BSR Testimonial

I’ve got a list as long as your arm of things I’d like to do with the Viggen one day. I have a trip to Sweden to pay off first, though.

One of the things I’ll be doing eventually is uprating the ECU. It is without a doubt the biggest bang-for-the-buck upgrade you can do and with a number of tuners providing tuning upgrades for Saabs it’s not something that’s out of reach or hard to source.

I got this email in over the weekend from Simon A, here in Australia. He’s gone with the BSR option, which is quite an attractive one due to its simplicity. Many ECU upgrades involve an exchange of the unit – yours out of the car and the new one into the car. The BSR upgrade is plug-n-play. The software comes in a unit that you simply plug in to your Saab. It takes a short time to download and you’re away…..somewhat faster than you were before. To restore your previous factory spec, just plug it in again and it reverses the upgrade.

Here’s Simon’s email to me:


G’day Swade,

This morning I became the proud owner of a BSR Stage 1 PPC Upgrade for my MY98 9-5 lpt. While only having owned this for no more than 8 hours, I already have a few points to make about this little treat.

For starters… WOW!

I’ve always found the lpt impressive for its fairly low power (170BHP/125Kw) and have always loved the way it can pass much more powerful cars in the overtaking lane thanks to its useful 280Nm. The Stage 1 upgrade lends my little motor a whole swag of extra power to bring it to 234BHP/175Kw and a mountainous 380Nm. The change in incredible! Where is was capable before, now it’s just plain fast. I’m now loving the power that Aero owners take for granted. I’m also loving the fact that in 3rd gear it can stomp on a friends SS Commodore! I’ve never seen the speedo move like that before…

For owners of lpt 9-5’s, this is a must-have. I can promise you it will be the best ~$1200 you’ve ever spent on your car (until asking for an extra 30% from your 10yo engine takes it’s toll!).


That last point’s an important one. Prior to warming up your Saab you should always make sure that the rest of the car is at least running well in standard spec. Cars are engineered a certain way and when more is asked of them, well sometimes something’s got to give. Talk to your tuner about other upgrades that might be advisable for your model so that your car remains balanced and reliable.

For me, for example, the Viggen really needs some steering and suspension upgrades prior to adding any more power. The rest of the car’s breathing and cooling apparatus could probably benefit from some uprating, too.

If you’re ready for it though, the ECU is one thing that’ll give you instant fun.

TS long-time supporters, Elkparts, are distributors for the BSR upgrade that Simon used on his 9-5. You can check out their quite extensive range of BSR upgrades here.

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  1. I would advise against using BSR software, especially for a viggen. They push their ECUs to dangerous levels just to push out more power. If you want to have more power with piece of mind, get a tune from Nordic, Maptun, or Hirsch. Last month I was in Nick Taliaferro’s shop in the US getting some work done to my viggen, and in came another viggen with a cracked piston. The car had the BSR ECU and after some investigating it was found the ECU overwrote the knock sensor, causing it to run far beyond normal parameters and thus blow a piston. Vigs are special cars, so spend the extra bucks and do it right.

  2. I’ve had a BSR u/g for almost 2 years by now and swear on the value for money let alone reliability, performance delivery etc etc as I had no issues whatsoever on my 02 Aero. I must state that Viggens are well renowned for overheating even without upgrading the ECU as this is well documented on independent web sites that Swade has distributed. One remedy for this is to upgrade the aeration unit as this is done even on standard 9-5s with the 2.3 lit engines. As for Nick T I would state that he will be very likely to put the blame solely on the BSR upgrade rather than look at the very basic status of Viggen’s inherit heating problems. Aside from this anyone with a heavy foot on a Viggen with any ECU upgrade by any supplier can blow pistons and other components in no time so, why would be then BSR’s fault outright ??? I’ve had some dealings with Nick where I got given a rather complex and strange response/diagnosis without any satisfaction. I recommend the BSR upgrade wholeheartedly and blindly as this is the best option at hand for less pain and quick result. Something that Nick should credit as Nordic uses the BSR software in some of their ECU kits !!!

  3. I didn’t know about any BSRs overwriting knock sensor codes or what not, but never even popped into my head, especially if I were to have a Viggen.

    t7 pistons = sissy. t5 pistons = not so sissy…

    Swade, many people complain about Vigs and their spaghetti like rear ARB. Here’s what I would do to a viggen. Pin it down with springs, konis (check), ARB, steering rack brace, and 6 point, all available from Nick T at GenuineSaab. Then, some hardware mods to lower EGTs. Only then would I mess with ecu, but never ecu alone…

    This is me being very protective of Swade’s Viggen :).

  4. Yep. Plenty to do before an ECU. Some of Nick’s stuff is no good here in Oz as it doesn’t fit RHD vehicles.

    I’d have to go with the rescue kit from Abbott and I’d fit a rear ARB cause Richo’s feels so good. Then some better breathing with a bigger intake pipe and then maybe an ECU. A bigger intercooler would probably be a good idea too.

  5. Hmm, i’m tempted, very tempted to give the 9-5 a bit of extra poke next year. Time to start saving some pennies.

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