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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:53 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
Hello everyone,

Just considering getting another SAAB. In the past, I've had 2 SAAB 96V4s and 2 SAAB 9000s, so am a serial SAAB fan, and there's no cure for it :D .

So, I need to get an automatic (dodgy left hip), pre 2001 (under the older tax bands), and am looking for a bit of advice. Can anybody confirm / advise who the manufacturer was for the auto boxes for the NG900, 9-3 and 9000 please? Am pretty sure the 9000 was ZF throughout the production run, but don't know about the NG900 and 9-3, having never owned them. The reason I want to know is that I want a torque converter auto (more reliable), and want to avoid unreliable autos (am advised that Jatco are rubbish).

Thanks in advance :)

Stephen


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:26 pm
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Location: South Oxfordshire
Car Models: 2006 9-3 Convertible; 2008 Turbo X Wagon; 2013 VW Shuttle (T5) WAV
Hi,

Some general info:

The 9-5 1998 to 2020 has Aisin 50-40LE gearboxes.
The 9000 was a ZF 4HP18 unit.
The 2002+ 9-3 has Aisin AF33 or AF40-6 gearboxes.
The 1998-2002 9-3 has Aisin gearboxes (same as the 9-5) and I think the 1994-1997 900 was the same too.

I believe they are all torque converters.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 9:38 pm 
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Location: Queenborough, Kent
Car Models: 9k, 9-5 & a Jaaag
Also - in terms of tax, I believe the big tax hike came in early 2006, so autos before then aren't quite as horrific tax-wise as the ones after then ...

To my knowledge, 9-5's up to circa 2001 had a 4 speed box, 2002 model year onwards was a 5 speed box, "flappy paddles" were added in 2003 model year?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:53 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
Hi TwyRob,

Thanks very much for the info.

That's exactly the good news that I was hoping for - I have heard that Aisin auto gearboxes are generally reliable if looked after, being part of the Toyota Group of campanies. Also I had no problems with the ZF auto box in my 9000.

Thanks again :)

Stephen


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:53 pm
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Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
Hi sounds,

Thanks very much for the tax info on SAABs, very enlightening. I shall definitely be focusing on the lower tax rated cars.

Best regards

Stephen :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:01 am 
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Location: South Oxfordshire
Car Models: 2006 9-3 Convertible; 2008 Turbo X Wagon; 2013 VW Shuttle (T5) WAV
Also, some 2003+ 9-3 autos were 5 speed and some were 6 speed with steering wheel gear change buttons.

2006 is the changeover year to approx £600 annual tax. I have two 9-3 autos, a 2008 2. 8 Turbo X with the high tax of approx £600 and an early 2006 2.0 Aero (55 plate) with the approx £330 annual tax.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:22 pm
Posts: 1688
Location: Ramsbottom
Car Models: 9-5 9-3SSx2 Sonett T16S 9000
I had a 9000 with the ZF. It had 170k on the clock with no apparent service history for the gearbox. Seemed smooth and lovely.
The 9-3 (2002 AW40 box) convertible I bought had an internal gearbox fault at 80k. No idea why and I think it was a rare fault as I struggled to find anyone with the same issue to get advice from. A second hand box with 120k was perfect. The 9-3 with the LPT 150 bhp engine is quite well suited to the 4 speed box. It went rather well.
Any car which has a documented fluid change is a good bet. Preferably under 100k. They can easily do twice that with no maintenance other than fluid.
If it were my money, I would buy a 9000.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:04 pm 
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Posts: 27
Car Models: Saab 9-3 Convertible
I own a 2000 9-3 with the Aisin 4 speed. Changed the neutral position switch at 105k miles. Slips when cold at 120k miles. Poorly maintained by me. Otherwise goes well and the box is fine after the first 10 seconds or so.

Also various 9-5's with the 5 speed Aisin auto. One at 140k miles. Original fluid. No issues.

Have come across multiple 9000s with valve issues in the auto. That's the only one I would avoid.

If it was me, I would probably get a 1999 or 2000 9-3 with the B204e engine and 4 speed auto. And then admire how easily it gets to 90 mph..


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:53 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
TwyRob wrote:
Also, some 2003+ 9-3 autos were 5 speed and some were 6 speed with steering wheel gear change buttons.

