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Discussion Starter #1
The Saab 9-3 is supposed to be pretty reliable for a Saab.

Can we have a rundown of 9-3 owners and whether their 9-3 has been reliable.
Can we keep this on topic, please, it helps for future reference

I suggest something like this:

9-3 [model] [bhp]
[Model Year], [country]

- Failure Items
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'll kick off:

9-3 SE 2.0 Sport HOT 200bhp
MY1999, UK

- electric windows switchpack
- headgasket (known re-torque issue)
- air conditioning compressor
- ventilation motor
- horn (one of two failed)
 

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1999 US spec 9-3 base 5-door, 185 hp

Failure items:

1. headgasket replaced for know factory problem at 33k miles
2. numerous broken airflow direction knob shafts, eventually fixed with new design distribution box
3. SID pixels disappearing, replaced with new design SID

Everything else replaced has been common wear items, i.e. tires, brakes and such.

Car now has 95k miles.
 

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9-3 SE 2.3i (150BHP)
MY1998, UK

- audio head unit blew fuses (replaced)
- engine temperature sensor (ECU)
- engine thermostat
- temperature gauge/ACC temp sensor
- leaking power steering
- leaking washer reservoir
- air-con compressor siezed
- occasional SID re-set
- a few missing SID pixels (intermittent)
- suspected crack in sump picked up in last service (probably just a surface imperfection though)
 

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9-3 Coupe Tid S 115

Oct 2000 > 61.000kms CH

imported from Belgian with 44.500kms

-clutch pedal problem (real problem)
-dirty air mass meter ( cleaning )
-new engine software (to improve performance on
low revs. )

costs ? nul everything under Saab CH garantie
 

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93 1.03k
wing mirror motors
temp sensor
sid bits missing of course no action taken
aircon problem think compressor
other wise a very nice car
my 9k did 50 k and only need an brake pipes
 

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The Saab 9-3 is supposed to be pretty reliable for a Saab.  [/b]
I would say more, based on the thousands of US owners (Consumer Reports) & private surveys I've had the opportunity to see, the 9-3 is one of the most reliable car around , all brands included

2000 9-3 SE 154bhp bumped to 225bhp
163.000 km
never broke down
car no longer maintained by Saab, but my local shop armed with a WIS CD

issues (non failure):
-headgasket retorque
-waterpump beginning to leak (two or three drops/week)
-gear crunching in reverse
-shifter getting loose
-awful front end noise when cold, impossible to eradicate
-water inside the headlight lenses
-awful AM reception
-rear right door difficult to open
-squeaking noise from the front passenger seat
-occasional rattles from the B pillars, hatch.

[Edit to sort the quote position - Kevin Mc]
 

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9-3 Viggen 230 hp
2002, USA

- Brake rotors and pads needed replacement at 25K, but no failures just yet.
- Will have to look into the head gasket re-torque.

edit: The car now has close to 28K miles.

edited to keep within suggested format
 

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1999 9-3 2.0iS 3BHP
77,000 miles

Heater Controls - heat control stiff, distribution control very stiff.
Head Gasket - may just need a re-torque - I will report back on this.
Sticky coming out of 5th gear sometimes. Am told this happens quite a lot on cars which have spent a lot of time on the motorway in 5th gear. I'd say this was a design fault - surely this is exactly what these cars are for!
 

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2.0 litre LPT SE Coupe
1999
36,000 miles from new
Not one solitary item - absolutely faultless for three years - only ever visited dealer for service.

2.0 litre HOT Aero Coupe
2002
19,000 miles from new
A dashboard rattle due to the rock hard suspension - now fixed - only ever visited dealer for service.

Saab c93 - the most reliable car I have owned in 29 years of car ownership.
 

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9-3SE 2.0 LPT (154BHP)
Upgraded at time of purchase and steadily messed with to obtain current output of approx. 240-250bhp
MY1999, UK
Bought at 54k miles, now at 67k miles

- ACC fan control unit packed up (warranty repair)

- Clutch slave cylinder making 'mooing' noises (warranty repair)

- Clutch worn and replaced with above (put down to previous driver's bad habits)

- ABS control unit packed up (warranty repair)

- Headbolts re-torqued (have since replaced head gasket as precautionary measure since power is still going up
)

Other than that, straight forward servicing and replacement front pads/discs at approx. 64k miles.
 

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9-3 TiD S Coupe 125bhp.
2001, NL.
120000 Kilometers since new.

