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Finally got my car - 98R 2.3T Anniversary

2887 Views 30 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  sgould
Hi everyone,

First off, thanks for all your input and help on the previous thread I started about Aero private sale pricing, that was very useful indeed. I never actually got to see the Aero we discussed, as it was sold before the weekend arrived. Gotta be quick I guess!

Anyway, went down to Bristol to see, and subsequently buy, a lovely Anniversary instead. It's a two-owner manual 1998R 2.3 FPT with FSSH, Aero-style alloys, 96k on the clock, black with black interior, and has all the usual Anniversary extras like leather, half-wood steering wheel etc. It's in above average condition, bodywork is very good, interior OK but a little bit dirty and tired, something that will soon be rectified with a hoover and some elbow grease I ended up paying £3700 for it.

All the tips I've read here were very useful in test-driving and buying the car, so thanks again. Couple of first impressions for anyone interested:

As it's one of the last, it has the full-tilt 225bhp turbo engine. Far as performance is concerned, all I can say is "wow". And then perhaps, "wow" again. I'm a bit speechless. I was expecting it to be reasonably quick, but (and I appreciate that I'll get used to it) on first impression it goes like the proverbial bat out of hell. This is one party trick I will not tire of anytime soon

Apart from the above, usual 9000 positives apply. Very, very comfy and roomy, ACC is excellent and so easy to use, and the heated seats are a godsend when driving wife to work on winter mornings.

OK, coming from a 5-series, the initial driving impression is of a very, very fast bus. Steering is pretty lifeless and, in my opinion, over-assisted, especially around the centre. That does make for relaxing motorway cruising, so it's not too bad, but it doesn't inspire confidence when cornering.

The ride is pretty unforgiving, particularly on rough West London streets. Again, no big deal, and the upside is there's no body roll when cornering, but a "waft" car this is not.

There are a few rattles from the interior in various places, but I think I can sort some of them out, and it's not big deal really anyway - easy enough to live with.

So, all in all, I'm well pleased with the car, just hope it won't break. If anyone's still reading, I have a couple of questions:

1. I'm not interested in upping the power (yet ) but what difference would poly bushes etc. make to the steering and handling? Also what other general suspension/handling oriented tweaks would you recommend?

2. It hasn't got a CD player - can anyone recommend a cd-only unit that slots in under the radio, or a changer in the boot? And if yes, what do they cost and where can I get them?

3. The leather seats look quite tired, but I'm sure they'd come up great if treated with something. Can anyone recommend a suitable leather refresher product?

Sorry to ramble on so long, just wanted to share the experience, so to speak. Delighted to be back in a 9000, especially on as nice as this. I'll post some pictures if anyone's interested, soon as I get it cleaned up etc.
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Gliptone leather products are Very good. If you do a search, Naranto has a few "before & after" shots of his 9000.


Nice to hear someone found a good Anniversary - One of your questions was about a CD player! - If you're not looking to spend too much money, then I would recommend the JVC KD501, this head unit fits in the 9000's dash without any mods and plays CD/MP3 tracks from CD,CDR and CDRW and also has the option to link to a CD Changer if required. I bought mine from at a price pf £116 inc VAT and Delivery. The features are very good and sound quality through the standard 9000 speakers is superb.
Hell of a deal! Sounds great... I paid 3200 for mine (96 CSE FPT auto) with 139 on the clock. I would say yours is a total steal, good work!

I've yet to get poly bushes etc. done to mine. I have a list of things I want to do but have yet to find the funds. Sooner or later! From the meet back at Tring before christmas I remember being astounded by the difference it makes - totally worthwhile doing it.

As for CD players, I've got a Sony in mine which is great and works very nicely with the stock speakers. Being as it's a standard DIN in the car you can take the stock radio out and replace with whatever you like.

Anyway, enjoy the car. Great aren't they ;-)
Hi Surfgreen,

Congrats on the great buy!
It really does sound great.

For the leather, you could try gliptone leather cleaner and conditioner available on

Good Luck,
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Well done Surfgreen.

