2001 SAAB 9-3 repair Question Car Plays Possum: Possible Ig

Tiny
SUNBUN
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 SAAB 9-3
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 95,000 MILES
For approximately 3 months I am having an ignition/starter problem that I have noticed is reported on multiple web sites by other Saab owners, but none have identified a solution.

The problem is that once I drive the car for the first time each day, if I turn off the engine it will not start again until 30 to 60 minutes passes. When the car fails to start the car’s computer does not identify any problem.

When this first occurred it with my Saab itwas not every day and the wait time before restarting was only 15 to 20 minutes. That gradually increased to almost every day and the wait time increased to 30 to 45 minutes. As someone else on the web also reported, I could not figure out what the problem was based on the clues, but the biggest clue of “something" being hot or warm from driving seemed obvious. However, sometime the car plays possum after only driving a few miles, but other times it will not happed after driving for 4 four hours without stopping. If I am far from home and need gas I do not turn the car off!

I have been to two Saab dealership service center to solve this problem and both denied ever hearing of this problem before. Neither dealership could replicate the problem, but I had my doubts that one of them even tried. That dealer’s service center was unable to even suggest what the problem could be, but offered to replace the ignition without any guarantee of the problem being resolved for an estimated $800 to $900 – If that is what I wanted. I didn’t.

The second dealer’s service center at least made an educated guess that the difficulty was the starter, since the computer did not log any errors and the electrical was obviously not a problem. This dealership actually listened to all of my input and repeated back to me some of the other facts I gave them, such as the radio still playing when the key is removed, which was also why the service manager suggested the problem could be the starter even though the started was not identified to be failing or have a problem based on the diagnostic equipment used. I do not know if that diagnostic assessment is a machine hooked up to the vehicle or Joe the mechanic simply turning the key. That service center had my car all day, made no repairs and discouraged me from replacing the starter and did not give me a quote. Any one know what the customary and reasonable charge for this should be?

It has been 10 days since I was at that second service center and I did not have a “possum problem". Then yesterday it started again. First trip of the day, driving only 3 miles. When I returned to the care 30 minutes later it was “dead". The wait time was even longer however - - 90 minutes. Then today, I drove the car for the first time today for 4 miles. Approximately 30 minutes later when I returned to the car to drive home it would not start. So I waited the usual 30 minutes, but nothing. An hour later, still “dead". 90 minutes passed and still “dead" and I called the auto club for a tow.

Do you think that changing the starter would actually solve the problem? Neither dealership promised that it would. Like everyone else I do not know what to do next.



24 hours later.

Mystery Solved…. After I posted my question above I went looking for more information and added the word “recall" to the search criteria.

Below is what I found. The shocking part is that I never received the recall letter, so I called Saab USA headquarters today and was told that the Saab dealer closest to me had billed Saab USA for the “remedy" (see below) - except they did not do it obviously. I am waiting for a call back from Saab USA. For anyone that reads this, you may recall from my initial posting that the two Saab dealers I have been to already have denied that they are aware of the problem I reported from any other customers. Tha is imposible to believe once you read the recall notice.

Does anyone know a reputable Saab dealer service center?


Auto Recall Date: 09/14/2005
Vehicle Component: ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:IGNITION:MODULE
Estimated Vehicles Affected: 103202
2001 SAAB 9-3 Defect Summary:
CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH B205/B235 4-CYLINDER GASOLINE ENGINES AND B308 6-CYLINDER GASOLINE ENGINES MAY EXPERIENCE OVERHEATING AND BURNOUT OF THE ISOLATED GATED BIPOLAR TRANSISTOR (IGBT) WITHIN THE IGNITION DISCHARGE MODULE (IDM) DUE TO INCREASED SUSCEPTIBILITY TO ELECTRICAL LOADS.
Defect Consequence:
OVERHEATING OF THE IGBT OCCURS MOST OFTEN AT ENGINE START-UP, BUT IT MAY ALSO OCCUR WHILE THE ENGINE IS RUNNING. ENGINE STALLING MAY OCCUR, WHICH COULD RESULT IN A CRASH.
Remedy:
DEALERS WILL INSPECT TO SEE WHAT VERSION IDM IS IN THE VEHICLE AND REPLACE THE IDM IF IT IS A VERSION BUILT PRIOR TO THE INTRODUCTION OF QP3. AN INTERIM LETTER WILL BE MAILED TO OWNERS IN OCTOBER 2005, INFORMING THEM OF THE CONDITION. PARTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE AND OWNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED TO BRING THEIR VEHICLES IN TO THE DEALERS TO HAVE THE IDM REPLACED BY LETTER DATED MARCH 13, 2006. OWNERS MAY CONTACT SAAB AT 1-800-955-9007.
Notes: SAAB CARS USA, INC, 15021
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Monday, February 16th, 2009 AT 3:53 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Hello -

To better assist you please tell me if your Saab is just a 9-3, or SE or Viggen. Also the engine size in liter.

I just went through this with another car. I would pull the starter and bench it - would work great. Would start on the car fine. Then after "whenever" nothing.

