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1999 Saab 9-5: to fix or not to fix?

edited February 2012 in Repair and Maintenance
What should I do with my 1999 Saab 9-5 that needs work? Sell it for parts or fix it and hope Saab parts are available in the future?
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Comments

  • Older Saab parts are not going to be an issue, becasue there are lots of them out there and plenty of companys who can rebuilt them. I love the 9-5, so I am going to say fix.. However it probably would be a good idea to know what is wrong with it ??
  • Without knowing the mileage, the overall condition, what work it needs, how well it meets your needs, and ho well you like it it's impossible to even guess. Don't let possible future parts availability be an issue, because the aftermarket suppliers are not going out of business with SAAB.
  • What needs to be fixed on it? Almost all routine maintenance and wear and tear parts will be available for decades.
    Parts that fall outside of that classificiation can usually be found at the boneyards, EBay, Craigslist, or in the Parts category on SAAB forums. They're usually not that expensive and many things can be worked around if you're mechanically minded or the shop is willing to improvise a bit.

    I hated the rubber mounted alaternator and V-belts on my old SAAB 900 so with a little tweaking it now has a serpentine setup with a Mitsubishi alternator. The Mitsu alternator is about half the size of the SAAB unit, just as poweful, and is much more accessible if needed.
    The fuel pump on that 900 is out of a Mercedes so workarounds can often be done.
  • Let's start with I am not auto mechanically inclined. I do like the car but have no loyalty to it. But this car has had plenty of work to date by us and the former owner. Car is @ 120,000 miles but had a new (80,000 mile) engine put in awhile ago. New starter last fall. Anyway, lots of money invested in this car.

    Two issues neither of which are routine maintenance.

    Issue 1) This has been going on a while. After driving the car for a bit and the engine is warm there is a strong burning oil smell. The car doesn't seem to be leaking oil (maybe a few drops) when you check the ground after it's been parked. Per our mechanic the oil pressure sending unit needs to be replaced. But I think this is not a serious issue.

    Issue 2) This is a very new issue. When braking everything seems fine until going from about 15mph down to 0, the final part of the stop. Then there doesn't seem to be any grab in the brakes. You have to almost stand on the brakes. It's manageable for local driving but I hope nobody pulls out in front of me and hits their brakes. Our mechanic said we need to replace the vac. supply line and power brake booster. Mechanic is not even sure he can get the part. I believe the supplier is SAAB but they wouldn't know for a few days after placing the order. (Maybe it's naive, but I do trust our mechanic.)

    This power brake booster alone is about $750. With labor which in this case is the smaller portion of the bill, issues 1 and 2 come to about $1300. That about matches the BB value of the car. Only fixing issue 2 is about $1150.

    Any advice here is appreciated. Right now we decided not to fix. I can get to work and back which is the sole purpose of the car. But the question remains, should we fix and keep? Fix and sell (seems like a wash). Sell to a scrap yard for about $250 and look for a new car?
  • Rock Auto Parts has the booster for $207 plus shipping both ways, you have to ship the old one back.
  • RE: the oil issue, it sounds like you're seeping oil past the threads of that sending unit. This should be a quick fix for an affordable price. The switch is cheap http://www.car-stuff.com/store/?N=11626+4294963744+1558+11921+5994 and it installs really easy.

    Perhaps also some is seeping past the valvecover gaskets, and it's dripping onto the exhaust manifold or header pipe. A stuck PCV valve can exascerbate this, but the valvecover gasket may just have lost its compression due to age.....and having been long conpressed with oil seeping through. The basic and root cause is probably lust engine wear, blowby, the combustion gasses blowing past worn rings and pressurizing the crankcase (with is connected via the drain passages to the space under the valvetrain).

    I'd get that booster done BEFORE someone pulls uot in front of you......or some child runs out after a playground ball. Ultimately, one or the other WILL happen. And if you can't stop, you and the child's family will both have to live with the consequences. And don't forget, there'll be legal and financial consequences as well.
  • I'd fix the car and advise getting a few more estimates. The oil sender is no big deal and while the brake booster (if that's really the problem) is doable at a cheaper price in my opinion.

    Heck, if you're disillusioned with the car and anywhere near OK I'd be interested in it for 250 rather than dump it at the boneyard.

    I do wonder why an engine failed at comparatively low miles as SAAB engines and transmissions are very reliable.
  • edited February 2012
    Neither problem is major, I'd fix it. And you HAVE to fix the brakes anyway, it's unsafe to drive right now, you'll suffer a bigger $$ hit selling it now (assuming you do the right thing and tell any buyer about it).
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