Those Evil SAABs

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6,902
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Louisiana
Saabs are wonderful cars and the oil probs have been fixed as evidenced by some recent 9-3s that have turned in awesome UOAs running M1 out 12-15k miles. But to show you what us owners of late 90's early 2000's 9-3 and 9-5s are up against, take a look at the pic below. A fellow suffering SAAB owner sent me this. It's not his but was posted on SAABNET.com by a mechanic. The vehicle that this oil pan belongs to had only 16,000 miles and during that time, it had two oil changes. One at 6k miles and one at 15k. These intervals were completely fine if you used the right oil and went by the "normal" service schedule. Obviously, a lot of people would never let oil hang around 7-9k miles in a turbocharged car but... [I dont know]  -
 
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11,634
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Illinois
That looks ugly. Any comments on the type of oil, etc. Sure looks like the "black death" you read about in some European writing about oil from the era of those engines.
 
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Arizona
Ouch! You know, I had an Abbott-ized '99 9-3 (bought new by me) that I really loved. Never had occasion to take the VC off and take a look inside. Wonder what it looked like... I don't remember any posts at the time about sludge on SAABNET(?).
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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New Jersey
my 04 9-3 has no such issues running >10k OCIs on GM-LL-025-A spec oil. but wowie zowie, what a sludged up engine! JMH
 

BrianWC

Thread starter
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Louisiana
bulwnkl, carock and JHZR2 your cars are on either side of the window. It began with the 99 Viggen and 9-5 and then the whole 9-3/9-5 line up until they changed body styles in 03. Basically almost all the Trionic 7 cars. JHZR2, it's no doubt the new ecotec 9-3s are awesomely easy on oil. It's like not even having a turbo. Auto-Union this isn't just a case of bad oil, it's the shoddy band-aid PCV system designed at the last minute along with other mods SAAB made to make the engine more fuel efficient. This car, if the PCV system isn't updated to the latest TSB's specs, can cream even the best synth oil by 7k miles.
 
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NEPA
<dumps out stash of Saab synthetic oil> Just kidding. I really love Saabs, but have a fear of them from what I see here. I just dunno if turbos are worth it, on any passenger car. Think about it.
 
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291
Location
San Diego, CA
quote:
Originally posted by Auto-Union: Just kidding. I really love Saabs, but have a fear of them from what I see here. I just dunno if turbos are worth it, on any passenger car. Think about it.
Ohh yeah they are, it's so nice when you dip a tiny bit into the throttle and it gives you the thrust equivalent of WOT on N/A cars
 
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San Antonio,TX
quote:
Originally posted by BrianWC: The vehicle that this oil pan belongs to had only 16,000 miles and during that time, it had two oil changes. One at 6k miles and one at 15k.
A brand new Saab with a 6000 and 9000 mile OCI. [crushedcar]
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,024
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New Jersey
quote:
Originally posted by Auto-Union: Just kidding. I really love Saabs, but have a fear of them from what I see here. I just dunno if turbos are worth it, on any passenger car. Think about it.
Ill have to wait and see on my saab, but let me give a clearer example... My 83 MB 300D turbodiesel. 3.0L I-5... theyve been made without turbo, make about 85-90 hp. Mine, with turbo makes 120hp. I am a believer that you really dont need a V-6, and really dont need more than about 150 HP in most any reasonably sized car. However, I will also say that in my 300D, if I didnt have the turbo, the car would indeed be underpowered (especially since it is an AT). Now, I consistently got 28-30 MPG in that brick of a vehicle, even though my driving profile included sitting in lots of traffic. at 228K, it still spooled up and made its rated boost (and even more if I wanted to manually control the wastegate, though I never pushed it past 14 psi) quickly, and with a nice whistle. My only gripe with that one was that the oil drain would seep oil, even after I replaced the seals. It had something to do with the design of the mating surfaces. Now, apples to oranges, sure, because it was a mechanical engine, with no electronics or variable geometry turbines, but I have to say that turbos can be long lived (volvos are a good example, I suppose), and can be highly efficient, and certainly are worth the effort. The quality of the overall system design, integration, etc. is the key. So yes, in this roundabout way I say they are worth it. JMH
 

BrianWC

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Yep, I still had my original Garrett turbo on my NG900 (that's the term Saab folks use for the 94-98 or "New Gen" 900) when I wrecked it at 191k miles. Upon disassembly, it wasn't even the least bit coked. However, on these 9-5's with oil problems, they have a tendency to murder their little Garretts. The Mitsu TD-04s stand up better, though.
 
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California
The problem with turbo engines is that the turbo rotor vane erodes. This means that your car has to build more exhaust back pressure to create the same boost pressure. This back pressure lowers your engine power. I remember that the 80's Chrysler four cylinder turbos would lose about 15% power on my dyno after 60,000-80,000 miles. The Volvos would start dropping power after 120,000 miles.It is fairly uncommon for a turbo to go 150,000 miles before it needs to be replaced. Please do not post that your car went further. I am saying that on the average, most turbo cars need the turbo replaced before the car's useful life is over.Still, turbo cars are great fun. I think that Saab really got the formula right when they realized that tubos should be used to improve low end torque, not high end power. Saab's pull hard right when you need the power.
 

BrianWC

Thread starter
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6,902
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Louisiana
quote:
Originally posted by carock: It is fairly uncommon for a turbo to go 150,000 miles before it needs to be replaced. Please do not post that your car went further.
My 900 went further. Much further. 191,000 miles. No eroded vanes. What's the point? [I dont know] When properly engineered for manageable boost levels, engine temps, crankcase ventilation, turbos are fine. When you mess with that formula, as SAAB did when trying to improve fuel economy in the 9-3 and 9-5, that's when you get problems. Even on my 9-5, the internals of which can be seen on here with a search, the turbo is doing fine at 84,000 miles. Even when it does go, a replacement turbo on a car that has one OEM is NOT an expensive repair..., I've had clutches cost more. Saab didn't go for low end grunt until the 9-3/9-5. Until then, even on my 1997 900, there was annoying lag around town. Throttle response was awful as well. The top end models with the TD-04 Mitsu still have a bit of a wait for full boost. I'm not sure what turbo the new 9-3s use. I've heard it is pretty lag free, though. The new Aero V-6 9-3's turbo is a twin scroll I believe.
 

BrianWC

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6,902
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Louisiana
Now that there's no 170 hp, I assume the HO 4 cyl is still using the TD-04? I dunno, I have been to busy with my 9-5 to pay attention to the 9-3s! I still like the littler Garrets, though.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,024
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New Jersey
Yep, my 175 hp, 195 lb-ft 2.0t (low-pressure, low inertia turbo), has the garrett, and makes torque as flat as a tabletop and more than strong enough, from just off fast idle all the way up... can't beat it, considering I average about 38 on highway trips... JMH
 
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