I believe there was some stuff in comments about this a few days ago. I just got this spec sheet via email as well (thanks Rayman!), so figured it was appropriate to put something on the front page as well.
Danes who can scrimp together enough to buy a new car (the taxes are killers) have an extra option to choose from – Hirsch Performance.
Click to enlarge.
For those who don’t want to wait…..
The 220hp 4-cyl gasoline engine moves up to 260hp with Hirsch tuning.
The 2.0 TiD engine moves from 160hp to 190hp.
The 2.8T V6 moves up from 300hp to 335hp
I’ll hopefully hear soon if there’s anything else coming for the 9-5 and will post here when information is forthcoming.
A few months ago, Maptun offered a special deal on their tuning products for SU readers. I’ve just received an email from one of the guys who took up that offer and got a new Maptuner device for his Saab 9-5 Aero.
I’m keeping his name out of this post, for reasons that will be obvious to those in similar circumstances.
I hope you’ll find it interesting reading.
Greetings. Thanks to you and MapTun for the February S-U special. I have a different car now.
My car is a 2009 9-5 SportCombi with the 2.3T “Aero” gasoline engine and automatic transmission. The stock engine is 260 hp and 258 lb. ft. (~349.8 Nm) torque. The MapTun is a Stage 1 done via the MapTuner. The Stage 1 is rather mild for horsepower but an important boost in torque. The MapTun Stage 1 added 10 HP and around 52 lb. ft. / 70 Nm torque for totals of 270 bhp and 420 Nm (~309.8 lb. ft.) torque. This is about a 20% torque increase. MapTun confirmed that the automatic transmission torque is capped at 420 Nm.
I applied the tune 3 weeks ago. I have made regular highway and street commutes plus one long trip. I have observed a +2 MPG improvement in fuel economy in *both* highway and street driving. The highway fuel economy improvement is validated both by numbers in the SID and by calculating at-the-pump using miles driven divided by gallons put in the tank. The street driving fuel economy is validated primarily by numbers in the SID with some at-the-pump observations.
With the tune, I am now getting around 29 MPG highway on the SID and between 24 – 26 MPG on the SID in the specific mixed street driving that I do. This street driving has a bit of highway in it. The at-the-pump numbers are 0.5 to 2 MPG lower than the SID depending on amount of street driving but are still +2 MPG better than before the tune. Before the tune, I used to get around 27 MPG highway and 22 – 24 MPG in my specific mixed street driving.
My family and I recently had to take a significant highway trip in the vehicle. Six days and about 2000 miles round trip. My wife commented that she is no longer getting car sickness. The improved torque delivery at lower RPMs has removed an annoying forward to rear rocking motion the car would exhibit before tuning. I would often be running with cruise control. The stock engine tuning would allow the car to slow and then run the engine up to a higher RPM to gain speed. This would rock the car and set off my wife’s motion sickness.
MapTun’s email support has been fast and attentive. The Stage 1 tune has not tripped ESP or the torque limiter. With the benefits to fuel economy and passenger comfort, I would recommend the tune and do not plan to remove the tune. I haven’t mentioned “sporty driving.” I’ve been cautious. To paraphrase a Jeremy Clarkson-ism “I have enough torque to tear a hole in time.” The car feels more solid. Engine and speed come up with less drama. I no longer have to thrash the accelerator as much or sweat passing situations, especially on hilly roads.
Thank you and Happy Saab-ing,
I’m told that this is a rare occurrence, which is strange given how tuneable Saabs actually are, but there’s a fantastic looking Saab 900 Convertible in the current issue of Eurotuner magazine.
Here’s the convertible…..
The car belongs to Aaron Elledge, from Tacoma, Washington. I don’t think I’ve come across Aaron or his ‘vert before (apologies if I’m mistaken) but it definitely looks like a sweet Saab.
Kudos to Aaron for getting it published like this.
Eurotuner also have their own summary guide to Saab tuning, which I’ve tried to reproduce in a readable size below without totally killing my bandwidth.
There’s not much there that a reasonably experienced Saaber wouldn’t have heard already and clicking on either of the tags at the end of this post should get you plenty more Saab performance posts from this site.
—— Thanks to Hector for the scans!
Early in the week I posted a video showing a friend of mine, John, doing a stage 1 upgrade on his 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero V6 using the new Maptuner plugin upgrade tool. If you haven’t seen it yet click here to watch the video.
