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All you need to know about SeriousSAAB

As part of our on-going schedule of improvements and refinements, the author has decided to combine the former 'About SeriousSAAB' and 'Site information' pages using the tabbed panel Spry widget. As a website evolves, it risked becoming unwieldly and in a quest to declutter and simplify navigation, the move is necessary to make way for future development.  

  • All about SeriousSAAB
  • Site information
  • Site revision history


This tab is arranged in the following sections:

Who, What, Why?
SeriousSAAB mission statement
What is special about SAAB anyway?
Why just SAAB cars since 1992?
How the author became involved with SAAB cars

Who, What, Why?
SeriousSAAB is an independent, not for profit website, set up in 2009 by one of the UK's leading SAAB enthusiasts. The site is not sponsored or supported in any way nor is it affiliated or connected with any other commercial organisation. There are no advertisements either and links that are provided are based upon the author's own recommendation and based upon positive experience.

Although there are a number of SAAB websites and club pages around the world, many seem to focus on events or forums rather than SAAB cars themselves but those that do focus on the cars tend to concentrate on just one model. On forums the same old chestnuts appear repeatedly but without wishing to disparage, a forum is not a good place to present a lot of technical information and the wisdom is lost. This suggests that although as in 'The X Files', the truth is out there somewhere there is a need to gather up information and present it in one place and in a standard format that supports many photographs.

Some correspondence has been received about the site name, with at least one enquiry asking whether SAABs made before 1992 are serious. The answer is that
of course they are! In choosing the name for the site the author seeks to deliver a serious amount of information about the cars rather than suggesting that one model is better than another.

Mission statement
My mission statement is "to share a wealth of information about SAAB cars that we have gained over the course of a decade buying, owning, operating and repairing hundreds of these cars over a total distance approaching one million miles". In constructing the web site, the author has applied a basic principle of computer programming (don't re-invent the wheel) by gathering up information in a set of Buyer's Guides, technical data and workshop procedures which answer a number of frequently asked questions that appear regularly on car club forums. In addition, SeriousSAAB aims to keep readers up to speed with news that is relevant to SAAB owners and enthusiasts and the site also offers a range of articles on general motoring issues.

What is so special about SAAB?
SAAB cars have a history of achieving notable firsts: the first turbo charged production car, the first car with seatbelts fitted as standard equipment and SAAB pioneered the way with asbestos free brake linings and CFC free climate control systems in cars and many other firsts too. Innovation, though, is matched by a preoccupation with safety and attention to detail, so, with cars looking increasingly similar (due to computer aided design and the use of wind-tunnels), the discerning buyer and driver would find much to like in SAAB cars. Volvo is a maker whose name is synonymous with safety but the truth of the matter is that there are few safer cars to drive or travel in than a SAAB. Most owners -thankfully- will never discover just how strong their cars are but the author, having stripped ALL models down to bare shells is convinced that there is no safer place to put your nearest and dearest in. The massive construction and dedication to safety only becomes apparent under the skin, as the outer panels are lifted off. Anorak fact: one of the few components not listed for a SAAB in the parts system is a replacement bodyshell. The rationale is simple: the structure is designed not to protect itself but the driver and passengers- if a car is so badly damaged that it needs a new shell, then it is time to buy another car. A very high proportion of owners who have had accidents while driving their SAAB cars simply refuse even to consider buying anything else. Safety apart, the author, however, believes that the most appealing characteristic of the marque is affordability - these cars surely represent the best value prestige car in the used car sector.

Why just SAAB cars since 1992?
The author and his brother have owned just a single classic 900. Our adventures with SAABs started in the 1990s with the 9000 and NG900 and continue into this century with the 9-3 and 9-5. Although the classic 900 certainly comes onto the equation, the range is not one with which we are familiar or feel we have the right to talk about with any degree of authority. We are, of course, fans of all SAAB cars and at SAAB car shows, the author, while certainly looking at more recent products, would likely spend most time looking at the two strokes, Sonnets, V4s and 90.

How the author discovered SAAB
In the mid 1990's, a need arose for an affordable used car that could cover high monthly mileages with good availability and reliability but without incurring excessive fuel or maintenance costs. After less successful trials with other vehicles, a SAAB 9000i was acquired. This sparked an interest in the breed that some would say has become an obsession and led to the author becoming known as 'the Mad 9000 Enthusiast'. As our cars were regularly covering 3000 miles a week, shortcomings and weaknesses were exposed quickly and it was unusual for cars to be 'on the team' for more than 3 months.