2006 is the changeover year to approx £600 annual tax. I have two 9-3 autos, a 2008 2. 8 Turbo X with the high tax of approx £600 and an early 2006 2.0 Aero (55 plate) with the approx £330 annual tax.


Thanks for your reply. That's more useful info. Yes, that's a scary road tax of £600, I'll be looking for an older car anyway.

Cheers :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:53 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
munchcorp wrote:
I had a 9000 with the ZF. It had 170k on the clock with no apparent service history for the gearbox. Seemed smooth and lovely.
The 9-3 (2002 AW40 box) convertible I bought had an internal gearbox fault at 80k. No idea why and I think it was a rare fault as I struggled to find anyone with the same issue to get advice from. A second hand box with 120k was perfect. The 9-3 with the LPT 150 bhp engine is quite well suited to the 4 speed box. It went rather well.
Any car which has a documented fluid change is a good bet. Preferably under 100k. They can easily do twice that with no maintenance other than fluid.
If it were my money, I would buy a 9000.


Thanks, that's interesting info.
I must admit I would rather have another 9000, but will keep an open mind. Just depends on what's about really.

Cheers :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:39 pm 
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Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
irishcarfan wrote:
I own a 2000 9-3 with the Aisin 4 speed. Changed the neutral position switch at 105k miles. Slips when cold at 120k miles. Poorly maintained by me. Otherwise goes well and the box is fine after the first 10 seconds or so.

Also various 9-5's with the 5 speed Aisin auto. One at 140k miles. Original fluid. No issues.

Have come across multiple 9000s with valve issues in the auto. That's the only one I would avoid.

If it was me, I would probably get a 1999 or 2000 9-3 with the B204e engine and 4 speed auto. And then admire how easily it gets to 90 mph..


Thanks for sharing your experiences, very interesting. I was surprised to hear about 9000 auto gearbox problems, a bit concerning. I had no problems with the 9000 CDE I had, but I made sure I changed the fluid and filter every 2 years. However, the car's service history did show that it had a recon gearbox before I bought it.

So maybe a 9-3 or NG900 would be a safer bit - if memory serves me right, the B204e engine was essentially the same 2 litre engine as fitted to the Classic 900, so a good solid engine.

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:02 am 
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Posts: 121
The ZF 4HP18 in the 9000 is an extremely nice 'box and was used in a lot of premium models throughout the 90's and formed the basis for later 5-speed models.

It acquired a poor reputation as time went on and it seems to me this was down to the correct fluid getting memory-holed. It seems ZF were complicit in this where their documentation at some point became quite ambiguous and mentioned Dexron II/III as being suitable (and it just isn't) while the correct fluid went AWOL from the ZF documentation but was obviously recommended in handbooks and under-bonnet stickers (where Dexron wasn't).

The (perceived) cheaper makes/models that used the ZF 4HP18 invariably all ended up with gearbox problems as the cheaper Dexron was used while the more expensive models (such as SAAB) were in some cases still having the correct, and more expensive, fluid used.

I've had various auto Citroen XMs and Peugeot 605s and they all had a poor internet reputation for these gearboxes. My 9000 auto internet reputation mirrored this thread; some had problems and others didn't and some didn't even know the gearbox had a poor reputation.

After my early days with the ZF 4HP18 and still not being happy with the shift even after swapping out the 'recommended' DIII (for new stuff of the same), once i had figured out that Esso/Mobil LT71141 was the correct fluid to use i never looked back and have never had any problems. My 605 SVE towed noticeably better after the switch from new DIII to Mobil LT and just felt like a completly different gearbox.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:01 am 
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Car Models: 9000
Didn't know that, interesting. I thought Esso/Mobil LT71141 was designed for the later 4HP20. As far as I know the 4HP18 was designed for Dexron II.

What I do know is that the ZF was produced for 13 years and not all are equal. A lot of modifications were implemented over the production period. Especially the early series have a lot of quality issues, with the series from 92-93 seeming to be the worst of all. The MY94-98 series are bullet proof on the other hand. I've seen several pass the 350 thousand mile mark without any problems, even on tuned cars. All with regular fluid changes on Dexron IId btw. The ones that did fail often had switched to Dexron III which theoretically is compatible but I very much doubt that.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:41 pm 
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90000006 wrote:
Didn't know that, interesting. I thought Esso/Mobil LT71141 was designed for the later 4HP20. As far as I know the 4HP18 was designed for Dexron II.

