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9-3 Reliability?

1908657 Views 332 Replies 121 Participants Last post by  Nijel
Saab 900/93 Bulkhead separation

I have a saab 93 1998 model and it is off the road with 'bulkhead separation'. This is I'm told a design fault with the 900/93. The bulkhead has separated (weld has broken) from the dash panel. The steering rack is bolted to the bulkhead hence the bulkhead and steering rack now move across the car when the steering wheel is turned. Saab UK have offered to pay only 50% of the £800 bill.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience and what was the outcome, also if anyone has the Service Bulletin or even just the number of the bulletin which explains this fault I'd very grateful as it will help me fight for Saab to pay the 100%.
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Since I joined the forum much I read obout problems , in this problem I was most interested in, does mention a creck in structure that is not pleasant to hear

I checked nothing is moving :D[/b]
Think it's just Right hand drive cars that are at risk Milan, so you are probably safe. :thumbsup:
After reading this thread I decided to take a look at my own 9-3, and alas when I turn the steering the foot pedles move :S

Does anyone know of a Saab specialist in or around Bury St Edmunds?

I have approached a body repair shop and am waiting for a call back, but I forsee it costing quite a bit as there is lots of stuff that would need removing for the repair to be done.

Is this problem localised to the drivers side only or can the passenger side fail too?

I am so glad I joined this forum, thank you to all the members for this wealth of knowledge.
Mine was picked up at MOT in Dec. 01 SEt with 65k on clock, running on standard ALU 22s.
I've brought my 2002 Saab 9-3 2.2 TiD to a Saab dealer here in Ireland and they told me there was no bulkhead separation but yet when I turn my steering from lock-to-lock I still see the pedals moving. I also can hear an odd clunking/knockng when going over bumps potholes. There is also a vibration in the dashboard when the car is idling but this is not new and has been in the car since I bought it. I'm told by a local mechanic that it is a lower engine mount. There is 178k miles on the clock but it is running very well for that amount of mileage. In the last 3 months I have put new shocks, wheel bearings and bushings into it.

When I pushed the dealer they stuck to their guns. There is no bulkhead separation. They would also not contact Saab for me.

So is movement in the pedals a guaranteed symptom of bulkhead separation?
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Hi Motionpotion

My advice would be to try an 'indie' saab specialist if you have one not too far away. I had the same problem. My main dealer couldn't see anything but when my local independent ex-saab master technician took one look he was able to show me where to look under the bonnet and it was clear as day. It is a Saab 'known issue' with a recommended repair and my main dealer overquoted for the repair and was rejected by Saab in favour of my 'indie'. Saab paid 80% but I had to do all the negotiating with Saab myself (IMHO well worth the bother)

Best of luck - Don't give up
he was able to show me where to look under the bonnet and it was clear as day[/b]
Yes. I should have said in my last post that I believe there is bulkhead separation on my Saab. I don't know a Saab indie specialist but I can get the car up on a lift to look under it here myself but I do not know where to look or what I should be looking for.
Can you describe where I should look?
If memory serves you need to look from the drivers side around and below the steering rack towards the middle but this could vary. Shine a torch in and get someone to rock the steering wheel while you look. I'm assuming it is the same as the 900 petrol in this regard.
For the record I later fitted a suspension stiffening bar to the subframe that has made a noticeable difference to the handling though I believe the 8 point one is the dog's b****x. This is not really for performance reasons as my wife mainly drives the car(sensibly). It just makes it acceptable to drive. My experience of your Irish roads is similar to my local Cumbrian ones - not great!
Thanks for your help ocheye.
I found some photos of different crack points in another post on here.

I was looking at a 6-point sub frame brace on ebay earlier. I wonder if I fitted this would it prevent the bulkhead from cracking further?
Because there is so much mileage on the car it is hardly worth spending a small fortune getting it repaired unless there is a serious safety issue. It looks like Saab have fudged the issue enough to make people doubt whether it is a safety issue or not.
I would persevere. Mine was over 10 years old and we have run it for a further 3 years and are only now considering trading up to a diesel. I'll probably keep the bracing kit for the next one. It was all well worth the effort
I am currently on my second 9 3 2.2TiD, both 1998 S registration. The first died at 189k, my current car has a mere 172k on the clock. Since I put it on the road in March this year, I have enjoyed driving it as much as I did the first one. However, about 3 months ago a knocking noise developed that no amount of investigation could pinpoint the cause. I stopped using it this week, and just this evening my step son found movement in the o/s steering rack mounting. Due to the age and mileage, could I contact Saab and ask them for help in rectifying this problem? Or should I just foot the bill myself? As the car owes me about £900, is it worth doing the repair or should I just get another? I only put a brand new clutch in and had the gearbox repaired before putting it on the road in March.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I am a long-standing Saab fan.
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Late reply to this post but I wondered if the out of warranty repair can still be done.

Saab UK went out of business in 2012 so I am told but does it still mean that Saab Dealers still have to honour this repair?

My local dealer has quoted £550 for it.
Almost certainly not as Saab is essentially going through a bankrupcy process.
If the original dealer is still trading then its possible they may help but they themselves would have to source
and pay for the it could be a battle.

If you need work doing then its probably much easier to find a local saab independant specialist .
1998 9-3 se 157hp
175k miles
Nothing apart from possibly normal wear replacements ....
Front and rear suspension complete.160k
Air con compressor 130k
Fuel pump... 140k
Power steering rack 110k
Gear box flexi mount 130k
Clutch 150k
Oil pump O rings 160k
Rear wheel arches little rusty so had arches bare metal respray @160k
Drives better than new with superb handling thanks to updated stiffer shocks and coils all round. Engine uses little oil about quarter litre every 6000miles. Accelerates to red in every gear without hesitating whenever I floor it. Car cosmetically looks a few years old not 22!
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