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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As per title .
Newbie to saabs and looking to buy a sportwagon 9-3 diesel

Are these the vauxhall engine ? Fiat ?

Looking at 06 onwards in years

Reading a bit on each variant

Vector sport
Linear sport

Any advice on any of these models ?
Main differences in the 06 on models ?

Looking at the 150bhp versions

Main things to look for ?

100% need a diesel . We travel from maidston to cumbria to see my daughter and grandson every couple of weeks so looking at a minimum of 750 mile a trip .

Obviously dependant on mileage we will be looking for one with cambelt changed .
What is the interval on these ?
And presume if cambelt done then the water pump would of been done too .

Are the alternators still weak on these and again should this be a barganing tool when looking for a 9-3 sport wagon

Any thing else to look for ?

Thanks in advance


· Registered
1,178 Posts
The Z19DTH engine is in lots of cars Fiat/Vauxhall/Alfa Romeos etc
Folk have lots of opinions good/bad but there are a lot of them around parts are easy to get and there is a lot of
aftermarket knowledge around. They are easily and cheaply mapped /modified etc.

Look for a facelift version ie last shape 08 or at least facelift dash (old shape but dash changed 07)
An 06 will be old shape and old dash and cheaper off course.

The trim specs are all a bit muddled especially on the later cars for example a Linear SE can have more toys
then an Aero depending on what the factory was throwing in at the time.
Generally Aero>Vector>Linear

Try to get one with an all leather interior if you can and avoid a cream every dirt speck....

72K on the cambelt and false economy not to change water pump...easy DIY

You can change as often as you like but in the end if it does go the engine is designed to sacrifice the rockers arms
so usually there is no valve damage so not too expensive to fix.

Later cars should have the Bosch alternator 140A ...the one to avoid is the Denso as they fail regularly... although again they
are easy to fix.

Two keys is important and a weak point is the CIM module in the 9-3 along with wiring gremlins which can be tough to track down.

· Administrator
3,106 Posts
Hello and a warm welcome aboard the good ship saabscene TK1976.
Where to start , seems you have done your homework so far .
Virants .
Linear base model ( sport ) 16 " multi spoke wheels , 4 speaker stereo with no screen ( icm1 ) single slot CD cloth seats , manual air con ( knobs ) has electric Windows and mirrors .
Vector added 17" spoke alloys Automatic air con half leather silver inserts on sterring wheel buttons
Vector sport 17" double "Y" alloys stereo with screen ( icm 2) 7 speakers with amp under passenger seat
Airflow based on vector sport but with cloth seats. Boot spoiler
This is not a difinative list of speck as you can get options like electric folding mirrors , auto wipers , auto dim interior mirror etc etc
Engines available on Vauxhall vectra C , Alfa Romeo , fiat ,
The 150 BHP has swirl flaps ( can become a problem ) lots about this , bit more power than 120 , ( I've had a 120 and it seems quicker lower on down the Rev range , but my 150 will ( and I've proved this ) will touch 130 MPH and in 6th gear will pull and pull ( great motorway cruser)
If you go for 2006 on wards you may start to come across the facelift dashboard , which if you are going to upgrade the stereo , then that can be done no problem , ( pre that year then you are stuck ) also be careful if it comes with the early type sat nav ( icm3) can be problematic , and none of the early type head units would connect your phone via Bluetooth .
Things to watch
Front springs are made of Lego
6 speed can be difficult to select first gear ( but mod available from 2stroke to turbo )
Alternators are a problem ( I had 1 go on me but the signs that I had was no power sterring on first start up or erroneous warning lights that disappear after re start ) if alternator has been replaced Bosch is a good upgrade ,
2 keys are better than 1 but you can get replacement for £100 inc programming via Saab service club .
Cambelt and water pump and tensioners in my view every 40.000 miles or 4 years
But I think Saab stated a ball crunching 75.000 miles
Oil change yet again I do mine every 3 months regardless .
There's prolly lots I e forgotten and there's many on here that have different views so digest everyone's advice and you can make your own mind up .
One last thing if doing short stop start trips mainly then watch out for the DPF saga and understand how it works and how to let it regenerate , ( lots on that as well)
In all my years with saabs all 9-3s first a2.2 then a 1.9 120 then a 1.9 150 the 150 is the better unit .
But I've just brought another 1.9 120 as a spare car and that seems good .
Enjoy your Saab buying experience.
Any questions then just pop a line .
One good point ( or a lot of good points that CJAPETERBROUGH made as he knows thease cars back to front )
Yep the tan leather can be a pig to keep clean ,
But on the flip side if you go for the grey half leather with tan cloth insets then they are a double pig to get clean .
2other virants to consider are the anniversary edition, which came with full leather , boot spoiler , full size touch screen head unit , with built in sat nav and Bluetooth, basically every option in the parts bin .
Also ( and quite rare ) is the aero trim ( or in the case of the diesel
That would be the side skirts , lower front lip boot spoiler and those nifty 17" spoked alloys .
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