John recently did a road trip here in Tasmania, from Hobart to Devonport and back.
John has written to me about the fuel consumption he observed on this trip. I should tell you that the road driven here is basically the main highway here in Tasmania. As such, it’s reasonably flat, however Tassie is a hilly place so there’s also a good smattering of undulation along the way.
Thought you might be interested in fuel consumption figures for the upgraded V6 ECU on a trip to Devonport on Friday 22nd & return on 23rd.
On both days the weather was fine and sunny with a light breeze for most of the way with a temperature of around 23 -24 degrees on the outward journey and around 25-26 on the return.
Vehicle load consisted of the driver and a substantial load of tools & equipment in the boot at least equal to another person.
Computer readings were all cleared at Brighton (see B on the map – SW) on the outward trip to remove last few days city driving consumption.
On the outward trip the traffic was medium (by our standard) although Mr Clarkson would have made comment on his pet hates (caravans and horse floats), so speed sometimes down to 95km/hr, at all opportunity speed was at cruise control setting of 108km/hr, air conditioner not used.
On the return trip the traffic was light but the temperature was a little higher for the first hour and the air conditioner was used intermittently, speed was at cruise setting of 108km/hr for nearly all the Midland Hwy (distance of, say 120km) as well as most of the Bass Hwy but more interruptions with traffic on the Bass Hwy.
Computer fuel consumption showed 7.4Ltrs/100km on arrival at Devonport (31.8mpg US and 38.2 mpg UK). Car was not moved until return journey, computer settings were not altered. On arrival in Hobart at 8pm on Saturday 23rd fuel consumption read 7.5 litres/100km (that’s 31.4mpg US and 37.7mpg UK).
Car was filled on premium fuel two days before the trip and filled again on arrival back in Hobart. The round trip was about 560 km.
Very pleased with the upgrade, throttle settings are noticeably lighter, the normally smooth running seems even smoother and passing performance is phenomenal.
Don’t forget that Maptun are offering a 20% discount this week on all of their software upgrades.
All you need to do to claim the discount is write “Saabs United” in the message field of your order form when you order from www.maptun.com and they will apply the discount manually. Click here for full details of the discount offer.
This morning I ticked another job of my Monte Carlo upgrade list by fitting my new anti-roll bar. Of course, all credit to Mike900, who inspired this purchase with his great writeup of the purchase, fitting and driving story on this subject.
I, too, picked up my anti-roll bar from Taliferro in the US. The price was right and the freight, whilst expensive here to Australia, was very efficient. Half a world in just over a week? No problem. The part left Taliaferro’s warehouse just over a week ago and today it’s fitted to my car.
I won’t repeat Mike’s installation story, but will show my use of the ‘natural jack’ we have at our place. Given that the 99T is now occupying the garage, I couldn’t use the only flat parking surface at our house. The good part about having a big sloping driveway, though, is that it allows you a bit of room where it falls away from the footpath.
As you can see, there’s sufficient clearance underneath, although laying down on the slope isn’t ideal and it got a little cramped up around the rear axle.
It might have been a bit inconvenient for pedestrians, too, but what the heck…..
Given that I didn’t have any supports to hold the bar in place, and things getting a little cramped around the rear axle area, it was a slightly tricky job. It still didn’t take long, though. Probably about an hour or so.
I used a pair of ring spanners to get the nuts tightened as things were pretty tight in there, with a couple of fluid lines adjacent to the bolts. Once they were all snug, out came the torque wrench and then it was test drive time!
—— The effects
In a word: sensational.
I took it for a quick drive down one of the local twisties and the confidence and stability provided by this sway bar is a real and tangible improvement. Turn-in is much, much better especially at socially-responsible but slightly higher speed
The bar does have an effect on regular driving, though. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Firm up the suspension and of course, you’re going to feel more of the road. Such is the case here. It’s just a case of more constant feedback from the road, but if you’re the type who prefers comfy cruising then this may be something to think about.
If you’re like me (and many others) and prefer that your car with sporting pretensions be a little more capable, then you won’t worry about it for a second.
They’re my quick additions to what is a very comprehensive writeup by Mike900. If you missed it, check it out here.
Tonight I managed to squeeze in a couple of the jobs I told you about last night – fitting the Maptun air filter and filling up with the Saab washer fluid. Maptun Air Filter
It was definitely time to change the stock filter as it was quite dirty at one end. As expected, the Maptun unit fitted straight in and I was off for a drive.
