More bad news... [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: More bad news...

Matt Phelps
2nd November 2002, 04:23 PM
I've posted a few threads in here regarding my new SAAB (which I have had 5 days) already so please forgive me another one but things have gone from bad to worse.

I've just done around 300 miles since I took posession of the car but on the way home tonight I thought I could smell a slight burning noise coming from somewhere. About 30 miles later I pulled over to pop into a shop and then when I started the car up again a god awful noise started coming from the engine bay. It is a very loud mechanical rattle and it is coming from the front lefthand side of the engine bay - I *think* (but I'm not sure) it is coming from the AC compressor. You can hear it clearly from outside the car with the bonnet shut and with the bonnet up it's deafening!

If you see my other thread you'll read that I mentioned that the Climate control doesn't work properly and when calibrated it shows a '1' error message. Coincidence? No I don't think so either. When I rang the dealer this week about it he told me he'd have a look next week and in the meantime I should 'just turn the fan down manually' (it was blowing very hard all the time) - maybe this has caused a problem?

Anyway I have some questions that I hope someone might be able to answer:

1/ Which side of the engine is the timing chain? This is the only other thing I can think off that might make that noise. The noise is definately from the area of the engine where the compressor is but is that also near the timing chain? Or is the chain on the other side? Is there anything else apart from the compressor that might make that noise? How about the gearbox?

2/ If it IS the compressor making that awful rattle then what might have happened to it?

3/ If I drive the car with a damaged compressor am I in danger of damaging the car any further? Does it affect the cooling or any other part of the engine?

Incidently, I think the noise is loudest when the car is just idling.

As you can imagine I'm pretty damn miserable about it all.

2nd November 2002, 05:55 PM
Hi, Matt. I know it might seem like you have made a huge mistake, but don't give up yet.

1. The timing chain is on the same side as the A/C compressor. When you say "left", I assume you mean as seen from standing in front of the car facing the engine? I don't think the timing chain would really go that suddenly. I suppose maybe if the tensioner broke, but I'm not sure that happens. The gearbox is on the other side.
When it's making that noise, is the outside part of the A/C pulley turning with the belt? If so, the compressor clutch is engaged. If not, then the compressor probably isn't turning and the noise is probably coming from elsewhere.

2. The burning smell sounds like what other people have reported when the A/C compressor has seized (I think the burning is the drivebelt). I'm not sure what would cause it, but has been known to happen. It sounds like yours may be only partially seized at the moment.

3. If you run it like that you can burn the drivebelt and leave the car without a running water pump, alternator and steering pump. With the engine off, disconnect the single connector on top of the compressor. This will stop the clutch from engaging and (hopefully) stop the engine from trying to drive the compressor. If this stops the noise, then you know it's definitely the compressor. If not, then it's inconclusive as the compressor clutch might have seized. However, as mentioned above, you should then be able to see the clutch plate turning. If disconnecting that wire stops the clutch (and the noise), then I'd consider it safe to drive in that condition.

Hope you get a result from the dealer. I know you mentioned the cruise control wasn't covered by the warranty, but if the A/C is, then I'd have it straight back to them. There's no reason to assume that the car is basically unsound, and as others mentioned here, the cruise will likely be fairly cheap to fix.

Chances are the previous owner got rid of the car because they were having A/C problems and they didn't have a warranty to pick up the bill. You have. Mind you, I'd be p*ssed off too, but it may not be as bad as it seems.

Matt Phelps
3rd November 2002, 05:18 AM
Thanks for the advice Bill.

I removed the connector but the compressor pulley still seems to be moving and the loud rattle is still present. I can only assume that it is seized on. There is still a faint burning smell but the belt seems to be turning okay so maybe it is coming partly from the compressor itself, or maybe there is enough resistance from the clutch to give a bit of 'slippage' on the belt - causing the burning. Anyway the car is evidently undrivable.

I will contact the dealer again on Monday but I've just checked the warrenty that they gave me and it does not include the AC Compressor AND there is a limit of 500. Pretty useless really. I can only hope that the dealer (JUST SAAB of Camberley, Surrey ) is going to be reasonable about it and accept some responsibilty for a car they sold me less than a week ago.

If not then I should imagine I will be looking at a 4 figure number to have the compressor replaced, which I can't afford.

I'm toying with the idea of starting up the car and thumping the compressor with a mallet to try and free off the clutch - at least then it would be drivable.

Matt Phelps
6th November 2002, 03:49 PM
JustSaab are top blokes. Absolutely no problem with them dealing with the fault. They are more than happy to fix the Aircon and replace the compressor out of their own pocket, no questions asked.

They've lent me an old 900i to thrash about in while they do the work and I should have my car back by the weekend. :)

Damn if this 900 ain't quirky though! I pulled up at the petrol station and tried to get the key out of the ignition (underneath the handbrake!!?) and it wouldn't come out! I had to ring them up and ask how to get the keys out! Bizarre keylock. :-?

6th November 2002, 05:29 PM
They told you to put it in reverse? I had a 900i (new shape) as a courtesy car from Breachwood Saab years ago and they were keen to tell me about the "reverse gear" thing.

Oh, if you think your 9000 handles better than the 900, don't mention it here :wink: (only kidding - if it's a new-shape 900, I think you'll be safe :D )

Good result, though. And, of course, happy customers are the only type of repeat customer, unless you're Microsoft.

Matt Phelps
9th November 2002, 05:29 AM
I got the car back last night. New compressor and new ACC unit and it didn't cost me a penny. :)

9th November 2002, 07:25 AM
Yay :! :) :) :)

How are you feeling about the car now that one's out of the way?

Matt Phelps
9th November 2002, 10:02 AM
Love it. I like the handling a lot and the luxury interior is great. The leather seats hug you nicely on cold mornings. It looks bloody great on my driveway, even for a 9 year old car it looks practically brand new. I'm pleased with it. :)

My only slight worry is the fuel consumptions because I do around 400 miles a week and a tank of petrol is 50 quid. I;ve not yet ran the car from full to empty (because it had to go back to the dealer) but I'm really hoping I can get 400 miles out the tank. Any less than that and it will start getting expensive to run.

Incidently after having driven a 900i as a loan car I can't really see what all the fuss is about. I much preferred my 9000. Maybe I had a rough one but it was noisy and the gearshift was a bit vague. Also I felt that the power steering was too light. It was too easy to twirl the wheel from lock to lock and put too much power down.

9th November 2002, 12:38 PM
It was too easy to twirl the wheel from lock to lock and put too much power down.
Easy to put too much power down in a 900i? :o

Fuel consumption obviously depends on the car and the driver. I can do the 450 or so miles from Hemel to Stranraer on a tankful of petrol in the Aero, with some to spare (but not much). I couldn't quite do it without stopping for petrol in my lower-geared (older) CD 2.3T. I can't remember which 9000 you have now, and whether it's auto or manual.

Matt Phelps
9th November 2002, 01:32 PM
It's a '93 Auto 2.3i.

What I mean about the 900 was that I would be trying to accelerate around a corner and would find the steering so light that I'd be overcorrecting it. Might have just been that car, it was an elderly 900, but I preferred the firmer more positive steering on my 9K.

Mark P
23rd November 2002, 12:51 PM
Hi Matt

Nice to hear that a dealer is looking after people properly. On a site like this, it certainly won't do them any harm!

Mark P