Broken springs

December 17, 2011 in Technical

Having the suspension springs break is not an unheard of problem among mechanics, but having these springs break after just a few thousand km’s is… after doing a bit of research on the net about lowering-kits with problems, most of these springs last about 80-90’000 km at best, its not something that is in particular linked to just Saab but seems to be a fairly reoccurring problem.

One lowering kit a good friend of mine recently found out to be a problem with in his car was the one made by H&R and sold by Speedparts. It was installed in the car, a 1999 Saab 9-5 Sedan in 2006 and has been driven only a few thousand km when sounds from the rear suspension started to appear. The springs were broken, not just one but both rear springs in 3 different places. The car has been driven almost exclusively in city environment.

What I also find interesting is that the protective color is almost completely gone. Comparing these with several original used springs with almost twice the amount of km’s from the same region and same age shows that their color is still in place.

No real conclusions can be drawn from this one time incident but searching the forums on the net a bit does show that there are a problem with broken springs with some lowering kits. What the cause is, is still unknown… What is your experience?

H&R Springs after about 50’000 km

Original Springs after about 90’000 km

14 responses to Broken springs

  1. My private opinion is, don’t buy cheap if you don’t want to buy twice.

  2. This seems odd given that Saab has an extended full replacement warranty on 9-3 springs because of their design fault that causes them to rust and break. My dealer mechanic explained that Saab’s original 9-3 springs had a container keeping saltwater against the springs for months, causing them to rot. My left front spring rotted and broke at 48,000 miles. Fully rusted through. So, it may occur with other cars, but Saab 9-3 has an acknowledged design fault with this. They redesigned the part to fix that, put in free of charge. I urge people to have noises from the front addressed promptly, especially if you live in a road salt state. A broken spring is unsafe. My dealer gets full credit though. Can’t wait to buy another saab.

  3. Yep, i have SAAB 9-3SS 2003 and right front spring broke at ~42 thousand miles, it was original one. I got an original SAAB replacement for both front wheels. Even worse, when the spring broke, i didn’t understand what happened, i was trying to get car out of garage, then it happened, got out, looked, everything seemed fine, bet i knew something is bad, so i couldn’t leave car half way out of garage, so i drove it in, and then saw an empty tire. I didn’t had a pomp, so i came back few days later and tried to pomp it up and only then i realised, that broken spring shred my tire. So i had to change both front springs, and one tire, i’m happy that i found exactly the same tire to buy and that the shop agreed to sell one tire (which isn’t ordinary).

    • Experienced the same thing last winter. Drove in a pot hole and noted the smell of burned rubber but didn’t understand what it was until I stopped and saw the flat tire.

  4. I am driving a Saab 9-5 Aero that I bought it new 11/1999 having around 220.000 km now. Still the car drives fabulous especially after a complete tuning and refurbishment of the engine at Abbott racing this May and a brake (front and rear) and sport chassis including LSD this spring. Every since this car was and is solid as a rock and NEVER let me down* though 2 times I had to change the ignition box (I guess like every 9-5 driver 😉 ) and, and that’s why I write here, the rear shock absorbers got leaky always almost exactly after 50.000 km. Since May, I have now the new Knoi parts and new springs that work significantly better and smoother than the original ones.

    I only can recommend the LSD together with the Koni system, unpraded springs and brakes. The car is far better in handling and behaves very neutral…which is important witch the Abbott engine, I tell you. After all, I invested a furtune in my old Saab, but every cent was worthy to spend and I would not exchange this car for any other car in the world!.

    * By the way, THAT’s why I drive a Saab, I can trust it since more than 12 years now! And you know what, there are no shakey, noisy or aged parts, it seems this car is made to last (almost) forever. Even after such a long time, I am always happy to drive my “oldie”, I guess, its the real proof of quaility!

  5. My ng9-3 original springs broke (front end). Switched to Eibach a year ago, fingers crossed :-)

  6. I have never had a broken spring in 3 million miles of driving. However at the SOC in Nev Jersey someone left 2 rear springs for a Viggen convertible. This was apparent by the colored dots and they looked new.

    When I returned home I installed them on my 2001 Viggen hardtop and never regretted the decision. You see I always carry extra weigh in the trunk anyway, a big plastic tool-box, aluminum racing jack, full Viggen spare wheel. So the weight is similar to when a convertible would retract into its trunk.

    Also because of my stage 3 tunning the front does not lift up as much. So here is a case of higher rather that lower seems better. This is in conjunction with my Heavy Duty Bilsteins.

  7. I have just replaced my lowering springs on the OG9-3 at 220.000 km.
    The had run about 150.000km, a lot of them towing a caravan, and driven in DK which is very salty territory.
    They had lost the two lower coils on each side in the rear, so the car was just lowered a lillte bit more 😉
    I think that if you drive, and can drive with one broken spring the other side will follow quickly.
    I have now mounted a set of Lersjöfors 40mm lowering springs.
    I expect them to last as long at the other set.
    I would be more worried driving a NG9-3 on original springs.

  8. I had H&R springs on my old 93 and replaced them once. Hirsch is using Eibach which are very good. The problem with H&R are the coating which is lost after a couple of 10k km. This is nothing new. There’re reports on the German speaking forum

  9. An ominously timed post for me. I’m just about to take my og9-3 to the shop to fit the Koni sport kit, because the original suspension is utterly dead – fair enough, they’ve made it to 200,000km (doubt they were replaced by PO). Today is the last time I’ll be driving the car other than to take it to the shop, and it’s been making some worrying noises from the front right spring in particular. I’d rather not drive it, but have no choice… Fingers crossed.. if the spring goes, I’ll be blaming SU for cursing me!!

  10. I had the driver front spring break on my ’06 9-3SC at 96k miles. I live in a snowy area. I had it replaced under warranty. One day I was backing out of garage and I heard a loud twang sound. I was able to drive with it broken for about a week until I could bring it to the dealership for repair.

  11. My 2004 ARC vert had the rt front spring snap at 50K miles in 2011. Saab paid for replacement after my calling SAAB HQ in USA. The car was at my local mechanic and he fixed it w/new Saab springs, and I was reimbursed after quite a bit of pleading. Cost was approx. $500. It took around 4 months to get the check.

  12. When reading this post, I had a feeling that the comments would quickly turn towards the breaking springs of the 9-3. And so it did. Thus the post becomes a bit misdirected, as the most known issue as per today with springs are for original springs, not aftermarket ones…

    Well, mine are not yet broken after 140k km. Hope it stays like that.

  13. The MY2003-Current 9-3 SS/SC/Conv have known issues with their front springs in areas that get snow. The the drivers side front spring broke on my 2006 2.0T at around 45k miles, the dealer replaced both front springs under warranty. I remember getting a note from Saab a couple of years back that said that they would cover broken springs for up to 120k miles.

    That being said this is not just an issue with Saabs. I’ve also had broken springs on my 1994 Ford Mustang GT (around 70k miles) and my wife’s 2002 Ford Explorer XLT (around 80k miles). Although not entirely scientific, I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of not the greatest quality metal and the salt they put on the road when it snows.