A standard Saab turbo 16 engine with its 160 horsepower (175 in cars without catalytic converter) is surely not a rocket engine. On the other hand, like many other turbocharged powerplants it has a very good potential for simple and cheap performance increases. Unlike most other turbocharged engines from 80's and early 90's the Saab B202 engine has quite an advanced electronic control system, the turbo boost control module of it is called APC - that's a magic word in the Saab circles. Because of this (as you'll see) performance tuning a Saab doesn't neccessarily mean getting your hands dirty... I had to separate this page into four sections, the links are below.
This quality piece of work was designed by a bunch of German Saab enthusiasts. They co-operated with a reputable aftermarket cat manufacturer, Matrix Katalysator, who are now producing these. The unit is a direct replacement for the original Saab catalytic converter. It has bolt-on flanges to the exhaust. It is an all-stainless steel construction with a high flowing metallic catalytic core. The main reason for the design and production of this new cat is the fact that the Saab Turbo 16 engine is able to squeeze into Euro 2 pollution norms with it. In some countries, such as Germany, this provides a substantial vehicle tax reduction. In other countries, such as here in Finland, we will just have to settle for the nice looks and features of it, including a proven 6 horsepower performance gain! :) I bought a pre-series cat from the folks in Germany and it was a perfect fit and has been working very nicely ever since. They are now available for public sale and the price is very reasonable.
Ferrita 2.5" Stainless exhaust and 3" JT free-flow front pipe
Last Update 20th July 2003
It was time to replace my rotten 3" JT exhaust. This time I wanted to get something that would last a bit longer. Well, forever. I talked to guys at Euro Stainless, the Finnish distributor of the Swedish manufacturer Ferrita. Ferrita makes some of the best exhausts in stainless steel. They come with a lifetime guarantee. The guys at Euro-Stainless told me that Ferrita has a 3" sport exhaust for the 900. The price for it was something outrageous, I recall it was 900 euros / USD. But they guy pointed out that Ferrita is making a "standard" exhaust for the 900 as well. It is made from 2.5" pipe and has a free-flowing muffler. And the price for it was just 400 euros / USD. The difference in diameter makes no difference in performance whatsoever, especially because we're talking about a catalytic converter back -system here, and the front pipe is where the diameter makes a difference.
I dediced to get the Ferrita 2.5" system but wanted to do something for the front pipe as well. I had moved the battery into the trunk in the summer and now there was enough room to add a new soft-bend JT frontpipe in 3" aluminized steel. I ordered it from Speedparts and asked the guys at Euro-Stainless install it together with the Ferrita cat-back system. They also replaced the catalytic converter heat shield which was already in a pretty bad shape. It really pays off to make sure this small plate of steel is in good shape since without it you could easily melt the whole wiring to the ignition lock since the catalytic converter does get pretty damn hot sometimes.
The guys at Euro-Stainless had some serious difficulties in fitting the JT front pipe. It was simply that the front pipe was made with a very bad tolerance and it simply failed to fit in there without touching the lower body frame. The guys first called me and said that it "will not go in there" and told me I would have to get a replacement from Sweden. I told them I'd be picking up the car in a few hours. When I got there they had a pleasant surprise: they didn't have "anything else" to do and took the time to make the JT pipe to fit. They actually re-welded all of the seams in the front pipe and custom-fabricated a new transmission-attached mount for the pipe. It was a perfect fit. I highly recommend taking your business to Euro-Stainless.
I am VERY satisfied with the new system. It is in fact quite a bit more silent than the JT system was. The difference on idle is not that significant but what counts is that the "roar" you hear when driving in highway speeds is now much more silent. I am not saying that all the sporty tunes are gone, not really, but the constant buzzing is now at a more discrete level.
There was indeed a remarkable improvement in low-end response due to the new, less restrictive front pipe. You'll have to try it yourself to believe!
Check yours! Mine had holes in it and it is there for a good reason!
JT 3" Super Flow exhaust (now history)
Last Update 11th November 2002
In March 1999 I decided to upgrade the exhaust to one with a better flow. The quieter it would be, the better. Oh, I wouldn't mind some nice turbo whine but I'd stay away from a rice-pipe. I was first looking for a stainless system, but was told by Ferrita of Sweden that they would have to individually match one to my car. I didn't find the trip to Sweden plus paying €/$900 for the set too tempting, so I turned to BSR. They offered JT's 3" SuperFlow exhaust, as a complete set including the front pipe, for €/$360. This set would retain the original catalytic converter, of course. It has a very modest, single 3" exhaust tip - I surely wasn't looking for a chromed eye-catcher, or even worse, a dual exhaust! Bought the set and had it installed by my mechanic (requires a good lift, a set of tools and lots of patience. The exhaust mounting screws tend to rust so that they have to be cut plus it is quite an involved task to align a 3" system into a Saab...). Even though the new exhaust has only one muffler (as does the original one) it is relatively quiet and doesn't turn heads when accelerating. It did make a difference by means of throttle response: Better response at lower RPM's - faster turbo spool-up. In my opinion well worth the money.
UPDATE: This JT system was retired in Fall 2002 and replaced with a Ferrita Stainless system. The JT was a good system, but unfortunately it rotted in only three years. The place to fail was the place where the tail pipe connects to the rear silencer. There was a hole the size of a finger there and the rest of the system was going to fail soon, too. So if you're going for the JT just dont fall in love with it. It will not last for a lifetime :)
Complete exhaust system, excluding catalytic converter, made of 3" aluminized steel. One straight-through muffler, 3" front pipe from the turbo (does fit with standard battery). Single 3" tip made of steel.