Saab climate control switch - yes or no?

I have a 1998 Saab 9000 Turbo with 192K miles. It runs beautifully, full of power and get go. But I’ve already put a considerable amount of money in it and I don’t know if I should fix anything else in it.

The current and main problem now is the climate control switch. I fixed the air conditioning compressor and it was working fine for a few weeks when all of a sudden all I got was very hot air no matter what temperature I set. Even if off and with the vents closed, warm air seeps into the car and I have to drive with the windows open even though I live in San Francisco which is not known for warm weather! The air conditioning place that had fixed it told me that it was in all likelihood a broken climate control switch and they don’t do that. My mechanic said that the part alone cost about $500 or more. At the same time, I hear a clicking sound coming from somewhere underneath the dash that sounds like a grandfather’s clock, but not perfectly spaced and also somewhat intermittent. I suspect the two problems are related.

I would fix it in a heartbeat because the car runs so beautifully, but electrically it’s another story. The LDS panel of the radio is shot so I cannot see what station I’m on and the automatic doorlocks work sometimes but very often I have to manually lock each door when I leave the car. For a few months the “check engine” light went on most of the time until I accidentally put in 91 octane instead of 89, and now I don’t use 89 but 91 and it stays off. (My mechanic offered to replace the sensor switch so I can go back to using less expensive gas but told me that would also cost several hundred dollars - a no-brainer!)

The body is in good shape and as I said, the car runs well. And I’d get “bubkiss” for it because I think no one is making Saabs anymore. So why try to sell it - or is it time to say goodbye and maybe buy another Saab?

Can Car Talk Forum help?

Live with problem as long as you can or until something else on the Saab goes haywire. It is time to get another car.

I can easily live with the other problems (radio, door locks), but heat all the time isn’t easy. And if the car lasts me another year or two it would have been a shame to have suffered with heat all the time. Do you have any idea if it sounds like a climate control switch?

There are switches, relays, solenoids, and valves that all enter into mixing of ambient air, hot coolant, and conditioned air. It seems to me you have a faulty valve in there somewhere, but it could be a switch and/or relay that tells the valve what to do. Regardless, it most likely would be an expensive fix.

If a heating AC shop still exists somewhere, I’d get their opinion. Cheapest fix it to disconnect the heater hoses and plug them. Then no heat, but better than too much heat. You’ll need to carry some towels to “defog” the windows since you have no heat in defrost mode.

Either it is an expensive fix. Or, live with too much heat. Or, disconnect the heater hoses and live with no heat.

Sounds as if the mix door is not working. The clicking could be the motor trying to drive the door. Could be something as easy as the door is stuck or servo motor is disconnected. Only way to find out is get under the dash and take off the ducting and look. Sound should lead you to the problem.