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SPG123
SPG123 HalfDork
4/29/22 1:36 p.m.

We have owned probably six C900's. And love them currently from a distance. As one would love the idea of his very hot high school girlfriend. Much fun to think about. And not so much to live with.        The best one we ever had was an 88 non turbo manual convertible. Absolutely beautiful car. Paid very little for it with like 150K and put 75K absolutely problem free miles on it.         Rest were SPGs which added to lifes challenges at every turn. And straight. And while parked. Not that SPG's were bad cars, just that by the time I could have one they all had issues. Guess I should continue to also block the memory of the 900 T Convert that burned to the ground one very sad day...  Having said all of this, I would absolutely buy a C900T hatch if they were magically new again. So wonderful, different and easy to fall for. And that people don't get their charm makes it even more so for me...    

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
4/29/22 1:52 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

You are absolutely right on the 9-2X being '06-07, I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote 2010-2014, Saab was dead by '14. Brain processing too many different things at once I guess. Prior post has been corrected.

I think the 9-4X was a Cadillac SRX derivative? I think they have the unusual distinction of being the lowest production volume Saab model ever made, somewhere in the 600-800 range. They were a surprisingly competent crossover from what I'm told, but they were killed by the same thing that killed Saab as a whole: GM sold the company to the Chinese and then said "you can't use our parts bin anymore", effectively killing every product they had.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
4/29/22 2:43 p.m.

The 9-4x and the SRX were developed at the same time, and yes they built very few of those.  I will say that while i really liked the C900, my 2 OG 9-5's have been my favorite cars.  Both being Aero's they have plenty of power, (3rd gear pulls are so much fun) get good mileage on the highway and I think the Aero suspension is a very good compromise for a DD.  My oldest will be taking my 02 9-5 with him when he leaves, I have not decided if I will get another one to replace it or not.

Powar
Powar UltraDork
4/29/22 3:16 p.m.

First of all: Do it. These are some of the most usable classic cars in the world.

25 of the 107 cars I've owned have been C900s. Our current Saab fleet consists 2 C900s, a 95V4, and a 9-3 SportCombi registered and in regular use. There are four C900 parts cars at the back of the property, hidden in the woods. We have some more (and less) normal cars too, but that's not what this thread is for.

There is absolutely nothing that would scare me about one as a limited use daily driver. They are robust and fairly easy to work on, but certainly different from other things. You'll easily break your 20MPG number with anything other than an automatic 8-valve turbo. The 16V n/a manual cars will get the best economy in my experience.

I've killed one automatic and one manual transmission in them. Both times I was being a complete shiny happy person, but they're definitely the weakest link. There is a well-regarded rebuilder of C900 manuals in IL who will ship one to you for under $2k, so I don't really sweat it between that and my parts hoard. The trans is an easy weekend replacement if you have the parts ready to go in.

I'd be interested in hearing what parts people are having trouble finding. Trim stuff? You're mostly looking for used parts, though there are some people (Saabits in the UK, for example) who are stepping up with some of the more commonly damaged trim like emblems and fender moldings. 

I'd buy one based on condition versus options (with the exception of the trans-- you probably want the manual). I've had more fun with n/a 900s than turbos, but I'm definitely in the minority with that statement. Track days, rallycross, cross-country trips, Deal's Gap, autocross, whatever. They're fun and they'll usually take the abuse in stride. The turbo cars are more needy but I certainly wouldn't avoid one and may prefer one depending on usage. Still, condition is king. Find one with decent interior and an excellent body and it'll always be worth fixing.

The classic Saab community is the best marque-specific group that I've encountered. Parts, information, or even roadside assistance--- I've personally gotten all three. It is very GRM-like in that regard.

If you have any more specific questions, post up. There's a lot of Saab experience on this forum.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
4/29/22 4:01 p.m.

Great, I really didn't need any more encouragement to look for another C900. Or 99, for that matter.

procainestart
procainestart Dork
4/30/22 12:01 a.m.
02Pilot said:

In reply to dannyp84 :

<snip>The shifter is incredibly vague, and finding fifth is like trying to hit a bullseye in darts while blindfolded and drunk, but it continues to work.

Sounds like maybe the reverse lockout pin on the bottom of the shifter could be out of adjustment and/or the plastic gate beneath is worn? If the pin isn't deep enough, it doesn't hit the gate when you move the shifter to the right, leaving you wholly on your own to fish around for fifth. If the edge of the gate is worn, the pin will ride up and over it even if its depth is correct. 

Also, there's a rubber shift shaft bushing just in front of the shifter housing that can go bad and add general vagueness. Finally, if at some point someone replaced the maddening taper-pin-based trans-to-shift-shaft coupler with a later (91+??) "dog bone" type, that'll add even more vagueness, as the rubber goes south. But, alas, even when everything is exactly as it should be, no one has ever gushed about the feel. 

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
4/30/22 8:04 a.m.

In reply to procainestart :

My money is on the plastic being worn, based on your description. There's a feeling when going right that could easily be the pin riding up and over the plastic. Lifting the reverse lockout collar isn't usually necessary to go into reverse either. The coupler and is the old style, and it and the bushing are seemingly intact.

