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Hi team, first time owner and first time poster. I recently purchased a '98 900s 2.3 N/A for a bit of fun in summer. My wife and I have always wanted one, so when one came up recently for a good price, we took the plunge.

Unfortunately two days after buying it, it split the small pipe leading from head to the heater control valve. After a lot of conversation and hunting I sourced the heater pipes, sans control valve, and installed them early this week.

After a couple of test runs, the car is still giving me the low coolant warning after 20-30 minutes of driving. I've noticed under the car that coolant is dripping from under the passenger side (RHD car). Upon closer inspection, the passenger footwell, in particular near the firewall.

Things to note; the heater works, and works VERY well still. Unbearably hot with the roof up. It's got somewhat hotter now that the heater control valve is no longer in place.
When I replaced the heater control valve and hoses with just hoses, I did nothing else.
The car has not shown as overheating, despite having dumped coolant several times.

My suspicion is heater core (control matrix?), but the heat coming from the heater is such that that has thrown me.

What should I be looking for, and what do people think the likely cause is?
 

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There is no conflict between a heater working very well and also leaking. In fact the leak would make it even hotter (and steamier).


If the leak seems to be inside the car, there are a couple of pipes that run from the firewall to the heater core. They have O-rings that seal them to the core. Maybe these are leaking.


I haven't had to deal with that, but it looks like a heater box out procedure. You can download WIS from the Tech II stickies section for detailed info.


This is for a 9-3, but same thing:
https://saabwisonline.com/a1/9-3/1998/8-body/heating-and-ventilation-a-c/adjustment-replacement-heating-and-ventilation-a-c/heat-exchanger-adjustment-replacement-heating-and-ventilation-a-c/removing-61/


Click on the arrows at the left edge for diagrams.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is no conflict between a heater working very well and also leaking. In fact the leak would make it even hotter (and steamier).


If the leak seems to be inside the car, there are a couple of pipes that run from the firewall to the heater core. They have O-rings that seal them to the core. Maybe these are leaking.


I haven't had to deal with that, but it looks like a heater box out procedure. You can download WIS from the Tech II stickies section for detailed info.


This is for a 9-3, but same thing:



Click on the arrows at the left edge for diagrams.
Thanks for the reply! I had really hoped it wasn't a Heater Core, but seems the most logical option.



There's a lot of coolant inside the car, and leaking out from under the car as well.



If it's O-Rings only, is it still a case of taking the centre console out, or is it something I can access from the engine bay?



No doubt there's a number of posts about this, so I'll go do some searching as well, but really appreciate the help so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for that. I'm guessing that it's unlikely to be anything else other than core, or at best O-Rings.



O-Ring replacement seems to be a relatively involved job still, and I guess I won't know the damage until I've got the centre console out!
 

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Hi team, following up on this. I've started taking the interior apart to get to the heat exchanger, and it definitely looks like someone has been in there before me.

One thing I wanted to ask is, if it's a heat exchanger, will I see a coolant leak on the outside of the firewall as well? When I had the engine running this evening, I could see the coolant leaking from very near the two hoses/pipes leading in to the firewall. It was dark at the time, so I haven't been able to investigate any further, but is that normal for a heat exchanger issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That may be more a problem with the o-rings or poor sealing from the hoses/clamps.
Following on, I’ve attempted to get the beast running, but am still having leaking issues. I removed, and rewatched the heater hoses on the external firewall, which definitely improved the amount of coolant falling out, but I still have quite a leak inside the car.

I’ve got to the point of taking the carpet back, with the panels and glovebox removed, but with no amount of trying can I get into the heater matrix.

Here’s where I’m at:

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It seems I’m doing something obvious, incorrectly, as I can’t get into the heater matrix cover. As can be seen, I’ve removed 4 toed screws, but it won’t budge. Am I being stupid?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
An update, for those interested. I’ve relplaced the heater core, but am still having issues losing coolant into that foam deadening behind the glovebox. I’m struggling to find the correct o-ring in New Zealand to replace them, although the ones looked in ok condition. Is there something I should be looking for with the o-rings to determine the condition?
 

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Sounds like the foam needs to come out, they have black light dye you can use to find the leak, check over all of your original connections first just to make sure its not just following the hose through.
 
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