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Thanks for the replies. The car I'm interested in is a March 02, so probably earlier than the lux pack, but it appears to be £2k under Parkers book price, allowing for a slightly high mileage (54k miles and £9,995).

It's got FSH & 6 month warranty, but I'm still feeling edgy after a couple of hours looking through this forum. I do appreciate that these forums are generally for people looking for help after encountering problems so the view here may be more negative than the general reality.

I'd appreciate any other views people can offer before I either chicken out or go along cash in hand.

It was much more simple buying my 96v4 in 1980 for £215!
 

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MJ366,
the big/expensive worry is sludge in the sump (but its results may be covered by the 8 year warranty). So, as part of the deal get it cleaned out or soon after get it cleaned and then it should be ok for some time. At some point in its life the turbo may need replacing so allow for that in your finances.

The servicing costs can be kept down by doing your own but then need to be careful with warranties. The expensive 66k mile service is not particularly difficult but takes time hence the cost. Prevent CPS and DI cassette failure by replacing them before they go and avoid the breakdown - then have spares for the boot. One of the many good things about this forum is you know what is likely to go wrong so can use preventive maintenance and when buying a car have a good idea what to look out for.

Apart from these worries, the 9-5 is a nice car to be in. Better than the 9000 and 900 that we previously had. Comfy, quick (apart from bends), not too thirsty, pulls a caravan well if you have one, etc.
 

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I've been through this thread and tried to collate into a check list/memory jogger before I go looking tomorrow. Hope it's of use to others. NB With exception of one item from HonestJohn, all contributions are cut and pasted from within this thread, so thanks to all contributors and apologies if I missed anything!

Items to check

Engine
Blue smoke on start up, a fairly common problem on lpt variants, Saab have introduced modified parts over the life span but can still be a problem even on later cars.. up to MY00 is rife! Ultimate cure could be a new turbo. Can effect HOT models too, but is quite rare.

If the Bosch Diaphragm Dump valve fails it may emit a hooting sound, (like an owl) as pressure escapes. Replacing the Bosch unit, which is not repairable, is around £35 from Saab but other more reliable alternatives are available such as the Forge Piston Recirculating Dump Valve at around £95. Both would take minutes to fit and is a simple DIY task. The latter type is a serviceable item

Revised pulleys with larger bearings were fitted early on in the MY99 model run: this was from chassis number X3025752. Another way of checking is that if your rear brake calliper is the same type as the front [ignore its position] then it has the revised pulleys. There's some anecdotal evidence that these are a little more resilient. Esp/y for pre-MY99 models, therefore, it would be wise to replace the pulleys along with the drive belt when the latter is changed at the 66k service.

Major Service at 66,000 miles - £527 plus corrective actions - total £700 !

PCV system, check the 2 main hoses 1 comes off cam cover just behind 'SAAB' should be firm but squeezable, other is a smaller bore one to the left running to metal breather pipe that terminates at the intake pipe.
“At the 78,000 mile routine service the dealer told me of a modification that Saab was recommending involving a new breather pipe and valve kit. I held off having the work done and when I called a few months later to book the car in for the work found that the modification had been withdrawn, it was causing more problems than it was solving! Instead of the modification Saab increased the engine warranty to 8 years providing the car had a full service history.”
The PCV is positive crankcase ventilation. The oil fumes are sucked out into the inlet - via throttle body unless you have had the most recent modification. (search board for PCV - search button top right of this page). If system fails the head gasket can leak oil. Check pipe at back of engine going vertically down to sump. If they are soggy, change them and do the latest mod. There is a non-return valve in the system inserted in a rubber hose just at the back top of the engine. All this is under the [plastic cover which just unclips).

Oil leaks, Common issue is the head gasket leaking oil on the right hand front corner, decide for yourself how serious each leak is!
Check for oil leaks around the throttle housing, on plastic inlet pipe models, there is an O-ring that can get lost/brittle, easy 47p fix!
Check for oil leak around timing cover, known prob on early models, now appears fixed by modified parts.

Timing chain rattle, etc.

A couple of problems that may not be apparent on test/viewing, Throttle bodies went through a period of failure, any check engine lights, make sure you get the fault code pulled, not simply reset.
DI cassettes, seem to have a life of anything between 60k miles and 150k miles! £190 part from SAAB, doesn't appear to tell you when its failing, simply refuses to start at some point! Check the plugs are the correct SAAB spec, i.e. NGK BCPR 7ES-II, NO OTHER make of plug should be used on DI cars.

The right boxes tick on the modification plate under the bonnet. Modification boxes marked on my 1998 2.3 are: B5, C4 & C5. Plate is on left hand front wing, under bonnet.

