1994 SAAB 900 engine swap

  • 1994 SAAB 900

Engine Mechanical problem
1994 Saab 900 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 97000 miles

I have a 1994 Saab 900se with the 2.5L v-6. The timing belt came off and the engine is fried. I want to replace it with an Opel 3.2L. These engines are both GM 54 degree v-6's. The old 2.5L, along with a 3L and I think a 3.2L were versions of GM's L81 v-6. I have been told the 3.2L will replace these engines but I think the 3.2L is an updated and redesigned GM LA3 v-6. From what I have found, Opel started building these in 2001 and these were placed in the 2003-04 Cadillac CTS's as well as some Opels.
What I am trying to find out is if that 03-04 Cadillac 3.2L LA3 will bolt right into my Saab. I have found 3.2L Opel engines online that will replace my old 2.5, but I can't get anyone to tell me if that is still the L81 design or the newer LA3. I have found a low milage 2003 CTS 3.2L and would like to go that route if it would fit. I don't want to get it without knowing for sure that it will fit. Please let me know what you can find out about this. Thanks - Brian

Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 AT 3:54 PM

2 Replies

  • 13,520 POSTS

Hello .. thanks for the donation ..much appreciated

The 03/04 CTS is fitted with the new LA3 design !

A Component Comparison from the Previous Year
The 3.2 liter, LA3, and 2.6 liter, LY9, engines have replaced the 3.0 liter, L81 engine.
Some of the new features include:
Cylinder bores have enlarged to 87.5 mm (3.45 in) for the 3.2L and deceased to 83.2 mm (3.28 in) for the 2.6L.
Crankshaft stroke has been changed to 88 mm (3.47 in) for the 3.2L and 79.6 mm (3.13 in) for the 2.6L.
The 3.2L has a forged steel crankshaft.
The 2.6L has pressed fit piston pins.
A new oil filter adapter that allows room for the close-coupled catalytic converter.
The ECM is now located on the right side camshaft cover.
Multi-wall steel exhaust manifolds are used to decrease loss of exhaust gas heat.
A new structural oil pan is used.
Secondary Air Injection has been removed on both engines.
Flywheel adapter and retainer has been deleted.
A new engine block heater is being used.
Timing belt idler pulley has been relocated, to minimize belt noise.

hope this helps


Was this
Monday, November 2nd, 2009 AT 5:01 AM

Sounds to me like I may want to go with a 3.0L L81 engine. I don't want to find that the LA3 block is different enough to give me a bunch of problems when I go to mount everything to it. I know some L series Saturns and Saturn Vue's came with that 3.0L. Let me know if you have any comment on this. Otherwise, thanks for your help. Brian

Was this
Monday, November 2nd, 2009 AT 8:51 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Related Engine Replace/Remove Questions

Recommended articles