ethanol and my 2001 saab: stalling [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: ethanol and my 2001 saab: stalling


selysaab
22-09-06, 11:07 AM
i called my saab dealer and described the coughing and then stalling problem my saab 9-3 (2001) w/ 70000 miles is having. he said most likely it's the ethanol in gas and even cleaning out the fuel line may not resolve the problem. he also suggested an additive. Is this really true? i could be stuck with this problem?

PMI
22-09-06, 11:18 AM
Is this really true? i could be stuck with this problem?No. If that were true, the number of people w. the same problem would be enormous.

All cars sold in at least the last ten years have been designed to run on 10-20% ethanol, also called E10 fuel. Call the Saab help line, after they finish laughing, they will help you sort the dealer out.

The ethanol added to fuel is only about 10%. My '96 SE turbo runs perfectly on up to about 30-35% ethanol (just like most other small turbocharged engines). In fact, in some respect it runs better, because the ethanol raises the effective octane to close to race gas, so at high boost the engine really likes higher ethanol blend... :cheesy:

edit:

...and welcome to the forum!

jonnyfgroove
22-09-06, 11:42 AM
i called my saab dealer and described the coughing and then stalling problem my saab 9-3 (2001) w/ 70000 miles is having. he said most likely it's the ethanol in gas and even cleaning out the fuel line may not resolve the problem. he also suggested an additive. Is this really true? i could be stuck with this problem?

Wow, I feel better knowing I am 3k miles away from that dealership.:evil: Please tell us you will never spend a dime there.

PMI
22-09-06, 12:21 PM
Wow, I feel better knowing I am 3k miles away from that dealership.:evil: Please tell us you will never spend a dime there.A service mananger once told me that if I did not leave the car for an overnight pressure check (there was a tiny leak close to the head which I later fixed by replacing a hose clamp), the coolant could leak into a cylinder overnight, freeze there, and crack the block. That's 50/50 coolant, a.k.a. antifreeze... :roll:

It is really unfortunate that some dealers give this car a bad rep with statements like that. What is a Saab owner supposed to think when he is told that his car will not run on the same fuel that works fine in every other domestic car or import, all the while the manufacturer ads feature "green" cars which run on bio-fuel a.k.a. 85% ethanol? Who would want to buy a flex-fuel vehicle from a dealer that claims they can't get a car running on 10% ethanol which is hardly a new fuel?

leafybug
22-09-06, 12:26 PM
selysaab, have you had your DI cassete replaced yet through the recall??

my 02 saab was sputtering about 2 months ago....has 65000 miles on it. and i took it in for that recall, and havnt had any sputtering since.

selysaab
22-09-06, 12:51 PM
thank you all for your comments. i'll follow up with the help line suggestion but in the meantime, can anyone tell me what the problem might be? fuel pump perhaps? i've taken care of all the recalls. thank you.

jonnyfgroove
22-09-06, 01:31 PM
PMI:
It is really unfortunate that some dealers give this car a bad rep with statements like that. What is a Saab owner supposed to think when he is told that his car will not run on the same fuel that works fine in every other domestic car or import, all the while the manufacturer ads feature "green" cars which run on bio-fuel a.k.a. 85% ethanol? Who would want to buy a flex-fuel vehicle from a dealer that claims they can't get a car running on 10% ethanol which is hardly a new fuel?
Well said!




thank you all for your comments. i'll follow up with the help line suggestion but in the meantime, can anyone tell me what the problem might be? fuel pump perhaps? i've taken care of all the recalls. thank you.

Could you offer some more details about the symptoms?:) And you already got a new DIC through recall then?

selysaab
22-09-06, 01:36 PM
i took it in for 2 recalls. they did one and said i didn't need the other one. i don't have the paperwork in front of me so i'm not sure if the DIC was replaced...what does that do?


other symptoms: it usually happens in the morning when i first start it up. at first it would start, sound fine then 'cough' and sputter when i put it into gear but it would go. then it would stall when i put it into gear and i'd have to put it back into park and let it 'warm up' a few seconds (rev a bit). yesterday and today the 'coughing' happened before putting it into gear and it died. i restarted, revved a bit...and it was ok.

brewtide
22-09-06, 01:47 PM
I'd suggest:

Making sure you had the DIC replaced. You asked prior what this did. The DIC (Direct Ignition Cassette - Black thing over your engine...) replaced the conventional Distributer/wires, in an 'all in one unit'. Provides more ZAP due to lack of wires, thus a stronger spark (Good for turbocharged engines, esp). Downside, they are ~ $300 new and are known to simply 'die' one day. Running joke on how many people have a spare in their trunk at all times... Personally, I own two cars with the older RED DIC that are at 150K each, and while they may not be perfect, they've yet to die... Yes, I'm knocking on wood at this moment =)

I'd have your fuel filter replaced (or do it yourself), check for any vaccum leaks around the engine bay, make sure your charging / electrical system is up to snuff (Battery/Alternator), and replace your sparkplugs.

Perhaps doing this one at a time will resolve your issue, but I'm 99% confident that by doing them all, your sputter/stalling issue will be resolved.

I suppose I'd focus on the sparkplugs (Just got some today, less than $8 for 4...), suggest running NGK brand.... As they do in the manual (My car runs BPCR7ES11's, yours may be different, but I don't think so..). & focus on the battery... If your battery is getting low, I imagine likely symptoms.

Having a '99 (T5 software; different software than your ECU) I'd also clean your IAC valve & throttle body... Do the T7's have an IAC? I know the throttle body is electronic unlike the T5's....

Best of luck, sounds like you just need a general 'tune-up' and all should be well.

It is of note that my '99 on 'damp' days will very slightly lower the RPM's on early morning starts, but then goes away... Partially why I've new plugs sitting in the passengers footwell as I write this... However, is has NEVER stalled, unless I start it and INSTANTLY put it into drive in the winter, which can prompt it to stall out. If I wait 5 seconds, it's all good...


peace,
bny

PS. I strongly suggest bailing on that dealer too; Ethanol has made my car have a slightly shaker startup, but I cannot see it causing STALLING so frequently...

selysaab
22-09-06, 03:44 PM
thank you for your detailed reply. i recently had the fuel filter and plugs replaced (although not by saab, so....). the battery and alternator were also checked. but it doesn't sound/feel like a battery et al issue. i will check on the DIC.

the saab dealer's suggestion was to "clean the fuel line" ... get all the buildup out...does this relate to your "I'd also clean your IAC valve & throttle body" suggestion at all?

could it be the fuel pump?

jonnyfgroove
22-09-06, 03:51 PM
Find out about the DIC and go from there. That is certainly the place to start.:) Hopefully your fuel pump has not croaked with only 70k.

JMarkert
22-09-06, 06:12 PM
the saab dealer's suggestion was to "clean the fuel line" ... get all the buildup out...does this relate to your "I'd also clean your IAC valve & throttle body" suggestion at all?

could it be the fuel pump?

Nah - i agree that a clogged fuel line is unlikely. Certainly not from the ethanol. Maybe if you somehow got a bad fuel filter, but that doesn't seem likely.

The IAC is the idle air control valve. It determines how fast the engine runs when you don't have your foot on the gas.

It get gunked up over time and needs cleaning now and again. You can read how to do it here:
http://pages.infinit.net/mlbriand/index.shtml

If you have a turbo, I think it's a little bit easier job b/c you don't have a 'plenum' to remove.