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!

No V6 for the Saab 9-3 in 2010? (reprise)

This re-post is sparked by a comment by “JV” today:

….The 2010 9-3 models will only be available with the 1.9TTid, 1.8t, 2.0t, and 2.0T. The XWD versions will only be available with the 2.0T engine. This is to comply with EU CO2 rules.
The Australian sourced V6 will therefore be discontinued for the 2010 model year onwards. If you want the V6 FWD or XWD in your 9-3, get it now because it will be gone after next year(Assuming there is a next year).

And an addendum:

The V6T will only be offered on the 2010 9-5. It is probably as it should be. Take note that all photos of the 2010 9-3X are with the 2.0T badging. This is not coincidence.
There is still a year left though. Perhaps they will allow the V6T in markets such as the US where CO2 rules are…well, non existent. I doubt it though because the cost to carry that expensive engine in one or two markets only would be very high.

To provide a little background information about this, I’d like to draw you back to two entries I did at Trollhattan Saab last year.
Djup Strupe and the Saab 9-3:

Heard from some reliable sources that there is talk, (or already even determined?) that there will be no v6 in the 9-3. Low volume and emissions being the reason. Originaly planed to be updated to the v6 today in the insignia. Now, its scratched. Is this the last year you can order a v6 in the small Saab?

and More Djup Strupe and the Saab 9-3:

As I understood the current 9-3 won’t get a facelift as previously planned. And it is the current 9-3 that you wont be able to get with a V6 in 2010. I asked and was told that this was the final year with the V6 in the 9-3. It was planned that the Insignia V6 would go into the 9-3, but that plan has been cancelled due to low demand, and probably due to the cost of getting it certified in the 9-3. And as I understand it, the current V6 is being made in too few numbers.
The next 9-3 wont, as some people wrote, fit a V6. The global compact (delta) has no V6.

These entries were from October 2008 and this latest information seems to confirm what we were told back then.
With the new 9-5 coming, it probably makes a lot of sense. It’s also a nice nod to the Saab ethos of turbocharged fours that their base model of the time would offer just that engine.
Hopefully they might upgrade the four cylinder in the 9-3, though, so that it makes a bit more power for the upper-level models. One of those DI-turbo engines might be nice.

Saab Australia – XWD now on offer for 2009

Further to my news about the Melbourne International Motor Show and Saab’s improved diesel and BioPower offering here in Australia, there’s another release about the availability of XWD for 2009.
In summary:
* XWD is coming, though it’s only mentioned in terms of the V6 (i.e. no 2.0T availability)
* The eLSD is not standard, but part of an upgrade pack
* V6 engine is the higher-rated 206kW version, with 400Nm
* Pricing starts at around $79K
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Saab Introduces Upgraded V6 Engines and New Cross Wheel Drive Models
Saab9-3V6XWD.jpg Saab’s widely-acclaimed all-wheel-drive system – Saab XWD (cross wheel drive) – is given broader appeal and is now available in the latest 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan and SportCombi models.
Premiering at the Melbourne International Motor Show later this month, these new models feature the cutting-edge XWD system which has been specifically tuned for the Saab 9-3 chassis and fully exploits the power of an upgraded 2.8-litre V6 turbo engine delivering 206kW* (increased from 188kW*) and an impressive 400Nm* (increased from 350Nm*) of torque (convertible torque figure increased to 370Nm*).

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2009 Saab 9-3 Aero with XWD – Auto123 review

Auto123 have published a pretty good, slightly frustrating, somewhat baffling and downright staggering review of the 2009 Saab 9-3 Aero. Most of all, it’s a good review, though.
It’s looking good in red, though I must admit I’m wondering what a darker red would look like on this car. Anyway…..
2009-Saab-9-3-Aero-XWD.jpg
The review is quite good in that the reviewer is very enthusiastic about the car. He covers pretty much all areas of the car and has a lot of good things to say.

Let’s make it clear: a Saab is not your Average Joe’s car. A bit like Ferraris, each model from this Scandinavian automaker has unique little quirks which require some getting used to. Brand faithful have no problem with that, while everybody else fumes…..
….Up until now, I would have never imagined that a Saab interior could be as quiet as a BMW 335i’s. Furthermore, when I first sat behind the wheel of the 2009 9-3 Aero XWD, I expected to feel overwhelming torque steer, especially when the turbo kicks in. My fears were quickly dispelled.

