28th Oct 2007, 20:40

I own a 1997 900 SE Turbo and have to greatly disagree with those who blame the driver for many of these issues. I bought mine with about 40k and had to replace the head gasket before 50k. Born from jets?? Jets don't have a head gasket. Too bad Saab can't solve this problem, 'cause a head gasket is an inexpensive item which requires so much labor. $1500.00 for a $10.00 gasket?? Please use a $75.00 gasket next time and make it work! Alternator went at 60K, cruise control went before 60K, cabin fan is stuck on full blast before 60K. Clutch cable just snapped when I was depressing the clutch?? I am glad that some of you have had positive experiences with your Saab autos, but I know a little about cars and this thing is a good looking, poorly engineered, fun to drive, money pit.

2nd Dec 2007, 20:37

I just bought my first SAAB 900 SE, 5sp turbo with 163k. The car kicks ass! I will take into consideration all of the comments about this car.

I lose oil, any ideas?

Heavy foot in CT.

11th Dec 2007, 10:13

My girlfriend insisted we get a Saab because they are SOOO reliable. Yup. Something Almost Always Broken.

Electrical problems with coolant sensor, "idiot diagnostic panel" flashing on and off, transmission sensors failing (price these puppies).

Serpentine belt idler pulley seized and threw belt (pulley not available from any of the local parts napa, vip etc) dealer = $67.

Every week there is a new problem. I will never own another one after this is gone. An unreliable and expensive to maintain toilet!

18th Dec 2007, 14:10

I have a 1997 SAAB 900 s 5 door hatchback which was giving the following symptoms:

Initial Event: I was driving up a slight incline at 30 MPH and the car seemed to stop suddenly, but then kept going as if something had been temporarily stuck in the transmission. It was quite a jolt. For those of you who seem to like to blame drivers, it was not something that I did, since the car is an automatic and it was in drive and all I was doing was going forward.

Subsequent Symptoms of a Problem:

Immediately after the jolt or half-stop or incident, several warning lights came on, including the "Check engine", "SRS" (air bags), and the "!" light.

The car was very hard starting since the incident and only started intermittently.

No I did not immediately take it to a shop since I prefer to do my own work. I tried to figure out the problem with an OBD2 scanner, which was not helpful since all it did was mention pieces of the emissions control system (which I never heard of and could not seem to look up anywhere, including my Haynes manual... I know).

The car would also just STOP RUNNING at random while driving also.

After a month past the incident, the car would no longer start at all.

Diagnosis: After having car towed to a local recommended shop, and spending $300 on diagnosis work alone, the shop informed me that it needed a new ignition switch.

They said that a bad ignition switch could cause all of the symptoms which I listed above, since some sensors for the transmission and airbag system are wired through the ignition switch, and of course, the starter is too.

They wanted approximately $600 (in addition to the $300 for diagnostics) for parts and labor to replace the switch. Although this is not a horrible price, I decided to save money (which I did not have) and do the job myself.

After calling a SAAB dealer to check compatibility, I extracted an ignition switch (with a key in it) from a same year, same model SAAB in a salvage yard. I paid $7.20 for the switch. It took me approx 4 hours to replace the switch in my vehicle.

All symptoms listed above were corrected except for the "!" and "SRS" light. The tech at the shop said that a dealer is the only place which has the ability to turn off the "SRS" and "!" lights.

Hope this is helpful to you.

23rd Dec 2007, 21:41

I was just given a 1997 Saab 300se with 81,000 miles. The car seems to have a blown head gasket. It's in very good shape otherwise. I'm debating whether to fix it myself and sell it or keep it. Reading through the comments, it seems I should sell it once it's fixed.

26th Jan 2008, 18:55


I really want to enjoy my 1997 Saab 900 2.3l convertible, but it is heart breaking when it has left me stranded.

I look up on ALLDATA what the problems have been for the 1997 and I have had just about all of them.

The worst thing is that the labor it takes to get anything to be replaced almost requires the engine or suspension to be dropped.

Clutch at 50k, starter at 60k, ac at 65k, toneau motor at 66k, cruise at 25k, window track scrapping-always, clutch cable at 45k and 90k, headlight bulbs every year, parking brake twice-stretched, struts-needed.

***Oh by the way if you lose power YOU CANNOT PASS EMISSIONS it will not read the OBD-II and it takes a ridiculous way of driving and setting the computer that had to be done twice by two Saabs techs at $105 per.

I do drive conservative and have owned 3 Porsche and 8 manual transmission cars ++++ others.

I truly do not wind out the clutches and am a professionally trained driver and have been around auto's for 20 years.

So what I am saying is that for Saab, NOT to good, well known problems are just BAD for that year.

26th Feb 2008, 20:38

Just bought a 1997 SE and so far...well, I guess I should have read all the blogs before I bought. Nevertheless, so far, not too terribly bad an experience.

With 122,000 miles and an unknown history, I purchased this vehicle for a song. Within the first hour of owning the car the idler pulley went and the car was out of commission. $63 later for a new idler pulley (the belt was fine) and a 10 minute DIY in my driveway it was resolved.

First actual day of driving the car I get a "Check Coolant Level" indicator. My overflow reservoir was low, so I added coolant and drove 65 miles and then the warning appeared again. The car is not overheating... the temp indicator is normal. I suspect that the collant sensor is in the overflow reservoir and that the resivoir has a leak. Any thoughts?

Otherwise, the car seems to have an odd "singing" noise when I accelerate. This is not a normal turbo sound, rather, that of a vacuum leak. Any thoughts?

Please let me know what you think so I can to preventive maintenance to mitigate future BIG problems.

So far though, I like the feel, handling and comfort. The sound system is impressive and I can handle the DIY maintenance so long as I know what to look for!!!

3rd Mar 2008, 17:33

I have a 97 turbo 900se with 118,000 miles. My check coolant light is on all of the time. I've had it checked and it is fine. Most likely, the sensor is corroded or something. My guy told me it would cost lots to fix, but as long as it isn't really low, it's no big deal. Other than that, the only thing I've needed to replace was the thermostat, and I feel like I need to change the light bulbs more than other cars I've owned. I love this car and the handling is awesome, especially since I feel like I'm sitting in a tank.