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  1. #1
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    9-3 Aero (Hopefully)
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    9-3 Aero: what's it like?

    Hi there guys, I am pretty new to Saab's and I don't have any yet but I am extremely interested in a 9-3 Aero (2004ish) and was just wondering what they're like to actually live with day to day?

    I've read about the fuel consumption being pretty high and that they are prone to engine problems if not serviced regularly and given the right oil. I've also seen about the audio system being a bit terrible and some complication about upgrading it?

    What's the availability of parts like?
    What is prone to go wrong?
    Are the engines really as strong as they are made out to be if they're taken care of properly?
    And how difficult are they to work on yourself?

    Are there any particular model years to avoid?
    Did all 9-3 Aero's come with the 210HP engine? All the ones I have found are listed with the 210HP but I wasn't sure if this was people lying to try to make their car more desirable!

    Thanks in advance to any answers

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    Last edited by SwedeMotherOfGod; 15 November 2015 at 17:37.

  2. #2
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    previous: 2006 9-3, 2001-06 9-5, 2011 9-4X
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    Hello and welcome. While I am not a 9-3 expert, I used to own a couple 2006 many years ago and really enjoyed them.

    The engine of the early Aero's is the 210hp 2.0T I4. From 2006 to 2009, the Aero has the 2.8T V6 engine with 250hp. I don't think it has high fuel consumption on average and it all depends on your right foot. Turbo engines are addictive so that's probably the cause of higher than average fuel bills. The V6 will drink more petrol than the I4 on average.

    Of all Saabs, the latest generation 9-3 has the most availability in new and used parts. I would avoid the 2003 model year because that was the first year of production. They are not all bad but you'll have a higher chance of problems.

    From model year 2003 to 2006, the 9-3 has an audio system connected with fiber-optics. While not impossible, it will make it very difficult to upgrade with a different head unit, subwoofers and so on. Speakers are pretty easy to upgrade. Check out this thread for more information. http://saabworld.net/showthread.php?t=2132

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  3. #3
    Saab Fan harrissonsaab's Avatar
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    17 Aug 2014
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    Saab(s)
    2005 Saab 9-3 Aero
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    I own a 2005 9-3 Aero Manual transmission. Engine, turbocharging system and transmission are very strong. I currently have 191,000km on it. I still run the factory turbo. My fuel consumption is around 8-9L/100km... which for a 10 years old car is good.

    I really like the car and it's better when it's an Aero! Most of the time I get my parts on Eeuroparts.com or the local autoparts can have many parts... Mechanically the car is strong but electronically... sometimes it's not good for the wallet... let's say that.

    Things to watch :
    Amp1 under the driver seat
    Fuel gauge
    ABS sensor
    Front head strut and bearing

    A good inspection can makes the difference between a car you'll love during many years and a... nightmare. Some Saab 9-3 on the market right now are not well maintened.

    I hope it will help you! Aahh.. and it's the best winter car I've owned.

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  4. #4
    Dave T.
    Super Moderator Dave T's Avatar
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    1999 9-3SE (2013-2015), 2005 9-3 (2005-2013), 1990 900 (1990-2003)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwedeMotherOfGod View Post

    What's the availability of parts like?
    What is prone to go wrong?
    Are the engines really as strong as they are made out to be if they're taken care of properly?
    And how difficult are they to work on yourself?

    Are there any particular model years to avoid?
    Did all 9-3 Aero's come with the 210HP engine? All the ones I have found are listed with the 210HP but I wasn't sure if this was people lying to try to make their car more desirable!
    As far as I know, all Aero's from the 2003-2006 period were 210 hp and probably beyond those years.

    Routine maintenance is very easy though I heard that the water pump takes effort to replace.

    I had a 9-3 for 7 years and only spent about US$70 or so in repairs. The warranty was 4 years. The amount spent doesn't include maintenance or normal wear items, like tires/tyres. I never had a hard time to find parts except around 2012, key fobs were in very short supply, but not anymore.

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  5. #5
    Saab Fan
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    9-3 Aero (Hopefully)
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    Hi there guys,
    thank you all for your helpful replies! I'm glad to hear they live up to their reputation! I was budgeting on getting a fairly low miles model with a good history, I stumble across a lot that seem to have full specialist/dealer service history.
    Wulf, thank you very much for that link, it was very helpful. When people say that the stock audio system is bad is it due to a lack of power from the amp or just bad quality speakers?

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  6. #6
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    previous: 2006 9-3, 2001-06 9-5, 2011 9-4X
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    The stock audio with the upgraded system that includes the subwoofer is actually pretty good. Not something that will rattle your car but good and nice sound quality. My 2006 9-3 SC Aero had the upgraded sound system and I was happy with the sound, especially with an MP3 player where you can adjust the sound with a built-in equalizer.

