more bad Quality news

UPDATE: Matt makes a pretty good point in comments, that the factory is only as good as the parts they’re given to install. Please read the following somewhat shortsighted rant in that light.

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  1. It really doesn’t matter where the cars are built,the quality of the parts that are used to manufacture them is the biggest cause of failures.

    Major electrical failures of ecu’s, paint flaking off, ICM controlers, ACC controlers, door handles fading, and the biggest isue that i have encountered is ESP failure’s due to the Yaw rate sensor which is an over engineered piece of crap. Typical Bosch.

    You can’t blame the guy in the factory no matter where it is, he just fits the parts that are supplied.

    And i’ll tell you when Delphi start to kick the tin it will get a lot worse for electrical isues.

  2. I don’t know if any of you have worked as Saab technicians, but this is spot on for the ’03 cars.

    The 9-3 water pump is driven off of the timing chains, and the tool Saab sends the dealers to use to replace it doesn’t hold the sprocket in place very well, allowing it to click over a tooth and ruin the timing chains.

  3. I wrote this over the weekend in comments on another post, but I think it’s worth posting again here. Note that the guy I conversed with has a 2004 (rather than a 2003) 9-3 Sport Sedan, so hope that next year’s JD Power reliability survey may be better than this year’s may be dampened a little.

    I’m one of the administrators in the Southern California SAAB Club and I recently received an e-mail from a new member of the club. I’ll post his comments here, but edit out his info for his privacy. I think this definitely goes to many of the reliability issues raised by both CR and JD Power.

    I originally was interested in locating some Saab owners’ message boards to get an idea what was wrong with out 2004 9.3. Just got it back from the dealer today. This time the immobilizer failed and the car wouldn’t start so it had to be towed. Diagnosis was that the battery had an internal short, which sounds suspect to me.

    Like a lot of cars, the 9.3 drives well, but it’s been the most troubled car we’ve owned in over 20 years and it’s been more trouble than our 87 Alfa was.

    Fortunately, we have only 8 more lease payments and we’ll be out of our misery.

    We’ve had recalls for brakes, keys and door locks. Gotten stuck with the parking brake refusing to release (twice) and had all kinds of erroneous error messages come up.

    Fortunately, my 98 C230 with 116,000 miles is always there for us

    I know this is just anecdotal evidence, but I was just speaking Saturday with another Club member who owns a 2003 9-3SS who has had an ongoing (electrical) issue with his stereo system that SAAB seems to not be able solve for months now.

    Seems to me that the 9-3 Sport Sedan has more than just “teething problems”.

  4. You’re absolutely right.
    The 9-3SS is pretty much a piece of junk, all thanks to GM.
    Want to hear something funny?
    The blocks for the 03-05 9-3’s are made with porous metal, and suffered from all kinds of coolant and oil consumption issues.

  5. The first model year of any series of any brands has more problem than the following years.
    Unfortunately, it’s more significant in the 2003 Saab 9-3SS.
    As far as I know, Saab has changed some of the suppliers after the first model year due to the mentioned quality problems.

  6. Well, I agree with zippy. Cars usually jumps back and forth in these kind of ratings. One year they are a piece of shit, the next year they are great. I don’t know anyone who pay any attention to these kind of surveys when they are about to buy a car. Maybe buyers in the U.S. do?

    And then about Trollhättan as a plant. If we should count all the fault German built cars have, they should move the production somewhere else. VW, Audi, Mercedes, Opel… They all have quality problems at their German plants. In fact, one of the reason Trollhättan is still around, is the productivity AND the high quality. But I’m still very surprised with all this quality talk. I never hear anything about it here in Sweden.

    And then as pointed out, you cant build a high quality car from crappy parts. I think one problem with the gigantic organization like GM is to maintain quality when buying parts. You loose the intimate relationship with the manufaturer.

  7. Just had two work colleagues take delivery of their new 9-3 wagons and both have had a catalogue of minor but irritating issues on delivery and since. What is it with the interior window rubbers? Tehy seem to fall out of place all the time. Teh badges on the rear door even fell off. Quality of the handbrake handle and surround has not improved in the ’07 models nor has the general feel of the interior which one of the guys rated ass a’bit better’ thatn his previous car – a Renault Megane!!!! the other guy gave up a BMW 3series for the 9-3 and seems a bit sad of late……..We need the current aero-x led designs, but with the solidity of the 1970s and 80s. GM parts bins are not good enough now, any more than saab design was then. A marriage of the best of both could solve all this but there’s no sign of it yet.

