Discussion:
9-3 performance upgrade
(too old to reply)
saab_aka
2006-05-28 17:14:47 UTC
Permalink
I have a 9-3, a 2001 model year base model with a 2.0t 185 hp engine
and a manual transmission. What are the possibilities of making a
performance upgrade to increase the horsepower and torque to 210/221
which is what is currently offered on the model year 2006 9-3 models? I
test-drove one at a dealership and I felt that it was definitely
quicker than my saab.

Is it a common solution to increase turbo pressure? Will the turbo
gauge go into the red territory or is there a way to recalibrate it?
The factory warranty has already expired so I am not concerned about
the warranty but rather future longevity.

I did a few searches on saabnet.com and in this group but did not find
much about this model. Is is a part of FAQ's archived somewhere?

Thank you!
Andrew Sinclair
2006-05-28 18:48:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by saab_aka
I have a 9-3, a 2001 model year base model with a 2.0t 185 hp engine
and a manual transmission. What are the possibilities of making a
performance upgrade to increase the horsepower and torque to 210/221
which is what is currently offered on the model year 2006 9-3 models? I
test-drove one at a dealership and I felt that it was definitely
quicker than my saab.
Have a look in www.saabscene.com - a friendly bunch who should be able
to point you in the right direction. There is a specific forum there
for the 9-3 plus another on performance tuning.

Andy
--
Andrew Sinclair http://www.smellycat.org
d***@nospam.com
2006-05-29 03:48:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by saab_aka
I have a 9-3, a 2001 model year base model with a 2.0t 185 hp engine
and a manual transmission. What are the possibilities of making a
performance upgrade to increase the horsepower and torque to 210/221
which is what is currently offered on the model year 2006 9-3 models? I
test-drove one at a dealership and I felt that it was definitely
quicker than my saab.
Is it a common solution to increase turbo pressure? Will the turbo
gauge go into the red territory or is there a way to recalibrate it?
The factory warranty has already expired so I am not concerned about
the warranty but rather future longevity.
I did a few searches on saabnet.com and in this group but did not find
much about this model. Is is a part of FAQ's archived somewhere?
Thank you!
http://www.partsforsaabs.com/bsr_ppc.php
Pooh Bear
2006-05-29 04:51:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by saab_aka
I have a 9-3, a 2001 model year base model with a 2.0t 185 hp engine
and a manual transmission. What are the possibilities of making a
performance upgrade to increase the horsepower and torque to 210/221
which is what is currently offered on the model year 2006 9-3 models? I
test-drove one at a dealership and I felt that it was definitely
quicker than my saab.
Is it a common solution to increase turbo pressure? Will the turbo
gauge go into the red territory or is there a way to recalibrate it?
The factory warranty has already expired so I am not concerned about
the warranty but rather future longevity.
*Any* tuning mod to increase power has a potentially adverse effect on
longevity.

Graham
Fred W
2006-05-29 10:33:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pooh Bear
Post by saab_aka
I have a 9-3, a 2001 model year base model with a 2.0t 185 hp engine
and a manual transmission. What are the possibilities of making a
performance upgrade to increase the horsepower and torque to 210/221
which is what is currently offered on the model year 2006 9-3 models? I
test-drove one at a dealership and I felt that it was definitely
quicker than my saab.
Is it a common solution to increase turbo pressure? Will the turbo
gauge go into the red territory or is there a way to recalibrate it?
The factory warranty has already expired so I am not concerned about
the warranty but rather future longevity.
*Any* tuning mod to increase power has a potentially adverse effect on
longevity.
Graham
Potential? Sure.

But since the only difference between the 185 and 210hp versions of that
engine are higher boost, and considering that you only go to max boost
when you press the right pedal down firmly (which is to say not all that
often) there is not much downside of going to the higher boost level.

Going for anything above that might be a problem longevity-wise though.
--
-Fred W
Bob
2006-05-29 18:10:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by saab_aka
I have a 9-3, a 2001 model year base model with a 2.0t 185 hp engine
and a manual transmission. What are the possibilities of making a
performance upgrade to increase the horsepower and torque to 210/221
which is what is currently offered on the model year 2006 9-3 models? I
test-drove one at a dealership and I felt that it was definitely
quicker than my saab.
You can install a manual boot controller (MBC) or upgrade the ECU.
Manual controller is crude but effective - but only for those who
don't mind a little risk and have some mechanical ability. Cost is
less than $100. You can also get an upgraded ECU - cost is $500 & up.
Much safer, actually more "plug-n-play", but more money.

If you really want to get some benefit from the MBC or ECU change, you
should be thinking about modifying the air intake for more flow and
installing a Saab "sport" exhaust if you do not have one. Other modes
include porting the throttle body & intake pipes and maybe a larger
intercooler if you really want to start cranking it up.

lastly, along with engine upgrades you might consider doing a little
to the suspension. Koni shocks are a good idea. Rear Sway bar,
steering rack brace, subframe support,harder bushings and lowering
springs if you want that.

