Lord Rust pays a visit to my wife’s 9000

This does not look good

My favorite author is Terry Pratchett. One of his Discworld characters is Lord Rust who can be described as a an aristocrat who believes laws do not apply to him (and his patriotism is so great that he is convinced the state should be subject to his rule).

In the latest book, the son of Lord Rust had to leave the country due to some unfortunate ‘misunderstandings’. I believe he has now resurfaced… inside my exhaust system.

Lately my wife’s classic 1997 9000 CSE 2.3T (50th Anniversary model) has emitted a beefier and somewhat puffier engine sound than normal. I suspected a small leakage in the exhaust system and booked an appointment with my local dealer, Gustaf E Bil.

Their mechanic, Filip, hooked up the exhaust ventilation and we started surveying the damage. There was a small leakage in the flex pipe behind the catalyst, but our eyes opened wide as we looked at the rear muffler. The pipe was sundered by rust. Lord Rust had proven himself a worthy adversary last winter.

My heart sank as I observed the damage. A year ago I had allowed my 9000 to rest for three months, and that probably did not help matters. The exhaust system passed the annual inspection in March, but the decay must have already set in. In my defense, we found evidence that the pipe had been repaired once before. I guess it was only a matter of time before the other end would succumb as well.

In addition to the detached pipe, several of the joints did not seem to be healthy. I know from bike frames that it is the joints that needs to be reinforced. The frame can have very thin walls in the middle of its tubes, but needs a nice and thick weld at the ends where most of the stress builds up. I later examined the old exhaust system, but my admittedly untrained eye found no evidence of butting technology. Have they missed a trick..?

A few days later I returned, and Filip started replacing everything behind the catalyst.

After first squirting some oil onto the first joint, he successfully extracted the two bolts that connected the catalyst to the rest of the exhaust system. Unhooking the pipe from the rubber harnesses was easy work and he soon had the whole thing removed and set to work preparing the new parts for assembly.

I noticed a stark contrast between new and old parts. For one thing, the new pipes were intact and shiny. This winter we will come prepared!

I also suspect the turbo is happier now. I have had problems in the past where the engine cuts off under certain loads and completely stops acceleration. Though I have not noticed such issues lately, the car certainly felt a bit lighter on the drive home. It happily spun its wheels leaving a roundabout and nearly overturned an Audi at some point.

27 thoughts on “Lord Rust pays a visit to my wife’s 9000”

  1. Oh..that reminds me of something I just saw 6 months ago 🙁
    I gives the car a very sporty sound. Mine lost contact to the rear muffler too.
    I took the opportunity to exchange the standard exhaust for a 3″ JT which also helps a little bit on the breathing
    That will probably last me around 3 years in Denmark, one of the greates consumers of Salt per Capita in the world..

    Anyway congrats on the now resilenced car.

  2. i had similar with my 9k Griffin, 2 years ago. but the funny thing in my story was, that a 2.5″ BSR exhaust was cheaper than a standard exhaust. guess which one i bought…sounds soooo much better. and: 5 years guarantee against rust 😉

    I hope to enjoy the sound again soon, as my car will (finally) have a ‘new’ (i.e. better) auto-gearbox in December…hopefully just before snowfall, so i can enjoy the other (electronic) gimmicks of the car, such as ABS and TCS (both working fine!).

  3. Living in northern Ohio, I’ve developed a hate for rust. I thought a stainless exhaust would last forever but my muffler is starting to peel off rusty layers and the flex pipe is broken at only 69k miles. I’ll weld in a generic flex pipe for the winter ($78 versus $420 for online Saab parts). But, the good new is I now have an excuse to buy a performance exhaust when the winter rust season is over.

  4. Rune why do You invite Lord Rust again? Rule No.1 when on new exhaust. Go Stainless. Most often the Ferrita or similar cost less then a French pressed thin muffler. Next time float the question among the SU people.
    Ferrita offers unlimited lifelong warranty to the first owner.

    • Yes, I regret the lack of research I did on this. My dealer ordered a third-party exhaust from meca.se. The original part is no longer available.

      Rogge told me to check skruvat.se which revealed two alternatives. The stainless version skruvat.se presented cost the same as the one I ended up with… (around 3700 SEK)

      I got burned the last time I went looking for a cheaper part (front left ABS sensor), so that is partly why I capitulated this time. Can’t win them all. 🙂

      • Try Raka Rör for stainless exhausts
        Nice people, nice prices and they have the parts that lets you build a 3″ stainless system.
        I don’t like the sound of stainless, and wanted a 3″, so I choose the JT which I got at a very nice price from my own sources

      • Should have done a sport exhaust…. factory exhaust is outsourced to the cheapest bidder…. Looks nice and clean for now! Glad that was your only rust issue.

  5. We recently discovered when changing to winter tyres on our older 9-5 that the exhaust system is very rusty. I have been looking at the BSR SportFlow 9-5 (2.5 inch sport exhaust system, which I think “9kCDGriffin” is referring to). Has anyone here any thoughts about it? It seems to be very good for the price.


    • I put the BSR exhaust on my ’95 9000 CSE and on a friends ’01 9-5 and was very impressed with fit, finish, and sound quality. Especially on the 9-5 it was a nice alternative for the hard to find Saab-Remus exhaust that I have on my 9-5 Aero. Stainless is the way to go.

