Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Replace "Fasten Belts" Bulbs on the SAAB 9-5

Two of the three bulbs in my "Fasten Belts" light have been out since I purchased by 9-5. I decided it was finally time to replace those bulbs.

I purchased replacement bulbs from Memotronics Electronic Components. It was an excellent shopping experience. I ordered five 2721 bulbs for less than fifty cents each. That is much cheaper than other online sources I found. I was unable to find a local source for 2721 bulbs. The bulbs arrived securely in my mailbox a week later.

Removal and Replacement:

Use a small screwdriver on the forward edge of the dome light lens to carefully pry it loose and then set it aside. This exposes the one size-24 Torx screw that holds the plastic trim of the console.

Remove the Torx screw and pull the trim down. Don't pull too hard because there are wires attached to the thermometer and microphone. This exposes the three light sockets for the fasten belt sign.

You will want to use some small pliers or tweezers to carefully remove the old bulbs because the space up there is tight. I suggest putting on rubber gloves at this point to keep skin oil off of the new bulbs to extend life and reduce discoloration. The new bulbs then press back into the sockets. I was able to do this with my gloved fingers, you might need a combination of tweezers and fingers to get the bulbs in place.

You can see the two new bulbs on the right and middle, they are a little longer than the bulbs that were in the light before. Now you will want to turn on the ignition to see if all the lights come on before you reinstall the trim, screw, and lens.

And here is the finished product; a fully lit "Fasten Belts" light.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Replace The Low Beam Headlamp Light Bulb

I got in my 9-5 late this morning to go to lunch and immediately there was an info display alert, my front left headlight was out. So I turned off my lights, went to lunch, and then picked up a $7.99 replacement bulb at Target on my way back home.

The 2000 SAAB 9-5 uses the common H7 bulb for both the low and high beams. The driver side bulbs look like they are much easier to replace compared to the passenger side because of the air intake cramping the right side of the engine compartment.

This was my first headlamp bulb replacement in the year and a half I've owned the car, so I haven't tried messing with the right side headlight or the high beams.

You won't need any tools for this job. You will want a pair of latex/rubber gloves, a soft rag, or a tissue to keep skin oil off of the new bulb. I personally always wear latex gloves when I work on the car to protect against light abrasions and to make washing up easier when I'm done.

How to remove the burnt bulb from the headlamp:

The back of the head light assembly has a large round black plastic cover. It twists off with a half turn like a jar lid. Set it off to the side.

This exposes the light socket. Remove the brown wiring harness from the back of the bulb by pulling away with a slight rocking motion.

There is a metal wire clip holding the bulb in place. The top of the clip held by a hook at the top. Press towards the headlamp and over to the passenger side to free the clip from the hook.

The burnt bulb now can be removed from the head light with little effort. The new bulb is put in its place, lining up the notches in the bulb with the base to make sure it seats correctly. Use the rag/glove/tissue when you handle the new bulb to keep it clean and free of skin oil. This precaution will make the bulb last longer and keep it from discoloring. The wire clip is lifted back into place and secured and the brown wiring harness is pressed into the new bulb. Return the plastic cover and you should be back in business.

I accidentally pulled the wire clip off completely as I was removing the bulb because I didn't remove the wiring harness first. It just goes back into place at the bottom of the headlamp. Luckily you shouldn't have to worry about this because you'll follow the directions.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weight To Power Ratio of a 2000 SAAB 9-5

The weight to power ratio (power loading) of a 2000 SAAB 9-5 is 22 pounds per horsepower.

To find the weight to power ratio of a car you divide the weight of the car by the horsepower of the car. You want the number to be as small as possible and these numbers can be used as a tool to better compare the performance of two vehicles. This is not to say that the number is the best way to compare vehicles, just more balanced than looking at hp numbers alone. Obviously everything from tires to transmission affect a car's performance and aren't taken into account with this number.

The 2000 9-5 has a curb weight of 3730 pounds and 170 horsepower. 3730/170=21.9
The 2007 9-5 has a ratio of 13.35.

Comparison of current vehicle weight to power ratios

Friday, January 11, 2008

Forge Diverter Valve Installation and Oberservations

I just purchased a Forge diverter valve, also known as a bypass valve, for my SAAB 9-5 as a birthday present to myself. My stock Bosh DV was obviously weakened, but the diaphragm had not deteriorated to the point of hooting. I ordered the FMCL007P Forge DV and spring set from Amazon.com for $135 plus $13 S&H.

I was surprised by how big it was compared to the stock Bosh DV. The extra bulk is mainly in the screw-off top. I installed the green spring and inserted none of the spacers.

