13th Nov 2006, 09:29

I'm with the last writer. I just purchased a 1999 9-3 S Convertible with 73,000 miles on it. This is a beautiful car and I just drove it form Washington DC to Columbus OH with no issues, it performed flawlessly. But my question is this, I have an oil change scheduled with a Saab dealer for Friday and I am going to ask them to pull the pan and clean any sludge. Can I expect that if they clean the sludge (barring it doesn't seize up by Friday) and put in full synthetic oil with the proper oil filter, can I expect the car to run well in the future, with 3k intervals between changes?

I just got rid of my Wrangler for this car because the gas mileage was bad, but the Wrangler is reliable, should I just ask the dealer if they'd consider taking the car back in exchange for my old car since it's been less than a week?

Just looking for advice.

14th Nov 2006, 07:36

Good gosh! Now there is hysteria in the streets!

Please, don't worry about your car seizing up by Friday!!!

If your Saab was taken care of, you have nothing to worry about.

Just change your oil regularly (with synthetic oil) and you'll be fine.

28th Nov 2006, 03:26

I have driven turbo Saabs since 1979 when I bought a 99 turbo.

I could never get more than 50,000 miles without my turbocharger seizing, until I changed to full synthetic oil. With synthetic oil I have never had another turbo failure or even noise. I had one 900 that I bought with 179,000 miles on it, but had always had synthetic oil, and had the original turbo charger according to very thorough records by the original owner. I drove this car until 280,000 miles before I sold it in good running condition. The turbocharger problem is heat related (turbo oil line passes directly over exhaust manifold, so gets very hot, and cokes up inside). I am certain that using synthetic oil will prevent the sludge in the oil pan. By the way, I have never changed my oil at less than the 10,000 mile interval recommended by Saab, usually much longer, use synthetic oil, people.

28th Nov 2006, 10:48

I have an Audi A4 with 1.8 turbo engine that is having the same problems. Does anyone know if there's a class action suit in process for Audi owners? I understand there is a class action suit underway for Toyota and Lexus owners for the same problems. How can we get this defective product off the roads and out of our cars and make the product manufacturers responsible for the cost?

9th Dec 2006, 16:42

I have a 2000 SAAB 9-3 used that just had the oil light come on. Engine did not seize, but I can hear Knocking. I have not driven it since. I brought it to a SAAB mechanic who is looking at it. If it is a sludge issue, is there anything that can be done to clean it? Is replacement the only option even if the engine has not seized?

9th Dec 2006, 21:39

I have a few clarifying questions. My '96 900S was recently totalled during a snowstorm and I am looking for a replacement. I wouldn't mind updating to a newer model year, but skipping the turbo only 9-3's seems like a sensible idea after reading all these comments. I am considering trying to find lower mileage '95's and '96's (some are turbos), but they are increasingly more difficult to find. Are they (the older turbos) plagued by the same problems?

I totally agree with the 3000 mile synthetic oil change comments, but I am hesitant to believe that all these be chalked up to user-error. Is older, better?

Saavy advice would be appreciated.

10th Dec 2006, 20:50

I think all of this is a result of a few very vocal writers, some who I believe have fabricated accounts of "Saab Sludge", other's neglect their cars, Saabs or otherwise.

This is not to say that there isn't a sludge problem. These are 4 cylinder turbos which run hot & require special care.

But I don't think it is anywhere near as bad as these people are making it out to be.

Don't worry about buying a 9-3. I love mine.

12th Dec 2006, 06:11

Did any of you people with the "sludge problem" ever bother to read your owner's manuals?

Saab recommends either a synthetic blend or full synthetic oil in the 9-3 Turbos.

If you (try to) save yourself money by using cheaper oil and/or don't change your oil when you should - blame yourselves - not your car.

2nd Jan 2007, 17:42

My 2002 Saab 9-3 SE seized at 42,000 miles. I had missed one oil change and Saab won't cover the damage.

If missing one oil change causes an engine to fail, then I'm guilty of neglect, and Saab is guilty of making really bad automobiles. I have complained to the Center for Auto Safety in DC and with my local Attorney General's office.

Anyone have advice for finding a good replacement engine? Tips or advice?

9th Jan 2007, 13:47

"I had missed one oil change and Saab won't cover the damage."... Isn't that like saying "I only shot him in the head once & he up and died on me"???!!!

11th Jan 2007, 20:10

Death by sludge. DOA December 2006. It happened to me. 1995 900se with 76,000. I have had the oil changed regularly, but whammo sludge everywhere. My convertible rest in peace. Saab doesn't care about owners.

11th Jan 2007, 22:56

Oil changed regularly - How often? Did you used synthetic?

13th Jan 2007, 08:32

Missing one oil change should not kill the engine (in a properly designed auto). It would also depend on how many miles past the oil change interval. It's just a poor design and no matter what we do sludge will pay us a visit at some point. My car is currently in great shape. I have yet to drop the oil pan though, it's not an easy task mind you. There are other vehicles besides Saab that has sludge issues.

13th Jan 2007, 10:13

I've seen the results of a "missed" oil change in a Ford Explorer. 16,000 miles between oil changes, the oil looked like Lisa Douglas's coffee on Green Acres.

Missing an oil change can certainly kill an engine!

14th Jan 2007, 16:12

I just wanted to comment on everyone else's comments. I bought my 99' 9-3 Saab from the original owner with 157,000 miles on it. I have had no problems out of this car, as the previous owner insured me of the same. It's a great car, and beautiful inside and out. Sorry about everyone else's bad luck, but this doesn't say much for Saab, and it has given me no problems! GREAT CARS!

15th Jan 2007, 15:47

Believe me there are plenty of satisfied Saab owners out there like you. Count me among the fully satisfied with my Saab too!

20th Jan 2007, 17:20

I wish I had known about this before I bought a '02 9-3 a month ago - now I get to worry about this mess.

I have to disagree with the postings blaming the owners for only following the owner's manual service schedule, & having their engine sludge up & die long before its time. If the Saab manual recommends 10,000 miles between oil changes under normal conditions, & then the engines are sludging up and seizing, I think the fault is with Saab.

Go to http://www.saabservices.com/saab_engine_failure.html to photos of what a 60,000 mile engine looks like starting to sludge. This dealer has some ideas on how to prevent the problem.

Here's a link to photo showing the oil pick up tube sludged at 16,000 miles! http://www.saabnet.com/tsn/members/gallery.html?user=SWEDECAR&do=show&id=172

Those of you who said NO MORE SAABS and went to buy a supposedly perfect Toyota might want to read http://www.autosafety.org/toyota-oil-sludge

No matter what you're driving out there - good luck, & hope the sludge monster doesn't get you.