EnG Saab 9-5 SE Update

As regular readers know, I bought a 1999 Saab 9-5 last month, and I’ve enjoyed driving it.
But I must say, I’ve not enjoyed fixing it.
UPDATE: I guess that I thought that it would be understood that since I bought an 8-year-old car, I bought into a few repairs (see comments on stereo, motor mount). As I said in one of the summary paragraphs, I expect to get my hands dirty a little. I went over this car pretty well at the time of purchase, I missed a couple of things, but my lament here is about two specific things: one, dumb luck that a few parts that worked well at the time of purchase failed in the first month of use, and two, that some of these failures are due to poor designs and/or manufacturing processes.
That is, this isn’t so much a “woe is me” whining rant as it is a frustration that our favorite brand is bitten by the same bug as many other manufacturers have fallen prey to: cheaper parts and less attention to longevity for better margins and/or competitive pricing. That’s all.

Read moreEnG Saab 9-5 SE Update

2008 Saab Turbo X vs Saab 9-3 Aero XWD

I got an email last Friday from Saab USA. They’re concerned that there’s still confusion about the Saab Turbo X and the email had a presentation attached.
The presentation shows how, as an enhanced model, the Saab Turbo X is a greater special edition than the 9-3 Viggen was relative to the OG 9-3. This is a reasonable thing to discuss and shouldn’t be devalued, but devalue it a little I must, as it completely misses the point.
No-one’s shopping the Turbo X against a Viggen, so whilst that discussion will be a good one for a future Saab Owner’s Convention, it’s of limited relevance in the here and now. The one question people want answered about the Turbo X is “Why should I buy one instead of just getting an Aero with XWD, or waiting until 2009 when the Aero with XWD will have the eLSD (at least in the US market)?”
Saab Turbo X
I pointed this out to SaabUSA and they’re not able to provide the answer to that at the moment, primarily because the 2009 specs haven’t been set. Fair enough. But if they want to clear the air on the Turbo X, they’re going to have to address it some time.
So here’s a brief Trollhattan Saab comparison, based on known information about the cars.


I don’t list this first because it’s the most important, not by any means. But you’ve got to start somewhere. I had a question on the site a few days ago asking if the Turbo-X would be continued in to the 09 model year, so it’s relevant to mention here.
The Saab Turbo-X will be limited to a worldwide volume of just 2,000 units for the 2008 model year only. Each country has an allocation, so if you want to get one, it’s not one in 2,000, it’s one in 600 if you’re in the US, one in 500 if you’re in the UK, one in 30 if you’re in Australia. I’ve got a number of national volumes listed here (along with everything else you need to know about the vehicle), but if your country isn’t listed you need to check with your national Saab organisation to see how many you’re getting.

