Banco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 54 Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3536 times:
Saabs do have a reputation for going on forever, so the high mileage shouldn't be a problem in itself. You do need to check out the condition of the key mechanicals, such as the turbo, clutch, timing chain and so forth as these items can cost a fortune to replace, and on a car of this price it simply wouldn't be worth it.
It's worth having a look at Honest John's website below, and go through the selection details for the Saab 900:
LOT767-300ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3533 times:
I would not buy a car with a Turbo that is used.
I would venture out to say, that the majority of people dont know that a turbo needs 20-30 seconds for it to cool down and respool....changing your turbo's is an expensive deal. My good friend replaced his Audi S4's (Twin Turbo) for $7000, however his was still under warranty.
There is an easy test for a turbo, nail the bastard through the gears, if it doesn't puff smoke as the turbo kicks in it is fine, if it doesn't whine excessively it is also fine, if it does both it will be stuffed but there are plenty of independant SAAB specialist about who will save you heaps of Euros.
These are almost bullet-proof, Timing chains almost never give trouble and if they do they can be replaced by a SAAB specialist (not main dealer) without an engine strip-down.
Early 900's had a clutch that could be changed from the top of the engine with the gearbox in place, not sure about the newer ones, worth asking your local SAAB geeks.
If its the 16 valve you may find changing the starter motor to be a horrible experience but they last well.
I have had a few SAABs in my time and cannot praise them highly enough, should get 500,000kms out of it if you are nice to it and only use expensive oil, you can buy a turbo timer if you're worried about spool-down, it keeps the enigne running for 30 secs after you take the key out.
Much rarer occurence than you'd think and provided you aren't daft enough to go to SAAB to fix it, it won't break the bank.
A Turbo is very primitive and will last forever unless you abuse it (don't change the oil, rev it and then switch it off) they die fairly quickly if abused and so it isn't often they give trouble if working fine on purchase.
Rabenschlag From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 1002 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3404 times:
Now I have to comment:
Saabs had a reputation to be very sturdy cars. That might have been true for a long time, but things went downhill after GM bought SAAB.
* The MY 1994 and 1995 SAAB 900's generally have a horrible reputation. It was the first try of the GM SAAB marriage, and apparently the groom was not very talented.
* In newer models (past 1994-2003) the DI box (a specific ignition system made by SAAB) is expected to break every 50.000 - 100.000 km.
* Some engines made before 2003 suffer from a horrible engineering error. The catalytic converter is too close to the thingy that holds the oil (whats the word again). As a consequence, oil tends to overheat, to coke, and finally to kill the engine. I know for sure that this is an issue with 2.3 turbo engines, but it might also be the case for some 2.0 turbos. The only thing that helps here is very frequent oil changes. If coke/coal already developped, you have to deassemble the engine and clean it up.
* cylinder head gaskets tend to blow quite frequently in SAAB turbo engines. I am a frequent visitor of various SAAB forums. If the gasket needs replacement at around 100.000, nobody wonders.
* Although turbos are quite simple in construction, they are less easy to handly in cars. The high speed spinning presupposes perfect lubrication. High speeds at low temps can easily ruin the turbo. Letting it cool down is not necessary anymore (AFAIK), because todays turbos are watercooled and do not reach the very high temps the older one's tended to reach making the cool-down necessary to prevent boiling oil in the turbo.
I know a number of people who have bought pre 1998 900's and sunk big money. From all I know, this is an enthusiasts car, not a cheap workhorse.
Definately, the reputation that SAABS are reliable stems from the time before 1993. It may be re-established. Apparently, things improved since 2003 or so.
GM had (and still has) a very strange handling of SAAB. It looked (and looks) as if the planned to squeeze and then dispose the brand. They plan to build the next 9-3 in Germany and use the Swedish factory to produce Cadillacs. They raped SAAB with the 9-2 and the Trailblazer SAAB. They killed the five door 9-3 and the combi coupe. And, most importantly, had no focus on quality engineering and production during the first years of the marriage.
It's a sad story, I believe. And then look at Ford and how they handled Volvo.
If i recall the late model 900s had some reliability issues. You stated your looking at a 1997 900s, go look at the '99 9-3s instead, so thus i would have to pass on the 900, the mileage alone would deter me. We have a '99 9-5 and its great. if you can find one, go get a 9-3 Viggen 2-door. it has a suped up engine and a racier interior.