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  1. #1

    Join Date
    13 Jul 2018
    2004 9-5 Arc Sedan
    Thumbs Up:   2

    New Saab owner.

    I bought this car largely due to posts describing it's features on Jalopnik and on this forum. I've already used a great deal of information from here to service it, so... I figure I owe a debt and registered. I'll post pictures in a bit.
    Firstly, I live in the Upper Midwest of the USA, where cars typically dissolve in rust within 20 years. I work for a supermarket chain and typically walk to work. I also travel to Europe quite often, lately Eastern Europe, France, Turkey, and the Balkan Peninsula. The last four vehicles I've owned and duration are:
    1) 1988 Dodge D250 (12 years, purchase price USD$4200)
    2) 1986 Honda Wagovan/Shuttle (10 years, purchase price USD$1000)
    3) 1991 Honda Civic Hatch DX (3 years, purchase price USD$1000)
    4) 1999 Honda Civic Hatch DX (2 years, purchase price USD$650, totaled in a drivers' side T-bone wreck that nearly killed me)

    I work, a LOT. I'm single, no kids. I figured out owning a vehicle is mostly a total financial loss. After the wreck I simply walked to work for health and therapy (1.6km, each way), and have kept it up. I am probably the only 51-year-old guy in Wisconsin who is not fat. I ride the bus, walk, and spending time in Europe, don't find this strange. My co-workers think I'm insane. Anyway.

    I drive to a regional rail hub 40 km away maybe twice a month, to see my adult daughter in a regional city. This is important to me, so I did the math and figured it could be cheaper to buy another car than paying US bus and cab fares to get to this hub. My budget was USD$1000 as a one-time expense for, I thought, another Honda 'Something'. I found this Saab 2004 9-5 Arc in an adjoining state for USD$650.00. Guy said it ran and drove, but the speedo didn't work. I did my research, viewing it as another throwaway beater, to be run for a couple years and then discarded. I bought it for the USD$650.

    Again, I anticipate driving this machine maybe, MAYBE, 200 km each month. That's it. Otherwise, I don't need a car at all. I would not have touched this thing for a Daily Driver but as much as I drive it's good.

    Well. It came with all the original paperwork, including the original window sticker (USD$38,450.00). ME: "Whoah." I handed over the USD$650, got in, and drove it home (90km) without even checking the fluids. I figured if it was going to blow it would do it immediately. It did not, and I found I liked it, like, a lot, especially the seat! Man, it took me not long at all to get accustomed to that seat. That is the Gold Standard of driver's seats. For Real. I've flown First Class in a Turkish Airlines Airbus and the seat was inferior to this one. For real. It's super nice.

    Anyway, thing has, at last note, somewhere North of 245K Miles before the speedo stopped working, it's a bit rusty underneath, the suspension is kind of rattley-bang, but it runs great (I have no idea if the Turbo works or not: I baby/grandma my vehicles and have yet to get it above 1800), and I'm liking this machine so much I'm planning on keeping it. If only for the seat. If this thing grenades or I have to junk it, I am SO pulling that seat. Both of them.

    I showed it to my daughter and asked her what she thought. She knows what I'm like, and one of her 'jobs' as a kid was naming family cars. She asked, "Remember that one movie with the reader for the CIA?" (Three Days of The Condor). She remembered the hit man in it. Jobert. She asked, "Isn't he a Swedish actor?"

    So 'Von Sydow' it is.

    Thank you. Look forward to keeping this machine running.

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  2. #2
    Saab Fan
    Join Date
    18 Dec 2017
    Kensington, Maryland, USA
    2009 9-3 Aero Convertible 2.8T Auto (current) Previous: '71 99 Sedan, '74 99 Combi, '85 900 Combi
    Thumbs Up:   6
    Welcome BT, and thanks for the interesting intro. In many ways you are rather the opposite of myself and many other members here. I'm a car guy, like to drive even when I don't have to, and am on my 4th Saab. It's good to see that the old Max charmed you so! I hope you will get many more miles from him, and will continue to post here and update us. And change those fluids! Cheers, Steve

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  3. #3

    Join Date
    13 Jul 2018
    2004 9-5 Arc Sedan
    Thumbs Up:   2
    I should further explain, and thank you, 'Aero51' (nice) for the welcome, that I both recognize this is an enthusiast board; and that I recognize the more it is used the more it will likely remain functional. So it's my interest to post things relevant to this forum. Anyway:
    I was not originally a disposable car guy. I've done engine swaps on vintage Willys Jeeps: Chevy small blocks, wrenched on all my own American equipment, and possess most tools needed to keep running almost anything. I've done my own fabrication, my own body parts, made the Metric transition (the Dodge 1988 D250 was a weird mishmash of SAE and Metric, very strange), and do all my own maintenance. It's just... strange, for me, owning even a poorly maintained and hard-used and nearly clapped out European Luxury Sedan. I never saw myself in in this kind of car before. My sister commented on it: it seemed extremely out-of-character for a pickup-4WD-kind of guy. So this is kinda new.

