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Well, I was going to sell the 9 3 and go with a Honda, but I am not lol. We put the new clutch in but I am still concerned about the wetness near the front driver side corner although the compression was terrific last time I checked. I have also noticed that when my DICs go that they develop a crack in the black part between where they hook on to cylinder 4 and 3. Since 4 is closest to that corner, I am wondering if that is what causes the DICs to go. The current one and the last one were used SEMs. I have not seen coolant in the oil or vice versa. The car does blow some white smoke when starting and when running. The turbo seems to be doing a pretty good job although I suspect some oil leakage I go through a quart of oil about every 1000 miles. The car sat for a while while I was running the Honda instead and I did put some lucas stop oil leak product in it to see if it would make a difference. It didn't. I also ran a tank of premium gas through it to see if that would clean up the system a bit. The last time I filled up, it shuddered a bit before it seemed like all of the cylinders kicked in and I was able to drive it home. Still no change in oil or water. It seems to run pretty well, and I am getting 29 miles per gallon. But it still looks like coolant is bubbling up a little bit in that corner. The only other problem with the care seems to be brake pressure and I think that is because there was a seal broken down in the fluid and may be interfering but that is a question for another day. What I am trying to find is a step by step process for doing the head gasket and wondering how much I am going to get into this and how difficult it really it is, if any step by step diagrams exist, etc. I plan on buying the elring head gasket set and exhaust gasket along with the exhaust gasket hardware. I have some cylinder bolts but will pick up a few more to have a complete set. Am I missing anything in my parts list, or is there something else I should consider?
 

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Search the Platanoff site for great pics of engine removal, rebuild and installation. Then you will be familiar with what you are working with.You might want to check the timing chain indicator to be sure the chain is in good condition - good idea to replace its sealing washer and little o-ring. You might also want to borrow a coolant leak tester from local auto parts store which might pinpoint or confirm the HG is leaking.

It's pretty basic (not easy but basic), remove whatever you need to get clean access to lift the head out. I have a cheap HF engine lift and find it is quick and easy to pull and reinstall the head with the intake and exhaust manifolds attached so you just remove the everything connected to the head/intake/exhaust and flip the harness out of the way. Lift makes it easy to pull straight up and more importantly drop straight down without damaging gasket. It's nice to have it out so you can easily attack the exhaust studs and access intake bolts. I assume you'll have the head planed at a minimum and they should be able to give you a sense if there are any valve issues. I've pulled 4 heads and have not had any bad valves yet so hopefully you are good.

Other random thoughts: I'd be inclined to buy a complete bolt set so they all have the exact same tolerances and stretch. You might be able to slide PS pump out of the way but if not have something to plug the pump and the supply hose. You will also need an intake gasket and valve cover gasket if not included in set. Check for PVC 6 upgrade - if you don't have it installed now's the time to do it. Turbo flange gasket if you separate the exhaust manifold from turbo. Maybe replace upper timing chain guide since valve cover is off. Buy a 5 gallon bucket of purple cleaner - not expensive and will let you soak lots of parts like the valve cover. Pipe cleaner or small tube brush will be helpful to clean the little PCV tubes that you will find inside the valve cover which are probably packed with crap.REpalce thermostat while you have easy access? Something to clean up the block surface - you can get generic roloc style pads pretty cheap. Good time to change serpentine belt and replace vacuum hoses.
 

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A few thoughts...

First, the 1999 9-3 does not have the many iterations of PCV upgrades, so don't worry about that...just clean out the trap on the underside of the valve cover when it's apart.

I did a head exchange on my 99 9-3 and did a write up. Send me an email address and I will share it with you.

It's not completely impossible, but it is highly unlikely that you will get cross contamination between the oil and coolant...it's far more likely that you will see external coolant leaks or that you will lose coolant to the combustion chamber. The oil has one feed and one return, whereas the coolant passages are all over the stinkin' place.

A single tank of premium gas will do zero to 'clean things up a bit.' Your car wants premium ALL the time and will reward you with better efficiency (i.e., better mileage and more power). Your car is de-tuning itself to handle the non-premium...you are not saving any money.

