ESID SECOND GENERATION

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A few months ago I featured Erik’s superb 9-3 which had a seriously fantastic piece of kit fitted –  the eSID (extended Saab Information Display). It got an overwhelming response and the designer, Henrik got inundated with questions (apologies Henrik). At the time it was only in it’s infancy, but at the beginning of September the second generation eSID was launched and is now available.

Alongside some of the original features such as customisable start up messages and three blink indicating, eSID2 features brand new hardware with new micro processor offering twice the capacity, 5 easily selectable favourite functions with engine, transmission, vehicle and diagnostic groups. It’s also capable of some new display functions together with a brand new wiper function – the driver can select their own wiper speed.

The eSID designer, Henrik has also set up a site, so you can grab a load more information over there www.esid.se

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Batteries, Brakes and Breaks

svss_New Vented Discs

It’s been a quiet few weeks on SvsS, work has rather taken over and kept me from my passion. So, what’s been happening, well, they say bad things come it threes, and that seems to have been the case with our Saabs recently.

1. Early morning call from my wife saying ‘the car’s dead, interior lights are flicking all over the place, doors won’t lock and engine won’t start’ . We had it checked over and sure enough the battery was no longer doing what it should do, alternator all fine, so new battery at £108 for the SportCombi please.

2. Wife complains ‘when I go over bumps or around corners, it makes a knocking sound almost as though something’s broken, like metal against metal’  So off the SportCombi went again to our local garage and sure enough, one of the front springs had become brittle and broken, new front set purchased and fitted for £120, not bad I thought.

3. My turn, travelling back from Wales after a gorgeous weekend, the 9-3 TTiD starts making a horrible noise every time I brake, first thought, stone trapped from the gravel roads we’d been traveling on. Except it didn’t stop, if fact it got worse over the coming days. Into the garage, rear pads completely worn to the metal (even though they where checked only a month ago) and discs had suffered too. New pads and vented discs to the rear, all fitted and silent again, another £180.

So, £400+ lighter but all great again, well almost, someone decided to not see my wife was slowing down and decided not to use something called brakes resulting in a little bump at a junction. But being a Saab, although it forced the rear bumper out a touch and pushed the parking sensors in, it can easily be fixed for around £500, luckily, we won’t be footing the bill for that one.

All in all, a busy few weeks offline, not the most inspiring post, but real life.

Town, country and off the beaten track

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With 171,000 miles under its belt, our SportCombi has proved itself more than worthy in any situation, from city commuting, cross-continent grand tours and family days out, to the weekly grocery shop. Over the past few months I’ve been reminded just how effortlessly it performs its duties.

Every Winter my son helps out at a local country estate, we drive him there in the early morning when the mist still shrouds the countryside and pick him up again when the Winter sun is setting over the rolling fields.

It’s a 15 mile drive each way, along winding lanes and mud tracks to reach the estate, greeted by a sea of Land Rovers, Range Rovers and Mitsubishis; icons of the English countryside, the SportCombi holds its own. It happily carries a very dirty dog, wellies, wax jackets, waterproofs, sticks, bags, food, hats and anything else we care to push in through its doors.

It isn’t a precious car, not to be used, the SportCombi is a workhorse performing faultlessly day in day out, equally comfortable arriving at some Uber cool city offices as it is getting stuck in to country life, and all in legendary Saab comfort and safety.

What more could you ask for from a car?

Chopped SportCombi

SvsS_93 SportCombi Photoshop

Ever wonder what a car would look like if…

I find myself asking this on a regular basis, call it inquisitiveness but I’ve always wondered what our SportCombi would look like if we chopped a few inches of the roofline, and that’s where Photoshop comes in.

A couple of marques have done this recently, reduced the hight of the roof and create elegant slithers of glass – it works, I kind of like it with the gorgeously curvaceous Saab rear light clusters, it accentuates them beautifully.

Of course, I had to pop on the Hirsch alloys from my Saloon, and tint the glass slightly and…

 

The Quietness of Saabs

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Just over a year ago, I wrote about our choice of tyres for the SportCombi, Kuhmo Ecsta Sport KU39s. Since then, we’ve covered around 15,000 miles and don’t really have much to complain about, they’re provided excellent grip and reasonable longevity for the price, but…

We’ve been suffering from increasing noise levels from the rear of the SportCombi for a few months now. My initial thought was that the rear bearings needed to be changed, but on closer inspection, everything was good, so whilst it was having the front tyres replaced, we thought we’d swap them around to see if it made any difference, it did.

The noise had moved to the front, so surprisingly, the rear tyres also had to be replaced, they had 5mm of tread remaining, so I was a little annoyed, I’m giving the Kuhmos another chance, but if it happens again, it will most definitely be their last.

So, after a rather expensive visit to our local Saab Service Centre, the SportCombi has a set of new tyres again, and I can’t quite believe the difference, the noise i’d slowly got used to has gone, there is almost no road noise.

We’d also got used to having the Saab roof bars on permanently, so I’ve removed those as well and we now have a 165,000 mile SportCombi which is luxuriously quiet to drive again.

Saab 9-3 SportCombi Concept 2004

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At a time when us Saabists are waiting to see what NEVS has to offer, I look back fondly on one of my all time favourite Saab concepts – the 9-3 SportCombi unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2004.

When I first saw this a few years ago, I instantly fell in love, but until recently, had only ever seen the odd poor quality photograph. I’ve now found some fantastic images so thought I’d share them with everybody.

I just wish some of the spectacular details had made it into production, the glass roof and power tailgate with the stunning brushed aluminium bike mount for instance, or the in-floor glass storage area, or the interior central ‘clear zone’.

All dreams for now, but maybe SAAB could revisit some of these beautiful details. I haven’t even mentioned the 20″ alloys…