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  #1  
Old 30th July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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Default Possible timing issues with my '97 SAAB CSE TURBO 2.3L

Hello,

I have a '97 Saab 9000 CSE turbo, and have run into an issue with it recently. I believe that it's a timing issue, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

It all started when I was on my way back home...

My car said I had 74 miles left to an empty tank, when it seemingly ran out of gas. I've ran it t like 28 miles before I got gas though. It died about a mile from my brother's house, so I walked there and grabbed a gas tank out of the garage. As it turned out, it was 2 cycle gas. O_o The car started, and then sputtered...

Once my step-dad finally showed up, I put some fresh gas in it, and then had to jump it for it to start, because the battery is so old. (The car is in need of some TLC). The engine sounded like it was running rough,(I heard a metal scrapping sound, probably from the cylinders, because it had a slight oil leak). I decided to drive it to my brother's house to get a quart of oil for it.

I got about half a mile down the road, and it died, with a kerplunk, and wouldn't turn over at all. It sounded like the engine was frozen.

After I got it towed, I jacked up the car, and put a breaker bar on the main pulley. It wouldn't turn forward at all, but turned about 1 & 1/2 turns backward, and then 1 &1/2 turns forward. So, I figured my timing chain was screwed. I took off the valve head cover, and the chain is still on the top sprockets, and all seems intact, with plenty of tension. The sprockets and chain seem fine, as well as the guides. I couldn't see the bottom sprocket, so I turned the crank again, and noticed that the chain moved fine.

Now I'm stuck trying to diagnose what's wrong with it, so I know how to proceed further. I imagine it's possible that it jumped time when I was trying to start it, but it could be that I had a cylinder seize, because it was so low on oil.

What do you guys think? I'm having a mechanic buddy or two look at it within the next couple of days, but thought I'd get a second opinion here to gain some insight as to where to begin. It would also be helpful to get an idea as to what it might cost to get the parts and do this sort of thing myself.

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time & consideration.

Best Regards,
Jerry
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  #2  
Old 30th July 2012
Twinsen Twinsen is offline
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Did you lose pressure at any time? How is your balance chain? Oil pump?
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  #3  
Old 30th July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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I'm not sure about the oil pressure. I imagine it was low because the oil light came on, and I had a small oil leak. The pump probably worked fine because this was the first time the light came on. The timing chain was intact, and seemed to have plenty of tension...
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Old 30th July 2012
Twinsen Twinsen is offline
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If the light came on for very long, oil pressure was gone and bottom end damage is likely. You'll have to drop the sump.

You can check timing with the marks on the cam sprockets, and the notch on the crank pulley.

Last edited by Twinsen; 30th July 2012 at 02:17 PM.
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  #5  
Old 30th July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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I can understand that, but it still doesn't explain why the engine won't turn, etc.
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  #6  
Old 30th July 2012
Twinsen Twinsen is offline
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A spun main or big end bearing will do that.
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  #7  
Old 30th July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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How can I check this? Thanks for you response btw.
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  #8  
Old 30th July 2012
Twinsen Twinsen is offline
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Do you have the belt off and the plugs out? You mentioned the engine would turn, but not for a complete cycle. Is it still this way? How long and hard was the car driven with the oil light on?

If you drain the oil and find shavings, it's a good bet that something bad has happened. Just don't engage the starter as it can make a bad situation worse in a hurry.

Last edited by Twinsen; 30th July 2012 at 02:34 PM.
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  #9  
Old 30th July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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I posted the current condition of my car... I haven't taken anything apart, other than the valve cover gasket. The oil light came on when I was on my way back from a trip that wasn't longer than 30 mins. away. I'll check the oil, but it seems like this is more of a major issue than that, in my opinion. I'll take a look, and post the results here in the next couple of days.
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  #10  
Old 30th July 2012
Superaero Superaero is offline
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You won't be able to turn the engine over by hand with the spark plugs in place. Timing chains make a lot of noise if they break. If they don't break and the tensioner is good they can't skip timing either.

If the engine runs low on oil the first sign is excessive valve tappet noise, then bearing failure. The cylinders will not seize before the bearings fail. A failed bearing makes a lot of knocking.

How did you know you needed oil? Engine noise is not a reliable guide. Use the dipstick. Do NOT add too much oil. If you check the oil right after shutting off the engine the dipstick will read low. Do NOT add oil unless the level on the dipstick is below halfway between the MAX and MIN marks if you have just shut off the engine.

2 stroke gas ( to be 2 stroke) has to have oil Pre mixed into the gas. There is no special gas for 2 stroke engines, they run on the same stuff. You have to have engine oil in the gas. Your ful injection system won't like the oil much but it should run. It'll smoke though.

