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Discussion Starter #1
Ok here's the scoup:
Lent parents the car for the evening. They were driving it back to my place when the warning light came on, the AC and the power steering died. They pulled it off the road and sure enough the belt was off. Oil was splattered on the air filter box and around that area. Did the just come off and I can put it back on, or what possible things happened? I need this car by Thursday (if it is still alive!)
Please help ASAP if you know anything I can do. My Dad is fairly handy but knows nothing about Saabs.

Thanks,
-Lance
 

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Kye said:
Ok here's the scoop:
Lent parents the car for the evening. They were driving it back to my place when the warning light came on, the AC and the power steering died. They pulled it off the road and sure enough the belt was off. Oil was splattered on the air filter box and around that area. Did the just come off and I can put it back on, or what possible things happened? I need this car by Thursday (if it is still alive!)
Please help ASAP if you know anything I can do. My Dad is fairly handy but knows nothing about Saabs.

Thanks,
-Lance
No need to "know about Saabs", very important to know mechanics, electrics, plumbing ...

I am worried about the oil, from whence came it ?????.
This serpentine belt drives everything but the cams and the oil pump..
I hope the car did not overheat.
Carefully check the belt and more carefully check the pulleys.
They must be tight, no slop, no noise, no oil leak, either.
These belts do not just "work their way off" and hardly ever break.
If the tensioner spring breaks, disaster would result..
If an accessory were to lock up(very, very rare) then the belt's life would quickly end..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info! My dad (who is still waiting for the damn tow truck) discovered that the power steering pump is blown (oil comes out of it). As best he could, he's matched the oil spilled to that part... Can you give me some tips on what else to look for? Just check all the other pulleys and tensioner and make sure they look good?

The power steering pulley still spins, which is odd... When the car gets here (where we have tools) we might be able to tell a little more about it). Any other ides? I appreciate your help!!
 

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This site: http://pages.infinit.net/mlbriand/index.shtml

has some good pictures and necessary tips. It's really about changing over to the short belt, but the directions will work just fine if you use the standard belt. Usual failures involve the idler pulleys failing, it's worth giving them a close look. www.Eeeuroparts.com and www.thessabsite.com both sell them.

The oil is weird. I don't think I've ever heard of a ps pump failing on this list. It might be interesting to know what the level is. The fluid reservoir is the black barrel shaped thin on the drivers side of the engine compartment and the cap is marked "ZF". One theory is that a hose ruptured near the pump, squirting oil onto the belt and causing it to slip off, so check the hoses carefully
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Upon actually being able to look at the car in proper lighting the big problem is the smaller idler pulley. For now we're going to just replace that pulley. I think the source of the oil was the power steering (because the resevoir is empty!), though the hoses seem fine. Might be a seal of some kind? I'm thinking for now I'll refill the resevouir and add some seal restoring stuff. With luck I can get back on the road today (though I will eventually replace the belt w/ short one).

Thanks for all your help
 

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Replace the belt and pulley, then top off the p/s fluid and look for that leak second...

The power steering lines on these cars often develop small leaks. Usually they are so small that most people just top off the fluid. The leaks come from the clamps on the ends of the power steering lines, and from the crimp joints between the rubber hose and the hard lines. Look for the source by following the pressule lines (the ones with the metal fittings) and the return lines (the rubber ones with the clamps. Clean what you find, top off, and then look for the leak, if any. Sometimes you can just tighten the clamp and that's it.

Until you know where the oil is coming from, this could be anywhere from a 30-second fix using a screwdriver, to a couple new lines and a pump for several hundred dollars... Fortunately used p/s pumps are plentiful and cheap.

P.s.: I have been warned not to add stop leak like Lucas to the power steering system on this car, to avoid problems with seals in the rack... no evidence to support either view though, perhaps someone else can add something.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think that advice sounds like the best course of action. Though I do need to drive to Maryland (about 1000 miles) on Wednesday and then come back Sunday (going to be a rough trip).

