: 9000 Handling Upgrade
08-18-2003, 03:46 PM
Being on my third SAAB over 15 years or so I have decided to give my current one an upgrade, rather than desert to something else. I have a 98 9000 CSE 2.3T Anniversary with 145K miles on the clock. More than anything else I want less wallow and better handling so I am contemplating new springs / dampers / poly bushes and would like to be forearmed before talking to the garages who might do the work.
General comments appreciated but specific questions I still have after visiting Abbott website etc are below. I don’t do track days, mostly drive in typical SAAB courteous style and do quite a lot of motorway, but I like to press rather harder on the empty winding road…….
1. Does Anniversary model already have “Aero” suspension set ?
2. Does Aero springs = 9000 road handling / sports kit, or do dampers change also ?
3. I think Aero and / or road handling kit drop height by 10mm compared to standard, is this right ?
4. I don’t want to look like a boy racer so 10mm sounds about right for lowering, most other kits seem to drop 20-40mm; are there other kits with more subtle approaches ?
5. Is changing springs and dampers enough or am I really going to need to change to poly bushes too ? (Existing bushes getting worn so replacing with something while work being done seems sensible) Don't want to loose filings while driving!
6. What sort of impact on insurance would suspension mods have ?
PS - Judging from the thread "9000 Springs" dampers and springs both change for Aero / sport kit.
08-18-2003, 04:20 PM
Point 2. Springs and dampers are mutually linked, if you want good results then both should be changed. I've had personal experience of what happens when the springs are too strong for the dampers to control, not a nice ride. If the springs are not that different to the existing ones you may get away with it, but then the difference in ride/handling is not going to be that different either...
Point 5. Front lower wishbone bushes and rear anti-roll bar bushes are a good start. The wishbone bushes help with the feel and response to steering input whilst the rear ARB bushes help lessen understeer. (I've found along with others that the front ARB droplink bushes introduce harshness and understeer.. http://www.saabscene.com/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif )
Point 6. It all depends on your insurer, but as an idea they seem to wish to know how much the car is lowered over standard more than anything else whenever I'm getting a quote.
Nick. '94 Aero
08-18-2003, 04:47 PM
The standard Aero suspension is a bit of a comprimise IMHO, if I were you, I'd either replace all new standard with poly bushes, or go for the Abbott Racing Springs + Koni's or the Bilstein Kit available from EuroCar Parts and others, or possibly the Hirsch suspension kit as that only lowers by about 10-15mm rather than the 30-40 of the Abbott/Koni or Bilstein combo.
08-18-2003, 05:01 PM
My best advice to you would be to have fitted :
Koni Adjustable dampers
Front ARB bushings
Rear ARB bushings
and Abbott Rear Anti-roll Bar
I got the the lot done at Abbott, and i've got zero complaints, only praise for an outstanding upgrade.
If you are looking for a car that has control, feedback, great road-holding, but isn't at all harsh or has a feeling of after-market.. then this is the road to go.
My 9000 *feels* like a contemporary new car after those upgrades, it takes anything the road throws at it, it's not bouncy, it doesn't wallow, its taught - but not unyielding.. in short fantastic.
08-18-2003, 05:12 PM
I agree with all the above but Abbott is an expensive option, good as they undoubtedly are.
I have the Bilstein shocks and springs kit and all those bushes but the Superflex versions. I would also add the top torque arm bushes to this list, just helps everything to point in the right direction!
But my main advice to you would be to find someone who has a car with some of the mods on it that you are considering and drive it, then u know what you're gonna get.
Problem is if you find a special one,you'll want one too and then this hobby starts to get expensive http://www.saabscene.com/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif
08-18-2003, 05:26 PM
Definitely Konis, and you will also get a benefit from replacing most of your bushes, as they will have worn by now. Even standard rubber ones will give an improvement without compromising the ride comfort.
Poly bushes will make things a little harsher, but tighten up response. However there are different grades of poly bushes. The Abbott ones are biased more towards comfort rather than absolute performance, and are perhaps the best compromise. Top of the list and very easy/cheap are front and rear anti rolls, followed by front wishbone.
As far as ride height goes, I think you need to aim nearer to 25mm to get an appreciable difference in handling. Mine is lowered by about 40mm and I think most would agree it looks "purposeful" rather than boy racer. That sort of look you describe normally comes with 50mm+ of lowering on smaller cars.
As far as insurance goes, just tell them you have fitted "sport suspension". The difficulty comes if they ask whether the suspension has been lowered. What they're talking about is physical modification to the suspension geometry as it can involve cutting and welding http://www.saabscene.com/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif , rather than just changing springs and shocks. It does depend on your insurer though. I thin you could probably (rightly) get away with saying under the mods section that it has sports spring and shocks but that the suspension has not been lowered.