Forge lists the springs as:

Green - 5-15 PSI
Yellow - 15-23 PSI
Blue - 23-30 PSI

Spacers are used to nudge the spring tension. The LPT 9-5 would use green or green with spacers. I would encourage people to try both the green, green with spacers and yellow springs and see what they discover for themselves. I have read of Aero owners using the yellow spring with spacers.I have no input to give about the blue spring because I don't want to try it out in my SAAB. I know it is too strong for my LTP and I don't want to damage anything.


This wasn't even a five minute job. Opening the hood took longer than this installation. I used a pair of pliers to release the two tension collars that hold the stock bypass valve in place. The valve comes out with some wiggling. Carefully remove the vacuum hose on top with your fingers or with a very light touch of the pliers if it is stuck.

Then install the new Forge bypass valve by reversing the steps. I guess you might leave the vacuum hose for last when you install. Some people post about the vacuum hose being too tight to go on the new diverter valve. The advice given to them is to heat the little hose in a glass of hot water to make it more pliable. I didn't have any problems installing the vacuum hose on mine.

You can see how much more it sticks out compared to the Bosh bypass valve. Plenty of clearance on the 9-5, so this isn't an issue.


My stock diaphragm style Bosh DV was weakening and didn't consistently hold or release pressure. The Forge DV has increase the feeling of performance, but obviously just replacing the failing DV has made a difference. I leave it at this because don't have a turbo pressure gauge or dyno to confirm my feelings with hard numbers. The T7 recognizes when the turbo pressure is too great and responds by lowering performance, and I have no idea if there is a gray area of increased turbo pressure; where there is more boost than stock, but not so much that the computer fights it. One SAABCentral poster described a 1-2psi increase after adding the Forge with a yellow spring. The pressure being read from his after market gauge. But like I said, I don't have any instruments to read the pressure or performance and the SAAB 9-5 likes to foil bolt-on performance parts.

There is also a difference in sound. The Forge has what I would call a three syllable sound. My Bosh only had two syllables when it released. The Bosh was a K-Shhh sound and the Forge is more of a K-tik-Shh sound. It doesn't sound is any louder, it is more that it now sounds like a "BOV" instead of a random air leak; same volume, more distinct sound.

More information about Forge and Bosh diverter valves.

"The great diverter valve face-off"

The SAAB 9-5 uses a diverter valve (DV) or bypass valve in place of a blow off valve (BOV). The casual term "hooter valve" is sometimes used because of the sound it makes. The DV functions like a BOV, but it recirculates the released air back into the air intake instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. I haven't tried it, but I understand that letting the SAAB 9-5 release pressure into the air will be read by the T7 as a vacuum leak and the car will go into limp mode with a CEL.


Getting a performance diverted valve, like the one made by Forge, and installing it in the reverse configuration will further enhance the sound of the turbo.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Let The SAAB 9-5 Keep Track Of Oil Changes For You

Back in the days when the 9-5 had a recommended 10k oil change schedule it was easy to keep track of the miles between service. These days 3000 to 5000 miles between oil changes is generally accepted to ward off sludge.

An easy way to keep track of mileage is to clear the "DIST"- Trip meter on the SID after you finish your next oil change. You can then check the exact distance you have gone since that oil change with the push of a button. Always document your oil changes on paper, but by also using this tip you will have a quick and easy way of keeping an eye on the mileage without digging into your records or relying on your memory.

There is another way of using the DIST function; you can set the distance at 3k (or any amount) and know that when it hits zero you are due for a change. That takes a lot of button pushing. I just clear it to zero and let it count upwards.

3000 miles and I know I'm due for an oil change.

Monday, January 7, 2008

SAAB (Sorta) Secret: Improved Oil Filter

While not exactly common knowledge, this "secret" is hardly unheard of in the SAAB 9-5 community, but I figure it doesn't hurt to give more coverage to the "enhanced" alternative to the stock oil filter.

The oil filter for a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo fits on the SAAB 9-5 and the filter extends about two inches longer than a stock 9-5 filter. That is two extra inches of filter material to help guard against oil sludge.

Here is proof that the filter fits, taken right after installation. Ignore the oil drip, that's just from the oil I primed the filter with before installing.

The filter is a Motorcraft FL-400S or Fram 3600... or you can just look up the oil filter part number for a 2003 PT Cruiser Turbo. The precise year of PT Cruiser isn't critical, but it must be a turbo model to get the extended filter. I suggest the 2003MY because I know looking up that year will get you the correct part number... because that is exactly what I did.