Product knowledge was amassed quite quickly and when we converted an automatic 9000 turbo to manual transmission, using a 'spares' car, someone else offered another 9000 at a price we couldn't refuse. Now, well over a decade later, we have owned well over 300 9000, NG900, 9-3 and 9-5 models including saloons, estates, convertibles and diesel variants. Quite a few cars have been stripped to bare shells for spares and the author believes this way more than any other provides a good insight into construction and the best way to approach repairs. We feel the knowledge we have amassed deserves a wider audience because what we know may help or be of interest to owners, potential owners and enthusiasts. Much of this knowledge has been incorporated into the three Buyers Guides for the 9000, NG900 & 9-3 and 9-5. The guides detail production history, model variants, performance and of course pitfalls to be aware of.

The 9000 Buying Guide came about after the author began to receive a steady trickle of enquiries and SAAB 9000 related queries. Whereas true enthusiasts like nothing more than to talk about their hobby, there was an increasing sense of déjà vu. As an occasional contributor to the SOC forums, it became clear that the same old chestnuts kept cropping up and there was a definite need to be addressed. Writing the 9000 Buying Guide (kindly hosted by Bill J at www.saab9000.com) was the first step but it has taken some years to take the next one in launching this website.


Site information is arranged in the following sections:

Designer's notes
Development platform
Note that the site revision history has its own tab

Designer's notes
One of the challenges for today's website designer is to make the site accessible to the largest feasible number of people. In addition to the diverse range of screen sizes now available -including widescreen- the designer has to consider that not every user will be running some flavour of Windows. Worse still, there are rather more browsers available now than when the author was a Business Computing under graduate. Then, everyone seemed to run Netscape Navigator but the author had just acquired a new Dell Dimension Pentium 200 running Windows NT - a serious piece of kit costing £1800 in 1997- and Sunderland University's servers were used to download a version of Internet Explorer that would actually work with NT. Happy days - even if downloading a couple of floppies (remember them?) worth of browser took nearly 2 hours!

Today, the market has changed, largely due to Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with each new operating system and although Netscape still exists, alternatives such as Firefox, Safari, Opera and of course Google's offering Chrome have found many friends. The proliferation of browsers does make life harder for the designer because unwanted and unexpected effects can creep in, such as tables or images overlapping text such that it is unreadable.

The problem with website content is tricky: it is all too easy to end up with pages that are too slow to load or require readers to scroll but a lot of smaller pages creates navigation issues and fragments the reading experience. For this reason, larger features like the Buying Guides have been split into two pages and the photographs have been scaled down and optimised to reduce page loading times for those still using 56k dial up access.

Development platform
The author has used previous versions of Dreamweaver and there was a great temptation to use the web site as a vehicle to play with all the Spry widgets in the toolbox. The navigation could have been via a great looking Spry menu but there is potential for grief in that older browsers don't support this type of menu. At the outset, sparing use was made of Spry tabbed panels and accordions in a 'test the water exercise' but since there have been no complaints and study of the web data reveals most users are using modern operating systems, this will continue.

Trials and tribulations of the SeriousSAAB website
Housekeeping is the undoing of many a website and this one is no exception. Just as dust, dirty washing and junk mail pile up in one's house,
redundant files and out of date pictures and graphics start to build up in the website's local directory. At first, everything is easy to find but the problems start months down the line when updating and improving operations need to be carried out.

As the site has grown, more articles, technical procedures and even the Soapbox has expanded and when readers e-mail asking what I did with such and such an article, it isn't always easy to find the answer quickly! Worse still, ambitious plans to apply updates might start with work on several pages at once but this policy runs the risk of uploading an update... only to discover unfinished or half finished pages when testing!




Revision history

The author's best friend 1anson suggested some time ago that a version history section was perhaps more useful in giving readers a better perspective of the site than adding a 'page updated...' footer at the bottom of each page. Accordingly, the site revision history appears below:

Version Revision/update information Date Author
1.9.3 Minor revisions & corrections. Parts pages updated (ongoing) in Bazaar section. 20/02/2012 RTW
1.9.2 SAAB news update added. 'We are many, we are SAAB' NE England & Southern Scotland event report added. Minor revisions elsewhere. 31/01/2012 RTW
1.9.1 Minor revisions pending definitive information. Front page and Soapbox updated. Version control error in Articles main page resolved. Editorial (SAAB: the Final days) added. 29/12/2011 RTW
1.9 Contrary to expectation, SAAB has endured a troubled summer and updates at SeriousSAAB have been thin on the ground because the purpose of this site is to promote the cars and support owners and enthusiasts rather than spread doom or gloom. This Autumn update has a quick look at events at SAAB (editorial) but there are 3 new features in the articles section, looking at changes on the forecourt, new MOT proposals and also a quick look at SAAB concept cars by our new guest writer. The Soapbox has been updated too. Work in hand:x2 major repair procedures on the 9-5 TiD engine, re ringing pistons on the B2x5 engine and more. 10/09/2011 RTW
1.8.8 This update (Editorial + soapbox quick update) was way overdue but while an air of uncertainty prevailed, it seemed unwise to report unfolding events on a 'blow by blow' basis. Minimalist is the best description of the update but more updates are under way and will be added after I return from taking a fortnight off. 10/06/2011 RTW
1.8.7 An (overdue) update for March reflecting exciting events such as SAAB's Independence Day, the SAAB stand at the Geneva Motor show and information pertaining to the 9-5 SportCombi plus revisons to the 9-3 range. 15/03/2011 RTW
1.8.6 Revisions and update to front page. Add Winter editorial & news to articles section. Update Soapbox. Revisions to Links page. Update Sitemap to reflect changes. 25/01/2011 RTW
1.8.5 Update front page. Update Bazaar. Update Soapbox. Add 'Perceptions' feature to articles section. Add site map (on-going). Add 9-5 Fuel pump removal/replacement procedure to Workshop page. The SAAB 9000 procedure has been compiled with the help, comments and photographs of reader F. Armishaw, who carried out this procedure recently on a SAAB 9000 Aero. 16/12/2010




1.8.4 Additional image added to Rebuilding Cylinder Head procedure page. Front page updated. New page added for Remembrance Day. Due to a bizarre series of coincidences, the author could not find any poppies for sale, so resolved to commemorate the day by putting pen to paper (well, web page). 10/05/2010 RTW
1.8.3 About and Site Information pages merged in an effort to place more information on one page. Update Soapbox with latest observations. Bugfix for Bazaar page. November editorial page added. Archive pages reorganised. Is your SAAB ready for Winter? page added. 05/11/2010 RTW
1.8.2 Autumn update: upload article on SAAB-BMW engine deal. Reorganise Articles page. Add SAAB NG900 & 9-3 Buyer's Guide as downloadable .pdf file. Update Soapbox page to reflect the passage of time. 04/10/2010 RTW

Upload article #1 of 'Readers' cars' (access from home page). Ideally, a NEW page devoted to this topic should be started but that depends upon sufficient contributors meeting the challenge!

Work in hand: B2x5 engine rebuild procedure series (rebuilding the cylinder head).

