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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings!
Been a long time since I’ve posted, my Saab was in storage for several years, and lot has changed, engagement, purchase of my first home and so on, but not so much with my car.

The most exciting part of buying a house, is the garage! So now that we’re settled I’ve started digging in, this old girl took years of abuse from me, driven hard and put away wet, and at this point my plan is to get it back on the road, and likely part it out in the next couple years and move the go fast, and new parts hopefully to a Viggen, as the body on this car is showing more rust than I care to chase, despite not seeing snow and salt since 2009 and being in storage for the last 3 years.

After much searching I’m still questioning how to find top dead center on the crank, mine is so rusty I can’t see any timing marks, and the engine block is so coverd in oil and crud I don’t know where to begin to look. All the threads I have found no longer have working pictures. Could someone post a picture of what I’m looking for?

Much appreciated!

~And a picture because threads are better with em!?

After three years of no sun and no love, yet still fired right up with a jumper pack
271360


271359
 

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Few tips I gathered here but never need to use because mine changed into an engine swap along the way... if you're not doing the chain too:

  • Line up of the cam marks will probably be off a little from wear.
  • Zip tie the timing change to the cams to hold their position. Hold the chain up with a friend and/or a bungee cord to the hood.
  • Keep things tight against the guides to keep the guides from falling down (not sure how). I think it contrasts the above bungee use.
  • Jvan suggests turning the engine through a few cycles manually when done to make sure it all still lines up before attempting to start the engine.

FYI - I would definitely pull the tensioner before you start (take the little bold out first and then the 27mm one) and see if the chain is badly worn. Measure from the base to back of the plunger. If it is close to the limit, you probably need to bite the bullet and do a chain and maybe guides. None of us wants that but it's silly to do the headgasket and not do the chain if it needs it... you're most of the way there. The plus side is that you're good for another 100K+ after completion with a nice quiet engine.

Oh... one more thing: If you haven't done a compression test hot/cold wet/dry, you really should. No sense doing all this work if the rings are bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Few tips I gathered here but never need to use because mine changed into an engine swap along the way... if you're not doing the chain too:

  • Line up of the cam marks will probably be off a little from wear.
  • Zip tie the timing change to the cams to hold their position. Hold the chain up with a friend and/or a bungee cord to the hood.
  • Keep things tight against the guides to keep the guides from falling down (not sure how). I think it contrasts the above bungee use.
  • Jvan suggests turning the engine through a few cycles manually when done to make sure it all still lines up before attempting to start the engine.
FYI - I would definitely pull the tensioner before you start (take the little bold out first and then the 27mm one) and see if the chain is badly worn. Measure from the base to back of the plunger. If it is close to the limit, you probably need to bite the bullet and do a chain and maybe guides. None of us wants that but it's silly to do the headgasket and not do the chain if it needs it... you're most of the way there. The plus side is that you're good for another 100K+ after completion with a nice quiet engine.

Oh... one more thing: If you haven't done a compression test hot/cold wet/dry, you really should. No sense doing all this work if the rings are bad.
Thank you for the tips! So when I installed T5 cams, that's the method I used to not have to deal with, or mess up the timing, (zip ties to the cam sprockets). Will the cam sprockets fit down through the head if I zip tie them to the chain?

Definitely will spin the engine over a few times by hand after to make sure there is no interference.

I was going to ask at what point the chain should be replaced, so I will check how extended the tensioner is.

I will have to look into removal of the tensioner, I'm certainly just playing things by ear, or (eye) and have not done a head gasket on DOHC engine. My only real concern is breaking any of the chain guides.

I probably should check compression, but I will wait until after, as I do not have a compression tester, and with how good this engine still runs, I have no reason to think there is any issue there (famous last words).

I appreciate the help!
 

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So... it didn't look or feel like they would fit through to me, but I ended up adopting that alternative when I figured out we had to do more work. HOWEVER, a lot of guys here do it, so clearly it's possible.

19mm to the rear of the tensioner is the limit. If you're even close, do the chain. Very easy to check, just be sure to take the small bolt (13mm?) out of it first. A regular 27mm socket will fit over the tensioner. The upside is that it's very nice and quiet afterwards.

If you want you can do the "roll it in" option to avoid pulling the timing cover in car, but there are upsides to biting the bullet and pulling the cover because you can do the guides, which some will tell you are the real wear issue. That's beyond my expertise to judge.

I don't think you will break a chain guide, at least I haven't heard of that. But I have heard of them falling down. Then it's timing cover time.