Read more2008 Saab Turbo X vs Saab 9-3 Aero XWD

Mismanaging the Saab Turbo X

There’s been a number of comments on the Saab Turbo X in recent days, so I felt like this layover in San Francisco might give me a good opportunity to write down a few thoughts on the car and maybe tie some of those thoughts together.
The power
Given the current confusion over the Turbo X vs the XWD Aero, it seems plainer than ever to me that Saab should have boosted the power to around the 300hp mark as a prime differentiator between the Turbo X and the XWD version of the Saab 9-3 Aero that will follow it.
This always seemed like an absolute no-brainer to me anyway, but the lack of explanation from Saab mekes the situation stand out even more. So let’s deal with that….
The difference
The primary difference between the Saab Turbo X and the 9-3 Aero equipped with XWD for MY2008 is that the Saab Turbo X will feature the full XWD system – including eLSD – as standard. The XWD-equipped Saab 9-3 Aero won’t have access to the eLSD in the 2008 model year. That will come in 2009.
In addition, it’ll have some mechanical enhancements such as a strengthened gearbox and torque limits removed in low gears, it’ll have special trim and styling, and it’ll have the cachet of being a launch model for a revolutionary new system that’s produced in limited numbers.
When the XWD system was launched, Saab said that the eLSD unit would be an option for Aero XWD models but they didn’t say anything about that not coming in 2008. What they meant was that the Turbo X would be an optional model for purchase in 2008, but they couldn’t say that outright because the Turbo X hadn’t been unveiled at that time.
Now, if that last paragraph seems confusing, you’re getting an idea of how poorly explained and managed this rollout has been.
The real difference
So what we end up with is a car that’s meant to emphasise the XWD system and little-to-no publicity explaining this fact. The confusion about the Turbo X and the XWD equipment levels is a testimony to this – and this is amongst Saab enthusiasts, the people who should have a fast grasp on the situation.
Slow Sales
The good news is that despite all of this, Saab have managed to take pre-orders on a car that hardly anyone’s seen, relatively few people have driven, and one that hasn’t been advertised yet. Actual production of the cars to be sold hasn’t even started yet.
Publicity about the car has been limited to the news stories from the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, Saab’s own Turbo X microsite and the grass roots coverage of the vehicle on sites such as TS and others.
Despite this meagre coverage, they’ve managed to take some deposits on the car, which I think is actually pretty encouraging. SaabUSA have offered paces in the Aero Academy for the first 100 buyers up until January 31st. That’s one-sixth of their allocation for the entire country. If you can sell one-sixth of your volume sight-unseen and without any meaningful publicity then you’ll be feeling encouraged.
We’d all have liked to see the Turbo X sell out within a month of being announced, but the fact is that most of the market doesn’t know about it.
In my mind – and this is why Saab HAVE to do a better job of marketing this car in the next few months – financial incentives on the Turbo X cannot be an option.
The full XWD system is brilliant and it deserves a special launch model like the Saab Turbo X. This car deserves all the exclusivity it’s getting. It just needs to be spelled out better than what it has been so far.
But that takes us back to the power output. 300hp definitely would have helped in selling this car as it’s bottom line numbers like that that people look for when they’re doing their initial shopping. 300hp is definitely possible – Hirsch will likely make it so soon after the car launches, I’m sure. But it should have been there from the get-go.
the car itself
I’m very confident that the people who do put money down on this car aren’t going to be disappointed in any way whatsoever. The system is that good and enthusiasts do like the notion of having something that’s a limited edition. Viggen owners will know what I mean.
The Saab Turbo X will be one heck of a great car to drive and the limited edition trim and styling looks awesome. I’d have liked it if it went even further (carbon leather dash trim, anyone?) but overall, it still looks menacing. The wheels have caused some conjecture with one or two people, but I’m sure the incas on the 99Turbo did as well and they’re considered classics now. Personally, I absolutely love the new wheels. They’re probably my favourite styling feature of the car.
If you want to know what the Turbo X will look like with other 18 inch wheels, visit the NAIAS. There were some issues with the wheel caps at the Boston Auto Show, so Saab sent a new set of wheels for fitting prior to the Detroit show, only someone forgot to actually fit them:
Saab Turbo X
I like these double-blade wheels, but that vehicle above pales just a little in comparison to this:
Saab Turbo X
Now THAT is a limited edition performance car.
I think the Saab Turbo X will be one heck of a car. I’ve driven a car with the full XWD spec and it was absolutely brilliant.
I just think Saab haven’t done too well in spelling out what’s special about this car. The market expectation is that this will be a distinctive, high performing vehicle and Saab are going to try and sell its performance credentials on the XWD system alone. so far, in very limited publicity, they haven’t performed in that area. A power bump would definitely help the Saab Turbo X’s credentials as a limited edition performance vehicle.
It’ll be interesting to see, once the marketing does ramp up, what it will look like.
I believe that Saab will sell all of their Turbo X’s reasonably quickly once the campaign starts and I really hope they don’t slash the price to do so. They can’t do that on a limited edition anyway, especially when they’ve already sold some at the full price.
I’d have one if I could, and I heard from Steve Shannon that he’ll be interesting in picking up a SportCombi version with a stickshift. That’d be my choice, too.

GM Tech 2: How your Saab talks to your mechanic

Tedjs, our resident tech guy, has kindly provided this insight into the modern mechanic’s Swiss Army Knife – GM’s Tech 2 (or Tech II as you’d write it if search engines didn’t exist.)
I’d like to thank Ted for taking the time and giving us this insight into the little electronic doodads that control our Saab vehicles. Hopefully this will be the first of a few articles on this.
Enjoy the journey….
If you really want to know what your Saab is thinking about when you’re motoring around town this holiday season, hopefully Santa will have dropped the following pieces of hardware off for you:

    A GM Tech II scan tool
    A CANdi module so the Tech II can talk to the high speed network on your Saab
    And of course the Saab software program for the Tech II

GM kindly supplies our school with all this hardware. All I needed was my Saab to give the Tech II something to do. My 2007 9-3 Aero has the turbocharged V6 and six speed automatic, so that is what will be referenced here.
Tech II
Tech II
A little background before we dig in….

Read moreGM Tech 2: How your Saab talks to your mechanic

Speedparts Saab performance and tuning

I feel an overwhelming need to apologise to Speedparts, as I haven’t had them on the Parts and Performance links on the sidebar.
When visiting Trollhattan, especially during the Saab Festival, you’re quite likely to see a bunch of young men with hot Saabs, the guys wearing T-shirts with the following design on them:
Speedparts are based in Uddevalla and have heaps of experience modifying Saabs. As the name suggests, they’re performance specialists and have a full range of Saab performance parts and tuning systems.
The website is primarily in Swedish, so you may have a little trouble navigating it. Fortunately for those English-only types out there, Speedparts products are distributed in the UK by long-term TS sponsor, Elkparts. The Elkparts list of Speedparts products is here.
Welcome, Speedparts, to the TS family. And please accept my apologies for taking so long to get you on the sidebar.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.