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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

So I am in the process of rebuilding a 1999 b204. This will be my first engine rebuild, so I may have some silly questions. I'm honestly not 100% sure of the mileage of the engine, but maybe 180k. When I bought it the timing chain was broken, so I'm hoping that is the only issue.

I disassembled it completely, the crankshaft looks great, I think the bearings still had some life in them so no scratches. There is still cross-hatching on the cylinder walls. The piston crown and valves have a lot of carbon build up, can I just clean that off and reuse them?

I'm getting most of the replacement parts from eeuroparts.com. So far, this is what I'm getting:

Main bearings, connecting rod bearings, thrust bearings
Timing chain (balance chain and plastic guides look fine)
Head gasket set (includ. intake and exhaust, valve cover and valve stem)
Head bolt set
Crankshaft seals, both sides.

Oil pump - not sure if I need to replace. I tried searching online, didn't find anything too conclusive. The gears look like they've got a tight fit still, I can include pics if necessary.

Piston rings - Not exactly sure where to buy these, none listed on eeuroparts.com. Any suggestions?

Since the block, head, and crank look in good shape I think I can avoid the machine shop. I'll do the valve seating and piston gapping myself. Do I need to check bearing clearance? I assume not since I'll be getting standard size replacement bearings.

Any other suggestions or comments are welcome!

Thanks
-Ryan
 

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Hey Ryan
You’re on the right track with replacing all those pieces I’m in the same boat was rebuilding my B205R. I chose to take it to a machine shop to make sure that there was no crack in the block and if the crank was still true by spin balancing it
I went with JE forged pistons on this motor. my machinist install the wrist pins and lock rings for a very small charge since they already do this sort of thing on all kinds of engines; though he would not touch the piston rings and I had to install them myself which I just was super super careful. I just began installing ARP studs last night on the block & Will be using a Felpro

there is a UK website that I have referred to many many times that goes into great detail about rebuilding these particular motors: SeriousSaabUK

I’m replacing the oil gears. because they’re cheap and easy to get to at this point so why not

I’m also doing a balance shaft delete w the plugs, the crank spacer is available from eEuroparts. The balance shaft bearings are ruined from oil starvation from the previous owner so I would not dare go through all this work and then still have a flickering oil pressure light

Good luck with your build! & post pictures if you can
 

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I'd get the full timing kit, which is part number 93184480. It includes both chains, all of the guides, sprockets, and even a balance chain tensioner. Although your timing chain guides might look good, they're scored and brittle by now, and scored or otherwise worn guides can contribute to the timing chain tensioner getting overextended. Pistons rings on these cars are typically a dealer-only item. Check out eSaabparts. I'm sure they have them, along with most everything else you're looking for. Don't rule out machine shops completely. A couple of things that you'll definitely want a machine shop to do is to plane the head and clean everything. You may also want to get your crankshaft polished. I would never rebuild an engine and not have the head planed or skimmed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input!

I took some pictures, ends up there are a lot of pieces in an engine!
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Here's a piston crown. The carbon deposits are real bad! Any ideas?

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Still waiting on a valve string compressor to take out the valves:
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Any thoughts on oil gears? Replacement is about $40, I'm trying to keep the budget down, but I'll get them if necessary.
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SeriousSaab has some good reads, I'll definitely check that out! I'm trying to keep the budget down, especially because I'm not sure how much life the car has itself. I'd like to keep the original pistons, I doubt I'll be going over 400 bhp so the b204 should handle it. I looked at that full timing kit, it is a bit pricey. What if I just delete the balance chain and get new timing guides (and chain of course)? I'd opt against the plug method, again on a budget.

For machining, maybe it is best to get some done. Bare minimum would be balance crank (and polish if necessary), plane block and head, and clean and hone the block? Any price estimate for those?

Thanks so much!
 

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I bet you can get a lot of the piston crud off with brake cleaner. You can get the valves clean with a brass wire wheel on a grinder. I rebuilt my 9-5's engine a couple of years ago, and I want to say that I paid somewhere around $100-$150 to have the head planed and cleaned, and maybe another $100 to have the block cleaned. I had the crankshaft polished as part of a line hone job, because the engine had overheated, bent the crankshaft, and crankshaft bore was out of round. That was a couple hundred, plus the cost of a new crankshaft.
 

