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  #1  
Old 10th October 2009
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Jonno007 Jonno007 is offline
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Default Noisy tappets on cold start and a few other probs

I have a 2003 93 vector sedan with 86k on the clock. I have owned it for about 3 months and LOVE it!!

However I have the following problems:

1. When I start it from cold the tappets/lifters make a terrible rattling noise which goes away after a few seconds but giving its age and mileage is this not a bit premature? makes it sound real cheap 'n nasty. Anything I can do to stop it without replacing the tappets?

2. the ESP light comes on with a line through it which in the manual says there is something wrong with it. I have tested it by whipping round a few corners at high speed and it seems to work fine. Again, any ideas? Don't really want to take it to Saab $$$ issue!

3. when I press and hold the unlock on the key the front windows only go down. When I press and hold lock on the key nothing happens apart from it locking the car.

Any advice you can throw my way is greatly appreciated. I have always loved Saabs and this is my first both my brothers and my dad have one (93 old shape, 86 900, and 95 sedan,

Cheers guys
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  #2  
Old 10th October 2009
JonV JonV is offline
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Is it tappet or timing chain noise... do you have the service history? How often was the Oil Changed? There was a TSB on timing chain Noise due to Sludge, although probably caused by infrequent or lack of OC's

Can't help on ESP

Comfort Close, which you are referring to, is not Programmed into USA Cars, don't know about Australia. A Tech II change is needed, many dealers here will not do it citing Saab "Policy".
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  #3  
Old 10th October 2009
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I would not know what timing chain noise sounds like (always had cars with belts or push rods)

I did a bit of research myself and narrowed it down to my original tappets, idler pulley, or timing chain as you say.

If the chain lets go, is it a non-interference engine where the valves and stems would be ok? or is it as I'm suspecting "catastrophic engine damage costing me 1000's"

this issue is the one I want fixed more than the others that are mearly luxuries.

How easy is it to replace timing chain, tensioner etc. myself ?? if anyone has attempted/completed this job I would love to hear from you.

Cheers, Jon
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Old 10th October 2009
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We have two internal timing chains, it is not a job (IMO) for a casual Mechanic, also sludge is quite rare, the alleged cause of TC Noise...

i wouldn't use the word catastropic, just yet.. could oil pressure be an issue?
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  #5  
Old 10th October 2009
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how do I check oil pressure? What is this "sludge" you speak of?

thanks for your quick responses mate.

jon
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  #6  
Old 11th October 2009
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Oil Sludge... a gelled buildup of Oil crap, water, particles,metals... in some engines like Saabs B205, considered inherent due to poor plumbing design, in "most" cases due to lack of proper Oil changes.... rare but the jury's out on the early SS, although in 06 Mobil did reformulate GM LL A/B 025

The above is my definition....
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  #7  
Old 11th October 2009
Dfunk415 Dfunk415 is offline
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The owners manual talks about tapping on cold starts. Air gets into the block when the oil filter is changed and sometimes makes it way to the lifters. It says to let the car sit at idle until this is gone. Apparently they knew this would happen to put it in a manual they give with the car. lol

As far as the timing chain goes, I had mine checked just to be sure but it takes a lot to break a chain but it doesnt take a lot to losen one. The links in the chain can become stretched overtime leaving slack in the line. That would be a constant tap though not off of start up.
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Old 12th October 2009
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Started it from cold today in front of a friend and he thought it was a diesel when it first started. Maybe there is a leak in a vacuum pipe which lets all the oil drop back into the sump when engine off long enough?


Thats scary about this sludge stuff jonv! I hope that is not the problem.

Thanks for that info dfunk will check my manual now. car going in for rego inspection on thursday at saab-tech will get them to check the timing chain.
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Old 12th October 2009
Mithos the Hero Mithos the Hero is offline
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As long as you've adhered to the newer oil change intervals, the oil sludge issue should be reduced. It was more due to GM's original suggested time which was overstated.

If you fear sludge. Try seafoaming your vehicle. It's basically mineral spirits and breaks up sludge and carbon deposits. Works wonders. Make sure though to do it around the time you will be changing your oil. For it will thin the oil and driving it for a long time can be hazardous. You also place it in your fuel and vaccuum system to really clean it out. I've done it to my saab when I first got it and my 20yr old volvo. Neither car has had issues nor negative changes in performance.

Cold starts though, you will hear more noise. Until the sump gets the oil flowing through at proper pressure. This is much more noticeable if your car has been sitting for a day.

For timing chain noise, goto this http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=1127339. They have a sound clip of timing chain noise. Almost sounds like scrapping. Timing chains usually don't need any maintenance til atleast 100k if not more.
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  #10  
Old 12th October 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonno007 View Post

.... or is it as I'm suspecting "catastrophic engine damage costing me 1000's"
Yes, CATASTROPHIC.

As far as I know, nobody on the SS list has actually checked the chain tensioner, but the design is similar to that used on the ng900. There's an excellent write up by an ng900 forum member here: http://www.geocities.com/ng900set/TC...tensioner.html

I'm not sure about the specifics, the tensioner might be harder to access on an SS.

Another stray thought - have you checked out the spark plugs? One that's a little loose might not be very well sealed until the motor's warmed up. Not super likely, but possible and free to check. You could probably hear whether the noise is coming from the chain area or under the spark plug cover if you open the hood and listen carefully while it's cold. Or just take the cover off to be 100% sure.
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Old 12th October 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithos the Hero View Post
If you fear sludge. Try seafoaming your vehicle. It's basically mineral spirits and breaks up sludge and carbon deposits. Works wonders. Make sure though to do it around the time you will be changing your oil.
FWIW, I'm getting less and less keen on seafoam etc in the oil. Last oil change I was going to put in some of that motor flush stuff (by Gunk, I think). I read the directions, and they did not recommend it for cars with turbos. I'm not sure if the thinned oil or displaced gunk clogging the oil passages is the issue, but if the manufacturer is suggesting NOT to use their product they must have had several reports of problems. I would guess seafoam in the oil would be about the same thing.

