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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

I picked up my "new" '98 9-3 2.0 n/a SE earlier today and having taken it for a good work out have a few questions concerning possible handling upgrades.

I see that Saab produce front and rear uprated a-r bars for the 9-3 and was basically wondering if (given that mine is a non turbo and therefore has quite a bit less grunt to control) these would make a noticeable improvement over the standard bars?

Also, would it be adviseable to change the bushes at the same time as upgrading the front a-r bar and if so, should I use new standard bushes or go for uprated poly bushes?

Many thanks in advance for any advice you can offer

Chris
 

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Anti-roll bars help out the handling quite a bit, however, make sure you change them out to get the desired handling you wish for. The 9-3 already pushes, i.e. understeers quite a bit. There are two ways to cure it. First is to install a stiffer bar at the rear of the car. This causes the back end to loosen up a bit giving the car a more neutral handling near the limit. What is probably more effective is to install a softer bar in the front. A softer bar will allow a bit more roll in the front, which puts more weight on top of the tires trying to turn the car, therefore giving more grip up front in the turns. This is probably the better way as it retains more grip in the rear of the car where a harder bar in the back takes a bit away.

I went with a larger bar in the back as it is a much easier install and getting the back end a little loose in the corners can be fun. Also, there are no bushes to wear out in the back either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Eric and thanks for the reply


As I'm not looking to go much near "the edge" in grip terms in general I'll probably be ok with the bigger rear, plus I'm guessing a softer front will be more difficult to source and also (possibly) to buy. Add to this the cost of maybe having to replace the bushes on a front bar and it's pretty much all said and done.

Erm...I have another question now though.. I obviously undertand that a set of lowering springs lower the ride height of the but what sort of impact would they have on the handling/ride quality. Will they cause it to be more harsh over bumps for example? Also, given that I've no skills when it comes to mechanics how long would fitting a set of lowering springs generally take for a qualified mechanic and *finally* ...(pauses for breath)

My car is currently running on 16" Viking rims with 205/45 tyres iirc, would a drop in ride height of 30-35mm cause any problems on full lock etc?

Sorry for all the questions guys
 

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ChrisL, are you looking for a more 'performance oriented ride' or a more 'comfortable, everyday handling' ride while feeling more in control than stock parts will do?

you might want to look into upgrading shocks/struts and tires before considering more drastic alterations to the suspension of your car. lowered springs will lower the ride height of the car, but they do so with a more 'progressive' rate than standard springs. they will lower the center of gravity and will reduce body roll, but the ride may turn up a bit harsher on the bumps as a more 'progressive' spring is a spring that will require more force to move it any given distance over stock.

you can also play around with tire pressure a bit, as a 2-4 psi change can dramatically alter how a car handles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by xassh:
[qb]ChrisL, are you looking for a more 'performance oriented ride' or a more 'comfortable, everyday handling' ride while feeling more in control than stock parts will do?
[/qb][/b]
I'd rather a ride comfort pretty close to the current setup but a little sharper around roundabouts and sharper bends. Guess I'd probably be best off just fitting a Saab sport rear ARB for a good combination of cost, ease of fitting and not forgetting the fact (which I had until just now ) that as it's manufactured by Saab won't affect my insurance premium like a non Saab one could

Thanks for great advice
 

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You can make a big difference to turn-in with a steering rack clamp - MP or Abbott. This eliminates the movement in the bulkhead and steering rack, rather than flopping around all over the place as a standard 9-3 will...so your geometry stays as it should.

Personally I'd do that before any tweaks to spring/damper/ARB rates.

If you try a standard Airflow, HOT Sport or Aero, all of which come with Saab's uprated "sport" suspension, you'll find that despite the stiffer suspension it doesn't actually handle any better than a standard spec car. IMHO it actually exacerbates the bad elements of a 9-3's steering and handling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok...having driven the car for a full week now I've maybe got a better idea about what it is that bothers me about the handling...

The two main things are that the steering seems vague around bends and roundabouts, especially as the speed increases. Secondly there seems an awfull lot of lean when cornering. I appreciate it's a fairly heavy car and the car rides fine over rough surfaces etc and only has 60k on the clock so I hope I'm right in thinking the suspension shouldn't be worn?
 

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No, that sounds about par for the course for this model and by no means indicates worn suspension components.

Therefore, my personal recommendation would be:

a) uprated rear ARB

B) steering rack clamp & uprated lower wishbone bushings
 

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As above, but also look at your wheels and tyres. What do you have at the moment 185 or 195 on 15's?
IMO 205/50 16 tyres on 16inch alloys are best for handling. Then do chassis mods, ARB and rack clamp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Once again, thanks for the replies.

Well, as the car is already sitting on 16" Viking (ALU 8) alloys with 205/50 16" tyres (that some kindhearted previous owner has paid to have fitted ) the next step will be the rack and uprated ARB. Better get saving


Chris
 
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