Saab 9-3 tuning magic by Hirsch

Have you seen the Hirsch 9-5 yet?
Accompanying that gorgeous black 9-5 SportCombi is this Lynx Yellow 9-3 Convertible.
It too has received the Hirsch tuning treatment, lifting its output to 275hp. It’s also got a set of lowering springs, 18-inch Hirsch Performance rims and the full leather treatment on the dash, doorhandles and handbrake.
Again, click to enlarge.

Saab iPod update

Yesterday I queried whether or not there was a bulletproof iPod solution for Saabs yet. The possible solution for OG9-3 and 98-05 Saab 9-5 drivers is the AudioTroll, however I didn’t announce it as being that bulletproof solution because I know there’s been various issues throughout its development and I was unclear on its current status.
I haven’t had any direct communication from Carl at GES, but from information over at the GES website and through several people in comments, it seems that those issues are largely overcome. The supply issue seems to be non-existent right now. It seems you can order now and get your shipping notice very quickly. The technical problems seem to be contingent on what type of iPod you’ve got so it may pay to check that out over at GES, but the latest revision of the technology seems to have addressed any early complaints.
You can check out the AudioTroll here. As I mentioned yesterday, fitted up and working it’s definitely the best iPod solution out there for OG9-3 and 9-5 owners.
What if you still have a tape deck? My car’s a 1999 model and it’s got a tape deck, so there’s a lot of what could be considered recent model vehicles that may still have one.
Jalopnik featured this mix of old and new technologies today.

It’s a tape adaptor that takes a flash card. You plug in your card, switch it on then insert it into your tape player. It runs on a battery, so you can also use it outside the car as a regular mp3 player, hence the headphones in the picture.
Old school cool….

BSR tune the Saab Turbo X

BSR have trumped Hirsch by being first to produce and officially market their tuning software for the Saab Turbo X or Saab XWD Aero.
The tuning upgrade produces 300hp and a massive 480Nm of torque. That’s up from the standard 280hp and 400Nm.
The tuning is via BSR’s ppc unit, which connects up to your car through the port just under your steering wheel. When you want to revert back to your factory settings, just plug it in again and wait.
Hirsch’s tune for the Turbo X will also produce 300hp but will top out at 430Nm in the torque department. It’s believed that tune will consist of a larger intercooler only. Uprated parts are needed to take things further but they won’t be ready for some time.
Hopefully we’ll hear from Hirsch soon.

Saab navigation problems

I don’t own a car with satnav. I live in a small city on an island and I own a street directory, so I’m ok. I’ve had the satnav discussion here before and now, after much deliberation and contemplation I’m quite set on the idea that factory satnav vs aftermarket satnav is a total no-brainer.
Aftermarket wins every time. It’s waaaaaaay less expensive, is easier to upgrade, and you can take it from car to car as you change your ride. Makes total sense.
If you’ve chosen integrated satnav then you’ve got the bonus of having it look very nice and blended with your interior. But the cost is rather prohibitive and it’s not just the cost of purchasing it, as Joe M let me know via email:
This is more than slightly annoying. I paid an additional $2,795 for my Saab’s navigation system (’07 9-5 Aero SportCombi) pushing the MSRP to almost $45K. This is one of GM’s highest priced passenger cars and by far the most expensive of all the navigation systems that GM offer (it’s the same exact Denso-sourced unit found in the Corvette, Cadillac STS, and the Cadillac XLR). The ’06 – ’08 9-3s and 9-7s share the same Delphi unit with one another and almost all other GM units.
For some reason, ALL run-of-the-mill Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Corvette et al driver gets two free disks, one on their first anniversary of ownership, the second disk on their second anniversary. Saab is not included in this complimentary upgrade program even though the ’06-’08 units are the EXACT same GM units, utilizing the exact same discs found in their lesser GM siblings’ dashes.
Is their any way to get GM to explain their alienation of some of their most discerning customers? Why do we have to shell out $200 per disc? Here are the FAQs:
Here’s the part number they want me to shell out $199.00 when my STS, Corvette, GP counterparts receive it free of charge in the mail. Click to enlarge.