When you are starting the car does the starter spin quick and fast or does it seem to drag some like the battery sounds low?

My suggest is next time it stops and doesn't start. Take jumper cables and jump directly to the starter. This bypasses the key and if the starter just sits. Then I would say the starter is bad.

Do you understand what I mean by doing this?
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Monday, February 16th, 2009 AT 10:05 PM
Tiny
SUNBUN
  • MEMBER
At the time of my last post I had been to a second Saab dealer about 100 miles away who also denied that my car has a problem that could be duplicated as I described and denied that any other Saab owners have reported it. If you are also having this difficulty, as many other report on this site and others talk about, it seems hard to believe doesn't it?

After the second dealer, I spoke to Saab USA and the customer service agent, Ms Misty, claimed it could not be the recall item I mentioned in my last post because Saab "already paid for that repair."

Apparently GM logic is to always believe what will serve them, especially at the time of a financial crisis. Ms. Misty at Saab USA deduced that my car's problem - - which the 2 dealers say is not even happening - - could not be the recall item I mentioned in my last post because Saab "already paid for that repair" and if the identical problem as the recall is actually what is wrong with my car and if there was a Saab dealer than would actually report it, then Saab USA is claiming that the problem is still not logically or mechanicaly related to the recall because the local dealer was paid for the recall work previously. That was not my conclusion. What is your conclusion, beside the obvious that Saab USA needs a much better dealer nertwork?

A week later, after being stranded for a an hour oir more each time I used the car that following week, the car would not restart all - I kept waiting and waiting when I wanted to return home after a short trip to the hard ware store that I had put off as long as I could due to the car. I figured it would not start immediately and planned on waiting an extra hour, but after 2 hours of waiting and not being able to restart the car I called AAA and had it flat-bedded a mile back to my house. The next day I had AAA flat-bedded it to a 3rd Saab dealer about 115 miles north (AAA premier membership!) And that dealer had the car three day while I used the rent-a-car that AAA premier membership includes!

During this time that my car was at dealer # 3, Saab USA called all the different dealers - - and here is where things get even freakier. According to Ms. Misty, the same GM customer service agent I spoke to many times that week and before, this is what the different Saab dealer service departments supposedly told her when she called to inquire about my bringing the car to their service department due to the car not restarting:

Dealer #1: Chris supposedly said "He never brought the car in for the problem described, but only for an oil change" . I did not call to contest this as I already have enough proof that this place can't be trusted - and this post is long enough already.

Dealer #2: Norma supposedly said "He has not been to this dealership since July of 2005." I called Norma and she denied saying that, but said that the only questions she was asked by Misty (Norma knew her name without me giving it) and answered was did that dealership perform the recall remedy - Norma told me what she told Misty - Norma said they did not.

I mentioned this discrepancy to Misty and said it was significant in my conclusion that my safety is at risk due to the negligence and dishonesty of Saab USA and Saab dealers. She seemed to have been trained for this situation, as her only comment was to change the subject and say I should discuss it with the dealer directly because the car is out of warranty anyway.

I thought it reasonable to expect her to respond to the discrepancy and the fact that the recall remedy had not been made based on my poll of those same two dealers at the time I took the car to each one. Even though I did not know of the recall at the time, both dealers told me that my car's ignition, starter, etc were all unchanged and the car's original parts. Misty was having her own conversation however and babbled on about my talking to the dealership about my concerns. She interrupted each time I mentioned it, so I gave her time to finish, but she would interrupt me again and again to keep talking over me as loud as she could, which I suspect was to make my comments difficult to hear of the recording of the call.

By then, the third Saab dealer's service representative also denied that my car has a problem that could be duplicated as I described and denied that any other Saab owners have reported it. So I spent a Saturday driving there in the rent a car to drive home with my problem-car. However, after I picked up my car I noticed problems that it did not have before I took it to this 3rd dealership - - front wheel alignment was screwed up, the fog lights did not work and the gas peddle vibrated. I called that dealer's service representative and suggested that they send a driver with a loaner car, so my car could be driven back by their employee for repairs needed from their "best service effort." I thought it interesting that they had no resistance to this suggestion - - as if they knew? - - And my car was back in their service dept for another week, after which they still claim that the started problem not could be duplicated as I described and denied that any other Saab owners have reported it.

So, now I have another rent-a-car and will use a local independent auto repair service to make the needed repair. If the car can not be fixed I will be donating it in the name of a charity. If it can be fixed I'll be trading it in when I purchase a new care very soon.

If you hear of a class action law suit, let me know
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Sunday, March 1st, 2009 AT 5:50 PM
Tiny
IMPALASS
  • EXPERT
Hello -

First - sorry so long to get back with you. Had some minor technical difficulties.

Wow SunBun - I am REALLY sorry you are having such a hard time. Truly. I know there is nothing I can say/do to help. Other than. Per your request If we hear of any class action.

I know this is frustrating and it is really sad the way you are being dealt with.

I will keep my eyes open for anything and say a prayer for you that this gets resolved quickly.
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Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 AT 8:30 PM

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