CPS Crank Shaft Position Sensor can fail

Transmission:
Auto box appears reliable so far, no real known faults, usual autobox checks apply. – However this from Honest John and two members here: Aisin-Warner autoboxes prone to failure because friction-fitted metal bush carrying a gear wheel can slip along its shaft interfering with the flow of transmission fluid to the torque converter and, when reversing, simultaneously engaging forward and reverse ratios, resulting in burnt out clutches.

Manual box, check engagement of reverse and 5th, another known problem, again Saab have modified parts in place now.
There's another potential gearbox gripe affecting manual 9-5s and 9-3s, which is when it becomes v. difficult to disengage 4th at the first attempt when hot - can be a bit of a pain when you come up to a busy roundabout and want to nip into a gap! Again Saab are aware and there is a kit to fix, may get done under warranty as can appear as low as 15-20K.

Front wheel bearings can be short lived, check for noises under cornering.

Body & Interior:

SID unit....All too common, not many get away with it, at £160 a throw not cheap, SID still works, you just can't read the info correctly, most appear to have some success with fairly simple repairs , good bargaining point all the same!
Once engine is started the only dash light you should see is the 'INFO DISPLAY' checking the SID will probably show TEST BRAKE LIGHTS simply press the brake pedal to clear the SID and light, no other dash light should be on..... except maybe the fuel low light

ACC panel, ditto SID, tends to loose its symbols over time, but should still function correctly! Also whilst checking do a re-calibration, check fault codes , this is done by holding auto and off buttons together. If there are any fault codes stored take care, as some repairs can be very costly!

On the older models there is a fault with the A/C whereby if the front passenger vents are shut hot air is blown in the rear passenger seats. There is a fix for this (drilling holes somewhere in the air circuit) but my dealer won't do it for free as my car is too old....

Corrosion, underneath the door gaskets for the rear doors on the car body. The 9-5 has two sets of door gaskets and the outer set can keep water and dirt.

Pool of water in driver's well - after heavy rainfall. Blocked heater hoses.
Blowing cool air to the rear in the winter despite 24 degree setting.
Failure of AC during the summer
There is an (sounds common) audible rattle in the passenger door with the window over 1/3 down.

Aero Lux Pack had (from memory):
AS3 9 speaker Harmon Kardon audio
Rain Sensing wipers
Electric front seats (driver's with memory
Auto dimming rear view mirror
Park assist
heated front and rear seats
Xenon lights

Later years started deleting these standard items as well as a few more (door pillar nets, emergency triangle, lashing bits in wagon etc) and added others to the options list (folding door mirrors, satnav etc).
The key to whether it has the AS3 audio is that the rear speaker grilles in the parcel shelf have "Harmon Kardon" on them. If they are plain they are just grilles - no speakers (unless an aftermarket add-on)

Front fogs are pricey to replace if cracked. TIPS - Cut out some clear perspex and use double sided sticky pads to protect the front fogs and the headlamp protectors are not cheap, but less than a headlamp.


Check for recalls, as with most new cars, there were a number of recalls early on, contact a Saab dealer with the cars details, ask them to check for any outstanding recalls.
Service book with Saab dealer stamps close to the specified service intervals - these things like regular oil changes. Run by uncaring company car drivers - the 12,000 mile service intervals stretch the endurance of the oil - especially if lots of short journeys are undertaken.

Sound deadening foam mat present between floor and spare wheel.

Wiper arms seized on spindles.

Headlamp wipers operating and parking.

Upgrade packages: rear cup holders in front of armrest/floor mats/centre arm rest/cruise control.

All heat absorbing glass present - not replaced by ordinary glass.

Ignition locks in reverse (manual only). May have been forced out and broken by valet parker.

Aero front spoilers will be scratched / grounded more often than not

Faulty batch of auto-dimming mirror mounting brackets in MY00 at some point

No one seems to have mentioned leaking water into the boot pouring out of light panels in boot lid - failed rear washer/wiper pipe somewhere (whole wiper/motor assembly replaced).

Spoiler on wiper blade detached on one of its two mounts and drew pretty scratches right in the eye line - had it polished out for £80 seemed safer than risking a replacement screen. Wipes just as well with the spoiler thingy in the bin.


Suspension:

For some reason the 9-5's rear shocks tend to be fairly weak, and can leak oil at a low mileage! Check for any unusual suspension noises, it should be quiet, any knocks or clonks will need further investigation. OEM parts are not cheap either!

The drive shaft bellows, especially the one closest to the wheels can crack. This is a mandatory check on second hand front wheel drive cars.