Once again, like the BSR open unit I had before, there seems to be a slight increase in urgency, though that may be psychological. I did take the car on a good sprint before changing over, though, and another one straight after. I therefore think my conclusions are reasonably objective as I was driving in the same conditions both times.
Any increase is marginal, at best. Still, it’s good to have it in there and know that I won’t have to think about it again for a while.
The other good news is that the irritating noise that got me to pull out the BSR unit hasn’t made a return with the Maptun unit. One thought that crossed my mind with that noise is that it could have been a minor split in an air hose somewhere and the noise was accentuated by the increased airflow. It hasn’t returned, though, so I think I must have got one made late on a Friday afternoon.
The BSR unit feels solid and there’s no splits anywhere as far as I can tell. I’ve heard good things from everyone else about them but unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to have worked for me. I’ll definitely miss the noise.
—— Saab Washer Fluid
The Saab washer fluid comes in a concentrate form and costs just A$10 here, so it’s very good value for money.
This is pretty clever stuff, actually. The fluid concentrate has got a high alcohol content. This will not only prevent your washer fluid from freezing in the winter, but it also means quick, streak free drying when you actually use it. The fluid has a lubricant in it, too. Modern Saab washer systems have a one-way valve in them and the lubricant in the fluid keeps this valve in good working condition.
Oh yeah, and it cleans the glass pretty darn well, too.
The before shot from my little snap test this evening:
And the after shot…. pretty clear though a few stubborn spots remain as this car hasn’t been cleaned in some time (and I need to clean the inside glass, too)
The part number for the Saab washer fluid is 12799116 and if you quote that to your local Saab accessories place, they should be able to put their hands on it pretty quick. At $10 here in Oz, it’s pretty cheap and I imagine it’s equally good value where you live.
Though there is one issue…… A note to Saab about this fluid bottle
This is a concentrate, but I couldn’t find any instructions on the bottle as to the right ratio I was supposed to use to mix it. I looked in my owner’s manual and whilst it recommended the use of the genuine Saab fluid, it didn’t mention a ratio, either. It just said to follow the instructions on the bottle (or box). The washer fluid reservoir is 4.7 litres so I just guesstimated that around 300-400ml would do the trick
I received my bottle as you see it there. Maybe when you get it over the counter it comes in a box with the instructions printed on it.
I think it’d be a good idea to have the mixing instructions on the actual bottle, too, because there’s a distinct possibility that some buyers would throw the box away after opening it.
Just a suggestion.
One of the distinct (pant-wetting) pleasures of my recent trip back to Sweden was my call-in to see the guys at Maptun.
You’ve seen a little of that car already, in another entry. We’ll get to more of it later as it really is a showcase for what they can do.
Maptun are primarily known as a tuning house and it is the vast majority of what they do. But they really are a full service Saab workshop and can do absolutely anything that your Saab needs from basic servicea dn right up to what one Saab Central user referred to as “stage-new-underpants” tuning.
The workshop is so clean you can eat your dinner off the floor and there’s a well stocked parts department out the back.
That’s all nice, but that little red machine you see attached to this 9000 is the real star at this workshop:
Visit most tuners and you’ll see a traditional rolling road. Not so at Maptun. They use what’s still a relatively rare machine called a Rototest dynamometer.
Instead of sitting the car on the rolling road, as you’d normally do, the Rototest units are attached directly on to the wheel hubs. They support the car and allow for the rotation of the wheels at the same time. This system has a number of advantages over the traditional rolling road and is typical of the cutting edge approach Maptun take to what they do.
Being attached directly to the wheels, there’s no need to factor in friction losses from the dyno machinery or other things like tyre wear or grip problems. The lack of tyres present also means that they can run the cars for longer periods of time without worrying about the effects of the machinery on the tyres.
The car is running directly through the Rototest machine and being stationary, it’s going to get pretty warm. That’s why they’ve got this ventilation system in place, to blow air through the front and keep the temperature stable whilst the car is under stress.
What’s really cool about this ventilation system is that it’s hooked up to the Rototest unit. As the car speeds up, a hydraulic system powered by the car’s own wheels provides power to run the smaller side fans and keep the car cool. Ingenious. The larger center fan is electrically operated.