Link is here

I'm still pleased as punch with my 2.3lpt Anniversary, though I do miss that instant response you also get with the 99T - the extra 55bhp must make quite a difference... maybe I'll consider a stage 1.

As others have suggested Gliptone worked great for me. If I can offer any advixe for the grubby leather it's to clean it thoroughly TWICE - once just isn't enough. If you have any scratches or marks in the leather you can use the Gliptone leather dye - Jaguar cream is a good match. If you are going to use this I found the best way to apply is to wipe a little over the area with the marks, then wipe off the excess, let it dry. Repeat until the marks disappear. This is a little slow but the results are great.

Out of curiosity where in Bristol did you get it?
Hi Surfgreen,

I`ve got also a 1998 CS FPT 225bhp. Not a Anniversary, but a great car.
Do please post some pictures. Do you have the super aero`s alloys?

btw, i replaced the ARB bushes by poly-ones and you can really noticed the difference. less understear i mean.

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1) Get Abbotts(or others) rear poly bushes for the rear Anti-roll bar. They are about GBP35 and take 20mins to fit - you dont even need to take any wheels off. Results are much better turn in and less understeer.

2) Check if you have one (you probably will) and if so, get rid of the heatplate on the inlet manifold (nasty heater thing that blocks the inlet flow for -20 and below). Bit of a fiddle to remove but the difference in throttle response is large (mine was say 15-20% more reactive on light throttle). You'll get another 10+ Bhp for the price of a gasket and some washers. (Saab used more top end boost to overcome the restriction - remove it and things run better)

3) Leather - I did mine with Gliptone leather cleaner and restorer (plus the scratch remover) - very good. Do not buy halfords cleaner as it's like acid bleach!

4) I assume that although it has the aero alloys,it has the standard suspension? (it may have had a saab 'aero' suspension pack dealer fitted though.. Either way, I have found that the thicker damped shocks (eg koni) tighten things up and although I havent tried it, the GBP110 strut brace from Elkparts seems to sort the front end out massively - including rattles...(again I'm yet to buy this!)
Front wishbone rear butterfly bushes are 2nd on the list of bush updates(GBP50). After that I think the ride starts to suffer.

5) Fill it with optimax or a good 98Ron only. Unplug the battery for 10mins and then take it on an adaptation run. It will run better!

You'll find loads of chat on all these topics on the site and I'm in SW london (edge of surrey) if you need assistance!
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Hi Surfgreen
I have to agree with the 'very fast bus' impression. It was all the clunkiness of the switches that made that impression for me...but its all part of its individual character and I love it. The bus impression is re enforced by its low speed handling around tight city streets. But its on the open road where your just pushing it a bit on the corners that it really turns into a different car, in my opinion anyway. Give me some open back roads...crackin'
. I have changed the rear antiroll bar bushes, the front suspension rear wishbone bushes and the engine torque arm bushes to poly.

The rear a.r.b bushes improved the cornering with no down side.

The poly engine bushes gave noticable cabin shake and increases the squeaks and rattles, but makes the engine feel more responsive and also got rid of that feeling that every component of the drive train was slamming from taught to slack when ever changing from accelerating to coasting and back....and it REALLY made adaptation cut outs far less stressful as it no longer felt like something was going to break. In hind site I would probably have gone for one poly bush and one rubber though.

Rear wishbone first I was a bit disapointed as although there was a big reduction in wandering and being wind blown it really didn't change normal driving all that much for me. It wasn't until I tried flying a few tight corners at speed that I really noticed a far more direct and accurate feel to the steering
. Down side..fair bit more noise and rumble and a few MORE squeeks and rattles.

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Originally posted by Naranto:
[qb] Jaguar cream is a good match.  [/qb][/b]
Not on Surfgreen's black interior it would'nt be


Poly arb bushes and Abbott front wishbone bush kit

As for CD, then if your existing head unit is CD changer compatable just put a standard 10 disc mutliply stacker in the boot, I've got mine fixed to u/side of the hinged boot floor.
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yes - there is a school of thought that says just replace the existing front wishbone 'rear' bushes with new standard ones as at 100k miles I am not sure what condition they are generally in.
Originally posted by Naranto:
Jaguar cream is a good match.