I doubt if your ignition cassette failures are related.

Buy the complete gasket kit (it will have a redundant and not needed second intake manifold gasket). The exhaust hardware is a great idea, also. In addition, consider a turbo hardware kit. It makes things easier if you disconnect the ex. man. at the head AND the turbo. Of course, replace any broken ex. man. studs.

Make sure there is no coolant in the #10 head bolt hole before you re-assemble.

I recommend "rebuilding" the hydraulic lifters, too (really just disassembling and cleaning).

If the car is a 5-speed...pay attention when sealing the distributor hole plug. I made a replacement out of aluminum...someone in Europe is making them commercially.

That's all that is coming to mind...

Good luck.
 

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Good call on the distributor hole cover. Interesting, I never realized the '99 93 had a different PCV setup.

Personally, I don't bother disassembling the head and let my machine shop disassemble, inspect, plane and reassemble. They have the equipment and expertise and do it for a very low price (in my opinion).

BTW if you replace the M8 exhaust studs they are the same as Ford 4.6 and 5.4lr 2 manifold V8. I've picked up several sets of these at amazon - they're around $16 right now.
16pcsStainless
I've used them on three cars now, they are good quality and the nuts are anti-magnetic as well. They are stainless so you don't want or need to torque the crap out of them. I apply some anti-seize and have pulled them out 1 year + with no issue. Unfortunately, I have not been as lucky removing original and broken studs. One broken stud got "personal" and I probably spent $50 on drill bits and extractors as well as many hours of my time before I decided to let the machine shop take care of it for an extra $10-15. Not sure if someone replaced that one with some crazy strong aftermarket stud - but the machine shop called to tell me what a PIA it was and how they had to use some special drill. After that experience I pull what is easy and have the shop remove the rest.
 

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A big reason I want to disassemble my own head is the hydraulic lifters. There's no way a machine shop is going to want to take them apart to clean them well...they might be willing to "throw them in the parts washer" or spray them with some brake cleaner, but that's not good enough for me. Plus...I know that my 'up close and personal' inspection is going to be more thorough than an hourly shop is going to do. We each choose our battles, though.

Nice tip on the Ford hardware, but it doesn't look like they have the long studs and the short studs that Saab calls for...did you delete your heat shield?

The factory torque spec for the exhaust manifold hardware is only 18.5 ft-lbs. which is BELOW the 'standard' torque value for an M8 fastener. IOW, even with factory hardware, you should never torque the crap out of them. Over-tightening will definitely lead to an increased chance of breakage.

I use a solid drill press and a slocombe bit to drill out broken studs. Another decent option, esp. if the break is 'below the surface,' is a hinge drill bit...which is essentially a drill bit with a built-in drill bushing.
 

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That's really interesting... my shop won't take the head with the cam & lifters. They want head, valves, springs and that's it. They will separately check the cam if it's loose. It's a phenomenal shop and their work is top-notch... most of the dealers in town use them... but they are very specific about how they work.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Search the Platanoff site for great pics of engine removal, rebuild and installation. Then you will be familiar with what you are working with.You might want to check the timing chain indicator to be sure the chain is in good condition - good idea to replace its sealing washer and little o-ring. You might also want to borrow a coolant leak tester from local auto parts store which might pinpoint or confirm the HG is leaking.

It's pretty basic (not easy but basic), remove whatever you need to get clean access to lift the head out. I have a cheap HF engine lift and find it is quick and easy to pull and reinstall the head with the intake and exhaust manifolds attached so you just remove the everything connected to the head/intake/exhaust and flip the harness out of the way. Lift makes it easy to pull straight up and more importantly drop straight down without damaging gasket. It's nice to have it out so you can easily attack the exhaust studs and access intake bolts. I assume you'll have the head planed at a minimum and they should be able to give you a sense if there are any valve issues. I've pulled 4 heads and have not had any bad valves yet so hopefully you are good.