Those fans can pump 20,000 litres of air per second.
The car is hooked up to a computer system and the operator sits in the car, runs the computer and gets data back via a bank of screens outside the car. Of course, everything is recorded and accessible.
The tester can set the rototest software to run the car in any way they choose. You want a run that starts recording at 1500rpm, holds at 4000rpm for 30 seconds and then goes up to 6000rpm? Just program it in and the rototest software will run the car that way and provide all of your readings.
Maptun can then use their own software to run the car’s computer systems and change the tuning until the desired levels are reached. Test, tune, rinse and repeat.
The Saab 9000 that you see above is a winter project that a customer handed to Maptun. It’s a normally aspirated version and their brief is to see how far they can take it with basic tuning changes, camshafts, etc.
I sat in the car during a dyno run and it’s quite fascinating with all the wind noise from the fans, the engine noise from the car and the computer screens showing the dyno sweeping through the rev range and taking power and torque readings. The operator can adjust the timing from inside the car and the changes are more or less instantaneous.
You can see the Rototest unit in action in the following video, which has been posted by a 9-5 owner on Youtube.
In customer terms, the rototest unit is mainly used for custom tuning of Swedish cars. Maptun sell pre-formatted tuning kits for all models of Saabs and when you buy up to around Stage III, it’s pretty safe to plug and play.
But if a Swedish customer wants to take things a bit further, then Maptun recommend you come in and have the gear fitted and the car custom tuned to make sure everything’s OK. Obviously, non-Swedish customers are welcome too if they want to make the trip, but at the very least they should have a suitably qualified technician do the install and tune locally whenever things go a bit further than ECU, intake and exhaust.
Maptun do all of their development, design, programming, vehicle communications and testing in-house. They control the whole process so they know that everything’s 100% before it is offered for sale to customers.
I’ve got a bit more to write about Maptun in the near future, including more info on Anders’ BioPower 9-3, the new Maptuner plug-in programming device (which a friend in Sydney has just used to tune his SportCombi) and my own ECU swapover, which will be happening very soon.
Some of you may know that I recently installed a Hirsch uprated ECU and a new, open air filter in my 1999 Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo (2.0 HOT Trionic 5).
I’ll be swapping out the Hirsch ECU shortly to give a 225HP unit from Maptun a test drive for a few weeks, but I’m wondering if I should swap out my air filter at the same time. The air filter has been an absolute blast to have fitted to the car, but it’s exhibiting one particular trait that’s not only a little annoying, but is also causing me some concern.
Ever heard of Gumleaf music? Ever blown a stream of air along the edge of a sheet of paper? If so, then you’ll know the behaviour and associated noise I’m talking about. It’s not that my air filter sounds like a Cockatoo, but the principle upon which gumleaf music is possible – it’s the vibration from the filter that I’m talking about.
I’m not sure whether I’ve fitted the filter incorrectly – maybe too tight or too loose – but at certain levels of airflow, it stops its normal, addictive Darth Vader soundtrack and vibrates with a resonance that’s rather loud and disconcerting.
The noise isn’t the major problem. What I’m worried about is (my theory only and totally unproven) the possibility that the vibrations causing the noise could be shaking the paper in the filter so much that some of the particles that it’s designed to catch could be let loose to fly into my intake.
As I said, I love the air filter. I honestly don’t know if it helps with the car’s performance or not and if so (or not), then the effect either way is marginal, at best. What I love about it is the sense of theatre that it lends to the driving experience. It’s great to hear all that air rushing in.
But if there’s a chance that it’s doing damage due to either being a faulty unit or me installing it incorrectly, then I’ve got to get it sorted. I’ve not heard any similar complaints from others. In fact, I’ve read nothing but praise from happy customers about this item, so I’m quite sure it’s a case that’s distinct to my car and filter.
Any advice based welcome…..
Mike900 is a Viggen owner living in Melbourne, Australia, and he’s been kind enough to let us sit in on a few of his recent DIY adventures. This fix actually happened around a month ago, but preparations for the Frankfurt show got in the way of me posting it straight away.
Previous installments included acquiring all his bits, and installing the steering rack clamp and brace.
My thanks to Mike for the photos and writeup. I’m going to have to get me one of these for the Monte pretty soon And it should be noted that whilst Mike owns a Viggen, the mods that he’s doing are standard fare for all Saab 900/9-3 models, from 1994-2002.
