GM 900 Reliability? - Page 4

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Thread: GM 900 Reliability?

  1. #46

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    I have a 1997 GM900xs 2.3 non turbo which I bought two years ago.... Have always owned Peugots (sorry!) and had NEVER considered owning a saab (ew!). Then saw a nice shiny car on the forecourt of a garage and couldn't believe I actually fancied a Saab! Anyway.... 2 years on and...

    It appears the usual faults (reading the forums here and experiencing them myself) are:

    Knocking suspension (mine sounds rear offside but can find no cause)
    Headlight wiper stuck in upright position (I like to think of it as all the little saabs are just saluting eachother!)
    Belts (2 of mine) failing

    Additionally, the stereo packed up 3 days after the warranty period!!! £1200 quoted - sourced one for £75!Last month the headgasket failed and I was quoted £800+ by a dealer and got it done for £400 by a very nice man!

    Last week the distributor started to leak oil and I have (today) replaced this with a used one (which doesn't leak) for £35!

    My worst fear for buying a Saab (and the reason I was always warned off them) was the hideous costs involved when something goes wrong. HOWEVER! I have found that the best thing to do is:
    1. Ring the genuine Saab dealer and get a quote for genuine Saab parts, fitted by a genuine Saab mechanic, plus genuine Saab VAT.... then
    2. Have a lie down/cry/hysterical laugh.... then
    3. Find the part ANYWHERE else at a reasonable price....
    4. Fit it yourself (with the help of the lovely/clever forum people here) or get a very nice man to assist you! (If you're female and have long blonde hair this may help! I find that (and a smile in the right direction) works wonders!

    I love my car.... the fact of the matter is - it starts EVERY SINGLE DAY with no problems whatsoever... and it is the ONLY car I have EVER owned which has sailed through it's MOT without costing me a penny... TWICE!!!

    Oh... and it's done almost 180k!!!!!!

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  3. #47

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    I have observed these forums for quite a while as I have had a hankering for a 900 for quite a while.As I am now on the verge of getting one I thought I,d log on. The thing is , after reading all the previous posts, am I making a grave error?They seem like good value for money especially the older ones but as it will be my only car will i be able to afford to keep it on the road? I guess I need some sort of buyers guide from the people who really know them As i have never even sat in a saab before let alone driven one.What is the best engine? are they diy freindly?Manual or auto? so many questions..............

  4. #48
    Saab Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Berks, UK

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    I've only just started to log on and and use these forums and I've just returned from overseas and bought Saab #6, a '97 900 Turbo SE (180,000miles) after one of my regular attempts to put up with other more ordinary cars.. Bear in mind that most of us just love em - there's something quite special and distinctive about them and once you appreciate it they're difficult to turn your back on. I really enjoy driving and after 4 years in Oz driving a Mazda I'd made up my mind I was going to enjoy driving the next car.

    In terms of running costs they're probably not the cheapest car to run and there do tend to be little niggly problems that aren't always straight-forward to diagnose, but this forum's a godsend in that respect. Even if you can't fix the problem yourself if you know what needs to be done you're less likely to be ripped off. It can also give you the option of shopping around to get the best deal on the part - often at half the price you'll be quoted from a main dealer or even 'high street' garage.

    Eg. I've had the current one for only two months but it needs a new direct ignition pack - RRP is about GBP175 but I've found a new one for less than GBP100 and I can slap it on myself (I'm not mechanically minded and I only have the use of one arm, so you could say I could do it with one arm tied behind my back!). It also needs the air con recharged which will cost me about GBP65 but then it will be tip top And it is a beautiful car - midnight blue, cream leather - all great condition (they are built to last after all) and for very little money.

    I think if you've been 'hankering' after one for a while you ought to go drive one. Read thru the previous posts to see the sorts of problems people have had (bearing in mind that many of us won't post UNLESS we have a problem - although I might now start posting after each blissful, trouble-free drive!) and then you'll know what to look out for. Might be wise to get an idea of the model you want, price it up and then research that model here. My only advice in terms of the car (other than to get an identical one to mine in a convertible ) is:
    1. Go for a turbo. I've had three of each and they all do 25-30mpg. The turbos are just infinitely more fun to drive - especially the 99.
    2. An independent Saab specialist who really knew her stuff told me not to go for the earlier model GM900s and to get as late a one as possible. Probably quite a general comment as with most cars the changeover years can show up a few more problems which often get ironed out later on. That said I'm sure there are plenty of trouble-free early 900s

    But what do I know.. I just like Saabs!

    Best of luck - hope you like em as much as I do.


  5. #49

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    Thanks for your reply, much appreciated.The thing that worries me most that keeps cropping up is bulkhead seperation.This sounds very nasty and expensive. Didnt Vauxhall Cavaliers used to suffer from this too?

  6. #50

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?


    I have owned a 1994 GM900 2.0 FPT for the best part of two years now and considering the modest mileage [well modest to a Saab, incapable for most other makes out there] of 186,000 I can say that it has cost me more in parts than it has in insurance, purchase price, road tax and fuel. The last MOT cost in excess of 600 pounds and that was with my local buddy mechanic who now likes to call me his personal piggy bank.

    Parts for this car and other Saabs is through the roof. The part numbers are often incorrect due to the changeover period this model fell into and on and on and on....

    However, and there's always and HOWEVER I have not stopped in two years smiling at the shock and disgust of boy racers, white van drivers and the BMW rep who fail to comprehend the power and pull of these beauties. Nothing looks better than a dismayed driver in your rear view mirror! I must confess though I have had the odd modification pack added courtesy of ELKPARTS boys John and Julian. It boasts a lovely 265bhp which delivers smoothly and with a punch at the same time [strange but true].

    Parts replaced during my ownership:

    6 new front tyres - tend to spin up easily and last only 12,000 miles
    Complete Cat Back exhaust - new stainless steel job fitted from SPEEDPARTS [cheaper than the Saab unit]
    New discs all round [twice at back, tend to rust easily]
    New pads all round
    New handbrake cable system
    New Lower front arm
    New Pulley belt and spindle
    2 new turbo's [well actually both recon units]
    New APC
    New Springs
    New silicone vacuum piping [old fitment shot]
    New bushes allover

    Wow! I could have bought my dream car for that amount [Lotus Carlton. sorry!]

    With all this in mind, be prepared, be very prepared and prepare your bank manager you are buying a Saab, but then be prepared to smile all day long whilst driving one - the advert logo has it right, sit back [or in the turbo models, be put back in your seat] and enjoy!


  7. #51

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    I've owned my GM900is now for fours year and has covered 102,000miles,I Chose it because it has a reliable engine(I used to be a BMW mechanic, and there not all there cracked up to be particualy the 4cyl 1's).
    I do all my own servicing and have ony needed usual service items brakes, oil plugs and filters I havent serviced the car for over 20,000miles and it still totaly reliable and having just towed over 1 ton from windsor to and around the lake district and back fautlesly(although the amount of fuel it drank was on par with my V8 Landrover!!!!!)
    the parts that it has need are as follows:-
    1 x steering Gaitor £70.00!!! shocking!!!
    1 x front wheel bearing (front wheel was soon to detatch it self)
    1 x front hub for above bearing
    vacuum hose to put out CEL
    1 x thermostate again for the CEL
    lots of front tyres
    1 x headlamp glass(a close encouner with a Peugeot)
    1 x engine mount (twice the price of a BMW one!!!)
    1 x drivers door handle
    1 x flexi exhaust section
    The car also needs a radiator which has leaked for over 3 years and need topping up evry 2months, the PAS leaks again the leak is very slow, and theres and engine leak somewhere around the dizzy.The front suspension clonks alot but all looks o.k
    Overall I'm quite happy with the car all the Saab parts are behaving them selfs just a few gremlims from the GM bits(no suprise there then), fuel consumption is bad and it is teadiasly slow the upside is I still have 12 points left on my licence

  8. #52

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    Just bought a 1994 900S Turbo about two weeks ago for a sweet £350. 112K miles on the clock, 200 of which are mine.

    Totally insignificant things that went wrong with it before I bought it:
    - coolant level sensor died
    - aircon only blows down
    - one of the two horn buttons broke off
    - "bonnet open" sensor shorted and caused tiny fire, melting bits of the fusebox.
    - mild oil leak valve cover (between #1 & #2 in
    - said oil leak eating away at two coolant hoses.
    - electric mirror switch only operates in 1 direction
    - some rust spots on front edge of bonnet
    - shamelessly worn drive belt.
    - missing right "door open" sensor stop.

    Since I owned it:
    - nada. Fingers crossed.

    Costs to fix:
    £30 drive belt
    £20 2nd hand header expansion tank (for the new sensor - the SID was annoying me. The expansion tank without sensor is for sale for less - gimme a shout)
    £20 coolant
    £20 coolant hoses.

  9. #53

    Re: GM 900 Reliability?

    [ QUOTE ]
    Just bought a 1994 900S Turbo about two weeks ago for a sweet £350. 112K miles on the clock, 200 of which are mine.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Being used to scraping it on a Super-moto around town, I must say that the Saab handles like a barge, pulls only so-so despite the turbo everyone gets so excited about and is pretty damn ugly. Still, I love it already!

