I got my 1990 2.0 FPT Carlsson in July 2007 and am still madly in love with the thing! I progressed through a series of Volvo 400's (I still have all of them, bad at letting cars go!) to the Carly. As I live in Ireland, I had never seen a Carlsson before... they were never officially imported here.
I spent the entire 1980's drooling over Saabs, but I never thought I'd own one. I never thought I'd own one because of the costs. They certainly are a lot of thrill for very little money though, if you look in the right places for parts (like Ebay) and have a wee bit of patience. I would strongly recommend, apart from basic regular servicing, stockpiling of parts. Think ahead, and if stuff comes up cheap buy it anyway!
What clinched it for me was the boost. Everything normal until 50 m.p.h., then put the foot down and have a sustained whiplash moment! In every car I have driven you can get thrown back into the seat for a few seconds, then it's over. In the Saab you just keep keep getting pushed back as she whizzes on up! The performance is truly amazing.
Following a short test - drive I just had to have the thing. I smiled so much that I felt my face was going to fall off. How many cars can make you feel like that? Add in decent economy (30 m.p.g. regularly), safety, and timeless, understated but 'means business' look and it's about the most perfect all - 'round car you can get. Mine has 166,000 miles on it and the only thing that's sagging is the headlining!
It's Pete from Australia. I've had my 9000 Carlson for 4 months. It's a 1990 model, and I agree what a sexy looking car! A dream to drive, and so much car for so little money. I couldn't even buy a beat up Ford or Holden for what I bought my Saab for. Long live the Saab.
My worst fault with the Carlsson was not the leaking clutch servo some years later, but a weird fault, which hours of searching found one guy with same problem. Of course I changed the clutch plate pressure plate and throw-out bearing at the same time, though mine were OK. Right now I've bought a 1995 December built CSE (Saab call it 1996) off ebay and have to do the clutch!!...
I've found a place that does re-sleeving up at Ashmore, and so I'll have the one I took-off done. It's not a Carlsson, but I'll find a Bilstein kit somewhere and make it work. I will not touch an auto.. since all the Saab mechanics claimed you have to pull the motor to do the auto (dd $2200 to the bill!) and they charge ridiculous sums to reco them. In actual fact, neither the manual nor auto need the engine out.
The weird problem?... the motor stalls when the light switch is turned on. After 18 months of no one fixee, I sat and did step by step tests. I was quoted $67.50 to check the codes at local dealer, and they didn't do that at all, but we worked together to redo all the tests I'd already done!...
I felt certain it was the ignition switch after feeling certain it was the light switch!... tried all the tests a defrocked auto electrician might... with little gear. The Saab dealer charged me $99, and hadn't put it on the computer. Unimpressed!!
The problem vanished for a month after 18 months of it... including it's sitting 6 months whilst I was working overseas...When I returned it was perfect.! Hmmmm!! But went bad again. It is now occasionally back. I turn the ignition many times and pull the key each time... I am talking about say 60 times. This fixed it, and now it takes less of all that.. I bought an ignition contact set from the UK, but yet to put it on... many parts are cheaper to import than buy here second hand. I'm confident that will fix it .
I bought a SaaB 900S V6 for my son... really nice car... from a wrecking yard, but this car has been in storage and well looked after... As soon as they drove it onto the street, after I bought it, up came engine and auto fault codes, yet I later found the transmission code would vanish, and the box was spot on and the oil really clean.
After doing all the work.. including the hard to access neutral safety switch, I found the fault code was accurate, and spent $1000 having a gearbox solenoid replaced...
Ridiculous prices and labour charges from SaaB dealers are what kills SaaB's... it has nothing to do with quality, more to do with opportunism. Perhaps we SaaB owners are manic depressives living in hope.
Still, in all those years, the Carlsson has cost me very little, even though for my own obsessiveness, I had the suspension checked (perfect), and installed Bilstein sports and all new engine mounts...some $thousands
There was a leaking "T" in the fuel line over the tank, and that WAS a ripoff... about $300 and they didn't drop the tank!! The car drives brilliantly, and I am thinking off mothballing it and driving the 9000CSE I bought today.
The 900S is awaiting a washer motor sent from that great NSW spares dealer, to the wrong address after twice giving them the right one. That's not unusual for them... such a massive wrecker. But... Shish!!... that's all I need for the registration, but air conditioning and one noisy tappet. They'll get done.
Someone suggested oil changes every 6000. In the Carlsson I use semi synthetic 10W 40, and it is great stuff.
That oil in the 900S might be better as 5W 40. I changed the plugs in that car for NGK's, and wondered about whoever used standard single element plugs in the harder to do 2/4/6/bank.
The oil was leaking into the plug area when I replaced the oil, but a new gasket cured that. I hear about the TCS and idling problems... and almost stalling when the fan cuts in (I rewired the fan and will wind my own resistor for low speed).
Personally I think the problem is less "aged wiring" as gets the blame for these problems, and more the drying out of capacitors in the electronics.
I checked the wiring and cleaned all accessible plugs and sockets during the search for the Transmission code cause. I also bought an air mass meter from the UK, brand new as the existing one reads "high resistance" in the codes, but works pretty well... that's not a wiring problem..
The car passed for rego with faults (reversing light u/s...someone had tried to install a double element globe (oh boy!) easy fix, some small rust in the original muffler (replaced with 2 element off the shelf but making everything simple for SaaB original, later); washers not working... (washer pump rusted up... car sat undercover for a couple of years or so)... that was about it, and not bad for a stringent check by SaaB experts who don't know me from the drover's dog.
Thus goes the SaaB sagas. I bought two magic ex Sweden 9000 service manuals from Amazon for a pretty penny, but they are pretty good!.. One was reasonably thin (90 pages or something), just had all the 9000 of 1991 electrical diagrams in large formats, with other data. Great stuff!
I bought a CD from an Aussie for the 900S, as the cheaper US one didn't state whether it does the V6 (most do not), and the American wouldn't look-see. It's a good disc, that one from the Aussie eBay dealer.
SaaB claim to have no clutch kits in Australia. Prices ranged from $670 to $499... outrageous!! SaaB used to be cheaper than aftermarket... around $380.00. Now the list is $675.00!!...
One should always do the slave cylinder, face up the flywheel, and replace the rear oil seal when doing the clutch. Swedish Auto can supply me a European built kit for $418 inclusive, so guess where...? With heads... my view is always buy new studs. Chains can be replaced without a teardown and tensioners cannot... good oil is a help there.
So that's it for now. Carlsson owners of 2.3 genuine on the delivery dockets like mine.. we are one of only 7 imported!... Is that rare? I even thought of selling the Carlsson after an injury stopped me working, but it's too hard!!
Hope that all amuses someone!! Tony firstname.lastname@example.org