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Long Term Project (Part 7): 2011 9-3 Aero XWD

March 2017:

Well here we are, an almost current event, (as I write this roughly a week old), but anyway. Last Friday and Saturday saw the final pieces of the puzzle fitted, but this part of the story actually starts some months ago when I had a conversation with a colleague at Orio North America. He informed me that the parts distribution center had a number of unused Hirsch IPRO tuners sitting collecting dust and that they were hoping to get rid of them. Following some negotiating with Orio and a dialogue with Hirsch, I secured the IPROs and registered one for use. A proper Hirsch tune was something I had been after for a long time, even when Saab was still in business, I could not convince my bosses at the dealership to invest in one. After registering, setting up and paying for the software, I set up the IPRO in the car and pressed the “Performance Upgrade” button and the fun began…

Within 15 minutes, the IPRO was done working its magic and there was nothing left to do but take it for a drive. The car was completely transformed, a real night and day difference in terms of acceleration, torque and boost pressure… It. Was. Awesome. Felix at Hirsch, (whom had been helping me through the registration/setup process) followed up with me almost immediately with certificate/documentation for the car showing the upgrade had been performed.

Of course, now that the car had the power and torque, it was lacking in the braking and handling departments… The following day, some packages arrived from CYC HQ in Munich:

With the Hirsch XWD suspension and 345mm brake upgrade kits in hand, I set to work disassembling the front suspension/brakes allowing everything some time to soak in penetrating oil. With the larger 345mm brake discs, it becomes necessary to replace/update the brake dust shields. In order to do this, you need to disconnect the axle shafts and remove the wheel hub/bearing from the knuckles:

After a few hours, there was a pile of old parts on the floor:

And things were starting to take shape:

A little before and after comparison of the fronts (sorry for the upstate NY road salt and 18″ Hirsch ‘winter’ wheels):

After allowing the suspension a few days to settle, I performed a 4-wheel alignment to bring everything within spec and have now had a few chances to really drive and enjoy the car. It’s a weird feeling for me to be here at this point. In just under 2 years of ownership and 5 years after Saab (as most of us knew it) had gone away, I managed to ‘fully Hirsch’ this car.

I don’t generally get sappy and sentimental, but in this instance, I have to express my sincere gratitude for two things: the man behind CardYourCar, Till Drescher and our loyal customers from all over the world. Without a Till’s enthusiasm and dedication for the Saab and Hirsch brands as well as the continued support of our customers, none of this would be possible for any of us.


One thought on “Long Term Project (Part 7): 2011 9-3 Aero XWD

  1. Hi Brad, Can I ask, where I can find this 18″ Hirsch wheels. I been search it for a year now. No luck. Any suggestions?

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