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NG900 & OG9-3 Workshop NG900 (1994 to 1998) & OG9-3 (1999-2002) & '03 Convertible Technical Forum

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  #1  
Old 8th February 2004
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Slaab4life Slaab4life is offline
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Default Heater Core Removal and Replacement

Hi, I'm new to this section of the forum, currently own an '86 900 but am in the market for a new car. So I went and test drove a '97 900S 5-dr. Noticed a sweet coolant smell and a fogging of the windows. My immediate thought is the heater core has gone bad. I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience replacing them and might be willing to give from detailed (or semi-detailed) directions for getting to the core. Also, where is it located on the NG900's? Are they still down the center of the dashboard?
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 8th February 2004
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SaabScott SaabScott is offline
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Having replaced the hoses to the heater core, I would say that your assessment of its placement is correct.

As for instructions on how to replace the core itself .. sorry ... I don't have those.
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  #3  
Old 9th February 2004
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Drat! While I was attempting to drain my transmission yesterday, I noticed the slightest bit of coolant coming out of the old drain pipe for the a/c-heater. Guess I better familiarize myself with the heater, too!
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Old 9th February 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrell
Drat! While I was attempting to drain my transmission yesterday, I noticed the slightest bit of coolant coming out of the old drain pipe for the a/c-heater. Guess I better familiarize myself with the heater, too!

I don't envy you that job ... I replaced my hoses last summer and the 2 heater core hoses took up most of the 2 hours!
On a brighter note ... I did do the work myself!
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  #5  
Old 9th February 2004
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The fogging off the windows could be down to something as simple as damp due to a blocked drain hose. Lift the front mats and check for damp underneath them. The hose that I am talking about and the solution if it is blocked can be found here
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  #6  
Old 9th February 2004
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Yeah, could be due to dampness, except for the coolant smell inside the car. And the fogging, is more like a film on the windows.
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  #7  
Old 10th February 2004
tm311 tm311 is offline
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recently i traced a coolant leak to that same acc drain hose(under the steering rack)...and thought i was in for a heater core replacement. But I took someone's advice and added about a 1/4 of a bottle of bar's stop leak and conditionaer to my overflow tank. its been about a month and not a drip since.
YMMV!!
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  #8  
Old 10th February 2004
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I like the idea of using that stuff, when the leak is small and sporadic. It seems like that is what it should be used for and not when you're dropping a gallon a day! But, my question is this: If radiators are so fragile ande delicate that we need to flush them, what are the consequences of introducing something designed to stop leaks? Has nobady had any adverse effects from using it??? :-?? :-??
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  #9  
Old 10th February 2004
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Bar stop leak and other similar products are very capable of adverse effects including...clogging radiator, clogging hoses and clogging heater cores.
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  #10  
Old 11th February 2004
stewy68 stewy68 is offline
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I had this on mine, replaced the heater inlet hose and it was cured. Seems that pin-hole on elbow of pipe(about 3cms from bulkhead) was spraying coolant and seeping through the seal into cabin. Try this 1st.

Stew..
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  #11  
Old 11th February 2004
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Ahhh! So frustrating! I don't even have the car yet and here I am thinking about leaking heater cores and inlet pipes! It looks like I may be getting this car, so I do really need to know this stuff. And its funny because this never would have been picked up on had it not been for the fact the heater core in my father's girlfriend's car had gone bad and he replaced it two weekends ago, so he became quite intimate with the subject. Seems the cores go bad (and inlet pipes?) after work has been done to the the whole engine cooling/cabin heating system. The removal of coolant and the flushing of the system after the job usually flushes away what last pieces hold the core together, thus leaving you with a leaking situation. Happens to be that a new water pump and lower rad hose were installed very recently so probably no coincidence. I hope that it is as simple as an o-ring (been a very cold few months in new england) or a pin hole in a hose but don't want to rip this car apart with a new set of o rings and pipes to put in and find that it is the core. From the searches I've been doing only 1 in about 7 or 8 saab parts sites have the core. I just wish I had some guidance for getting whatever needs to be taken off of the dash and kick panels to get to the darn thing.
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  #12  
Old 11th February 2004
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I'm sure there are instructions here somewhere, but since you don't even have the car yet, you've got plenty of time to order the manual from directly from Haynes or Parts for Saabs
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  #13  
Old 11th February 2004
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I have to say that I would not have even considered working on my previous car ...

And yet here I am, doing everything I can to do any needed work to my car.
Very strange! :wink:
I still haven't figured out why ... maybe I never will, but I am happy to save the extra cash and learn how to do these different things myself ... sort of a pride issue I guess ...

Changing hoses? Relatively easy ... hey, if I can do it ...

Heater core ... that I think would be beyond me ... but hey, I'm still new to this maintainence thing ...

I have a clutch on the way out right now ... and I want very much to at least help replace this.
I know I have no hope of doing that work myself, but I find myself "needing" to be part of the job ...

Strange?
Or not! :wink:
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  #14  
Old 13th February 2004
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SaabScott, learning about and doing whatever repairs you can is definitely a good thing. Its a new learned skill. Eventually it leads to a keen eye and ear that leads to cheaper maintenance. You will eventually pick up on a different vibration or a different sound that will allow a fixed component, rather than a replaced component. Plus the money saved is great!

I'm a poor college student with an addiction for Saab, which can be an expensive addiction to feed. My current car is a classic 900 but this harsh new england winter has taken its toll on it. It was relatively easy to learn how to do work on it (so much space under the bonnet to get you hands dirty.) So I've picked up on a general idea of how to do the repairs/replacements. I'll tell you the truth though, in the end, I'd much rather do a heater core than a clutch. Heater core is a matter of pulling dash and kick panels and whatever other junk is under there in the way and disconnected two hoses. Its tough because of organizing all the parts to go back in.......as for the clutch........oh boy! a lot of big parts have to be removed (I think since the engine is traversly mounted.) I think the engine has to come up and out and the driveshafts have to be pulled from the wheels and the transmission separated to get to it. Its a job I'd rather see done by a professional.
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Old 13th February 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaab4life
as for the clutch........oh boy! a lot of big parts have to be removed (I think since the engine is traversly mounted.) I think the engine has to come up and out and the driveshafts have to be pulled from the wheels and the transmission separated to get to it.
If you want to see what is involved in getting at the clutch take a look at Dead Centre's excellant write up of changing the transmission on my web site.
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  #16  
Old 13th February 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaab4life
SaabScott, learning about and doing whatever repairs you can is definitely a good thing. Its a new learned skill. Eventually it leads to a keen eye and ear that leads to cheaper maintenance. You will eventually pick up on a different vibration or a different sound that will allow a fixed component, rather than a replaced component. Plus the money saved is great!

I have alwaays been involved in the maintainence of my cars ... I've just stayed away from doing the work myself.
I think I can honestly say that the 2 mechanics I deal with at my garage would tell you that I am right about what is going on with my car more than 50% of the time ... probably closer to 75% ...
I have always been that in tune with my cars ... it's just the way I am.

Now it is progressing beyond that ... now I want to do some / all of the work myself, or at least assist in the repair (as with the clutch).
I am hoping that a very nice gentleman from SC will be able to do the clutch work for me ... and I hope he doesn't mind an extra set of hands ... :wink:
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