13th Oct 2009, 20:53
I have a Saab 9000 Eco manual - have had some problems, see my review here, but not in the £/$thousands:
Further please also read comments!
Have some gripes as follows - otherwise all good.
Rear suspension design fixed and stabilised with panhard rod - causes understeer. Same system on New CIVIC R and new Ford Mustang.
Reason cheaper to manufacture.
Easily fixed with bushes, additional anti-roll bars and lowered suspension.
Steering not the quickest or sharpest - reason: performs in line with overall character, safe predictable understeer. Can be fixed, but not worth it due to low residuals, and anyway with choice aftermarket mods, the 9000 can really take on the twisties without a faster rack.
On mine 16" Saab aero alloys, Goodyear F1s and all round poly bushes have made a world of difference on ride and handling. Slowly looking to add Abbott suspension and ARBs etc... to further improve the situation. Again, not gonna cost in the thousands! So far - SOLID, SAFE, QUICK and can handle.
Quite a free revving 2.0L block with a shorter stroke and long gearing - all designed to reduce stress and improve longevity, doesn't rev high like a VTEC as it doesn't need to due to the turbo and the need to lower compression at high RPM, otherwise total engine failure - just like any other turbo'ed engine. But Saab invented the entire system - how to turbo an engine SAAB 101 ! Their basic blueprint is virtually unchanged - even now. They invented the MAGNETIC SOLENOID to control turbo intake.
Agree - with comments after your review - very much an enthusiast's car, and for someone who don't mind getting their hands dirty. That's THE WHOLE POINT. Any who, there's so much available on specialist sites / forums: saabscene, UK Saabs et al. JUST LOOK.
Parts are easily sourced second hand best route IMHO especially for small and minor items - buttons, switches, trim etc... Some things you just want NEW (thermostat, DI cassette, plugs & service items et al).
OH and such a sweet car for a tweaker and OH so easy!
Better still the blocks are so over-engineered that 300BHP is possible with no engine work. Sat in one that had been dynoed at 427BHP with a GT30 BB turbo - WOW! 70 - 140 about 4 seconds - that's MPH BTW ! Again, no engine work, had a new head gasket at 100K and had 165K on the clock - again that's in miles.
Saab mechs and Saab dealers are crooks generally. WHY? - GM upon takeover insisted on keeping the inflated parts prices of a small manufacturer to help pay for NEW model development. GM sound like most high street banks!
Use a specialist with caution after first trying to diagnose with forum help - Always get the work that you want done, NOT what the mechanic wants you to get done, and use your better judgement.
For those who just want a car to work and keep on working - BUY A HONDA or TOYOTA etc... BUT admittedly characterless, gutless and boring & bland. This simple equation does not include Supra's or 300ZX's, which will cost way more in maintenance and in petrol than a 9000 and can't haul 4/5 persons with luggage!!!
OH and this is a far superior car to the Saab 9-5 (GM platform), where the biggest flaw is the sump drain design and the not so tough oil pump. The 9000 has a bulletproof oil pump. You don't need to be fastidious with maintenance, but flush the oil and use high grade fully synthetic every 5000 miles and you should do fine. Again this is for the mere fact that an oil cooled turbo can cause carbon build up and eventual sludge and failure - typical of a turbo engined car.