1998 Saab 900S Automatic

My 98 Saab has 98000 miles (not a turbo). I just had to rebuild the transmission. My friends say that you shouldn’t own a Saab past 100,000 miles because of the costly repairs. I previously owned a Volvo that ran forever. What has been other owner’s long-term experience with an older Saab?

Saabs are generally not as long lived as Volvos, and require a lot of tender loving care. However, some Saab owners have gotten very high mileage out of their cars; one owner in Wisconsin over 900,000 m iles of mostly highway driving.

Saabs, however will need a lot of money to keep going as they age. In your case, I would just take good care of it, and keep driving it, realizing this is not a Toyota or a Honda which can be repaired easily and at modest cost.

The vast majority of transmission problems can be determined by reading the original post here.

These people aren’t driving a car for hundreds of thousands of miles while continually pumping cash into it.

Ok4450, I know you know about SAAB’s my quick question. Wasn’t the 2.0l engine in the 900 (many variants of the 2.0l) very well enginered and quite well thought of.Wasn’t there a class of race cars that used this engine?..Thanks Oldschool

Yes, the 2.0 Liter is an outstanding engine and a number of racers used these. The Skip Barber School used to train drivers (may still do) in race cars (like mini F1s) that used the 2.0 Liter SAAB engine/transaxle and a service instructor at the SAAB schools I used to attend also raced 2.0 Liters across the country on the SCCA circuit.

The instructor had to tiptoe carefully because SAAB officially did not condone what he was doing on the track.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never had to overhaul a SAAB 2.0. They seem to be indestructible and about as deep as I’ve ever had to go in them was head gaskets due to overheating or in the case of the early models; when someone would dink around with the adjustable waste gate on the turbocharger and blow the head loose on them. Some people would read a comment in the Chiltons manual about performing this operation and could not comprehend that an 1/8 turn would raise the boost pressure way up. They would simply give it a full turn to make sure and the first time it was nailed hard there goes the head gasket and in some cases, would pull the head bolts loose and trash the cylinder head.

The funny part was when the car was towed in and they were expecting warranty to fix it while denying dinking around with the waste gate. Guess they didn’t realize that a lead seal on the waste gate was put there for a reason and had to be cut to adjust the gate. (Similar to a seal on a home electric meter)

The predecessor to the 2.0 was the 1.8 and that engine was built in England by Triumph. It was also a good engine; just not as powerful and used a Zenith carburetor instead of fuel injection.

This got me thinking about a SAAB reliability test they performed about 20 years ago.
SAAB, under NASCAR supervision, took 3 SAAB 900 2.0 Liter Turbos to Talladege Raceway in Alabama.

SAAB ran these 3 cars all out for 20 days straight, stopping only for oil changes, driver changes, and tire pressure checks, etc.
These cars each had 62,000 miles put on them in that 20 days (approx. 3k a day) and averaged about 130 MPH while running 24/7.
Not one problem occurred and I think SAAB may have recently repeated this test.

ALL cars hit a point of about 8-9 years or 150,000 miles and then the likely hood of more expensive or frequent repairs happens. Saab’s have an average repair record which is good, however the cost tends to be higher than other makes slightly. Find a good independent and keep motoring on. You know when its time to pass.