    But I'm impressed with this car. I understand it's a more-or-less generic Euro-GM machine, basically a kind-of Opel/sort of, and not a 'real' Saab. I look at it as a kind of Opel/German/Japanese/badge-engineered European mid-level, middle-manager, sedan, with Swedish build quality. I'm kind of digging the last-gasp Saab quirkiness. Kind of digging it. I bought it as Jalopnik, on it's addictive page 'Nice Price Or Crack Pipe' turned up a wagon version of this car, and the comments persuaded me it was wrenchable, reliable, and with just enough oddity to keep me interested and on my toes. So I know what it is, and while Saab purists may not like this end-of-the-noble-road version, I bought it anyway. Enough about that. Things I've done so far, thanks to this forum:

    Changed the oil. It came with an STP filter, and the oil (who knows what THAT was) came out vile-smelling and jet-black. Replaced with Mobil 0-40 'Euro' synthetic and a high-end WIX filter. The dipstick even after not even 100 miles is coming up truly dark again, so that's coming up shortly.

    Checked the transmission fluid: off the stick entirely. This seemed deadly. Came back to this forum and decided (after reading some of the most anal-retentive internet screeds I've ever seen, honestly, in my entire LIFE; borders on Star Wars geek and Marvel Universe arguments!) on Castrol Transmax with no mention of 'Synthetic' on the bottle. I topped it off and have felt no difference at all. Shifts fine.

    Changed out the plugs. One screw was already headless, two broke off (after two weeks of PB Blaster and other attempts) and there is now one screw holding that assembly in place. Drill and re-tap time. #1 plug was at .060, the others were at .54-ish. Plugs are currently NGK 6779, the plain old plain old, but until a few other things are fixed, they'll do the job. I'll do this unpleasant task with some brand-new drill bits and a ready vacuum for the shards and then install Platinums.

    Put 'real gas/petrol' in it: Mobil 93 Octane. Difference: immediate! I don't think Von Sydow has seen more than 1/8 of a tank of anything appropriate for quite some time. I think along with that STP coffee, I mean oil... 'filter'... the previous owner may have been running it on cooking oil and candle wax. Maybe some kerosene. Not sure.

    Got the aluminum (yes, yes, I know, it's the US version of the word) wheels off. That was a scary fight. I've done it before so I know how to do it but it's still alarming. Checked the brakes: plenty of meat left.

    Checked the CV joints and the entire suspension, decided all the bushings are worn and kind-of rattley-bang but, having driven vehicles with independent suspensions before (I'm not sure anyone, anywhere, will ever beat Dodge pickups for their MouseTrap/Rube Goldberg front suspensions), declared it noisy but not especially dangerous if watched carefully for wear and misalignment.

    Examined for rust, decided it's manageable. Some fiberglass in the rear quarters, some metal fabrication in some spots, and a new gas tank strap(s) for no other reason than do it before you think you need to.

    I am very much liking the engineering and build quality of this machine.

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  4. #4
    Dave T.
    Super Moderator Dave T's Avatar
    Join Date
    03 Aug 2010
    near Seattle, Washington
    1999 9-3SE (2013-2015), 2005 9-3 (2005-2013), 1990 900 (1990-2003)
    Thumbs Up:   29
    The seats in the classic 900 (1981-1992) are even better. I had that model and also a 2005 9-3. Both seats were good but the 900 was the best.

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  5. #5
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
    Join Date
    30 Jul 2010
    USA - Netherlands
    previous: 2006 9-3, 2001-06 9-5, 2011 9-4X
    Thumbs Up:   120
    Quote Originally Posted by BTown View Post
    I should further explain, and thank you, 'Aero51' (nice) for the welcome, that I both recognize this is an enthusiast board; and that I recognize the more it is used the more it will likely remain functional. So it's my interest to post things relevant to this forum.
    I enjoyed reading your story and experience as a new Saab owner. Social media has become the main gathering place for enthusiasts these days. Quick and disposable sharing of information is easy on those sites but it often lacks depths and substance. Interesting threads like these on SaabWorld are great to read and provide encouragement and renewed interest to existing and new owners and keep the Saab brand alive.

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to SaabWorld. I am looking forward to reading more about your Saab ownership and experiences. I have always been impressed by the quality and engineering of the 9-5. It's from a time when cars were less disposable than most cars today.

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