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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

Here's the thing. Can't afford to get the annual service done at my nearest indy specialist. (Currently between jobs and he charges £45/hour and is 30 miles away).

97 9000 CSE 2.3 LPT auto.

I've got 3 local garages working on a quote but here's my question:

All 3 seem fairly honest and clued up, but should I be guiding them on any Saab idiosyncracies. I know about Mobil 1 oil but could they bu**er anything up with a lack of specialist knowledge or am I just being paranoid?

Cheers,
Mike
 

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HiYa!

I can only comment on what I've seen over here.

How much are you expecting to do with this service? Which one is this, how many miles since the last? How is the vehicle running? Lots of questions, huh?

If this is just an oil change they should be able to do it. Do you have the ability to purchase the oil, filter, and drain plug washer and furnish to them? Just pay for labour? Sometimes this works best for both parties, they may not have a Saab brand filter or the oil you want to use. I do that when I'm being lazy or in a hurry.

If you have the DI (I think your model does?) then the plugs will most likely be ok unless you've got over 10k miles on them. If your car has been running well I'd not even bother them on a minor tune.

The only other two things would be a new air filter (depending upon condition) and check for issues (leaks, top off the fluids, air and the like). Basically not a major tune-up.

Anyone care to add? I'm sure your experiences may be different than here, but on a non-major tune it's oil and filter, maybe an air filter, check for leaks, and top off the usual suspects (power steering, coolant, battery, trans fluid on autos, air in the tires) and tell you about any items needing attention (you may need new brakes or tires sir AND we'd be most happy to fit them for you!)


About the only thing I've heard of a general place screwing up are:

1) over torqueing the drain plug (caution them - tell a funny story - I once heard that a guy...)
2) not putting a new washer on the drain plug - causing a leak -OR-
3) being REALLY stupid and forgetting to put the plug/Oil in at all!

Just to extra safe you could drive around the corner after pickup and check the oil yourself
 

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If they do change the plugs, make sure they use the specified NGK plugs. Sometimes it's really hard to get them to do this, because they have a book which tells them that such and such a Champion or Bosch or whatever is the equivalent.
 

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The only thing they can get seriously wrong, as John says, are the plugs- but you could mitigate against this by ordering a set in advance from Elkparts

Other than that the only downside is that if they're not familiar with the car, they might not know the particular signs of impending component failure etc. It would be a good idea to provide them with a copy of the appropriate service schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the great tips guys, I feel a bit more 'armed' now.

I'd already seen the recommended plugs on Bill J's site - just as well as one garage wanted to fit the platinum plugs which are not needed.
 

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Originally posted by Ma11y:
[qb]Funny how the Haynes manual makes no mention of the NGK plugs as well.[/qb][/b]
I mentioned that here once before Ma11y, and it was pointed out to me that Haynes have some kind of deal with Champion, because they carry Champion ads in the manuals, and always list Champion parts for everything, including plugs. Oh, and Champion wiper blades are cack! So there...
 

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Originally posted by so n e way:
[qb]Hey JohnCC,

I give up, what's "cack"?

thanks! [/qb][/b]
Well, if Deepest Dorset is anything like Northumberland, Cack is found in fields where cows have been and is often stood in.........

Proper reference at Dictionary,com is:

cack

Cack, v. i. [OE. cakken, fr. L. cacare; akin to Gr. ??????, and to OIr. cacc dung; cf. AS. cac.] To ease the body by stool; to go to stool. --Pope.
 

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Point taken. However, sort of straying back onto the topic of language, one has to be careful about discussing your requirements with the garage, something along the lines of "no-one likes a smart-a***". I know of at least one garage round my locality (NOT the main dealer, I hasten to add) who, if you take your car to him and say "It has a terrible squeak, please change the clutch release bearing", will do exactly that. Of course, when the customer comes to pick the car up, it still squeaks. You can see the conversation:
"It still squeaks, I asked you to change the clutch release bearing"
"We did"
"Well, why does it still squeak"
"You didn't ask us to tighten the fan belt, did you?"
True story.
You don't tell your surgeon how to remove your appendix, do you?
Can be real funny bu**ers in the garage trade too. I wouldn't put it past some garages that if you turned up with a gallon (sorry- four litres see related topic!) of Mobil One for the service to put cheaper oil in and flog the Mobil One on E-bay!
Don't forget, the garage make a profit on all the service items, so if they make £5 on the oil, £3 on the plugs, £2 on the filter and you provide your own instead, they are alreday £10 down on the deal.
Your best bet is to find an independant you can trust and tell him what oil etc you want put in. Then at least if he is honest, you will get what you want and he will still make his margin on the items.
Your problem is finding this guy. Word of mouth and experience are probably the only ways.
 

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Trollbooster,

I agree with you. When I said "do you have the ability to furnish the items and just pay for labor. Sometimes this works best for both parties." That meant if the shop you are going to use doesn't usually have/stock/carry the item you want and it's a pain in the behind for them to get it (a Saab brand filer? the Saab washer?) then can you furnish them and pay for labor only? I'd expect to pay more for the labor but a discussion on the *front end* with the shop should make all parties happy. And, if this isn't a vehicle that the shop normally works on it's additional business for them too, unless they have too much already.

Referrals are sometimes a funny thing.

A true story with a funny outcome.

First a little background:

California has two types of Smog (emissions) test stations. A "Test Only" (where they can't do any adjustments) where they can pass or fail you. And a full up "Test & Repair" to test and repair if necessary and retest facility. When you receive your registration payment notice it will have "smog test required" if it's time, and "test only" or "test & repair" on it. You *have* to go to the specified type. If you *fail* at a "test only", you have to then go to a "test & repair", get it tested & repaired as necessary - pay - and *then* go to a "test only", get it tested again and pay again. If, on the other hand, you started at a "test & repair" everything happens at the same place. It's supposed to keep shops from fudging the results.


So, my local Saab dealer referred to me a "test and repair" facillity upon request as one of my 900's failed at a "test only" (cost me $45). So I take the car there, and it passes without incident. After paying the $70 I asked for a referral from them for a "test only" station since I wasn't going back to the place I failed. They referred me to a place just down the street. At that station the guy started the procedure but then said since he "didn't know where the timing mark was" he couldn't do the test. It was apparent he didn't do many Saabs! He would "refer me to the SAAB dealer" he said. So, I showed him where to check the timing, I passed the test (Honestly!), and the shop could now do smog tests on SAAB 900's! Your basic win/win/win situation.

Now, where did I put that knife...
 
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