About the fiery Saab 9-5

In yesterday’s snippets entry, I posted a disturbing photo of a Saab 9-5 that had caught fire.

I mentioned in comments to this article that from anecdotal evidence, it seemed there has been two of these incidents, both around the same location. I can’t confirm if that’s the case, but it’s what I’d heard.


Dippen posted about this topic on the forum from the Saab Turbo Club of Sweden (the incident happened in Sweden) and one response there included the following (the guy commenting works at a dealership):

“I have heard that the engine heater from Defa (http://www.defa.com) can do damage if they are installed wrongly and bulletins have been sent out how to install it correctly. This is nothing that comes installed from the factory but is installed at the dealer”

I had also heard – from nowhere official, mind you – that this incident may have been related to an engine heater, so it’s good to have more information to put that line of thinking in context. If two similar incidents have happened in a similar location then it may be a matter of two incorrect installations originating from the same dealer.

If I hear any more about this I’ll follow it up.

Thanks Dippen!

25 thoughts on “About the fiery Saab 9-5”

  1. Very nice to hear that it isn’t a more widespread problem.

    So, does every dealer use that engine heater from Defa or is it different from dealership to dealership?

  2. I don’t know what engine was mounted on that SAAB, and it is not for sure that the engine heater was the cause, but I’ve read the mounting instructions of the Defa heater for the TiD and the Turbo4 engines, and you have to be really cautious, otherwise things like that can easily happen.

    Question to the Swedes, are those defa engine heaters only an after market product, or is it the same as the factory mounted engine heater??

  3. Earlier this evening I spoke with a friend that works as a fire fighter in the city where these cars have caught fire. He was off duty when these events occured, but he had also heard that the first event involved an electrical heater, and that car had caught fire while being parked. The second car had caught fire while driving (and that was a brand new car, it had only done 100 km).

  4. And in the following response “Glader91” says:

    “BIVA in Linkoping did something wrong with the heater in the other car that was burning, and that was also in Linköping. The newspaper stated it was a 2.8 T Aero for over 400 000 [kroner].”

    So if that’s correct, I guess that the possible “temperature issues” regarding the TTiD mentioned in another comment has nothing to do with the two cars burning in Linköping.

  5. Fiew! This fire should be smothered quickly! Reminds me of a friend who’s Volvo torched because of a faulty block heater.
    * I’m writing this sitting in our 9-5, testing some 12 V chargers for our sailboat, in the middle of a Québec blizzard. Kind of eerie, but more importantly, man these seats are comfy!
    No burning smell, all sysstems green.

      • 2001. One of the rare cloth available in Canada. No regrets as the leather was so slippery in those years. No comparison with the Shetland leather in our 1966 9000T! As a side note, we were away sailing for a year in 2009, during which we rented several good quality cars, inclusing BMW. When we came back, a friend delivered our 9-5 to the airport and when I sat in it, after a long and delayed flight,it just felt so good! i knew instantly I was back home. As another side note; at first I thought the 9-5 seats would never match the living room comfort of the 9000 seats. I was wrong: the 9-5 seats are DRIVING seats. Long drives!

  6. That burnt car photo and article is on the autoblog.nl front page….right next to the car of the year poll which the 9-5 is leading.

        • Thank goodness it’s not plastic! And wow, that must have been a very concentrated fire to have melted that hood. Looks to be very well confined as the grill and headlamps are not horribly melted.

          • Aluminum sheetmetal melts quite easy in a fire. Why don’t look at pictures of a few burned out aluminum cars like the Ferrari 458 or the Audi R8 and you will see that in some cases there is not much left of the cars bodywork and chassis. It’s all melted away.

  7. I guess the fire men/girls hack their way through the hood just to get access to the fire. To be able to stop it in an early stage.

  8. @No9
    Very interesting. Now the comfort has always been a respected attribute in Saab’s vehicles, I’ve especially heard a lot of good about the 9000.

    Any upgrades in mind in the near future? 😀

    (Swade, why aren’t my comments showing up, it doesn’t seem possible make replies visible, doesn’t seem browser-affected?)

  9. I know for à fact that the termal incident was not caused by à DEFA heater but from a competitor. All DEFA heater installations are approved by Saab and no one has caused à fire in à Saab 9-5.

    • Martin,
      somebody has spread the word about the heater being a DEFA product, but maybe you are right, and the cause of the fire(s) was no DEFA block heater, but I have read the mounting instructions for the block heaters for the Turbo4 engine and the TiD engine from Defa, and my conclusion is, that you have to be very careful.

      OTOH, I’ve never been an after-market guy 😉

  10. Got me thinking. Maybe Saab could turn this ‘incident’ to an ad?

    ”Better read your instructions twise before installing a block heater on the hottest new car on the market today”. The All New SAAB 9-5.

  11. Hey, a scary percentage of 458 Italias just up and combust for no apparent reason and they still sell out- at least there’s an explanation for this one 😉

    • Hi John,
      I suspect you have some kind of link to Ruggeri’s central sales. If it is so, it would be nice to know from somebody working at a Saab & Cadillac dealership, what are your thoughts about the 9-4x, specially compared to the SRX. I’ve heard that the SRX is selling well, do you think some of the current SRX clientèle would give the 9-4X a try?

      Maybe if it is not a short answer you could send it to Swade so he can make a post out of it.


    • The reason for the burning 458’s has been found and Ferrari have recalled the cars to fix it. If I recall correctly it was related to some sort of insulation overheating by the engine heat under special circumstances (hot and low speed).

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