It is just possible you have a failing fuel pump or a partially blocked fuel filter.

You should try not to run on empty as the fuel heats up, the fuel pump gets too hot and there is also a big risk of drawing junk that accumulates in the bottom of old fuel tanks into the fuel filter.
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  #11  
Old 31st July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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So, yesterday I had a very experienced mechanic buddy come take a look at my car. He looked at the timing chain, and down into the valve head, and said that there's no way that it could've jumped time, because there's plenty of tension on it, and there aren't any other visible signs of this happening. In his opinion, what I have going on isn't a timing issue.

He told me one way to be sure is to take the timing chain off, by removing one of the sprockets, and then turning the valve cams. We did this, and he said it seems like the valves are fine because the cams rotated all the way around, etc.

He said that I could possibly have a bent rod, or that I had a valve, or a cylinder stick, or could have a bad bearing, (which may have caused this). He said that I may or may not I have a bent valve because of this, but it's doesn't seem like it jumped time, so I should be fine there. The only way to know is to pull the engine to take a better look & pray that there's no damage to the block.

So, I'm making it my job today to take the engine out of my car and get this whole thing figured out. I'll let you guys know what I discover.
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  #12  
Old 31st July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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@ Superaero:

Thanks for your response. I'll try to answer all of your questions...

I can turn the engine with the spark plugs still in the engine, just 1 & 1/2 turns though because something is stuck in there.

I knew I needed oil, because I had a small oil leak, I checked it, and it was a quart low. I put a quart of oil in it, and then drove around doing some marketing for a couple of days. On my way back, the day my car died, the oil light came on. (It was badly in need of an oil change as well. -Something I planned on doing once I got finished with a production I was working on). (I just got the car a month before this off of ebay).

What I put in my car was about a gallon of premixed oil & gas out of a can that was mixed for a weed eater. (I didn't realize it was 2 cycle, because it wasn't marked in any way). We put a 2 gallon can of fresh gas in it right afterwards though, and it ran ok. It sputtered, and then seemed to smooth out. The car died a minute or two later.

Because the crank won't turn all the way, (as it should), I'm pulling the engine to take a look at it today. I think the issue is bigger than just a partially blocked fuel filter, and I think the fuel pump is fine, because I hadn't had any issues with this previously. I will check this though, because I ran out of gas, and it's something that needs done anyway.

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and giving me some insight into this. I'll get wrenching on the engine here soon, and get back with you about the results.

~Cheers~
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  #13  
Old 31st July 2012
Twinsen Twinsen is offline
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After the oil light came on, did it stay on, and how long did you drive after that?
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  #14  
Old 31st July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinsen View Post
After the oil light came on, did it stay on, and how long did you drive after that?

It came on and off for about 2 hrs when I was driving it around, and then was on for about an hour, on my way back home when the car died. =/
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  #15  
Old 31st July 2012
Twinsen Twinsen is offline
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Even a few PSI is enough to make the light go out, which means you had close to zero pressure. It's good to know the engine can last that long, but generally that light means "Shut the engine off NOW and coast to a stop".

Last edited by Twinsen; 31st July 2012 at 10:18 AM.
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  #16  
Old 31st July 2012
jerrylee1123 jerrylee1123 is offline
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That's good to know. I figured this one out the hard way. I only wish I had realized this sooner.The car didn't come with a manual. Otherwise, I could've possibly avoided this tragedy....
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  #17  
Old 31st July 2012
90000006 90000006 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrylee1123 View Post
It came on and off for about 2 hrs when I was driving it around, and then was on for about an hour, on my way back home when the car died. =/
that's a pretty definite way to kill a perfectly good Saab turbo engine (in fact any engine). I would not even bother opening it up, just pull it out and scrap it straight away. It will be damaged beyond the point that you can rebuild it. All main bearings gone, crank damaged, bores and piston damaged, balance shaft bearings damaged, camshaft bearings run out etc. In one word: toast.

Your best option is to find a complete other engine. Make sure that comes with the turbo (as yours is now toast as well) and oil cooler + lines (as yours will be full of metal shavings, which will kill your new engine straight away).

Some work ahead, good luck!
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  #18  
Old 31st July 2012
Superaero Superaero is offline
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Assuming the low oil light pressure switch worked correctly. I agree though this sounds like the classic low oil failure.

Modern drivers are not as aware of dipsticks as we old guys. Some new cars do not have them, electronics sense and display oil level. A young friend of mine destroyed his old Alfa engine thinking the oil pressure gauge was an oil level gauge which would eventually warn him to put oil in.... The numbers on the gauge were thought to be amounts of oil remaining. Expensive lesson.
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