Like I said, this whole things seems to need directions of its own.
I know some people like the integrated thing and I can see why. It’s not as practical but it is a touch more premium.
If my dealer were throwing in a Navman I’d be quite happy to spend my several-thousand-dollars on some other optioins. Everybody wins and I still get to find my way home.

A look inside the Saab V6 engine

Tedjs recently took us on a brief tour of the fuel injection system on the 2.8 V6 that powers the Saab 9-3 Aero. This time, he’s giving us a closer, more in depth look as he slowly takes a bit more of this engine apart.
TedJS is a GM World Class Technician and professorial type at Tri-C – a community college in Ohio.
Many thanks, Ted. These inside looks have been fantastic.
Click to enlarge.
The Saab version of the (GM) high feature V6 engine uses a fairly common DOHC setup with one camshaft actuating the intake valves and one actuating the exhaust valves. An advantage of a DOHC cam setup is that allows the use of a ‘Pentroof’ style combustion chamber in which the sparkplug is centrally located in the center of the combustion chamber which results in a more complete burn of the air/fuel mixture. The other advantage is that is helps to reduce the valvetrain mass (in comparison to pushrod setup) by having the camshaft essentially actuate each valve by acting right on or near the valve itself.
Saab V6
The spark plug is centrally located in-between the two intake and exhaust valves. You can see the bee-hive style variable rate valve springs as well as roller followers in contact with the camshaft that open and close the valve:
Saab V6

Read moreA look inside the Saab V6 engine

Saab 9-3 TTiD owner review

I’m pleased to be able to present this review, sent in by Stefan in Belgium.
I have very, very fond memories of the Swedish highway system thanks to a Saab 9-3 TTiD, one of which is Par Brandt from Auto Motor and Sport looking over and saying “we don’t overtake like that here…” 🙂
As I found out last July, the TTiD is one buttkicker of an engine. Stefan is finding that out himself right now!
Click any photos to enlarge.
In 2006 I bought my first Saab. A Chili Red 9-3 TiD (150 bhp) Vector Sport (with Aero trim). I loved the car but it lacked some power so I had it Hirsched. Unfortunately I totaled the car a month or two ago (very short story: I turned left and didn’t see the other car and got hit in the passenger side. Nobody got hurt, but my car was a total loss)
Saab TTiDLuckily I had ordered a 2008 9-3 Aero TTiD. Here in Belgium, you can only get the TTiD in Aero trim. Since I was used to the 175 bhp from my Hirsched 2006 9-3SS, this was the only choice.. And let me tell you, it’s a good choice!
It’s Jet Black with the brushed aluminum side mirrors, 18″ wheels, Black Premium Leather Seats, Navigation, BlueTooth, 300w Bose and some more. Since I make about 45000km/year with my car I decided to drive them in comfort and style.
This car is unbelievable! It drives like a 6 cylinder. It pulls from 1500rpm and doesn’t stop… It just keeps on going. The overtaking power is enormous.
Saab TTiD
Some may consider getting a Hirsched TiD but let me tell you, the TTiD is in a whole other league! The Hirsched TiD has some turbo lag, but the TTiD engine responds immediately if you push the throttle. No turbo-lag. Remember the sketch of an exhilarated driver Saab made a few years ago? That’s the feeling you get when you floor the throttle on this car…
Every minute I’m not driving it is a minute lost.
In the two weeks I’ve had the car, I’ve driven about 2500km. The changes they made are incredible. It’s much quieter, less wind and tire/tyre noise, no rattles or squeaks AT ALL! The steering feels a little more direct than the 2006 model. The suspension is great. The 2008 Aero sport suspension with 18″ wheels is more comfortable than the 2006 Aero sport suspension with 17″ wheels.
Saab TTiDI love the new interior. It’s very clean and organized. While waiting for my new car, I drove my parents BMW 525D and I hated the interior: Too many small buttons, too many places to get your information. I spent more time looking which button to push than looking through my windshield.
At first I (as many) was a bit skeptical about the new interior, but it’s great. I even love the “batwing” steering wheel. Also the interior is a lot better put together than my previous car. The dual exhaust makes a very nice sound. You can hear it growl for more.
The only downside about the car is that it’s not possible to get XWD on a diesel engine. I would’ve bought it in a heartbeat. I would love to have 400Nm and 180 bhp on 4 wheels and I know I’m not the only one. It would definitely sell in Europe. Hopefully Saab is clever enough to make it available in the near future.
If you get a chance, go and test drive this car…
Saab TTiD