    Upgrading the dash speakers is an inexpensive and noticable upgrade: http://saabworld.net/showthread.php?t=38

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  7. #7

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    13 Nov 2015
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    Saab(s)
    9-3 Aero cabriolet
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    Mine is a 2004 (late) Aero convertible. Bought from new and now has over 150,000 miles on it. It's quite heavy on petrol, but I can be a bit lead footed at times. Parts are cheap, but it's essential to find a good garage. Mine is absolutely brilliant. I've had the usual road springs break (numerous) and been through countless discs, pads and tyres, but again that's because I do drive hard. Two notable electrical issues, but both down to faulty connectors or wiring-loom issues and both sorted (very) cheaply.

    No other issues whatsoever. No engine issues. Original turbo and still on 100% original exhaust system. Lightly chipped many years ago.

    Oil changes more frequently than recommended have probably been my salvation. I get a full oil (decent please, always) and filter change about every 6000 miles. Costs a bit, but then 150,000 miles of hard driving and no serious issues shows to me it's worth it. Mrs Rabski has family on the continent and it's by no means unusual for me to do an hour plus at 130mph plus without backing off.

    I've owned Mercedes, Jags, BMs and a couple of Porches. The SAAB seats four, will still top out at a genuine 155 or so, which I've done more than a few times. In my honest opinion, probably the best car I've ever owned. It will kill me when it eventually dies and I have to look for a replacement.

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  8. #8
    Saab Fan
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    Good to hear that the sound system can be made to be decent. I'm not after anything that will ripple the roofskin, just good quality with decent depth of sound etc. as I plan on it being my daily.

    Rabski, thank you for your reply. I've heard many people stating the same sort of thing. I tend to change oil and filter every 6 months or about 5000 miles as I do that sort of stuff myself and it keeps the paranoia at bay! I also plan to modify it slightly with a NoobTune and perhaps a larger, higher flow exhaust system as I've heard the stock one is a bit restrictive.

    What is the availability like of body modifications? Not necessarily bad-boy body kits but aftermarket lights, different spoilers etc. I like the idea of a 9-3 with a roof spoiler but I've never seen one!

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  9. #9

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    9-3 Aero cabriolet
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwedeMotherOfGod View Post
    Good to hear that the sound system can be made to be decent. I'm not after anything that will ripple the roofskin, just good quality with decent depth of sound etc. as I plan on it being my daily.

    Rabski, thank you for your reply. I've heard many people stating the same sort of thing. I tend to change oil and filter every 6 months or about 5000 miles as I do that sort of stuff myself and it keeps the paranoia at bay! I also plan to modify it slightly with a NoobTune and perhaps a larger, higher flow exhaust system as I've heard the stock one is a bit restrictive.

    What is the availability like of body modifications? Not necessarily bad-boy body kits but aftermarket lights, different spoilers etc. I like the idea of a 9-3 with a roof spoiler but I've never seen one!

    Depends on the year. I'd be wary of aftermarket lights because of the bulb-failure warning system and the way (unusual) the headlamp feed works. Frankly, on the Aero the heads and fogs are pretty decent anyway.

    A few small mods to tuning and exhaust for sure. As I said, mine's still on the original exhaust, but I've got a free-flow back box in the garage ready for when the original dies. The audio depends on the fitted system. I don't have the auto-changer, but I think (can't remember) I have the upgraded setup. I am a hi-fi freak at home, but the SAAB system is more than good enough IMHO. Won't blow the windows out, but goes plenty loud enough.

    Body stuff is a matter of taste. Personally, I like the Aero look for the year of mine. Aggressive enough and I have to say that it appears pretty good aerodynamically. The one MAJOR downside is that the Aero sits slightly lower than standard variants and the front spoiler is very, very low. I've lost count of the number of times I've had mine repaired, replaced and/or repainted. Seriously, you'll gouge the bottom of it pulling out of the drive.

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  10. #10
    Saab Fan
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    9-3 Aero (Hopefully)
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    That sounds good to be fair, I'm more after quality than all out bass. I agree, the Aero does look fantastic stock but I'd still like to put my own personal touch on the car. The low front lip doesn't bother me much, I've had my time being a youth in a lowered car and planning my routes around speedbumps etc haha! I had planned on getting some larger wheels as I feel the stock (16's?) look a bit weedy in the arches and let the car down somewhat so that will most likely raise the car but of course I haven't gone as far as choosing a tyre size!

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