What I do know is that the ZF was produced for 13 years and not all are equal. A lot of modifications were implemented over the production period. Especially the early series have a lot of quality issues, with the series from 92-93 seeming to be the worst of all. The MY94-98 series are bullet proof on the other hand. I've seen several pass the 350 thousand mile mark without any problems, even on tuned cars. All with regular fluid changes on Dexron IId btw. The ones that did fail often had switched to Dexron III which theoretically is compatible but I very much doubt that.


Even the 4HP20 has various oils recommended for various models. The smaller/cheaper PSA models have a brownish-colour oil spec'd while the more powerful variants have LT/equivalents (a straw/gold colour) listed...for the same basic gearbox.

I spent ages reading forums in the mid-2000s trying to get to the bottom of this and it was posters on forums of SAABs and BMWs saying their dealers were refilling their 4HP18 with Esso LT fluid and not Dexron while other marques are getting Dexron as standard at dealers. The correlation i drew was that those only getting Dexron always had problem while those models where LT was mentioned had less problems and some cases of 'never even knew it was an issue'.

PSA have a history of cheapening out on components (even on their well-built models) so it made sense to me they were deciding on a cheaper fluid while more expensive marques/models went with whatever was correct despite more cost. It is ironic SAAB succumbed to the same PSA-cost-mentality at the hands of GM.

I remember the worldwide economy in the early>mid 90's and it produced a backwards step in many areas for cars due to 'cost-awareness' so it wouldn't surprise me if ZF were doing the now-standard process of modifying cost out of the 4HP18 throughout it's life hence the many variants and windows of varying quality levels. It also made sense to me that one of these areas would be cheaper 'equivalent' fluids being produced and used. I now know through a lot of research that 'backwards compatibility' isn't really a thing for engine oils so it wouldn't surprise me if it's also not the case for ATF (looks sideways at Dexron III).


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 2:42 pm 
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Every 9000 handbook I've ever seen has specified Dexron II. I just checked and the 1989 9000 handbook I have says "Dexron 2 ATF", capacity "7.2 litres". The handbook for my 1997 CS says "Dexron 2 ATF", capacity "8.4 litres".
Interestingly, the first one I checked just now was for MY 1986 and to my surprise, only the manual gearbox was mentioned. I had assumed automatic transmission was an option all the way from 1985 onwards but perhaps not.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2005 4:17 pm
Posts: 211
Location: Stirling
Car Models: 9000, 9-5 Aero
BillJ wrote:
Every 9000 handbook I've ever seen has specified Dexron II. I just checked and the 1989 9000 handbook I have says "Dexron 2 ATF", capacity "7.2 litres". The handbook for my 1997 CS says "Dexron 2 ATF", capacity "8.4 litres".
Interestingly, the first one I checked just now was for MY 1986 and to my surprise, only the manual gearbox was mentioned. I had assumed automatic transmission was an option all the way from 1985 onwards but perhaps not.


Your Saab Museum link refers to auto box becoming available in MY1987. https://www.saabmuseum.com/9000/my.html

Neil


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:29 pm 
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Buzz wrote:
Your Saab Museum link refers to auto box becoming available in MY1987. https://www.saabmuseum.com/9000/my.html

Yes, I just noticed that after I posted that link in the VSS thread. Thank you.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:45 pm 
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Car Models: 9000, 9-5 Aero
BillJ wrote:
Buzz wrote:
Your Saab Museum link refers to auto box becoming available in MY1987. https://www.saabmuseum.com/9000/my.html

Yes, I just noticed that after I posted that link in the VSS thread. Thank you.


Thank you, as I hadn't previously bookmarked that site!

Neil


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:30 am 
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Location: Ayrshire
Car Models: SAAB 9000 CDE
Well, thank you very much guys for all your valuable input / knowledge to my original post, it is much appreciated. This is one of the reasons why I am thinking of getting another SAAB, you guys are so supportive in helping others :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:36 am 
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The Aisin boxes are all good and used in lots of different car brands.
It all comes down to maintenance.

Volvo and Renault said the gearbox was sealed for life, as did Saab in some of the early owners manuals.
However Aisin have always said fluid change at 72,000 miles. And the correct fluid must be used. Typically Esso 3309, Toyota type IV fluid.

Also the ZF 9000 boxes, ive never had an issue with them. As long as the oil and filters are changed they go on forever.

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