It's more of a pain, but if I suspected sludge I might go with the autoRx stuff (though it has a whiff snake oil too it). The only problem is you'd need to temporarily switch to mineral oil for a while, and do a few oil changes. No sure if they'd ship to Australia http://www.auto-rx.com/
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Old 12th October 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithos the Hero View Post

For timing chain noise, goto this http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=1127339. They have a sound clip of timing chain noise. Almost sounds like scrapping. Timing chains usually don't need any maintenance til atleast 100k if not more.
Awesome link, Mithos! Now I know why they call it the rattle of death!
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Old 28th October 2009
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Thanks for your help guys,

I have had the timing chain checked by Saab-Tech and they say theres nothing wrong with the chain and there is no sludge so, phew!
It is still there though and its annoying the sh*t out of me. I checked the spark plugs, they fine and tight the ONLY thing I can pin it down to that is not the lifters is perhaps that I have it parked on a steep slope outside my house, maybe the oil is out of position to get sucked up into the engine?? I spoke to the previous owner and he said that he always used Saab recommended oil and filters and changed the oil every 5000kms, I believe him cause in his garage it was full of Saab memoribilia etc. and this was his third Saab and I know he took care of his car, he is probably in this forum!
After listening to the link of the noisy chain, its deffinetly not the chain, its certain to be the tappets/lifters but why? Should I use a thinner oil to help get it up to the top of the engine faster?

Any help appreciated!
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Old 28th October 2009
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It is Timing Chains, plural, there are two of them.
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Old 28th October 2009
Dfunk415 Dfunk415 is offline
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Read your owners manual!!!!!!lol. It explains this condition. Sometimes when an oil change is done air gets into the block and makes it way to the lifters and causes a gap between the oil and surfaces. kind of like how you can pop your knuckles or your knees crack, there is an excessive build up of air in the joints. I know weird analogy but same concept.
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  #16  
Old 29th October 2009
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I'm aware there are 2 thank you very much. Didn't realise this was an english class too.
Yeah something in the manual about after you change the oil and filter it'll take a while for the oil to get to the tappets as it has to come through the filter an blah blah. I'm not changing the oil and filter everyday, but it still does it and it sounds terrible. Does anyone else have this ?

Thanks
jon
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Old 29th October 2009
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I've heard it now and then on various cars (including my 93), but its not a daily thing. Actually, on the few times I've heard it on the 93 its more of a snapping than a clacking. It sounded almost like a spark jumping, but not quite....anyhow, it went away very quickly, say in 15 or 20 seconds. OK, thats all probably not helpful

You'd mentioned switching to thinner oil, that might help, but I'd suggest the opposite (and of course I have no idea what you're using now or what the weather is like in your part of australia). The reason I lean towards thicker is your drain down theory, thicker oil would be more likely to stay up in the top end of the motor overnight. Honestly, just a guess.

Perhaps more usefully, I have a question for the group. Jonoo mentions a potential check valve, which makes sense. I forget how the filter and filter cap work. Is there a check valve in the cap that could have gone? This would make for an easy fix.

Also, re: Dfunk's comment. That makes sense, but fwiw, I've never noticed extra noise right after an oil change. I let it drain for a while (often a half hour), but perhaps for my car that's not enough to get most of the oil out of the passages...

Last edited by JMarkert; 29th October 2009 at 11:13 AM.
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  #18  
Old 29th October 2009
tbutera2112 tbutera2112 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonno007 View Post
Thanks for your help guys,

I have had the timing chain checked by Saab-Tech and they say theres nothing wrong with the chain and there is no sludge so, phew!
It is still there though and its annoying the sh*t out of me. I checked the spark plugs, they fine and tight the ONLY thing I can pin it down to that is not the lifters is perhaps that I have it parked on a steep slope outside my house, maybe the oil is out of position to get sucked up into the engine?? I spoke to the previous owner and he said that he always used Saab recommended oil and filters and changed the oil every 5000kms, I believe him cause in his garage it was full of Saab memoribilia etc. and this was his third Saab and I know he took care of his car, he is probably in this forum!
After listening to the link of the noisy chain, its deffinetly not the chain, its certain to be the tappets/lifters but why? Should I use a thinner oil to help get it up to the top of the engine faster?

Any help appreciated!
if im not mistaken, our cars have water cooled turbos...so it would not matter if you seafoamed it, because the oil wont be getting in the turbo anyways...a lot of cars use oil cooled turbos, which is why i would assume they have that warning on the can
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Old 29th October 2009
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Originally Posted by tbutera2112 View Post
if im not mistaken, our cars have water cooled turbos...so it would not matter if you seafoamed it, because the oil wont be getting in the turbo anyways...a lot of cars use oil cooled turbos, which is why i would assume they have that warning on the can
I don't think this is quite right. I'm pretty sure we do have an oil line going to the bearing of the turbo, then a water line going to a jacket around it to keep the whole thing cool. I'm not saying these solvents will result in disaster, but after reading the warning (and not having any obvious problems), I decided not to take the risk. I did put some in the top end just before I changed my oil.
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  #20  
Old 29th October 2009
JonV JonV is offline
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Originally Posted by Jonno007 View Post
I'm aware there are 2 thank you very much. Didn't realise this was an english class too.

Thanks
jon

No, not and English class. But a statement like that would mislead a newer Sabber to start thinking 1 chain and it propagates.

Sorry if you took it the wrong way.
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