  10. #54
    Saab Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bought my 1995 NG900 Turbo SE in July & have done about 5000 miles in it.

    When I got it the Air con didnt work & I havent fixed it yet as it isnt a big deal to me but i will get around to it before this summer.

    The dashboard illumination goes a bit disco sometimes so I'll need to get that fixed as driving at night can be a pain when it suddenly decided to give me a full black panel.

    Those things were wrong when i got the car & it's basically been 6 months of trouble free motoring which to me for a 11 year old car that cost £900 with a full MOT is more than you can realisticly ask, if my 200SX was as reliable as that maybe it would still have been sitting in my drive lol, rather than giving someone else interesting and perplexing new niggles every two weeks.

  11. #55
    I have a '96 900 SE 4 cyl Turbo, which I bought in 2000 for $12K. Had about 60,000 miles. Now it's got 125,000.

    Since I've had it, I've needed:

    * New clutch
    * New exhaust
    * A fix for passenger seat heater.
    * Water pump
    * Red distributor cap (getting done today)

    Things not working that I'm not fixing in order to save money, so far:

    * Driver seat heater doesn't come on as fast as it should.
    * CD changer in trunk stopped working.
    * Putting into reverse may not work on first try. Clutch-in and out once or twice...
    * Ignition lock getting sketchy - has to be turned just the right way.
    * Drivers side door lock getting sketchy.
    * One headlight wiper stops about 2 inches over the light.
    * I accidentally snapped off the (plastic) steering wheel adjustment lever withing the first few months. But it's stuck at a good angle for me. :-)
    * The button on the emer. brake barely sticks out, but it's still usable.
    * Some kind of panel on the drivers' side is hanging down too far, and catches on my foot. (!) I need to have this one fixed...
    * The film that creates the tinted window effect has started rippling in a few places.
    * A squeak every time I use the clutch pedal that a mechanic couldn't find the source of.
    * The headlight/parking-light selector knob on the dash isn't mounted tightly, and the whole assembly turns somewhat when turning the knob.

    Even with all these things, I still really enjoy the car.

    But I am looking to sell it and get a car I can use biodiesel in.

  12. #56
    Bought my 1995 NG900 Turbo in 2004.

    I replaced the turbo in Dec 04 at 85k.
    The sensonic acuator packed up in Feb 05 so converted to manual.
    Done the timing chain at 90k and a new radiator in Dec 05.
    Heater box air regulator control broke.
    Disks and Pads as required.

    Has past every MOT since I have owned the car.

    It is now at 110k and been running great for the last 18months.

  13. #57
    After 2 years of owning a GM900 2.3i XS Auto (purchased at 110k) the gearbox has failed at 126k and I've had to scrap the car.

    I'm told this is fairly rare, but the way my luck has been lately it doesn't surprise me - in the words of a wise man (Dirk Benedict); "there's been no gold in my life, only dross !"

  14. #58
    Full throttle john's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Sussex, UK
    After 2 years of owning a GM900 2.3i XS Auto (purchased at 110k) the gearbox has failed at 126k and I've had to scrap the car.[/b]
    Sorry to hear that.

    I'm told this is fairly rare,[/b]
    Really? My 9-3 Gearbox failed at 128,000 miles. Bit coincidental - mileage is very close to yours. I spent a fortune having it fixed. Now smoother than it was at 54,000 miles when I bought it.

  15. #59
    Sorry to hear that.
    Really? My 9-3 Gearbox failed at 128,000 miles. Bit coincidental - mileage is very close to yours. I spent a fortune having it fixed. Now smoother than it was at 54,000 miles when I bought it.[/b]
    I knew the mechanic was trying to make me feel bad, that I was especailly unlucky to have an expired gearbox. I had to scrap it as the cost of replacement was more than the value of the car. In any case the ride was getting bouncey/creaky, the air con was making louder and louder noises and the handling was getting very slippery.

    I now have a MY1998 2.0i S Auto Talladega with 81k on the clock - I hope that lasts !

  16. #60
    Saab Afficionado AL900S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Manchester, UK
    John I'm surprised that his and your autobox went at similar mileages as I thought the Aisin Warner autoboxes had a reputation for being very solid. Maybe Charybdis's car didn't get the auto fluid change at the prescribed Saab 66k service? (I'm sure yours did)

    9-3 SC 1.8t Vector, metallic black/cream, paddle shift, sports wheel, premium sound, SPA & convenience pack

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