Cadillac SRX Turbos recalled: blessing in disguise?

Stories are hitting the interwebs today about the recall that’s been issued for the Cadillac SRX – sister model to the Saab 9-4x – fitted with the 2.8T engine.

Earlier this year, one of our automotive colleagues, Saab owner and future film star Gunnar Heinrich, blew up a Cadillac SRX during a test drive. He accidentally filled the car up with regular fuel when it’s designed to run on premium. That was seen as a one-off, but now multiple owners of the SRX have done the same and a recall has been issued so that all owners can have their software recalibrated.

Apparently, the engineers dialled up the boost on the SRX’s engine software, probably so that it was capable of hauling around the bloated SRX’s huge weight. In order to do so, they slapped a “Premium Fuel Only” sticker on it that a number of customers have ignored, leading to them grenading the engine when running it on regular fuel.

This is the same engine that’s been running in the Saab 9-3 for several years without similar incident, but at 280hp rather than 300hp like in the SRX. It’s also the same engine that’s slated as being the Aero engine for the Saab 9-4x, which is why this could be a blessing in disguise.

We’ve all gone through the hand-wringing associated with the delayed release of the 9-4x but this episode with the SRX means that delay might turn out to be a good thing. Hopefully Saab can go to school on this and take actions to avoid similar problems when the 9-4x is launched in April next year.

Weight reduction? Better software?

Whatever the answer is, Saab have a chance to learn from it now and avoid the problems associated with a recall later on.

US: 2004 Saab 9-3 recall

via Consumer Reports:

GM is recalling over 14,000 Saab 9-3 sedans due to a problem with the seat belt retractors that could fail over time. The belt may not retract properly, thereby increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
Dealers will replace the driver’s-side retractor free of charge and will also replace the passenger retractors for 10 years from the date of sale.
Owners may go to gmownercenter.com for more information.

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I don’t know whether this should be applicable in other markets as well. From what I’ve heard, it’s not a recall item here in Oz.
Am not sure that a lack of retraction is less safe, really. More of an annoyance when you’re getting out of the car.
Thanks to Clive for the link.
If you’ve heard anything about this in your market, please let us know in comments.

More on the coolant expansion tank ‘recall’ for V6 Saab 9-3s

I wrote yesterday about a customer service recall (“campaign 15460”) that had been issued by Saab and noted at Saab Central.
I’ve received a couple of emails since, which have helped clear up the nature of the issue.
First of all, it’s important to stress that this is not a safety recall of any sort. This is a customer satisfaction campaign – it’s Saab noticing there’s a problem with the car and doing a voluntary campaign to replace the faulty part.
Kudos to Saab for that.
Second, last night I was unsure as to whether this was just a US campaign, or whether it was a wider initiative. It is definitely the latter. Here in Australia, Saab sent out a letter last Friday to owners who may be effected by the issue (namely, anyone with a V6 model 9-3).
Finally, I’ve also received a copy of the original Saab notice about this fault and the campaign they’ve got underway to rectify it.
Click to enlarge:
Coolant_Campaign.jpg
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Saab Australia have stressed to me via email the importance of ensuring your customer details are up to date on their databases so that they can let you know when campaigns like this are underway (which hopefully, they won’t have to do often).
If you buy a new car, they should have your information already. But what if you’ve moved house since then? It may be time to update your info.
Even if you buy a 2nd hand Saab, you can still have your details placed on their customer database in so that they can keep you in the loop if need be. It also helps at service time, too, as they’ll have your VIN and will know exactly what parts to order for the car.

Service recall for Saab V6 Aero owners – coolant tank

It seems there’s some sort of voluntary recall going on for the coolant expansion tanks in Saab 9-3s fitted with the V6 engine, both Aeros and Turbo Xs.
The full details are available over at Saab Central.
It seems to be a US thing at the moment. The recall number is #15460 and if you call Saab USA Customer Service and give them your VIN, they will check it and see if your car is covered.
Users over at Saab Central seem to be reporting satisfactory replacement of this item so far.
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This recall was issued in July 2009, though interestingly, our resident GM Master Tech, Tedjs, identified it as an ongoing issue back in February 2008.
It’s good to see it addressed.

Thanks to Sapan for the heads-up!

Saturday morning snippets – Saab 9000 interior reborn

Many many MANY thanks to Tiago for the new banner at the top of the site.
Groovy, huh?
There’s more where that came from, too 🙂
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1,000 words from Dan P on the 2010 Saab 9-5 interior.
Click to enlarge.
9-5v9000interior.jpg
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HD video of Marcus Gronholm conquering Pikes Peak in his 800hp, turbocharge 2 litre Ford.
Ford are really kicking some big goals during this automotive meltdown. They’ve recently announced some smaller four cylinder engines to be developed for family sedans, too. Another winning move, and in the Saab tradition I must say.
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Attention 2007 Saab owners:

The 2007 Saab 9-3 was being investigated after General Motors told the agency of “a certain number” of under-hood fires that apparently began near the ignition coil.

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This one’s of some concern.
It seems Saab’s advertising, in the UK at least, could still be done under the GM umbrella. Here’s hoping they have to go to Sweden for final approval.

General Motors UK has appointed McCann Erickson Birmingham to handle its retailer marketing account for Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet….
….The estimated value of the account is thought to be around £30m.
McCann’s Birmingham will be tasked to deliver all above and below the line national tactical and retailer communication activity for the three automobile brands, working alongside media agency Carat.
It will also be responsible for co-ordinating the marketing of 697 UK retailers and managing a team of regional marketing consultants.
It is understood that the advertising agencies for the specific carlines remain unchanged.

UK advertising has been a lot more palatable than some other regions, but still, retained associations with GM in almost any field seem to leave a bad taste in my mouth.
It also goes to show just how much money has to be poured into creating effective advertsing to sell cars. This is not a business for finger-snap solutions.

Are Saab having issues with Springs?

Mo has drawn my attention to a recent thread over at Saab Central where a number of Saab 9-3 SS and SC owners have realised they have something in common – snapping springs.
SaabSnappingSpring.jpg
There are at least half a dozen complainants there in that thread, and all entries are within the last month.
Complainants have had mixed success with getting their dealers to help out on the fix, but there’s a growing call there for a recall to be issued. Some are lodging receipts with the NHTSA in the United States to bring some more attention to the issue.
Some of these guys, in speaking to their mechanics about the spring problem, are finding out that the dealerships are changing multiple sets of springs per month.
I’m not one for creating a panic, but perhaps it would be prudent to get your post-2003 Saab 9-3 springs looked at and assessed.
And maybe Saab need to take a closer look at this, too. A broken spring at speed would be pretty nasty and would kill many years of safety leadership.

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