One of the looming problems for any owner of a RHD NG900 or OG9-3 (though evidence seems to point to mostly 9-3s being effected) is a potential crack in the firewall. My mate Richo in Sydney has just had his Viggen diagnosed with one. Another mate in Melbourne found one in his 2002 9-3 Aero. I’ll be having my Viggen looked at in the next few weeks when I get it serviced, just to be sure.
It’s an issue only for RHD versions of the cars, so all you LHD people may as well tune out now.
If you’ve got a RHD car that’s a candidate for this problem, then you may want to check out Saab9-3bulkhead.com, a site with some history on the problem and experiences people have had getting it fixed.
The good news is that it isn’t terminal and it is fixable. Saab Australia have a fix-kit available and can provide the repair as a recall issue, free of charge to the owner. In the UK the cost of the repair seems to be a bit of an issue depending on the age of the car.
I’d encourage anyone with one of these vehicles to check out the website linked above. It won’t fix your problem, but at least it’ll give you some knowledge as to what’s going on with it. As mentioned, the problem isn’t terminal and reading up on it can only help you in getting it fixed properly.
A quick check: One method to perform a quick self-diagnosis is to start the car, and whilst standing still and idling, press the brake pedal and turn your steering wheel lock-to-lock. If you can feel the brake pedal moving up and down a little whilst turning the wheel then you may have a firewall issue that needs attention.
The 9-3 Bulkhead site has a writeup on the method used by the dealers.