Author Topic: Review your Saab 99 (or Saab 90)  (Read 3700 times)

Tech II

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Review your Saab 99 (or Saab 90)
« on: 02 July 2011, 06:18:55 PM »
Thanks to Chris (Zaphod) for the suggestion.  This topic is for owners to review their Saab in their own words for the benefit of other contributors to STT who may be interested in buying or just reading your views.

We look forward to reading your reviews!

drjeep

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Saab 99 Turbo Handling and Performance
« Reply #1 on: 05 July 2011, 10:33:53 PM »
The car generally feels well planted and reassuring to drive. Even at speeds of 100mph or over (on private test roads of course) the car should feel relatively at ease. The non assisted steering loads up nicely and provides plenty of feedback and grip is exceptional except for torque assisted understeer if you try too hard. Steering at parking speeds can be heavy. Brakes are fairly effective but need a firm press despite the servo assistance.

Turbo Lag is fairly obvious but not as pronounced as folklore suggests, generally you need to just learn the way power is delivered and drive around it. The real performance starts at around 3000 rpm and builds quickly as you approach 3500, this combined with the relatively low rev limit means that it is hard to make full use of turbo in the low gears without running out of Revs, Road or Traction (or all 3). Cruising at 70mph in 4th puts you pretty much in the peak so a planted right foot will see 90mph+ far quicker than other road users expect from a 31 year old car. Saab put all the acceleration where you need it for fast overtaking so once you have learnt to drive around the peaky torque and the lag then overtaking slower traffic on B roads can be done with more confidence than almost any other 4 seater from the era.

drjeep

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Saab 99 Turbo Comfort and Practicality
« Reply #2 on: 05 July 2011, 10:36:10 PM »
The driving position (at least on RHD cars) has a slanted Steering Wheel position which takes some getting used to, otherwise instrument and control layout is good. Seats are supportive but comfortable (unless the base springs are worn but this is a cheap repair) Rear passenger space is adequate rather than exceptional. Luggage space even in the 2 door variants is generous but the spare wheel can get in the way when loading the boot. 2,3 and 5 Door cars all feature a fold down rear seat  to accommodate larger items.

There were a limited number of dealer options and only one trim level so equipment and specification is generally the same across all cars but check the quality of installation of aftermarket devices such as alarms and in car entertainment. Road noise is respectable for a 4 speed car but loud by modern standards. 99 turbos need 98/99 octane fuel or detonation is likely to occur which can damage the head or pistons.

drjeep

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Saab 99 Turbo Buying
« Reply #3 on: 05 July 2011, 11:10:26 PM »
Rust is a problem and repair sections are are generally not available. Pay particular attention to suspension mounts on all 4 corners, around the mid-mudflap mountings, the “tunnels” the driveshafts pass through and the box section the rear shocks mount to. All of these points are MOT failures. Floors themselves are relatively flat with inboard sills so suffer less than most other cars of the era. Cosmetically the whole lower quarter of the car is vulnerable but  check door bottoms inside and out, front valance, bottoms of the rear quarter panels, scuttle panel in the corners of the screen and lower sections of the wheelarch lips (under the trim strip).

Some mechanical parts are scarce so check everything works as it should. The cooling system is under significant load on the turbocharged cars and the waterpump is a known weak spot on the B series engine and requires difficult to find parts and specialist tools. Check the car runs in or just below the middle of the gauge, that the cooling fan cuts in if the gauge goes much higher than the midway point and that there is no evidence of water in the oil or oil in the water.

Check that oil changes have been done every 5000 miles with quality synthetic oil, this is vital on the Turbocharged cars. Tuning and setup is critical to to safeguard the engine and give the best performance so check for evidence of regular servicing throughout. The k-jet injection system is relatively simple and robust and shares many components with other cars of the era (including early Golf GTi's, Porsche and Mercedes models)  A k-jet system in good order should need hardly any adjustment as the setup doesn't tend to "drift" unless there is a faulty component. Cold and Warm idle should be smooth and there should be no miss-firing or flatspots. Gearboxes can be a bit clunky when very cold but should change smoothly when warm. crashing syncros or jumping out of gear may indicate a worn box. My own car has a noisy input shaft (slight clattering in neutral and a mini like whine in the lower gears but I have chosen not to worry about it too much as it hasn't got any worse in thousands of miles)

Turbo needs to be given time to cool at idle speed after being driven hard or at prolonged speed otherwise oil is baked onto the bearing surfaces causing early failure. Quiz the owner or pay attention during the test drive to make sure they have been doing this. Any turbo that has been rebuilt at the Garrett factory should carry a small plaque on the compressor body.