- Realigned door to stop wind noise above 110mph.
- Replaced Airmass meter to stop 3K RPM surging.
- Cleaned Temp/Boost sensor for smoother running.
- Replaced lower intercooler hose due to chaifing.
- Retorqued cam cover to stop oil weep.
- SID display lost pixels... replaced with new SID display.
- Replaced fuel lines and fuel bridges because it wouldn't start.
- Suspension creaks and knocks (subframe tightened twice!)
- Replaced failed diesel pump (mega bucks!) because car refused to start.
- Gearbox linkage realigned because car refused to go into reverse.

Thats it - in addition to normal servicing schedule and three changes of brake pads, two changes of tyres.

+ SAS rear ARB, KONI dampers, Eibach springs, carbon dash, sports leather wheel, leather knob + gaitor, leather interior, 17'' wheels, AS3 audio, airflow kit, Saab sports exhaust and floor mats
 

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9-3 SE LPT 150bhp
MY2001 UK car

covered from 0-62K miles in 2yrs 3 months

- Gearbox rebuilt with new 3rd & 4th synchros @ 20K
- Front strut mounts replaced @ 56K after repeatedly coming loose
- head bolts retorqued due to usual issue also @ 56K.
 

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9-3SE TiD 125bhp
2001, UK
56k miles

- External Temperature Sensor
- Air Mass Meter (cleaned, then replaced - well-known fault)
- Heater box gasket
- Blocked washer jets (Why no mesh filter like on the classic 900?)
- Rear spoiler (!)

All above covered under warranty. Also some 'service campaigns' - don't know the details.
Have recently started to loose pixels on SID2, but not yet called in to get it fixed.

Last week put on fourth set of front tyres, rears are still originals. Brake pads/disks still the original, although fronts will need doing soon.
 

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1998 9-3 SE 115hp TID

- electric windows switchpack
- Airmass meter
- 2X fuel tank
- 6X fuel gauge meter
- fuel hoses
- 2X diesel pump
- leaking oil pipe to turbo
- faulty egr
- motronic ecu
- towed 12 times (in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, southern France and Belgium
)

In the beginning of this year I had enough with it, so I swapped everything from a 2002 9-3 Tid 125hp

- gearbox rebuild
- towed once so far (in the Netherlands)

 

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9-3 TiD 1998 81,000 miles
72K morning start problems - diesel return pipes replaced (known problem )
75K turbo waste-gate sticking open - no boost - probably using cheap diesel caused this (no more!)
78K drivers seat side airbag replaced - faulty
80K rear hatchback locking mechanism sticking - WD 40 with manual use of key fixed

Minor problems - the only expensive one was the airbag gas cartridge £££!
Otherwise
 

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9-3 SE HPT
75,000

Electronic Throttle body replaced
Turbo charge replaced

Good car to drive but not as reliable as the 2 gm900 I have earlier used
 

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1- I earlier described the 9-3 reliability as one of the best, but that was based mostly on US surveys by JD Power & Consumer Reports. The 9-3 Tid, since it's not sold in North America, is not part of the surveys. I suspect that most(statistically) of the problems experienced with the 9-3 in Europe are with the Tid.
The 2.2 diesel Opel has a terrible reputation (lack of reliability, durability, oil consumption etc)
Certainly one the engine the automobile industry could do without
Word is that GM was/is interested in Fiat because of their competency in modern common rail diesel engines (they invented it)

2- I looked again at the 2003 JD Power survey: for vehicle dependability (reliability after 3 or 4 years of use), Saab is clearly above average but is beaten by Jaguar (thank you Ford ) & Porsche. Saab is just ahead of BMW, and does way way better than Audi, Mercedes, Volvo & VW, all of which doing much worse than average.

BUT an another 2003 survey done by JD Power, initial quality (problems after first 90 days of ownership) rank Saab almost last in North America.
So why the discrepancy ?
IMO, Saab came up with the 9-3SS in 2003, brand new model which represents much more than 50% of Saab sales (hence the sample)in the US. So the survey for 2003 initial quality is skewed by the introduction of a new model that sells very well.
When a company with a broad lineup of cars such as Toyota comes up with a new model, not only the new model doesn't usually represent a big share of the sample used for the survey, hence minimizing the negative impact of a first year model's reliability .PLUS, Toyota usually doesn't combine a new car platform with a brand new engine & new elecrtical architecture like Saab did with the new 9-3SS
 
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