Monday, July 11, 2011

Swedish Mafia

It's not what you think. I have not defected to Sweden. Although I would very much like to go there someday and see what I've been missing.

So back on track, back at the end of April the Paisley and I were on our way to work when she asks me "should that be coming from the front of the car?" pointing to the vaporous steam emanating from the grille.

"Uh no". "Shit".

As soon as the light was green I was out of there and made a beeline for the next street with no traffic and turned that car around and headed home with it. Good thing it was the morning commute and we were going against the traffic. I was breaking a few speed laws to keep that car as cool as possible.

We had known for a while now that the Subaru was on it's way out and just really wished we could have gotten more use out of it before this occurrence. We were literally expecting our federal tax return to be in our account the very next day so we could pay off this thing. FML.

Well we got it back and no issues, but man that thing smelled hot and it was sweating coolant from both heads much similar to the way booze sweats from a drunks pores. Not a pretty smell.

From there it was letting our offices know we wouldn't be in and then getting up to the credit union to secure a loan for a newer car. Done and done!! We were actually pretty well surprised with our credit scores (we knew they were good, but wow, they were better than we thought) and since we were only asking for a specific amount, we had instant approval.

Now the search was one. What would replace our now defunct green Sapporo can?


Stop groaning. I know all the acronyms. Shit I probably created a few myself.

Suckered Another American Buyer.

Sorry Ass Auto Builder

SOB story.

Anyway, back in my former life before being the Kilted Travel agent, I was a factory trained VW and SAAB parts dude. Hence my love for European autos.

Well the Paisley and I had gotten the Subaru home and walked to the park and ride and liberated our neighbours car and headed to our credit union to secure a car loan. About an hour later we were on our way out to head back home and begin the search for our next car.

We found several on line and narrowed them down to the ones we wanted to see and made calls and arrangements to see said SAABs or left messages.

Then Paisley ask me if I would consider one from a dealership.


A 2000 SAAB 9-5 with only 85,000 miles. It was a dream car. So off we went to view it.

It was a lovely clean car. I'd forgotten about the unique smell the leather of a SAAB has. It's very intoxicating! It was nice and soft as well for being 11 years old. This was a good looking car.

We spent  the next 3-4 hours at the dealership driving and talking about the car and then deciding that this was the one for us.

When all was said and done we finally left the dealership about 4 pm with our new to us SAAB 9-5. That was April 21st.

The original and often imitated Swedish Mafia.

Well from there, it got dicey. All was not well with the SAAB. Despite ownership papers, a CarFax report and the dealerships PDI (pre-delivery inspection) it was determined to trouble us for the next couple of months. 

We didn't have the car 48 hours and had barely driven it 30 miles when there was a smell similar to illegal tyre burning and smoke. Back to the dealership. The new car manager was all over this with his questions of "did you buy the extended warranty" shit to which I replied that having worked for 2 local dealerships in the past that I knew how that scam worked. Those things are not worth the paper they are written on. After his test drive he had a Honda tech look at it whose opinion was that there was nothing major and we could drive the car. Probably just oil or another fluid dripping onto the exhaust. The new car manager suggested that if we were really concerned to bring it back Monday and talk to the used car manager.

Monday came and we were at the dealership. Car dropped off and we were given a loaner car. A Subaru of all things. Talk about adding insult to injury! Fucker. Anyway he promised us that he would have a separate shop that deals with European cars look at it and it would be completely taken care of. 2 days later I received a call that the engine was dead. The smell and the smoke was the contents of the oil pan being dumped into the exhaust.

85,000 miles. Really? 85 fucking thousand miles. SAAB builds a much better car than this. WTF?

The following Monday I received a call that an engine with 80,000 miles had been located in Arizona and was to be shipped up and installed. We wouldn't see the Swedish Mafia for anther week and a half.

May 13. We finally get to pick up the Swedish Mafia. We are told that there will probably be some residual oil in the exhaust to burn out, but to just drive it up and down the highway a bit to blow it out. Seriously, the shop should have done that! Lazy fucks.

All seems well until the next morning when I start it up and there is smoke out the ass! Now what!!!??? I remember what the shop said about the oil and blah blah blah. Ok so there are a few drives up and down the highway. No luck. Still continues to smoke at start up only for the next 2 weeks.

Meanwhile elsewhere under the hood, there is a coolant smell and on the dash the temperature gauge is reading to low. The later is a thermostat stuck open. The former could be anything. Loose hose. Leaking hose. Over flow cap is not pressurised. Leaking head gasket. You get the idea. I call the dealership right away and leave a message for the used car manager. No reply at all. Good thing I had also contacted the shop that did the work. They got back to me the next day.

Swedish Mafia was dropped off with the shop that Thursday and returned to me the following Tuesday. The thermostat was replaced (and paid for by the dealership) and the coolant smell was the freeze plugs on the side of the block. The dealership was unwilling to pay for that. The shop also informed me that the smoke on start up was due to bad valve guide seals. The dealership was also unwilling to pay for that as well. So much for "taking care of everything" like they said they would.

So now all is going well with the Swedish Mafia and we've had it back for a week and a half. We're out on a nice (finally) sunny Saturday having lunch with friends when Karen notices an odd noise. About the time I let my foot off the gas, that little Swedish Bastard is smoking more than the Smoking Man from  X-Files. FUCK.

So on the way to take it home I call the dealership and knowing the used car manager is not working on a Saturday and leave him a message that the car is now smoking all the time and that if he can't make good on fixing it then it will go back to the dealership and we will buy elsewhere. I've had more than enough. At that point we've had the car almost 2 months and only been able to drive it barley 3 weeks. I"m pissed at this point.

Not more than 10 minutes later I actually get a call back from him. Seems he's actually at work on a Saturday. He assures me that even if the car needs a new engine he will take care of it and ask me to drop it off on Monday. So  with that the SAAB is left with the dealership again. Next day I get a call that the turbo has gone out. Initially they were going to look at a rebuilt turbo, but opted against it and decided to get new one so that there wouldn't be any more issues. Smart move. If I had been told a used or rebuilt turbo had been put in I was seriously going to have a brain aneurysm.

So we have now to this date had our Swedish Mafia back for almost 3 weeks and so far all is well. I  still love the car. Being a factory trained SAAB parts guy I have always liked the way they perform. I like that SAAB puts things on cars as factory equipment that other manufacturers would have as optional equipment. I love the way the inside of a SAAB smells. I know that is kind of fucked up, but no other car out there smells like one and the smell never fades. Swedish Mafia is 11 years old and still has that new SAAB smell.

I would even consider selling Jake for a SAAB 9-3.

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