  8. Which brings me to the post I made last week which no one commented on. WHAT CAR magazine just had their new 93 wagon blow a turbo at 5,000 miles. replaced under waranty- but still, a new 93 with electronic probs stuffing a turbo at 5K and it a press car.

    Oh and talking of quality or the lack thereof, most new model 93s here with leather trim show massive amounts of leather wear on the right seat base bolster by 5k. They wrinkle up and crack very quickly- my mate’s Audi with sports seat bolsters does not have such wear even at 25 K. Although the £2k ‘open sky’ glass roof option does leak and Audi have have 4 goes at rebuilding it…

    And at least half of the new 95s and 93s I have seen on Saab dealer forecourts this summer have badly corroded wheel nuts- clearly there is a problem with a batch of wheel nuts.

    Not a good quality move then…Sweden, we have a problem…

  9. Was sitting on the front porch with my wife the other day. I saw a 9-3 convertible go by and said “Hey, look, a Saab Convertible!” She said “If you want a better look, why don’t you just walk down the road? I’m sure it will break down soon.” Ha-ha (sarcastically). She just doesn’t understand my love for Saabs.

  10. lance, I did read your comment about the blown turbo, but at the time thought to myself, “wow, that’s not good!” and didn’t really have anything to say about it. But just so you know, there ARE people who read and considered your comment.

    Regarding the lug nuts corrosion lance mentions, it’s been a problem for YEARS, including the previous 9-3 models. I have seen this problem at local SAAB Club meets on cars that never see salt and aren’t particularly close to the ocean. Same with the front rotors on the OG9-3. They would corrode on the “top hat” part (not the part where the pad contacts the rotor. One of our Club members actually had that part buffed down and powder-coated to look better. The corrosion is noticeable. SAAB apparently refuses to acknowledge and address the problem.

    As for the quality issues, I wish I could just write it off as teething problems on a new model (the ’03), but I’m hearing of problems in the ’04 and just now here in comments in the ’07.

    What will we get to look forward to in the next-gen SAABs? I certainly wouldn’t run out and buy a first-year model even if I could afford it. How about the 9-5 redesign? Are there interior problems due to the redesign?

    SAAB is in real trouble if they have no control over their suppliers’ quality. If GM is demanding they use poor-quality Delphi parts and engines designed by Opel and manufactured in Germany then SAAB is stuck at GM’s mercy.

    GM had better realize they’re really hurting the SAAB name and reputation by doing this. I know part of being a global car company is cashing-in on “synergies”, but SAAB can’t rightly control quality if they don’t have control over what suppliers they use and what parts they put in their cars.

    IMHO, without knowing details it seems to me that putting a fiber-optic system in the car only added complexity and really didn’t add any real value. What in the end is the advantage of the fiber optic system? It was more expensive and with the quality problems lying in the car’s electronics mostly, I’m wondering if GM forced them to use this system or if SAAB decided to go this route on their own.

    With all that said though, according to that earlier JD Power quality survey they specifically mentioned MANUFACTURING quality (which would lead me to suspect a Trollhattan problem), not the parts quality. I don’t know what that means really though.

  11. I had our 2003 9-3 in the shop 12 times in 2 years. If we didn’t have so much trouble trying to find a Jetta (2.0T DSG) with a beige interior, we would have bought a different car. However, 2 mins sitting in the 2006 9-3 wagon my wife said “this is the car we have to buy.” The trim in the back of the car seems to be wearing away pretty quickly (and we’ve only had it for 1 month) so we’ll see how it goes. It definately feels more solid than the 2003 model.

  12. noted with interest the comment about paint flaking off. I have a 2004 9-3 and the paint is flaking off. The local body shop tells me it is paint failure but GM asserts that it is due to an environmental hazard (bird-shit) and has determined that this is not covered under the warranty.

  13. I bought a Saab 9.3 convertible in March this year, coming up for four years old.
    What a pile of ….. I have just been told it has a porous block, threats of a new engine being required
    I am so disappointed in this car, what has happened to the quality of Saabs of old? Reading the above I see that the metal was inferior in this age car. Also I have noticed bubbling paintwork in several places. I was definitely sold a “pup”. By the way, is there any point of putting in porous block sealant? Will this stop the problem? Help, I am female and know nothing about cars at all, but I think I might be learning fast. Thanks.

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