Out of Business: fix or buy something else

Am wrestling with the ever-present value/worth question. My '95 Saab 9000 Aero developed a leaky head gasket at 155,000 miles. I had it replaced (after driving it several hundred miles over a week or so) for $1500. The engine then became and continues to be hard to start. It idles roughly, and even stalls out when decelerating for intersections. The shop says that two cylinders have low compression. (no details on why) They suggested adding injector cleaner to the fuel, which did not solve the problem, or installing a new (used) motor for $2000. I am not finding many replacement vehicles with the cargo practicality, performance, handling, mileage, or classic good looks that the 9000 offers for less than $20,000. With Saab essentially closed, though parts are going to get more difficult to find, especially for a vehicle this old. Even if GM chips in on some parts, my car is mostly Swedish, and something else is bound to break. Arggggh!

Previous post seems to have got lost in cyberspace, so sorry if this repeats.

You seem to have laid out all the relevant information but your emotions are getting in the way of your pursuing the logical course of action. Older car with high miles. Increasingly difficult to find parts. A brand that, even at its best, is prone to problems. I think you’d be throwing good money after bad if you continue to hang on to the car.

I agree. As much as I loved my saabs in the day, the brand has changed over the years.
That car will be nothing but trouble.

No car last forever, perhaps it is time to let this one go. If the OP can’t bear the thought of parting with it, then fix it. This is the OP’s decision. Going by the numbers, time to move on. If you love old Saab’s, keep it.

Is this the same shop that replaced your head gasket? It seems to me that the shop that did the head gasket has an obligation to find out why you have low compression in two cylinders since it could be caused by head gasket failure.

I would part company with the Saab. You’ll be glad you did.

Actually it being a Saab isn’t the issue to me - you have a bad engine (low compression) on a 17 year old car. Time to move on, Camry or 9000.

Did the shop even inspect head when it was off? Valve job? Common sense might say to inspect head during head gasket repair but it is not always done. U might even have stuck rings. A top end ring soak attempt might improve compression. Some shops won’t or don’t want to bother.

Like the others, I agree that it’s time to say goodbye!

Thanks for your inputs. Head was re-milled for gasket job, afaik. What to get instead? I liked the FWD, firm ride, somewhat sporty handling, leather & wood interior and mileage. The Audi A3 and Volvo C30 seem a lot smaller, and may be pricey to maintain. Lexus CT200h? Small wagons? BMW, MB and most Volvos get miserable mileage. Other ideas?

Acura TSX wagon?

Weird how the remilled the head and didn’t do anything to the valves or the seats. After the head was reinstalled, was the compression found to be low? If so, they really did a horrible job.

Well u drove it for a few weeks so at least u got ur money’s worth of the 1500 repair.

There are a lot of choices out there now that will run circles around your '95 Saab. Stop by the bookstore, pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Preview, and test drive the ones that look interesting to you.

Used Acura TSX wagons within 100 miles of here are asking more than $25k, but they seem like a possibility. Maybe if I wait three years the prices will drop. Running circles is good, but as should be apparent, they need to be able to run circles for a l o n g time.

What are you willing to spend? In general, I suggest that you stay away from luxury brands. Buy a top end car from someone like Honda instead of Acura, for instance. You can get a base 2009 Acura TL sedan for around $20,000. or a 2012 Accord EX for the same price. While not identical cars, you may find that there is enough about the Honda to like. Especially 40,000 fewer miles.

There are lots of sedans. They don’t fit the bill for doing things like taking my 48" lawnmower deck to the shop, (last Saturday) or two bicycles inside at a time (October), or for fitting quarter-inch 4’x8’ sheets of plywood (in August) (bent up to get them in, but with the hatch closed so they didn’t get wet, and the a/c still works) or 10’ 2x4’s (December) without having to freeze and rig a flag on the end. Sporty wagons with good mileage that are acceptable transportation for dinner parties at less than $15K used ? The Saab 9000 is a tough bill to fill.

You might find a 2009 Toyota Venza from a private party at that price, but it will likely have 70,000 miles or more on it. Another possibility is a 2009 Ford Flex SE with about 50,000 miles. Another possibility is a 2008/2009 Passat wagon. Check them out on line. If you stil like any of them, go for a test drive at a dealer. You can buy there if you want, but the main thing is to get the drive.

dodge grand caravan

Buy yourself a nice fuel efficient CAR, and then find yourself a modest small truck, old minivan, or Ford Explorer for your work needs. Get one old enough that it has gutters so that you can add the superior roof rack towers which grab those gutters and your rack will carry lumber, toys, etc. These racks are dirt cheap on Craigslist. Likewise old minivans.

But as others have said, the workmanship on the head gasket job sounds suspect. If they blew it, give them the opportunity to resolve the problem so that perhaps you’d at least have a running car to sell.