Neutral safety switch worn out. Car would not stay running in drive. Replaced by dealer at 70,000 miles
Radiator developed a crack. Replaced by myself at 110,000 miles. Easy job. Happens to many cars at this mileage.
Blower motor worn out and noisy. Replaced by myself when the heater core was replaced at 125,000 miles. Nasty job. This and the heater core are problems in the 9000. However, most likely you will only do the blower motor and heater core once in the life of the car.
Heater core weeping coolant. Replaced by myself before it became a problem, along with the blower motor at the same time. 125,000 miles. Nasty job.
Rear brake calipers and hoses. Rear calipers started to seize. I rebuilt them myself at 130,000 miles. Replaced hoses at same time. Would have been easier to just replace with rebuilt calipers, which are not very expensive. But I had the time and talent, so rebuilt them myself.
Cruise control module. Cruise would not stay engaged. Known problem with 1994 model year 9000's. Replaced by myself with earlier MY module at 130,000 miles. Not too hard to do.
Emergency flasher relay. Repaired myself by reflowing solder on relay. Not hard to do.
Intermittent wiper relay. Repaired myself by reflowing solder on relay. Not hard to do.
SRS light on. Never bothered to fix. Chronic problem with 9000's. Slightest bit of resistance in the wiring harness makes the control module light up the SRS warning lamp. Will clean the wiring harness and have a friend with TechII reset.
Cylinder head retorqued at 120,000 miles. Started to get a little coolant burn off in the cylinders only on cold mornings. Retorqued the cylinder head myself according to Saab TSB. Problem solved.
Power steering rack replaced at 80,000 miles. Developed sudden massive seal leak. Power steering rack now starting to leak again slightly at 135,000 miles. Will replace myself if stop leak does not work.
Fuel pump replaced at 130,000 miles. Just stopped working on way home. Luckily only 1/2 mile from home when it happened. Replaced myself.
Best source of information on these cars is www.saabnet.com.
1994 was the last year for a non-turbo 9000 in the USA. With the automatic, the car is kind of slow from 0-30 mph. After that, acceleration is fine. This is my wife's car, and she really doesn't care about the acceleration.
Advantage of the non-turbo is that the car is most likely not to have been abused, there is less complexity (less to go wrong) and the engine is not stressed at all.
The car is HUGE inside. EPA classified it as a Large Car (think Ford Crown Vic, big Cadillacs, etc.).
The 4-door hatchback is the BEST! The car's carrying capacity is huge. I have transported a new furnace for my home in the back (with the seats down) and closed the hatch.
I find the car comfortable and quiet on the road. Handling is very good considering the size. Materials used in the interior seem of very high quality.
These are cars best owned by people who can do most of the work on the car by themselves. Otherwise they can become expensive if you are paying for all labor.
The car has only stranded us three times. Once when the power steering rack failed completely, and another time much later when the fuel pump died, although the fuel pump failure would be considered normal for the miles that it occurred at. The third time was when a mouse chewed a hole in the plastic fuel line at the engine. Can't fault the car for that!
Automatic transmissions in these cars can be troublesome, although we have had no problems. This is not so much a Saab issue as it is a ZF problem (ZF is the German manufacturer of the transmission). In fact many other manufacturers using this same transmission in the 1990's like Jaguar, BMW, Audi, Alfa Romeo, etc. have the same issues. The transmission is very sensitive to having clean fluid. You need to change the transmission fluid every 24,000 miles. When I bought the car, I installed a remote spin on oil filter in the return line to the transmission. This keeps the fluid perfectly clean between changes.
I updated my non-turbo with a transmission oil cooler and an engine oil cooler with thermostat from a turbo engined car.
I use only synthetic oil in the engine and change it every 5000 miles.
Even though Saab is no longer in business, parts are readily available from many sources. Parts are no more expensive than any other car.
There always seems to be something to fix on the car, although they are mostly small things that most people would probably not notice.
You need to keep the maintenance up to date and not let it lapse, or you will literally pay the price. Very similar to a BMW and Audi in that regard.
Having said all of the above, we love the car. It is incredibly safe and solid. With the rear hatch, it is very useful to have. When you drive the car, you can feel how solid it is. Best car for my wife and children to ride in.
Even though it requires more maintenance than some other brands, we intend to keep it because there really is no other car out there to replace it. Huge interior, safe design, 4-door hatchback, 4 cylinder economy, low insurance cost, etc. Because I do 95% of the work myself, it is cheaper for us to just make repairs rather than get some other car. At this point I know just about everything about this car.