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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:34 pm
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Car Model: Saab 9-3 Aero V6
Had my Saab 2.8 aero now for a few months and still love it like the day I got it. Want to start doing some modifications to it to make it even better than it is. It already has a straight through exhaust on it and has been lowered with nice wheels.

My most immediate thoughts are on getting the car mapped. A company not too from me have offered a Stage 2 map with a hardcut limiter. All I have to do is fit a de cat to the car and change the induction kit, which are things I was planning to anyway alongside getting a different downpipe for the car. After looking up Hardcut limiters on YouTube I have decided the sound is awesome,

What I was wondering is if someone has a experience with this stuff before and can tell me the pros and cons and the main risks I run by doing.

Thanks in advance guys!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:27 pm 
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Welcome to UKS :wink:

Moved this to Performance for better responses in the field of your questions :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:34 pm 
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Welcome to UKS :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:34 pm
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Car Model: Saab 9-3 Aero V6
Thank you for moving the post :) and I'm happy to be a member, seen a lot of useful advice on here prior to being a member and glad to be a part of the Saab community :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:12 pm
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Location: Portsmouth
Car Model: 96 V4 & 9-3 Turbo-X
Hi and welcome!

No experience of a hard-cut limiter. I'm going to have to look it up now.


As to exhaust, there's not need to go fully de-cat. A new downpipe in 3in or bigger tube, with a single 200 cell cat will be fine for upto any level of tune so far explored. That should be good for stage 2, or stage 3 with a bigger intercooler as well. It will also pass an MOT without needing to swap back to std each year.

There are various options available for the exhaust off-the-shelf so to speak. Abbotts exhausts have a really good rep, I don't know if they do a downpipe for the V6 though.

As to tuning companies, stick to one with a good reputation. With it being a Bosch system there are more people out there who will tune it, but Saabs need experience to get the most out of them safely. There's a couple of well-known guys out there doing the V6:

JZW claim some big figures, but several people have now reported problems such as engines blowing up using his software, and his support seems to be shocking. I'm only hearing one side of the story, though.
Maptun are well known and reliable. The Maptuner looks pretty good, but it is pricy and their figures aren't as high as some others, although this may be safer?
Hirsch were the official tuning company for Saab, I don't know if their V6 maps are still available. I know they aren't for the XWD models. Very solid maps, although again, not as high as some.
Nordic have a really good reputation, available in the UK from a chap in Kent, he's also a member on here. Figures are higher than Maptun and Hirsch, not as high as JZW. Cheaper than both, not quite as convenient.


To note however, i've not tried any of these myself yet, i'm merly passing on information i've gleened from threads on here and elsewhere. I myself will be going for Nordic when i've scraped the pennies together.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:34 pm
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Car Model: Saab 9-3 Aero V6
Sounds brilliant, I hadn't heard of them either and seem to mainly be a diesel thing. But they do sound awesome and the Nordic guy was one of the people I came across, Darren I think? The local company I've been speaking to have a good rep and seem knowledgeable, they also use a dyno with all of their maps so that's a bonus I guess. Looking for faster and cooler but don't want to go over board as I still have some mods i want to do before I chase bigger numbers.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:11 pm
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Location: Down Sarf'
Car Model: 9-3 2.8 V6 Saloon and Vert!
I’m a big Maptun fan

I got my latest map direct from Sweden. Once I send the Maptuner back even including delivery it worked out cheaper than ALL of the competition.

Just looked and even though their sale has ended they haven’t got up much in price - worth a look

I got a stage 1 - really really impressed .

I also decatted the front pipe- cheaper option for a bit quicker spook up and reduction in egt’s

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:25 pm
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Location: Lingfield, Surrey
Car Model: 93 Aero 2.8T cabrio
Only know of 2 JZW failures and one appears to be weak fuel pump (and the support was bad), the other was one in the southwest and I've not heard any updates on that rod-thrower so can't definitively blame the map.

I'm happy with my stage 3 JZW but for support I'd suggest Darren Lintorn (AP Tuning / Nordic) as others have and also take a look stateside - Brew City Boost and Vermont Tuning both of whom offer good service and maps.

Reference the hard limiter I'm not sure you want that. It does chuck a few more stresses and strains through the engine and will you really be revving it up there?

The only real benefit is the bupbupbup you'll get if you bounce it off the limiter out of gear.

Mine has the standard soft-cut limiter which gives a thrrrrr sort of sound coupled with some slight afterfire courtesy of the sport cat and 3" downpipe fitted. It's not the sort of thing I do often.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:47 pm 
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Put a SOC in it!
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:48 pm
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Location: Fliptop Towers, North Yorks...the flat bit.
Car Model: One or two...
Maptun's maps are always good. Fredrik knows his onions.
UK distributor "support" is less good.
My Hirsch car made 302/306 BHP on separate dynos and 420Nm.
Fantastic engine but definitely needs a remap to wake it up... Beyond that, big smiles can be had but at the risk of expensive bills as these cars get older and leggier... Having run tuned Saabs for many years, do you need more than 300?? :corn: :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:25 pm
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Location: Lingfield, Surrey
Car Model: 93 Aero 2.8T cabrio
Fliptop wrote:
Having run tuned Saabs for many years, do you need more than 300?? :corn: :wink:


In a word: Yes. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Light Pressure Turbo
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:32 pm
Posts: 429
Location: Liverpool
Car Model: 9-3 Aero 2.8T
I had mine mapped by Nordic a few weeks back, and i have to say i am very very impressed, i thought my standard car was quick, but now it's in a different league, one thing to bare in mind, as soon as mine was mapped 2 or 3 of the coils failed on hard acceleration (a map will show any weakness in them) so i ended up buying new coils and plugs, which cost £300, also if yours is manual, unless your clutch is strong it will probably slip with a nordic stage 2 map, mine seems to be holding on at the moment, but i am not sure for how much longer.

If you are looking at more power, you are probably also looking at a LSD to be able to use it properly, in anything but decent dry conditions mine is scrabbling for grip on boost in second....

But as you can see above, plenty of people on here very pleased with other maps, so you pays your money and makes your choice....


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:56 pm
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Location: E. London/Essex
Car Model: Saab 9-3 Aero 2.8T
I can also vouch for Darren, I opted to replace all the spark plugs and coils at the same time as the stage 2 remap though.
I've done around 2-3k miles since the remap, the car is on 180k and still pulls strong, but the clutch is slipping. *cough* not cheap to replace *cough*
For Stage 2, you basically only need a 3inch downpipe...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:42 pm 
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Light Pressure Turbo
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:32 pm
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Location: Liverpool
Car Model: 9-3 Aero 2.8T
i must admit, i am running a std downpipe, and sometimes the car feels a little slow to spool up....


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:34 pm
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Car Model: Saab 9-3 Aero V6
Spoken to Darren, will be getting a map once it's had a fresh service, new coils and a downpipe fitted, any advice on the cat, as the car currently has a 3 inch straight pipe from the cat back


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:12 pm
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Location: Portsmouth
Car Model: 96 V4 & 9-3 Turbo-X
Single 200 cell sport cat will be fine for both mot and performance.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:16 am 
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Location: Down Sarf'
Car Model: 9-3 2.8 V6 Saloon and Vert!
willo40 wrote:
i must admit, i am running a std downpipe, and sometimes the car feels a little slow to spool up....


Should be ‘on song’ at 2k

I’d not bother spending out on downpipe- just gut the pre cat.

You’ll notice the difference - subtle but there

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:02 pm 
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Light Pressure Turbo
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:32 pm
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Location: Liverpool
Car Model: 9-3 Aero 2.8T
paolo wrote:
willo40 wrote:
i must admit, i am running a std downpipe, and sometimes the car feels a little slow to spool up....


Should be ‘on song’ at 2k

I’d not bother spending out on downpipe- just gut the pre cat.

You’ll notice the difference - subtle but there


I looked at your thread on that, just the labour time put me off, might have another look when it warms up a bit......


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:25 pm
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Location: Lingfield, Surrey
Car Model: 93 Aero 2.8T cabrio
If upgrading the downpipe, most of the 3" units have a thicker turbo to DP flange so you'll need to excise the old studs from the back of the turbo.

That could prove either very challenging or nigh on impossible.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:21 am 
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Put a SOC in it!
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:48 pm
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Location: Fliptop Towers, North Yorks...the flat bit.
Car Model: One or two...
Quad_cam_turbo wrote:
Fliptop wrote:
Having run tuned Saabs for many years, do you need more than 300?? :corn: :wink:


In a word: Yes. :D

Hmm...I remain unconvinced! I have the thick end of 400bhp and 600Nm while it is entertaining, it is hard to actually exploit in any smooth and consistent way.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:12 pm
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Location: Portsmouth
Car Model: 96 V4 & 9-3 Turbo-X
Fliptop wrote:
Quad_cam_turbo wrote:
Fliptop wrote:
Having run tuned Saabs for many years, do you need more than 300?? :corn: :wink:


In a word: Yes. :D

Hmm...I remain unconvinced! I have the thick end of 400bhp and 600Nm while it is entertaining, it is hard to actually exploit in any smooth and consistent way.


As Top Gear and others have demonstrated, its how the power is deployed that makes the difference.

An Mitsubishi Evo 9 etc can be out-dragged by an entry level Colt if the Evo is in the wrong gear. To get that power from a small engine turbo needs to be big, and to spool it the revs need to be high.

Driving everywhere at 4k rpm to get the power isn't fun, an neither is having to change down a gear or two to increase from 30 to 40.


Saab never chased power with their turbos, they chased torque low-ish down to make up for displacement. And its that that makes them fun for me. I've found the limit to that fun to be about a TD-04-19T on a 9000, where the lag isnt particularly noticable but you're getting good torque over a wider range.

The similar result on the 2.8 could be achievable with maybe a -20 turbo, or a smaller GT30, but it's got 500cc more than a 4 cylinder Saab engine that only makes 20bhp less than the 2.8 in stock tune.

Chasing 400bhp may compromise the around-town fun. But this is speculation as I've yet to get my own 2.8 tuned to stage 1 even!

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