My plan is to install the new pulley (which I can't seem to find at normal parts stores, so I'm praying that the Saab dealership will have one in stock) and a new belt. Then I'll (as advised) clean up the oil from the hoses and replenish the PS fluid and see if I can't determine the source or, for now, at least the rate of the leak. If it isn't toooo fast I'll just go to MD with a spare bottle of PS fluid. I'm thinking if I don't lose more than a few cm of fluid from the reservoir, I should be good enough to drive. Does that sound reasonable?

I'll avoid the stop leak just to be cautious.
 

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Sure, it sounds reasonable. The dealer really ought to have the pulley. OR the online stores can get you one overnight so you could in theory have it on tuesday. The actual belt replacement should only take an hour and a half if you go slowly and have never done one before (this is how long it took me:) )

You can get the belt locally. I went with a gatorback 6pk 2465. There's really no reason not to do the short belt mod now, since your old belt is suspect anyhow. You can read more about belt lengths here:

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38928&highlight=2465

One suggestion though. See if you can put a few miles on it around town, just to be sure nothing weird is going on before you head north.
 

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I must say, I have read a ton of good info on this problem..

IMO, two things happened, a PS hose leaks on to , maybe everything - I do not think this caused the belt to slip off, but it may have contributed..

The serp-belt pulley was probably on its way south anyway, so with a guessed over 100K miles, change the pulleys and most all of the engine comp. rubber (belts, hoses - coolant, PS, vacuum) - nice to spend someone else's money ... But renewing the coolants now is optional.. There is enough for now...

Do the short belt modification now that this is the best opportunity..

The PS pump probably ran out of fluid ( too bad there is not a indicator lamp for this), overheated, the pulley seized, the oily belt then jumped off, then the pump cooled down and may , just may be still OK..
As the PS pumps are "cheap", I would still renew now...
And eEuroParts is really good at delivering the parts quickly and at a low cost..

I will have to check my PS hoses - had a Dodge Lancer Turbo a few years back, the hoses leaked after just 5 to 6 years - easy to change..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok things have gone from bad to worse... MUCH worse.
First thing today I went to the dealer and picked up a new pulley and serp belt and some PS fluid for $120 (I only had time for one stop b/c I had to return my finacees car :roll:). I installed them both in about an hour (a pretty long metal rod helps here). I added some PS fluid to the resevoir and let it idle for a few minute so the tensioner would set (per Haynes).

I checked the PS fluid level and everything seemed fine and the power steering worked great :cheesy:. I hopped in to go for a test drive, which is exactly when I realized I didn't really have a first gear anymore :evil:. I started down the parking lot with the car practically stalling trying to stay in above 800RPM going 10mph. I decided I should turn around so I put it in reverse (which seemed fine). Then when I went to reverse into my parking spot reverse was gone too!!!:evil::evil::evil: Luckily it's a sloped parking lot and the car rolled back in, but now I have just 3 gears. Two on the top, one on the bottom, and they all feel about the same (while standing still)...

What the heck is going on here? Maybe that spilled oil wasn't from the PS pump? I did notice after popping the hood that I did see some spattered oil forming a line on the left side of the air filter... Perhaps oil was hitting the belt from somewhere else and spraying on the serp belt. Any ideas?! I really don't want to take a bus to MD!
 

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OK, time for a new theory. First off, I don't think there's any way for oil from a manual transmission to make its way to the air filter side of the car. But I do wonder if maybe a motor mount or something failed suddenly, causing your shifter linkage to be misaligned. It could also be that the tow truck somehow messed things up too, and that this shifting problem has nothing to do with your original problem. Could they have maybe tried to tow it in gear? Or maybe not understood that you need to put it in R before taking the key out?

