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Hey all!

I have been looking to pick up a 1993 Saab 9000 CSE 2.3 Turbo 5-speed. I drove the car a couple days ago and was impressed with it for the most part. I was wondering if you could help me out with some ideas I have.

1) Power under 3k RPM is lowsy, to say the least. Until the turbo spools up, it's like driving my wife's old non-turbo 900 automatic. My thought is to improve low-RPM torque by helping the car breathe better with an intake (I think I found a company online for that) and more efficient exhaust header.

Are there headers available for this car? Somthing with equal lengths for all four cylinders? I realize that lag times will increase in accordance with the entra header length, but do you think it will still help with low end power? I would also probably invest in a wider diameter sport exhaust. I think 2.5" is the normal step up for this car.

2) The shifter: Just like my sister's 900S, the shifter in this 9000 is really rubbery and hard to quickly engage between 1st and 2nd gears (the upper gears seem to be fine). Is there a fix for this? Also is there a company that can supply a more performance oriented shifter assembly? Will a short shifter remedy the situation?

3) Brakes. I also noticed that the brakes on the car are pretty soft. Very similar in feel to our old 900. What are you guys doing to improve brake feel? Do they make big brake kits that are reasonable? Slotted rotors? Stainless brake lines? They stop OK, but just need a little more bite.

4) Finally, are there any nice looking european body kits available? Maybe something to smooth out the bumpers a bit to make it look a little more like an Aero model?

Any help would be great. Thanks!
 

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Welcome to Saabscene, Baco99

There should be a fair bit of poke well below 3000rpm in a 2.3T (if it's a full-turbo). Poor response at low RPM could be down to a low base boost setting or a weak wastegate actuator. If the standard response isn't good enough (and for many of us, there can never be too much ), a 3" downpipe and sport cat will make all the difference to spool-up, as well as lowering exhaust gas temperatures and giving the engine an easier time - useful if you decide to upgrade the power later.

Poor or vague shifting (especially first and second gear) is often down to a failing rubber coupler near the gearbox - a common fault on the 9000. They're fairly cheap to replace. At higher mileages, replacement of the nylon bushes at the base of the lever can make a really big difference to the "tightness" of the gearchange.

Standard brakes should be adequate, but will never be startling. Big brake conversions are available - AP Racing do a set for around £1500 (US$2300) - these are the ultimate for the 9000. MarkE on Saabscene reports that his will stop the car from 60mph in a little over two seconds.
There are also other conversions available here in the UK, but I don't know whether they are available elsewhere. I use Brembo discs (just their standard replacements, but their disc material performs really well) along with Ferodo DS3000 pads front and DS2500 rear. The DS3000s are noisy in traffic, but good enough for some pretty serious track use. Even when completely cold, performance is significantly better than the standard setup. This same combination, but with DS2500 on both front and rear, is used by many people here. Mintex 1144 compound pads will give similar performance but are slightly less fade-resistant - only important if you're really going to give the brakes some abuse, such as on track days.

The Ferodo pads are non-gassing and are best used without slotted/drilled/grooved discs to give more disc contact area.

I also use Goodridge stainless steel braided brake hoses to improve pedal feel.

Sounds like it would be worth ensuring that the car is performing to factory standard first, before considering which modifications to make next.
 

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Have a look at the fluid as part of your "check it is in stock condition first" process. Just read the post about brake fluid and found it a real eye opener - about to change the fluid on my new (to me) 1996 9000 CS when doing the pads on Sunday.

Pete
 
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