General:

The big/expensive worry is sludge in the sump (but its results may be covered by the 8 year warranty). So, as part of the deal get it cleaned out or soon after get it cleaned and then it should be ok for some time. At some point in its life the turbo may need replacing so allow for that in your finances.

The servicing costs can be kept down by doing your own but then need to be careful with warranties. The expensive 66k mile service is not particularly difficult but takes time hence the cost. Prevent CPS and DI cassette failure by replacing them before they go and avoid the breakdown - then have spares for the boot. One of the many good things about this forum is you know what is likely to go wrong so can use preventive maintenance and when buying a car have a good idea what to look out for.
 

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Just a suggestion to all you Saab 9-5 doom mongers. If you don't want to have to lift the bonnet, check the oil get regular services etc. Why not buy a Toyota.
A Saab is a car it has an internal combustion engine which essentially hasn't changed that much since a Model T Ford despite what the manufacturers say. All that has happened is that external bits and electronics have been added. Does anybody remember the following:- Dagenham Dustbins, Austin El Agro or F.O.R.D (Fix Or Repair Daily).
What exactly do you want out of a car it is a complex piece of machinery based on an age old central piece (Engine) Treat it with a bit of care try a bit of preventative maintenance and it will look after you.
With any secondhand car I would recommend an Independant Warranty (but be aware most don't cover Fair Wear & Tear until 90 days has passed), get an RAC inspection carried out before buying and if travelling any distance get breakdown cover believe me its worth it. I broke a cam belt in France last year it would have cost about 1500 - 2000 for hotel (4 persons), hire car (In France), hire car (UK) + recovery of car back to UK. This was not a Saab it was a diesel Renault Megane Scenic.
I have owned in excess of 20 cars, 10 manufacturers, driven in Europe, Africa and Asia. The only manufacturer that required nothing apart from servicing and consumables were 2 Toyotas.
The point of all this is don't buy a Ford, Vauxhall, BMW, Mercedes, VW or Saab if you want 100% reliability they are made in Europe by manufacturers who haven't advanced much. Try a Jap car instead !!!!
 

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Hi All,

This post has made me shiver, as I have just bought a 1998/R reg 9-5 off ebay without physically looking at the car, just believing what the owner says. I have printed the check list for my car pick up tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
 

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Wow what a lot to read. You Saabscene guys always seem to provide such good info

I was considering buying a newer saab thinking it would be more reliable than my 900 carlsson (carlsson for the weekends ) and have been favoring the 9-5 choice being between a v reg Griffin and a 52 aero.

I will be covering 15-20k a year and both cars have 110k on the clock. Reading around other forums it is becoming obvious i should probably avoid the griffin. The 1st question is whether this view is correct?

2nd if I do choose the aero are there things that should be looking e.g. work that should have been carried out.

3rd what things am I likely to needed shell out on it over the next 60k?

thanks for any advice you can provide

jj
 

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A 52 Aero should have the "Lux Pack" as standard!! So similar kit to the Griffin, apart from the Ventilated seats. My 02 Aero has done 86k with no big issues.
 

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Evening all,

My cousin's considering buying a 9-5 3l V6 petrol because he reckons they're so cheap (he's a previous first gen 9-3 owner). His questions is; WHY are they so cheap? Are they prone to more issues than the straight fours? Are there any specifics that he should be looking out for in addition to the points already raised?

Cheers

James
 

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Residual value is not a strong point on Saabs :(

And a V6 3 litre is often seen as a thirsty beast, whether it is or not!
 

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Having just bought a V6 Griffin I can say that the fuel consumption is a pleasant surprise.at times.

My commute gives about 23mpg which is mixed country, town and motorway. A long run yesterday of 400 miles mainly motorway saw the trip computer give an average of 32.4mpg and that seems to tally quite closely with the amount of fuel required to fill it up again. At 70 on the cruise it records 35mpg.

The 6 cylinders were generally better equipped as they are either SE or Griffin models and the auto suits the engine very well. Still getting used to the handling, there is grip there but the body roll at first makes you think twice.

I think the majority of the common problems on the 9-5 relate to all engine types, the V6 however does not have the sludging issues nor the noisy timing chains although you need to ensure the cambelt is changed regularly as on all cars
 

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35 mpg is about right for motorway driving, if I take it easy then up to 38 mpg (or even more) is possible.
Even round town is 21 mpg which I think is reasonable for the weight of car and size of engine.
Very comfortable car for motorway driving, I've driven 6 hours at a stretch and still not felt over tired.
 

