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About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

 
Old 06-05-2008, 07:52 AM
  #1  
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Default About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

I live in South Africa and I'm about to buy a Saab 9-3 2001 2.0 turbo convertible (but it has 2002 trim, the body coloured windscreen surround - bit weird) with 76 000km, full service history (with Saab), one owner (lady driver) from new. It's a mint car, just had it's 75 000km service, and I've really enjoyed driving it on the test drive. My sister has a 9-3 5 door, 2002, and my other sister a 9-5 sedan, so we are turning into a bit of a Saab family A couple of questions:

1. How do I tell which engine it has? I've been reading online and it seems there are 150/154bhp, 185bhp and 205 bhp versions. I'm pretty sure it's not the 205bhp (high output turbo) based on the trim, but I'm not sure if it's a 150/154bhp or 185bhp? I've seen VIN number listings that only show 185 or 205 being an option, but they where US based ones.

2. The convertible top is in beautiful condition, and I'll generally be able to park it in a garage at my house and under shade at my office. What steps can I take to keep the top in good condition?

3. My only personal ownership experience with turbo charged vehicles is a VW Caddy at my business (1.9tdi), which has blown it's turbo twice - what are the best steps to take to maintain the turbo? Obviously letting the car idle for 30 seconds before switching it off is recommended, and not revving too highly until it's warmed up, but what else?

4. The sludge issue.... the service intervals are 15000 km, and it's had an oil change at those intervals at a Saab dealership. Would they have used synthetic oil? What pro-active steps can I take to prevent this being an issue?

5. One more thing. I'm pretty confused by the model / year / engine differences across the world, and I can't find any info on SA cars in particular, specs wise. Any idea where to find this? How do I know if a car is an "SE" or not? Was the SE listing only a US thing?

I think that's it for the moment - any and all responses are appreciated!
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:20 PM
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Default RE: About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

My advice is DO NOT BUY A USED SAAB! I have a 2004 9-3 and it is out of warranty and I have had several pricey issues. The car is great, but it is terribly expensive to upkeep.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:38 PM
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Default RE: About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

Shame dude, that sucks, rough experience. Did you have the car from new? What was the mileage when you bought it? Did it have a FSH from a main dealer?

It's always tough with cars - we bought a VW Caddy as a delivery vehicle for my company - blown the turbo twice in under a year! and VW has a rock solid reputation, so it's a bit tough to know what to choose....
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:00 PM
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Default RE: About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

I bought it brand new, after I hit 50k miles everything went wrong. My most recent issue is that my a/c won't turn off, even when the car is off and the key is out the a/c still runs full blast. I can't even adjust the speeds. It is a shame cuz I love the car, the only way I would buy another Saab is if I lease it.
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:10 AM
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Default RE: About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

Pricey issues come from not knowing where to take your car to get serviced...a dealer is the WRONG place to go.
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:26 PM
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Default RE: About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

Do you think there are service level differences between a dealer and a good independent specialist? Obviously the dealer is a bit of a ripoff, so I'm going to try and find a good specialist in JHB.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:42 PM
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Default RE: About to buy a 9-3 - need some advice

Well I'll tell you one thing. I got a quote from the dealer just for the heck of it to do what I wanted to do. The quote I got was $15000 and I was quoted $15650 from another dealer. My mechanic (who just happens to work on BMW, Merc, and Land Rover all day) did the work for $2500 + about $2000 in parts that came from either genuinesaab.com and eeuroparts.com. You being in a completely different country may have you stuck with a dealer for parts, but I wouldn't think twice about letting a GOOD mechanic work on a Saab...these things are not rocket science (very much unlike other euros, try troubleshootingproblems on a newer 5 series...what a nightmare)
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