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      07-06-2012, 07:23 AM   #1
Precision
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Anyone here with Saab and Volvo turbo car experience?

I've been looking for a new daily driver slash original bolt on toy. I need something reliable, headache proof and that I can mod and drive without worry of my wallet getting tortured. I've been considering Saabs and Volvos and after some toying on the net they seem like they'd be fun but Im not sure about how reliable etc. These are the ones I've been thinking about, feel free to chime in:

Saab 9-3 Viggen 230hp/258 ftlbs
Saab 9-5 Aero (Manual version) 230hp/258ft ftlbs
Saab 9-3 HO 205hp/209

Volvo S70 T5 Manual 236hp/243 ftlbs
Volvo 850 T5

They are safe cars, seem to be comfortable and nice to drive with entry level luxury specs and apparently respond very well to bolt ons, I also thought it'd be nice to have something different and sleeper like but reliability and cost of ownership is my main concern.
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      07-06-2012, 08:30 AM   #2
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Neither company is known for reliability. I've owned a Saab 9000 CD Turbo and a Volvo C70 Coupe 5MT Turbo (high pressure) and both had issues. A BMW feels like it wants to be driven hard, the Saab and Volvo both seemed like they were begging me to stop. They're expensive to fix and break often. That being said, I find both brands to be quite charming and aesthetically appealing and I want one of each.
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      07-06-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
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Volvo was excellent with reliability back in the shoe box days (240). However, even when the little things went wrong, there was a Euro car tax. At some point though, between the bulletproof 240 lineup and the 850, reliability went out the window. The 240s we had were incredibly reliable and ran almost forever (non-turbo gas and one diesel), but the 850s we had (turbo) were nightmares, both the engine and transmission along with various electronic problems. Not sure if our experience was the norm, but we did have two 850 T5s and both were nightmares (a '95 Turbo and a '97 T5).

Saab... what year are you looking to get into? Around the turn of the century, they made cars that blew up before they left the lot (<-- hyperbole), and the '99 SE I had was by far the most problematic car I've ever owned. That's saying a lot, because I also got one of the "bad" 335s. I've heard Saab has done better since then with reliability, but I think they've been dead last or near dead last for years still (JDPower). Come to think of it, I had a buddy who had one of the 900 turbos from the 80s and his was pretty reliable. Not sure if that was the norm back then though.
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      07-06-2012, 11:06 AM   #4
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Volvo was excellent with reliability back in the shoe box days (240). However, even when the little things went wrong, there was a Euro car tax. At some point though, between the bulletproof 240 lineup and the 850, reliability went out the window. The 240s we had were incredibly reliable and ran almost forever (non-turbo gas and one diesel), but the 850s we had (turbo) were nightmares, both the engine and transmission along with various electronic problems. Not sure if our experience was the norm, but we did have two 850 T5s and both were nightmares (a '95 Turbo and a '97 T5).

Saab... what year are you looking to get into? Around the turn of the century, they made cars that blew up before they left the lot (<-- hyperbole), and the '99 SE I had was by far the most problematic car I've ever owned. That's saying a lot, because I also got one of the "bad" 335s. I've heard Saab has done better since then with reliability, but I think they've been dead last or near dead last for years still (JDPower). Come to think of it, I had a buddy who had one of the 900 turbos from the 80s and his was pretty reliable. Not sure if that was the norm back then though.
Well that isn't what I wanted to hear but what I wanted to know. I'd just like to get into a nice fun daily that I can mod but also has daily driver "niceness" to it... Not bin liner feel that some of the Japanese give. Might end up having to go that Integra GSR or 5th Gen Prelude route though.
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      07-06-2012, 11:42 AM   #5
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Well that isn't what I wanted to hear but what I wanted to know. I'd just like to get into a nice fun daily that I can mod but also has daily driver "niceness" to it... Not bin liner feel that some of the Japanese give. Might end up having to go that Integra GSR or 5th Gen Prelude route though.
What years specifically were you looking at (for the Swedish cars)? Even though the 850s were problematic, regular maintenance and repair took one to well over 300k and the other was lost in a water main break/flood after eclipsing 300k as well.