      • I have had a BSR 2.5″ Sport Flow exhaust system under my 9000 2.3 FPT since March 2011. Quite satisfactory in terms of sound and performance, siginificantly cheaper than a standard exhaust system but it is NOT a stainless steel system. Neither is it presented as such by BSR.


    • the only drawback i had with my exhaust was that being designed to fit under a 9k CS, fitting the rear end was a bit tricky. i had to make a decision: to cut a bit more space out of my rear bumper or leave it as it was. i chose the last option. BTW: a member of Saabforum also fitted one under his 9k V6 having no problems with the rear part and the bumper (more space as a V6 has double pipes, hence more space to fit the BSR-pipe)

  6. You lucky guy. With my 1999 9-3, I am much more concerned with rust at the welded connection between two body sheets at the rear wheel arch (very close and presumably promoted by that small black trim panel). Not only have I seen these rust patches on many a 9-3 I, I also learned that repairing them might cost up to 500€ per side, and won’t last long anyway. So it now appears that this might turn out to be lifetime-limiting. Much worse than some exhaust parts, and I think unseen at Saabs of old.

    • Both my two front panels covering the wheel arches are beyond repair now. I hope there will be a Saab festival soon with some new 9000 body parts made available.

    • You should check with more people, I´m getting both mine done rather soon for 500 euro both sides. And that was the expencive option, changing the “dog-leg”. Even cheaper is to grind it down yourself and weld a seem with a mig or something. But then you´d have to see to it once a year or so, maybe grind and paint under the arch.

      • Will do. Actually tried to remove the rust on one side twice, but I just don’t have the time (and skills) to do it properly, and at the second time, after several weeks with a half-finished filler not quite properly ground, it started to rust again. I am totally over-worked.

        • ok, I understand, I grinded down my right rear temporarily until I was leaving it to a professional, and I´m sure many here are better at this then me, but I think it´s important to paint anti-rust paint (galvanise) and paint before the car leaves the garage. Also to make sure you remove every spot of rust.

    • …as long as the annual tax is paid of course. 🙂

      Next time I will haggle until offers of own throat being cut become evident.

  7. Interesting thread. I still have my original and complete exhaust, minus the honeycomb in the catalytic converter (software deleted as emissions controls are non-issues in this part of the world) and it gives better noise and breathing in my MY01 9-5 despite the fact that she was operated at the coast where the locals were paid a salt allowance in years circa 1980 for everything going bust with rust including the residents. That is 10 years ago and the original exhaust is still going strong in the 9-5 Aero 2001.

    Perhaps you should wish Lord Rust to pay Namibia a visit and leave mainland Europe residents alone!

    • On the other hand, you certainly have problem we don’t have in Europe, like in high temperatures, and bad roads? That might compensate for the rust ;-).

  8. Thylmyc, sure we do, the comment was more tongue in cheek then anything, but bad roads – not in this part of the world – we have some of the best similar to the autobahns in Germany, nanny a pot hole! Am not paving this country at all, but the infrastructure is top-notch similar to Botswana, it is just that this never get a mention and simply goes under the radar of journalists, which in hindsight is a good thing. High temperatures – in summer yes, sometimes up to 43 degrees Celcius, but my two Saab 9-5 Aero never had an issue, both now circa 235,000km and chewing up the miles. One publication in South Africa called the MY02 Saab 9-5 Aero the “overtaker and a consumate cruiser.” Very apt indeed.

  9. Thanks for your reply (that includes Brad’s). It sounds like it is a good exhaust system. However, I am a bit confused whether it is stainless or not. On BSR’s website it says:

    ”- Non-corrosive materials, chrome steel and 18/8 stainless steel for long durability.
    – Special non-corrosive clamps included.”

    What do they mean? Is it stainless or not? Is it ”semi-stainless”?

      • Chrome steel is not the same as stainless steel. It is corrosion-resistant but not corrosion-free. It takes quite a bit longer to rust through than mild steel (which most exhausts are made from) but it does rust, especially if it gets mechanically damaged, like scratched after hitting a speed bump or going through a pothole or if it has not been mounted properly so that it touches some other part of the car and gets scratched by moving interaction. Parts of the system apparently are made from S/S but the tubes and/or mufflers (don’t remember all that I was told about it…) are made from chrome steel. At least that’s how it was described to me. Anyway, my BSR SportFlow exhaust has been under the car for about 8 months now and doesn’t rust. Yet 😉 .

        BSR give a 5 year warranty against rusting through. Ferrita, a true S/S system, give a lifelong warranty. That should give you an idea. The difference in price tags may be a pointer as well.


        • Ok, that explains a lot. Thank you! 🙂 It seems to be a good idea to let the old exhaust system remain on the car during the winter with all the salty roads and let it rust a bit more (it is still intact, I think), and then buy a new exhaust system in the spring.

          However, I can’t really decide whether I want a 2.5 inch sport exhaust system or not. The BSR Sport Flow seems to give a lot of “bang for the buck” and it seems to have some advantages, like the engine being able to “breathe” better. I’m not sure if I’ll like the sound though… Is the Sport Flow much louder than the Saab original exhaust system?

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