If you haven't started the job, I'd suggest buying the tester. If you get in there and something looks funky like a marginal cylinder, there's no way to test to find out if you need to change paths. FWIW, my engine ran fairly well too, but it did have compression that was weaker than expected. But, it can become a rat hole...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Bob, I appreciate the help.

If the timing chain needs replacing, I will certainly pull the cover and replace the guides as well. I will get that out this evening and report back.

As for the compression check, you make some very valuable points, but unfortunately, I didn't think of this last night and have already removed a lot of the wiring harness and other components that will now not allow me to crank the engine over.

Honestly, I would like to eventually build a B235R engine to make somewhere in the ballpark of 450HP, so if I were to smoke this engine, I wouldn't plan on rebuilding it anyway. :p
 

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You can definitely break the chain guide while removing or installing the head - I have dealt with the aftermath of that before. The head has to rock off to clear the guides. The common scenario is the timing chain falls into the engine, forcing the chain guides apart and then you manhandle the head coming off or going on and SNAP, broken chain guide. It's for that reason that I do not zip tie the cam sprockets to the chain - IMO you don't need anything else in your way when moving a 20lb cylinder head around. I zip tie the chain to itself so it won't fall down into the engine and basically stands up by itself - that minimizes the rocking needing to get the head around the guides too.

IMO getting the chain & sprockets back on isn't that difficult. Make sure the cams are properly aligned with the marks on the followers, install the sprocket on the fixed side, use a wrench to rock the cam back just a smidge so the chain is taught on the fixed side, then install the sprocket & chain on the other side, again using a wrench to rock the cam back just a smidge so the chain is taught between the sprockets. Install the cam bolts hand-tight, install the tensioner with a little arm (not the 50 lb ft - just so it's fully engaged), then turn the engine over at least 5 times (1800 degrees) with a wrench on the crank pulley bolt and check to be sure it's still aligned. If it's not, remove the tensioner and try again. The first time may take you an hour. The next time you're here you'll get it on the first or second try. Don't forget to properly torque the cam bolts and tensioner when it's right.

Related, be SURE you take the head to a machine shop for inspection. Don't skip this step. You don't want to do this work twice after assuming the head is ok. It probably is, but it may need help.

Related, there is a specific pattern for installing AND removing the bolts. Failure to follow the procedure can result in a warped head or improper seal. Follow the steps.

Related, be sure the head and deck surfaces are clean before installing the head gasket. No leftovers, no fluids, etc. Don't nick the head gasket when installing the head. It needs to go on perfectly flat … which is another reason not to zip tie sprockets and create more hassle positioning the head. If it's a choice between broken guides or a nicked gasket and some extra struggle setting up cam timing, choose the struggle over broken parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Jvanabra, thank you for the help. A lot of great info there and I thought i'd read to essentially tip the head off, so thanks for giving some good info on all that.

I defiantly intend on getting the head hot tanked and decked, and having new valve seals installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, 19mm eh? She’s maxed out. I guess I’ll be adding a timing chain and guides to the list.

271370
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Another question while I’m moving along here- I’ve seen some people say it’s easier to keep the intake manifold on when removing the head? Is this true? I’d like to remove it anyway and clean it up so it’s non issue to remove it for me.

thanks in advance
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well I got it out, manifolds and all, I did however break a piece of one of the chain guides, but I was less carful knowing that I’m going to replace them.

Going to clean everything up good, get the manifolds off the head and get it to the machine shop as well as get some parts ordered.
55338E0C-C638-49A1-A337-DCDBA42B7952.jpeg

271373
 

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Good work. Pull the exhaust studs and replace them too. That may become obvious when you break some taking the manifold off.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was quite surprised I didn’t break a single one! But there is a broken one from years ago so I will likely replace them all and have the machine shop get the broken one out, and remove the others.

can anyone shed some light on a tip to get this water pump bolt out? Due tight space and angle, I’m really worried I’m starting to strip it out. I’m going to spray some penetrating oil on it and come back to it.

271410
 

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Discussion Starter #16
New question as I’ve Boogerd it up. How do you remove the pipe from the engine block for the water pump? I see a tab on it, does the just depress and then it comes off?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I’ve got some reading to do, but can you even remove the timing cover with the engine in the car?
 

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Yep, you can. I am pretty sure you need to remove the oil pan and pull the guide dowels from the block BEFORE removing the cover as there isnt room to get the cover over the dowels. You can run a tap through them (3/8") then put a screw in and lever them out.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey folks, hopefully you are all in good health in these crazy times-

can anyone tell me if I have these studs in the correct order and also are the shorter threads on the stud suppose to thread into the head?

going to try and get this wrapped up this weekend
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