But yeah going the Honda route would be a much safer bet from the reliability standpoint. One thing to remember, though, is that the individual car's history can be much more important than the overall reliability ratings.
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      07-06-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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Brother had a volvo s60r 6mt for a while. That was a fast car. Turbo-5 cylinder with 300 hp stock, he tuned it to about 350 with just a tune. Awd so it was quick. Heavy though. He drove it to about 95k sold it a few weeks ago in favor of a 2012 ttrs. I think you could find a well sorted example with ~60k miles for 15k. Seats were amazingly comfortable. It looked pretty good for a volvo. He loved it and with regular maintenance he only experienced minor electrical gremlins (window motors were kinda crappy) and a few annoying rattles.

I would take a look and see if you can't find one with good maintenance history. Only thing I would be worried about would be the suspension eventually. It has an electronically adjustable suspension (designed by ohlins I believe) that sounds expensive to replace, but my brother told me you could just switch out the adjustable units for fixed ones when the time came. Good luck with your hunt.
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      07-06-2012, 01:42 PM   #7
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my brother told me you could just switch out the adjustable units for fixed ones when the time came.
Heh, sounds like the same sort of ideology LR owners with the self leveling and adjustable suspensions did. When in doubt, throw it out. I removed mine before I had any problems with it.

I don't know if an S60R is on the OP's list; it looks like it would be too new. Those things are beasts though. I love them. I also have a soft spot for the 850 T-5R and R variants, especially the wagons. At one point, I was looking into those, but for some reason I could only find automatics (not sure they even bothered importing the manuals).

I like Volvos. If only they made a true bahnburner wagon already....
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      07-06-2012, 02:11 PM   #8
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Heh, sounds like the same sort of ideology LR owners with the self leveling and adjustable suspensions did. When in doubt, throw it out. I removed mine before I had any problems with it.

I don't know if an S60R is on the OP's list; it looks like it would be too new. Those things are beasts though. I love them. I also have a soft spot for the 850 T-5R and R variants, especially the wagons. At one point, I was looking into those, but for some reason I could only find automatics (not sure they even bothered importing the manuals).

I like Volvos. If only they made a true bahnburner wagon already....
I think the manuals are slightly more rare. My brothers was a 6mt, it was a pretty good manual transmission but certainly not the best I have driven.
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      07-06-2012, 04:00 PM   #9
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I've had a 9000 Aero, a 9000 turbo, and just got rid of a 9-7x Aero to buy my X5M. I will never own another one. The 2 9000's constantly had an issue, whether it was a door handle breaking-3 times, or going into a limp mode, or cv boot/joit, welds breaking. Never again. The 9-7x Aero was a lot of fun, but at 14mpg highway, ( 6 liter corvette engines in the Aero models), and a lack of refinement as it was esentially a Chevy Trailblazer SS, I wouldn't buy one. I have heard the Viggens are a blast-friend had one that was modified, but again, how reliable will it be.
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      07-07-2012, 07:36 AM   #10
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S70 T5 = turbo lag
Might be better if you can find a manual.
But the seats are incredibly comfortable.
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      07-07-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfJericho View Post
Neither company is known for reliability. I've owned a Saab 9000 CD Turbo and a Volvo C70 Coupe 5MT Turbo (high pressure) and both had issues. A BMW feels like it wants to be driven hard, the Saab and Volvo both seemed like they were begging me to stop. They're expensive to fix and break often. That being said, I find both brands to be quite charming and aesthetically appealing and I want one of each.
bullshit in the case of Volvo, my 2009 V70 was by far and away the most reliable car I've ever owned. Nothing went wrong with it. It was built like a tank, far more relaxing and comfortable car to drive than a 5 series, and in winter it really was exceptional.
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      07-07-2012, 08:19 AM   #12
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bullshit in the case of Volvo, my 2009 V70 was by far and away the most reliable car I've ever owned. Nothing went wrong with it. It was built like a tank, far more relaxing and comfortable car to drive than a 5 series, and in winter it really was exceptional.
But your car is only 3 years old.
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      07-07-2012, 10:46 AM   #13
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Brand new in 2009, it's 2012 and and 10 years newer than any Volvo on the list. It's still probably under warranty
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      11-11-2012, 01:59 PM   #14
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I had a 1998 S70 T5 (HPT) 4spd auto. I had 3 problems. First the air pump went out 2 days after buying it used. Air pump just recycles exhaust gas back through the engine for efficiency when starting cold. I had it replaced by dealer at my expense, and it failed again. Apparently the check valve was stuck open causing the air pump to try to pump condensation. I ran the car over a year without the pump like this and check engine light on, didn't seem to have an issue other than the check engine light. My steering rack began leaking and it made turning diffcult, got that replaced. Also my ABS braking module failed which I got repaired rather cheap due to my location in Washington State. I had the car for 2-3 years and enjoyed the turbo, lag is present but it can be somewhat mitigated with bolt ons. I drove the car from about 70K miles until trading it in at about 125K miles. I also had a 2005 Volvo S40 2.5 liter 5 cyl (version 2) that had air conditioning problems. Currently I have a 2009 C30 T5 R-design 6spd manual and haven't had any problems with it, up to 54K miles (got it used with 13K miles in 2010).

