or not?"

  • @ Tom,

    something is not right. It would have to be "teaching", not "learning" (Magnus Roland the German premium brand).

  • A good teaser. I'm looking forward to part two. Especially since the 9000 does not 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • What do you mean, "with coil springs ..."

  • In my memory, the 9000er and up to the first CS versions were quite active and at the same time comfortable suspension and the Saab developers had (as always) from the available ingredients what great magic conjured. Personally I found the standard chassis of my former 1991er CS (2.3-16) almost as gocart-moderate and very precise - compared to what other cars had to offer and without being uncomfortable. If then a few years later again test drive days at Saab Germany, but I was really disappointed with the sluggish Einlenkverhalten and the lack of feedback later CS models - comment of a seller was then something with the clientele wants that ...

  • Well, I'm curious which manufacturer on the new shocks then it says! I had my first two 9000er very quickly converted to Koni (not only because I got special conditions for the "family coach" due to my driver license). The cars were pure on country roads driving fun! You always knew in advance what you are going to do and how to handle it and then the performance potential! My 900ers have demanded more and more commitment with the same driving style. Also my current 9-5 station wagon will get Koni-damper at the next opportunity - even if I no longer search for their borders today. At the age one gets calmer!

  • That aero suspension is already close to perfection, I think. It is not hard but not soft either. I now have H & R lowering springs with Bilstein B6 shock absorbers. And that's definitely too hard. With high speeds on the highway, it's great, but if you slow down a bit, it's too hard. I have now ordered the Bilstein B4 and then I make the original Aero springs back under it. Let's see how it goes.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Incidentally, the original shock absorbers for the front are already available for just over 100 € ... although no Orio sticker on it but one of Sachs is the same part in gün.

    • I also wondered 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
      Unfortunately, service and parts did not stay with SAAB. Would be nice, if we would receive the ...

      • 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 the bankruptcy. No doubt they are original. If Orio (at Sachs) has been rebuilt with the same, original specification, these are also original. Not for nothing there is 3 year warranty from "Saab Original" by 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).

  • 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 not only "finished", they also buy easily. Have you ever installed a chassis bushing "original Saab" from 1996 and an "original Saab" suspension bushing from 2017? These are not identical specifications but differences in quality like day and night. Exhaust system for the 9-3I, which even today looks completely different from Orio like the original ones from 99-03.
    Brake pads come "orignal Saab" today mainly from Mintex, formerly that was ATE. Original Saab is what is currently in the Orio carton, this year may come from one supplier, next year from another. Except for special parts is just bought and umgelabelt at the suppliers and the price "adjusted". Is it your right, if I want to pay that is also my decision.

    • 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.

    • It goes without saying that SAAB (today Orio) does not produce all the parts using its own equipment ...

      It has always been that the automakers had suppliers and bought. At SAAB, that even affected the engines. First it was purchased 2-Takter, then the Ford V4 and later all diesel and the V6 ...

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

      For shock absorbers, brake pads and much, much more that is true since time immemorial and probably forever and forever for any other brand ...

      Many suppliers also offer their parts on their own. It may take a while to get used to it and cost-effectively equip its SAAB with oil filters and shock absorbers (or whatever) from a wide variety of suppliers who have taken the most direct route possible between car (driver) and 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 can not be compared and certainly not equate ...

      As soon as the number of requested parts threatens to sink below the profit zone or even cost recovery for a supplier, he will reliably stop production. At Orio it's almost the other way round ...

      Any part that could no longer be offered to SAAB drivers endangers their own aspirations and business model. In other words, this is also cross-financed. 2 € more (or less) for the oil filter can ultimately decide whether there will ever be repair sheets for one or the other SAAB in the future ...

      You have to think that too.

  • Tom,

    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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