This sort of positivity permeates the review, and that’s the slightly frustrating part of things.
Almost all recent reviews of the Saab 9-3 have been pretty positive. The main complaint is pricing, but everyone appreciates the driving characteristics of the car, especially the XWD system.
What’s frustrating about that is Saab really do have a good car on their hands right at the time when their existence is so tenuous. GM haven’t given Saab adequate resources to market it and now all this talk of a Saab sale is going to drown out any positives that the cars themselves might provide.
The somewhat baffling part is the reviewer’s awarding of only 3.5 stars for safety. A five star rating from the actual safety agencies and multiple Safety Pick awards from the IIHS aren’t good enough for ya?
The staggering part is pretty well summed up at the end of the review:

During my road test, I came across another Saab 9-3 Aero owner who, much to my surprise, claimed that he was disappointed. According to him, the car has one major shortcoming that ruins the entire experience. It’s a “design flaw” that reportedly makes you forget about the incredible handling, clever ergonomics, orthopedic front seats and great build quality: the trunk!
The man argued that four golf bags can’t fit in the back of the car.

As the author has mentioned, the fact that a once-a-week hobby could override a seven-days-a-week enjoyment is just stupid.
Don’t his friends have vehicles, too? Can’t they carry their own bags? Did you size up the trunk before you bought?
Sometimes I think our expectations as lazy fat-arsed gimme-gimme-gimme consumers are just way out of whack.

Saab 9-3 XWD tuning by Hirsch

Hirsch have finally lifted the covers of their upgrade package for the Saab 9-3 2.8 XWD. This tuning package will suit the Turbo X as well as Aero models with XWD. This tune is obviously for 2008 models, but I’m told that it will be the same package for 2009 models as well.
Using UK prices, the Hirsch tune comes in at GBP1,733.00, which includes VAT but doesn’t include installation. That’s definitely at the high end of the market, but it’s also at the highest end of the quality spectrum, too.
Hirsch XWDThe Hirsch XWD upgrade includes new software as well as a new intercooler and air filter housing. The output of you engine goes from 280hp to 300hp and torque rises from 400Nm to 430Nm. Top speed is still governed, but is lifted from 250km/h to 260km/h.
The tuning packages from Hirsch make for a very, very entertaining Saab. 20hp and 30Nm look like modest gains on paper, but (as always) it’s the way the car delivers the power that matters. With a Hirsch tune, the car becomes more responsive and aggressive when called upon. It’s not just the numbers at the upper limits that change, it’s the way it’s delivered.
Have a look at that dyno chart. The factory XWD tuning delivers maximum torque at 2500rpm. With the Hirsch tune, you get your response much quicker. The old torque max of 400Nm comes online at around 1750rpm and the new maximum of 430Nm kicks in at 2,000rpm, and it’s still carrying more than 400Nm right through to around 5200rpm. It’s a much more effective power band, making for a truly exhilarating drive.
Of course, the biggest thing about tuning your Saab via Hirsch is that you retain your original Saab factory warranty. I’ve heard good things about other tuners and know a lot of people that use their modifications, but only Hirsch allow you to keep your warranty.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a market where Hirsch can sell you something, then check out their stuff for yourself. It’s the best there is in terms of both performance and support.

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.
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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

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2008 Saab Turbo X vs Saab 9-3 Aero XWD

I got an email last Friday from Saab USA. They’re concerned that there’s still confusion about the Saab Turbo X and the email had a presentation attached.
The presentation shows how, as an enhanced model, the Saab Turbo X is a greater special edition than the 9-3 Viggen was relative to the OG 9-3. This is a reasonable thing to discuss and shouldn’t be devalued, but devalue it a little I must, as it completely misses the point.
No-one’s shopping the Turbo X against a Viggen, so whilst that discussion will be a good one for a future Saab Owner’s Convention, it’s of limited relevance in the here and now. The one question people want answered about the Turbo X is “Why should I buy one instead of just getting an Aero with XWD, or waiting until 2009 when the Aero with XWD will have the eLSD (at least in the US market)?”
Saab Turbo X
I pointed this out to SaabUSA and they’re not able to provide the answer to that at the moment, primarily because the 2009 specs haven’t been set. Fair enough. But if they want to clear the air on the Turbo X, they’re going to have to address it some time.
So here’s a brief Trollhattan Saab comparison, based on known information about the cars.

Exclusivity

I don’t list this first because it’s the most important, not by any means. But you’ve got to start somewhere. I had a question on the site a few days ago asking if the Turbo-X would be continued in to the 09 model year, so it’s relevant to mention here.
The Saab Turbo-X will be limited to a worldwide volume of just 2,000 units for the 2008 model year only. Each country has an allocation, so if you want to get one, it’s not one in 2,000, it’s one in 600 if you’re in the US, one in 500 if you’re in the UK, one in 30 if you’re in Australia. I’ve got a number of national volumes listed here (along with everything else you need to know about the vehicle), but if your country isn’t listed you need to check with your national Saab organisation to see how many you’re getting.

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