Saab O The Week – Truth in plates

Has there ever been a band called The Hotness? We had The Darkness a few years ago. Why not The Hotness?
This one was spotted by Mats, at the shopping center just outside of Trollhattan, I’d say. As an owner of a similar vehicle, all I can say is a big, hearty AMEN.
Click to enlarge.
Still with the family visit. Around 6 hours of internet downtime didn’t help today, either.
Mike900 – I have sprayed my nuts. Will be having a crack tomorrow. (That’ll make sense to him.)
If you’re in the US, please check with your Saab dealer to see if they will remain as a Saab dealer and add the results of that enquiry here. And yes, I’ve seen the Brewer decision and no, it’s not decent in any sense of the word.

Saab Washer Fluid and Maptun Air Filter – done

Tonight I managed to squeeze in a couple of the jobs I told you about last night – fitting the Maptun air filter and filling up with the Saab washer fluid.
Maptun Air Filter
It was definitely time to change the stock filter as it was quite dirty at one end. As expected, the Maptun unit fitted straight in and I was off for a drive.
Once again, like the BSR open unit I had before, there seems to be a slight increase in urgency, though that may be psychological. I did take the car on a good sprint before changing over, though, and another one straight after. I therefore think my conclusions are reasonably objective as I was driving in the same conditions both times.
Any increase is marginal, at best. Still, it’s good to have it in there and know that I won’t have to think about it again for a while.
The other good news is that the irritating noise that got me to pull out the BSR unit hasn’t made a return with the Maptun unit. One thought that crossed my mind with that noise is that it could have been a minor split in an air hose somewhere and the noise was accentuated by the increased airflow. It hasn’t returned, though, so I think I must have got one made late on a Friday afternoon.
The BSR unit feels solid and there’s no splits anywhere as far as I can tell. I’ve heard good things from everyone else about them but unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to have worked for me. I’ll definitely miss the noise.
Saab Washer Fluid
The Saab washer fluid comes in a concentrate form and costs just A$10 here, so it’s very good value for money.
This is pretty clever stuff, actually. The fluid concentrate has got a high alcohol content. This will not only prevent your washer fluid from freezing in the winter, but it also means quick, streak free drying when you actually use it. The fluid has a lubricant in it, too. Modern Saab washer systems have a one-way valve in them and the lubricant in the fluid keeps this valve in good working condition.
Oh yeah, and it cleans the glass pretty darn well, too.
The before shot from my little snap test this evening:
And the after shot…. pretty clear though a few stubborn spots remain as this car hasn’t been cleaned in some time (and I need to clean the inside glass, too)
The part number for the Saab washer fluid is 12799116 and if you quote that to your local Saab accessories place, they should be able to put their hands on it pretty quick. At $10 here in Oz, it’s pretty cheap and I imagine it’s equally good value where you live.
Though there is one issue……
A note to Saab about this fluid bottle
This is a concentrate, but I couldn’t find any instructions on the bottle as to the right ratio I was supposed to use to mix it.

I looked in my owner’s manual and whilst it recommended the use of the genuine Saab fluid, it didn’t mention a ratio, either. It just said to follow the instructions on the bottle (or box). The washer fluid reservoir is 4.7 litres so I just guesstimated that around 300-400ml would do the trick
I received my bottle as you see it there. Maybe when you get it over the counter it comes in a box with the instructions printed on it.
I think it’d be a good idea to have the mixing instructions on the actual bottle, too, because there’s a distinct possibility that some buyers would throw the box away after opening it.
Just a suggestion.

New to the SU labs

I’ve had a few things float into the SU garage in the last few days.
With the extra daylight we’re enjoying at the moment, I’m hoping to try out all this stuff in the next few days and report back on how it goes. Some of it’s general car care and some of it upgrades. Best of both worlds.
Here’s almost all of it.
Saab Leather Care Lotion
Sent to me by Saab Australia.
One of the great points of shame in my automotive life at the moment is the fact that I’ve only cleaned up the Monte Carlo once since I bought it back in January. It’s well and truly in need of a wash, polish and detail.
This will hopefully do a good job on the seats. I tried Autoglym stuff back when I had the Viggen and didn’t rate it very highly.
Saab washer fluid
Again, sent to me by Saab Australia. I normally just top up the filler bottle with plain water, so this will be a bonus. And judging by the condition of our 9000’s windscreen, we kinda need it, too.
Maptun Sports Air Filter
Ordered by me and arrived yesterday thanks to Saabill, who had it thrown in with the Maptuner and new airbox he got for his new ’07 Saab 9-3.
Taliaferro sway bar
The silver bar in the background of those photos is my 22mm sway bar for the Monte Carlo. It arrived today and is a very impressively finished and HEAVY piece of kit.
With the Aussie dollar as strong as it is at the moment, it was a no-brainer purchase.
I’ll get these installed or used in the next few days so there’ll be plenty to talk over in the next week or so.
Anyone got any regular products they like for the leather cleaning and window washing functions?

Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo update

The 99T isn’t the only ongoing project around here at SU central….
I’ve had my 1999 Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo for almost a year now and it’s been a very enjoyable ride. There’s a few things that have proven to be very satisfying about this car.
Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo
The main one, for me at least, is that I was always interested in owning one of these from the first time I ever saw one. It’s great to fulfill a particular Saab ownership dream.
Like many automotive dreams, however, the real thing proved to be not quite as good to drive as the mental image I’d formed in my mind (hello, Porsche 944). So as with the Viggen that came before it, I’ve set out to improve the car – and I think it’s working.
Things done so far…..
Front subframe brace – easy to fit, made by a Saab mate here in Australia (Aussielars). A subtle piece of kit that I need to re-torque as we speak.
Steering rack clamp and brace – the #1 essential upgrade every owner of this generation of car should do. Minimises torque steer to the point where you forget what it is.
Viggen springs and dampers – These aren’t as good as Konis, but the price was right and they’re much much better than the old saggy suspension that was in the car when I bought it.
Open air filter – easy fitting, loved the sound, am unclear about the effects but the unit starting making a vibrating sound I didn’t like. Stock air filter now re-fitted, awaiting upgrade next week.
Hirsch ECU – My first experience with an ECU upgrade and I’ve absolutely loved it!! The extra performance was instantly noticeable and turned the car from being adequate to very, very satisfying indeed.
The Hirsch ECU has been a blast, but in what I suspect is true tuner fashion, I’ve recently been looking elsewhere. Just for that little bit more.
Whilst visiting with the Maptun guys in Sweden a few months ago, they hooked me up with one of their Stage 1 ECUs so I could try it out. I finally got to fitting it to the car last week and right now I’m one very happy camper. The car’s spooling up even quicker at this point and puts a smile on my face every time I hit the accelerator. I like it so much, in fact, that I’m now putting an order in for a Stage 3 version so I can get just that little bit more – again.
As mentioned, the Hirsch ECU has been fantastic, but they don’t support my model car anymore as they deal with current generation Saabs as Saab’s official tuning house. If I want to take this car a little further – and I do – then I’m more than happy to do it with Maptun.
Of course, all this means I need to a little more work to get the full value out of the Stage 3 setup.
So, in order to improve the handling a bit, I’ve followed Mike900’s lead and placed an order for a 22mm sway bar from Taliaferro. My UPS tracking number tells me that one’s just left Kentucky and is on it’s way here 🙂
I also ordered one of Maptun’s new drop-in sports air filters, which has arrived here in Tassie and is now sitting at Saabill’s place (he ordered one of the new Maptuner upgrades for his new 2007 Saab 9-3). I’ll get that one on Monday.
The final piece of the puzzle will be a new exhaust system, which I’m still contemplating at this point. I’ll definitely get one, it’s just a matter of checking the bank account and seeing where it might come from. That’ll probably happen early next year.
I think that should probably be enough tweaking, but you never know.
I’ll post the next round of upgrades as they happen, but at least you know the plan.

Monday Night Snippets – small world edition

Gasgoo report that Beijing Automotive, who are mostly known for their heavy machinery rather than passenger cars in the Chinese market, are planning to launch their own ‘Beijing’ branded passenger cars next year.

The partner of Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Co, BAIC will unveil several of its own passenger car models at the Beijing motor show next April, the source said, and plans to begin commercial production later in 2010.
BAIC will revive its own brand named Beijing for the models, which will include medium and high-end sedans, SUVs and hybrid vehicles, according to the source.
The Beijing badge was created in 1958 but graced only a handful of cars due to limited production.

