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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,

Finally got around to fitting my new refurb'd GT17 turbo. First point is there appears to be an air lock in the coolant system as I only got about 1.7 litres into it. I had assumed I could run the car and fill up accordingly.. however, when I start the car there is a huge amount of smoke and I'm living in a tiny neighbourhood with a lot of people. I have done all the work on the street, much to people's annoyance, and though gassing them is tempting I probably shouldn't..

Second point, when I opened the oil cap to check oil level, there is smoke from the filler area - this was not happening before my turbo went. I did not clean the intercooler or hoses (yet). I primed the turbo until oil light went out.

Is it correct that the intercooler and pipes have filled with oil which is being shoved back into the engine before out the exhaust? The turbo was well and truly gone, some splines broken and a lot of shaft play.

edit: part of one spline is missing, the rest are largely intact, so the compressor wheel didn't totally explode. On the exhaust side it looks fine, but obviously a lot of play.

Third, sadly, I am very short on time with the car due to a family member being not well, yet I need it working asap.

1. Intercooler. I've never touched one before and looking at the procedure concerns me - I think I read that the oil cooler gets drained inc. autobox oil. My car is a 2007 with no transmission oil dipstick etc. I know there's a second method without touching the rad - does anyone have an idiot-proof guide to this, e.g. is this Dame Edna version different to previous cars?

2. Throttle Body, Intercooler hoses. I assume I'll be cleaning this out - again any thoughts or info appreciated.

3. PCV. Again it's a 2007, but could I have blocked the whole thing up? re the smoke from the dipstick. Last time I got that on this car was 2014 when the head-gasket went - that time had a lot of smoke burning, going into the sky etc (nothing from tailpipe though). This time it's a small amount burning off, not immediately visible when the car is running. However, I've not had the car running for long, only a few seconds at a time.

4. Coolant blockage - is there anything else that could be going on other than an air lock?


Anyway, that's my Saab story - it has come right slap bang in the middle of some personal crises and I'm pretty annoyed with the car, and myself for that matter! It has c. 126k miles or thereabouts.

Any input is much appreciated, thanks guy!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Amateur hour on my part. Pulled off the delivery pipe to the throttle body and found a little more oil than I was expecting. So pulled the hose to the intercooler under the battery tray and indeed a huge amount poured out - maybe 100-200 ml.

So it would appear I should clean that all out..!
 

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No real need to pull the intercooler out, yes there may be some residual in it but if you pull the charge air tube on the drivers side (under the battery) and stick a rag in there you'll sop up most of it. If there is no further oil leaks then you're going to blow it around for a while but it'll go away. Clean out the charge air tube as best you can (since you can take it off, use a coat hanger to push some rags up through it) and the top of the throttle body if it has oil in it. you may also have some residual oil in the intake manifold but again this will go away over time.

Th smoke is more likely a result of oil in teh exhaust system from the blown seals on the turbo. This will go away after about a half-hour of driving so wait till it gets dark and take the car for a ride, it'll smoke like crazy until the oil is gone and then it'll stop.

There will be a tiny bit of "smoke" from the oil filler when the engine is running, that's normal. If there is a lot of smoke something is pressurizing the crankcase and forcing those fumes out. you need to figure that out. the PCV check valves installed wrong or not working is probably the primary suspects but it could be other failures (including a head gasket) But that has nothing to do with oil in the intake system.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No real need to pull the intercooler out..

Th smoke is more likely a result of oil in teh exhaust system from the blown seals on the turbo..

There will be a tiny bit of "smoke" from the oil filler when the engine is running, that's normal. If there is a lot of smoke something is pressurizing the crankcase and forcing those fumes out. you need to figure that out. the PCV check valves installed wrong or not working is probably the primary suspects but it could be other failures (including a head gasket) But that has nothing to do with oil in the intake system.
Thanks, unclemiltie. Indeed I was thinking more about it and I agree with you about the oil being in the exhaust system. I've cleaned out the IC and hoses as much as I can without removing it - I'll connect it all back up and take it out tonight.

For anyone in future, I gave the coolant hoses some good squeezes and managed to relieve a lot of the locked air - now have about 4.5-5 litres of coolant in it compared to the 1.7 I had..! I'll bring the coolant with me and top up as I go.

Re the smoke from the crankcase, I had a head gasket go in 2014 and that leaked a lot of smoke from the filler area. This is nothing like this, I shall keep an eye on it.
Shall report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Some success. I started the car and the crazy white steam train smoke filling up the street is no longer there. Now there is just a more understandable blue-ish smoke which, as unclemiltie suggested, I suspect is coming from the exhaust, and I would expect this to go away as people have said.

Less successful is that I appear to have a leak at the exhaust or turbo-manifold gasket area, as smoke is coming from there also. I believe it's the latter as I wasn't thrilled with how it bolted together. If anyone has any experience of this or tip, please let me know. I suppose it could be stuff burning off, but not sure.
 

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There will surely be stuff burning off of the turbo and the exhaust manifold since you were handling that stuff and surely got grease on it. That'll burn off fast

If you didn't replace the gasket between the turbo and the exhaust manifold I suggest you do it. It's kind of hard now since you have to take the studs out of the turbo to slide it in. Two nuts on the studs jammed against each other and then try to turn the bottom one (closets to the flange) to unthread the studs. sometimes they come out easy, sometimes they are a real pain.

the white smoke is oil as well, just a lot of it. Again, you have to get it good and hot so take it out for a long ride (a half hour or so) to get things good and hot and it'll burn off.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just a follow up to this, for anyone living in the future. And a thanks to unclemiltie for his advice!

The initial white smoke billowing out like a steam train was from oil in the intercooler. I emptied the intercooler pipes and this cleared up almost immediately, talking seconds not minutes. I did not remove the intercooler.

After that there was only a few small puffs of blue smoke which went away after the first drive.

Coolant level eventually stabilized, so it was an air lock as opposed to something more sinister - thankfully!

The next thing I encountered was an oil leak from somewhere in the turbo area. Since the whole thing was covered I cleaned it with degreaser and hosed it down. Started the car and after a few seconds found it coming from the turbo's oil feed pipe on the top. This was dripping down to the coolant line, the rest of the oil line, oil return pipe, and oil filter. I tightened the banjo bolt (first removing the cobra pipe et al) using a 12 spanner with the angled head facing down, had just enough clearance to avoid the fans (which I didn't really want to remove).

Now it's driving, ok-ish. Definitely have a vacuum leak or breather hose issue as I'm getting a high idle of 1500 rpm on cold starts. I have some silicone tubing somewhere so I'll try that first. Tried cleaning two of the sensors but didn't make any difference. But at least I'm back on the road. Have done 500 miles in the last week or so and nothing has exploded. Which is nice.

Thanks chaps.
 

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Just a possibility on the coolant air lock. If you have had the thermostat replaced the new one may have been put in upside down there is a bleed valve on the plate part of the thermostat which has to be facing the top. If not that would cause air lock.
 

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Thanks TrollhattenMerc, I didn't change the thermostat but I probably should have - I'll keep this in mind when I get around to doing it. I've done 1000+ miles and all well. The temp level is improving, so possibly still bleeding air - we shall see..

Just a possibility on the coolant air lock. If you have had the thermostat replaced the new one may have been put in upside down there is a bleed valve on the plate part of the thermostat which has to be facing the top. If not that would cause air lock.
 
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