There's a section on shifter linkage and stuff in the FAQ, perhaps some of that might help. The linkage is easy to find, poking through the firewall in the center of the car. It can't hurt to take a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, I think the motor mounts are probably OK. I had a friend rev the engine and it moved not even a centimeter (hard to notice), so I think that's normal. I know the car was in neutral for the trip, and then I took the key out myself.

Here's the new stuff: My friend just happened to be looking under the car while I played with the gears. When I wiggled the gear in the 3-5 position he saw a liquid drain out. I had him move the gears and I looked. When he moved it into first one time I saw a clear-ish maybe yellow-ish liquid drain out from the bottom of the car a little bit towards the front of the shifter.

This problem sounds like it is getting very expensive... Any theories?
 

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I would agree with JMarkert, but I hope the car was just winched up on a flatbed, not towed a**-back in gear, that is an awful thought to contemplate... Presumably your parents would know how it was transported, but I would call the towing company and let them know you have problem that you did not have before, and ask how it was towed.

You can try aligning the linkage, but that may be more work than you can easily do in a parking lot.

Often you can distinguish fresh ps fluid and engine oil if you soak up some on a clean white paper towel, and just compare color. If the ps fluid leak is old, it all looks like a black paste.

As for the hydraulic motor mount, is there enough oil to splatter all over the belt? Not disagreeing, just a Q. Maybe it started with a valve cover leak. I had some small leaks in that area, just above the belt. Had to clean around the pump area and timing cover to see where the oil was coming from.
 

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Here's the new stuff: My friend just happened to be looking under the car while I played with the gears. When I wiggled the gear in the 3-5 position he saw a liquid drain out. I had him move the gears and I looked. When he moved it into first one time I saw a clear-ish maybe yellow-ish liquid drain out from the bottom of the car a little bit towards the front of the shifter.
The steering rack and connecting ps fluid lines are in that area, but we are getting pretty far from a pulley and belt problem... you pretty much have to find out what the fluid is, then where it is coming from, or let a mechanic handle it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, the car was winched on a flatbed in neutral. I spoke with my father and he put it in neutral himself, so the car was never moved in gear.

I'll take a look at the linkage if I can figure it out, but at this point it's looking like it might be a reasonable idea to talk to an indy mech or the dealership...

I'll see what the Haynes has to say...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I decided that I've taken enough time away from work and that this is quickly growing outside of the scope of a parking lot problem. I called up one of the mechanics listed on this site, who (because he was far 40 minutes away) kindly directed me to someone (not on the list) a little closer, who now has my car. If I didn't need the car by Wednesday night, I'd probably still attempt a DIY, but I think I'm a little out of my element and I don't have time to fool around.

I will keep you posted on what the mech finds and how much it costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok! Turns out it was an exploded (or whatever verb you want) bushing in the shift linkage. It's a $50 or so part from Saab and $50 to overnight it (if they don't have it in stock!) and an hour labor to install.

He also said that at 120k miles I'll probably need a new clutch. How do you people feel about that? Is he full of crap or do I need the clutch job? It does have a little bit wider of a range, but it hasn't shown signs of slippage. Also, I thought I read something about pulling the cable to make it a bit tighter or something? How much would a clutch job cost (assuming I'm not doin git myself) on average?
 

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Huh - so how is that connected to the oil and derailed belt?? Or is it just a coincidence. For sure a blown bushing in the linkage would cause your problem.

150K is a lot for a clutch, but if it isn't slipping or anything then there's no need to replace it. It would probably cost $1100.00 or so if the shop does it. You can adjust the cable yourself, and it's easy. Check out the FAQ for directions.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Right now I know the symptoms, but I have -nooo- idea what caused all this. In one shot (seemingly), I lost the pulley, got power streering fluid all over the place and lost my shift linkage. If anyone can think of a scenario where this makes sense, let me know...


The shop quoted me $1000 for the clutch, which is reasonable, I guess... but I just can't afford that right now. Hopefully if I play with the cable I can get a little more life out of my clutch.
 
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