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Dabooka’s Topless Swede; all the fun of the Saab 9-3


Dabooka
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Well here’s my new toy, one my missus has already claimed as her own despite the protests regarding its purchase. Anyway I digress, so here’s some pics a list of things to do.

Negative points worthy of note; the wings are the wrong silver, several small patches of corrosion, not the best rubber but loads of tread so they’re staying, poverty spec ICE and the scuttle panel is worn and split (and lacks the mounting nuts).

Positive points? There are some. For example all new shocks and springs in the last two years (including some alloy block which goes wrong?), annual service which I believe the bloke about, auto box with a fluid change two years ago, low tax (for an auto!) and otherwise a tidy example. Oh and two keys, which is nice for once.

Stuff to do

  • NoobTune FTW!
  • All four brakes seem to be binding. Rears now sorted, fronts to service.
  • New wheel centres - done
  • Clean and treat hood
  • NoobTUNE!
  • Scuttle Panel
  • Wing mirror mounts faded and slightly corroded
  • Aircon needs gas m9
  • Rusty bits
  • Wings…? Might just leave then to be honest, not sure I’m that bothered
  • NOOBTUNE!
  • ICE Upgrade? Bluetooth? Saab audio input? Something. - ICM2 with Aux in installed

Stuff done

  • Replaced rear callipers and new pads (Brembo). Discs were fine. (27/06/2022)
  • Cleaned front calipers, replaced sliders and rubbers. New Brembo pads installed. (03/07/2022)
  • Replaced bonnet badge and wheel centres. Topped tyres off as all under pressure (06/07/2022)
  • Installed ICM2 and Aux in to the arm rest cubby. (17/07/2022)
  • Installed new Exide battery (17/07/2022)
  • Replaced a key fob case (17/07/2022)
  • Brakes fettled at the garage (19/07/2022)
  • Two new springs and one new top mount (19/07/2022)

It’s an odd spec.  It’s a Vector with the pov spec audio but with several speakers, five I think (last count seven). It’s got memory seats, cruise, auto wipers, dimming rear view mirror, CD but no multidisc, autobox with button shift (which is brilliant by the way) and fogs.

Engine runs hot and all four wheels were fucking scorching by the time I got home. Surely all four callipers can’t bind?!

Otherwise what a joy. Well planted with a lovely gearbox and a good amount of pace, nice driving position, minimal buffeting with the roof down and my missus likes it.

So far so good?

 

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Very nice man, Vector is a name only as the specs are all over the place. Both of mine have manual seats and, believe it or not, no heat! But they both have rain sensing wipers and powerfold mirrors (gone senile on both cars)

I see yours is a 2.0t so it will already have 175bhp (the more restricted 1.8t like my 2 are still a 2 litre but only had 150bhp) Noobtune will see you to 220bhp and 360nm of torque.  Be warned though, the extra torque makes the autobox change down at the slightest touch and you'll want to get on it 100% of the time! The manual doesn't feel as fast but it's far sportier and the turbo wastegate makes a nice noise.

Probably best to find out why it's running hot first though, temp guage shouldn't ever move from 1/2 way.

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Thanks for that, but I owe an apology; it’s not running hot (temp stat is half way) I meant it’s a fucking hot unit! An hour after pulling up from a short drive it was toasty under the bonnet!
 

The wheel heat surprised me but I guess it’s normal if all four are hot.

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1 minute ago, Split_Pin said:

Also, just noticed, a Hirsch badge on the back! I think that's been tickled already?

I wondered too but wouldn’t know how to check. It’s quick but not massively so, hard to gauge.

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All good! I've not checked my wheels for heat although I think my black one may have a slightly binding OSR caliper.

Hirsch did accessories as well as remaps but I can't see anything obvious fitted, unless it's the suspension. No idea how you'd check. If you did Noobtune it, Karl would likely put the ECU back to standard and then add his map. He's very helpful and always answers questions.

Anyways, it looks great in silver, nice choice.