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I bought it the timing chain was broken, so I'm hoping that is the only issue.
If indeed this was the case you'll have a boatload more issues than polishing and putting it back together, examine all the valves check to see if they are bent, these are interference engines,hence the divots in the pistons. just going by what you said in your opening post, Ditto to what Jeremy said if your inside and doing other components you might as well do the chains.
 

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Thanks for the


SeriousSaab has some good reads, I'll definitely check that out! I'm trying to keep the budget down, especially because I'm not sure how much life the car has itself. I'd like to keep the original pistons, I doubt I'll be going over 400 bhp so the b204 should handle it. I looked at that full timing kit, it is a bit pricey. What if I just delete the balance chain and get new timing guides (and chain of course)? I'd opt against the plug method, again on a budget.

For machining, maybe it is best to get some done. Bare minimum would be balance crank (and polish if necessary), plane block and head, and clean and hone the block? Any price estimate for those?

Thanks so much!

Cleaning block, line boring and polishing the crank cost a reasonable $385 in the East Bay area of CA. Same shop in business for 40+ years. The guy has dozens of finished engine blocks standing on end. Regarding only removing the balance chain: you run the risk of low oil pressure light haunting you, since the oil line is still delivering oil to that area and the shafts are just laying on one side of their bearing races. its a toss up

I don’t post up here too much, but your thread is relevant for me. Saving the lightweight pistons could end up cursing your build later. there are plenty of threads about cracked pistons, when pushing the stock internals beyond GM’s cost saving measures. Post up your running car as a follow up! THAT is what is really missing from this forum lately. I also belong to the Toyota Land cruiser forum IH8MUD.com and the details that people go to share parts and knowledge is pleasantly staggering,

Best
OG9Three
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I rebuilt my 9-5's engine a couple of years ago, and I want to say that I paid somewhere around $100-$150 to have the head planed and cleaned, and maybe another $100 to have the block cleaned.
Block doesn't need to be planed as it is iron vs aluminum? I get looking for local machine shops!

If indeed this was the case you'll have a boatload more issues than polishing and putting it back together
I actually think that the rest of the engine is ok. The valves look seated properly (still waiting on valve spring compressor to remove to make sure). No marks on the pistons. The valve cover was removed when I bought the engine, apparently the previous owner was attempting to do some head work. I think he bent the timing chain when trying to remove one of the camshaft sprockets, don't know how much engine experience he had (I found a camshaft bearing cap in the turbo intake pipe 😬)

Cleaning block, line boring and polishing the crank cost a reasonable $385 in the East Bay area of CA. Same shop in business for 40+ years. The guy has dozens of finished engine blocks standing on end. Regarding only removing the balance chain: you run the risk of low oil pressure light haunting you, since the oil line is still delivering oil to that area and the shafts are just laying on one side of their bearing races. its a toss up
Yeah, I guess that is pretty reasonable. I'll call some local machine shops and see what they have to say. I'm a little confused by the low oil pressure: why does it matter whether or not the balance shafts are spinning? Looking over the shafts and bearings again, it looks like the installing the balance shaft without the chain should plug the oil supply pretty well.

Saving the lightweight pistons could end up cursing your build later. there are plenty of threads about cracked pistons, when pushing the stock internals beyond GM’s cost saving measures.
I was under the impression that the b204 bottom end is practically bullet-proof, good to 400+ bhp!

Post up your running car as a follow up! THAT is what is really missing from this forum lately. I also belong to the Toyota Land cruiser forum IH8MUD.com and the details that people go to share parts and knowledge is pleasantly staggering.
I do plan to! Once the engine is built and in a car, I plan to put a TD04-19T on. Probably from arashi dynamics. I've got 80lb injectors (way over kill, but very cheap) and a (cheap) copper ceramic puck clutch from ebay! I also really want to get silicone coolant and charge pipes.

The car is running now, with a different engine. I recently finished converting from auto to manual. The engine being rebuilt was from the donor of the parts used in the transmission swap.

Certainly is a lot of fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, it's been a little while, but I've finally ordered (most) of my parts! My semester ended recently, and I've got a lot of time on my hands now (until my summer job starts up haha).

