NG900/9-3 owners – be aware

A few days ago, in the post I wrote about BSR tuning products, MuzX brought to our attention the steering and firewall issues that have come up with NG900 and OG9-3 Saabs.

There’s a thread at SaabCentral about the issue.

The problem concerns the possibility of a crack appearing in the firewall. “Musky”, from Sydney, reported his issue on SaabCentral as follows….“@ 100 k’s the steering has been a little off latley. My gently driven ’00 9-3 convert had an oil change and the non-dealer Saab specialist told me that the steering bracket had cracked the firewall”

Being a 1999 Viggen owner, I was natuarally curious about it. I’d heard late last year, from a guy here in Australia, about the possibility of firewalls getting cracks. Today I made some enquiries with my local dealer, who was kind enough to ask Saab Australia about the issue.

The outcome:

This problem appears to be peculiar to Right Hand Drive cars, so it’s mainly the UK and Australian cars that are effected and need to be checked out. New Zealand cars too. Apparently Saab did some re-design work in 2001 or 2002 and overcame the issue, but all previous years (MY1994 to MY2001) are possible candidates for this problem.

The guy from Saab Australia said that it’s mostly been found in bigger cities, where there’s a lot of tight parking and use of the steering system under higher load.

Having bigger wheels is also a contributing factor i.e. a car with 17″ wheels more likely to suffer than a car with 15″ wheels (Hmmm, size does matter).

One test you can do is to apply the brakes whilst you’re at rest and then turn the wheel lock-to-lock. If the brake pedal feels like it’s rising and falling a bit, then there’s a possibility your steering rack clamp could have a problem, along with the firewall.

If your car has the problem then you won’t lose your steering, but it will become vague.

Saab Australia and Saab Sweden are aware of the issue and have a repair kit accessible for cars that are identified as having this problem. As your steering isn’t lost altogether it’s not a full safety recall. It’s understood that Saab will, however, foot the bill for the repair should it become necessary.

I’d advise all NG900 and OG9-3 owners to have their cars checked out next time they have them serviced.

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  1. Our experience is that it would be a warning of a possible firewall crack, if you hear some sort of knocking/cracking noise when you make hard turns with the steering wheel rotated to the left or right end positions.

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