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RacetruckRon Dork
6/30/22 9:00 p.m.

So instead of just buying a 5 speed accord or Camry like a normal person I found this relatively clean looking Saab 9-5 with a 2.3 turbo and a 5 speed. 

Per the ad:
"03 Saab 9-5   5 speed manual in great condition for the year. Well kept stored indoors  new spark plugs, downpipe,battery and alternator. Runs and drives great. 4 cyl turbo great on gas and pretty Quick for what it is. All stock besides k and n filter/ cold air intake. Check engine light is on and service theft alarm icon is on"

The car had been sitting for a while and needed a jump, tires were flat and it had a bit of a timing chain or lifter tick on first start up. I checked for sludge with a bent piece of filler rod down the dipstick tube. Aired up the very dry rotted tires and took a test drive. On the way back on the test drive I offered $1500 and we landed firmly at $1600 after a few other items were pointed out. 
it made the 30 mile drive home no issue but new tires are priority #1. More pictures soon. 

RacetruckRon Dork
6/30/22 10:12 p.m.

I was a bit worried to drive on these tires but it was all back roads and county highways on the way home so we kept it under 60mph. 

The blinker stalk won't hold the position sometimes when you are signaling. I'm not sure if that's clock spring or a blinker assembly as a whole. There's a couple broken trim pieces that I want to find replacements for and the ac does not blow cold, I'm hoping it just needs a recharge.  Also, the key cannot be removed and the car cannot be started unless the gear lever is in reverse and you apply pressure to it. I am not sure if that's a Saab quirk or something that needs to be fixed. I have some reading to do but I'm happy with my purchase. I might pull the valve cover to check for sludge this weekend and I need to find tires or a set of wheels with good tires so I have a set for some snow tires in a few months. 

jfryjfry SuperDork
7/1/22 6:44 a.m.

Somehow I think every issue you encounter will be a Saab thing!

Stampie MegaDork
7/1/22 7:52 a.m.

The reverse is a Saab thing. 

Wxdude10 - Mike
Wxdude10 - Mike HalfDork
7/1/22 7:55 a.m.

One of the Saab standard safety features is that the manual transmission cars must be parked with the shifter in reverse to remove the key. If the parking brake fails to hold or is not set, then with the car in gear, it should not roll away. 

Are you saying that you have to put pressure on the shifter to start the car or the key?  I can see having to push down on the key to start it.  Most cars you have to push the key in to get it out of off. If you have to put pressure on the shifter, then there might be something out of adjustment 

RacetruckRon Dork
7/1/22 9:17 a.m.

In reply to Wxdude10 - Mike :

Yeah I have to push/pull the gear lever further into reverse to get the key to remove or to get the engine to crank.  If that's a safety feature how does one start the car if you stall out at a stop sign? Back into reverse and then into 1st to get moving again?

RacetruckRon Dork
7/3/22 7:27 p.m.

The Saab got a fresh set of Hankook 3 season put on at Discount Tire yesterday and then got a wash.  Headlight restoration, oil change, vacuum hoses and registration are next on the list.

RacetruckRon Dork
7/3/22 11:51 p.m.

I'm poking around under the hood tonight and noticing a lot of small oil leaks and grime especially around the intake system. I pulled the cold side turbo piping off to check the impeller and shaft play. The turbo has some where between 0.5-1.5mm (.020-.060 for you that don't speak metric) axial play from what I can feel which means the thrust bearing and seals are borked.  This also explains the oil I'm seeing on the charge side tubing and smelling out of the exhaust at times. 
Luckily the rebuild kit for the little Linear GT17 turbo is like $35 on eBay. I might order that just to hold me over and keep this thing running and then figure out T7 suite and get a bigger TD04 turbo to do an Aero turbo upgrade in the future. 

Side note we got the garage 90% organized for now and I pulled the Escalade, Saab and the zero turn into the garage. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/3/22 11:53 p.m.

So much room for activities!

XLR99 (Forum Supporter)
XLR99 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/4/22 10:51 a.m.

Wow that looks really nice! My DD has a lots of dogleg rust, which is pretty standard.

They are very DIYable overall, but its good that the alternator has already been done, that and the water pump are a pain.

