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Servicing Imports

Friday, February 1, 2008 - 00:00

2005 Saab 9-2X 2.5 Linear

If you know anything about Subaru vehicles, then you know something about this car, too. General Motors owns Saab and a large share of Fuji Heavy Industries, and reworking the Subaru Impreza platform gave GM a lower-priced Saab in a very short period of time.

Actually, except for a few suspension modifications, the changes are all cosmetic. The turbocharged Saab 9-2X Aero is basically a Subaru WRX, while the Linear described here is basically the Subaru Impreza wagon. The cars were sold for only two years, and in 2006, the "Linear" name was changed to 2.5i.

Although these cars are not known for overheating, any open-deck cylinder block (where the block is open around the top of the cylinders) can suffer terminal distortion if the engine gets hot enough, so pay close attention to cooling system service. The fans are supposed to turn on when coolant temperature reaches 203°F, and normal cooling system pressure is 14 to 18 psi (pressure test at 23 psi). The water pump is driven by the timing belt.

In the all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, three different methods are used to manage the front/rear torque split. The 5-speed Linear uses a (mechanical) viscous coupling as the center differential, while the 4-speed automatic uses a computer-controlled clutch pack. The Aero (turbo) with the automatic transmission has a planetary gear set behind the computer-controlled clutch. All models have a viscous coupling limited slip rear differential. Being AWD, the fuel tank straddles the driveshaft, so two fuel level sensors are fitted.

A search for Saab service bulletins turned up almost nothing, and we found only one important bulletin for the Subaru Impreza: When diagnosing misfires, check for carbon tracking on the coil pack under the spark plug wire boots. Replacement wires have different boots to prevent this problem. Odd-numbered cylinders are on the right bank, and the coil pack also has the odd cylinders on the right side of the car.

With AWD and a station wagon body, the 9-2X offers greater utility at a lower price than other Saab models, but in the showroom, the Subaru was the better deal.

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