Anyone want to place best on what those medium and high-end sedans look like?
There have been plans mentioned for BAIC to licence Saab’s outgoing 9-5 model and possibly even the previous generation Saab 9-3 for the Chinese domestic market.
Both are very competent cars that could be produced cost effectively there. I guess we’ll have to wait until April to see how that pans out, and how well the plan is received.
TTELA report that the Projekt Trifuel cars shown at Gothenburg last week have been very well received and that ANA has received significant interest in the cars, mainly from government institutions as the infrastructure is not ready for mainstream consumer use.
The Tri-fuel cars are ones that ANA (the big Saab dealership in Trollhattan) will convert to run on Biogas, which is a methane gas extracted from organic waste. The Biogas tanks will be added to the rear of the car and the cars will maintain their capability to run on gasoline or E85 like a normal Saab BioPower model.
It’s important to note that the project is not one of Saab’s doing, but is an aftermarket initiative by ANA.
How’s this for a small-world tale?
Via email this morning from TonyVee……

Today I had the extreme pleasure of meeting two of your countrymen. I run a bookstore for a living here in the states and a customer came in a bought some books. He was having trouble getting the change right, at this point he said he was here from Snydey and didn’t understand our money. I told him I sorta had an acquaintance from Tasmania. Well, from that point on we had one helluva conversation about Saabs. He owns a 9-3 Monte Carlo and a 900. We talked about K-Segg, Saab, Volvo, and of course how lovely The Aussie country is.

There were only 50 Monte’s bought into Australia. Mine is #9.
What are the chances the owner of another one would would into a bookstore on the other side of the world and get into a Saab conversation with the owner, who happens to tune in here?

Concerns with my air filter….

Some of you may know that I recently installed a Hirsch uprated ECU and a new, open air filter in my 1999 Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo (2.0 HOT Trionic 5).
Saab Air Filter fitting
I’ll be swapping out the Hirsch ECU shortly to give a 225HP unit from Maptun a test drive for a few weeks, but I’m wondering if I should swap out my air filter at the same time. The air filter has been an absolute blast to have fitted to the car, but it’s exhibiting one particular trait that’s not only a little annoying, but is also causing me some concern.
Ever heard of Gumleaf music? Ever blown a stream of air along the edge of a sheet of paper? If so, then you’ll know the behaviour and associated noise I’m talking about. It’s not that my air filter sounds like a Cockatoo, but the principle upon which gumleaf music is possible – it’s the vibration from the filter that I’m talking about.
I’m not sure whether I’ve fitted the filter incorrectly – maybe too tight or too loose – but at certain levels of airflow, it stops its normal, addictive Darth Vader soundtrack and vibrates with a resonance that’s rather loud and disconcerting.
The noise isn’t the major problem. What I’m worried about is (my theory only and totally unproven) the possibility that the vibrations causing the noise could be shaking the paper in the filter so much that some of the particles that it’s designed to catch could be let loose to fly into my intake.
Misplaced concerns?
As I said, I love the air filter. I honestly don’t know if it helps with the car’s performance or not and if so (or not), then the effect either way is marginal, at best. What I love about it is the sense of theatre that it lends to the driving experience. It’s great to hear all that air rushing in.
But if there’s a chance that it’s doing damage due to either being a faulty unit or me installing it incorrectly, then I’ve got to get it sorted. I’ve not heard any similar complaints from others. In fact, I’ve read nothing but praise from happy customers about this item, so I’m quite sure it’s a case that’s distinct to my car and filter.
Any advice based welcome…..

Fitting an air filter to my Monte Carlo

I’ll return to all the news stuff shortly, but for a moment I’d like to get to some more home-based stuff – the reason why sites like this actually exist – the joy of driving and playing with our Saabs.
The latest little enhancement to my Monte Carlo occurred last weekend and it’s one that I’m very pleased with.
Last month I purchased this BSR/Speedparts air filter kit from Elkparts. Being July, it took a little time to arrive as most of Sweden shuts down for the summer holiday. It arrived eventually, though, and I’m very pleased it did.
The instructions that come with the filter have apparently improved in the last few years, but are still pretty brief. It’s not a difficult job, but here’s my own step-by-step process.
I’ve finished it off with a little review at the end. Click the images to enlarge.
Here’s what we’re working on. The big black box to the left of the engine bay houses the factory air filter.
The first thing you need to do is disconnect the filter from the pipe to the right. Just loosen the circular clamp and it’ll slip off pretty easily.