Regarding the key, mine is also a bit fiddly to get out, i think a combination of worn tumbler and whatever the interlock mechanism is. Usually I give the shifter a little bump, similar to turning the wheel abit on normal cars to get the key out.

Also, that is an awesome shop!

Mezzanine Dork
7/5/22 7:36 p.m.

Do the plugs. The gaps open up a lot with the Direct Ignition cassette. Valve cover gasket is likely toast and contributing to your general engine bay grime; it should be replaced. Motor mounts should be looked at too, as it seems like they go through them. 

The alarm module is in the driver's side wheel well and can be accessed by removing the wheel. You can take it out and throw it away or cut it up and replace the internal battery and any leaky caps/components. If you toss it, you can reprogram the ECU with a Tech2 to believe it never had one to eliminate the error message on startup. 

Rear camber: there's no adjustment in the rear and even though the bushings aren't wasted, there's still more camber than there should be. Get adjustable lower control arms from a Saturn L-Series (shared the same rear suspension) so you can get it adjusted properly. Note that the average alignment shop will need to be convinced to do it because their system just says there's nothing to be done back there. 

Should be a great car! I've got the same year but a wagon...I didn't want it, but couldn't turn it down at $500 and I'm glad I have it now. 

reiernumans New Reader
7/6/22 6:16 a.m.



Sorry, Bigtime Saab nerd here. Couldn't contain my excitement.

These 9-5's are awesome cars imo, but they do require a ton of pretty specific maintenance. Kinda BMW-esque in that regard. I used to work for a shop that pretty much did nothing but do technical restorations on these (weird tax break by driving a 15yo+ car as a company vehicle over here makes for a business case there, they have done over a 100 9-5's) and pretty much every car needed the same list of things to sort it out. They're not the greatest car to work on, but a good sorted 9-5 is a very well balanced car IMO. Definitely worth the work in getting one back up to snuff.

First on my list, even tho it's most likely preventive work, would be to drop the sump. Especially if that little GT17 is bad. In my experience, it's not due to a E36 M3 quality turbo, but very often due to meh lubrication caused by stretching the service interval and sludge forming. I always recommend dropping the sump if you're doing the turbo, to be sure you don't blow the next one up in a couple thousand miles because the root cause was missed. 

If you need any tips or help figuring out typical issues etc; send me an email or pm, I'd be happy to help however I can from a distance. I'm definitely keeping up with this thread!

RacetruckRon Dork
7/6/22 9:07 p.m.

Thanks for the info guys! I'm really excited to do a little R&R on this car it has been very fun to drive even in the two trips I've made on it so far. I've been reading into T7 Suite and have one of the support cables already so I will likely be doing an aero turbo in the near future. 
Motor mounts I'm pretty sure are trashed. I'll look into the suspension stuff and drop the oil pan soon too. I'm in SC tonight getting the rest of my garage stuff and my Yukon so looking forward to doing some maintenance on the Saab to get it to a point where I can do maintenance on the Yukon. Because who on this forum doesn't love to play musical E36 M3boxes?

XLR99 (Forum Supporter)
XLR99 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/7/22 8:06 p.m.

So just before my day went to E36M3 I found my thread on the Aero wagon...  It has abit about motor mounts/ subframe bushings.  https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/saab-9-5-midlife-refresh-project/108303/page1/

Page 2 is kind of unfortunate...

Also, this site has some repair procedures and stuff: http://www.twinsaabs.com/


RacetruckRon Dork
7/27/22 1:30 a.m.

So I have a back seat full of parts and haven't touched this thing in a solid 2 weeks. Finally had an evening to work in a slightly less cluttered garage. 
I have the latest PCV system, spark plugs, valve cover gaskets and vacuum lines to replace.  I found one line going to the throttle body that was very loose. Yay another boost leak has been found!

I also discovered that the valve cover was chemically welded to the head with black rtv by a previous owner. *Shakes head* 

It took a lot of scrapping and fine scotch brite scrubbing but the head is looking good. The valve cover needs more attention tomorrow I ran out of time tonight. 

RacetruckRon Dork
7/31/22 11:40 p.m.

I pulled the stock turbo to toss a rebuild kit in it and ended up damaging the CHRA on disassembly which is all the more reason to go from the little GT17 to the Aero TD04-15t.  I found a used one on ebay that should be here in a couple days.

