Ive got an itch i may have to scratch

auds2

Torque Junkie
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AUDI A3 8v 1.6 TDI
As the title alludes to, I have this huge urge to purchase a SAAB 9-3 as a long term rolling project but i have a lot of questions first of all, if anyone can help me out.

1. Do i actually go for a 9-3 or do i go for a different model?
2. Which engine? 1.8t 2.0t 2.2 and so on. I have ruled out the v6 option but this is the only firm decision i have made \B
3. There are a lot of cars out there to choose from, are there any known issues to keep an eye out for with regards condition, reliability etc.

if anyone can give me a few pointers it would be much appreciated.:)
 

T9 man

TC ModFather
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1,137
Location
London, UK
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Saab 9-3SS T9
You're in luck, I know a thing or two about SAAB cars ;)

Firstly, the 9-3 (Excellent choice) is a great car for you and possibly a small family. The 9-5 is a tad larger and is generally considered to be a little more comfortable. Look for the Aero model 'Top of the range' or Linear or Vector. Some of the Linear and Vector models benefit by enhanced packages so check these first. The 1.8t is alright if you just like to go from A to B without to many thrills and spills and is pretty good on economy. The 2.0t or T low pressure or high pressure turbo model is very good and can be remapped quite easily for additional horses. I personally have no time for the V6 models, they drink faster than a really cheap date for the one night if you get my drift, and with no guarantee of any fun being had that evening ;)

Reliability: Tough one, these cars need to be loved and shown the love, if there is no full and comprehensive service history then 'Walk away'. These cars have the ability to empty the wallet faster than the above cheap date or HMRC.

Known issues with the 9-3s are front drop links, upgraded stronger versions are available for a few pounds more than the standard. Crank position sensors go after 10 years and will not allow the car to start, straightforward to do but budget around £150 to replace. They only like NGK spark plugs and a very small range at that, put another make in at your peril, this can damage the individual coil packs and that will set you back £500 plus to replace.
Stay away from 2003 models 'Mine' as this was the very first model that uses fibre optics, very fussy and known to throw a DIVA style temper tantrum every now & again. Look for 2005 and upwards. Manual gearboxes are ok and there is both a 5 speed and 6 speed version available which includes the automatic too. The 6 speed manual can be notchy on changing but again there is an upgrade kit that corrects this. Parts availability not a problem, many service centres and independent specialists around the country that can help.

I think that about covers it, feel free to ask if you need any further help. Oh, don't touch the diesels.

@auds2
 

T9 man

TC ModFather
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A good example commands a lot of money now Andy, again there are quite a few for sale but on the older ones it's the parts that are a killer. Quite a few companies have sprung up making parts for these lovely chariots, unfortunately they seem to have confused the pricing of such parts with a third world country's national debt :(
 

auds2

Torque Junkie
Points
207
Location
Durham
Car
AUDI A3 8v 1.6 TDI
I could have put a months wages on the fact you would have been the first to reply to my post @T9 man, Cheers for the info.
Im very comfortable doing any kind of mechanical,electrical work on cars so issues dont really bother me as it would be a parts cost only basis.
I must admit i was a little tempted by a derv version just to see whats possible from the JTD engine as it is very popular across a few brands and power figures are good for an oil burner tbh.

Then i look and see the possible power gains on the petrol versions of the SAABs and my mind goes into overdrive. Ive not owned a turbo charged petrol for 10+ years since i had my AUDI S2, which was no where near stock when i was finished with it;)

Ive done quite a bit work on a few of my friends 9-3s and my dads which are all the 1.9 150ps derv versions and must admit im pretty impressed with the build of the cars. The only tiny little thing that wound me up about them was the ignition key location in the center console :mad: Im sure i will get used to that tho after a few weeks or so.

Any particular engine codes to go for or stay away from?
 

T9 man

TC ModFather
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Points
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Location
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All are quite good to be honest buddy. The problem with diesel is not so much the engines on the SAAB but the growing dislike by government and alike for them. They are no longer the must have fuel choice and as such, the up keep and more importantly the resale could prove to be very difficult. There is already talk of a scrappage scheme that could be introduced for these once loved diesel cars.
 

auds2

Torque Junkie
Points
207
Location
Durham
Car
AUDI A3 8v 1.6 TDI
Whats the story with the auto gearbox? any good on the 2.0T i would prefer manual tbh as i like to choose the gear i want :woot:
 

T9 man

TC ModFather
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I have the auto on mine and have absolutely no complaints. This version has the Tiptronic style operation. You can choose to select the gears manually from the gearlever that you move into a new position on the gate, or via the up & down buttons located on the steering wheel.
A digital display in the dashboard shows you the gear you have selected.
 

T9 man

TC ModFather
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And they are more than able to deal with moderate tuning? torque increase?

Put it this way, my autobox has had the fluid changed religiously every year since I bought the car from new back in 2003. If you look after the box then it will look after you. Cannot vouch for a box that has probably never had the fluid changed before on a secondhand car.
 

auds2

Torque Junkie
Points
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Location
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AUDI A3 8v 1.6 TDI
Yeah i completely understand that. I think i may need to test drive both to make the final decision i guess.
 

T9 man

TC ModFather
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^^ Merely it's thirst Guy, feedback I have received from owners say this far outweighs it's performance potential. Never personally owned one so cannot speak from experience you understand.
 

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