I have decided to avoid the machine shop. I'm going as cheap as possible on this rebuild. It might come back and bite me in the ***, but I think the block and head are in good shape. We'll see.

The parts:
So, I talked to a Saab mechanic, he quoted my $1400 for bearings, piston rings, and timing/balance kit! Well, I'm on a lot smaller budget than that, so I got my parts from eeruoparts and rmeuropean. Hope they come in and are somewhat decent!

Here's a quick list for anyone interested:
Bearings (main, rod, thrust): $93
Piston ring set: $66
Crankshaft seals (front and rear): $12
Timing chain and guides: $70
Head gasket set: $60
Head bolts: $18
Plus some other stuff, total adds up to around $375.

I've also been getting to work cleaning some parts:
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Nice, shiny intake manifold! Any advice on cleaning the runners?

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I disassembled and cleaned the throttle body!

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One fine looking piston.

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Exhaust and intake valves cleaned up quite nicely with a brass brush on a bench grinder!

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Clean looking fuel rail with WAY overpowered 875cc DEKA style cloned injectors :).

Hopefully more pics to come!

I've also been wanting to get uprated valve springs. I figure its better to get horsepower from RPM rather than torque, given our somewhat weak transmissions. So, which volvo springs do I get? I haven't been able to find a good answer on the forums, though it's probably hiding somewhere. Which engine are they out of? Is it possibly 9135130, out of the B21, B23 and B230 engines?

Also, balance shafts: the replacement chain and guides are too expensive for my very budget build. So the plan is just leave the shafts in with the chain and guides removed. I'm seeing mixed answers on the forums with regard to oil pressure. Why should the oil pressure change whether the balance shafts are spinning or not?

Also, piston ring gap: where do I find proper measurement? Haynes manual or on the forums somewhere? I'd have to buy the Haynes manual, might need someone to convince me :)

Thanks a lot for any help and suggestions!
 

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Nice, shiny intake manifold! Any advice on cleaning the runners?

Leave them in a container of Zep degreaser for a few days. I poured boiling water and let it do the work. For stubborn spots, A long brass bristle brush with a speed gun should do the trick

Also, piston ring gap: where do I find proper measurement? Haynes manual or on the forums somewhere? I'd have to buy the Haynes manual, might need someone to convince me :)
E67A4E1D-485E-43CE-AEDA-A4322A095E74.jpeg


Thanks a lot for any help and suggestions!
[/QUOTE]
 

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If your balance shafts are not scored, you can leave them in. The people who have problems have scored bearings and they let oil pass, or worn bearings that they start putting high HP through and score them more, dropping pressure. IMHO, if they look good, leave them in with no chain. They won't get worse if they don't spin. Qualifier: I ain't no engine guru!

Not sure if you got them but you want the oil-pump o-ring, the o-ring for the pickup tube and delivery tube, and the gasket for the timing tensioner. New exhaust studs if you haven't done those.

The 9135130 Volvo spring is the one Saab builders use.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok the engine rebuild is going strong. I'll post a few pics now, but I'll update in more detail in a day or two. Please excuse the messy workspace :)

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Pistons in, didn't end up needing to gap the rings.

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I'm really liking this look. Head is also painted black :)

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Hard to see super clearly as the surface had some grease on it, but it is resurfaced! I followed this guide, using a thick, flat piece of glass and correct grit sandpaper. Valves are also lapped! The volvo springs have arrived, I think I will aim for a 7.5-8k redline unless anyone suggests higher!

I do have a quick question however, regarding the numbering of the camshaft bearing caps. I stupidly took em off without keeping them in their proper place. So, they have some weird markings on them (seemingly arbitrary combination of a letter and a number), but the also have a faintly stamped number, marked 1-10. I think I will follow this guide to confirm placement, but I was wondering if you guys have some insight.

Also, balance shafts are in without the chain. The bearings looked in good shape, so I'm confident it'll be ok. Oil pressure sensor will be used to make sure.

Thanks for any input, and more pics to come! Haven't ordered the turbo yet, but my wideband O2 controller, oil pressure sensor, and 3 bar map sensor are in!
 

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