Meh. I'm used to it at this point, and it's not like I'm power-shifting the thing. I've got plenty of more pressing things to deal with, like a frozen handbrake cable and a sagging headliner. And I'm still hunting for a place that can sell me an A/C compressor clutch.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/30/22 9:44 a.m.

I was gifted a 900s by my wife's friend. I gave it to my son who cleaned it pretty well.  New Swedish flag colored headliner and package shelf helped!

Woulda made a nice little rally car.

procainestart
procainestart Dork
4/30/22 11:27 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Headliner fix for busy people, for a few bucks/box at Joann fabrics:

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
4/30/22 12:20 p.m.

In reply to procainestart :

The last guy already did that. It's pretty severe at this point. The sunroof piece is a mess too. I plan to gut the interior this summer, wash everything, and replace the headliner while I'm at it. It doesn't seem like a terrible job with the hatchback; if I had a sedan it would be more problematic.

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
5/2/22 1:43 p.m.

I had one way back when, bronze-ish in color, with lovely velour upholstery.  It was a turbo model, a two-door.  Those are the highlights.  The turbo is kind of like a beginner's mustache:  extra fuzz that doesn't amount to much more than a label.  While the key in the console is interesting, mine broke (perhaps too much spilled coffee/French fry fragments over the years), so I added further obscurity with a couple of toggle switches on the left side, down lower on the console (instead of trying to replace the original).  It took about five bucks in stuff from Radio Shack.

Sharing an oil pan with the tranny is weird, perhaps revolutionary, but eventually needlessly problematic.  Enough said on that point.

Look out for plastic high-pressure fuel lines.  They're not only for your Home Depot garden sprayer.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
5/2/22 1:57 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

Having had a 16v NA sedan and a 16v turbo sedan, the turbo was absolutely noticeable and quite sprightly (as I said before, quick if not fast). Perhaps there was something off with yours?

procainestart
procainestart Dork
5/2/22 11:37 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

Yes, weird that the trans case also contains the sump, but to be clear, the gears and the engine have separate oil. If you beat the E36 M3 out of a 900, the engine oil and gear oils will increase temps in both. I'm not sure it's otherwise problematic.

The basic problems with the transmissions were, they were originally designed for a sub-100 hp engine, they had no oil change interval, and even later, stronger variants weren't strong enough. Toward the end, the most powerful engines made 185hp.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
5/3/22 8:22 a.m.

Un related but I saw an AWD 93 2.0T wagon the other day. I did not know they made that car. I now want one.  

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
5/3/22 8:55 a.m.

Similarly unrelated, I just saw a manual 9-3 XWD being advertised on Saabnet the next town over. Trying hard to avoid temptation as it's really not a car I need right now.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
5/3/22 11:52 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

IIRC the AWD/XWD 9-3 variants had a lot of unique parts/problems and have been hurt the worst by the NLA parts situation, if that helps your decision.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
5/3/22 12:14 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

It does, thanks for the dis-enablement.

What I really would like is dark green late manual C900 turbo three door hatch anyway...

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
5/3/22 3:23 p.m.

In college several of my friends had Saab 900 turbo hatchbacks and they let me drive them.  Fun cars, I wouldn't mind getting a low mileage cherry 900 SPG...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/3/22 4:48 p.m.
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to BoxheadTim :

IIRC the AWD/XWD 9-3 variants had a lot of unique parts/problems and have been hurt the worst by the NLA parts situation, if that helps your decision.

Combine that with the turbo V6 and you get a Voltron of suck.  Sucks to find parts for AND sucks to work on.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
5/3/22 5:48 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
pointofdeparture said:

In reply to BoxheadTim :

IIRC the AWD/XWD 9-3 variants had a lot of unique parts/problems and have been hurt the worst by the NLA parts situation, if that helps your decision.

Combine that with the turbo V6 and you get a Voltron of suck.  Sucks to find parts for AND sucks to work on.

Was the 2.0T a v6?  In the 07 I have it is the GM I4 that they put in just about everything.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
5/3/22 5:53 p.m.

In reply to dean1484 :

2.8T was the newer turbo V6. The four cylinder (2.0T) was indeed a variant of the same old GM Ecotec that went in just about everything.

Though they are a nightmare to work on, the 2.8T was at least a capable engine. I don't like to acknowledge the existence of Saabs with the 3.0 V6. Just a hateful mechanical monstrosity of compromised design. sad

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/3/22 6:03 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

I rather liked that engine in Saturn L300s.

 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
5/3/22 6:07 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I never *loved* them in anything, but when they bolted a turbo to one bank only because of packaging reasons (yes, it's an asymmetric setup) and started cramming them into 9-5s they officially became awful in my eyes.

I've never personally seen a NG900 with the 3.0 but supposedly they exist out there. I cannot imagine how nightmarish those to work on, the NG900s are awkward to work on even with the four cylinder...

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
5/4/22 10:44 a.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

I think even SAAB wanted to forget they put that 3.0 V6 in anything.

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