Not on Surfgreen's black interior it would'nt be  [/b]
Oops sorry about that - I should have read his original email closer
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Originally posted by SurfGreen:
[qb]The ride is pretty unforgiving, particularly on rough West London streets. Again, no big deal, and the upside is there's no body roll when cornering, but a "waft" car this is not.
It seems likely that you do not have the standard suspension. I would describe the standard set up as waft with plenty of body roll!! I tend to think that you've got the original Saab upgraded Aero type suspension, or maybe somebody's been over to Abbott at some stage. A quick drive in a standard car should make it obvious. Is there any sign of adjustable dampers or obviously replaced springs (Abbott's are green)?
I can only add my vote to Gliptone. With their products, it'll smell like you have a freshly skinned cow in the boot too.
Hi SurfGreen,

I'd recommend Front (Rear) poly wishbone bushes to improve the precision of the steering with poly rear ARB bushes to reduce understeer. Both of these do not seem to introduce much more harshness than standard. Personally any more poly tends to be too much (on the harshness front) with little improvement in handling (but others probably would dissagree). I added then removed front anti-rollbar droplink bushes that just added harshness with little positive benefit to the handling.
The improvement a front strut brace makes to the firmness of the car cannot be overstated, it seems to allow the front suspension to do what it's meant to without the body flexing too much. It removed a host of rattles from my '93 model as a side benefit.

Hi again all,

Thanks again for all the comments, I'm constantly surprised about how great this forum is

Looks like I'll be buying that Gliptone stuff from Elkparts, by the sound of it - that seems to be a unanimous vote. The leather is OK but just needs some care, so I think it'll come up really well. Only difference from the cream interior versions is that part of the seat cover is alcantara, or some sort of suede. Guess it's the shoeshop for stuff to fix that up

Rear ARB bushes also seem to be regarded as a sensible upgrade, so I'll look into that soon as there's a bit less of an ebb in my wallet! As for the ride quality, I probably do have the sports suspension if that was an option originally. No matter, the various upgrades sound interesting anyway, particularly taking into consideration the car's mileage.

Finally, with regards to CD players - the radio has a "source" button, and is, according to the manual, ready for a CD changer. How "ready" is that? If I buy one, should there be connection points in the boot or something like that? Sorry if I'm being a bit thick about this, never done anything like it before

Once again, thanks for all your advice and opinions, it's absolutely brilliant.
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Yes Surfgreen, I can definately recommend the Gliptone leather cleaner and conditioner. Did mine last weekend and although the leather is certainly cleaner, the most impressive thing is the smell
Like a brand new interior, amazing. I know this is sad, but at 5.30am on a frosty morning going to work is now a pleasure! ( OK, maybe I exaggerated that last bit, but the smell is nice! )
Andy - that's not sad at all, I'll let you know how I get on. Think I'd quite enjoy that nice leather smell myself, morning OR evening
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Hi Surfgreen,
The standard CD changer is a Clarion unit which fits vertically on left floor of the boot, tight up against the left bulkhead. You may even find that the cabling is already there. I am not sure if these changers are still available new because the connector standard seems to have changed in the past couple of years but if not you may well find one second hand, perhaps from a Saab specialist dealer (as I did).
The CD changer box is all you need - you should find the cable is already laid in (it was in my '97), and it can be found with a bit of searching around the carpet of the left-hand (with your head in the boot) wheelarch.

The cable carries power as well as signal, so no extra work involved. You might also need to find the other end of the cable behind the dash (pop the head unit and the ashtray out and there's enough room to get fingers in and see what you are doing).

A number of Clarion built changers will work, including some Land-Rover and Peugeot branded ones. Mine is a Clarion 634 (I think) and i fitted it under the hinged section of the boot floor, so that it sits inside the spare wheel, using (don't look) a couple of brass hinges whos holes lined up correctly, as I didn't have a fitting kit!

People seem to be paying anything from £40 to £140 for a chnager, depending on new/used/ebay/dealer.

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