It’s been about a week since I’ve installed (and been delighted with) the new steering rack clamp and brace. Having had enough time to get used to the new feel of the car, I figured it was about time to get cracking on the next step in the process…… the new 22mm Rear Anti-Roll Bar, or ARB for short. This part was bought from Taliaferro Saab in the USA – www.genuinesaab.com
A little about the product:
22mm refers to the diameter thickness of the bar, and is the default size aftermarket ARB sold by Taliaferro. It is also the most popular size for the NG900 and 9-3 models. Taliaferro are also able to produce other sizes ranging from 19mm up to 25mm to suit your specific needs where applicable. There is a very helpful and informative description on their product page here – as well as a great article written by Nick Taliaferro about the trial & testing phase when designing their ARB here.
This bar is thicker than the standard piece that comes with your Saab, and while the ARBs purpose is mainly to reduce the amount of body roll present while driving, it also improves other handling aspects too. The part comes in a silver powder coat (a form of painting), cost $90 USD, and would have also come with free shipping if I had lived in the USA. It comes with a very clear set of instructions which are easy to follow too….. it even had a few colour pictures.
You could easily do this installation using only the instructions supplied, so I’ll breeze through the installation and focus on a few of the easily solvable problems I had. As previously with the steering clamp & brace I’ve uploaded a bunch of extra pictures, in higher quality and each with descriptions on Flickr to save Swade some bandwidth – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike900/sets/72157622218582355/(but you can click any of the images below to enlarge and see normal res versions – SW)
Here are the parts as delivered, the bar itself with four nuts and bolts:
– My Installation experience:
This was FAR easier than installing the steering rack clamp and brace, and took 45 minutes from beginning to end including photos. If I had to compare the level of difficulty to something, I’d say this was no more involving than changing a wheel after a flat tyre. Really, really easy from beginning to end. In fact the only problem I had was nothing to do with the product at all…… it was the Viggen body kit that was the main obstacle. Let me explain.
Mike900 – an Australian Viggen owner – is currently doing some upgrades to this Saab 9-3 Viggen and he’s invited us to join him on the ride.
Part 1 involved him getting all the bits together and fitting the new center armrest and billet aluminium oil cap.
Part 2 is a much more complex job – fitting a new steering rack clamp and brace. This magic bit of kit will eliminate most of the average 9-3 owner’s torque steer problems. If you’re curious, read on.
You can also see bigger and clearer photos at Mike’s Flickr account
—— DIY Part 2 – Steering rack clamp & brace
You can find a tonne of comments about the steering rack clamp and brace on the web. I’m willing to bet you that every one of those comments is positive, and I’ll tell you now that all the praise is justified. It is just the prettiest, simplest, most rewarding, most effective, most brilliant and wonderful piece of automotive engineering I think I’ll ever know…..EVER!
I am thrilled with the difference it has made, and I doubt the feeling will die down any time soon. I was a little worried going into this installation that I was going to be disappointed with the end results……. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’ll share some thoughts on the effect of this great part later on, but for now, let’s get to the installation.
Let me start off by stating anybody is capable of doing this installation, it was not without a few minor difficulties though. It will require some effort and patience, it can be fiddly and frustrating at times, but it is absolutely within the average non-mechanical persons’ capabilities. I am not a trained mechanic, it’s entirely possible that a Saab technician will point out my mistakes, but everything I have done was either from the printed instructions I received with the parts, or from the wonderful technical forums at www.saabscene.com and www.saabcentral.com.
The entire job took 2.5 hours from beginning to end, from the time I walked into the garage to when I took it out for a victory test drive. That time also included my stuffing up several times on a few steps, before working out how to make it work on the 3rd or 4th attempt. If you learn from my mistakes you could do this in half the time or less.
This is the location of the torque steer inducing monster deep within every Saab NG900 & 9-3 engine bay. Sadly, the loose grip of that little metal band with rubber lining allows the steering rack to slide horizontally left and right, while the squashy rubber lining permits flexing backward and forward, as well as upward and downward. This permits slight movements in the wheel angle causing sloppiness and torque steer:
Here’s what I’m installing in its place, blue bit is the clamp, long silver bit is the brace. The clamp will hold the steering rack firmly to there’s no sliding or flexing, while the brace adds further support by connecting the unit to the nearby wheel arch: