I've never owned a SAAB..never even driven one. Tomorrow I'll test drive a
2000 9-5 (V6 3L) with 82000 miles on it. The dealer claims it is still under
warranty?? I've read about all the reliability issues with SAABs, but I
think I'd like to boldy go where I have not gone before-
Some cars I've owned: a 81 Mark VI Lincoln (timing chain busted while
driving on a remote highway in the Northern Cascades), and 86 Cadillac
Seville (sofa on wheels), 93 Buick Le Sabre ( see previous entry), Toyota
Corolla (more problems than I expected) ....So I'm ready for a different
driving experience..and maintenance experience. Looking forward to the
Most people will tell you not to get the V6 as it has a belt instead of
a chain, even if you had a bad experience with a chain.
I guess, if you do the belts before their time is up is not an issue.
The dealer claims it is still under
I can't comment on the dealer's warranty claims.
The perfect SAAB engine is the 2.3L (square engine).
You can expect all sorts of little things to go wrong like they do in
most cars. Have the test drive, see if they have a 2.3 which you could
test drive too.
There has been a major issue affecting engines of 9-5s (2.0L and
2.3???). And that is thickening of the engine oil, sludge in the sump,
resulting in engine failure.
I have the same car - 2000 9-5 SE V6t. Mine happens to be a station wagon. It
is a fabulous car. DO NOT listen to the boneheads who will tell you to avoid
the V6. It is actually a MUCH more reliable engine than the 2.3L 4. Also FAR
smoother and more powerful at low speeds. Fuel economy is quite good, I get
24mpg in my suburban commute, close to 30 on a long tip.
The problem with the 4 is the major sludge issues. If a 4 was maintained by
the "book" as Saab recommended in the early years of 9-5s, it will almost
certainly have a sludge issue - the oil change intervals were simply far soo
long, and they are now on version #6 (!) of the PPCV system.
As to the V6. Make sure the timing belt AND THE TENSIONER pulleys were
replaced at 60K miles. Saab pays for the first timing belt change, but they do
not pay for the tenshioner, so often people don't change it. They fairly
frequently fail before 120K. If you can't document both the belt and tensioner
having been replaced, do it now. Better yet, get the vendor to do it as part
of the sale. Cost me about $500 for both at a good independent garage. Was
cheaper to have the whole thing done at my favorite independent than to have
the $tealership do the "free" belt and pay them to change the tensioner.
Use synthetic oil. I change it at 7500 mile intervals. While the V6 is not
prone to sludge issues, the turbo will live longer with synthetic. Remember,
2turbos are a wear part, they do not last forever.
Other specific to V6 issues - there is an O-ring where the oil filter mounts
on the non-turbo version of the engine. This will turn into dust and start
leaking. Cossts ~$2.50 and took me 30 minutes to change. The thermostat is
expensive and hard to get to, so change the coolant on schedule and use the
corrrect Saab coolant to prolong its life. That's about it. Unusually, IMHO
the V6 is easier to work on than the 4, it actually has more room around it in
the engine bay. Also, you can often get parts for it MUCH cheaper from a
Saturn dealer than a Saab dealer, as the same engine sans tubo was used in the
I bought mine with 41K on it two years ago, now at 67K. Only issues have been
the O-ring and the pixels starting to fail in the SID display. Fixed both
myself. Otherwise just routine service items. I did pre-emptively change the
crank sensor and the heater valve. Those are both common 9-5 issues for both
V6 and 4 cylinder cars.
'00 9-5 SE V6t Wagon 'WASAABI'
'92 C900T Convertable 'SUNSAAB'
'91 BMW 318is
'74 Triumph Spitfire
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