Ps check to see if the roof opens off the key!

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Looking a run down to the in-laws to see Karl at NoobTune in person rather than posting it out.

Two aerials, boot lid and wing. Weird or normal? Looks like the boot is a ‘gps’ type which is pointless obvs.

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7 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

All good! I've not checked my wheels for heat although I think my black one may have a slightly binding OSR caliper. 

Ps check to see if the roof opens off the key!

It's possible your caliper is sticking again I had to free it up once before

And I'm still pissed about the roof thing :D

@Dabooka

The shark fin is the radio aerial, forget about upgrading the stereo apart from fitting a parrot kit or similar, it's not really possible, if you do fit a parrot kit you need to plug it into a hidden plug behind the trim panel on the transmission tunnel on the passenger side and have aux activated with tech2, on the face lift models you can simply slot a different head unit in, not so on the earlier ones. 

They are nice cars, I enjoyed mine. 

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Re: hot wheels........

The 9-3 uses each brake for stability and traction control, iirc when any suspension work is done the steering wheel sensor should be reset (needs tech2) or the car can get confused and apply the brakes lightly in normal driving to correct a slide that isn't happening.

They do generate a lot of heat in the engine bay though which I found meant the front wheels were always quite warm without and caliper shenanigans.

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23 minutes ago, Wgl2019 said:

Re: hot wheels........

The 9-3 uses each brake for stability and traction control, iirc when any suspension work is done the steering wheel sensor should be reset (needs tech2) or the car can get confused and apply the brakes lightly in normal driving to correct a slide that isn't happening.

They do generate a lot of heat in the engine bay though which I found meant the front wheels were always quite warm without and caliper shenanigans.

Never heard of that. My red one has had a couple of front springs in the past and the black one a new back spring and in both cases, to my knowledge the steering angle sensor was not recalibrated and it drives fine.

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A fine choice of automobile sir, here's mine:

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Has the same interior as yours. Had it 7 months now, and apart from the alarm unit failing fuck all has went wrong with it. Really rate these cars. Haven't used it much in the past month mind as I've got another car that does twice the MPG on fleet, that autobox be thirsty 😂

I haven't really seen rusty wings much on the convertibles , tends to be the saloons and estates you see them on. Mine has a few bubble spots on the silver lid that opens up to store the hood but nothing anywhere else.

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Small update.

Well today I spoke to a Saab garage I was put on to who said it doesn’t have brake vectoring etc and to give them a clean / replace the callipers. This means tomorrow I’m going to strip and clean and check there spinning freely. So that’s good… He does have the Tech-2 though so I may be back to activate the Aux-In, this will allow me stream, at least. Does anyone know if Tech-2 is available as download or is it purely hardware kit?

Finally is it possible to swap the Saab Audio  for a Saab Infotainment system (ICM1 to ICM2)? I just note that may telephone calling / Bluetooth which along with the Aux will be perfect (I know there’s nothing else to be done and I can’t swap in a proper headunit).

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Tech-II is a hardware and software unit. The software is available online. The hardware is not cheap and chinese knock offs are several hundred pounds, genuine GM units still command in excess of a grand.

Many Saabs have the phone buttons and nothing else. Swapping units usually involves Tech-II

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Well bought! I've just got one of these, same colour but diesel manual. The last Saab convertible I had was an OG 900. I still can't get over how nice to drive this 9-3 is. It feels so very very solid, completely addressing the lack of stiffness in the chassis. It also feels very heavy, much be strengthened all over the shop.

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Thanks chaps, really appreciate the continued feedback.

I’ll forgo the Tech 2 then and just pay a man when needed I guess.  I assume if there several things it’ll be done as a one off payment anyway (the Aux is the main thing to be honest).

I too can’t believe how plated and firm it feels, as well as solid. Everything is solid, just noticed even the mirror mounts are cast aluminium and not plastic!

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8 hours ago, Dabooka said:

Small update.