Check here is you are in the USA:

ECU - http://www.nordicsaab.com/en_US/MiscPage_1.chtml
Suspension/Steering - http://www.genuinesaab.com/
saab_aka
2006-05-30 23:03:32 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to everybody who responded. I want to make sure I understand the
benefits of the ECU upgrade Bob commented on below. In other words, I
**will** be able to increase HP from 185HP to 210HP with the ECU
upgrade but to go above 210HP I would need the other modifications such
as the air intake and the sport exhaust, right?
Post by Bob
If you really want to get some benefit from the MBC or ECU change, you
should be thinking about modifying the air intake for more flow and
installing a Saab "sport" exhaust if you do not have one. Other modes
include porting the throttle body & intake pipes and maybe a larger
intercooler if you really want to start cranking it up.
Or is it my wishful thinking that the ECU upgrade alone will get me the
extra 25 HP? The website partsforsaab.com sells stage 1 (+36 hp) and
stage 2 (+39 hp) packages. Stage 2 adds only 3 hp but costs $600 more
to add the air intake and cat converter. My only explanation for the
$/hp ratio differences is that the stage 1 projected hp increase
assumes I already have some modified air intake and cat converter. And
that, in reality, I will add much less than 36 HP with the stage 1
upgrade and maybe nothing given that I am not upgrading the air intake
and cat converter?

Also why is there a difference in prices between ECU units on different
websites? Are some better than the others?

Thanks,
dyz
Bob
2006-06-02 20:41:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by saab_aka
Or is it my wishful thinking that the ECU upgrade alone will get me the
extra 25 HP? The website partsforsaab.com sells stage 1 (+36 hp) and
stage 2 (+39 hp) packages. Stage 2 adds only 3 hp but costs $600 more
to add the air intake and cat converter. My only explanation for the
$/hp ratio differences is that the stage 1 projected hp increase
assumes I already have some modified air intake and cat converter. And
that, in reality, I will add much less than 36 HP with the stage 1
upgrade and maybe nothing given that I am not upgrading the air intake
and cat converter?
I don't know of anyone who has used that kit. Sounds interesting but I
don't know anyone who's tried it. Question for you: what is the color
of the DI cassette on top of yor engine ? It's the large piece that
covers the middle of the engine, on top of the spark plugs.

I definitely think you should look at doing the air intake ($10 misc
parts plus $40 for a K&N - easy DIY if you are handy with basic tools)
and the exhaust ($400 for a sport exhaust. Don't worry about the cat.
I've never heard of anyone below 250HP changine the cat. A 3"
downpipe is the next step if you want to get to serious HP along with
other mods but I don't think you need to consider that. You can do the
ECU w/o the othe mods - you just don't get as much out of it.
Post by saab_aka
Also why is there a difference in prices between ECU units on different
websites? Are some better than the others?
There does not seem to be any relationship between quality and price,
within a certain range. For example maptun.com sells ECU's for about
$500 as far as I recall and they are used by lots of folks with great
results. abbottracing.com sells their ECU's for much more and I am not
aware of any advantage (everything they sell seems to be priced
higher). There is also nordic Saab with US & Europe sites. If you
don't have a URL for them I can get you one.
saab_aka
2006-06-02 23:26:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bob
I don't know of anyone who has used that kit. Sounds interesting but I
don't know anyone who's tried it. Question for you: what is the color
of the DI cassette on top of yor engine ? It's the large piece that
covers the middle of the engine, on top of the spark plugs.
It is black, the same color as the original one replaced in a recent
recall.

Thank you for your help Bob. Is the ECU upgrade relatively easy, just
plug-and-play, follow the instructions or does it require some special
knowledge/tools?
Bob
2006-06-03 04:03:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by saab_aka
It is black, the same color as the original one replaced in a recent
recall.
If it is black I believe you have a T7 Trionic system. T7's require
ECU upgrades, no manual boost controls. Make sure whatever you buy is
for the T7 trionic.
Post by saab_aka
Thank you for your help Bob. Is the ECU upgrade relatively easy, just
plug-and-play, follow the instructions or does it require some special
knowledge/tools?
Pretty much plug-n-play. Basically you are just letting the computer
operate differently. No other changes are "required" except that most
kits come with a new BPV. The BPV is used to relieve the excess boost
pressure when you take your foot off the gas and the stock one tends
to go bad when you bump the boost pressure. You can change it in 2
minutes with a screwdriver and/or small socket wrench. Some folks send
you a new ECU, you send your old one back as a core. Some reprogram
yours.

FYI - If you decide to do the exhaust, Saab exhausts are the easiest
in the work to work on - I changed mine in 45 minutes and that
included a short drive to the local hardware store to get a couple
bolts as well as the time to get the jack and stands out of and back
into the shed. Very DIY. The sport exhaust will not only increase HP
just by itself, it is stainless steel and will likely outlast the car.
So, it's a good upgrade to do.

If you are going to do some of your own work or mods and you are in
the USA, you should know about these sites:

general parts at great prices: http://www.eeuroparts.com,

Nordic Saab: http://www.nordicsaab.com/en_US/MiscPage_1.chtml
(above is a Saab dealer that offers Nordic kits. Call and talk to them
on the phone if you like. I forget the name of the guy who "talks
mods" with you but he is one of the family owners).

Genuine Saab: http://www.genuinesaab.com/
(above is another dealer. Call parts #, ask for Nick, he does a lot of
mods and is very knowledgeable. He can help you if you are new at
this). They have lots of TSB's and other info/photos on line.

Maptun: http://www.maptun.com/index.php
Maptun gets lots of respect from the Saab performance world.

FYI - do not order from MP Perfomance.
Bob
2006-06-03 05:12:16 UTC
Permalink
Hey, I might be wrong on the plug-n-play. I just read something that
suggested a T7 had to be tied in with the Tech II (dealer service
computer). Check with whoever sells you the upgrade to see what they
say.
mickx
2006-06-04 10:49:37 UTC
Permalink
Is this what the garage does when they install the Hirsch upgrade kits?
Post by Bob
Hey, I might be wrong on the plug-n-play. I just read something that
suggested a T7 had to be tied in with the Tech II (dealer service
computer). Check with whoever sells you the upgrade to see what they
say.
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