Fix for 9-5 lightbar problems…

You may remember the article I wrote about a year ago about the LED-bar for 2010 on 9-5. dsc_1195
I guess the problem with a burned out LED-bar is something we 9-5 owners will experience once or more times in the lifespan of the car. The part is “NLS”(No Longer Supplied) by Orio, and as I understand they will not produce a replacement in the future.

Why the LED-bar burns out is the question many of us ask ourselves, but I haven’t got a 100% answer to that. In my opinion is  it one ting we easy can do to extend the lifespan for the LED-bar;  preventing moisture in the LED-bar. What I had done in addition to new gaskets is to place two small dehumidifier bags (about 10x10cm) in the luggage compartment, behind the covers for the tail-lamps. I just attach them to the bodywork with a strip of tape, and since I start doing this I haven’t noticed any moisture in the LED-bar at all.

Maybe the 9-5 owners worst nightmare...
Maybe the 9-5 owners worst nightmare…

But if you stand with there with a burned out LED-bar, what to do? The answer is pretty obvious – if you can’t buy a new one, repair your broken unit!

I would like to make a summary of those I know repair the LED-bar, the list is NOT complete so if you know about other – please let me know!
There are also a few dealers that I know that have their own exchange-system, if not I’m sure they will help you to mail in your LED-bar.

  • OBD TuningKarlstad, Sweden
    Mail-in-for-repair http://www.obdtuning.se/sv-SE/reparationer/saab/9-5-6662621 (only Swedish language)
  • Logan DiagnosticFranklin TN, USA
    Have a partnership with Orio NA, they also fix 3rd brake light and tail lamps. Mail-in-for-repair.
    Logan Diagostic specializes in repair of GM automotive lightning products. http://ledfix.com/ledreplacements.html
  • eSaabpartsUSA
    Sells the “Aaron DIY-kit”. It is just what it sounds like, a DIY-kit for those of you that will fix the LED-bar yourself.
    eSaabparts ships only to US, but if you go to the website you will find Aarons contact-info if you scroll to the bottom of the page – and I’ll guess he will ship worldwide. https://www.esaabparts.com/95ng-led-fix/
  • Henrik BlomSweden
    Developing a brand new kit. This kits will be delivered with pre-assembled cards and cables, if you never have soldered before you don’t need to worry about that. Everything is done considering making it as easy as possible, but for those of you that feels unsafe to cut out the old cards there will be possible to send in the LED-bar for repair.
    Henrik has also promised a extra function for the LED-bar, more info will come later when the kit is ready to be sold.

9-5 Lightbar thoughts

Great when the lightbar is working - capture from last evenings drive.
Great when the lightbar is working – capture from last nights drive.

As we all know the lightbar on the “new” 9-5 is a part that often fail, and what is more annoying then a dark lightbar?
There are many theory about this issue, what cause them? Some say temperature, some say bad components or vibrations – I myself have a theory that the most common cause for failure is moisture in the lightbar. My first guess was cracks in the lightbar, since I saw many cars with “foggy” lightbars, but after some investigations and some discussions with 9-5 owners I circle in the problem to be the gasket. My thought was first that Saab had chosen a gasket that was in one piece, and that the wiring that go into the lightbar was more “closed”. To my surprise the the lightbar itself was very poorly encapsulated, and the gasket was in many different small pieces, seven in total.
So when I bought my 9-5 the very first thing I did (after washing it) was to go to ANA in Trollhättan and asked for a gasket kit. From I bought it to now I have noticed “fog” in the lightbar two times, the first time was after a wash on a very warm day, the other time was after a period of heavy rain. So yesterday I had some time over, and decided to change the gasket. It’s not so much to say, if you look at the pictures you will see that there are three critical points at the lightbar. The first is the point where the wiring from the lightbar meets the cars harness in the tailgate – there is a BIG open hole, probably because of the gasket. The was I see it would it been no problem to make his hole smaller, with a small seal for the few wires. The next problem is around the two clips in the ends of the lightbar. Why not mold the plastic in one piece with the clip on top, or maybe use screws like the mounting point in the middle to make this more moisture-proof? There is room enough for a 10mm nut, and tools for fasten the nut…

9-5_lightbar

So how to dissemble the lightbar? It is pretty straight forward, first you use a thin flat screwdriver to careful remove the plastic cover over the tailgate lock, then you loosen two 7mm nuts for the inside handle. A long 7mm socket are preferred here. Then you remove the clips that hold the cover to the tailgate. Use the little flat screwdriver and careful remove the clips in two steps. First the top that “locks” the clip, then the part that goes up in the tailgate. Now you remove the connector to the lightbar, and then ypu remove five 10mm nuts. Now you are at the tricky part, press together the clips in the end of the lightbar. I end up using a angled radio plier (see the red plier on the lightbar-picture), and pressed in center of the clip. I also use a plastic tool (the blue tool) to help freeing the lightbar. The best tip I can give you if this is something you want to do at your own, be patient and take it easy so you don’t break anything.

As you see are the gasket pretty deformed, and all of the – in my eyes, critical ones are not laying correct. One final step to do before assembling the lightbar again is to inspect the area around the lightbar for rust. Sadly, the lightbar has a bad fit and with that result that the lightbar squeak against the paint. At four points the paint was gone, but no rust as I could see. So I took my touch-up paint and put some new paint on, hopefully will this preventing it from rust. I also sanded the plastic at the lightbar down at the points where it had hit the paint. So now I hopefully have stopped the moisture to get inside my lightbar, but I guess this is something I have to do in a couple of years again – just to be at the sure side.

So what will this cost? The gasket kit cost about 300 SEK (~US$ 35) in Sweden. P/N of the kit is 13321835. If you use your local garage for the job I guess they will charge you a hour or so for this job.

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