Need an engine

My husband has insisted on buying old Saabs and continuously repairing them at great expense for, like, 30 years. I am rather close to saying, “It’s either me or the Saab.” But before I do that, I’ll put in one more engine–because I have to. I have been without a car (again) for 3 months because I need a motor–including the turbo–for my 2003 Saab 9-5 wagon—the letter in the VIN# is “E”.

I do not want to spend over $3000 for the thing–with labor–which everyone seems to be charging. IF I need to do that–I need a really GOOD & LONG warranty on it.

Advice? Where can I go? What should I do? I am getting antsy, as I have an outside sales position that requires travel. Sharing a car is not longer working for me! In Massachusetts.

Use the $3,000 as down payment on an automobile that has a great reputation for reliability and safety instead of a status symbol. Your husband should not allow his hobby to interfere with your career and owning a $aab is a hobby. An expensive hobby.

What RK said. I bet it’ll be easier/faster (and MUCH better in the long run) to abandon the 9-5 to your husband’s hobby and get something that has the ability to meet your very important needs for your job.

Most of us are good mechanics but poor marriage counsellors.

Saab is basically out of business and parts are harder and harder to find. Repairing an old Saab and expect reliable transportation is technical and economic LUNACY! I’m a reliability and maintenance consultant and repeatedly have to advise industrial clients not to put good money after bad! I demonstrate this by performing a Life Cycle Cost Analysis. They usually take my advice. You would not want to keep fixing an old washing machine or fridge if it is more cost-effective to buy something newer.

So, for $3000 you can buy a decent used car (compact) that will be much more RELIABLE and cost LESS to maintain than your current Saab.

We have a number of panelists here who fix up old cars as a hobby and don’t have to rely on them for daily transportation. In your case you need something dependable. I would look for a 4 year old Hyundai Accent or Elantra, or Mazda 3. These would cost more than $3000 of course, but will give you peace of mind and wallet!

It’s time to break your husband’s irrational car habits!

One was to opt to fix that car,
I’d go wrecking yard used . and even that is a tall order as rare as a good used one would be.
You could buy warranty there , they give you a price difference option most times.
But at only 3000 installed, I have to wonder if that estimate IS a used engine.

Do not sob…dump the Saab

Keep the Saab as a hobby car and tell your husband he’ll have to do the work on it himself. I like Saabs but wouldn’t want to pay for a mechanic to maintain it. He’ll either lean his lesson or learn how to tool around on cars. win-win.
Buy a reliable car as a daily driver.

My brother had a neighbor who was an older man whose profession was refrigeration. My brother took a window air conditioner to him that wouldn’t cool. His neighbor realized that the condenser coil had a bad leak. His neighbor made the following statement: “When a man has been in refrigeration for 40 years, he learns that there are some things he just can’t fix”.
I kept a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon running for 33 years and it was running two years later after I sold it. However, I did have another vehicle to drive. I kept a television with vacuum tubes going for a long time, but when vacuum tubes became really expensive, it made more sense to buy an up-to-date television set. I have a friend who keeps an old Volvo wagon running in order to take her two St. Bernard dogs to the groomer for their baths. However, her daily driver is a Honda Civic. My rule on mechanical and electronic devices is that when parts are not readily available and it is a device I depend on, I replace the device.

A relative found an engine for their Benz on Ebay. Worth a try for a Saab engine.

If you are an outside salesperson and your job produces a reasonable income you need a very reliable car, and if you drive 20000 miles a year, it should be new or nearly new. A 10 year old turbocharged European car of any kind for a sales job is rediculous. Unless you are selling old Saab parts.

@docnick You are right about Saabs. My wife, however, dearly loves her 9-5 and insists I keep it running forever. That means I will keep it running forever since I love her. Rational life-cycle arguments are useless. Fortunately, she is not a sales rep and doesn’t drive a ton of miles.

It should be possible to get the engine. Recycling yards have a nationwide network. They might find you one in Barstow California, but they almost certainly can find you a used engine somewhere, and have it shipped to you. Whether you can do this for $3,000 installed and have a good warranty too? On a car who’s vendor is more or less kaput? That’s doubtful. But the only way to find out is visit your local recycling yard and ask. Look in the yellow pages under auto recycling, junk yards, etc. Might be doable, who knows.

There is one good side to this. Maybe, just maybe, some one who is willing to keep an older SAAB model and keep making repairs indicates he will stand by his mate regardless of the “repairs” they may need later in life. It could be an attribute. I would remain married if that’s the only or one of the few bad habits he has.

Meantime, get your own car in your own name and do your own thing transportation wise.

Yes, it might be doable but it’s not worth doing…You are just throwing good money after bad.

If your husband will forsake you for a junk car he is not worth having…Time to lay it on the line and get a decent ride…


Who diagnosed the need for an entire engine?

That sounds rather drastic

I’m guessing that the engine was run out of oil or died due to oil sludging and that also caused the death of the turbocharger.

The unknown to me here is the husband spending 30 years buying old SAABs and fixing them at great expense.
That could be taken to mean he’s buying non-runners and paying others for repairs or that he’s doing repairs himself at great parts expense.

If he’s doing the work then why the holdup on finding an engine and sticking it in there?

If he’s farming all of the work out then he really has an expensive hobby…

The engine is just one component in the Saab. Like other cars, Saabs have transmissions, suspension parts, electrical systems, etc. If you replace the engine, there is a possibility that the transmission may go out. The car is ten years old–what if a brake line rusts through?
Your problem is compounded because Saab is no longer in business.
I’ve always liked the Saab from the late 1950s when the Saab cars had two stroke engines. My dad always liked the 2 stroke Saab–thought they were great cars as long as someone else owned them. I’m the same way–there are a lot of cars that I think are interesting, but I don’t want to own one.

There may be a remanufactured engine close-by but you might have better luck asking on one of the Saab Forums (or support groups as Tom once referred to them) someone might be able to point you in the direction of a good engine. If it gets you back on the road quickly it might be worth doing as long as the rest of the car is in good shape. Still would consider letting the husband drive this car and you get a car you can depend on.

Abandon the husband’s way of doing things if you have any credit at all. If you don’t, you may find out that you have no credit on your own or just no credit period.

The other thing that could happen is more of the same. That seems bad enough to me.

Here ya go. Start making calls.

I think the hubby is maybe taking on a little too much water here. True, fixing the SAAB costs money. But not having monthly new car payments saves money. A lot of money. W/new cars costing $40K & up, not exotics, just for plain 'ol 4-banger-rollers-to-get-you-there, the yearly payments for a new car could well exceed the yearly SAAB fix up expenses. And by a factor of 2 or more.