Sad turbo.

Valve cover gasket replaced and I pulled the spark plugs, Autolites... and they don't look like the resistor type that the Saab ignition system likes. Fresh NGKs going in.

Valve cover all buttoned up, I started replacing the vacuum lines and upgrading the PCV to version 6.

gumby Dork
8/1/22 8:34 a.m.

I love when maintenance forces my hand into an upgrade devil

RacetruckRon Dork
8/1/22 11:27 a.m.

More negligence and "sPeEd PaRtS" were discovered when I pulled the turbo.  The stock airbox was crudely deleted and replaced with a K&N style filter that probably has never been cleaned.

Also there's an oil leak from somewhere, I'm hoping it's mostly PCV related and not a crankshaft seal or something in depth like that. Either way it appears to leak substantially less than the Yukon so that's a win I guess.

Driver's side fog light is properly borked. I think this car may have smacked a deer at some point given the damage to the driver's side headlight and missing some bumper cover clips.  The tube that leads to the battery box is also a bit borked.

Aaron_King PowerDork
8/1/22 11:50 a.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

Is the oil getting on the exhaust by any chance?  After sitting for a while mine started dropping oil on the exhaust, made a nice smell with the windows down.  Anyway, after some searching online I found that the oil pressure sensor is a known leak point and drops oil right where I was getting it.  Ordered the part and swapped it last night.  The job is not hard really, just a pain to get to.  The starter is in the way and you will need a 24mm socket with a slot to get the old one out and the new one in.

RacetruckRon Dork
8/1/22 11:56 a.m.

In reply to Aaron_King :

I did smell burning oil when I last drove it, I chalked that up to turbo but I'll take a look at that oil pressure sensor.  I did pull one of the PCV lines that has a check valve off the valvecover and that was full of oil.

procainestart Dork
8/1/22 6:02 p.m.

Sounds like you're pretty up to speed on the car, but I'll go ahead anyway and suggest replacing the 90* elbow hose at the end of the head -- coolant is hottest here, they can go bad and ruin your day.

I also carry a spare DI cassette. 

RacetruckRon Dork
8/1/22 6:56 p.m.

In reply to procainestart :

Thanks for the suggestion I'll keep an eye on that coolant hose. A spare DIC is on my list to pick up in the near future.  I have been reading a lot on the various Saab forums and the Trionic Tuning forum for the last month, trying to absorb as much Saab knowledge as possible.

RacetruckRon Dork
8/2/22 5:59 p.m.

I've been doing little bits here and there on the Saab during lunch the last couple days. I got some OBD2 terminals off of Digikey and tapped into the PBus so I can beepboop with the ECU to flash an Aero bin with the new turbo.

Can High and Can Low added to the port.  3rd pins from the right side of the plug top and bottom row.

I pulled the filter and confirmed it was a K&N like the PO said it was, albeit a very filthy one.  Hopefully a good cleaning and reoiling will bring this thing around.

This guy was set on my porch by the men in the brown shorts today.  It is a TD04-15t off of a 2008 or 2009 9-5 Aero.  There was a few options for about $200 on ebay and this one allegedly had 65k on it and was pictured with the "King Cobra" intake so I took a gamble hoping it would show up with the intake and a good compressor wheel and it paid off.

Turbo has a small amount of play and wear on the compressor wheel but it's in line with what I expected from a turbo with 65k on it.  The King Cobra intake and associated compressor housing are worth what I paid for the whole turbo.

You (bottom). The guy she tells you not to worry about (top).  The overall cross section of the King Cobra is a lot larger especially through the bends.  It's supposedly not worth much in power but it has to help the efficiency of the turbo a bit.

And that compressor wheel I didn't get a chance to see in the ebay ad pictures.

procainestart Dork
8/2/22 7:40 p.m.

So, do you just stomp on the entire current tune with a stock Aero tune, then start modifying from there? I've considered Trionic for my old 900s, dunno nuthin' 'bout T#-Suite.

RacetruckRon Dork
8/2/22 8:57 p.m.

In reply to procainestart :

It looks like that is one option. The other is dump my file off the ECU, pull it into T7 Suite, compare it to an Aero file and transfer over the different maps. That's at least how I currently understand it. I scooped up a spare ECU too just in case I bork it up. 

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