1989 SAAB 9000 Turbo Automatic
Engine mounts seem to go every 12 months.
Coil for the turbo went after 100,000 km.
Thermostat needed to be replaced.
Power steering master cylinder leaked onto alternator and took it out. Both had to be replaced.
Harmonic balancer wore out. I didn't even know they had to ever be replaced.
Muffler is in three sections. Sections two and three tend to rust if you don't drive the car lots. We couldn't drive the car lots - it wasn't reliable enough to clock up big mileage.
Air conditioning pump seized. Engine needed to be taken out for this to be fixed.
Electronic turbo boost control was designed wrong. Replaced with older designed mechanical boost control. Worked fine ever since.
Rear brake calipers started to leak. Needed both rear brakes to be overhauled.
Coolant from the auto transmission was leaking into the main cooling jacket contaminating the coolant. We were very lucky that no coolant entered the gearbox. It would have had to have been replaced. In the 9000, the coolant for the engine also cools the auto gearbox. The gearbox also has a separate oil cooler.
Electric aerial broke (twice).
Central locking doesn't work.
Alarm doesn't work properly.
Drivers side electric window doesn't work.
Interior trim is falling apart.
Shock absorbers need to be replaced.
The most comfortable car I have ever driven. More comfortable than the Mercedes.
This car is a money pit. There is always something going wrong. My car has been in a couple of big accidents, but even my friends with cars with perfect history have the same problem's.
It is hard to find mechanics to fix these cars. In Melbourne there are only two non-factory specialists. The service we received from the dealership was very disappointing. I had to take the car back many times to get things fixed.
The electronics in this car are seriously complex. There are over 50 fuses!
Parts are not too expensive. Labor costs are horrendous. Almost everything seems to require the engine being removed.
I love the fact it is a 5 door lift back. It is very practical. I wish more car makers would make big cars like this.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 4th May, 2004
It is unfortunate you have had so many problems with your vehicle. I think you are being a bit harsh on the car.
Remember, you purchased a car is sometimes classified as a semi-exotic and it is 15 years old. A few comments.
-Why do you say the electronic boost control was designed wrong? It is was the first system of the sort and is considered one of the most innovative and practical systems ever. They rarely ever fail.
-What do you mean by coil for the turbo?
-If the engine mounts were installed properly then they should not have to be changed for 10 years.
-You may be confused about the power steering, there is no master cylinder. I think you are referring to the pump.
In any case, I've owned and/or have worked on many 9000's, and they are a complicated car. Honda's don't seem to break as often... because they have a lot less stuff to break. The 9000 came with major advancements of the day which included climate control, electronic boost control, heated seats... and so on, so just realize that with all these gadgets are going come with more issues. The engine is known to go well over 300,000 miles is taken care of.
Again, sorry to hear about your situation!
Until about 1996 I think, the combination of the turbocharged engine and the automatic transmission was best avoided. The transmission just wasn't rated for the sudden, powerful boost of the turbo. I believe the autobox was rated for a maximum of about 190 lbs/ft of torque, which the 2.3 turbo could exceed, with a lead-footed driver. However, since your car is a 1989 model, it most likely had the 2.0 engine. The earlier autos and turbos (when they get old) tend to develop problems. A combination of age and complex electronics (for the performance control in the turbo engines) makes these cars somewhat crotchety in their old age. Just like some people!
Better luck with your new car...
I am a former owner of a Saab 9000 CD turbo (89). It is by far the worst / horrible piece of crap I have ever owned. It was always given dealer service and I adhere to the maintenance schedule strictly, but to no avail. It had to be towed at least 3 times a year. I took the Saab dealer to court just to enforce the manufacturer's warranty. Parts as well as labor were very expensive.
In the end, every systems component failed; brakes, shocks, sunroof, ABS, A/C, signal lights, CV joints / half shafts, radio, interior trim, head gasket, cooling system and exhaust. Repairs never stopped. I was only able to get 125,000 horrific miles out of it.
I remember reading an article where several Saab cars went overboard in the ocean while being transported; I thought that was great! That's exactly where they belong. In my case I strongly suspect sabotage by Saab service took this car out.