Another saab with electrical issues


I have a 98 saab 900 that is doing the exact same thing as others have reported. complete loss of power while driving for no apparent reason. ignition goes, power steering goes, and you gotta just do your best to get pulled over without getting killed. i wont take it on the highway for fear of it stalling at high speeds. like others have said, sometimes it will start right back up, other times it wont. when it wont start up again it does make noises but it wont turn all the way over. when it wont start and i get it towed then it wont act up for the guys at the shop. ive had a shop driving it intermittently for 2 weeks now and it wont act up. they are now suggesting we take a stab at replacing the ignition components to the tune of 630$. it sounds like that did not work for other posters. i am so ready to offload this car and get a honda that runs. any help would be appreciated.


Well, I’ll give you $500 for it . . . :wink:

OK, when you say it won’t “turn all the way over,” do you mean it cranks but doesn’t fire up? Or, do you just get a click-click sound? If the former, I would guess you are looking at something in the ignition. Bad coil, bad igniter, bad crank angle sensor, maybe a bad ignition switch or relay, etc. There are a lot of possibilities.

If it just goes click-click, then you’ve got other problems, like a loose battery cable or bad starter, but that would not account for the stalling.


I don’t remember off the top of my head, but starting in 1985??? or so SAAB used a distribution terminal on the 900s for the power supply.

There is a large cable that goes to the starter motor of course, and a somewhat smaller cable that goes to the dist. terminal, which is usually located on the side of the inner fender and is concealed by a small plastic cover.

Look at the positive side of the battery and follow the cable to see if you have a dist. terminal. If so, remove the plastic cover and the attachment nut for the cable ends and try cleaning them.
Sometimes the cable ends will develop corrosion or scale over time and the car can be an off again/on again thing.

All electrical power flows through this dist. terminal and even atmospheric conditions can affect the connection.
It happened to me in Colorado some years back while on vacation. Checked into a hotel, came back out, and my SAAB was stone dead. The problem was a scaled over dist. terminal that decided to give up. Couple of minutes diagnosis/cleaning and problem solved.

Don’t be so sure the purchase of a Honda would end your problems. They also quit on an erratic basis with the cause being faulty ignition switches which are now under recall.


I agree about checking the electrical system for a problem. It would help to know if the warning lights come on when this trouble occurs. If they don’t then that would point to a problem in the power distribution area. If they do come on then check for a problem in the ignition circuit. Possibly the ignition switch or the connector for it. Possibly a faulty relay also.


the check engine light does not come on and, of course it wont do this for the mechanic while he has it hooked up to his machines. are you saying this suggests to you thatv it is not ignition related if these lights dont come on?


If the “idiot lights” don’t come on when the engine quits and the key has not been touched (i.e., is still in “run”), that would strongly suggest that you’ve totally lost all electrical power. As suggested before, look for bad connection(s) in the electrical system.