Well today I spoke to a Saab garage I was put on to who said it doesn’t have brake vectoring etc and to give them a clean / replace the callipers. This means tomorrow I’m going to strip and clean and check there spinning freely. So that’s good… He does have the Tech-2 though so I may be back to activate the Aux-In, this will allow me stream, at least. Does anyone know if Tech-2 is available as download or is it purely hardware kit?

Finally is it possible to swap the Saab Audio  for a Saab Infotainment system (ICM1 to ICM2)? I just note that may telephone calling / Bluetooth which along with the Aux will be perfect (I know there’s nothing else to be done and I can’t swap in a proper headunit).

I believe you need Tech2 to swap over ICM as each unit is "married" to the car, Saabs were a pain in the arse for this untill the 07 facelifts came out. You need it to activate aux, telephone etc as well. 

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2 hours ago, SRi05 said:

I believe you need Tech2 to swap over ICM as each unit is "married" to the car, Saabs were a pain in the arse for this untill the 07 facelifts came out. You need it to activate aux, telephone etc as well. 

Thanks, it’s seems to be the case. I’ve emailed a few on eBay, see what comes back. I tend to find prices on these used parts are ‘ambitious’ so probably won’t bother!

On to the brakes where I fell at the first hurdle. I know I have some star sockets somewhere but cannot find them so I now need to wait on a mate to come down later. What I can say is the rear brake I checked is definitely binding, seems the handbrake isn’t fully releasing either.  I’m hoping I can just strip and clean otherwise it’ll be a rebuild job. Cheap enough but a PITA and stops me using it.

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15 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

Mind you need a caliper wind back tool for the rears on these.

Thanks for that, I'll hope my mate brings it.  We share a lot of these kinds of things as we tend to do the jobs together anyway.

Thinking I may just buy new bits anyway include handbrake cables.

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1 hour ago, Dabooka said:

Thanks for that, I'll hope my mate brings it.  We share a lot of these kinds of things as we tend to do the jobs together anyway.

Thinking I may just buy new bits anyway include handbrake cables.

If you are needing parts, I highly  recommend Bill at saabits.com - keen prices and ultrafast delivery

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3 minutes ago, Saabnut said:

If you are needing parts, I highly  recommend Bill at saabits.com - keen prices and ultrafast delivery

Cor thanks. I'm looking right now to get an idea on costs, also considering any upgrades (if I need to refirb anyway).

Firstly I'm off to see what setup I actually have too as I didn't relaise the various permutations availble.

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Right, well after talking to the knowledgeable  and frankly all round good chap at work, he recommended I just replace the rears rather than faffing on. With is mind I thought ‘Fuck it’, and I blagged the afternoon off work, nipped to Random Car Parts where for once they supplied the correct things for the car and replaced the rear callipers and pads.

My mate as always was utterly instrumental in his assistance, he’s just so much better than I at this stuff.  Anyway the long shot is the rears don’t bind now. I would like to have gotten them painted but hey ho, they’ll rust up quickly enough and besides now I can remove them fairly easily should I choose to. 

Downsides (there’s always something) were discovering a screw in the n/s rear tyre and on the test drive after getting the puncture repaired, noting the fronts are still binding and are too hot. Those discs also look a bit borked so I’ll probably be replace this whilst I am at it. I think they may be the bigger vented 314mm discs looking at the callipers? Photo attached but it’s not the best.

Finally I await the finest* wheel centres and bonnet badge from China and a couple of replacement key fobs to transplant the electrics into as they’re grotty.  Still haven’t read the owners manual yet.  Oh, I did discover I have boot open switch in the driver’s door! 😆

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19 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

Show me the boot open switch please 😀

Also, does your hood open off the key (I must know this 😅)

Here is the switch, under the armrest. And no, it does not open on the key and thanks for letting me know about this as now I want it! 🤣

Probably just as well though as I’m not sure about the battery.  I needed to jump it earlier as the battery was flat and I reckon it was because I lowered and raised the roof.

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