Other random thoughts: I'd be inclined to buy a complete bolt set so they all have the exact same tolerances and stretch. You might be able to slide PS pump out of the way but if not have something to plug the pump and the supply hose. You will also need an intake gasket and valve cover gasket if not included in set. Check for PVC 6 upgrade - if you don't have it installed now's the time to do it. Turbo flange gasket if you separate the exhaust manifold from turbo. Maybe replace upper timing chain guide since valve cover is off. Buy a 5 gallon bucket of purple cleaner - not expensive and will let you soak lots of parts like the valve cover. Pipe cleaner or small tube brush will be helpful to clean the little PCV tubes that you will find inside the valve cover which are probably packed with crap.REpalce thermostat while you have easy access? Something to clean up the block surface - you can get generic roloc style pads pretty cheap. Good time to change serpentine belt and replace vacuum hoses.
Thanks, and I had not considered borrowing the leak tester to pinpoint and certainly will now that I see just how much work is involved. Could be something else but unfortunately, I doubt it, I already have one of those HF lifts from when we did the clutch so that's to the good. Anyway, thanks for all of your suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A few thoughts...

First, the 1999 9-3 does not have the many iterations of PCV upgrades, so don't worry about that...just clean out the trap on the underside of the valve cover when it's apart.

I did a head exchange on my 99 9-3 and did a write up. Send me an email address and I will share it with you.

It's not completely impossible, but it is highly unlikely that you will get cross contamination between the oil and coolant...it's far more likely that you will see external coolant leaks or that you will lose coolant to the combustion chamber. The oil has one feed and one return, whereas the coolant passages are all over the stinkin' place.

A single tank of premium gas will do zero to 'clean things up a bit.' Your car wants premium ALL the time and will reward you with better efficiency (i.e., better mileage and more power). Your car is de-tuning itself to handle the non-premium...you are not saving any money.

I doubt if your ignition cassette failures are related.

Buy the complete gasket kit (it will have a redundant and not needed second intake manifold gasket). The exhaust hardware is a great idea, also. In addition, consider a turbo hardware kit. It makes things easier if you disconnect the ex. man. at the head AND the turbo. Of course, replace any broken ex. man. studs.

Make sure there is no coolant in the #10 head bolt hole before you re-assemble.

I recommend "rebuilding" the hydraulic lifters, too (really just disassembling and cleaning).

If the car is a 5-speed...pay attention when sealing the distributor hole plug. I made a replacement out of aluminum...someone in Europe is making them commercially.

That's all that is coming to mind...

Good luck.
Thank you; I saw your writeup as well and it is terrific. I was sort of hoping I did not have to take the head apart to get it planned but they do say that hope came out of Pandora's box I guess. A good reminder on the gas. I forgot that Saab recommends 90 Octane rather than the midgrade which is 89 around here. It is a 5 speed. I did find the distributor plug leaking before and put a new one in with rtv when I did the head bolts and valve cover gasket. Looks like the turbo hardware kits are on backorder at least as far as one place is concerned......forget I said that I just found the whole mounting kit at a place in Phoenix.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's really interesting... my shop won't take the head with the cam & lifters. They want head, valves, springs and that's it. They will separately check the cam if it's loose. It's a phenomenal shop and their work is top-notch... most of the dealers in town use them... but they are very specific about how they work.
Good to know, I think I'll call the Saab mech in Spokane and see if he'll tell what shop(s) he uses so I can ask about that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As an interesting aside, my airbag light had been on forawhile and the passenger seat wouldn't move forward and back. I found it unplugged and frankly it could be stand to be replaced. But I plugged it back in and wedged it to stay there. After driving the care for about 2 weeks or so, the airbag light went out. It still goes on when I start the car so I know the light hasn't burnt out. But it leads me to wonder if those are set to turn themselves off after x number of starts when the seats are plugged back in the right way.
 

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As an interesting aside, my airbag light had been on forawhile and the passenger seat wouldn't move forward and back. I found it unplugged and frankly it could be stand to be replaced. But I plugged it back in and wedged it to stay there. After driving the care for about 2 weeks or so, the airbag light went out. It still goes on when I start the car so I know the light hasn't burnt out. But it leads me to wonder if those are set to turn themselves off after x number of starts when the seats are plugged back in the right way.
Yes...you can turn the light off with a Tech2 or just wait.
 
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