BSR tuning for Saab 9-3 TTiD

Swedish tuners and makers of the easiest re-tune module going around, BSR, have added the new Saab TTiD to their list, to awesome effect.
In standard form, the Saab 9-3 TTiD produces 180hp and 400Nm. I drove one of these in Sweden last year at the 9-3 launch and it was pure joy with its dual sports exhaust growling like no other diesel I’d ever driven.
BSR tuneBSR’s new tune will boost the TTiD to 213hp and 450Nm. As you can see on the dyno chart (click to enlarge) the torque is all available down low where you need it.
This gives the TTiD driver a 20% reduction in getting up to overtaking speed, from 80km/h to 140km/h in just 9.1 seconds in fourth gear (vs 11.5 in standard tune). From 80km/h to 110km/h in third takes just 3.3 seconds.
If you’re unfamiliar with BSR’s stuff, I’ve written about them plenty of times (here, for example). The beauty of the BSR system is that there’s no need to remove your ECU as a part exchange or send it away for re-flashing. The BSR unit connects to your car via cable and downloads the tune information directly. When you want to return your car to it’s original tune, you just hook it up again and away you go.
BSR do tuning for a huge rage of vehicles and their units are available at their own website, or Saab tunes only at Elkparts. There’s a video at the Elkparts link to show how the whole system works.
Thanks Turbin!

Saab 9-3 Viggen Review

Continuing the weekend’s Viggen love-fest…..
If you own or otherwise love the Saab 9-3 Viggen then you’re going to find at least the first part of this review difficult. You may even want to throw something at the screen. Hang in there.
It gets better. Much better, in fact.
The following comes from Fifth Gear’s Modern Classics section.
The previous generation Saab 9-3 will never go down in history as one of the all-time great classics. Indeed, in Saab circles, the car is positively frowned upon for not having the requisite weirdness, longevity or left-of-centre image as the brand would have liked. Then, of course, there was the simple and unavoidable fact that, under the skin, there lurked the platform and basic running gear of a 1988 Vauxhall Cavalier. Not even a Vectra, but the five-door hatchback beloved of minicab drivers, banger racers and Ispon P40-wielding wheelarch repair fanatics.
To fans of the marque, the previous 9-3 was what could be deemed ‘not a proper Saab’. egatives aside, though, let’s look at what the car did have going for it. First of all, the wheelarches weren’t as rot prone as those on a Cavalier. Secondly, by the time the 9-3 debuted in 1998, there had been some major tweaks to ensure the original platform was at least capable of mixing it with modern traffic, unlike the outwardly identical 900, which used unmodified Cavalier running gear.
Saab 9-3 ViggenThird, and perhaps most importantly, was that despite the creativity-crushing presence of parent firm General Motors (a wilderness that, thankfully, the US giant appears to be slowly withdrawing from), there was still a bunch of hardy enthusiasts plucking away at keeping the traditional virtues of the Saab brand alive and well.
These were men who remembered the days when the 99 and 900 Turbo models not only introduced the world to affordable, accessible turbocharged saloon cars, but also gave a rip-roaring debut to the delights of torque steer, neck-snapping turbo lag and the adrenaline rush of driving a car that, although flawed, was brutally quick and utterly exhilarating.
By day, these same men were churning out interior redesigns to try and disguise the switchgear of old Vauxhalls on silver diesel-powered rep-spec 9-3 hatchbacks, but by night they were busy working on a car that would share its name (and performance characteristics) with a fighter jet.
The work of this covert performance division finally resulted in the 9-3 Viggen, which made its debut in 1999.
Power came from a heavily tweaked version of the 2.3-litre engine used in top-of-the-range 9-3s (and, refreshingly in a GM-policed environment, still exclusive to the Swedish maker), while visual identifiers were suitably subtle, yet noticeable.

Read moreSaab 9-3 Viggen Review

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