Volvo parts aren't cheap at least at dealerships. Repairs can be done yourself but you'll have to peruse forums or find a knowledgable friend. Oh and don't get an S60R or V70R as a daily driver.
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      11-12-2012, 08:05 AM   #15
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I bought a 330Ci anyway so I guess this thread can be squashed
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      11-12-2012, 11:59 AM   #16
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Get a Saabaru...

9-2x's Aero's are essentially a Subaru WRX but a little nicer. Respond very well to modification, fairly efficient, and darn good in the snow.

While they are a little small, and perhaps not as luxurious as the cars you listed, they are reliable and cheap to work on.
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      11-12-2012, 05:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyV View Post
bullshit in the case of Volvo, my 2009 V70 was by far and away the most reliable car I've ever owned. Nothing went wrong with it. It was built like a tank, far more relaxing and comfortable car to drive than a 5 series, and in winter it really was exceptional.
You're telling me that my car that had many problems was actually reliable?
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      11-12-2012, 11:16 PM   #18
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My dad has a 1997 900 SE 5MT and it's a piece of crap. The trans is awful. The motor is slow. His radiator went out and it took me a few hours to replace it. The oil cooler, AC condensor, intercooler, and anything else was attached to the radiator. I had to take the front bumper off of it. Not to mention, the car actually overheated before and the head gasket blew.
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      11-14-2012, 03:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Precision View Post
I've been looking for a new daily driver slash original bolt on toy. I need something reliable, headache proof and that I can mod and drive without worry of my wallet getting tortured. I've been considering Saabs and Volvos and after some toying on the net they seem like they'd be fun but Im not sure about how reliable etc. These are the ones I've been thinking about, feel free to chime in:

Saab 9-3 Viggen 230hp/258 ftlbs
Saab 9-5 Aero (Manual version) 230hp/258ft ftlbs
Saab 9-3 HO 205hp/209

Volvo S70 T5 Manual 236hp/243 ftlbs
Volvo 850 T5

They are safe cars, seem to be comfortable and nice to drive with entry level luxury specs and apparently respond very well to bolt ons, I also thought it'd be nice to have something different and sleeper like but reliability and cost of ownership is my main concern.
Can't say much about the Volvo's as I haven't owned one, but did test drive a S60R, and found the turning circle/steering lock to be about on a par with the USS Nimitz.....

Saab's I can talk about, having owned about 6 of them.

I wouldn't really recommend any of the three you listed tbh.

The chassis/steering of the 9-3 (including the Viggen) is awful.........avoid.

The 9-5 is a bit better, but I wouldn't consider the 99-01 230hp, first generation model Aero.

1st facelifted 9-5 Aero's with the revised suspension, sports seats and 250hp are a much better prospect.
Even better are the next gen ones from 04-05 that had the re-designed PCV system to stop the engine sludging issues.

The 04-05 cars are the pick of the 9-5 Aero and I would recommend them.
The best 9-5 Aero's are the 2nd facelifted
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