Go for the above and you will be amazed at the transformation. I would also second MarkA's recommendation of Abbott to sort the chassis for you- they are undoubtedly the UK's leading authority on it.
08-19-2003, 12:57 AM
Thanks to you all for a good set of comments, I feel in much better shape to get what I want - provided the wallet holds up!
08-20-2003, 09:08 AM
And don't forget the expense does not end there!
I loved my Saab when I got it-very rapid, comfortable, but handling was a bit, well, not the best.
So Koni's, Abbott springs & bushes- handling was transformed. This then exposed the handling limits of my tyres-awful, but then they were cheap tyres which were very good on the standard car.
Nearly saved enough for 17 inch wheels & good tyres-only hope the ones on there last until I get my new ones. http://www.saabscene.com/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif
I just put on Koni shocks and H&R sport springs. Made a huge difference in handling. The car is very tight now and very responsive. No roll like it used to have with Aero suspension.
Now for my hijack-the-thread question:
Those who have koni's what are yours set on front and back. Now that I have broken them in with a few hundred miles of driving I am going to tighten them up a bit. I was thinking that I'd set the rears to 1 full turn and the fronts to a half turn. Fronts are easy to adjust but since I have to remove the rears to adjust them I only want to do it once. Does the above setup sound decent for daily driving?
08-20-2003, 09:24 AM
Good question Schu, I too am thinking about tightening the rear ones before the next track day.
08-20-2003, 03:55 PM
Hope I am not spoiling the fun, but back on topic :
My local SAAB dealer says he can still get the 9000 road holding kit (=Aero, we think). Has springs that are 20mm shorter at the front and 10mm at the rear, plus the uprated dampers. Can't do poly bushes unless I supply them - Abbott, I guess. Questions :
1.Price is around 450 + vat, does that sound OK ?
2.Is it much cheaper to have poly bushes fitted at the same time as springs and dampers ? My thought is to see what happens with road holding kit, then fit poly bushes if it needs more.
If only I could figure out how to get a go in a modified one
Also confused by remarks in thread "Springs".
What does anyone think ?
08-20-2003, 04:21 PM
Just as cheap here too:
if this is the same thing...
08-20-2003, 04:31 PM
Originally posted by Schu:
Those who have koni's what are yours set on front and back.[/b]I started with Abbott's recommended 1/2 turn front and rear, but found that after a few thousand miles, the ride became pretty choppy. The answer was not to soften the shocks, but to stiffen them in order to better control the springs. I found 1 full turn all round gave a really good ride (better than the standard Aero ride, I feel), with pretty good handling.
I even found 1.5 turns front and rear was pretty comfortable, although quite firm. I'm currently running with 2 turns front and rear and this is very stiff indeed. Great for track days and still not too hard for decent handling on real roads. However, since fitting the 17" wheels recently, this setting may now be a little too firm for comfort. I know JezF thinks so, and his second car is an Elise http://www.saabscene.com/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif
08-20-2003, 04:35 PM
Originally posted by chrisjshaw:
* Can't do poly bushes unless I supply them - Abbott, I guess. * [/b]www.elkparts.co.uk (http://www.elkparts.co.uk) has a range of poly bushes for the 9000
08-20-2003, 06:14 PM
after the track day I have gone back to one on the front and two on the back...
I feel that this gives the best compromise (on my springs anyway )
2/2 loosened my fillings
the front setting seems to have the most impact on the comfort...
Oh and motorsport world was the cheapest for koni's and springs...
08-22-2003, 03:49 AM
*All the Koni / Bilstein etc kits seem to lower by 40mm or so - not sure I want to go there[/b]I know what you mean, I thought I was going to have grounding issues.. but actually not.
40mm isn't a lot, the car's stance looks just right, if you are using the correct size of tyres there are no rubbing issues on deep compressions, and if I watch what I'm doing I never catch the exhaust on speed bumps.
It doesn't look at all boy racer, infact most people don't even notice it's lowered. Same goes with the same kit (albeit with Eibach springs, rather than Abbott springs) on my 9-3.
08-22-2003, 12:47 PM
If you do go down the Saab kit route have your dealer check which dampers the kit contains. When I was trying unsuccessfully to get some original 9k Aero dampers my dealer ordered one of these kits hoping that it would contain Aero dampers only to find it contained standard turbo ones http://www.saabscene.com/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif
That was earlier this year so things way have changed...but it's still worth checking.
08-22-2003, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by MarkA:
*All the Koni / Bilstein etc kits seem to lower by 40mm or so - not sure I want to go there[/b]I know what you mean, I thought I was going to have grounding issues.. but actually not. [/b][/quote]My Aero has been lowered with the Abbott/Koni set-up and has more recently had a JT downpipe fitted which dips even lower to the ground than standard...
No problems as yet with speed bumps etc and that's with the damping set softish.
I would say there is little to worry about with a 40mm lowering.