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Lurker saying hello rather than sniping info in the dark. OK, after a 9-5. Tempted by the Aero (say around 2000-2003, finances and all that). So from the excellent info posted here I have a good idea what to look for and I thank you. A question, are (should?) the recalls and official mods logged on the service history? Reference to the DI cassette I have been reading about, still picking up on others. I understand a spare (DI cassette) is a bonus anyway.

I was going for a car whether or not it had a FSH but reading this forum has convinced me otherwise.
 

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Just a suggestion to all you Saab 9-5 doom mongers. If you don't want to have to lift the bonnet, check the oil get regular services etc. Why not buy a Toyota.
A Saab is a car it has an internal combustion engine which essentially hasn't changed that much since a Model T Ford despite what the manufacturers say. All that has happened is that external bits and electronics have been added. Does anybody remember the following:- Dagenham Dustbins, Austin El Agro or F.O.R.D (Fix Or Repair Daily).
What exactly do you want out of a car it is a complex piece of machinery based on an age old central piece (Engine) Treat it with a bit of care try a bit of preventative maintenance and it will look after you.
With any secondhand car I would recommend an Independant Warranty (but be aware most don't cover Fair Wear & Tear until 90 days has passed), get an RAC inspection carried out before buying and if travelling any distance get breakdown cover believe me its worth it. I broke a cam belt in France last year it would have cost about 1500 - 2000 for hotel (4 persons), hire car (In France), hire car (UK) + recovery of car back to UK. This was not a Saab it was a diesel Renault Megane Scenic.
I have owned in excess of 20 cars, 10 manufacturers, driven in Europe, Africa and Asia. The only manufacturer that required nothing apart from servicing and consumables were 2 Toyotas.
The point of all this is don't buy a Ford, Vauxhall, BMW, Mercedes, VW or Saab if you want 100% reliability they are made in Europe by manufacturers who haven't advanced much. Try a Jap car instead !!!![/b]
I think your missing the point here, even with a full Saab history some or all the problems listed in this thread may occur, this is mainly down to poor basic design and GM extending the service intervals. The fact is that most cars will have had their oil changed at the recommended 12k when really it should be 8k (those GM bean counters have a lot to answer for) so even with a full service history the engine as already been potentially compromised no amount of bonnet lifting and oil checking will change this, you can’t change oil retrospectively !!!
Also I think it’s naïve to suggest just because the basic principles are the same you can compare a Model T engine to a modern one, it’s a different animal completely, with different objectives and consequently different problems.
Saab have definitely made mistakes both in basic design and parts quality control that’s the point of this thread to highlight these issues so a prospective buyer as all the information necessary to enable them to make the best possible choice (for warned is for armed) .
Saab tend to be bought (particularly used ones) by genuine enthusiasts who have an interest in their car over and above driving just driving them. Toyota’s while undoubtedly reliable are largely bought by people with absolutely no interest in cars whatever, I hope you enjoy life with your Corolla!!!
 

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Guys,

Any advice on different things to check on the post 2006 'Dame Edna' models?

I think the PCV system is supposed to be OK now, but is the aircon unit still a problem and how do you check it? Can you still press auto and off together to force a self-test?

Anything else that's different / more of a concern from the previous shapes?

Cheers,
Ade
 

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Hi
I bought a 9-3 conv in June and I absolutely love it. It has converted me to Saab. I now want a 9-5 estate auto in the family. I have been reading this topic and as a mechanic, nothing is really putting me off. The thing that really surprises me is the road tax.....I checked a couple of vehicles on Parkers road tax calculator......'kinell!! I find it hard to swallow the thought of paying £400 a year roadtax on a 6 year old car.
I will still buy one and maybe go for an early model with fixed banding. ie. pre March 2001.
I hope this observation is relative to the buyers guide...it was certainly a consideration for me.

PS If anyone has one they want to sell... nudge nudge wink wink!
 

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The thing that really surprises me is the road tax.....I checked a couple of vehicles on Parkers road tax calculator......'kinell!! I find it hard to swallow the thought of paying £400 a year roadtax on a 6 year old car.
I will still buy one and maybe go for an early model with fixed banding. ie. pre March 2001.[/b]
Check the posts on road tax a week or so ago here... http://www.saabscene.com/forum/index.php?s...;#entry31717618 for info from the Gov't's own webpages. And in that thread there's a link direct to those pages.
 

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Just a note which is (fittingly) my first post here. A quick thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread over the years and made life a lot easier when inspecting potential new motors. The information proved extremely helpful when violating the cars that were unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of my thorough probing! My new 2.3 9-5 Aero HOT now sits on the driveway :)
 
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