22/08/2010 RTW
1.8 August update: major revision of the 9-5 Buyer's Guide. Rebuilding the 9-5 cylinder block Part 1 including fitting new pistons and installing a reground crankshaft. Also added; renewing balancer shaft bearings in B205 & B235 engines to the workshop procedures page. Soapbox page updated. Minor updates to Bazaar pages to reflect stock changes. August news page added. 13/08/2010 RTW
1.7.6 July update: revisions to front page, soapbox, bazaar. 11/07/2010 RTW
1.7.5 Apply updates to Bazaar pages to reflect stock level changes, update Soapbox, and include additional information pertaining to the NG900 & 9-3 Buyers' Guides. Work in progress: 9-5/NG900/9-3 cylinder head overhaul (awaiting materials) & Changing Balancer Shaft Bearings in B204/234/205 & 235 engines. 30/06/2010 RTW
1.7.4 Apply news updates for June. Upload NG900 & 9-3 Buyers Guide. Minor updates to front page. Work in progress: 9-5/NG900/9-3 cylinder head overhaul for the procedures page. 06/06/2010 RTW
1.7.4 Mid month update. Bazaar updated, especially the 9000 and 9-5 pages. Soapbox updated to reflect passage of time since the UK General Election. Page fault fixed after unlisted update (17/05) 18/05/2010 RTW
1.7.3 Updated front page, soapbox page & added April news editorial to articles section. 27/04/2010 RTW
1.7.2 Minor revisions + new 9-5 price information uploaded before the information was published on SAAB's own web site. 21/04/2010 RTW
1.7.1 Front page revisions for Easter. Small alterations to Bazaar Page (9-5). New feature for articles page. Koenigsegg article removed as part of plan to phase out the inter regnum period between GM selling and Spyker buying. The plan is to amalgamate all articles into one as time allows. 29/03/2010 RTW
1.7 Major article on removing the 9-5 engine without dropping the front subframe added to procedures archive. Soapbox updated. 28/03/2010 RTW
1.6.3b Experimental modification (feedback welcome) of the front page by adding more information yet using less space. This is achieved using Spry collapsible panels. Image map for workshop procedures altered. WIP: (a) NG900/9-3 Buyers Guide (b) Removing the 9-5 power unit without dropping the subframe. 15/03/2010 RTW
1.6.3 The renewal of timing chains is now covered in the procedures page (Workshop section). Minor changes and updates applied site-wide. 11/03/2010 RTW
1.6.2b Ongoing site updates & improvements. New editorial added to the Articles page bringing readers up to speed with developments at SAAB-Spyker. Engine strip procedure added to workshop procedures page. 28/02/2010 RTW
1.6.2 First article in a major series concerned with heavy repair procedures on the B205/235 engine added to the Procedures page (Workshop section) 12/02/2010 RTW
1.6.1 Weekly update. New article added and to prove I'm human and fallible, an admission that I forgot to mention last week that a new 'Soapbox' section has been added to accommodate non-SAAB content. 09/02/2010 RTW
1.6 Add two new features to the Workshop procedures page. Update Bazaar pages to reflect current stock. Continue work on the NG900 guide (in preparation) and apply minor changes sitewide. 25/01/2010 RTW
1.5.51 Apply updated information about the SAAB convoy.
Two updates in 24hrs is unusual but needs must in these troubled times.
09/01/2010 RTW
1.5.5 Minor revisions and additions. 08/01/2010 RTW
1.5.4b 'How to deal with snapped studs' added to Procedures page (Workshop) section. Minor changes to the front page and bug fixes to fix previous bug fixes in the best tradition of programming (!) Delays in yet more articles for the Workshop/procedures page. 28/10/2009 RTW
1.5.4 The rolling programme of Autumn updates is now under way. Changing the 9-5 brake fluid article just added. 05/10/2009 RTW
1.5.31 On going fixes applied site-wide (typos, non-sequiturs, spelling mistakes and other gaffes somehow manage to creep in during editing!). New articles are still being added to the Procedures pages (Workshop section). 22/08/2009 RTW
1.5.3 A small number of fixes and updates, along with new (additional) photos throughout the site. 15/08/2009 RTW
New SAAB Classic 900 Parts page added to the Bazaar section. Work started on new Classic 900 page.
12/07/2009 RTW & SL
1.5.2 Bug fixes & rectification of typos spotted by reader S.J of Taunton 02/07/2009 RTW
1.5.1 Final tests before uploading to server 14/05/2009 RTW

Site information page expanded & modified
Archive, articles, library pages updated. Further
testing & proof reading. Additional work on graphics
processing. More pages added.

1.4.3 9-5 Torque settings updated 10/04/2009 RTW
1.4.2 9-5 Buying Guide proof reading 06/04/2009 RTW
1.4.1 Broken links and other minor issues resolved 05/04/2009 RTW
1.4 Integration tests 03/02/2009 RTW
1.3.5 Content added: Library (Spry Tabbed panel added) 30/01/2009 RTW
1.3.4 Content review for main pages 23/01/2009 RTW
1.3.3 Content added for Bazaar & reports    
1.3.2 Initial browser support tests 22/01/2009 RTW
1.3.1 Contact us page added (e-mail contacts set up) 18/01/2009 RTW
1.3 Initial tests: navigation& usability 17/01/2009 RTW
1.2.6 Buying Guide page (less content) added 17/01/2009 RTW
1.2.5 Empty pages for Bazaar & Library added 17/01/2009 RTW
1.2.4 Buying guide content review started 13/01/2009 RTW
1.2.3 Legal information page started 13/01/2009 RTW
1.2.2 Design banner logo (using Fireworks) 12/01/2009 RTW
1.2.1 Home page & navigation menu completed 08/01/2009 RTW
1.2.0 Implementation and coding phase commenced 05/01/2009 RTW
1.2.1 Specification ratified (with modifications) 04/01/2009 RTW
1.2 System design & paper based prototyping 02/01/2009 RTW
1.1 Requirements analysis 29/12/2008 RTW
1.0 Requirements gathering 26/12/2008 RTW




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