Read moreFitting an air filter to my Monte Carlo

Another Monte Carlo found….

I do not intend to bother you with every Monte Carlo that I – or others – see on our travels around Australia, but I do intend to share Saab Stories where they exist, and such is the case here with the discovery of Monte Carlo #23.
If you’re not in-the-know, there were only 195 Monte Carlo yellow Saab 9-3s made in this particular 1999 configuration, which were called a Saab 9-3 Monte Carlo here in Australia and a Saab 9-3 SE Sport elsewhere. Australia got 50 of them and they were all individually numbered. Mine is #9.
The story of #23 is a nice Saab discovery story and it’s best told by the man involved, Peter W.
Peter got in touch with me after Googling his car for some more information about it and landing on my previous writings about this model at Trollhattan Saab. He lives in Australia’s capital city, Canberra.

My name is Peter W, and I’m the very recent aquirer of SAAB Monte Carlo #23.
I haven’t owned a SAAB before and only noticed this one for sale while browsing the local newspaper. I had the urge for something different after driving mostly utes, vans and trucks for years. There are a few other cars in the garage already. I have a (neglected) Riley, a 68 XT Ford Fairmont with Clev351, 4spd, susp etc, as well as an AU Ford V8 1-tonne ute, a Mercedes Sprinter (ex-ambulance) and a Ford Trader pantec for work…… oh, also an old Harley. All are registered except for the Riley (& spare car).
There’s not too much luxury on that list, so the small Saab ad drew my curiosity….. and research, which is where I found the Trollhattan site archives amongst other Monte Carlo stuff.
When I saw the car on Thursday evening I was most impressed. I should say at this point that some of my family are rather fanatical Saab owners, so I knew a little about them, though I hadn’t owned one myself.
The owner for the last two years was a very straightlaced immigration department employee who was being posted to Shanghai for 3 years…. in 3 weeks time, so he had to sell (albeit very reluctantly) and was asking $9,400 for his very high kms Monte (230k!!). It may have covered some miles, but it’s still in fantastic condition. It’s never been smoked-in, the jack and tools were still in their original plastic. The silver wheel nuts are unmarked.
The logs and original receipts show that the car was bought new by Wollongong University on a fleet plan with a garage address at Williamsdale, a small hamlet south of Canberra. It was driven by Mike Codd, the Chancellor of Wollongong Uni, who is also on the Qantas board, is an ex-Secretary with the Prime Minister’s Dept etc, so it was presumably used to ‘commute’ between Canberra and Wollongong a lot.
I checked a few sites with regard to common faults and problems and found the only thing that seems prone to failure is some missing pixels from the display, though all are working OK on mine. I offered him $8,000 which he accepted and I took delivery over the weekend.
The verdict – I SMILE everytime I look at it. I’m an INSTANT CONVERT after only 150 kms travelled!
Its a five-door hatch with a 5 speed manual so it has the H.O.T. 147kw motor… luvly, luvly. Coincidentally, the only external damage is bumper knock to the RH front, almost identical to that on yours. The headlight wipers and rear window ‘squirter’ don’t work but all else is as-new.
Recent receipts show replacement of a computer component at almost $3k, and surprisingly the welding repair of a cracked bulkhead in ’07 at nearly 200,000kms that the dealer did under warranty. They said it was something that shouldn’t happen, so didn’t charge (This was/is a recall issue – SW).
The original three-spoke alloy wheels might be poo-poo’d by some other subscribers for being only 16″, but just cruise past a glass building or shopfront with them and the reflection of the moving spokes is bloody spectacular…. I’m already quite biased here.
The Monte will be going to live in my old man’s garage for a few weeks until I can make undercover space available. Even though he’s in his late 70’s now, he’ll be out there polishing and slapping on the Armour-All until it shines even more. That’ll make up for not having it at hand right away.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for pre-providing so much info and on-line enthusiasm, making my research and purchase so satisfying. I realise I might be in for some expensive upkeep with a car with so many miles on it, so may well be needing advice or contacts in the future.
Regards from a (new) fellow Monte Carlo owner…. Pete W

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